Love One Part of Your Body

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!
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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Working My New Knowledge!

Hey everyone! So, a couple of posts ago, I wrote about how I had experimented with a belt to work an old dress in a new way and now I’m taking that knowledge and using it on another dress. Only this time I’ve also added a long jacket that I haven’t worn before because I couldn’t find anything it worked with (I know. Another bad shopping choice — do as I say, not as I do!). Anyway, once I realized the belt worked on one errant dress perhaps it would work on another? I pulled out another old dress that was just sitting there unworn ( I know, I know) and gave it a try.

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It’s really just a plain black sheath dress that should go with lots of items but because it billowed out below my bust, it looked like a tent. With the belt reining things in, I love it and now the dress has new possibilities!

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When I knew the dress would work, I started looking around for what to wear with it and came across this long jacket. They were a perfect combination! The jacket could be the flashy star and the dress could be the solid back-up singer!

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Two things I love about this jacket: it nips in at the waist to give me some shape without looking like a shower curtain and it has pockets. I love clothing that has pockets. If anyone out there is a clothing designer please add more pockets!

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Supposedly, short people shouldn’t wear long sleeves because they’ll look shorter, though I’ll opt for looking short on any cold day. Luckily this jacket has shorter sleeves so I’m supposed to look taller. I don’t know. Do I look taller? I think I’m too close to the subject to be an objective observer!

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Even though I’ve had these items for over a year they feel new to me. They were just waiting for that magic belt epiphany to be put to work. In my defense of buying clothes and then getting them home and not wearing them: I’m finding that with my shape an item will look good from the front but when I turn sideways it looks bad. I must be only looking straight on at my reflection in the dressing rooms at the store. I’ll try to remember to turn sideways from now on, though, how will I have these epiphanies then?!

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I’m now on the hunt for other little additions or fixes that I can find to make more clothes work for us and our rare, elusive, beautiful shape! I’ll keep you updated when I figure some more of this out. In the meantime, remember to take time to stop and smell the roses!

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Linking up with these ladies at Elegantly Fashionable, Spy Girl and Not Dead Yet!

I do not have any affiliation with any of the brands or stores nor do I receive any compensation. I’m just sharing what I’ve learned.

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Touring Michigan’s Wine Region

Hey everyone! This is a bit of a departure from the usual outfit posts, but I wanted to share a fun wine tour vacation I took with my mom almost 2 weeks ago. I know I love seeing other blogger’s travel photos and the places where they live, so I thought I’d share this beautiful place with you so you can do a little armchair traveling!IMG_6819

If you follow me on Instagram, you know my mom and I travelled “up north” to the Leelanau Peninsula, here in my state of Michigan. For my international readers, and even readers from other parts of the U.S., I circled where we visited on these maps:

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This area is on the same latitude (the 45th parallel) as Oregon’s wine regions and France’s Burgundy region and is surrounded by the Great Lakes. A couple of decades ago, Michigan was known for cherry wine and sweet wines that grew well in our cold region. Recently though, many more wineries and vineyards have been popping up and they’ve been experimenting with the drier wines that I prefer, such as sauvignon blanc and pinot noir. They are surprisingly good! The vineyards, it seems, are really embracing their own sense of place and making sophisticated wine. So nice on a beautiful afternoon!IMG_6873Besides the touring and tasting, the area is beautiful with rolling hills, sand dunes and views of Lake Michigan surrounding the peninsula. When we were there it was blue skies and perfect 72 degree days!IMG_6889

When I would visit northern Michigan 20 years ago, it was really a fish fry/hamburger area. Now, there are so many more restaurants that focus on locally-sourced food that’s in-season. As you probably know that is a sure-fire way to get the best meals! We ate at a restaurant in Sutton’s Bay called 9 Bean Rows. Hopefully, you’re not hungry while you’re reading this but if you are…sorry!

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After our delicious meal we strolled into a cute shop called Haystacks. They are a clothing retailer based in this area, that makes all of their clothes here in Michigan. Of course we found many things to buy and could easily have bought more but they were closing and we already had kept the very pleasant staff late. I have a post planned in the future showing the fun clothes I bought, so stay tuned!

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My mom loved her shirt and pants that she had just bought so she wore them out of the store!

I only have one outfit picture to show you because I was without my photographer/daughter. Luckily my mom took this photo. This outfit was from a day of driving so I wanted to be comfortable. I’ve worn the sweater before here and the capris here. When we went wine-tasting I wore the outfit from the last post, the olive jacket and white jeans.
Casual comfort for apple shapes!

JJill capris here and tunic here. Purse from Kohls here.

We stayed at an Airbnb rental that was formerly an old bank that has been transformed into a thoughtful, well-designed house in the quiet town of Lake Leelanau. I wish I would’ve taken a photo of the kitchen because it is the smallest, most efficient kitchen I’ve seen. I’ve stayed in other Airbnb rentals or HomeAway rentals and really love finding unique places and having a whole house to yourself.

