Ok, I Need Your Help Again. Keep or Ditch?

Hey everyone! Here I am again. Another item I bought that I haven’t ever worn. I bought this over two years ago when I was looking for a holiday-ish shirt that didn’t look like a Grandma holiday shirt (not that there’s anything wrong with that – just not my style).

Over 40, plus-size fashion - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I thought the bright red and the festive flowers with all of that black would look elegant. Unfortunately, it just seemed flat when I tried it on at home. I thought perhaps it depended on what “third piece” I wore over the top of it. As you can see here, I’ve tried two different pieces over the tunic. Blah.

Over 40, plus-size fashion - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Remember a couple of months ago I shared the Tim Gunn article about how the fashion industry doesn’t design for anyone over size 12? One point he made was that clothing with a large-scale pattern made a bigger woman look like a float in a parade. I didn’t really get what that meant until I pulled this tunic out to give it another try for the holidays.

Over 40, plus-size fashion - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Supposedly with a pattern on an item of clothing, we don’t want too small of a pattern because it will make us look bigger and it ages us (think of your mother-in-law’s summer blouse. Ok, well, that’s what I’m envisioning). We also can’t wear too big of a pattern because it makes us look like we’re wearing a tablecloth. Sigh. More confusing “advice” from the “experts”.

Over 40, plus-size fashion - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I think  it’s the giant flowers that don’t work for me. That, and the big, white flower on my stomach. It looks like a bullseye. That, and if there is any indent from any waistband or any button on my bottoms at that point you will see it.

Over 40, plus-size fashion - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Similar tunic here. Leggings here. Similar jacket here. Similar vest here.

So, what do you think? Am I over-thinking it? What do you think about the size of pattern in comparison to the size and age of the wearer? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Linking up with these lovely ladies at Not Dead Yet Style and Pocket Full of Polka Dots!

This post contains affiliate links to items I own and love and items I wish I owned and love!


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  1. Julia, the red in the floral pattern is such a good color for your skin tone. I think you nailed this look. Never noticed the white “target flower” until you mentioned it. I am amazed that such a large print looks so very good on you. It speaks to how well you “styled” this look. Enjoy your weekend.

  2. I’ve been trying really hard to trust my instincts. If I have any doubts, the item probably isn’t right for me, or I won’t feel comfortable in it. I don’t usually like florals on me. How about a pretty plain red top with a festive scarf instead? That would work with either black topper!

  3. You’re right Jules, the big white flowers are distracting. If it only had red flowers on black and if the fabric was more drapey/less clingy, I think it would look fine by itself. Luv ya!!

  4. I think your gut is giving you good advice. It’s time to donate this to pass it along to someone else. It’s a great tunic, but just not for you. I usually give things away once I’ve tried to wear them three times. The red is a good color for you, so maybe a solid red top? I really like the Olivia tunic from J. Jill, and it comes in a beautiful red.

  5. I agree — the white flower is a eye-catcher. It reminds me of a beautiful silk tunic I had, with Asian-style mandalas. My daughter pointed out, one of the bright pink mandalas was right over my left breast — and once I’d seen it, I couldn’t un-see it, LOL! Outrageous!

    How would it be to cut the tunic up into scarves? You could cut horizontally and end up with 3-4 infinity scarves — no need to hem, just cut. The red is gorgeous!

  6. I share a similar size chest and tummy with you but I’m 70 years old. I would never be comfortable wearing those big flowers, but that’s just me. I enjoy your blog and am learning to layer. It never occurred to me that adding something could be my friend. 😉 Thanks!

  7. I don’t agree with the advice about the size of the print that ANY person can wear. I happen to think that it’s more about the size & silhouette & fit of that particular piece (and maybe even the kind of material).
    So I hope you don’t stay away from any print. My opinion, of course!
    That being said, I don’t think this tunic is bad. I would never look at your outfit and think “ugh, she should’ve worn something else”. But maybe it’s not the bestest look you’ve ever worn on the blog. But we can’t be perfect all the time, right?
    If it just doesn’t speak to you with love & excitement, I am all for giving it up. Life is way to short for the boring or don’t feel good items, and then that means more shopping to replace it—yippee!

  8. I think you do well in holds and yournstyling in great. I’d keep it unless you really feel uncomfortable. BTW I also didn’t notice the tummy white flower.

  9. I’ve never been drawn to patterns. For me, they’re too busy and hard to accessorize without looking like my grandmother’s floral sofa. The last year or so I see everyone mixing stripes with polka dots and polar opposite patterns. A couple of times they’ve looked good, but only on someone with an Audrey Hepburn figure, and that’s not me. Brenda

  10. I like the top on you and didn’t notice the white flower…Here’s my criteria in the dressing room…Especially when I bring in a “large” and then an “extra large”…I close my eyes…and see how it feels, then I look in the mirror. OF COURSE, for my ego, I want the “large” to be the winner, but it has to look right for ME! I get the one that FITS my body and then cut out the tags…not just for vanity, but for the scratch factor.

    I’m similar shape and size, and I don’t let a pretty pattern dissuade me…but lately, I’ve been buying more solids and snazzing them up with accessories…

  11. Hi Julia,
    Here is my two cents worth—I think the top is very flattering, so my opinion is not based on that. I just don’t really like the print, and I don’t think you do either, or you would have worn it before now. 😉 I agree with Jodie. I just have the feeling that no matter how many people tell you they like it, you don’t really like it. Keep the cute outfits coming! Always look forward to seeing what you are wearing!

  12. My first time to make a comment on your blog. So here goes: I like the color combination of the red & white flowers on black with the sweater vest. Don’t think the flower pattern is too large and the ensemble looks great on you!! The only thing that’s missing is RED lipstick and a little blush, IMHO:)

  13. I like it. I think it’s bold, gutsy, sassy. No apologies. I like it with the black leather jacket but not the vest. The vest is tame. The shirt, not! The jacket it helps rock it! Thanks! That was fun!

  14. Hello Doll,

    I think, weather permitting, that you should lose the second layer. Cardigan, leather jacket, etc. Add a wide leather belt ( “tying” in a Santa baby look). it will help bring in the waistline and yes, cover up the large white flower right at the midsection. Add a red scarf to frame your face and bring brightness and color upwards. The scarf/color pop would also bring focus to your beautifully ethereal hair.


  15. Ditch! You mentioned at least five different aspects or reactions (“flat”, “blah”, “flowers don’t work”, “bullseye”, and “visible indents”) and all are negative. Plus you didn’t wear it in two years. Even if everybody thinks it looks good (I think it does look good!), you don’t like it or how you feel.

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