Have you seen the dress by Kate Spade with the print from Garance Dore yet? I spotted it in the window last Friday at the Stanford Shopping center and rushed in. I wanted to try it on but had to proceed to birds spotting, stroller pushing and other things my toddler daughter considered more fun.
This dress is totally me. Its cotton and silk weave talks comfort with a drop of luxe. The print is an intricate combination of elegance and whimsy that should play up my irregular facial features that are slightly on a large side. Above all, it’s a wonderful candidate for a vintage piece. I can totally see it being auctioned for the lump sum in some ten years from now.
I strongly consider buying one, only have a couple concerns about the cut working for my body. I think the problem for me might lie in the neckline-scye area and the waistline. I hope to try it on some time this week and report on what I discover.
BG FALL TRENDS: PEPLUM
I had a brief mention of peplums earlier and since it’s a coming trend, I decided to take it a bit further and made a review of peplum pieces put out there by Bergdorf Goodman. From my experience, peplums are good for pear shaped and long waisted girls. But no two peplums are alike and some can fight right back at your hips.
The review is very subjective and taken entirely from my pear shaped point of view.
This number by Lanvin was put on the website as a title piece. Its highly structured, architectural design is very hips friendly and as impractical and demanding as a pear shape body type itself.
Yet another Lanvin’s design very considerate of a slim, pear shaped and long waisted girl.
I wouldn’t go for this Lela Rose piece, as it is meant to create curves for an androgynous body. It will make the hips that are already in place look heavy and frumpy.
The Theory leather jacket is almost a no. It has some chance if paired with very slim, pencil skirt with a lots of stretch in the fabric. There is no way for a pear shaped or long waisted gal to pair it with pants, especially black ones. Instead of the feminine flair she will get a heavy, long, masculine-looking torso.
This dusty purple set by Burberry looks like a straight road to short legs. One might be able to pull it off with pumps, instead of ankle booties, but to me this peplum looks very suspicious still.
The other Burberry skirt is another no-no for a pear shaped, mainly because of the pockets, that will accentuate the hips. This is the detailing that creates curves for the androgynous figure.
I would green-light this Alice and Olivia set for both long waisted and pear shaped. Must be paired with skirt.
The Donna Karan Jacket is a question mark, for I really don’t know how it will work out on different bodies with hips. I love the structured shoulder though for it provides an elevation that a pear shaped body usually lacks. It also seems the only piece so far that work with slim pants. So on a cheerful note, if it ends up working for a pear-shaped, it will be an opportunity for a fragile ‘pear’ to wear ’skinnies.’ Something we pear-shaped (for better or worse) are usually deprived of.
This one is a total yes, but also needs to be paired with skirt. Many ’pears’ will be pleasantly surprised to discover how the skirt this short flatters them in this combination.
That was my very biased, pear shaped take on the coming peplum trend and I hope some of you will find it helpful.
Here comes the dress that saved me on my way into maternity clothes and on my way out. This floral, princess-line accentuated waist piece is a combination of classic and modern whimsy. The chameleon nature let it fit the widest range of repertoires: from the most casual to quite formal ones. I got together shots of all the occasions I happily wore it.
During our stay on Lido di Venezia, in July of 2011, two months pregnant with Lucas. Sylvia is about to turn one here.
Almost a year late, April of 2012, on the other side of the pond, at a day wedding in Palo Alto. Sylvia is twenty months here and Lucas is only two months old, still too fragile for the camera.
When paired with half an inch heel sandals the dress easily fits the most casual occasions, such as wearing ones feet off on the streets of Venice. Hint: the floral print helps dress’ easy transition into casual wear. Solid color shift dress can be more demanding. Add heels and a hat and the dress moves into a dress up category.
1.Dress construction helps to create a streamline silhoette and disguise the hips: an accentuated waist and several darts from the neckline emphasize slim torso and drive attention away from hips. I always wear a skinny belt and I learnt the hard way that the belt must be dark: in my case it was crimson red or black.
2. Heels: a great example when thick is better than thin. With this dress chunky and block heels do better job elongating the leg and creating streamlined silhouette. Always in light, skin-colored hues. And God forbid you wear it with wedges. You’ll get a stumpy look.
Back to yours truly. Today’s narration is about the dress by Alexander Wang. A friend of mine saw it at Neiman Marcus, thought of me (God bless our friends) and bought virtually the last one. The dress was wiped off the shelves and for a reason.
The front drape twist helps define the waist thus drawing attention away from the hips and break down the long torso, elongating the legs. (God Bless Alexander Wang.)
Yet, this very same drape twist will elongate a torso of a shortwaisted girl and disguise the tummy, voilà this is truly equal-opportunity-garment. You can still catch it on the company’s website, but only in XS. It’s true to size and I am wearing M.
This indigo color is also the next color of the season.
