Creating a Wardrobe Does Not Mean Maxing Your Credit Card

When I was in graduate school I worked as a grad assistant, which is wicked awesome as it pays for your tuition and you get a monthly stipend, which pays amazingly! But I digress. One of my professors had applied for a grant and we worked together on this giant project that did the following things:

  1. Worked with ladies and gentlemen who were of lower economic status who were working on degrees or just attempting to obtain better paying jobs.
  2. Educated people on how to save money on clothing and still look professional.
  3. How to be more eco-conscious of the impact of your clothing.
  4. How to dress professionally and why (impression formation).
  5. How individuals in the past made do in hard economic situations (which was pertinent because this was during the recession that started in 2009).
  6. Took out these individuals and with a $50 budget went to Goodwill and purchased them a small professional wardrobe which we then altered to fit them.

Now, I could write a book about this experience, but instead of boring you with my academic knowledge I will get more to the point.We looked specifically at the Make Do and Mend campaign of the 1940’s during World War II. This was a campaign started by the government that targeted mostly women and asked them to conserve their clothing, materials and raw goods so it could go into the war effort. Now opinions about war, or all the politics aside, when we hit the great recession of 2009 a lot of people found themselves without work. People who were graduating from college found themselves coming out into a working environment that was less than desirable with mountains of debts now to be paid off and because of this many people in my generation, or people who found themselves unemployed, were hit very hard financially.

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Now, they say the job market is turning around, but 5 years later I know my household is still experiencing the effects of the economic downturn. So what does this have to do with creating a wardrobe? While I worked with this project one of my brain children was how little clothing can you own and still get away with something that passes as a wearable professional wardrobe?  My answer? 6 garments.
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These pieces allowed for a total of 12 outfits that created a different enough style every day that with some rotation of garments and a few accessories, you had a working professional wardrobe that could be rotated every 2 and a half weeks. If you look at the pieces I chose, I chose very classic pieces, an a-line skirt in navy with a matching blazer, a pair of charcoal dress slacks, a short sleeve oxford, a turquise blue cardigan, and one trendier styled dress top in grey and white, with a pattern.

Now, to be fair this collection isn’t the most exciting visually and if we are only talking about traditional professional dress it actually looks kind of boring, but bear with me for a second because the principal is the same even if you don’t like these pieces. Classic pieces comprise the look above. Classics are refereed to as such because they never go out of style. Season in and out they can be paired with new pieces, new colors, and new trends and look great. The key is to buy these pieces in neutral colors like black, grey, brown, taupe, navy or white, so they can be interchanged over time.

If you were to buy only the basics for a starting professional wardrobe my biggest suggestion to you is to spend good money on quality garments to get you started. Alternatively, look at second hand or thrift shops to also find quality garments that may just need a button re-attached or a hem altered and take them to a dry cleaner alterations shop and have them cleaned professionally and altered to fit your body.

My top 10 picks for the most versatile wardrobe to own in classic styles and colors:

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Play with your own idea of a 10 piece ideal starter wardrobe for you on polyvore, click on this photo and it will link you to the original set.

  1. Button up blouse in a solid color (short sleeve or long)
  2. Nice fitting pair of dress slacks
  3. Tailored suit jacket – if you chose this jacket to be the same color as your dress slacks it becomes a suit.
  4. Classic cardigan
  5. Quality and properly fitted pair of jeans
  6. Camisole
  7. Properly fitted skirt in a neutral or classic patern(if you wear them)
  8. a nice top that could be worn alone
  9. Little black dress in a style that flatters your figure and can be dressed up or down
  10. Good Fitting Bra

 

With these 10 garments you can constantly change the look with little money at second hand stores or shopping sales  finding colored cami’s that are in season, belts, scarves, tights, glasses, handbags, wallets, clutches, jewelry, shoes, and anything else your amazing mind can come up with.  Imagine the above pieces paired with the following accessories. Here are three different groupings representing 3 very different personal styles, or if you’re like me, you love variety so you’d have all of these in your collection (money permitting).

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The great thing about fashion is that it is available at all different price points, so you don’t have to be a millionaire to be able to afford a nice looking starter wardrobe. With places like goodwill you could put together a wardrobe that starts at $50. I will say when I put together my own wardrobe to get started I followed sales and picked up these pieces over time, I spent about $300 total on all 10 pieces and I picked up accessories here and there as I saw them, or I made my own. Most of those pieces are still in really nice condition and I’ve had them for going on 4 years now. The higher quality the garment, the better chances of having it last for a long time! Get creative! Be Positive! And remember it’s all about you feeling confident, so find your own mix of wardrobe pieces that say something about you!

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Tell Mother Earth She looks Stunning!

Green… Sustainable… Earth Friendly… Recycled… all buzzwords that have been flying through the air for the last 5-10 years, but have gathered some particular attention with global climate change and dwindling resources. Many people think to live more sustainably or more specifically to wear more sustainably is a difficult task. It usually comes down to the expense, as many ecologically minded fashionistas have focused their price tags on the hot commodity of sustainable products.

