Thursday, June 9, 2011

Go Your Own Way

I am a firm believer that style rules do not really matter so much anymore.

Style today is so much about variety and mixture - mashing together various eras and shapes and wearing what makes you feel good and flatters you, as opposed to what is expected. Of course, there are still instances wherein you must dress to a certain "code" (e.g., offices in general, public events such as weddings, etc) but a lot of the codes have relaxed at least slightly. One could argue that this more "relaxed" outlook is taken too far by some people (I am looking at you, 22 year old men), but that's another blog post...

One area of style rules that has always annoyed me is the one that dictates what women of my size and shape - see: curvy and short - should and shouldn't wear. It seems like every blog or magazine I read sometimes either shows NO examples of flattering looks for us, or very limited examples. Either that or the looks that they do show are ones that A)  are completely inappropriate for someone older than 16, B) assume I weigh about 100 lbs and/or have no hips or butt, or C) are, frankly, boring and conservative.

Just because I am 5 feet tall does not mean I can't wear a long skirt. Just because I have a round lower half does not mean I can't wear leggings. Just because I am curvy on the bottom does not mean I can't wear a graphic print skirt. I CAN wear horizontal stripes! Oh, I should be wearing heels all the time so that I can be face-to-face with people of "normal" height, should I? I don't think so. Heels hurt my feet, and I walk. A lot. Therefore it is flats 6 days out of 7, and I will wear heels only if I know I won't be standing or walking much.

It's all in how you wear it. It's about keeping proportions even - if you wear something full on top, wear something slim on the bottom (and vice versa) - and highlighting your assets (for example, I like my shoulders and chest so I try to wear things that are slimmer and lower cut on the top - tastefully, of course).

Don't feel relegated to the petite or plus-size sections in stores. I, for one, can't wear petite pants because I have a fairly high waist and big hips so the shorter rise on petite pants often does not cut it. I may look like a grandma under my shirts, but I often wear pants with a higher rise because they are more comfortable and flattering. Who cares?! Nobody sees the top of my pants! Heck, I bought a maternity top at H&M (mind you, I didn't realize it was maternity until after I tried it on) and it's one of my favourite tops! You might even find better-fitting shirts in the men's section, and that's really ok. No one is going to arrest you if you try on, buy and wear a men's shirt. Trust me, no one will even notice.

Who says you can't shop in certain sections or wear certain trends? You should shop wherever you can find clothes that you like and that fit, and that's that.

It seems like a simple, obvious concept but societal rules are so ingrained into our minds that many of us limit ourselves without even thinking about it. Look, finding clothes that fit (for all of us) is really, freakin' tough. Don't make it more tough by relegating yourself to certain sections, looks, colours, cuts and prints.

For all my short/curvy ladies: Just to illustrate that I know what I am talking about (and lets be honest, we all love pretty pictures, right?), here are some ways to wear some supposed fashion "don'ts" and make them work for your shape and size>


Victoria s Secret v neck tee
$17 -

Long skirt
$100 -

Dolce vita sandals
$30 -

Slimmer belt
20 GBP -

This is a huge trend right now, and one that is (admittedly) intimidating for someone with short legs. But as you can see from the above set, it's all about changing up the proportions - first of all, choose a skirt in a light fabric and slim shape (thin pleats and underskirt), either monochromatic or a basic print to avoid adding bulk and roundness. Cinching the waist will keep your legs looking longer and shoes with some height keep the skirt from drowning you. Keeping the top slim and the overall look simple will streamline the look further. I have used a t-shirt here, but a slim short jacket could easily be thrown over it for a more formal occasion.


MIH JEANS smock top
155 GBP -

Theory stretch blazer
$536 -

Dorothy Perkins cotton pants
30 GBP -

Topshop shoes
$80 -

Juma silk shawl
$175 -

I wear tops like this quite often actually. I try to keep the bottom slim when I wear a top like this to avoid looking sloppy, or if it is a longer top I will slim it down by belting or wear a slim cardigan/jacket over it (as I showed above). Leggings are a great choice (as long as they are a neutral colour and the top covers your bum, ladies!) as are slim black pants or jeans. Don't worry about a bright colour or busy print. Just make sure you keep the accessories minimal on top and don't wear a shoe that is too chunky (unless you enjoy looking like Ronald McDonald). I like that these kinds of tops can be very dressy, but are also comfortable (no Spanx needed here). I want this yellow jacket SOOOO bad btw

I realize it is sort of counteractive to state that there are "no fashion rules" and then present rules for wearing certain looks, but I like to think of these as TIPS more so than rules. The looks are also merely meant to illustrate my point that supposed "unflattering" shapes and trends can be turned on their heads and be worn by women who traditionally would be considered unable to wear them.

Bottom line is, wear what you want, regardless of your size and shape.

Though, it has to be said the one style rule I will ALWAYS promote is NEVER EVER wear pajamas in public. I mean, lets at least put a LITTLE TEENSY WEENSY bit of effort in, shall we? It won't kill you.

*Inspired by one of Mama Kat's prompts from this week*


Cbar_k said...

I embrace your bottom line!
Just popped in from Mama Kat to say hi!Chris

Kim Humes said...

Hi Chris! Thanks for stopping by

Lenore* said...

luv the color on the long skirt!

Sara Elizabeth said...

Great, fun post! I agree with you. I am plus size/curvy. I wear a 16/18 and am VERY bottom heavy and VERY top heavy with a naturally cinched waist. I shop in every section! When I am at Target I got through the Junior section and sometimes snobby-looking college girls who are very thin and trendy will look at my like I am crazy to be in their department, but I often find some cute tank-tops in their department. Their department DOES go up to XL, after-all, which is what I a wear. LOL! Pants I usually have to buy in the Plus section, but I find cute tops in all departments for sure. :)

Kim Humes said...

I hear you - I hate going into stores full of skinny tweens and feeling their stares barb into my face, but screw it. I can wear clothes from some of those stores depending on the cut. Even really trendy stuff - and I'm actually mature enough to wear the trends properly instead of just layering them or wearing the exact thing my friend is wearing (unlike tweens) lol

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