I would not have expected a challenging and unusual item like this boxy yellow houndstooth jacket to have stuck around so long, but it’s been in my closet since June of 2009. And I still love it. (See other wearings here, here, and here, among others.) It had been in Futurelint’s Etsy shop for a while, but I actually bought it from the woman herself the first time I met her, which happened to be at her garage/vintage sale. So, in addition to being a fun, funky, and unusual piece, this qualifies as clothing with a story. I think of lovely Christine every time I wear it!
Do YOU have wardrobe items that have hung on despite their unusual design or fit? What makes you keep them?
We talk a lot about figure flattery around here. There are more requests for posts related to traditional figure-flattery priorities than just about any other topic, so many discussions point in that direction. But I hope that this message is always clear: YOU get to choose your own figure-flattery priorities, even if they go against the traditional grain. You are the one wearing the clothes and feeling the feelings, and that means you get to make the choices.
Clothes that flatter your figure along traditional lines – elongating legs, cinching waists, creating hourglass silhouettes – can make you feel good about yourself and your body. But so can clothes that do NONE of those things. Clothes that make you feel good about yourself and your body run the gamut, and can affect your well-being and emotional state for a multitude of reasons.
Seeing color can affect your emotions, and so can wearing color. As I’ve said many times, even if a woman looks ghastly in yellow I’m inclined to tell her to keep on wearing it if it makes her feel amazing. And, of course, there are ways to wear color that will have minimal impact on your complexion: Lower on the body, as shoes or accessories, or broken up within patterns. But however you do it, remember that wearing colors you love is a great shortcut to creating outfits that make you feel marvelous.
Solid colors can be soothing, but patterns can be enlivening. If the boost you need is an energy boost, go for dots, plaid, florals, paisleys, or stripes. Pattern mixing is a fun sartorial challenge, but just throwing a single pattern into your outfit mix can lift your spirits.
A pair of heels can make you feel good about your long leg line, but a pair of flats can make you feel good by cradling your feet. A belted sheath dress will look chic in many cases, but a tunic and leggings might feel more welcoming. Clothing that works with – instead of against – your body and keeps your physical form comfortable will generally make you feel content while wearing it.
Slippery silk, nubby linen, thick velvet, cozy cashmere. We can take clothing texture for granted because many basics don’t feel all that interesting or luxurious. But a few key pieces in sensually pleasing textures – a scarf or sweater, skirt worn against bare legs, or even an invisible camisole worn beneath other garments – can completely transform how you feel about your look and your figure.
Many of the items that stick around through closet purges regardless of their ability to flatter our figures do so because they are associated with certain people or events in the past. And this is NOT a bad thing! So long as you have the storage, keep them. And if they bring you joy, wear them. And consider sharing their stories with others so that joy can be augmented.
Aside from 5″ stilettos worn on cobblestone streets, most clothing doesn’t pose safety risks. But certain garments can enhance feelings of safety and security merely by design. Scarves help us feel less exposed, cardigans help us feel enveloped, flat boots ground us, jackets imbue us with authority. Feeling secure in your clothes can boost your confidence and buoy your emotions.
Clothes that feel good may do so because they feature gorgeous colors or prints. You may enjoy the texture of the fabric against your skin. Wearing certain items may remind you of people or places from your past. Aside from traditional figure flattery, there are many reasons why clothing might feel good to wear. And it’s a good idea to wear as many items that make you feel fabulous as you possibly can.
Rachelle of the blog Pink Sole put bows at her ears, neckline, wrist, and waist for an outfit that is equal parts fun and sweet. Also love the addition of the on-trend pink gingham botton-front. Check her original post for details about this inspired outfit!
AbbeyPost is a website where plus-sized women can shop, sell their clothes, and connect with other style-minded women. Anyone tried it? Lots of fun and trendy pieces on sale right now, so definitely worth a peek.
Although I’ve never had anything quite this alarming happen, I’ve had people manhandle me and touch my tattoos without asking. I know many pregnant women out there are all too aware of the uninvited belly-touch. Boundaries, people.
And from the Department of Random: HM brought home a bag of Cuties a few weeks ago, and I’ve been eating about 97 of them each day ever since. So I’ve been thinking about this Eddie Izzard bit constantly. They really are a piece of piss to peel. I know I’ve posted it before, but it’s so fantastic I don’t even care. (P.S. If you type Eddie Izzard into the YouTube search bar, it autofills “I fancy you.” That pretty much made my week.) Swears in the video – fair warning.
I promised Kjerstin Gruys that I would participate in her Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall blogger challenge. I promised her! My friend and colleague, a woman for whom I have tremendous respect and whose work I am proud to help promote. And friends, I managed to tackle the challenge … but still feel a bit like a failure.
I was really looking forward to this challenge because I have often gone for nearly full days without looking at myself in a mirror, then caught my reflection and realized I forgot to pencil in my eyebrows/wear earrings/fix my hair from that recent encounter with A High Wind. I can get so caught up in the day’s tasks and ruminations that I forget my physicality entirely, so the challenge of going mirror-free from waking till sleeping seemed like it would be a relatively easy but fabulously introspective exercise.
