Styling High Waist Clothes When You Have A Short Waisted Figure

Body, Casual hourglass, Struggles, Wardrobe planning

If you’re wanting a bit more information on whether you have a short waist or not, a really good resource is Joy of Clothes.

In brief, a short waist means you just don’t have much length in the middle part of your body between where your ribs end and your hip bones start.  It’s apparently a defining feature of our hourglass shape, as it creates the dramatic out-and-in effect of an hourglass (as opposed to a longer waisted lady with similar measurements, who will have more gentle out-and-in ‘cello’ shape).  A short waisted girl will often not look great in a thick waist belt, but looks great in a skinny waist belt, which is one easy way to test.

I describe the impact the short waist has on your outfits in another post, but one of the key styles impacted by the short waist is the high-waisted trousers/jeans/shorts/skirts trend that prevails.  I personally love the look of high waisted stuff but I can remember the fateful day in Primark when I marched proudly towards the changing room with an armful of floral and denim high-waisted shorts ready for my beach holiday.  This was the day I realised that high-waisted shorts looked more terrible on me than I could’ve predicted.  I had no explanation why I hated how they looked on me, as I loved the look in general, had picked lovely shorts and great tops to go with, and generally knew what shapes and styles would look great or hideous on my frame.  But the information I was missing was the short waist concept.  It explains why some high waisted stuff just looks really ‘off’ on me.  I wonder if you’ve found the same.

I have come up with several strategies so far for wearing high-waist trousers/shorts/skirts in a way that looks aesthetically pleasing.  This is still an evolving aspect of my wardrobe, as several years ago I thought I couldn’t wear high waisted items, and now I’ve realised there’s ways I can enjoy this look without looking like just boobs stacked on legs!

-Wear matching colour top and bottoms; this reduces the visual torso-shortening impact of the high waistline, but still allows you to benefit from the put-together, waist-emphasising effects of the garment.

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-Wear high necklines so you lengthen the torso.  So, a classic torso-shortening move would be a low neckline with a high waist.  The opposite effect occurs with a high(er) neckline, but the proviso here is that if you are full busted, the high neckline emphasises the boobs and you can look bulky up top if you’re not careful.  I often counteract this by wearing a necklace over my high-neck (eg, roll-neck jumper) which creates a visual lower neckline effect and breaks up the boob silhouette.  Alternatively, wear a sports bra (or two) and be sure to scoop and swoop your boobs towards the middle in the bra, to minimise the volume of your boobs so you can wear the high neck without looking too big up top.  An important note here is that if you have quite a short neck, which I think I probably do, and many hourglasses might, you will not want a neckline that goes higher than your collarbones, lest you make your neck look too squat and chunky.  Not a great look, been there done that.  Photos were burned and sent to bad photo hell.

-Lift your boobs: ie, get a really effective, professionally-fitted bra, shorten the straps and lift your bust away from your midriff, in order to lengthen the waist area.  Small to medium busts will find this most effective.  Larger busted ladies will not be able to see because the boobs will be so high they’ll be blocking the sunlight.  Don’t say I didn’t warn ya….:p. No but on a more serious note, I find Freya is an excellent brand for lifting larger boobs, and their bands are firm enough to hold you up.

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My latest Freya purchase, the Rio Underwired Balcony Bra in nude – perfect for perky lifted boobs

-Play up the proportional mismatch by creating a very long legged look.  Like, stuff all the rules, who cares, lets just maximise the weird proportions.  This is currently one of my favourite smart outfits: long palazzo/wide-leg trousers with platform heels; and any top (I still tend to colour match with the trousers but I’ll get braver eventually).  This combo makes my short lil legs look like they go on forever, and combined with a short, teensy-looking torso, can look quite girlish and elegant.

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I have no idea who this lady is but blimmin’ Nora she’s perfect…anyone know if she has a blog or Instagram??