What does this word even mean?
Miriam Webster sets the bar in pretty understandable terms:

“Something that is able to be used without being completely used or destroyed; involving methods that do not completely use up or destroy natural resources ; able to last or continue for a long time ”

Our product cycles for clothes, electronics, home furnishings, cars you name it is built on the idea of something called “Product Obsolescence.” This means that all of the things you buy now are meant to go out of style, fall apart or need to be replaced with the newest and best. The concept is more readily referred to as Cradle to Grave cycles. There’s this fantastically informative video about this whole concept, I’ve linked it below. It’s about 20 minutes long but it tells a pretty scary tale about what’s happening with all that stuff we toss in the garbage.

Now that I’ve made you feel bad about yourself, let’s bring it back around. There is an entire field of study about the management of natural resources and people who spend their lives researching  ways  to utilize this in our interest of consumable goods. The concept is to create things that can live from cradle to cradle. If you like to read click on the photo below and read more about this book, you can purchase it or you can check it out from your local library. It’s chock full of information about how to make products more sustainable and how to change the way we view the consumption of stuff.

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So you say to yourself I want to help mother nature! I want to buy more sustainably, but then when you google sustainable fashions you end up running into beautiful things, and the sticker shock nearly sends you into a fainting spell. For example this cute clutch by Stella McCartney a leading designer in vegan and eco friendly fashions sells at Barney’s for a mere $895. So what about those of us who are trying to leave less of a foot print on mother earth but can’t afford this lofty price tag? ≈

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Here are some tips and tricks that will keep you looking great and mother nature too!

  • Buy second hand. You don’t have to buy everything second hand and if you’re plus sized and ever walked into a goodwill you know this can be a challenging task. But there are some things that will always be available at any second hand or thrift shop such as jewelry, purses, belts, and scarves. If you’re crafty there are countless tutorials online on how to also use old clothing to make new garments. But purchasing a few items second hand reduces the amount of new products being made and with a little cleaning power you can make old wares look new and fashionable. Some websites such as postmark.com have even made a huge appearance allowing women to shop each others gently used fashionable garments. There are websites that do this with handbags and shoes as well. It just take a google search!
  • Recycle your clothes. Did you know that Goodwill will not only take your donations they do their best to recycle products that can’t be sold? Goodwill actually recycles up to 90% of the textile waste that is dropped at their facilities. This means when you’re going through your clothes to purge unwanted and mangled garments, make a recycling bag for goodwill. Your ratty old jeans can actually be recycled and made into new fibers for industrial uses and sometimes even new garments! It keeps your old clothes in the product life cycle instead of in a landfill where it can take hundreds of years for them to break down!
  • Buy local. Find a local shop that sells locally sourced products, these could be clothes or accessories, a mom and pop second hand or consignment store or even check your local listings for craft shows.If you purchase things that are made closer to home you are reducing the amount of pollution from transportation, you are supporting a local business and you end up with an awesome and unique piece that you can brag about to all of your friends.
  • Build a wardrobe of classics. Classic garments are garments that will never go out of style such as pencil skirts, black dress slacks, a comfy cardigan,  and mary jane shoes. Find a couple of staple clothing items that can be worn interchangeably with new and old garments. Just because it’s called a classic doesn’t mean you have to look like a stuffy office type either. If you are more casual a nice pair of jeans and some great solid t-shirts also fit into the classics category.
  • Look for quality not quantity. Especially when building a wardrobe of classics or staple pieces take the time to find garments that fit you perfectly or have them tailored. If you spend the time and the money on these staple pieces they can last you for years. Nordstroms offers alterations in store on almost all of their garments. While spending $75-$150 on a nice pair of pants seems outrageous think of it as an investment. I nice quality properly fitting pair of pants that are made from sturdy fabrics and fibers may last you 3-5 years. Where a $20 pair of pants may last for 6 months to a year. In a 5 year time span you  have to replace your pants 2 times in 5 years you will have spent $200 on 10 pairs of pants that are now taking up time in a landfill.
  • Go Crazy accesorize. If you spend good money on quality staple pieces you then have more room to change with the trends. Your black dress slacks will look good whether chunky healed shoes or flats are your preferred style. Pick up a few pieces here and there that are moving with the trends, but still match your style and what’s already in your closet. And Don’t forget there’s always the crazy world of cosmetics!
  • Pay attention to labels. If you’re super conscious of mother nature look for sustainable fibers such as bamboo, organic cottons, recycled denim, wool and silk. Some brands have even taken to wearing their re-used resources with pride.

You don’t have to go full on survivalist to be a little kinder to mother nature. Brands such as H&M and Victoria secret are already trailblazing for more sustainable clothing. One of the best ways to reduce your carbon foot print is to increase your knowledge about where your clothes come from and be conscious about where they go when you are finished with them. So this earth day give yourself and mother earth a treat, every small step helps to keep us all living longer and enjoying life!

Yey Shapes!

Thanks everyone for tuning in for the mini series of shape issues. I felt that it was a good way to speak to each of you directly without overloading everyone with too much text! Please keep your eyes peeled in the next few weeks as now that you know what your shape is I have some new entries that will feature places to shop for plus sized garments and how to build a wardrobe on a budget!

Thanks for following!

Yours Truly,

Evelynlouise

The Shape Issue: Inverted Triangle

How do you identify yourself as an inverted triangle shape?