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As we toured around we happened upon a village called Cedar, which is where a lot of people from Poland have settled. It is home to a Polka Fest and this Polish Art Center where we found beautiful polish pottery and amber jewelry (I’ll show you the earrings I bought in a future post!).

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And besides the wine and food this area can grow lavender like I’ve never seen before!

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So, I’ll be back with another outfit post on Saturday. And though this is not what you usually get from this blog, I just found that this was just too beautiful of a place not to share! I am traveling to Sonoma in July so perhaps another travel post? Either way, cheers!

I do not have any affiliation with any of the brands or stores nor do I receive any compensation. I’m just sharing what I’ve learned.

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Looking at Old Things in a New Way!

Hey everyone! So, now that I’ve started this blog I am finding I’m pushing myself more to have outfits that I consider “blog-worthy” but without buying new clothes every week. In fact, I need to do a post on my closet so you can see I really don’t have that many clothes, just that I combine them in different ways. Anyway, one way I’ve found of expanding my outfits is to look at old items in a new way. The more I’ve learned about dressing my shape, the more I want to try different and exciting combinations. Take this jacket for example.

Summer Outfit for Big Busts!

I’ve had it for a couple of years. I’ve always worn it open but because the fabric is thin and linen it hangs weird so it’s been sitting unworn for over two years. I pulled it out after I commented on an earlier post that I don’t have much olive-colored clothes (not true I’m finding!) and put it on again, determined to make it work with all my new knowledge. This time I buttoned it up and appreciated the boxy look that I’m finding works for my shape.

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Old jacket from Dress Barn, I think. Pants from JJill here and shoes are old from Sam Edelman

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One problem was gaping at the bust in between the snaps. Since I don’t want that one detail to ruin a look or make me give up on a complete outfit I pulled out my double-sided tape and let it do it’s job! Voila! Summery, cool, flattering and I didn’t have to buy one new thing!

Summer Outfit for Big Busts!

I’m now looking at other items that I have in my closet that I haven’t worn for a while, to see what I can do to make them work again. Free, new outfits that this blog is pushing me to try! Thanks ladies!

 

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The Belt: Friend or Foe?

Hey everyone! As an apple-shaped woman I’ve heard contradicting advice about wearing belts. “Wear it to create an illusion of a waist”. “Don’t wear a belt unless you want to attract attention to your midsection.” Since one reason I started this blog was to try to find accurate advice for our shape, I decided to try it out.

belt outfit for apple shapeWith this outfit, I love it! I have only one belt because I have not tucked a shirt in in a long time. It is a completely elastic “shirt” belt that only has a metal buckle and some stiff plastic around the metal and the rest is elastic. You have seen me wear it here. When I discovered how well it looked in that outfit (purely by goofing around with different articles of clothing I already owned) I thought it was a fluke. However, when I pulled out this dress (one I haven’t worn in a year because I caught a glimpse of myself in a reflection and it looked so bad, like I was wearing a tent) I gave it a try. I’m loving it with the belt!

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There were so many good pictures I had to choose from  and a couple where I looked so thin it looked like I had lost weight! And because I felt that was more trickery with the camera than reality I didn’t include them but seeing them makes me re-think this whole belt thing. It is definitely an illusion though because I feel if you could see the sides of my waist it would look like a belt around a pumpkin. But, because the blazer hides my sides and back your mind is thinking I have this small, hourglass waist. It definitely reined in the dress so it no longer looked like a tent!

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Here is the view from the side, so you know I’m not losing this apple shape! While we were photographing I kept feeling the belt migrate upwards (I placed it at my natural waist) so I did have to occasionally adjust it downwards and I think if your tummy underneath the belt sticks out further then try a looser belt or a bigger buckle. I definitely didn’t want to look pregnant with the belt so I think having a wide belt and a big buckle, which holds back the tide, is key!

belt outfit for apple shapeThis whole outfit is old but blazer is from Tahari and dress is from JJill.

Here is a detail shot of the blazer. It has those notched collars that I love and it has a textured collar which is a nice touch. This blazer is one made out of that “scuba” fabric which is a dense polyester that doesn’t wrinkle and has a lot of structure but no hems. In fact, when I bought this blazer the arms were too long so I just cut them with a pair of scissors! Instant tailoring!

So, I’d say I’m going to be trying out more belts in the future — fun!

These photos were taken at Michigan State University’s gardens. So many beautiful gardens and more photos to come in the future! Linking up with these ladies at Shopping My Closet and Sydney Fashion Hunter 

I do not have any affiliation with any of the brands or stores nor do I receive any compensation. I’m just sharing what I’ve learned.

