Body Type Shmody Type

As part of my Project Put Together to reclaim my style and cast off the mom frump, I’ve been learning about my personal style and how I want to dress my figure as it is now, instead of when I lose whatever amount of weight I might need to depending on who you ask. I’ve been reading all kinds of advice from stylists, and some of it was really helpful and made tons of sense, and some of it made me want to smash something.

I am either an “apple” or an “hourglass” depending on a few pounds, and maybe it’s because I can fall into the category that most people deem the hardest to dress, but I kept getting madder and madder the more I read. The advice for an “apple” is almost always, “Yeah, you’re hard. Do whatever you can to draw attention away from your body.”

Advice was to minimize the bust, minimize the hips, don’t wear anything with ruffles, or stripes, or detail around the collar, or any waistline that doesn’t involve a corset. Cover my thin legs with bell bottoms to even things out. One stylist’s blog recommended that I look for tops with sleeves with fringe or embroidery to draw attention to my thin arms (and away from my fat body).

All this advice made me mad because it supposes that there’s only one “best” way to look. Women with large pear hips should want smaller ones and dress in a way that hides them. Athletic women without curves should dress in a way that manufactures them. Women like me with large breasts and some extra weight around my middle should try to hide that because we should all be striving to be as small as possible. According to this line of thinking, there is one way to look good, and we should all try to hide or disguise whatever makes us different from that look.

But this is my body. This is it. I don’t want to make it look like something it isn’t. I am what I am. I’d be happy to lose a few pounds, like just about anybody, but overall I’m happy with my body, big boobs and hips, thin legs and all. Women around the world pay a fortune to have breasts like mine, and yet according to some stylists, my body isn’t “right” as it is because it doesn’t look like this one, narrow, “appropriate” way of dressing. I say baloney.

I say, if you’re an athletic woman with no curves, you be proud of your muscles and your lithe physique and don’t spend time pining after a juicy booty. Likewise, if you’ve got a juicy booty, be proud of it and stop torturing yourself with spanx. And we should all stop trying to play tricks with our clothes to make us look like the one “right” way to be attractive.

Still, embracing my body doesn’t mean everything is suddenly going to look great on me. There are certain styles that are just not going to look as good on me as they would on someone else. Off the rack button front shirts are the bane of my fashionable existence. Body positivity and aesthetics are complicated friends, but even embracing my curves I don’t think certain silhouettes look as good on me as others. So what could a stylist tell me that wouldn’t be horribly offensive?

How about this? Wear What Fits.

I don’t mean that as some anti-fashion harrumphing, I mean it as a call for scrupulous  honesty with ourselves.The trick is to wear what fits you ALL OVER. I look dumb in pants that fit me in the waist but are enormous in the thighs. A boxy blazer doesn’t fit me, because I have curves. So I need a curvy cut blazer. If a shirt is low cut (or even moderately cut) it’s often too small for me. It doesn’t fit because my breasts are too big for it. And my shirts often have to be quite a bit longer to make up for the extra stuffing. Meanwhile, a slim woman with an A cup isn’t going to fit in a dress with big cups, or cut for an hourglass shape. That doesn’t mean she shouldn’t wear tight dresses, it means she needs one that fits.

One version doesn’t need to be “better,” any more than it matters what prescription your eyeglasses are. Without the people in them, a fitted knit dress has no more value than a button front shirtdress. So it really shouldn’t matter once the people are inside, as long as the clothes fit. I don’t care what the stylists say, I can rock a turtleneck if it’s big enough to fit my breasts without straining while also not pooling around my middle. I can wear a shirtdress if it’s got enough pleats and darts to fit me without the buttons gaping. I can wear whatever I want as long as it fits the body I actually have.

I don’t think there’s anything so wrong with my body that I need to minimize it or distract from it. I think I just need to wear clothes that actually fit me, curves and all.

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2011 Year of Pleasures #34

Pedicure

Aaaahhh. My dry summer feet really needed that.

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Oh my heart, my broken mama heart

Atti and Sara

Atti and I got to spend a day with Sara, one of my favorite people in the whole world, a little while ago. We drove into Oakland where she was staying and ran around a kids amusement park with her son and his little friend. Since Atti doesn’t have full mobility or speech, he normally doesn’t do much playing on his play dates. He’s often content to watch his friends play while he laughs, or he’ll just entertain himself. This time Atti was having a blast scaring the life out of me by insisting that I let him go down an incline in his wheelchair by himself, screeching with a hockey stop at the last possible second before toppling off into the flowerbeds.

The other boys climbed and ran and played and Atti went down the hill while Sara and I talked, and it was fine. I love having my little buddy close at hand, and he’s a little shy guy. I don’t mind if he doesn’t want to play.

Then we saw the carousel. I have posted so many pictures of him on carousels that it should come as no surprise he was so excited he could barely wait.

