Hey everyone! I didn’t have time to take any pictures for today, so I thought I’d do a re-run from my early blogging days when I had only my mom and sister reading my posts (and even then, I don’t think they were that consistent!). Have a great Memorial Day everyone!
[This is a post about some of the fashion “rules” that don’t work for all body types. Even though I know the dress does not look good on me I still posed and styled the dress so you could see it objectively. The images are my sacrifice to knowledge.]
So, if you’ve done any research on what is a no-fail, universally perfect dress for any shape or age you’ve discovered the wrap dress. This is a dress that drapes the fabric to one side of your torso so you get the illusion of a smaller waist and it accentuates your bust, alluding to your femininity. Unfortunately, for those of us with a big bust this dress completely backfires. Oh, and you apple shapes? Be prepared to be asked “when are you due?” when wearing this.
This was the first dress I bought when I was going back to work. I believed the hype. Even though in the dressing room I could see something would have to be done about the dip in the neckline since the fabric was pulled downward and outward revealing a great bit of my bra. But, I bought it, brought it home, tried it on with a black camisole underneath. Now the whole vertical look of the neckline was completely changed. No longer was it a long vertical triangle starting at my neck and moving down. Now it stopped in a horizontal line above my cleavage. It looked like I was overly modest.
Then I decided I needed to have that v-neck to get the desired look so I stitched up about 5 inches of the neckline and tried it on again. Something still didn’t look right. I put it away for a few months then brought it out again. Maybe I was wearing it wrong? I put it on and my teenager told me it looked “matronly”. Death knell.
What I realized is the reason this doesn’t look good on a big-busted woman is because it plays up the bust too much. The low v-neck is the focal point and divides the bust into two. Now, you have two gigantic breasts, completely outlined by the dress structure. Then the affect of the ruching creating the waist hits right below the breasts. If I had smaller breasts the ruching would be lower, closer to my natural waist. But, with the uptake of fabric by the bust and the inevitable low-hanging quality of larger breasts, the fabric is gathered almost underneath the breasts further silhouetting every bit of them. The resemblance to a maternity top is too much for me.
Now, it is helped a lot by the “3rd piece” jacket. It reins in the width of the bust and hides the side silhouette of the waist, but I think the dress still just doesn’t look as good as a dress should look. But, if you’re ever in this situation, keep in mind the power of the jacket to, at least, make it acceptable.
I cringe when I look at these images but I wanted you to know that if you are built like me you will have to take the “rules” lightly and actually try everything on, view it critically and if it doesn’t look right in the dressing room, it is not going to look right at home.
Hey everyone! Back with another outfit that will be nice for the outdoor events coming up this spring and summer.
This shirt is another fun top I allowed myself to purchase even though the sleeves are not that practical. This is a fun trend at the moment and will be out in a year or two but I figure I can wear this to barbecues and outdoor events all summer and get my money’s worth. As you know, I usually buy items that are practical and classic, but occasionally I think it’s fine to just buy something a little bit frivolous!
The top is made of a light fabric so will be cool to wear all summer and its hangs lower in the back in case you want some coverage.
Now, I know some of you are hesitant about my new “control top” pants, so I thought I’d keep looking for more traditional jeans that work for our shape. These jeans have the traditional waist that fits (I’m wearing a size 16) but I’m noticing now some inconveniences with traditional jeans that I hadn’t thought about before I tried the control top jeans. For one, I’m never going to be tucking in my shirt, so there is no need for all the detailed sewing and hardware at the waist. The zipper and belt loops create bumps under a lighter fabric shirt. The thick denim fabric that covers the zipper also creates more mass right at the spot where I don’t need it!
Then the other issue I’ve always had to work with is how the extra fabric for the midsection meets the more narrow hips and legs at the crotch. Many cuts of pants, if they fit in the waist, do some weird wrinkling and gathering at the crotch (see bad picture below!). The only way it looks nice is if the shirt is covering that intersection and then you just can see the smooth fabric falling nicely over the legs.
