Monday, August 01, 2011
No matter what our size, we can dress in a way to flatter ourselves. When I was more overweight, I was still able to find clothes to the office that gave me a clean, polished look. If you're lucky enough to have a Nordstrom Rack in your area, this is where I orignally bought the bulk of my career wear clothes. High end department store clothes at Target prices (I did have to spend time digging through the racks for bargains). I bought pants that fit my hips/waist, then spent a nominal amount to have the length professionally altered (I didn't know how to do it myself at the time!)
I am hardly a fashionista. I have no idea whether mini skirts are in or out, or what the latest hot colors are. I wear tshirts and jeans at home, but when I have to meet with coworkers or clients, I dress appropriately. I go for timeless, classic styles. Fitted black slacks, button down blouse, and conservative black pumps are always going to fit in. For formal clients, I put on a short, fitted jacket.
Now that I've lost about 2 dress sizes, I'm having to refit a lot of my clothes. I've been reading up on how to flatter my new size. Here are some of the things I found. This is mostly aimed at petites, since I am petite, but many of the tips may still apply to others.
- Vertical lines are your best bet for elongating and slimming a petite. Vertical line doesn't have to mean a pin striped suit. It means anything that draws a vertical line. A button down blouse, for example. I've recently discovered the wonders of a "princess seam" dress. They are fitted dresses that does an amazing job of drawing an hour glass, plus vertical lines with the seams. This dress is an excellent example.
The model is most likely already very tall, but the vertical lines from the seams and the color draws your eyes up and down, making her seem stratospheric.
- A line dresses look great on almost everyone. A must have for any woman, tall or short, heavy or slim.
- Monochromatic or single color is best for slimming and lengthening. Only women with model proportions can pull off multicolored separates. The rest of us are better off coordinating with solids. A work outfit with dark slacks, and matching blouse makes a long vertical line.
- Low heeled pumps. I don't wear really tall high heeled shoes. For career wear, I don't wear shoes with a heel taller than about 2". For one, I work for a very old school, conservative company. They didn't get the "new business" dotcom memo about being allowed to wear pajamas to work. Really tall stilettos would not be allowed. But super tall heels just aren't comfortable, anyway. I find 2" heels to be an easy height boost, that don't leave me in pain at the end of the day. I have found Aerosoles to be an extremely comfortable pump shoe. They are the only pumps that I could almost run across town in. They are a little pricey, but the blisters from the $30 Target pumps are also costly. Not much of a value for $30 if I never wear them because I'm afraid of limping for the next two days. I have one pair of Aerosoles that I wear when I know I am going to be on my feet for a long time. I wear the Target painbringers when I'm just walking from the car to the office, then kick them off at my desk.
- Flared pants that cover most of the shoe. My most flattering work pants are fitted on the waist/hip, loose in the thigh, then slightly flares at the bottom. If I wear the pants without my 2" pumps, they are too long. They are altered to cover most of my shoe, with only the front part visible. The effect is, I look long legged. This is a great optical illusion!
- I have a narrow waist compared to my hips, so with well fitted pants that hug my waist and hips, I look curvy. However, I have thick thighs. Hip huggers are great, but I absolutely avoid anything that clings to my thighs.
- Petites should not wear high waisted pants or skirts. It makes your torso appear shorter. This is good if you have a long torso, but not usually for petites. Appearing properly proportioned is more important.
- Don't wear oversized clothes! I know the temptation to hide behind baggy tshirts and pants when you aren't feeling great about your shape. But it isn't fooling anyone. Sweatshirts and tshirts that are too big will make you look bigger - not exactly what most of us are going for.
- V necks are my favorite neck style. Halter necks with a V line are very flattering on me. With proper fitting on my waist/hip, vertical lines, and a V neck, I get a great hourglass-like silhouette.
What clothes most flatter your shape? How do you emphasize/deemphasize your figure assets and flaws?
Saturday, July 30, 2011
I always thought I was a 'pear' shape because my lower body is very Jennifer Lopez. I'm not very busty, definitely not a Jessica Rabbit. When in top form, I have more of an athletic profile rather than runway model.
Since I have been doing self study in dressmaking and tailoring, I was surprised to learn that I am not a pear. When I think hourglass, I think Marilyn Monroe. It never occurred to me I could be anything but a pear. I took my measurements and compared it to the charts. Apparently, hourglass shape is not just bust size. You can be an A cup hourglass, or a D cup hourglass. It is actually the proportions of shoulder width, bust, waist, and hip. My shoulder width and hip width are exactly the same, and a 9" difference in waist. That makes me an hourglass!
Hourglass: Shoulder and hip width equal. Bust and hip circumference basically the same, bust is no more than 1" larger than hips. Difference between shoulder/bust and waist is 9" or more.
Triangle: Shoulder width wider than hips. Bust is more than 1" greater than hip circumference. Difference between bust and waist is less than 9".
