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Author Topic: wardrobe challenges  (Read 18300 times)
coveringup
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« on: April 23, 2012, 2:17:39 PM »

(I'm posting under a different name due to the nature of this question.)

I started losing weight last year due to stress and have kept dropping the weight.  However, it seems that those 15 pounds of baby fat were apparently hiding a very hourglass figure (think Joan Holloway).  That would be great, except I have no clue how to dress appropriately and I find myself more embarrassed than happy about my new body shape.  At the risk of echoing the thread by a delusional poster from years ago about people massaging themselves under their shirts due to one's good looks, I end up feeling awkward and uncomfortable in front of the classroom or when, for example, I go to meet with my department chair and he ends up staring at my chest.  I've been sticking to baggy sweaters but they aren't particularly flattering.  My department in general is fairly casual to the point where most female professors just throw on slacks and t-shirt or shell, but when I tried this, I look about 20 pounds heavier.

Does anyone have any advice or perhaps blogs to check out?  All of the ones I've seen that are geared to academics don't really discuss any of these issues.
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baleful_regards
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« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2012, 2:22:07 PM »

I'm going to PM you the place I have my dresses custom made. I too have a very shapely ( womanly) figure.
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lohai0
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« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2012, 2:22:51 PM »

Someone will probably be along shortly with better advice. Meanwhile, see if you can find Fit for Real People in your library. The first half of the book is a nice explanation of what looks best on your shape. (The other half is sewing). I am very oddly proportioned, so this is my go-to book when I start looking for (and usually sewing) my clothes
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greyscale
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« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2012, 2:23:52 PM »

academichic.com is no longer active but their archives are full of very appropriate outfits and good discussion. This page has links to a lot of their how-to posts:
http://www.academichic.com/taking-notes-2/
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chaosbydesign
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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2012, 2:33:27 PM »

Bookmarking, mainly, as I have the same problem when shopping for clothes. Part of the problem, I think, is that most clothes are just not made for people who have small waists but, uh, large t***. (Sorry. I couldn't think of another way to say that right now.)

I tend to wear shirts/tops that are a little big for me then put a large belt around my waist so they're not shapeless, but not so tightly clinging to me that I feel uncomfortable. I also put sleeveless tops under most shirts and tops so if they are a little low-cut they don't show more than I am comfortable showing. Dresses with belts are a good option, as are skirts with a slightly higher than usual waist.

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baleful_regards
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« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2012, 2:50:38 PM »

CBD - That is *exactly* my issue.  When I had my first dress made, one of the dressmakers questions involved where my shirts fall in front. Of course, I had to confess that I bought HUGE shirts in order to get them to encompass my endowments and not look scandalous or look like I was trying to pull off a "belly shirt" look.

I'd never before thought about it in that way before she'd inquired.

Anyway, I'd add the link here - I have many, many of these dresses and they are really fabulous. Huge choice of color/fabric and Cynthia can alter anything about the dress, including type of skirt, length of sleeve, how much skin you want to show in anything that dips down.

Also, now having travelled with these dresses I can say that the fabric holds up really, really well to packing and unpacking.

http://heartmycloset.myshopify.com/

http://heartmycloset.myshopify.com/collections/mad-men-inspired
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chaosbydesign
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« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2012, 2:57:18 PM »

CBD - That is *exactly* my issue.  When I had my first dress made, one of the dressmakers questions involved where my shirts fall in front. Of course, I had to confess that I bought HUGE shirts in order to get them to encompass my endowments and not look scandalous or look like I was trying to pull off a "belly shirt" look.

I'd never before thought about it in that way before she'd inquired.

Anyway, I'd add the link here - I have many, many of these dresses and they are really fabulous. Huge choice of color/fabric and Cynthia can alter anything about the dress, including type of skirt, length of sleeve, how much skin you want to show in anything that dips down.

Also, now having travelled with these dresses I can say that the fabric holds up really, really well to packing and unpacking.

http://heartmycloset.myshopify.com/

http://heartmycloset.myshopify.com/collections/mad-men-inspired

Ooh, I want ALL those dresses. All of them.

When I get my tax refund I am definitely trying that store out. The dresses aren't even horribly expensive, considering you can get them custom made.
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spectacle
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« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2012, 2:58:00 PM »

Mostly bookmarking as another top-heavy lady, but also wondering... I love button-down shirts, but I bust out of them unless I buy them too-large.

Anyone have a good place that does button-downs for busty women?

Thank goodness for this thread, except for my paycheck, which is cursing balefulregardss for posting heartmycloset.  I want every one of those dresses.  
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melba_frilkins
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« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2012, 3:06:29 PM »

This is not my problem at all (weight loss did the opposite for me. I wish we could average out our gains/losses).