First off, Congratulations you have a tricky figure, but a figure that has been coveted through many points in fashion history such as the 1940’s and the 1980’s.

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Your defining characteristics:

  • Your shoulders are the widest part of your body. Large bust or not you tend to be top heavy in comparison to the rest of you.
  • You may dip in at the waist but your hips are narrow.
  • You have a really hard time fitting your shoulders in clothes that still make the rest of you look good.

You aren’t the most common shape, but no worries there are still many options for ladies just like you! Your motto when looking for clothes can now be HIPS HIPS HIPS!!! Balancing out fullness in your hips can actually give more of an illusion of an hourglass shape while still flaunting one of your greatest assets, those gorgeous shoulders!

Your goals when picking out wardrobe pieces:

  • When looking at blouses avoid puff sleeves. Fuller sleeves have been in style for a while so instead go for a bishop sleeve. If you look at the vintage pattern below the pink dress sleeves are a big no for you, because they will make your broad shoulders even broader (unless this is the look you are going for). However, the bishop sleeves as seen in the blue dress on the right look amazing on your shape because they pull the fullest part of the sleeve down to your waist and in essence to your hip and this adds some visual balance to your body.

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  • Also Peplum tops and tops that flair or have awesome detail below the natural waist look amazing on you!
  • work with tops that are slimming and have less detail around your neck and shoulders, slenderizing necklines for you are scoop necks, round necks and v-necks as all three pull the width of your shoulders in visually. You can always pair low necklines with camisole for modesty.
  • Pull your details into your hips and waist. The use of belts, bows, sashes and even chunky bracelets can help balance out your shape.
  • Tops that have elastic bands at the hip and fullness are made just to compliment your shape. So try one on and see what you think!
  • Utilize skirts that are fuller or have nice details around your hips. This gives more of an hourglass illusion especially when paired with a properly fitting top. Ruffles, peplums and gores can all accomplish this. Also you can pull off gathered skirts as having narrower hips gives you the opportunity to play with volume in your skirts. Note how this dress has a slenderizing shape up top and utilizes a v-neck to pull the shoulders of the dress inward, but the skirt is full and ruffled, which then balances out the hip. You can accomplish this look with dresses, skirts and pants.

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  • When looking for pants look for wide legged trouser cuts, sailor cuts, and pleated top pants as these too will fill out your hips, balancing your shoulders. Look for brands that cater to smaller hips in their jean cuts such as  old navy. Tailors can also help you with the issues  of “sagging” backsides in your pants.
  • With All pants whether you are tall, short or average height, take the time to get the proper length or have them hemmed. Pants that are too long can dwarf your legs and make you look shorter and wider. The opposite effect happens when pants are too short. For taller individuals “high watered” pants can make you look even taller, but not in the way that shows off your statuesque features.  Whether tall or petite check out stores that carry 3 different lengths in pants (petite, average & tall)  Woman Within and Romans both carry dress slacks and jeans that cater all three lengths as does Lane Bryant. Don’t be afraid to order something online. Both of these stores have excellent return policies and if it’s just slightly off in length, remember most dry cleaners that do alterations will hem pants for around $10.

Styles to avoid:

  • Tops with ruffles and fullness in the sleeves and neckline.
  • Boxy jackets with no shape and overly large shoulder pads.
  • Pencil skirts
  • Skinny leg jeans or slacks (unless you are accentuating your inverted triangle shape).
  • Straight skirts
  • Things that are uncomfortable!

Remember to have fun with your body! You only have one and dressing to cater to your shape will make you feel and look amazing!

The Shape Issue: Diamond

How do you identify yourself as a diamond shape?

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Your defining characteristics:

  • You are the slippery little minx of the mix of shapes and you’ve found this to be so true when looking for clothing
  • Your widest part is right in the middle of you. You’re shoulders and bust are more slender, your hips and your thighs are also more slender. You have a natural dip just below your bust but the widest part of you happens to be your lower belly right above your hips.
  • People commonly ask you if you are pregnant when you are not and it not only frustrates you, but can make you feel really awkward about your body.

The good news! Though you are  one of the most complicated shape to fit you can attack it with the knowledge of what you are working with! No worries though, you are just as beautiful as all the other shapes.

Your goals when picking out wardrobe pieces:

  • avoid straight fitting, garments that have little to no style lines, little to no fitting, and that fit the body like a tube, this will only accentuate all of your self-conscious body spots. Try for Tops and dresses that are separated at the natural waist or at a lowered empire waist. This draws attention to the fact that you have a waist. Pairing this combination with tops that have wide v-necks or lots of detail can also balance out your body. Stay away from flowy empire waist dresses as they can exacerbate the issue of being wrongfully guessed as expecting.

