After 30 years in this body, there are a few things that I have learned. I realize that my body has been under almost constant change during that time, but I still have a few fashion rules that have always applied and will continue to do so, regardless of trends.
Yes, I know in the current style world, belts are a necessity. But I am petite and short-waisted. Belts have never looked good on me. In fact years ago I read in a style book that short-waisted women should avoid belts as it just draws attention to their lack of a typical waist. Really my waist is just slightly lower than my bust. So empire waist things look nice on me, but they must be styled very carefully or I end up looking bigger than I am, i.e. pregnant. Unfortunately this is also one of my thickest areas, at least currently and, truthfully, perpetually. If I gain weight, the middle to upper middle is where it will be. So I haven’t wrapped my brain around accentuating that part of me with a belt. I have owned a few pants that were lower rise and I wore a belt lower on the hips and that looked cute, but it also requires shorter shirts otherwise the belt disappears anyway and tucking in a shirt almost never looks good on me. So while I have occasionally worn belts to keep that nasty gap at the back of my pants from happening, I don’t wear them for fashion and certainly not the way the current trends show them being used. (One exception, I have and do wear belted sweaters, but I must wear the belt low on my waist, practically around my hips to pull it off).
I don’t do horizontal stripes. This is something that the current trend is forcing me to rethink. I’m actually about the purchase a couple of pieces to see what I think of them, but generally, I think it makes me look wider. The one exception, is a solid color with a large stripe across the bust area, which can be very flattering, but that is really more color blocking than striping. I do like diagonal stripes and chevron patterns, which I think can slim or create the illusion of attractive curves. I settled on trying the above pictured cardigan even though it breaks my stripes rule. I figured that if I wore it open that would avoid the widening effect that I was fearing. But, sadly, it was a complete mistake on my actual body, but it hasn’t soured me on all patterned cardigans, just horizontal stripe ones.
In the past, patterns have not been my friend. Textures, definitely, but not patterns. They were always too large or bold that they overwhelmed my petite frame or honestly I just didn’t like them. But there are a few items this year with great patterns that I am seriously drooling over. Hence this shirt that I decided to purchase from Lands End. Sadly, the shirt went back. The pattern was too overwhelming in real life and while I loved my colors, my husband genuinely hated it, so I returned it.
New Things I’m Determined to Try
Cardigans, both solid and patterned
I’ve never been much of a cute cardigan person, more of a bulky cardigan girl. But we’re talking bulky for heat due to seriously cold temps in my house come winter, not for looking stylish. But I’ve begun to realize that cardigans can be a great year round layering item. So I’m adding more to my wardrobe.
I love this Lands End cardigan, though I’m unlikely to be buying it anytime soon because the price is a bit more than I usually spend. Though if I knew that I was likely to wear it almost constantly this winter (as I believe I am likely to do) it might be worth it. (Secret: I actually bought this cardigan using a Lands End coupon last week. I absolutely love it and now I have to decide if I’m allowed to keep it. So far I’m leaning toward yes.) I also purchased two different colors of the above solid cardigan, plantation (which is kind of a greenish brown) and eggplant. I’m still waiting to decide whether I’ll be keeping either one, as they are nice and serviceable but I’m still a little nervous about colored cardigans vs. my usual safe neutrals.
This chevron pattern from Lands End is unique and I think it’s a lot of fun, but my husband has informed me that it “doesn’t look like it’s designed for someone young.” Since I have an unfortunate habit of picking clothes that my mother would wear (as stylish as she is), I try to avoid things that fit into that category. I am open to classic pieces because of their longevity, but I also want to look my age, or at least a stylish version of my age.
Casual Dresses for Everyday
I’ve always gravitated away from dresses and skirts for everyday wear, even before I became a mom. It just didn’t seem practical. But during a heat wave this summer I read up on how to stay cool and everything I read said, skirts, especially maxi skirts. I have a few yards of jersey knit still sitting on my dining room table waiting to become my new skirt, but these dresses also caught my eye. It may be a mistake, but I’m was willing to try dresses as everyday wear before summer came to an end.
I ended up loving and keeping both dresses. The maxi dress beat all the odds and looks amazing on me, even though it’s not a petite size and has horizontal stripes. The midi tank dress is super comfortable. I ordered it in two colors and now I really don’t want to return either one. A fun scarf tied loosely at the neck helped to disguise any cleavage when I wore it to a park playdate last week.
Things I’m considering
Bulky, interesting sweater
Not sure if this will make me look too bulky because I’m so short, if it will cover my problem areas or just make me look big all over, but I’m willing to consider it. The reviews of this particular sweater give me pause and the others I’ve seen are so expensive so I may have to wait until fall and winter are in full swing and try a few bargain stores to find what I’m looking for. I do have a couple of bulkier cardigans that I didn’t wear much last winter because they weren’t super convenient for breastfeeding, so perhaps I’ll try them out again this winter.
A Mom Backpack
I’ve been carrying the same backpack diaper bag for more than 4 years now and I’m working on finding an alternative. So far everything I’ve seen is too small and too expensive, so I may have to settle for looking like a bit of a pack mule with my overloaded backpack and purse slung over my arm. I’ve thought about getting a stylish tote of some kind, but I love being hands free for putting kids in car seats, and a backpack is one of the only ways to do that well. I also worry about the long term effects of a heavy tote being carrier on my shoulder.
So what about you? What are your style no-no’s and what previously uncharted territory are you willing to pursue fashion wise?
Here are some great websites I’ve discovered to help me find my mom-fashion style.
Ain’t No Mom Jeans
You Look Fab
J’s Everyday Fashion
Join me next week as I work my way through Frump to Pumps, a one-month motivational for getting dressed.