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Thank You Body

Hey everyone! So, one of my lovely readers, Bette, asked me:

“May I ask, have you always been able to think so positively about your body? Or did you have to train yourself? And, if the latter, how did you do this? IMO, this would be a great blog post — learning to love our “big, beautiful canvasses” in spite of society. Ha.”

When I read that I thought: “I don’t know. I don’t have anything to say about that. I don’t have any advice. I’m no different than anyone else.” I actually hadn’t realized how much I did accept my body or realize that many women my age didn’t accept theirs until she asked me that question. Ok. I do have some things to say.

Emotional support number one: ying & yang kitties
Emotional support number one: ying & yang kitties

First, I did recognize a couple of steps (though there are probably a thousand tiny steps) to get where I am today.  So, let me start by saying I did have to train my mind to accept my body. It was not as hard as I thought it would be, though I didn’t do this in a very conscious way. And because this is a complex topic this will take several posts to explain. Remember, this is just my experience and my opinion, so read it, analyze it, ask yourself if it makes sense to you and keep what you like and throw away what you don’t. Here’s the first step:

Accept what you can’t change.

So, we’ve probably all hated our body at some point in our lives, or many points in our lives. “Why are you ruining my life? Why can’t you look like so and so? How come I work so hard and you still look this way?” I always wanted to have a tiny waist, instead of the rectangle shape that I was, even at my slimmest and most athletic. One day I realized that there was about 1/2″ between my rib cage and the top of my pelvic bone. So, no matter how thin I could get, I wasn’t going to have a small waist because there just wasn’t enough room between ribs and pelvis to dip in to be a tiny waist. I’m just not built that way and no matter what I did it would be the same. It was physically impossible. I had to accept this fact.  I was born that way.  Ok. Truce. I accept you waist.

When I thought about the other parts of my body that I wish I could change, but were physically impossible, I knew I had to think of them in a new way.  I’m short. That’s not going to change. I have big feet. They will always be big feet. I have big boobs. I was born that way. I could go on and on pointing out what I think are not perfect body parts. But, to constantly be mad at these parts, when there is no chance to change them, seems exhausting and sad. It’s like I choose to drag a weight around my whole life with no chance of ridding myself of it. It’s like being mad at the sun for rising in the east. I looked at my body and saw the parts that were physically impossible to change and I decided to accept them rather than carry on this life-long disdain for them. They are what they are and I can’t change that. I’m tired of being enemies. I want to be friends. I approach you body, as I would a friend, with love and understanding and acceptance of your non-perfect parts. This was immensely freeing.

Now, with a new relationship with my body, and the non-perfect parts, I could concentrate on making the best of them. I figured out how to work with them, rather than against them, to look my best. I put my energy into finding the most flattering way to dress them and let me tell you, when I figured out how to dress these body parts, it was so much easier to accept them and like them because they weren’t that bad. They just needed some help to dress them to their best advantage. They weren’t perfect, but they weren’t that bad with the right clothes. Another reminder that it’s not me, it’s the clothes.

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Emotional support number two: sleepy newborn foal

And now another step:

Change up your thinking.

As a designer, I look at problems from many different perspectives to find the right solution. Looking at my weight from the same old worn-out perspective of “I’m fat. I hate my body” was not working and I was tired of that argument. I decided to look at it from another perspective, in fact from the complete opposite perspective.

So, my body is biologically wired to keep me alive and have me survive. It warns me of danger and injury. It wants me to live. Perhaps my body was gaining weight for reasons I didn’t understand. What positive, biological reason would my body want to keep extra weight around? Well, many:

It’s worried that I might be in an earthquake and be buried alive for 10 days and it was going to make darn sure I was going to be pulled out alive.

It listens to the news and hears about war torn regions where people are starving and wants to be prepared in case I’m ever in a war and starving.

Living in a cold climate my body knows there is a chance that I could be lost in a snowstorm for days and would have to stay warm and live on stores of fat and it wants me to survive.

Perhaps my body is worried that I might be on a sinking ship, in the middle of the ocean, and I would have to float to shore, so it made sure I had two large flotation devices that will help me get there.

Thank you body! You want me to survive! You’re thinking ahead and planning! As a mother, I would do anything to make sure my kids survived, and I’ve been thinking ahead and planning. My body was doing the same! It was working behind the scenes to make sure I would survive. It was looking out for me. It wasn’t trying to sabotage me or make me hate it. It was doing what it thought was best to get me to survive. Awwww, thank you body!

Emotional support number three: Kippy as a puppy
Emotional support number three: Kippy as a puppy

When I look at my body, I see a body that is hell-bent on surviving. My body, for whatever reason, has decided that survival means storage of portable food. Actually, pretty smart. She wants me to survive and thrive. I love you body! You’re taking care of me! While I’m busy caring for others, you’ve been caring for me. Thank you!