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  • You have a lot of leeway when it comes to blouses and tops. V-necks, cowl necks, boat necks, and  swoop necks all look great on you. Look for tops that have fun and interesting details such as ruffles, embroidery (as seen above), bows, ties, etc. around your neck as this also adds more fullness to your shoulders offsetting a larger mid section. It also draws attention to your face, which is great for keeping peoples eyes on who really matters.
  • Utilize flowy blouses that are fitted in the upper bust to also balance out this body shape. Lane Bryant has a wealth of these tops this season. If you are smaller busted and are having trouble getting blouses to fit just right up top go to your local dry cleaner that does alterations and have them pull in the upper bust. It will completely transform your look and the way you see yourself in ready to wear garments.
  • Look for skirts that have an actual waist band or a pronounced waistband separate from the skirt. This will nip your waist in at the natural part of your body giving you more of an illusion of an hourglass shape.
  • Avoid skirts that have fullness and detail toward the top such as peplums or large ruffles. Balance your body using fullness at the bottom of skirts. Gore skirts, flared skirts and circle skirts, especially when paired with a defined waistband balance out the fullness of your belly with your hips. Gore skirts like the one seen below can give the appearance of an a-line look, but in a way that is more flattering to your frame.

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  • Pants are always going to be tricky, but take a deep breath and remember there are always alterations shops to help make them fit just right. Wide-leg trousers can look excellent on your figure, especially if you have a more slender thigh. If you are also the owner of wider thighs, try for bootcut and flared trousers and jeans as they dip in at the narrowest part of your leg, but also balance out your body by adding fullness toward the bottom of your leg. Make sure your pants fit right! Buying pants that fit your waist and having them altered to fit your butt and thighs will also diminish the look of a larger belly.
  • With All pants whether you are tall, short or average height, take the time to get the proper length or have them hemmed. Pants that are too long can dwarf your legs and make you look shorter and wider. The opposite effect happens when pants are too short. For taller individuals “high watered” pants can make you look even taller, but not in the way that shows off your statuesque features.  Whether tall or petite check out stores that carry 3 different lengths in pants (petite, average & tall)  Woman Within and Romans both carry dress slacks and jeans that cater all three lengths as does Lane Bryant. Don’t be afraid to order something online. Both of these stores have excellent return policies and if it’s just slightly off in length, remember most dry cleaners that do alterations will hem pants for around $10.

There feel like so many don’ts  when looking for clothes for your shape, here are a list of my biggest don’ts for a diamond shape:

  • Gathered skirts that sit right at your waistline
  • Straight tube shaped garments such as tunics
  • Pants that are too tight.
  • tops with elastic at the bottom of the hips
  • Things that aren’t comfortable

Remember to have fun with your body! You only have one and dressing to cater to your shape will make you feel and look amazing!

The Shape Issue: Apple

How do you know if you are an apple shape?apple

Your defining characteristics:

  • You tend to have slimmer arms and legs, but carry your weight soley in your torso and stomach.
  • Most apple shapes have broader shoulders and a flatter backside.
  • Waist definition is a challenge for you and depending on your bust size this can complicate it even more. Having a small bust may make you feel your waist is non-existent.
  • Your widest part is right in the middle of you.

Like the diamond shape you are a challenging shape to fit, but we’ll get you sorted out anyhow! And no worries, you  are just as beautiful as all the other shapes.

Your goals when picking out wardrobe pieces:

  • Avoid garments that focus their attention on the middle of your torso. Avoid belted garments or garments that have lots of detail and focus around your stomach. Equally avoid tops and dresses that utilize a different patterns or a solid on top and a pattern on bottom as this can in fact draw more attention to your mid section. This said utilizing tops that are looser fitting and tie in the back can make a shapeless garment give you more of an illusion of a nipped in waist.
  • In the same respect choose tops that bring attention to your beautiful face. You can do this by finding tops with details in the shoulders and around the bust, or sleeves with interesting details. Styles such as adding texture with varying types of fabric, such as lace, on the top of your body brings peoples eyes up to your shoulders. Also, current trends are all about the “statement necklaces” These are amazing on an apple shape because again it draws peoples eyes upward from your mid section.

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  • Women in this shape can have a small bust or a large one,  many advice columns tell apple shapes to draw attention to their boobs, alluding to the idea that this should now be the focal point of their body. In this advice they tell women to wear deep v-necks, swoop necks, and cowl necks anything to bring more attention to the décolletage. For smaller busted apple shapes, utilizing these styles can actually give you a fuller looking chest while also down playing your thicker torso. These styles can also look good on bustier women, but if you are trying to be modest for work, try utilizing styles like in the picture above. Find a camisole or top that has a nice curved neckline and layer it with a deep V neck in a sweater or see through blouse. This gives that vertical line, without being all about your chest, and it also brings that texture to the top of your body, which I discussed in the last point.
  • Utilize flowy blouses that are fitted in the upper bust to also balance out this body shape. Lane Bryant has a wealth of these tops this season. If you are smaller busted and are having trouble getting blouses to fit just right up top go to your local dry cleaner that does alterations and have them pull in the upper bust. It will completely transform your look and the way you see yourself in ready to wear garments.
  • Look for skirts or dresses that have most of the detail in the bottom of the skirt. Flared, gore skirts, a line and circle skirts look great on this figure. Find something that balances out your torso. Many apple shapes think “I just can’t wear a skirt.” Find a skirt that you can wear toward your natural waist, this combined with the flare at the bottom of the skirt will balance out your stomach.  And don’t forget to flaunt those beautiful legs if you’ve got them! Avoid skirts that have fullness and detail toward the top such as peplums or large ruffles. See the picture below.
  • Also apple shapes can benefit immensely from a great fitting jacket. It doesn’t have to be a formal blazer to add shape to your body. Jackets do 3 things for you well:
  1. They draw attention to your shoulders and the upper part of your body
  2. They can be tailored to show off more of your natural curves and give you the illusion of a nipped in waist.
  3. It balances out your overall figure.