The three boys waited in line and when we got to the front, instead of the typical “you must be this tall to ride” sign, they had a “you must be between this tall and this tall to ride” sign. No adults were allowed on the ride because they had a weight limit. Which meant I couldn’t get on to spot him, so Atti couldn’t ride.

The other boys had already run ahead and claimed their spots so they started the carousel up as Sara and I talked and tried to pretend that nothing had happened. Atti’s friends got off, the door opened up, and Atti wheeled ahead, thinking he had waited his turn and now he could ride the carousel. But he couldn’t. And I had to explain that to him. It broke my heart right in half.

The attendant looked properly chagrined and recommended we try the other carousel, the one made for smaller kids.

Baby Merry-go-Round

It was not the same. You can almost see Atti saying, “What is this bull crap?”

Atti has never minded being different before. He’s shy, he has his own interests, he’s never been excluded in a way that bothered him. Until today. And there is just nothing I can do about it. I just held him close and said, “Who needs carousels when you’ve got your own set of wheels, right buddy?” but I don’t think I left him totally convinced. It might have had something to do with the tears I was choking back.

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Woodgrain Pencil Skirt

woodgrain pencil skirt
Pencil skirts are my very very favorite piece of clothing. My figure was just made to wear them. If I could only wear one thing for the rest of my life, it would be this indestructible gray stretchy pencil skirt I got a million years ago. I’ve worn it pregnant, I’ve worn it at my thinnest and my biggest, I’ve worn it to the theater and to work. For years I’ve been meaning to use it to make a copy and spread the love around.

The time finally seemed right when I found this outrageous woodgrain patterned fabric on clearance at Joann’s. There’s quite a bit of stretch to it, so I knew I’d get that same wonderful magic effect of being able to wear it no matter how my weight fluctuated, and I loved how that pattern provided some interest while still being subtle enough to make this skirt a wardrobe staple.

Exposed zipper
I’m also wild about the exposed zipper trend. I love how it takes a classic silhouette and makes it so modern. I wish I had used a different method to sew in the zipper, but this will do.

Now I’m going to try and ignore the fact that I just put a picture of my booty up on the internet.

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Popcorn Extravaganza

Popcorn with ham and swiss

When I went down to San Diego in July with Bear, we got one beautiful meal out on the town. The rest was tied up in work meetings for him and whining about the heat for me. We lucked into Currant, and I ordered three different appetizers and stuffed myself silly. Everything was wonderful, but it was the “Popcorn of the Moment” that made me have a total epiphany. I ordered it because it sounded whimsical and fun, I ate every bite of it because it was incredible. The day we went, the selection was popcorn with ham and gruyere. I couldn’t believe I’d never seen this before. It was like a whole new take on a ham and swiss sandwhich, but easy and fun and absolutely delicious. Through the whole rest of the dinner we kept talking about what else we’d like to put in our popcorn. Bacon and blue cheese, turkey and provolone, carne asada with lime and cilantro.

Popcorn with swiss and pastrami

I raided the fridge as soon as we got home and we happened to have some swiss and pastrami, so I chopped it all up and dumped it in. And that was dinner. I thought that stovetop popping would be best for this, but I’ve got a bit more to learn before I get that quite right. If you’re a stovetop pro, then I’d just toss in your meats and cheeses right before you take it off the heat. For me, I ended up using my trusty old airpopper, tossing with butter, the cheese and meat, and then putting it in the microwave for a couple of seconds to get the cheese nice and gooey. The possibilities with this are endless. And now on those nights, which come just about every night in the summertime, when I can’t bring myself to cook, I can have something easy and yummy to fill me up.

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Thrift Store Shopping Spree

New outfit
I really hate shopping. Well, I should probably just say “I really hate running errands. Of any kind.” I put off pretty much anything that has to be done out of my house and then do it all in spurts. So when I do buy clothes it tends to be in big clumps, which means that I shop almost exclusively at thrift stores and the clearance section of Target so that my wallet won’t start smoking from my trips.

My local Goodwill was so good on this last trip that I actually asked the cashier if they bussed in donations. I have no idea how my little, poor, blighted town can regularly have such amazing stuff.

I bought that entire outfit in one trip at Goodwill, after the Pendleton wool sweater I’m wearing literally jumped into my cart. I wouldn’t have looked at it, it is summer after all, but my cart snagged it’s hanger and it joined the mountain of clothes I had to try on. It ended up being my favorite find of the day.

Thrift Store Haul
This trip I went with my Project Put Together in mind, so I ended up buying a lot of staples, pieces that could be layered or mixed, and skirts.

Payless Haul
Atticus was being such a great sport about the whole thing, that after a stop for ice cream I decided to cross the street and check out what Payless had to offer. Best luck ever, I walked in when they were having a 70% off end of season sale. I let Atti crawl around on the carpet while I pulled out box after box after box. An embarrassing amount. But in my defense, many of these shoes were $3. I mean really, it would have been irresponsible *not* to buy them. Right?

