Posts Categorized: reader requests

Reader Request: Discarded Wardrobe Staples

Reader Alex left this question in a comment:

What are some of the things (type of garment, silhouette, color pairing, anything!) you have moved away from that you never would have thought you’d factor out of your wardrobe? If you felt so inclined to structure a post around a few of them and perhaps some of your reasoning why–although I imagine a lot of the explanation would boil down to “my style evolved and I found myself more interested in x, y, and z instead of a, b, and c”–I know I would be fascinated!

A great question, and there are more possible answers than I could tackle in a single post! But here are some highlights:

Wide belts

wide belts

Oh I sure did love me some wide belts, back in the day. Obis were trendy when I started blogging, and I thrifted and bought up quite a collection of wraps and other 3-inch-plus belts. And I hung onto a few and still trot them out on occasion:

grdresssuzu_outfit1

But overall, they take a backseat to my 2″ and skinnier options. I’m not terribly short waisted, but I’m on the short end of balanced. And I don’t have a big bust, but I do have pronounced hips. All this means that a big, wide expanse of belt can make me look a bit like my boobs are sitting on top of my hips. It’s a fun, retro set of proportions to play with, but I play with it less frequently now than I once did.

Embellished skirts

embellished skirts

The first time I picked up a Boden catalog, I knew I was in trouble and it was the embellished skirts that got me. I loved them, coveted them, and lived in them for several years. But eventually they stopped going into rotation and got pushed to the back of my closet. Printed skirts I still love, but skirts with embroidery and embellishment feel overly fussy to me at this point. They can be tricky to style since they’re detailed and eye-catching on their own, and mine felt both a bit twee for my evolving style and less-than-versatile. I still buy Boden, but I go for the unembellished now.

Mary Janes

mary janes

For ages, I wore my Tsubo Acreas in constant rotation. They were comfy and a little edgy with their slanted strap, and I just adored them. I had several other Mary Jane pairs that got some play, too, but the Acreas were the main. I still have them, still wear them a bit, but have moved more toward traditional pumps and ballet flats when it comes to non-boot shoes. Again, it comes down to versatility. Mary Janes are playful and fun, but don’t feel as classic and sophisticated as pumps to me. I also like a lower vamp for a longer leg line, but the main reason is the feel. Pumps feel more like “me” now than Mary Janes do.

Boleros

boleros

I used to feel like enhancing my bust was a good practice to balance out my hips, and relied on curved-hem boleros to help me out. They brought the attention up on my frame, hit just a bit above my natural waist, and made me feel a bit more busty. Then I got a proper bra fitting. And with bras that work on my figure, my silhouette changed drastically. So the super-padded bras got eighty-sixed, and the boleros stopped getting worn as often. I still have a few, and more in the cropped cardigan realm – both of which are great for vintage-y looks – but they take a backseat to traditional cardigans and blazers now.

There are others, but those four are the main categories that come to mind. As Alex pointed out, most of it comes down to the natural shifts of personal style, but some of these pieces have figure-flattery priority shifts that caused them to fall out of favor.

Who else can list off a few pieces that were once wardrobe staples, and now get very little wear? Any idea why they’re getting neglected? Has your style changed? Your figure? Your flattery priorities?

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for alreadypretty.com. See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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Reader Request: Button-fronts for Ample Busts

Hi all. Once again, Disqus closed comments automatically for no reason. Looking into this. Here’s the same post, comments should be open.

* * * * *

carissa rose shirts

Recently, I’ve had several readers ask about button-front options for women with bigger busts. Button-fronts make blood boil around here, I know, and although I love them for myself I am a small-busted woman with relatively average proportions so they don’t cause me many fit issues. I know from working with clients and hearing from you readers that everything from sloping shoulders to broad upper arms can make off-the-rack button-front shirts fit poorly. Bust size is a key factor, of course, since button-fronts will pull at the placket if the bust is larger than the allotted bust-room. As is the case for most garments that don’t fit off the rack, you can certainly buy a shirt that fits your bust and have it tailored everywhere else … but in the case of a woman with a large bust and smaller waist/arms/shoulders this can mean a virtual rebuild. Mall stores don’t expect us to be big in one spot. If we’re big, they expect us to be big all over. And some of us are, of course, but for those who aren’t it means that garments that fit the prominent feature are often comically oversized elsewhere. The amount of tailoring needed may surpass the cost of the shirt.

Luckily, there are a few button-front shirt options for women with large busts. I’ll share the resources that I’m aware of, and ask you to chime in with more!

Carissa Rose

Definitely my first recommendation for busty women looking for button-fronts, since the company was founded to create shirts that fit curvy women. Carissa Rose shirts aren’t cheap, but my clients love them for their quality construction and design. They’ve got a size chart that will walk you through the measurement process. Shirts are designed to fit women with larger busts and somewhat smaller waists, though all combinations of busts and waists are not available: As bust increases, so does waist though not to the extremes you’ll find in mall stores.