These are just two ways of thinking that has led me to accept and love my body. There are other steps that I realize I have taken that I’ll share with you in a future post.  I cannot tell you how to accept and love your body. I can only tell you how I did it in hopes that you will glean something from my words or it’ll just get you thinking.

Yeah, I guess I did have some things to say!

 

 

 

 

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Black and Blue and Oh So Easy!

Hey everyone! This is such an easy outfit, it’s hard to write a post about it except to say I love it! The shirt has the seam below the bust, usually a look I don’t like because it’s so similar to a maternity top. But, because the fabric is heavier and straighter below that seam it hangs without billowing out. It’s just enough structure to be interesting and not be a bag.

apple-shaped outfit idea

apple-shaped outfit idea

The skirt is again that ponte knit pencil skirt that I have in 4 colors that I wear the heck out of and have worn here and here. The only thing I would do different is have a longer necklace that hung down rather than the one I’m wearing. I chose it because it’s got the same blue in it as the skirt but in looking at the pictures I think it’s too crowded up around my neckline.

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apple shape fashionJJill shirt that’s old but skirt is here on sale! Good old Clarks heels that are no longer for sale.

Sorry for the short post, but if you follow me on Instagram you can see I’m on a quick vacation with my mom to Michigan’s wine country. More details on that later! Linking up with these lovely ladies at Shopping My Closet and The Pleated Poppy and Cid Style File.

I do not have any affiliation with any of the brands or stores nor do I receive any compensation. I’m just sharing what I’ve learned.

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Wearing Cool Pants!

Hey everyone! Today I’m showing a summer outfit that my teen daughters love, surprisingly. They think the cargo pants are cool. Mom wearing something cool? What’s this all about?dressing a big bust

You’ve seen the shirt before here but the pants are making their first time blog debut. Cargo pants are one of those clothing items that you have to balance looking cool and hip without adding too much bulk around the hips and thighs with all the things that make it cool and hip! Be careful of too many zippers and droopy pockets! These pants are from White House Black Market, who markets to our age group, so they know we don’t want saggy pockets and slouchy zippers. These slim, cropped pants are more fitted and the fabric is lightweight. Really, they have the look of cargo pants without the feel of cargo pants. They are one of my favorite summer pants!dressing a big bust

The shirt was tucked in the last time I wore it on the blog so you couldn’t see the longer shirt tail like you can see today. Gives good booty coverage! The shirt is sheer, so I’m wearing a camisole underneath. I’ve added a gold necklace and gold earrings because the sandals have gold buckles and the zippers are gold on the pants. dressing a big bust

Sunglasses are from Macys here. Pants are old but similar here and here and both on sale! Shirt is sold out from Loft.

These photos are from my hometown courthouse lawn where they have summer concerts. Definitely middle America! Linking up with these lovely ladies at Visible Monday, Forage Fashion, Cid Style File, Mama and More and Not Dressed As Lamb

I do not have any affiliation with any of the brands or stores nor do I receive any compensation. I’m just sharing what I’ve learned.

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Dressing by Default!

Hey everyone! Today’s outfit are some colors I rarely wear and hardly own: cream, olive and red. I’m usually a jewel tone or black and white dresser. Those colors look good with my white hair and pink skin. But, I like to mix it up sometimes and try new and unexpected combinations. apple shape outfit ideas

I have this exact same sweater in black (because I love it so!). When the cream colored sweater went on sale I snatched it up. But, cream and black are very different colors on me. All of my usual suspects that I would wear with the cream sweater didn’t want to work. Instead of going with my tried and true items, I decided to take the opposite approach and looked in my closet for items that rarely get worn to see if they worked by default. Success! A red camisole and olive skirt (same skirt in different color that I wore here) shoved to the back of the closet worked with the cream sweater. I love shopping my closet!sweater for big bust

These shoes are in heavy rotation, now that it’s warm enough, because they are comfortable for a heel. Usually a shoe with an ankle strap shortens the look of the leg but because they are similar to my skin tone they blend in and you don’t notice the ankle strap much. And yes, I’ve finally brought out my bare legs!
apple shape outfit ideas

To finish off the look I added gold accessories (something else I rarely do) because the button on the sweater is gold and the buckle on the shoes are gold so that made that decision easy.
apple shape outfit ideas

Skirt from J Jill and on sale here. Shoes, sweater and camisole are old.

So, if you’re having trouble making a piece of clothing work try pairing it with other misfits and you might have a great outfit purely by default!

Linking up with these ladies: Shopping My Closet, Not Dead Yet Style, Happiness at Midlife Color and Grace!

I do not have any affiliation with any of the brands or stores nor do I receive any compensation. I’m just sharing what I’ve learned.

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