Try to avoid jackets, blazers or sweaters that go past your mid thigh, and avoid double breasted anything! The model in the picture below is not only utilizing the slimming affects of this jacket but is also balancing her body with a flared skirt. She chose a dress that was fitted right under the bust to accentuate a smaller chest and is using dark tights to show off the silhouette of her legs.

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  • Apple shapes are usually known for their shapely legs, flaunt your slimmer assets. Utilize pants or slacks that show off your slim thighs, but balance it out by wearing a bootcut or flared pants. The flare in the bottom of the pant will help to balance out the middle of your body. Wearing skinny jeans or slim leg pants can actually make your legs look slimmer making your mid-section look even bigger.
  • With All pants whether you are tall, short or average height, take the time to get the proper length or have them hemmed. Pants that are too long can dwarf your legs and make you look shorter and wider. The opposite effect happens when pants are too short. For taller individuals “high watered” pants can make you look even taller, but not in the way that shows off your statuesque features.  Whether tall or petite check out stores that carry 3 different lengths in pants (petite, average & tall)  Woman Within and Romans both carry dress slacks and jeans that cater all three lengths as does Lane Bryant. Don’t be afraid to order something online. Both of these stores have excellent return policies and if it’s just slightly off in length, remember most dry cleaners that do alterations will hem pants for around $10.

There feel like so many don’ts  when looking for clothes for your shape, here are a list of my biggest don’ts for an apple shape:

  • Gathered skirts that sit right at your waistline
  • Straight tube shaped garments such as tunics
  • Pants that are too tight.
  • Belted garments
  • tops with elastic at the bottom of the hips
  • Things that aren’t comfortable

Remember to have fun with your body! You only have one and dressing to cater to your shape will make you feel and look amazing!

The Shape Issue: Square

How do you identify yourself as a square shape?

You may also hear yourself referred to as a rectangle or a ruler shape.

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Your defining characteristics:

  • You’re waist, hips and bust are all roughly within 1-2 inches of each other.
  • You tend to be thick throughout and many garments tend to cling to your entire body of they are too tight.
  • When garments are fitted especially for waist darts you often have to size up because the fitting makes the waist too tight. In sizing up you often find that the bust is saggy and the hips are as well.

The good news! You are actually an ideal shape to fit as you have more versatility in your wardrobe choices.

Your goals when picking out wardrobe pieces:

  • Find things that accentuate your waist. For shapeless or tunic styles, a belt can be an excellent accessory because it will give the illusion of an hour glass shape without becoming dwarfed by your bust. Now if you’re thinking about those uncomfortable leather or pleather belts think about using a more comfortable option, like this elasticized belt. They are made with varying widths of elastic in different colors. Click on the photo to peruse Torrid’s selection of cute belts.

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  • Go with tops  that pull in at the natural waist and then take them to a tailor or alterations shop to have them fitted to your bust (if needed).
  • Utilize skirts that are fuller or have nice details around your hips. This gives more of an hourglass illusion especially when paired with a properly fitting top. Ruffles, peplums and gores can all accomplish this.

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  • Find fun flirty tops with details in the shoulders  or around the neckline, will also accomplish the same task as the detailed skirts, as it will give the illusion of an hour glass figure and it will also bring attention to your face. The use of patterned or textured tops with a solid skirt or vice-versa can also accomplish this. Note the peplum pencil skirt seen above paired with a gorgeous textured knit top. It adds more curve to your figure instead of giving you a “straight down” appearance.
  • When looking for pants stay away from wide legged trouser cuts, these will make you look blocky and thick all the way to the floor. Try a nice boot cut. It will slenderize your upper thigh and give a nice balanced flare on the bottom.
  • With All pants whether you are tall, short or average height, take the time to get the proper length or have them hemmed. Pants that are too long can dwarf your legs and make you look shorter and wider. The opposite effect happens when pants are too short. For taller individuals “high watered” pants can make you look even taller, but not in the way that shows off your statuesque features.  Whether tall or petite check out stores that carry 3 different lengths in pants (petite, average & tall)  Woman Within and Romans both carry dress slacks and jeans that cater all three lengths as does Lane Bryant. Don’t be afraid to order something online. Both of these stores have excellent return policies and if it’s just slightly off in length, remember most dry cleaners that do alterations will hem pants for around $10.
  • When choosing skirts you have several lengths to choose from, mini, midi and maxi and depending on how comfortable you are with your legs these can be a great add to your wardrobe. Skirts that have natural waistbands or an accentuated waistband  such as pencil skirts, A-line, gored skirts and circle skirts all look amazing on your figure! Find the one you like the best, the one that feels most comfortable  and pair it with your favorite garments. Appropriate lengths that will flatter your figure are mid thigh, at the knee and ankle or floor length skirts (Mini, midi and maxi respectively).