The other difference with these jeans is they are a looser fit, more the “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” style, where you have more room in the legs. You usually see me in slimmer-fitting jeans like the last post or here. But sometimes I just don’t want something tight. The cuffed look is in style now as well as the embroidery look so these will work for a year or two, so I’ll be sure to wear the heck out of them this summer!
I also wanted to show you how an accessory can change a look. I have the really eye-catching necklace in the picture below which dresses up this outfit quickly. It also makes it look more feminine, kind of balancing out all the denim.
Here is the outfit without the necklace. It looks casual and perfect for a backyard barbecue. No heavy necklace to get in the way of sunblock or bug spray! I could see going from one more formal event to another more casual event in the same day and just changing the necklace in the car ride and looking put together for both events!
So, wow, I didn’t think this would be such a long post with so many pictures! I wanted to share some fit issues I confronted when I was wearing this outfit. As you know, I don’t want to just show you the perfect pictures but want to keep it real so you can learn with me and put together an outfit with confidence!
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Hey everyone! I showed my first option for dressing for a graduation open house in my last post and this outfit is my second outfit.
This top from White House Black Market is so pretty with this flattering print and light fabric. It’s actually supposed to be “off the shoulder” but really, who can wear a top like that? Ok, I guess I should ask, who can wear a strapless bra if they have over a C cup? I like it just fine this way.
These cuffs are not very practical, more romantic and frilly, so this is a top that’s just going to be for fun events. I’m wearing it with my very old white jeans from J. Jill. Yes, they’re a little tight in the waist and give me that waistband dent but this top covers that with the print and the flowy fabric.
And even though I’m not wearing it off the shoulder, it still fits fine and doesn’t hang low when I bend over.
As you know, I’m always on the look out for a summer top that gives me the coverage I want without having to wear a “third piece” over it to look good. This print, cut and light fabric fits that bill and still has some fun, trendy details. So, if you’re looking for a pretty top for those summer social occasions, I recommend this one. Linking up with the ladies at Not Dead Yet Style! Have a great week ladies!
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Hey everyone! Yikes! Sorry I fell off the planet last week. My computer decided to inconveniently die. After trying to get it fixed for several days, I ended up having to purchase a new one. Now, I’m on a shiny new computer and figuring it all out again. So, let’s get back to this shall we?
I have a bunch of graduation open houses to go to this year, and I always feel at a loss for what to wear. Yes, I usually wait until the last minute to decide what to wear, but it is a hard event to dress for even if you were more organized than me.
The event is usually outside, so you have to think about the weather and temperature. It’s usually on grass, so you have to think about shoes. Some open houses are full of activities or lots of standing so you have to think about comfort.
This year I decided to plan early. This dress is the first outfit I’ll be showing you that I will be wearing. It’s casual but still stylish (look at those fun sleeves!). It’s a comfortable fit and a medium weight cotton. It’s also a very neutral stripe so can be dressed up or down depending on jewelry and shoes. You could also wear a sleeveless vest over the top to give a little more coverage or if it’s a little chilly. For reference, I’m wearing a size 16 and I like how it fits without being too tight or too baggy. It looks like black and white but it’s actually a deep navy color.
I’m also venturing out into new stores. This dress is from Talbot’s, which is a place I haven’t been to in many years. It was suggested by a reader to check them out and I found some cute items. I’d love to hear your suggestions on stores and I’ll do what I can to check them out.
Gosh, I’ve missed doing this and I’m so glad to be back! Have a great weekend everyone!
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Hey everyone! I know I sometimes mention this as an aside, but I really want to make sure you all know the reason I’m doing this blog. It’s important to me that you know my motivation and how I started. Since I have many new followers, I thought I’d re-post this article from last year that explains the genesis. Enjoy!
[These photos are how I used to dress before I figured out this fashion thing. I know they look bad. They are my sacrifice to knowledge.]