Anyway, my next outfit plan is to get hold of some cute high waist, cropped ankle skinny jeans (like these I’ve seen in Forever New like this or more likely this (the mid-rise version) but I prefer the buttons on the first pair.  Then I was going to see if I could find a blue chambray or denim shirt to pair it with for a bit of a Kim K double-denim type look.  I’ll keep you posted if the jeans work or don’t work on my micro body 😀

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Notice that Kim actually has mid-rise jeans on here, and has created space in her torso by wearing less-than-high-waist jeans – the proportions of her outfit look great to me.

Hope these ideas prove useful!  Let me know if you have any other tips!

Book review: Calories and Corsets, a history of dieting over 2000 years

Philosophical rants, Struggles

Author: Louise Foxcroft

In my previous life as a health professional, I’m used to seeing fat and gaining weight as indicative of health and life and a positive thing, and thinness and weight loss as a sign of sickness.  With any physiological pressure exerted on the body – surgery, pregnancy, disease – you’re always more likely to cope better if you have a covering of fat on you.  So I generally prefer a bit of flesh on a woman and tend to only gently diet if and when I’ve overeaten for a few weeks.

I was also raised by a family who enjoyed a hearty meal and a dad who supportively (and repeatedly) pointed out that ‘men like a woman with a bit of meat on her’, which was good for a normal sized teenager to hear.

As an adult into clothes and fashion, I do feel the pressure to have a lower BMI than I currently do, even from within the normal BMI range – particularly as many of the fashions seem to be designed to suit stick thin people with no curves.

But I’ve been training myself over a number of years to reject this extreme and harsh, unfeminine approach to my body and let my eye look at the softness of my body and enjoy it.  That curve of the thighs and butt?  Beautiful.  The slight squidge on my upper arms?  A sign of life and health.  Chunky calves?  I call them my sexyfatlegs.

Because as this awesome book illustrates, the taunting, skeletal figure of ‘ideal’ thinness has been haunting normal women for generations.  Literally hundreds of years.

Lord George Byron, a good looking 18th century English poet with a tendency to put on weight, was a well known extreme dieter who epitomized the fashionable cult of thinness in his time.  When invited to a friends house, he would insist on eating nothing but mashed potatoes with vinegar on, instead of heartily enjoying the meal offered him.  He had bouts of subsisting mostly on vegetables, and berated meat eaters as mindless brutes.  He inspired a generation of young girls to eat practically nothing in order to fit his, and fashionable societies’ ideal of a woman.  On the other hand, when one of his lovers, the wife of a nobleman, lost dramatic amounts of weight due to distress after their break-up, he publicly berated her as a ‘skeleton’.  Talk about impossible to please.  Just like the ideal image we’re meant to aspire to.

Described in this book are the many different ideal physiques women were told to have over the generations – sloping shoulders, square shoulder, thin waist, long neck, short neck, thin legs, thick legs, full bust, small bust…etc etc ad nauseatum.  See also this interesting article about size zero culture in Ancient Rome.

This book contains many more examples of fad diets and techniques for losing ‘corpulence’ that have prevailed over hundreds of years, and puts to death the notion that dieting, or overweightness for that matter, is a new problem.  Whenever ample food has been available (even if only to certain classes, like in Byron’s time) we humans have always tended to become overweight.  We’ve always sought to lose weight, and on top of that, it’s often been fashionable to attempt to look like an early adolescent with a fat-free frame, especially when society has valued the cult of youth.

On the opposite extreme, we’ve also apparently frequently fallen into medicalizing overweightness instead of accepting it is ‘the result of an inclination to which we give way, and we alone are to blame’ in the words of Professor Brillat-Savarin.  Scathing, hard words but probably accurate.  Writing about successfully dieting away his own large belly, he described it as the fruit of hard work, cutting out sugary food and carbohydrates, exercising self-control and moving around more.  No fad diets for this ancient professor.

I am still finishing off the book, but it excellently illustrates the fact that women have always been told to strive for something else, some physical characteristic they don’t yet have but could possibly be obtained if they could do X, Y or Z.  The emphasis has constantly been on creating dissatisfaction with their current state, even if the woman is perfectly healthy as she is.  And it is this enforced dissatisfaction that I’ve opted out of.