There is also a top with long sleeves on the website. It is ok, only it has no chic. ;( If you are enamored with the dress, I would advise you against bying the top, as it is not going to meet your expectations. Better email Wang’s team in request for a similar model, or check Donna Karan, she is notorious for such designs, only for a plum sum…
The rumor had it that Wang was considered for the Galliano’s position at Dior. If there is any truth to that I can totally see why. Being utterly sporty some of Wang’s pieces carry an amazing combination of elegant sophistication with rough, modern energy.
I wear the dress out and about when I am with my kids ( 2 y. and 6 mo.) . Here we are at the San Jose Children’s Museum celebrating Sylvia’s second birthday.
I tried pairing the dress with flat sandals, but (rushed decision) my two consequent pregnancies became too apparent so I opted for my all time favorite: Prada elastic band sandals that never fail to provide an arabesque grace to all of my casual outfits.
Other ‘pears’ with delicate chests can totally wear flat sandals with such a dress. A pear shaped gal may find this length unfriendly though. If that is the case consider raising a hem for a couple of inches to get better proportions. Don’t just cut the hem, you will ruin the dress. This stretchy material welcomes a vertical draw string in the side seam, which can raise the hem to your liking. This is what we planned to do initially with mine, but I shed a couple more of my pregnancy pounds unexpectedly fast and ended up not needing any alterations.
Better yet, a vertical draw string can convert this dress from a day casual number into a night club piece if you raise it to a mini level. They have the mini version of this dress on the website, but if you get the longer version, you end up with a more versatile piece: two-in-one dress that travels from casual/formal to the club length with the help of a draw-string (DIY).
In my case it’s a casual piece, but someone who considers herself the ‘rough around the edges’, outdoorsy type and the very thought of dressing for a formal event makes her dizzy this is a great candidate for a summer special occasion if paired with little clutch and strappy sandals.
Talking of strappy sandals. Here is another dark blue dress I own. Only this one is a pure elegance, very little sportish vibe infused. This picture was taken in 2007, so bear with me as I am getting back to shape.
The key hole, the dusty hue and the non-stretchy fabric with the Venizian inspired motifs makes it suitable for a relaxed outing to a Michelin restaurant, a summer wedding or a date night. I wouldn’t want to twist and bend with a toddler while wearing this dress. Also I don’t see it very much with any flat sole, unless you are a Vanessa-Redgrave-in-her-best-days-look-alike.
What a striking difference in these two seemingly similar dresses, isn’t it? I hope you are enjoying your summer.
We went to the Bumble restaurant in downtown Los Altos a couple of weeks ago, and I couldn’t help asking Ashley, the hostess to pose for me because this is a great example of how to wear a loose skirt. Everything in this outfit, including the neckline and sleeve length are creating perfect proportion for a pear shaped and long-waisted bodies.
But first, about this Bumble place.
Bumble is a little restaurant started by Los Altos mom, Mary Heffernan. At Bumble everything is kids friendly: tables are round and those that aren’t are kids-proofed. You can order a glass of wine or champagne while your tot will get a jar of water with the lid on it and a straw.
Food is very nice and there are special items for tots: egg halves, fruits and cheese cubes. So thoughtful but wait for more. This nice aquarium with fishes I’ve only seen at Bora Bora, on the Polynesian coast separates the dining area from a play-room with sitters ($10 for 30 mins). Yay!
There is also a kids-free patio, and an outdoor sitting area with the sandbox for kids to play and an artificial grass, tiny little toes friendly.
I think the idea is just genius and I was unpleasantly surprised by a relatively large number of negative reviews on Yelp. Some complained about the food. The food is very good, perhaps on a plain side, but if I want a sophisticated meal, I know where to go. When I have my tot running around I really don’t expect anything gourmet.
It hasn’t been a month since my friend told me about this place and I have been there four times. Two year old Sylvia loves it and I plan to maintain our frequenter status as well as make sure all of my friends are hooked on this place.
Now back to the subject of loose skirts.
Loose skirts have a reputation of being great hips disguising tool. But way too often women wear them with their tops un-tucked which fights right back at them, makes hips heavier and give an ultimate ‘babushka’ frumpy look.
Pairing loose tops with loose skirts works for the relatively undefined hip bone and require some sartorial sophistication, which includes quality of fabrics, shoes and accessories. Mind the deceiving sasualness, there is very little ‘comfy’ about this look.
Dries Van Notten
Generally, when it comes to easy going summer outfits loose skirts call for slim tops worn tucked in. The tops need to have lots of lycra and fit snugly. Most pear shaped and long waisted women have flat tummies which allow them to wear tucked in tops to the benefit of their bodies. Puritan-chic necklines is a do.
We don’t know whether Ashley has got hips because she is wearing the right skirt and she is wearing it right. Note the band on her skirt which helps define the waist. The ultimate band’s width is your palm (horizontally that is). It’s good when the band looks almost like a yoke, then you can go belt-free.