The past few weeks have been busy and hectic, and there were very few days in which I felt comfortable doing messy hair or going eyebrow-pencil-free. Because my calendar has been filled to the brim with book events and speaking engagements and TV appearances and style consult clients and business meetings. And as someone who works in a style-related field, I just couldn’t handle the pressure of winging it sans mirrors for any of those things. How I look is part of my brand, part of my business. And since my pixie can get really funky if it hasn’t been flat-ironed, and since I can’t apply lip color without looking, and since I really do prefer to make sure my outfit looks polished and appropriate when I’m doing business stuff … I just couldn’t go mirror-free on a day in which I’d be interacting with clients, customers, or the press. My anxiety won out. In fact, the mere thought of heading out to a paid speaking engagement or client meeting without being able to check myself in a mirror makes my heart race a bit.
So my mirror-free day was a day spent at home, working by myself in the company of my cats. I know, total cop-out. I did my hair messy (more or less like this), pulled on a foolproof outfit (this one), and settled in. It was a day of writing, conference calls, and online client correspondence so I was absorbed in my work all day long. I didn’t need to leave the house, so I didn’t.
What I learned:
It is HARD to avoid mirrors
I felt like covering the two mirrors in my home would bring my cheating to a whole new level, so I left them alone. And the main thing I noticed throughout the day was that when I passed a mirror, I wanted to look into it. I turned toward it automatically. That need to assess my looks at every given opportunity was strong to the point of feeling like an instinct. Though I know it is not one.
But engaging my brain makes it easier
As I mentioned above, I can get pretty caught-up in my work – or even in non-work activities like reading or house cleaning/organization projects – and when I do, it never occurs to me to stop and consult the mirror. Unless I am walking by one, I don’t feel compelled to check. I often conflate boredom and hunger, which results in mindless snacking. When I’m not bored – when my brain is fully engaged – I snack a lot less. Mirror use feels similar. I don’t need it, but when I’m feeling at loose ends or even a little bit bored, I’m more likely to do it.
I am terrified of presenting an unchecked appearance in a business situation
Again, mentioned this above but it bears repeating. I hadn’t realized how important it had become for me to be able to monitor my appearance, hadn’t given serious thought to that brand-look connection. I mean, I try my best to look my best whenever I’m doing anything related to my business, but I’d never realized that my schedule makes going a day without mirrors feel impossible. Not be impossible, as I know I certainly could’ve sucked it up and gone to any one of those meetings in an unchecked state without bursting into flames. Doing so would’ve been a fascinating and worthwhile experiment. But what if I showed up for a client meeting looking rumpled? The client’s confidence in my expertise could be damaged, and she might be less likely to recommend me to friends. What if I show up for a reading in a slightly mussed state? Attendees might question my judgment and be less likely to buy my book. Big ifs, possible excuses. But I just couldn’t let go of those potentially damaging possibilities.
I’m still mulling what this means and if I should adjust any behaviors or expectations accordingly. As I said, I often get ready in the morning using a mirror, work all day, and don’t check my reflection until late at night. So I don’t feel like I have an unhealthy relationship with mirrors or an obsession with my own reflection. But I do feel like I’ve begun to equate controlling my appearance with keeping my business afloat. And that equation might need to be tweaked over time.
I may not have any mind-blowing insights to share, but I DO have a copy of Kjerstin’s truly engaging and thought-provoking book – Mirror, Mirror, Off the Wall – to give away to one lucky Already Pretty reader. To enter the drawing, just leave a comment on this post telling us if YOU would be able to do a day without mirrors. Be sure to enter a valid e-mail address into the e-mail field when you comment. (No need to put it in the body of the comment.) I’ll draw a winner on May 17 and notify the winner via e-mail. This contest is open to all readers, including international. Good luck!
*In this late-night feature – which will run Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of each week – I’ll gather up three fun items that are currently on sale online and share them with you! I would LOVE suggestions: Stylish wide-width pumps? Classic v-necked sweaters? Chandelier earrings? Petite dress slacks? What would you like to see featured?*
Rebekah requested a few picks for slip-style nightgowns, so here we go:
I love that this print is fun and whimsical without veering over into “twee” territory. It’s a rayon knit, so soft and drapey. There’s a yellow variation on this print and a yellow floral as well as solid coral, blue, and orchid purple. Available in sizes S – XL. Size availability varies by color.
Cotton! HURRAH! As a devotee of breathable cotton sleepwear, I’m delighted to have found this basic-but-lovely chemise to add to the mix. Simple and comfy with adjustable spaghetti straps. Available in coral, heather gray, and light turquoise in sizes S – L. Size availability varies by color.
There are plenty of transparent, super short, and va-va-voom sexy chemises out there, and they can be such fun. But in my opinion, this one does a great job of sitting squarely between sassy retro and sultry. That’s definitely a deep neckline and the material is sheer, but it still offers coverage. Plus polka dots! Available in sizes S – XL.
Other not-currently-on-sale resources for petite plaid blazers:
Wintersilks – I love them for their silk longjohns, but they have some really lovely nightgowns, too.
Macy’s – Many of the chemises are more lingerie than sleepwear, but lots of more nightgown-y options are available. Love this one. Petite and plus sizes, too!
Lord & Taylor – Who knew? Especially a good bet if you like the slip style but are interested in non-slippery/silky fabrics.
And, of course, THRIFT STORES! Well, mainly vintage stores. Used sleepwear may have a bit more of an ook-factor for some, but if you’re game you can frequently find gorgeous slips and slip-style nightgowns at vintage and some thrift stores. (thethriftshopper.com can help you locate stores near you.)