It’s a quietly liberating read.  I come away choosing to value my own system over societal pressures. A hearty, healthy enjoyment of life, a little softness to the body but not excessive weight, and no existing in starvation mode to achieve a death-like thin figure.  Learning to see life, health and beauty in the curves of a woman’s body.  Learning to love what makes her a woman, and not a man.

Here are some photos of women recently who make me realize that soft curves are just stunning, and make me want to enjoy my body and dress it beautifully to honour what it is.

 

The first blonde lady is a model from Pepperberry (she models their Bravissimo underwear ranges too) who I think looks amazing, and proves you can be in the normal range of body sizes and look perfect.  Go to the Pepperberry site to see better pics, as I could only show the thumbnails here.  And the last three photos are of the beautiful Margot Robbie, who occasionally looks stick thin but the rest of the time has a tiny bit of flesh on her, slight fullness in her upper arms and calves, and still looks, in my opinion, better than the Hollywood perfect bodies any day.  Sorry for the very white-skinned and blonde inspo people today, these are the first ones off my head as they have similar colourings to me and hence are relevant to me.  Next time when I have more time I’ll find some pics of beautiful women across the range of hair and skin colours.

This jumper looks rubbish

Casual hourglass, Outfits, Reviews, Struggles

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I was in Valley Girl recently and thought I’d demonstrate for you exactly the style of jumper that an hourglass ought to avoid.  What’s wrong with this cut and style?

  • It’s in an unflattering colour for me – I’m a ‘soft summer deep’ colouring, and this means grey/soft based cool toned shades rather than warm tones like this rusty orange.  Have a look at Colour Me Beautiful to research your colours if you’ve not thought about it before, it can make a marked difference to how your outfits work against your skin, hair and eye colour.
  • It’s high neck, which doesn’t break up the upper chest at all, visually creating a large expanse of boob.  The cowl neck on the other hand can be quite flattering on the bust, but needs to drape lower on the chest to work well.

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(This style of cowl neck from Venus clothing would be far more flattering)

  • Back to the orange top, the cut is too loose around the waist, meaning the jumper drapes from the bust apex to the hips, creating a blocky shape.
  • I quite like the length and crossover style at the lower end of the jumper however, but some would say it’s a bit too long for my 5’2 frame.  A jumper/top that ends at the widest point of the hip is usually best and doesn’t take any length off your legs unlike this top.

The style of this jumper may work if I minimized my bust to avoid it dominating and ruining the drapey style – see my post on boob strategy for more information.

What is your boob strategy?

Body, Casual hourglass, Struggles, Wardrobe planning

Sometimes dressing an hourglass figure elegantly or casually can feel like a complicated mass of curves that each need flattering in their own individual way.  This is why I need to ask you: what, ladies, is your boob strategy?!

What I mean is: boobs have the ability to change the entire overall effect of an outfit, and represent an important consideration when planning your outfit.  Instead of feeling constrained by having either big or small boobs as an hourglass, I see this as being an adjustable aspect you can use to make your outfit work better (obviously there are some limitations to the ‘adjustableness’ of A-cup or K-cup boobs but there is a good degree of playing up or playing down one can achieve :p).  So when you have a certain outfit/look you want to achieve as an hourglass, but you think the boobs may get in the way or spoil the line, have a think about how to improve the fit and look of your garments with a few careful tweaks to your underwear.  I’ll be focusing mainly on larger busts in this article.

So first let’s deal with how you decide which approach to take.


Firstly, playing up the boobs.

What? Closely fitted, bust emphasizing outfits on top of a good boobs-up-front-and-centre bra (or an excellent push up bra for smaller busts and those who want cleavage).

