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Zinkata’s Styling Adventures: Fashion For The Not So “Skinny Minnie”



Understanding your body shape, skin tone and personality, is the first major step in identifying your unique style profile. There are different body types: Pear, Apple, Hourglass and Strawberry (the names and groupings vary). Universally, the hourglass shape is purported to be the most coveted body shape; perfect proportions with a teeny weeny waist. Yeah right! How many of us are thus proportioned?

In some cases, we do not clearly fall into any particular body type; this is not odd at all. Get a measuring tape, derive your statistics, identify the category you are grouped into, and start dressing to skillfully highlight the right features, carefully balancing out your proportions. It is all about creating an illusion with clothes.

Fashion magazines and online media quite often celebrate the skinny modelesque figure. Quite a large percentage of African women on the other hand, are quite big boned, with a more voluptuous figure. This is indeed a beautiful shape. Dress to compliment your shape and bring out your inner African Queen: Generous, curvy,  all proudly packaged with huge helpings of regal spunk!

Here are some basic tips:

Are you small on top and heavy on the bottom? Some refer to this as the “Pear Shape”; these general tips would keep you in the right direction.

  • Be adventurous and experimental with your upper half. Wear pretty, eye catching colors on top;  This draws attention to your beautiful upper body and gives you a smarter silhouette.
  • Wear dark colors on the bottom, this creates a slimming effect on the bottom and helps balance out your smaller top.
  • Avoid very light lycra fabric and sheer materials on the bottom.
  • Go for  clothes with thicker fabrics, they offer the right support.
  • Straight cut skirts rather than wide or flared styles.
  • Show off your shoulders and neckline; V-neck dresses/tops are flattering. Accessorize with interesting neckpieces.

Are you Big on Top and Smaller at the Bottom?

  • Flared skirts, pleated skirts and puffball skirts are perfect for your body type. They create volume and balance the top half of the torso.
  • Bold textures and horizontal stripes should be worn below the waistline. Don’t be afraid to wear bright colours on your bottom half.
  •  Exaggerated shoulder pads and dramatic sleeves, may not be the preferred option, they add bulk to your upper part.
  • Minimize the upper body with open necks and collars.
  • Bootcut jeans and fuller legs in trousers, if you have the height to carry it off.
  • Pockets on the hips and loose flowing fabrics.

Do you carry most of your weight around your middle?

  • Shoulder pads and shoulder definition along with definition at the hips will create the illusion of a waist.
  • Empire style dresses and dresses cut on the bias are quite a good choice; they skim through the body and are very figure flattering.
  • Colour blocking at the waist to create an illusion of a waist (a thick belt will work well).
  • Please avoid high stretch viscose lycra, they tend to cling .
  •  Skirts with volume, also a very nice look.
  • The biggest tip: Spanx or “comfortable” tommy trimming/controlling underwear goes a long way in helping the clothes fall fluidly on your beautiful silhouette.

Here are some pictures of On-Air Personality, Gbemi Olateru-Olagbegi from her PR promo shoot last year. Gbemi falls between hour glass and pear shape. While Gbemi is not a “skinny minnie”, she still looks absolutely body beautiful.

Embrace your curves! Confused? Book a style consultation!
Stay Fabulous!!


Gbemi’s Images: TCD Photography | Make-up: Tinuke for BMpro
Ezinne Chinkata is a leading Fashion Stylist/Image Consultant/Writer/ Fashion Editor in Nigerian Fashion. She has styled numerous lookbooks and editorials and is the current Fashion Editor at WOW! Magazine. Follow Zinkata on Twitter: @Zinkata1; Contact: [email protected]


  1. Tobechidaniel

    July 25, 2012 at 11:22 am

    What look were you going for?An on-air personality you say, and yet you stick her into a voluminous gown for work? What happened to dressing according to occasion?The colors do Gbemi no justice and instead the make-over(having no idea what Gbemi’s fashion sense is), makes her look matronly (and waist-less)!

    • Naaaa

      July 25, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      Stop it, must you pull others down to make yourself happy? Juts waka pass. Thanks!

    • Tobechidaniel

      July 25, 2012 at 3:07 pm

      I wasn’t aware I was pulling her down. I was only aware of critiquing.It wasn’t meant to be upsetting to you Naaaa.

    • Boo

      July 25, 2012 at 3:15 pm

      So an on-air personality only goes to work abi?

      Criticize with sense….she obviously dressed her up in 3 different outfits for 3 different occasions.