This post is different from the others because it’s not an outfit post. I wanted to take a moment to explain why I’m doing this blog. I was a stay-at-home mom for almost 20 years. Over those 20 years, I didn’t know what was in style or how to dress my body shape, especially since it was a very different shape from when I was younger. Usually, I looked at what the mannequins were wearing (I am not kidding) to see how outfits were being put together. As you can imagine, it wasn’t a good strategy. Usually I left the store with whatever happened to fit. I did not feel joy when shopping and usually came out of the store feeling pretty bad about my midlife body. It was very discouraging and I never felt good about my outfits. No wonder I hated having my picture taken.
Now, cut to 2014. I had just graduated from a grueling program at a prestigious school. I was excited to begin a new career! Nothing was holding me back! My girlfriend who had been in the working world told me she always wore black pants, black jacket and a colored shell underneath. Ok, I can do that. I went to JCPenney and found an all white blazer (it must be in style because it’s in the store, right?) and I even had the arm length hemmed to fit. I had a pair of decent looking black pants (how can you go wrong with black pants, right?) and I bought a pair of functional black pumps. Bare feet with pumps? Probably not for an interview, so I’ll wear black nylons. Gray print blouse that had a seam that was supposed to go under your bust but, of course, on me it cut right through, but who would notice since it’s a print and I couldn’t find any other blouse that would fit and I didn’t have time to go look for anything else.
I walked into the interview and the woman interviewing me looked me up and down (yep, like it was high school) and I knew I was not going to get this job. Needless to say the interview did not go well and they had me out of there quickly. I realized I was going to be “interviewed” when I walked in, before they even looked at my portfolio or listened to my intelligent conversation. I had to figure out this fashion thing.
I started looking at fashion blogs to figure out what was in style. I started going to stores and trying on lots and lots and lots of items, though not buying anything. I went into stores like JJill and White House Black Market where the employees are so helpful and have stylist training. I did a smart thing and invested in a personal fit guide from My Private Stylist (no affiliation, no commission, no kickback) since I realized I needed professional help. It did cost money, but I knew I had already spent 10 times that amount buying bad items of clothing. It helped tremendously! I was reading everything I could find about what’s in style, what my personal style was, age-appropriate advice, professional dressing, most flattering colors…..Ack! There was so much to learn!
Through all this research, I still wasn’t finding advice about clothes that worked for my body, specifically a big bust and a wide torso. The plus size blogs didn’t work for me because, even though I’m not thin (size 16 top and size 12/14 bottom) the plus size clothing is too big. Plus, many of the plus-size models are hourglass shapes and I am definitely not an hourglass, nor could I fake it. I was looking up advice for apple shapes and they all say “this is the hardest shape to dress”. Great. Most of the sites have drawings of a woman with the apple shape (instead of showing a real human being) because there aren’t any models or celebrities who have that shape (one place even used Catherine Zeta Jones as an example of an apple shape, PUH-LEEZE). Plus, lots of the advice was confusing (emphasize your waist, don’t emphasize your waist, play up your bust, cover up your bust, etc.). Now, throw in the fact that I’m over 40 and it was a perfect storm of confusion, no real life images, conflicting advice and feeling invisible.
I knew if I felt this confusion there had to be others out there just like me. I see women all the time who have a body shape like me so I know we’re here. Since the internet covers everything, I was surprised that this demographic was not being represented. I took a deep breath and just started writing about what I had learned and I ignored the critical internal voice and just started taking pictures. I knew I had figured this out (and am still figuring this out) and I had to let others know what I had learned. Let me say, it’s still hard for me to look at my pictures because I remember I once was thinner, younger, and less tired, but now I feel I look good for my age and size. I like what I see in the mirror. I get compliments all the time. I think my clothes fit me and flatter me and I really love them. I have actually felt that uplifting feeling you get when you put on an outfit and you feel good in it. I have had an outfit change my mood from bad to good. It’s fun shopping again! I actually love getting dressed in the morning! It had been decades since I had felt a bit of confidence from my outward appearance, especially my clothing.
So, stay with me on this journey as we continue to be seen and heard and have our needs addressed. I would like to start featuring other apple-shaped, big-busted women on this blog. If you are interested, pop over to the contact page and email me. How many years have we been trying to change our bodies to fit into their clothes when they really should have been changing their clothes to fit our bodies? I’m done with that. They need to change for us because GIRLS RULE!