Anyway, what comes to mind for me is the show "How to Look Good Naked". Despite its silly name, it's a good make-over show. I know there were at least a couple episodes that featured a woman with the same challenge. There are both U.S. and U.K. versions available on Hulu; check them both out. I'm not sure how well the episodes are labeled/described, but you might be able to find the relevant ones fairly quickly without having to watch them all.

What I like about the show is that you really see the before and after, and how to and explanations. And call me corny, but I find the show uplifting because they do a lot to celebrate and optimize various body types.
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klaradeb
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« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2012, 3:32:34 PM »

Waist belts. Invest in lots of them. Obi belts can be quite cheap. They're the best friend of the hourglass figure: they make you look slimmer (less focus on your hips), more shapely/feminine and the natural waist makes your legs look longer. You'll probably also find that most pants gap at the waist - I wear mostly dresses (with a waist belt - I have lots of warm wool dresses for the winter) and skirts for that reason. I think I have a grand total of 3 pairs of pants (including jeans) that fit.

I have a very narrow waist (about 23 inches) but regular hips and not much of a chest (push-up bras help balance it out.) As a result I have to get most of my waist belts custom made, but it's definitely worth it.

Those dresses are pretty! I'm not sure about skirts that fall below the knee though - it looks great if you're tall, but I'm 5'5" with short legs so they would make me look like a dwarf. I would probably get them shortened a bit.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2012, 3:38:19 PM by klaradeb » Logged
baleful_regards
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« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2012, 3:37:59 PM »

This is not my problem at all (weight loss did the opposite for me. I wish we could average out our gains/losses).

Anyway, what comes to mind for me is the show "How to Look Good Naked". Despite its silly name, it's a good make-over show. I know there were at least a couple episodes that featured a woman with the same challenge. There are both U.S. and U.K. versions available on Hulu; check them both out. I'm not sure how well the episodes are labeled/described, but you might be able to find the relevant ones fairly quickly without having to watch them all.

What I like about the show is that you really see the before and after, and how to and explanations. And call me corny, but I find the show uplifting because they do a lot to celebrate and optimize various body types.

I love the UK version of that show. Is the hosts name Gok? I love him.

My three go-to interview dresses from Heart My Closet were the Headmistress ( in deep purple), the Blue one with the ruffle front ( Joanna -mad men collection) and the Jackie ( also mad men). I have some vintage broaches I got at salvation army/thrift stores to pair with them. I was complimented on each dress.

There are at least three others I have marked for my first paycheck. Drrrroooollllll.

She takes about 2-3 weeks to get the dress to you, but again - I think I have maybe 10 in total from her. If you sign up for newsletter, she will tell you when she has a new style coming out, and frequently gives free shipping. Very, very reasonable cost. I don't think I could buy those dresses ready made for that price. The fit is what sells them to me. I've never looked so good in a dress. Plus, most come with sweet belts!

It sounds ridiculous but I'd never really considered how "one size fits all" most sizes off the rack have to be to hit the broadest segment of the population. I am currently a 42 bust..with a 35 inch waist - so it is quite a difference. Fwiw, I have also lost about 35 pounds over the past year or so. But the bust never goes down.
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chaosbydesign
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« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2012, 5:53:20 PM »

Fwiw, I have also lost about 35 pounds over the past year or so. But the bust never goes down.

I know, right? I've lost around 20 pounds and that never changes. Which is good, because I hate bra shopping.
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frogfactory
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« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2012, 6:32:30 PM »

. Part of the problem, I think, is that most clothes are just not made for people who have small waists but, uh, large t***. (Sorry. I couldn't think of another way to say that right now.)

Or those of us with the reverse conformation.  I'm jealous of everyone on this thread :p
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academic_cog
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« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2012, 8:43:39 PM »

Ooh I love those dresses on the heart my closet site! Like the retro dresses on shabby apple. Unfortunately, I am "apple" shaped and so don't have a waist ... or my waist is the widest part of my body. Sigh.

Those dresses are gorgeous but still might call attention to your chest, if you are having troubles with people staring. You might try wearing blazers, if you have the money to get them fitted to your shape a bit, to be more covered without being shapeless. (They tell apple shapes to wear fitted blazers, unbuttoned, to draw the eye away from the stomach. You might want to wear buttoned blazers.)  Also material that calls attention up toward your face, like scarves, necklaces, necklines, and away from your bustline.

And now I want to go online shopping. Yum!
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dr_prephd
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« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2012, 9:43:13 PM »

I second the Adademichic recommendation. If you spend some time with the comments, you'll find links to other academically-minded fashion blogs. (They exist, believe it or not.)

I'm also an hourglass who has also lost a bit of weight, but who has still stayed large on top. I have good success mixing up shift dresses, suits, shells, cardigans, and blazers. I try not to dress provocatively, so if I wear a short-ish skirt or anything that might even reveal the slightest hint of cleavage, then I don't wear heels.

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