InStyle Essentials

Yep, brought to you by InStyle magazine. I’ve got one of these shirts in my closet and it’s a nice option. I am not the target market since I can buy my button-fronts off the rack, but I can say with certainty that these shirts are on par with a LOFT or Gap shirt. You’ll order by bra size, which can be tricky if you haven’t been professionally fitted in a while, but helpful if you are certain of your measurements. Four styles of shirts, all through 40H.

BiuBiu

Although this Polish company focuses mainly on knits, they do offer several styles of button-front shirts. Like the InStyle offerings, shirts are sized by bust/bra size. The sizing chart features UK sizing, so be sure to double-check before ordering and take your measurements in centimeters! This company also caters to women with smallish waists, and won’t fit anyone larger than a 97 cm/38 in waist.

Tom James

A friend and client uses Tom James, a custom clothing company, exclusively for her button-fronts. She’s an investment banker and relies on this style of shirt for her work wardrobe, but is also quite tall, busty with a very small waist, and has kyphosis and very long arms. There are loads of custom clothiers out there, of course, but my client loves this one. The company will connect you with a rep who will take your measurements and help you order.

My busty clients also love Ureshii for custom knits, but the company is yet to delve into wovens. Great stuff and fully custom, but no button-fronts.

None of these options will be cheap, as I’m sure you’ll notice. But if you love this style of shirt or need the option for dress code reasons, one of these vendors could be a great solution and good investment for you. And, of course, I’m dying to know if any of you have other options to share! Are you a big-busted person who wears button-front shirts? Where do you buy or order yours? By all means, share links!

Images courtesy Carissa Rose.

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Reader Request: Work Badge and Cell Phone Solutions

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Sarah sent me this question:

I was wondering if you had ever written anything on being stylish and having to wear a work badge. I work in an office (business casual, more business than casual). I like to be stylish. Or if you have written anything on having to keep a work phone with you at all times. I don’t have to keep a work phone, but know that others may have to. How do you keep a work phone with you if you are wearing a dress that has no pockets or place to clip a phone?

The men in the office have it much easier. Most of the time they have a belt loop they can clip their badge to. I’m lucky if I am wearing pants that have belt loops or pockets. I prefer dresses and skirts. So there are many times there is no where to clip my badge, so I have to wear it on a lanyard around my neck like a necklace. So then I cannot wear a necklace. Any ideas on how to keep badges/cellphones with you and stylish?

SUCH a great question. I’ve used a variety of keycards and entry passes for my various jobs, but have never been required to keep one on my person at all times … so I’m going to offer a few possible options and ask all of you to contribute more ideas! I’m sure many of you face this same challenge and have creative work-arounds to share.

First, my ideas:

Track down a stylish lanyard

If you’ve got a keycard or ID badge that needs to be on your person at all times and you’re allowed to do a lanyard, grab one from Etsy that looks more like a necklace. (There are some cute clips in there, too!) This may limit your necklace-wearing, though my guess is that environments where keycard lanyards are commonplace mean that the keycard/lanyard combo is oftenlost to familiarity. So you could try wearing a shorter strand or bib higher on your frame and the long lanyard further down. It might even be worthwhile to pick out a few lanyards that align with your personal style, especially in neutrals and metals so they’ll be as versatile as possible.

Experiment with wrist options

Plastic coils are typically used for keys, but a keycard might work in some cases. Since most folks can’t type while wearing a coil and card combo, this is something you’d need to remember to take with you when leaving your workstation. But it would certainly free you up to wear any clothing and necklace combinations you liked while also helping to keep your card on your person.

Explore belting

As Sarah points out, the fellas have one up on us when it comes to this type of work gear because they’re typically in pants. Belted pants. But dresses and skirts can be belted, too, and phones or badges can be clipped to belts. And, of course, adding a belt to your trouser outfits will help. Naturally, this won’t work every day since belts don’t belong in every outfit … but when it does work, it’ll be slick and easy.

Try a phone case with a strap

If a phone is required and clipping it to belts or clothing won’t work, keep your eyes peeled for one of the tiny crossbody bags that’s been designed to hold a phone and nothing more. Some mobile carriers might have these in their stores among the phone cases, but you can also try eBay and Amazon as well as local boutiques. Wristlet purses might work for this purpose, too. Not as sleek as a clip on your belt or pants, but definitely do-able.

Not much, but that’s all I’ve got. Help Sarah out with some other suggestions, won’t you? If you are required to keep a keycard, badge, or phone with you at all times, how do you do so stylishly?

Image courtesy Katy Warner

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for alreadypretty.com. See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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