New Shoes
These were my favorite find of the day, and probably something I never ever would have bought at full price. Since I’m such a cheapskate, I tend to avoid really trendy things, or buy one trendy item in a basic color so I can get a ton of wear out of it before it goes out. But at $5? I can take a risk.

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2011 Year of Pleasures #33

Driver

How could I have forgotten to post this after BlogHer? This is what I was the most excited to tell you guys about!!

When I got off the plane in San Diego, this handsome gentleman was waiting for me. I told him I was a blogger and asked to take his picture and he joked about making Blue Steel.

It was the first time I’ve ever had anyone besides family pick me up at the airport, and certainly the first time a fancy driver in a suit picked me up in a towncar. I felt like the fanciest lady alive.

 

 

 

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In a world…where one woman…blogs.

You’ve seen movie trailers, maybe you’ve seen book trailers, now, you’ve seen a blog trailer.

Inspired by my new pal Shelley from House of Smiths, I took all the things I’ve been thinking about lately, my goals for myself and my blog, the things I learned at BlogHer, and I put them in one pretty little package set to the music of Feist.

I can’t stop watching it.

As more and more of us take up blogging, it becomes more and more important to understand our voices. To figure out what we have to say and offer that’s different from everybody else out there shouting for attention from the internet. We talk about elevator pitches and branding and market niches, but all that business buzz speak just boils down to one question: Who Are You?

This video is exactly who I am, and I love it.

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My Fashion Sense

I have a closet stuffed with clothes. Totally stuffed. And most days I walk into that closet look around, decide I hate everything in it and stay in my pajamas for the day.

And why do I have that reaction? Because so few of the clothes I have are “me.” Most of them were bought at one deep clearance sale or another just because they were cheap and they fit. I often just needed another shirt I could wear out of the house, so I put my own standards aside. Then there are clothes I bought because they fit the culture, but aren’t anything I really like for myself. Preppy clothes from our time in New England, lots of capris or casual pants from our time in San Diego. Things I bought because they were what all the other women my age were wearing regardless of how I felt about them.

Then there’s the whole age thing. As I’ve written before, once you cross 30, dressing takes a little more thought. If you just buy what’s in the department stores you’ll either look too young or too matronly. It takes creativity to combine the two in a personal way.

So I’ve started using Pinterest to keep track of outfits I really love and would love to wear. The findings were surprising. I really don’t like casual clothes very much. Which is not what you would guess if you saw my closet. The clothes I really love are slightly formal, clean and bold, and very womanly.

I’ve narrowed it down to three fashion icons I plan on using as inspiration.

Source: time.com via Tresa on Pinterest

Kate Middleton

So far I have wanted every single outfit I have ever seen her wear. There’s a simple, classic style to the clothes she wears, but she never appears fussy or mannered. Just elegant.

Dita Von Teese

Dita is far more openly sexual than I am comfortable being, but when she dresses conservatively she rocks an old school style like none other. I love her nipped in waists, her commitment to glamour, her vintage femininity that comes across like steel.

Source: google.com via Tresa on Pinterest

Christina Hendricks as Joan Holloway

Oh Christina, the hero of every large breasted woman everywhere. If I didn’t love vintage inspired fashions before, Joan Holloway would make me. Dressing my curves has always been my biggest challenge and seeing her walk around the offices of SCDP with her shoulders thrown back has helped me embrace the curves God gave me. So maybe I can’t really wear a button front shirt without threat of exposure. It hasn’t slowed Joan down.

Already I’m finding myself more often heading to the side of my closet that has the skirts and dresses, and leaving the jeans alone. Jeans were great in my twenties, but in my thirties I’m feeling like it’s time to embrace my womanhood and strive for classic, timeless, elegance. I don’t think yoga pants fit that description.

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I did it! Look how pretty!

In keeping with this crappy year, Blogger decided to jerk me around for the last time. In a saga that I only barely understand and is far too technical for most of us to stay interested in, along with Blogger’s outages and post eating, it’s partnership with Google led to me falling into a black hole of the internet where Google kept trying to divide me into two accounts and then picked one and locked me out of the other. When the entire internet is run by Google, and Google hates your guts, the internet is not a very cooperative place.

So after nearly eight years, I finally packed up and stormed off in a huff, trying not to think too hard about the broken links I left behind. I love WordPress, love my pretty new site that I have total control over (Bwah ha ha ha ha), I did not so much love the full week of work and hours and hours of phone calls with tech support.

But it’s done. And I’m happy. If any of you notice anything wonky in your feed, please give a shout. Also, I added the Google Friend Connect widget because sponsors want to see numbers. Please consider joining up. I feel naked with no friends in there!

Welcome to my new home.

P.S. GoDaddy, seeing as how you are the Domain guys? You may want to walk your tech guys through the process. Took three tries.

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