It’s hard to go wrong when finding styles that look good on a square shape but avoid:

  • Wide legged trouser pants
  • Boxy jackets with no shape and overly large shoulder pads.
  • tops that have no shape to them such as moo-moo styles unless belted
  • tops with elastic at the bottom of the hips
  • Things that aren’t comfortable

Remember to have fun with your body! You only have one and dressing to cater to your shape will make you feel and look amazing!

The Shape Issue: Hourglass

How do you identify yourself as an hourglass shape?

hourglass

You are an amazing shape that is associated with feminine beauty, which in someways feels unfair to other shapes, but every dressing technique ever created is designed to help other shapes look more like yours. However, this doesn’t mean you shape doesn’t come without it’s own complications.

Your defining characteristics:

  • You are as broad on the top as you are in the hip, the biggest thing that defines your shape however is that lovely nipped in waist! Maralyn Monroe was associated with this hourglass figure.
  • You find that tops either fit you like a glove, or they seem to bag at the waist because they just aren’t fitted enough to flatter all of your assets.
  • you tend to be as boobsy as you are hippy and this poses problems when shopping for the right clothes.

Love your lucious lady curves! Don’t be afraid to flaunt it if you’ve got it!

Your goals when picking out wardrobe pieces:

  • One word: Waist. You have one, so remember to draw attention to it. Whether you are large or small busted, have a a larger rear-end or a flat one, you are an hourglass because your bust and hip measurements are roughly within 1-3″ of each other, but you nip in at the waist, enjoy it, it gives you great definition! You want to avoid looking like a tube, so remember to accentuate your waist. An excellent way to do this in our current fashion trend is to find tops that are fitted right under the bust, If your bust is bigger than the shirt itself take it to a tailor and have them pull it in, you will be amazed at the slimming affects! Other bodice seams that are your friend are princess seams. Princes seams are a shaping seam that is used in place of bust and waist darts, they curve outward at the bust and then inward at the stomach accentuating an hourglass figure. You can also have these tailored in at the waist. This type of seam is found in sheath dresses like the one seen below, in bodices of dresses with full skirts and in tops. There are multiple variations on the princess seam. It’s very flattering on this figure! Give it a go!

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  • For shapeless or tunic styles, a belt can be an excellent accessory because it will give the illusion of an hour glass shape without becoming dwarfed by your bust. Now if you’re thinking about those uncomfortable leather or pleather belts think about using a more comfortable option, like this elasticized belt. They are made with varying widths of elastic in different colors. Click on the photo to peruse Torrid’s selection of cute belts

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  • You have a lot of leeway when it comes to blouses and tops. You look great in v-neck, round neck, swoop neck, cowl neck, boat neck, shaped neck, etc. The point is to find the garment you feel most comfortable in. A word of caution to all my busty ladies out there, if you are tired of feeling like your girls are stealing the show instead of your personality, try to stay away from swoop and v-necks as these will only draw more attention to your chest. Because your shape is so versatile try tops with fun details, puffed sleeves, bishop sleeves, straight sleeves. If you choose a top with lots of detail or trim try and balance it out with something simple on the bottom of your body. You already have a great ratio, so make sure you balance this in your looks.
  • Now with fuller hips comes the frustration in buying pants. Avoid straight wide trouser cuts, go with traditional cuts like boot cut or straight leg, Your curves will speak for themselves. A word of caution when bellbottoms come back around and they will be careful choosing pants with bells that are too wide as it can throw off your bodies natural balance.  If there is a large difference in width between your hips and your waist go to a tailor to have your pants taken in. Or visit places like Lane Bryant and Catherine’s who have specialty slacks and jeans that are made for larger variations in waist and hip size.
  • Look for skirts that have an actual waist band or a pronounced waistband separate from the skirt. This will nip your waist in at the natural part of your body and help flaunt those awesome curves. Give a pencil skirt a whorl, try something that comes to your knee as it will lengthen the appearance of your legs and make you look slimmer.

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  • With All pants whether you are tall, short or average height, take the time to get the proper length or have them hemmed. Pants that are too long can dwarf your legs and make you look shorter and wider. The opposite effect happens when pants are too short. For taller individuals “high watered” pants can make you look even taller, but not in the way that shows off your statuesque features.  Whether tall or petite check out stores that carry 3 different lengths in pants (petite, average & tall)  Woman Within and Romans both carry dress slacks and jeans that cater all three lengths as does Lane Bryant. Don’t be afraid to order something online. Both of these stores have excellent return policies and if it’s just slightly off in length, remember most dry cleaners that do alterations will hem pants for around $10.

It’s hard to go wrong when finding styles that look good on an hourglass figure but avoid:

  • Gathered skirts that sit right at your waistline
  • Straight tube shaped garments such as tunics that are not belted
  • Pants with wide legged trousers.
  • tops with elastic at the bottom of the hips
  • Things that aren’t comfortable

Remember to have fun with your body! You only have one and dressing to cater to your shape will make you feel and look amazing!

The Shape Issue: Cello

How can you tell if you are a cello shape?

cello

You are one curvy lady and that’s wonderful, the thing that makes your shape the most awesome is you are the chameleon of shapes. Many people often mistake you for a pear or an hourglass shape, which means you have some awesome leeway when it comes to clothes. If only you dress the part.