Hey everyone! You’ve probably seen many cold-shoulder tops this spring. I’ve tried on about 5 different versions of this top trying to find one that looked nice and hung well. This is a cute one!
This one I like because of the patterned fabric and it skimmed without clinging or billowing out. Why didn’t I get this top? I felt chilly in it! I’m just not at the point (or, really, Michigan is not at the point!) where I feel the need to show skin. I’m sure many of you are living where it’s nice and warm and this top makes sense, but I’m wearing a sweatshirt now as I write this and there is frost on the grass!
This shirt below is a classic top with a twist. It’s a nice, basic top but has a bit of fun with the ties on the sleeves and the hem has some interest with the little kick flap. It’s also available in pink.
I didn’t get this top because I have a similar one and I ended up purchasing several others you’ll see on the blog soon. Ugh, the lighting in these dressing rooms make me look crazy!
So, there are a lot of cute shirts out now that are off the shoulder or have skinny little straps. I like the look, but know that there’s no way I can wear a strapless bra under them. So, I’m on the look out for cute shirts that we can wear and are flattering and have some of the fun, on-trend details, like these two. A couple more coming up soon! Happy Monday everyone!
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Hey everyone! Last post I showed an outfit that was pretty basic. Nothing too exciting. Nothing really stealing the show. This outfit is completely different!
This outfit has two shining stars. One too many. The jacket and the dress. Both are eye-catching and should be the star, instead of crowding each other out.
This is one of the photoshoots I wasn’t going to show. I tried this dress with my black leather jacket here and in my mind, both jackets worked, but when I saw these photos I knew there was just too much going on. I felt like I couldn’t appreciate either because my eyes were looking at everything and getting dizzy!
This is definitely an example of why you need to have quiet, supporting characters in your wardrobe too. See how pretty this jacket looks when it has a nice, plain dress underneath? When I first started figuring out this fashion thing, I kept buying eye-catching items and then would always feel on display wearing them (even when running out to the grocery store) or they were all so special it was too much for one outfit. I then started purchasing things like a black turtleneck, a plain white jacket, gray sweater, etc… — just items that are classic and unassuming, to go with the stars.
I’ve learned (well, sometimes learned) to balance the stars with the supporting characters to have a more successful production! (Too many stage metaphors?) Oh well, have a wonderful weekend!
P.S. The dress is crazy on sale at $19 if you’re interested. I’m wearing a size 16 and they go up to size 18 and have plus sizes too.
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Hey everyone! Yes, I know. The jean jacket again. Sorry! I’ve been wearing it a lot, so it ends up in lots of pictures!
It’s a great jacket to throw on and I love the seams in the back. Very flattering. It’s way on sale here and they have plus sizes too!
I’m wearing it with my super cute booties and my leggings/pants. My exact booties are sold out, but they have a really similar pretty tan pair available.
I guess they’re not really leggings because the fabric is thicker and looser, but they are stretchy like leggings. However, unlike leggings, I don’t feel the need to cover my rear. Now, I believe that anyone can wear whatever they like, but I have seen some women over 40 wearing leggings with a short top where their backside was in full view and thought it was not very flattering on them. The fabric is usually sheer and clingy and besides seeing the elastic outline from their underwear, you were also able to see every dimple and wrinkle. For me, if I’m wearing leggings, I’m also wearing a long tunic or sweater or something to keep my backside covered.
Looking at this outfit, I think I should have added a gold necklace, or some kind of necklace. It just looks kind of boring with a simple collar, solid color shirt and low-key earrings. Oh well, I’m still learning!
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Hey everyone! As you read this, I’m on my way back from North Carolina, so this is a quick post. We were only able to do one photoshoot down there so I thought I’d show you my new vest.
I have been looking for a long black vest since last fall because I only have a long sweater vest and it is used a lot (you’ve seen it many times including here) but it is a heavier sweater knit. This vest is a medium weight fabric so better for warmer weather. Plus, I really like the long slits in the side of the vest. It’s also available in white which will be nice for summer.
