Frequently I’m asked “As an image consultant do you always have to dress up?”. My answer is, “Well I still wear jeans and t-shirts, but they’re good jeans and t-shirts and I tend to accessorize too.” You never know when you leave the house, even if it’s just the supermarket or the school run, if you’ll be bumping into your next client, and as they say, you never get a second change to make a first impression.
So I thought I’d share some of my outfits over the coming weeks and months and also write a little about why I wear them, why they work for me and how I put them together.
When I’m not seeing clients, I don’t dress up quite so much, particularly if I’m spending most of my day sitting in front of the computer writing blog posts, working on my business, creating new products, and dealing with the general administration of running a business, I like to feel comfortable, it’s one of my drivers. So what do I wear?
Outfit 1: Stretch straight leg jeans (Country Rd), ballet flats (Novo), Pink chiffon top (boutique buy) with pink shrug (Temt) and peacock necklace (Wild Bling).
Outfit 2: Jeans as in outfit 1, sandals (Novo – Giselle Bundchen IPANEMA), red top (Target), black shrug (Glassons), Necklace (market find).
So why these outfits?
Well as you’d know I’m an H shape, so I tend to avoid clothes that have too much waist definition – always avoid anything with an obvious waist seam as it makes my large (G cup) bust look larger, and my waist look proportionally even shorter than it already is.
You’ll notice that neither of these really highlight my waist – they bypass without drawing attention.
Even though I’m bypassing my waist, I still need clothes to come back in and fit my body around my high hip area so that it doesn’t all just look baggy and make me look really big.
I’ve got fairly long legs, and a slightly shorter body, which particularly with a large bust, looks visually shorter than it is, so I need my tops to finish no higher than my hip bone and can go down to my upper thigh, just past my widest point so that it doesn’t make my thighs/hips look even wider.
My main body variation is my large bust, it’s the reason I became an image consultant as I had to learn how to dress it so I didn’t look like a page 3 girl and so people would talk to my face rather than my chest. Lower necklines also visually diminish my bust size. I’ve discovered that cowl necklines can be really flattering, they drape softly, not clinging and then I use a large scale piece of jewellery to create the optical illusion that my breasts are smaller than they are. Believe me, it works.
Like many women, I don’t have Michelle Obama arms, so I make sure that sleeves cut at narrow points, rather than wide ones, either 3/4 is fantastic or notice how the red top the sleeves are vertical rather than horizontal, and vertical lines slim!
I’ve had a couple of kids, and with a short waist and H shape, my tummy is a little soft and cuddly, so I’m always looking for clothes with some drape or a bit of ruching so that the fabric doesn’t sit flat and smooth against this part of my body – for my clothes that do sit that way I end up wearing some shapewear underneath, which is not something I want to do everyday – particularly in the summer months.
On my feet it’s always about comfort, but in a feminine way. I can’t wear sneakers unless I’m doing exercise. The minute I stop exercising I feel I have to take them off, they just aren’t mentally comfortable for me. So the shoes I choose when I want to be comfortable are flat and don’t bind my feet or press on my bunions, but I still like them to be feminine in some way, not too chunky, a little bow or other detail.
My necklaces, as I’ve mentioned earlier are always large in scale because of their optical illusion effect of making things next to them look smaller. I chose the peacock necklace as the small detail in its construction works with the bitty pattern of the pink chiffon top.
The silver swirl necklace works with the cleaner lines of the red top, but relates to the curve of the neckline and drape (it wouldn’t look right if I’d put on a really angular necklace).
The leather studded cuff that’s next to my more feminine but still a little creative watch works with the casual feel of my jeans and toughens the look up a touch.
So there you go – I’ve deconstructed how I put my outfits together and what I wear when I’m in casual non-work mode. What do you think about when you get dressed?
I appreciate what you wrote about how you choose your top length! I am also short waisted, but an 8 shape, with high, shelf like hips and a narrow waist (small bust…almost A shaped, but with shoulders in proportion to my hips, but carrying my weight in my bottom and thighs). It has been the BIGGEST challenge for me (one that I”m trying to take head on right now!) to figure out how to make tops work best. I recently got some dressy t-shirts altered at the bust and underarm area so they look fitted and not baggy and messy. But the length is still KILLING me! If I belt longer cardigans or flowy dressed the belt tends to emphasize the “shelf” hips and isn’t flattering. But I still think I need to highlight my waist…maybe I don’t? The problem I find is that some longer tops make me look “pulled down” or something if they are too long without waist definition…help!!
I have learned SO MUCH from your blog and if I ever make it down under to visit my sister (also in Melbourne) I will definitely book a consult with you! In the meantime, thanks for all you do!!
-Allison in Minnesota
Allison – you definitely need clothes with waist definition – could be a seam at the waist, try a narrow belt, not too wide maybe? Also, don’t have your tops too long – think about peplums too – they’re great and are back in fashion and suit your body shape perfectly.
Thanks for your advice! I’ve considered peplums, but haven’t found any that really fit into my personal style yet. And ideas on how to make regular jackets work? As in, length? I have a couple jackets, one with a belt (just got it altered so it doesn’t stop at the wide part of my waist…a bit above now) and one blazer that I purposely bought short to highlight my waist but I’m still not totally confident in knowing if they flatter me or not…
I agree, you never know where you’ll bump into a customer, one must look one’s best most times! I see many lovely jackets on you. Where do you find jackets to fit your G cup?
Lena – I get my jackets all over the place – it’s just a matter of either getting one that doesn’t have a fastening, sometimes moving a button over a bit, or some are cut to fit a little bit more roomy through the bust – sometimes I’ll buy a slightly bigger size for my bust and have side seams or darts taken in.
Thanks for the peek into your closet and the description which includes the “whys” of how you created the ensemble. I know it’s not your usual “thing” to post on what you wear but I’m sure everyone will enjoy it. Both outfits look fab and I love the colours in the pink top.
Sandra – thanks for your comment – I don’t claim to be any kind of style icon, but I suppose deconstructing why I choose what I put together can help other people make more informed choices for their own wardrobe.
Thanks Imogen! I too appreciate you taking the time to explain why you choose to wear what you wear. Very informative!
Cool post, thank you!
I love that you deconstructed your own outfits in this post! I kept scrolling back up to the photos from the text to see how, yes the tops diminished your bust and made your waist look really nice without showing the “cuddly” bits (*love* that term…I’m stealing it 🙂
This is the kind of thing that brings me back to your blog week after week.
I love to see everything you wear as I am an h shape w lg bust. So glad to have found your blog!
Could you do a post on skinny jeans? They are in all of the shops right now and I’m not sure if I can wear them. I’m an I shape with my shoulders a little wider than my hips, average B cup bust-line and I’m a petite at 5’2″. What sorts of jackets and tops should I pair them with if they are suitable for me?