Why?  A busty lady will tend to look slimmer with her boobs perked up high, brought in from the sides, and some say, ‘lifted and separated’.  You provide the perfect contrast to your tiny waist, and counter-balance to your rounder hips.  Another benefit is that this look can be pretty show-stopping and your man will probably love it!  And an hourglass figure really will speak for itself aesthetically when the figure is undisguised by baggy clothes.  Smaller boobed hourglasses may wish to play up their bust with add-two-sizes bras from Victoria’s Secret (the Bombshell is a good one I believe) in order to add curves to your top half – especially a good idea if you are an hourglass who veers towards a pear shape.

Good for: More dressed up outfits; fitted, waist-emphasizing clothing shapes – tight tops, pencil-shaped dresses; balancing wide hips/thighs; more feminine silhouette; v-neck and wrap tops/dresses; jersey or stretch items, skirts and dresses.

How? Obviously getting an excellent bra fitting so that you lift your boobs and can define your torso beneath the bust better. You will want a bra with a good T-shirt bra shape so that your outline in fitted clothing is attractive – in specific, you won’t want too pointy boobs or a double boob silhouette, and saggy un-lifted boobs will make you look older. To narrow your torso, find a bra that can lift and project your breasts so the fullness is up front rather than out at the sides where it will make you look wider. Freya is a very good brand for projection, although you may want to browse more specialist lingerie blogs to find out if they’re good for you in relation to full-on-top vs full-on-bottom boobs and wide-set vs close set boob shapes etc.
To achieve the slimming effect of fitted outfits, the top should follow the line of your body under your boobs rather than hang/drape from the apex (which would add volume to your torso).  You need to separate your boobs from your torso, and ensure your outfit fits your waist – achieving both of these can be surprisingly hard for many hourglass women. Regarding clothing, Pepperberry, which is the clothing brand of the bra brand Bravissimo, is good at creating pieces which fit your boobs underneath, separating them from your ribs and belly, and creating a very flattering profile. Their clothing comes in normal UK dress sizes but has another measure that takes into account just how busty you are. I need to do a post specifically on this brand at some point – they don’t do edgy cool casual looks but are good for staples for busty women such as cardigans, jumpers, Breton style t-shirts and plenty more.  Don’t forget shape wear for your middle section if needed. This look emphasizes the midriff section so make sure your waist is tight and flat so your fitted clothes don’t cling to too many lumps and bumps.


Secondly there is the option of minimizing the presence of your boobs for your outfit. Why? It’s useful to be aware that smaller boobs tend to come across as more youthful, and casual outfits tend to project a more carefree, youthful look, so you can harness this knowledge to make your casual outfits work a touch better for you.  Another reason you may wish to compress your boobs is if you want to amp up cleavage, but have boobs that are wide set or on the smaller size.  Using compression is actually an option I use quite frequently for a variety of reasons, such as the following examples:

  • tight fitting sheath dress with racer back, worn with Converse or heeled boots
  • drapey grey wool poncho that makes my upper body look like a chunk unless I minimize the boobs or wear a slim belt over it (see this link to Jean’s ‘Extra Petite’ blog for the inspiration I used for this outfit – oh how I love this blog, no matter how not-extra-petite I am haha!)
  • work blazer – I can fit into mainstream blazers as my boobs aren’t huge (versus having to buy them from specialist stores like BiuBiu), but my blazers will hang oddly  over my boobs when undone, or fail to sit correctly when done up sometimes, whilst fitting my waist and shoulders fine; minimizing the boobs lets me get away with more, and provides a chic-er line for my professional outfits
  • high neck tops and crew neck sweaters – avoid a great big visual monoboob effect from your neck to your underbust by minimizing your boobs 🙂