I’m pairing it with my jeans you’ve seen before (here) I now have a new name for them. My husband saw me changing out of them and he said “Oh, are those control top jeans?” I said, “You don’t read my blog, do you?” So, now I have a new name for the maternity jeans thanks to my husband’s lack of interest in reading my blog! These “control top” jeans are also available in plus size.
If you’ve been reading this blog this spring, you’ve seen this top. I have been wearing it a lot because it’s so easy to throw on and go. You can see more of it here as well as these cute shoes from last spring.
Forgive my super poufy hair! My hair has a mind of it’s own and with high humidity it is emboldened to take up lots of room! I’ll be back in Michigan for Wednesday’s post so hopefully my hair will be better behaved! Have a great week!
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Hey everyone! Since my last post was about how I learned to love my body, I thought I’d re-post the second article in that series today. I wrote these in the beginning of the blog, when I only had a handful of readers, but think they’re important enough to be re-posted. I hope you agree!
This is second in a series of posts I started when I was asked by a reader to explain how I’ve come to accept and love my body. First post here.
Hey all you beautiful apple shapes! By the way, apples are delicious and nutritious. Apple a day keeps the doctor away, so it’s actually healthier to be around us apples. Plus, I suspect, we’re more fun!
Anyway, if you’ve stumbled around on the internet looking for ways to dress an apple shape or looked for clothing that would work for your shape you’ve come across the description of the apple shape: large stomach, large midsection, carries weight around the middle, blah, blah, blah. Then, like all the other shapes, it tries to come up with the positive parts of your body to highlight and for apple shapes they say it’s slender arms and legs. If you scoffed at that, like I did, you know often arms and legs are just as chubby as the middle. Or perhaps they have visible veins, cellulite, stretch marks or scars. Either way, you’re not in a hurry to show off those parts of your body either. If you’re like me, those body parts went south way before the mid-life middle came into play.
Actually, I feel whomever wrote those descriptions about apple shapes just threw in the “lean arms and legs” to give us something to work with even though they know we have the most challenging body shape to dress in the current forms of clothing that are made. So, again, reading “advice” for my shape, I felt that I wasn’t getting realistic advice and it was not written by someone who has my shape or any experience dressing my shape.
So, let’s take it from a real apple-shaped body perspective:
Learn to love your wrists. They are graceful. Put pretty bracelets on them. Admire the slender way they attach your arm to your hands. They’re so graceful when you hold something or turn a doorknob. Play up your wrists by showing them off with shorter sleeves.
Love your feet. They are muscular and shapely. They probably are bigger than when you were a lithe teenager but they’re still strong and curvaceous. Find some cute, comfy shoes. Make them a bright color or get a fun pattern. Get a pedicure to celebrate bare feet. A stylish (but always comfortable) pair of shoes can elevate any outfit and they’re starting to make shoes that are cute and aren’t painful to wear. You can be a fashionista just by the power of shoes!
Love your collar bone. Even if you are carrying weight in your bust and midsection you probably have some collar bone definition. Especially with gravity pulling your bust downward. Wear a necklace to draw attention to that area. It’s very flattering to have a necklace length hitting at the collar bone. Choose shirts that showcase your collar bone and look for pretty necklines.
Now, I challenge you to find one other area to love if you are the apple shape without the slender arms and legs (or even if you are). Perhaps your earlobes? You can find very fun earrings. Or your cleavage? Necklaces and interesting collars could play up that area. Perhaps your fingers or toes? Rings, toe rings, manicures and pedicures can all be ways to show off those areas.
For me, I’ve come to love my ankles. Though they are not slim they look slim compared to my man-calves and they are shapely. I don’t mind showing them off. I showcase them with ankle length pants and cute shoes and while writing this I’ve decided to give an ankle bracelet a try!
How about it? What parts of your body can you love and show off? I guarantee you will have, at the minimum, one part to highlight. I’d love to hear which you choose.