Your defining characteristics:

  • You have broader shoulders and broad hips, but your hips are 3″ or bigger than your bust. You are just ever so slightly larger on the bottom. (You may confuse yourself with a pear shape because pears also are bigger on the bottom, the thing that differentiates you from a pear shape is your broad shoulders)
  • You find that tops either fit you like a glove, or they seem to bag at the waist because they just aren’t fitted enough to flatter all of your assets.
  • Your shoulders are what keep you balanced, you may often feel like you have broad shoulders, but no worries you have the hips to balance it out. And trust me your beautiful shape is compared to in my opinion one of the most beautiful instruments in the world (but I’m partial because this is my shape).
  • You can find a garment that fits like a glove from the top to the waist but sometimes those hips get in the way of small wardrobe successes.

No Worries we’ve got this!

Your goals when picking out wardrobe pieces:

  • One word: Waist. You have one, so remember to draw attention to it. Whether you are large or small busted, have a a larger rear-end or a flat one, you are a cello shape because your hips are larger than your bust, but you have some definition in between!  You want to avoid looking bottom heavy all the time so try to avoid tube like garments and tunic styles. Unless these styles flare out at your waist, they aren’t the most flattering on your figure.  Ways to accentuate your beautiful curves are to find tops that have definition in waist and bust fitting darts. princess seams are also helpful. However, with bigger hips princess seams can become a bit tricky! Don’t forget to seek out a tailor for a more fitted under the bust look. It will accentuate the best of your curves and slip you out over all.
  • Plus size garments have seen a slew of shapeless blouses and dresses, for one reason or another this is the industries answer to fuller figures. There are plenty of shirts and dresses with bust definition but what about that gorgeous nipped in waist? Try a belt for garments that seem to have more flare under the bust and then just seem to become too full all over. This will pull you in at the waist giving the illusion of an hour glass shape without becoming dwarfed by your bust. Now if you’re thinking about those uncomfortable leather or pleather belts think about using a more comfortable option, like this elasticized belt. They are made with varying widths of elastic in different colors. Click on the photo to peruse Torrid’s selection of cute belts. Be careful with belts if you have a really large bust however, as sometimes this can look a bit awkward. But try it on and see if you like it!

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  • You have a lot of leeway when it comes to blouses and tops. You look great in v-neck, round neck, swoop neck, cowl neck, boat neck, shaped neck, etc. The point is to find the garment you feel most comfortable in. A word of caution to all my busty ladies out there, if you are tired of feeling like your girls are stealing the show instead of your personality, try to stay away from swoop and v-necks as these will only draw more attention to your chest. Because your shape is so versatile try tops with fun details, puffed sleeves, bishop sleeves, straight sleeves. If you choose a top with lots of detail or trim try and balance it out with something simple on the bottom of your body. You already have a great ratio, so make sure you balance this in your looks. Avoid blouses with flouncy butterfly sleeves or cap sleeves as it can make your shoulders look even wider and lose your curves in the process.
  • Now with fuller hips comes the frustration in buying pants.  You already have a full and luscious bottom half, you don’t need to dwarf it in your pants. Avoid straight wide trouser cuts and pants with fullness in the hip like pleats, darts or gathers. Try styles that curve in with your body like boot cut  and flared trousers.  If there is a large difference in width between your hips and your waist go to a tailor to have your pants taken in. Or visit places like Lane Bryant and Catherine’s who have specialty slacks and jeans that are made for larger variations in waist and hip size.
  • When it comes to skirts you have a lot to choose from, but avoiding skirts that are too form fitting is wise. If you find one that looks good by all means enjoy it. However, with your hips being the largest part of your body skirts that cling to your hips and butt often make you look wider or that your clothes are too small, so be aware of this when looking at skirts and dresses.
  • Avoid skirts that have too much volume at the waist, extra gathered skirts, pleated skirts and skirts with peplums and ruffles at the top are meant to add volume. This again can make you look even wider. Midi and maxi skirts look the best on your shape. Dresses that are defined at the waist separately from the bodice and the skirt will nip you in at the waist and slip you out. A-line, circle, flared and asymmetrical skirts can all look great on you, find what you like the best for your body.  The dress seen below uses the slimming and shaping perks of the princess seams in the bodice and then a full circle skirt, the fullness at the bottom of the skirt instead of at the top balances out the fullness of the hips and nips the body in at the waist slimming the model out and looking adorable. And no worries if you’re not one to bare your arms, there are a slew of cropped and full cardigans to make that a non-issue.

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  • With All pants whether you are tall, short or average height, take the time to get the proper length or have them hemmed. Pants that are too long can dwarf your legs and make you look shorter and wider. The opposite effect happens when pants are too short. For taller individuals “high watered” pants can make you look even taller, but not in the way that shows off your statuesque features.  Whether tall or petite check out stores that carry 3 different lengths in pants (petite, average & tall)  Woman Within and Romans both carry dress slacks and jeans that cater all three lengths as does Lane Bryant. Don’t be afraid to order something online. Both of these stores have excellent return policies and if it’s just slightly off in length, remember most dry cleaners that do alterations will hem pants for around $10.