What? Although you don’t seem to hear much about minimizing bras these days, I find them to be a useful aspect of my wardrobe. I don’t think it should be an every day thing: don’t quote me on this but I think continually compressing the breast tissue can cause some longer term loss of fullness, so make sure you give your boobs a good break from compression. But occasional minimizing is utterly harmless, and works by compressing the fatty tissue in breasts into a more compact, smaller shape (fat tissue is readily compressible as the cells are not tightly packed).
How? I most often use a sports bra (I get mine from Cotton On in Auckland – actually I have one of their sports bras under my fluffy top in this post), but you can purchase a minimizer bra (I learn from Her Room that they often only go up to a G which is a bit silly but anyway…). If you’re much over a D-cup, this gives you a few more clothing options, as the difference of a cup size or two can mean the difference between fitting into mainstrem clothes vs needing specialist clothes like Pepperberry or Biubiu. Also having less fullness up top can mean you can wear looser tops without looking too bulky, or make those straight-ish shift dresses or boho looks work a bit better.  If you are after killer cleavage, you can use your push-up bra under a sports bra, or just wear a well fitting minimizer which should push everything closer to your body, and smush boobs together a bit in the centre.

Anyway, there’s a few of my personal tips for coping with the complicating factor of boobs when dressing your gorgeous hourglass frame.  Any more suggestions or comments are welcomed, thanks for reading!

Getting thinner thighs as an hourglass

Body, Casual hourglass, Struggles

The most common complaint I hear from ladies who share an hourglass figure is that we have big thighs, big wobbly sometimes cellulitey thighs. They can be hard to flatter in casual outfits because they don’t fit into skinny jeans (or any jeans) too well, or we don’t want to get our legs out in the summer because they don’t look good enough (guilty).  In fact, I must admit to hating most of summer fashion because the sun and outdoors requires mainly casual outfits from me, and mainly skin-baring outfits of some sort.

Well I’m here today to tell you the good news: I managed to cure my thigh wobbliness by a good 70%* using a handful of very simple techniques, and have a few ideas for improving the skin of my legs so they can become legs I’m proud of.

(*this number may be entirely speculative…)

First up, the thigh wobbliness strategy.  This is what changed in my habits to produce legs that are nearly shorts-worthy (still a work in progress…)

  1. Started walking to work.  For me this means 35-40 minutes of walking, sometimes twice a day (so 80 mins of walking) on at least 3 days a week.  I live outside of Auckland, so have to get a bus into town, but I made the choice to walk the second leg of my journey so I could get fit again and tone my legs.  The walk is a refreshing way to start the day and I don’t get too sweaty so I don’t have to shower when I get to work.  If the walk was more vigorous however, I’d wear workout gear for the journey, and have a back-pack with my work clothes to change into, plus a few shower bits and bobs (the hassle is worth the healthy feeling, and the reward your thighs will give you).  Personally I believe (from own experience and reading online plus a bit of medical knowledge) that walking is excellent exercise for women – it’s great cardio, it lacks the adverse effects of more extreme exercise on your soft curves, it’s accessible to all and I personally have always lost weight when I’ve had a regular walking habit.  Is there some way you could fit in some walking to your daily schedule?  Make it part of your normal comings and goings if possible as you don’t have to go out of your way to achieve it then and it becomes a habit.
  2. Started squatting like nobody’s business.  This and a bit of weight loss I think are the most responsible for the tighter thighs I’m currently sporting.  I’m not a gym-goer currently, and I eschew weights because I am mesomorphic (put on muscle easily) and don’t need any more chunk on these gams.  What I do, in my simplistic way, is chuck on a Beyonce song, and I will pretty much squat repeatedly for about twenty minutes in my room, as well as doing lunges and leg raises (you on all fours, one leg extended straight and lifted up and down), then finish off with some sit ups and…um..back ups (?the back version of sit ups).  It’s cheap and effective and because I’m using only my body weight to squat I’m getting thinner but more powerful thighs and butt.  Oh, I need to say also that squatting is THE thing for cellulite.  So, squat ladies like there’s no tomorrow.
  3. Weight loss.  I have a very simple and probably nutritionally inadequate way around weight loss, but it works for my hourglass frame.  I eat a medium banana instead of breakfast, and drink loads of tea to fill me up.  Lunch, for short periods of 3-5 days, I will just eat an apple and a banana, then I have dinner from My Food Bag which is essentially a nutrient-packed fairly-healthy-but-not-too-extreme and filling evening meal.  I may also take a multivitamin whilst I’m dieting just so I’m not missing any key nutrients but I’m pretty forgetful.  When snacking during the day, I keep a 1kg bag of mixed dried fruit and nuts, and will grab a small handful to conquer any snack attacks (maybe twice a day), plus drinking more huge mugs of tea or coffee which suppress appetite and fill you up.  And aside from this, I try to avoid all other food, especially sweet sugary snacks and drinks.  The result of all this, for me, is gradual weight loss, about 1lb a week, without any noticeable hunger.  You end up with a great body, but yellow teeth due to tea-staining.  So, you know, you can’t have it all.  Another thing I’ve looked into in the past is intermittent fasting – the science is sound and you don’t ruin your metabolism, but I’m quite a hungry gal so I’d rather eat a banana than fast.  Note, I have not looked into the nutritional aspects of this at all and am not trained to do so and will not recommend it as an awesome thing for other people to do, but this is just what is tolerable and effective for me.  But back to the original point, the thighs have improved because I’ve got less flesh on top, and better muscles beneath the flesh.