      Also if you read before attacking you would see she mentioned gbemi is pear shaped, bigger bottom. The waist less you complain about is actually what they were going for because it makes you look sexy without your bottom part looking too heavy.

      Sometimes comments really just come out as serious hatoration. If you truly want to criticize, it shouldn’t sound like you want to fight. sigh!!!

    • Tobechidaniel

      July 25, 2012 at 4:51 pm

      Learn to be more cultured- it facilitates good conversation Boo.

    • Anoni

      July 25, 2012 at 4:57 pm

      Maybe if you paused to read you would have seen she was styled for her PR promo. Thats not an actual day at work. Lighten up. Sheesh!

    • je

      July 25, 2012 at 6:08 pm


    • Amazeballs!

      July 26, 2012 at 11:52 am

      pls stop shouting biko! thanks

    • lala

      July 26, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      wow, you’re actually so silly, did article say the clothes in the picture wear for work?? it was a photoshoot dimwit and even if she dresses like that to work what does it matter, its not like anyone can see her. put up a picture of yourself since you have so much to say.

    • omoyoruba

      July 26, 2012 at 10:55 pm

      What sort of critique is that meant to be? So the fact that she’s an on-air personalty means she’s not meant to look nice? The pics are from her PR promo shoot not while she was at work being an on air personalty. Besides, on-air personalty doesnt mean you come to work in shorts and a tee. Just shows how warped your thinking is.

  2. saphyah

    July 25, 2012 at 11:30 am

    nothing new realy….

    • Gold digger

      July 25, 2012 at 2:22 pm

      you took the words right out of mouth….

  3. MizV

    July 25, 2012 at 11:35 am

    I’m no skinny minnie so i definitely found this post useful.

  4. Evagreen

    July 25, 2012 at 11:36 am

    MY shape USED to be hourglass now I’m like a PEAR is not a bad thing???

    • Papa

      July 26, 2012 at 2:14 am

      3 words, GyM aNd DiEt.

  5. Laiza Lounge

    July 25, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Invaluable information. Most people need to understand their body shapes before they shop…another reason for having a good stylist, for those that still don’t understand their body shapes or aren’t sure of what works. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Shawler

    July 25, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Madam Ezinne, so you can talk about styling abi, with that horrible disastrous outfit you wore to davido’s concert, that black top and horrid over baggy trousers, abeg make i hear word jor.

    • Asking Questions

      July 26, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      Her constant horrible outfits you mean…Ezinne never disappoints in that department dear.

  7. Police

    July 25, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Tobechidaniel do you really have to complain?is the article about the on air personality or body shapes?what business do you have with what she wears?cant understand why some people are so bitter and negative.

    • Asking Questions

      July 26, 2012 at 3:43 pm

      Is this the writer’s avatar?

  8. Princess of Zion

    July 25, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    I have read about this before but not in such a detailed manner! I think more women should be educated on this! We all come in different shapes and sizes! It’s best to know what your’s is, feel comfortable in it and dress to accentuate it! Good job

  9. supremacydone

    July 25, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    is this artice intertwined???

  10. Abena

    July 25, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    @ Police: why do u always assume somebody is bitter and negative because she gave her honest opinion.people like u abuse bitter and negative.No wonder most African state fail to develop because we fail to say the truth.
    Unless u are the writer disguised as the Police commentator,just take a chill pill and let’s read constructive criticism!
    I also think the article &the example used is in variance.totally agree with Tobechi Daniel.

    • Papa

      July 26, 2012 at 2:35 am

      It is not what you say, but how you say it. Your so called truth does not have to be said offensively. You, my fellow African, need a few diplomacy lessons.
      Anyway, your entire argument is based on the false premise that there is “truth” in style and beauty. I hate to be the one to break it to you darling, but the only thing true about beauty and style for that matter, is that they’re both in the eye of the beholder. Sweetheart, this year’s Fall/Winter collection, is next year’s fad.

  11. Chattyzee

    July 25, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Indeed, very useful information. Especially in terms of skinny jeans, jeggings and leggings; it’s not made for everyone. This article is very useful for me. So when next I go shopping, I’ll think twice before buying anything.

  12. eesha

    July 25, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Tobechi is always so negative, there is difference between constructive criticism and being bitter. Take a chill pill sis.

    • Tobechidaniel

      July 25, 2012 at 4:57 pm

      I honestly do not get it. At an honest opinion, some Africans are so quick to get on the defensive. I absolutely applaud every effort one makes, no matter how simple, but I do also like being honest. Not all my reviews are negative, though:)

    • Non professional opinion

      July 26, 2012 at 11:09 am

      As Papa said , it’s how you say it. It might not have been your intention but it came across a little ” beefy”. This is an opportunity for you to take your own advice and not get defensive and then you might get it 🙂
      P.s I disagree with your entire comment about the styling. But I also think Ezinne misdiagnosed her as an hourglass/pear as she is quite thick around the middle, hence the waistlessness you speak of.

