Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Staying Chic When You're between Sizes: Part 1

In the first of this three-part installment, I offer my tips on looking stylish during times of physical transition.

Thanks to reader request, I've decided to tackle a very tricky and (sometimes sensitive) issue in regard to how to dress when you're between sizes. If your weight often fluctuates, or if you've undergone a major life change (such as having a baby), your sense of style can be thrown out of whack, along with your body and hormones!

Lots of things can make one's weight and size fluctuate. Stress, having a baby, changes to medications, or new dietary or exercise habits can all cause one's size or shape to change, sometimes very drastically! Personally, I tend to be rather affected by the changes of the season, and I usually pack on a few pounds in the winter... though whether that's a result of enjoying heartier cold-weather foods, staying indoors (and on the couch) more, or my animal instinct to hibernate, who's to say? But one thing is certain-- a noticeable change to one's size and body shape can definitely effect one's confidence and sense of style. Here are some tips on how to look your best during these times of physical transition.

First and foremost, clothing must fit well. After gaining or losing weight, clothes don't fit the same way. What once looked great, maybe now doesn't fit properly in certain areas. Clothing that is too tight on the hips or around the arms, or too loose in the chest, can cause someone to re-evaluate his or her inner sense of chic. Although a certain wardrobe item may be stylish and of great quality, if it no longer fits you, don't wear it! Which brings me to my second point...

Clothing must fit well everywhere. If that dress looks great on your torso, but your arms are losing circulation in the sleeves, then don't wear it. Clothing should fit and flatter you everywhere-- not just in certain parts. As unfortunate as it may be, many people tend to focus on the flaws in one's attire-- don't give them that opportunity! You will feel much more confident if you know that you look flawless from top to bottom, sleeves and all.

Dress to fit the widest part of your body. This is a piece of advice I gathered from TLC's fashion guru, Stacy London, after watching hundreds of episodes of What Not to Wear. If you wear a size 8 blouse, and size 10 trousers, most likely, the size 10 dress is the one you want to buy. Looser clothing will not only look better (no bulging seams or too-tight sleeves), but it will also feel more comfortable. "But wait," you might wonder, "what if it's too loose everywhere else? You just said that clothing should fit everywhere!" Very true! I'm  glad you've been paying attention. That brings me to my next point...

A point, which I feel is so important, that it deserves its own post: Become acquainted with a good tailor or seamstress.

Be sure to check back for more from this three-part mini-series! In the mean time, consider two questions for your Tuesday:
  1. What are experiences with clothing fit and form-- is finding your perfect fit difficult?
  2. Does your size or shape change frequently?
The above photograph was taken by me of a plaza staircase in 2012 in Dresden, Germany.

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