Lastly, improving skin texture on legs.  I don’t know if it’s a problem with all of us who carry more weight on the legs (due to poor surface circulation perhaps?) but I have got quite bumpy skin on my thighs and calves (keratosis pilaris) and my fake tan will often stick to the bumps = awesome.  My strategy for improving the skin quality (and this may be useful for those who don’t have keratosis pilaris too) involves the following:

  1. Weekly body scrubs – I’m currently using a gorgeous coffee body scrub with those exfoliating gloves you can buy from any pharmacy or dollar store.
  2. Daily intensive moisturizing – Jergen’s Oatmeal and Shea Butter is one of the best body moisturizers I’ve used.
  3. Weekly or fortnightly aspirin peels (salicylic acid, dissolves the upper keratin layers on the skin) – obviously only use if you’re not allergic to aspirin, but its a gentle peel that you don’t need to neutralize other than applying water to rinse, and it leaves your legs incredibly smooth.  Google aspirin peel for recipes, and start low strength if in doubt.  I use this recipe personally.  Used regularly, you should gradually start to improve the bumpy texture of your legs.
  4. My next plan is a weak strength glycolic acid peel – ideally you’d have a professional doing this for you.  I’m probably going to obtain mine through my laser salon, Avana, in Auckland.  Be careful if you buy any online, ensure you only use reputable sources even if it costs more, as you do not want to end up with burns.  If you are doing it at home, always stick to the instructions as glycolic acid is not really to be messed with as far as I understand (I haven’t tried it at home personally)
  5. Obviously if you are not happy with the texture of your skin on your legs, fake tan and instant bronzers will make a world of difference to your confidence.  My typical regime when good legs are needed over summer involves one or two layers of a good fake tan the night before (ModelCo tan in a can is fab), wash this off then moisturise.  Then apply Sally Hansen’s airbrush legs (lotion is what I’m using currently, not the spray although both are fantastic, literally the best in my opinion).  On top, I’ll spray some of my Sephora shimmer body oil and voila – shiny, smooth, perfect looking limbs.  Oh I should’ve said – shaving or waxing is a must before all this 🙂

So I hope this long-winded post has proved useful to you, and might inspire you when it comes to figuring out your own regimes.

Ignore ugly fashion trends

Philosophical rants, Struggles

Is fashion conspiring against hourglass figures?

The world of fashion is an extremely elite community which necessarily based its existence on the concepts of novelty, creativity, exclusivity and sometimes shock factor. The very nature of the profession is to push boundaries, express ideas and concepts through the means of garments, and to always press forward to newer territories. It can be extremely influential in the transmission of cultural values and ideology, too, with it’s messages being passively absorbed by men and women everywhere without people even realizing.

It probably goes without saying that making women look their most attractive is not the sole aim of the fashion industry any more. I mistakenly thought for many years that the only possible aim of fashion could be to dress women well – and I’m not saying that isn’t one of its goals. But the highly professionalized version of the industry that we see today couldn’t stay true to its values of novelty, pushing boundaries and always being at the edge without departing from the main goal of making women look beautiful.

