I love rules. Without them, life can seem quite overwhelming to me. I’ve never gotten a speeding ticket, I floss every night, and I don’t litter. I’m a rule-follower by my very nature.
As you’ve no doubt noticed – since I’ve shared many of them with you awesome people – I create and follow an inordinate number of rules about style. Avoid crewnecks, no white pants in the fall, mind your skirt-to-leg-to-shoe ratio, and on and on. But my cardinal rule of style is a very common-sensical one: Wear only styles that flatter your figure. Learning your go-to styles is an ongoing endeavor, as different garment types fall into and out of favor, and new cuts and color combinations are introduced. But avoiding shapes, colors, and silhouettes that work against your fabulous natural assets is a relatively easy and extremely important practice.
Occasionally, you’re going to desperately want to buy things that DON’T flatter you. And that is completely fine. In my experience, there are two main reasons to purchase an unflattering garment:
A giant, boxy cowlneck sweater or fleecy college sweatshirt is going to mask anything womanly about you. A pair of thick-knit sweater pants is going to cling to your butt and show any and all wiggle-age. Cushy Keen high top sneakers look a bit like clown shoes. And OH FREAKIN’ WELL. Sometimes comfort is needed, wanted, and deserved. Although the majority of comfort clothes in your wardrobe should be both flattering AND cozy, splurging on the occasional cozy-only item is not only acceptable, it’s important.
I bought these slightly weird shorts over the weekend.
I’ve been curious to try something in the paperbag-waist family, especially after reading recently that, with my proportions, I would be unlikely to pull it off without looking short and misshapen and generally foolish. And although the cinched, high waist emphasizes my smallish middle and adds some oomph to my mini-rack, I look pretty grandma-like from the side. My spare tire tum juts out weirdly beneath the skinny belt and the extreme volume of the legs is just confounding.
But these are INTERESTING. They’re unusual and envelope-pushing in a wardrobe as tame as mine, and yet they’re not so outlandish that I’ll never wear them. They make me feel brave and fashion-y and fun. Oh, and it helps a lot that they’re so comfy I pretty much want to live in them until it’s 40 below zero.
Occasionally opting for a piece that is less flattering and more fascinating is well-advised, especially if you feel like your wardrobe is all basics and no spice. Be careful not to buy something just because it’s pretty or trendy or downright bizarre: Think carefully about HOW you’ll wear it. If it can fit into your existing wardrobe with relative ease, it’s worth considering. Also be sure that your item of choice still allows you to showcase something awesome about yourself. If it obscures your glorious boobs, pair it with a tight skirt to show off your bootay. If it hides your sculpted legs, be sure to wear something with a fitted bodice on top. My weirdy shorts may hide much of my lower half, but you’ll see that I can still show off my waist and bust by wearing a slim-fitting tank.
Picking up an experimental piece can be a great way to stir up some dormant energy in your closet! Be ye not afraid of the occasional unflattering garment.
For those interested in how I came to purchase these unusual shorts, Husband Mike and I took a field trip to Intoto this Saturday, a stunning high-end boutique in Uptown that neither of us had ever visited. You have to be buzzed in, and with good reason. $1,000 Marni dresses, silky Thakoon skirts, Dries Van Noten batwing sweaters, and perfectly tailored Paul Smith slacks line the racks, quiet and stately and breathtakingly expensive. At least, by my standards.
But peeking out from the picked-over sale rack were these adorable shorts. And I tried them on and was deeply smitten. And I cannot refrain from telling you that they are $300 3.1 Phillip Lim shorts that I landed for $39. And although I certainly don’t aspire to shop at that level, I have long adored Lim’s work and it made me deeply happy to encounter such good shopping fortune. See below for proof.
I guess breaking the rules can feel pretty fabulous. Even to a goody two shoes like me.