If not, most loose skirts gathered at waist will ask for a belt, an inch or two wide. Elastic belts are better, cause they stay intact.
The only way you can get away un-tucked is if you pair a loose skirt with a very structured top that stops right at the hip bone. Sharp. That way you will get a a very Grace-Kelly in ‘To Catch a Thief’ look. In fact, she herself had quite a derriere, but she gracefully saved us of that knowledge.
This morning I left a raving comment for Colin McDowell’ entry at the Business of Fashion on Raf Simons debut at Dior and proceeded to watching the actual collection at vogue.com
While Ms. McDowell must have found the collection to be too retrospective, I have found it very relevant to my pear shaped self. Such an anachronistic and obsolete body type, *sigh.* Well, willingly or not Raf Simons came up with the collection extremely thoughtful of a pear shape gal. Perhaps it is just an embedded quality of all couture collections, but I am in the mood for accolades for Raf today. The collection is all about gentle, swanlike torso and arms that make one forget about the hip area all together. Wait a minute, weren’t these generous peplums and big pockets on big skirts all about big hips instead? Yes, they were, but the artful placement of these embellishments actually disguises the hips, rather than emphasize them.
The big hips silhouette was introduced during the spring of 2012 Fashion weeks, but most of them are aimed to add some hip circumference to the hip-modest bodies, rather than smoothing the ones already in place alright. Most of the silhouettes suggested during the Spring Fashion weeks would make me look like an inaccurately hammered nail.
Instead, La ligne , as one of the comments to Ms. McDowell’s article referenced the silhouette Mr. Simons came up with for this collection helps us, pear shaped ladies to gracefully veneer our endowment and draw attention to the delicacy of our torsos, bringing up memories of Plisetskaya’s arms.
Two looks, number 33 and 34 are something I pretty much needed this Winter, right after the end of my second pregnancy which followed shortly after my first one.
The series of narrow-leg pants assuredly creased in contrast to softly spoken corset peplums made me imagine a woman rushing to a Venice carnival party straight from Marco Polo airport and then rushing back to catch the first morning flight to her next destination.
Raf’s peplums treat our hips with an old fashioned courtesy, only without the old fashion clumsiness. And that’s something I haven’t seen in years.
These pictures were taken in the Summer of 2008, during our trip to Sardinia. If you plan your summer-European-travel wardrobe, compatible with walkable shoes consider a maxi skirt.
If you’ve been reading my Russian blog for a while you might know that I am not a big fan of jeans. They are not very considerate to hips. But maxi skirt in soft denim is a whole different story. It doesn’t accentuate thighs, so it’s a do.
This is an old skirt from Guess. It’s made of a soft material, similar to lyocell. The skirt is constructed as a godet which is a great silhouette in this length for hips.
Unlike the pleated schoolwarm-ish maxi, this one is very country. It’s good to bring in a little formal detail, such as a stand up shirt collar. The shirt details could ruin the pleated maxi skirt look, but it looks great here. It also leaves room for a more open, relaxed shoe wear. I talked about it before here.
On Sardinia every day was a bad hair day. We started our mornings on the beach and proceeded exploring the cities with our hair seasoned with the salts of the Tyrhenian Sea. The turban was my staple on that trip. I liked to think it was my interpretation of the ’40s’ look, as turbans came into fashion during the WWII, when frequent hairdos became an unpatriotic luxury. But my babysitter made me realize my inspiration came from elsewhere.
Before Sardegna we visited Vatican and I got a ‘piece’ of Sistine Chapel with Sybil on it. It graces the wall in our dining room, next to a family collage with lots of shots from our Sardinia trip. Once my baby sitter stared at it and asked: “is that you on the picture?”
My dad used to have a portrait of Hemingway on the wall. Once someone asked him whether it was his grandfather. It took my dad a second to collect himself then he said: “yes”. From then on he introduced Hemingway as his grandfather. I am not nearly as considerate to people as my dad, so after I caught my breath, I cried out all the futilities, including: ”masterpiece”, “Renaissance” and “five hundred years old.” My baby sitter glanced at it again with some respect realizing it’s not a picture, rather something five hundred years old.
-But you cover your head similarly - she kept repeating sheepishly. Yes, I was. I guess this is where my inspiration came from. From the Sistine Chapel.
Wore my flower sun dress for a stroll with children. Three months Lucas peeping out of a bassinet.
I was pretty much going for a simple Bridgit Bardot visiting Picasso studio look.
Only my dress is constructed differently. Bardot’s dress is made in tiers, which gives it a more peasant vibe. Mine is paneled. I wish I could do with my denim flats, but I still need heels to fight gravity and all my baby weight.