Instead, designers are commonly using the runway as an exhibition of their artistic talents, and even of their humanistic philosophies (e.g, ideology surrounding gender, beauty values, sexuality).

There is actually a proactive move by some (?most) designers to explore deliberately ugly fashion, as explained in a Daily Telegraph article quoting Miuccia Prada in 2013.

“Ugly is attractive, ugly is exciting. Maybe because it is newer. The investigation of ugliness is, to me. More interesting than the bourgeois idea of beauty. And why? Because ugly is human.” – Miuccia Prada

The concept is that conventionally attractive fashion, the sort of thing that flatters normal looking bodies, has been achieved already, is somewhat passé and not challenging for cutting-edge designers. Plus, given the shape of women’s bodies, there are a limited number of clothing shapes and cuts that can flatter that shape.

I enjoyed reading the August 2015 article by Erin on the Elements of Style blog, who reflected my stance on clothing very accurately:

“Like I said, this is just my opinion, and maybe there are some out there who like the “ugly is cool” trend- but I just want to look nice. I don’t need to make some huge statement when I get dressed, I want my clothes to compliment me as a person, not take over.” – Erin Gates

The takeaway message for the normal hourglass girl is this: stick to looking good, rather than cutting edge fashionable.  Your body is already somewhat complex to flatter, as you have curves on every angle you look at!  But leave the odd, deliberately ugly clothing to the six-foot skinny models (who also look dreadful in aforementioned fashion).  Yes, by all means incorporate pieces of cutting edge style if that’s your thing, in fact, hopefully in this blog I’ll be creating outfits which have a healthy nod to trends whilst keeping the silhouette and foundational garment shapes looking beautiful on a curvy figure.
 

 

My Story

Back story, Casual hourglass, Outfits, Struggles

I always loved girly things, all my life.  I was the little girl that would stare, enraptured, at a beautifully dressed woman walking down the street – I thought there was no sight better than a perfectly put-together woman.

We never spent much on clothes in our family, and I was never shown how to put outfits together stylishly, so it has been a long process learning to enjoy being in my own skin.

I made a lot of outfit mistakes as a teenager, and often looked pretty dreadful, and even though people around me tend to like my outfits these days, I still feel a bit like a gawky teenager inside!

The most confusing aspect of style, growing up, was that outfits that look great on the hangers, and great on straight-figured friends would just look dreadful on me.  I was all boobs, bum and thighs, with a tiny waist.  Drapey tops and skinny jeans seemed to add an extra two stone onto my 5’2 frame.

I have often resorted to smarter, fitted outfits over the years as I quickly learned that I looked best when dressed up a bit.  Pencil skirts were my best friend, and anything nipped in at the waist worked perfectly.  Heels were an essential item.  Big dangly earrings, draped scarves, with classic trench coats were the order of the day.

When I had arrived at my late twenties, having finally felt able to put together a smart, fitted outfit, I turned my attention to trying to look half decent whilst hanging around in casual clothing.  Anything that required shorts, joggers, trainers or swimming was a guaranteed style fail for me, and still is by and large.

That’s why I’m writing this blog, to push myself to learn and analyze what works and what doesn’t for an in-and-out frame.  I don’t need to know how to wear a pencil skirt and pussy-bow blouse, or how to rock a 50’s siren look – these things come kinda naturally to me and many girls with a similar body to mine.  What I have no idea about is how to go on a hike and not look like short wrestler next to my husband (I promise there will be photo evidence at some point ha!).  Or play tennis in shorts and trainers without feeling like my legs look like tree trunks!

I’ll be trying to put together outfits that suit the hourglass frame, that are wearable, keep us looking attractive even when dressed down, without showing too much flesh or attracting too much of the wrong attention.

Do you have any casual occasions you struggle to dress for?  Any tips and advice for the rest of us?