When my daughter said, “This is the best outfit you’ve worn all week,” I got one of those big you-know-what-kind-of grins on my face. Lord knows, I haven’t been feeling much glee about getting dressed lately. I’ve put on a few pounds. I’m on the cusp of buying the next size up, but in the meantime, I’m trying to work around my expanding middle. (Grumble grumble.)
Working around my waist
Every morning starts the same way: What bottom can I wear that still fits and will feel comfortable to wear all day? This day’s answer: my Anthropology delicately pleated blush skirt with an elastic waist.
What happened after that skirt decision has been top secret. I didn’t tell Erin—I just grinned that grin—but I’m so excited to be telling you!
Styling an outfit using two garments with big problems
I slipped the skirt on and wished I had an oversized, but lightweight, sweater hanging in my closet. Can’t you just see it? It could be a crewneck or a v-neck and it wouldn’t hug my midsection. But I don’t have that. What I do have is a Sarah Pacini sort-of-sweater that I purchased at a person’s home. A friend of a friend was having a sale. It was like going to a Sarah Pacini warehouse. Everyone there thought I should buy this sweater.
I love the color and weight of it. It has style, it’s modern, yet totally impractical. I broke down and brought it home. In five minutes I was saying to myself, What was I thinking?
It’s nearly sheer, as you can see, and it doesn’t have side seams. It’s completely open, nearly up to the armpit, on both sides. So, of course, you have to wear something under it and that underpiece hasn’t been easy to figure out. I know I had a great solution a year ago, but I forgot what it was.
Searching for an underprice leads to the blouse with the dry-cleaning notice
Back to the closet I went to find an underpiece. I spied a neutral-colored, silk sleeveless blouse that I’ve worn for years. It has problems. First of all, it has a top button with a buttonhole so small that unless I have time to wrestle with it, I won’t choose it. Plus, it’s pulling a tad in the bust area. And now, it had come back from the cleaners with a tag on it that said, “You might as well get rid of this because that stain in front is not coming out, Girlfriend.”
I hardly know why it was still hanging there in my closet as it had two strikes against it already. But there it was saying, “Brenda, I’m still here for you. I know I’m not perfect, but I might be good enough.”
Okay, silk blouse, it’s the bottom of the 9th, the bases are loaded, and I’m putting you in. Let’s see if you can knock this outfit out of the ballpark.
Creating interest at the middle so you don’t see my middle
It sounds like an oxymoron, but the way I was going to camouflage my heftier waist was to bring attention to my waist. I love playing those kind of styling tricks on my clients when they complain about body parts. Now I was doing it on myself.
The first thing I did was layer the thin sweater over the Theory size medium top. (I’d take a large now.) Creating a tonal look is always lovely and often slimming.
I thought about belting everything. Next stop: my belt basket. I pulled out this patent leather thin beige belt and put it on the outside of the sweater. It only brought attention to my waistline. But that’s where the slits up to the armpit came in handy! Next I belted the front of the sweater but not the back. The back laid straight. See?
Accessorizing my tonal outfit
I pulled the two layers up and bloused it a tad over the belt while positioning the belt lower than my actual waist. I added more interest to the front with my heart necklace and a pendant I purchased at the Petaluma Antique Faire a couple of years ago. I’d simply strung a blond coated metal chain through the hook at the top of the pendant. That v-shape in front, made from the layered pendants, was very pleasing and dare I say, slimming?
I added my Victor Sanz Owl Ring that has little diamonds in it, plus a couple of gold, thin bangles. Suddenly I was feeling like a sixty-year-old Cinderella. That grumble-grumble feeling I’d started the styling session with was replaced by calm and grace. I felt like a princess in my soft colors and flowy fabrics.
It was still hot out so I wore the Camper sandals that had been headed for winter storage.
I added one more layer, which is a light-colored scarf my friend Marj gave me. It has a stylish fashion illustration of a young woman in a dress and heels and a shopping bag around the same color and shape as the bag I’m wearing.
Noteworthy: Does anyone recall my post about my face-off with catastrophe when a van slid off the road and into a ditch right next to me during a heavy March rainstorm? Remember the J.Jill orchid jeans that had been in my trunk to be returned and somehow after my car was repaired, I saw those black marks all over them? Well, this scarf was in the trunk as well and had the same big, black marks all over it. I thought it was a goner but I took it to the cleaners and they got it all out. A winner!
So my friends, there you have it: the Anatomy of an Outfit borne out of a “what will fit me today” moment. Put two problems together—the Theory silk blouse with nowhere to go but out and the Sarah Pacini what-was-I-thinking sweater with no sides—and miraculously they created the perfect solution. I was comfortable and pleased with myself. Expanding waist? What expanding waist? Who cares if you look cute?
Have you worked around a piece or two that had problems? I bet you have. Share with us how you found a solution, would you?
P.S. I love hanging out with you!