The denim Ralph Lauren pumps, a real work horse of my closet. Very laid back and outdoorsy because of the denim and yet, very feminine d’orsay. A ladybug broche can be pinned for a more whimsy feel.
I received this email asking how to make a maxi pleated skirt work for hips. It arrived back in February, just one week before my son was born therefore the delay. I don’t own a pleated skirt and will have to rely on the images of the fellow-bloggers.
First and foremost: if you are reading this because of your hips, remember that the skirt needs to touch the floor not stop at the ankles. Otherwise you will get the ’walking swan’ look.
Secondly, maxi pleated skirt is good for ladies who are heavy in the thigh area, but their tummies and buttocks are relatively flat.
Here is a couple of ideas:
Pleated skirt echoes school uniform, that’s why lets pair it with something that is very far from both: school and uniform. Don’t pair it with anything that rhymes “ladylike” or “elegant”. Go for either bold sexy or deliberately unfeminine tops. Such as:
1. Corset isvery alluring and creates a nice juxtappisition to schoolwarmish pleats. This look will obligate you for quite a footwear: pumps or sandals with a delicate heel. Make sure you have a shrug, pashmina or a short denim jacket to cover up. Longer cardigans that hit the hip bone in this combination will get you an ultimate ‘babushka’ look.
2. Tight, light sweater worn tucked in. If you are delicate in the bosom area: cup A-B, you can go for a lightweight sweater linen, or silk&cashmere blend. It should fit you snugly to highlight the delicacy of your torso. Search for a crew neck, steer clear from V-necks and bateau. You will need to wear your sweater tucked in and with the belt. Tucking it nonchalantly on one side is a do, but wear it completely untuck and get the ultimate ‘babushka’ look. The belt will create an artfully disassembled rather than a sloppy look.
This is a good opportunity to wear you beaten up flat sole sandals.
3. Long, slouchy sweater is another way to wear this skirt with the comfortable shoes. Military or any other boots. The sweater should hit at least two inches below the widest part of your hips. Go for short sleeves, it will help you create a lighter, youthful silhouette.
1. What is a pear shape/ am I pear shaped?
Pear shape is a body type that most resembles… well, pear. Go to a produce stand and check it out. Svelte and fragile on top it’s disproportionally heavy on the bottom. Pear shaped girls are heavy in the hip and thigh area, but their torsos are slim. If you need more visual clues think of the swan. That would be a well dressed pear shaped gal.
Now think of the turkey. That is a poorly dressed one.
2. You mentioned you have a bosom. How come you consider yourself a “pear” not an hourglass then?
Sartorially speaking, hips are balanced by shoulders, not by bosom. This was the idea behind the Adrian’s celebrated shoulder line. By enhancing the shoulders he aimed to minimize actresses’ hips. I do have quite a bosom, I wear a DD cup size, but my bra size is 30DD. I have a very narrow back and sloped shoulders. ’Hourglasses’ rarely have such a disparity between their cup and the band. I am too busty for a typical “pear” , but because of my narrow shoulders and back I still fit the ’pear’ profile.
3. Does ‘pear shape’ indicate that you have a few extra pounds? If a ‘pear’ starts working out and watching her diet, will she stop being a ‘pear’?
No she won’t. Our bone structure defines our distribution of muscle and fat tissue. One will pretty much need a pelvis transplant to stop being a ‘pear’. If you know you carry a few extra pounds, dieting and exercising will help you achieve better proportions; but you won’t stop being a pear. I’ve described this phenomena before in my other blog:
Even when I wear size 0 on top I have this little pillow resting on my hip bone. I know that in order to get rid of it I need to starve myself to death and by the time my bottom gets into the condition desired I would be rolled into the emergency room feet first. The last time I let myself worry about it, I was fifteen, and since then I manage my hips sartorially.
If a slim ‘pear’ girl kees dieting religiously all she achieves is an anorexic chest and athletic (but still heavy) thighs. It’s actually girls perfectly svelte with their hips a tad too heavy who considered themselves ‘fat’, made me start this blog. If you ever hear that in order to stop being a ‘pear’ you ‘just' need to loose weight, ignore, keep calm and carry on.
4. You are offering sartorial advice for those with svelte top and heavy bottom. I have a heavy bottom, but my top is not particularly svelte. Will I benefit from your tips?
While an attentive reader will get a lot of useful information from this blog regardless of their body type, keep in mind that I put my outfits together to play up my slim torso, gently defined shoulders and slim arms. If you have none of the above, your strongest features are probably elsewhere on a body. You are welcome to read PMH, but be wary of these details.
5. I am a plus size, am I in the right place?
I am very sympathetic with women of all sizes and shapes. I had my two children back to back and walked the shoes of a plus size woman. With both of my pregnancies I vacillate between the US sizes 8-2. If you don’t fit this profile, you are very welcome to stick around, just be advised that not all my ideas are suitable for plus sizes.