    • Nonye

      July 26, 2012 at 5:12 pm

      There is absolutely nothing wrong with airing your view whether or not people agree with it BUT always pause to ask yourself how you would feel if what you wrote was written by someone else about you.

  13. christy

    July 25, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    This article is indeed useful,dress according to ur body shape,I saw a lady yesterday,she fall under the category of those that are big on top and smaller at the bottom,with a very compressed ass,that was not the issue,blcas am not her creator,but am concern with wat she wore,a legging and a T/shirt that barely cover her waist(a straight waist).I look with shame,like seriously??The imagine keep flashing in my mind in every single second!

  14. Janded

    July 25, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Love all the outfits

  15. Bella Noire

    July 25, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    I don’t understand why stylists always say people who gain weight primarily around their middle should wear empire-style dresses. It just makes you look pregnant! Is it just me?

  16. yk

    July 25, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    christy3:28! haba!! lips sealed……

    • Boo

      July 25, 2012 at 8:45 pm

      Lol…….Perhaps spell check no dey work

    • fromdoverseas

      July 25, 2012 at 9:13 pm

      Spell check or gbaghaun check? * confused face*

  17. @ajiriavae

    July 25, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    This is the foundation upon which ‘Style’ is built. If your clothes don’t flatter your figure, you are only wasting your efforts.

  18. Ayana

    July 25, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Gbemi Rocks!!!!!

  19. IMO

    July 26, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    I read d entire ‘dont-even-kno-wat-to-call-it’ wit a raised eyebrow, waiting for the new element. I guess its a little satisfying dat some pple actually found it useful… gud for them. But for a ‘styling adventure’- ain’t no adventure in d info u just recycled!

    @ Bella Noire, it isn’t just u…thats actually true.

  20. I really dey!

    July 26, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    This is such useful information. I’d advice womenfolk to sieve what they need and move on. Thank you Ezinne! You always rock! As for tobechidaniel you need to punctuate every daft comment with the link to your dry blog where no one comments hahaha ah Bella pls put up a notice for these irrelevant creatures not to deface Bella naija with info on themselves. Abeg! Try to also think before you write. Gbemi looks very nice especially in the black dress. I love the graphics ezzine has used. I see the apple shape depicting me :(. Pls I need ezinnes no as well as a personal trainers info….anyone…..

  21. D Fairy GodSister

    July 26, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    We all need to pause, and take deep breaths before commenting on post, and replying what others have said. Sitting behind a computer doesn’t make you judge or jury (either on the post on someone else’s comment).
    Thanks for the education Ezinne!

  22. T

    July 26, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    I like the advice but what if I like my pear shape and don’t want to hide my hips?

  23. jd

    July 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    make una leave Zinkata alone ooooooo

  24. Solo chic

    July 27, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Nothing here for a real full hour glass figure Ezinbe.maybe u shd use real thick chicks to illustrate? Like latasha or Toolz? Jus saying Mami…….

  25. Ready

    July 28, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    I think people misunderstand what hourglass shape is..I’m under the impression that a hourglass figure has the same proportions up and down..e.g. Dita Von Teese. Following this logic, 36-28-36, 44-34-44..hourglass. Not very many women have this, it’s mostly illusion like Beyonce or Kim K work to look like hourglass shapes. I disagree that someone can be a cross btw two body types. It’s like saying your face is both oval and’s one or the other.
    All this long story is to say, in my humble opinion, this article doesn’t do much to help non-skinny minnies. But, just know your measurements and dress in clothes that fit well and highlight the body parts you love. Some women don’t want to look proportional..e.g. If you have a body remotely similar to the girl in Private Trips, I doubt u’d be thinking of beefing up your upper body.
    Personally, I focus on getting clothes that fit, make me feel good, and are somewhat uniquely me. Creating illusions just gives me pressure when the clothes come off 🙂

  26. leo

    July 30, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    u are so right @ready… just wear what you are comfortable on…

  27. Dina

    August 7, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    I am actually a perfect hour glass. However, because that shape is quite rare they don’t make close to really fit that body type. I find that unless you are wearing a dress there will be problems with your outfit!

  28. libra

    August 10, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    I have shoulders and a heavy down side . What would I call my shape type?

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