What to avoid:

  • Gathered skirts with lots of bulk that sit right at your waistline
  • Straight tube shaped garments such as tunics that are not belted
  • Pants with wide legged trousers and pants that have pleats and fullness at the waist.
  • tops with elastic at the bottom of the hips
  • Things that aren’t comfortable

Remember to have fun with your body! You only have one and dressing to cater to your shape will make you feel and look amazing!

The Shape Issue: Pear

How do you tell if you are a pear shape?pear

I bet you’re tired of people telling you, you’ve got back, but girl you’ve got some great hips and some classic curves!

Your defining characteristics:

  • You have narrower shoulders and smaller arms, your bust may be big or small, but you have a defined waist from your bust and hips.
  • Your hips and thighs are the widest part of you, anywhere from 5″ or bigger than your waist and bust.
  • You are also the owner of one luscious backside.
  • You can find a garment that fits like a glove from the top to the waist but sometimes those hips get in the way of small wardrobe successes.

No Worries we’ve got this!

Your goals when picking out wardrobe pieces:

  • One word: Balance! It’s okay that you have a luscious lower half, however, adding balance to the top of your body can pull eyes up towards one of your best assets, your face! Find tops that have fullness in the sleeves, have details along the neckline. you can pair camisole and undershirts with cute cropped cardigans or cardigans that nip in at the waist.
  • Statement necklaces and details up and around your face are also a way to add balance to your figure. Avoid chunky bracelets as when your arms hang at their natural level they draw your eyes right to your hips. You can find awesome necklaces and earrings everywhere at all different price points!

Statement-Necklace1

  • Because of your narrow upper torso you look amazing in almost every neckline, the most complicated part of this is finding a garment that will also fit your hips. Without having to go full on custom with your garments, utilize knits in your wardrobe to help offset this fit issue and go to a tailor or seamstress to have garments taken in at the top to show off your curves. Remember that vertical necklines such as v-necks, swoop necks and cowl necks can draw extra attention to your bust. For smaller chested women trying to emphasize their bust seek out these styles. For larger busted women who are trying to minimize their chest, avoid dramatic vertical necklines.
  • Plus size garments have seen a slew of shapeless blouses and dresses, for one reason or another this is the industries answer to fuller figures. There are plenty of shirts and dresses with bust definition but what about that gorgeous nipped in waist? Try a belt for garments that seem to have more flare under the bust and then just seem to become too full all over. This is a nice way to  nip in garments at the waist, while still buying sizes big and long enough to flow over your hips.

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  • Avoid tops like tunics that go past your natural hip line, this can make your hips look even wider while dwarfing the other parts of your body.
  • Now with fuller hips comes the frustration in buying pants.  You already have a full and luscious bottom half, you don’t need to dwarf it in your pants. Avoid straight wide trouser cuts and pants with fullness in the hip like pleats, darts or gathers. Try styles that curve in with your body like boot cut  and flared trousers.  If there is a large difference in width between your hips and your waist go to a tailor to have your pants taken in. Or visit places like Lane Bryant and Catherine’s who have specialty slacks and jeans that are made for larger variations in waist and hip size.
  • When it comes to skirts you have a lot to choose from, but avoiding skirts that are too form fitting is wise. If you find one that looks good by all means enjoy it. However, with your hips being the largest part of your body skirts that cling to your hips and butt often make you look wider or that your clothes are too small, so be aware of this when looking at skirts and dresses.
  • Avoid skirts that have too much volume at the waist, extra gathered skirts,  peplums and ruffles at the top are meant to add volume. This again can make you look even wider. Midi and maxi skirts look the best on your shape. Dresses that are defined at the waist separately from the bodice and the skirt will nip you in at the waist and slip you out. A-line, circle, flared and asymmetrical skirts can all look great on you, find what you like the best for your body.  The dress seen below uses the slimming and shaping perks of the princess seams in the bodice and then balance out your accentuated waist with pleats at the waist that flare out into a nice a-line look which downplays your hips. Using midi and maxi skirts also pulls your eyes down from from your hips slimming out those hips instead of drawing extra attention to them. And no worries if you’re not one to bare your arms, there are a slew of cropped and full cardigans to make that a non-issue.

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  • With All pants whether you are tall, short or average height, take the time to get the proper length or have them hemmed. Pants that are too long can dwarf your legs and make you look shorter and wider. The opposite effect happens when pants are too short. For taller individuals “high watered” pants can make you look even taller, but not in the way that shows off your statuesque features.  Whether tall or petite check out stores that carry 3 different lengths in pants (petite, average & tall)  Woman Within and Romans both carry dress slacks and jeans that cater all three lengths as does Lane Bryant. Don’t be afraid to order something online. Both of these stores have excellent return policies and if it’s just slightly off in length, remember most dry cleaners that do alterations will hem pants for around $10.

It’s hard to go wrong when finding styles that look good on an hourglass figure but avoid:

  • Short shorts
  • Tunic styles that go past your hip and accentuate the width of your hip.
  • Pants with wide legged trousers and pants that have pleats and fullness at the waist as they balloon out over full hips.
  • Hipster jeans.
  • tops with elastic at the bottom of the hips
  • Things that aren’t comfortable

Remember to have fun with your body! You only have one and dressing to cater to your shape will make you feel and look amazing!