Wearing volume from head to toe is NOT reserved for those who are tall, small in the bust, and super slim. Not at all. In fact, it’s precisely these types of avant-garde looks that are beyond body type and can look fabulous on anyone. The natural contours of the figure are hidden and the clothes wear you. But you’re in control, and they don’t boss you around.
I’ve seen women in Japan, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Germany, South Africa and Sweden across all sizes, heights and ages wear this vibe with panache. Scandinavian retailer COS, and German retailer OSKA do a particularly good job of pulling it together.
Here are four outfit ideas to get you started. If you click on the outfits, you’ll see the components of each outfit in detail. Interestingly, each outfit has been completed with a somewhat chunky yet refined flat shoe. Heels are not the norm, perhaps because they are not as grounding. There is something about flat sturdy footwear that anchors and holds the volume upright so that it does not tip over.
1. Monotone Bulk
A flared midi has been combined with two oversized sweaters. One has long sleeves and one has shorter sleeves. Flat mid-calf boots that close the gap and cover the leg are grounding. A bulky, long, oversized and cocoon-shaped parker has been layered over the top, and everything works like a dream. The olive, grey, and black palette is not necessarily the secret, but the low contrast between the items and colours is. Your eye creates peace in all the volume by eyeballing the vertical column of colour. Feel free to create the look in any palette as long as the items are very similar in colour.
2. Wrapped Straight Drape
This version sports the least volume and the highest colour contrasts of the four outfits. A bold patterned sack dress is combined with a boxy and shapeless high-contrast cardigan. The unbuttoned cardigan creates a vertical line down the centre front of the outfit which draws the eye up and down. The stirrup leggings add ‘80s fun, warmth, and structure. The chunky flat oxfords are grounding and elongating in the same colour as the leggings. The scarf adds textural, insulating and happy pizzazz. I’m a high contrast outfit gal so this version is my favourite. Plus the ‘80s stirrup leggings bring back fond memories and make me smile.
3. Architectural Casual
Here a very oversized pullover is combined with a voluminous midi skirt in exactly the same colour. Flat black mid-calf boots ground the outfit. It’s the low contrast between the three items that gives them their structure. The low contrast allows the eye to rest and create order in all the volume. It also offsets any horizontally cutting lines. The drawstring on the hem of the skirt tempers its volume too.
4. Crisp Volume
An oversized pullover is combined with a pair of very roomy lantern pants. The contrast between the top and bottom is high thereby creating a horizontal line across the middle of the body. But the contrast is harmonized and the volume is tempered in a few important ways. First, the grounding flat black footwear is low contrast to the pants which elongates the leg line. The oversized coat is the same colour as the roomy pullover which allows the eye to rest and find structure. Clever, and beautifully styled.