Pear: Hips are 2" or more wider than bust or shoulder width. Difference between waist and bust/shoulder is less than 9".
Rectangle: Shoulder, bust and hips are equal. Difference between bust and waist is less than 9".
My measurements are kinda on the cusp of pear/hourglass. My hips are almost 2" larger than my bust, but my waist is 9" smaller. We will see if my shape changes more after I lose more fat.
Overweight, I was definitely a pear. All of us gain fat differently. It is embedded in our genetic code where our bodies store fat. When I put on weight, it is stored primarily in my lower body. I gain a little in my waist and upper body, but not much. As I lose weight, I lose inches in my upper body first. Fat on my hips and thighs is the slowest to go. Some girls gain weight in their lower and upper body evenly, and look more proportioned. I gain a large amount of fat in my lower body, and look like an oompa loompa.
I was reading about most flattering clothes for body type. It said that halter style tops are not good for pears. This was my first clue that struck me odd because halter tops are flattering on me. I have always had a hard time fitting pants because what fits my hips is almost always too loose on the waist. Now I know I was not shopping for my right body type. With my current weight loss, I'm a size 4 waist, and size 6 hips.
This was a surprise!
Friday, July 29, 2011
I just got a new bodyfat monitor. It's one of the handheld types. I know it's not the most 100% accurate method, but it is good enough. The newer bodyfat measurers have actually improved quite a bit. If doctors are using them, then that's good enough testimonial for me.
My reading is 25.6%! My last measurement on July 8 was 26.6%. Another 1% bodyfat down, even though my weight has maintained pretty stable. That means my lean mass is up to 92.75 lbs.
The most visible change is definitely my waist. It is cinching in, and I've got more of an hourglass going on! The cellulite on my back thighs used to be horrible. I didn't have expectations that it would go away, but I am pleasantly surprised it has smoothed out quite nicely. The worst of the cellulite on my back thighs have almost completely smoothed out. I've got a few annoying dimples remaining on my backside, but I'm hoping those will smooth out with more fat loss, too.
That said, I've still got a pooch on my stomach. Not nearly the flat board I was hoping for - sigh. We all lose fat at different spots on our bodies at different times. I'm wondering at what bodyfat percentage I need to be to get a flat, or near flat tummy. I'm continuing to work to find out! ;)
The rapid weight loss has made clothes fitting rather challenging. I have a pair of pants that I bought recently, never wore, and they are already too big! I guess fortunately due to my rounded hips, it still fits me on the hips. So I just need to take in the waist. I bought a couple of sewing books with altering techniques, so I will be busy trying to alter my clothes. The books say it's better to have pants fit the hips, as taking in the waist is easier, so I'm good there. I'm going to test my pants altering on this pair. If it goes well, I will move on to my work clothes that I mentioned a week ago that don't fit anymore. It will save me a ton of money on work clothes, as I need very well fitted, neat, business casual clothes.
I've been pretty sedentary lately for a number of reasons. Next week I plan to get back on my exercise routine. I've only got 3 weeks left until vacation. While I am losing steady, I need to see if I can accelerate the process just a little!
Friday, July 29, 2011
When I first started eating low carb, I was at a bit of a loss on how to eat. The main thing I did was just to stop eating a lot of starches. Gone were my evening mashed potatoes with my supper. It still took me a few months of trial and error to see what would work best.
I knew to replace the starches with more vegetables. I just piled even more veggies on my plate than normal to make up for the missing rice or potatoes.
Sandwiches are awesome for lunches because they can be prepared quickly. Salads have the exact same property. Instead of sandwiches for lunch, I eat salads. Salads are even better for you than sandwiches. A sandwich is mostly bread, a little meat, and a minuscule amount of veggies. There's only so much veggie you can pack in a sandwich before it shoots lettuce and tomatoes out the sides. But a salad is the inverse. Lots of veggies, moderate meat, and little bread (if you add croutons, which I skip). My favorite salads are chunks of chicken or turkey with a light coating of creamy dressing, sliced hard boiled egg (I make these in advance the night before), lettuce, and tomatoes. It's a snap to whip up.
A concern many people have about higher protein diets is the cost of proteins. For breakfasts, I eat eggs and yogurt. Eggs are the most cost effective protein available. Any budget can afford eggs. Don't buy into the cholesterol scare - eggs are good for you. But we will come back to that later. Since I make my own yogurt, it is extremely cheap. $1.29 for a quart of milk, and a $.50 yogurt starter. That makes 7 jars of yogurt.
For lunches, I'll roast a whole chicken or turkey breast for dinner on a Sunday or Monday. Now I have chicken or turkey meat for my above mentioned salads all week long.
If I ate ribeyes and sirloins every night, that would be pretty darn expensive. I eat a steak dinner one night a week as a special treat. For the bulk of meats, I buy what's on sale. Sockeye salmon is in season right now, so I was able to get whole fillets for less than the cost of ribeyes. My local grocery always has a sale on meats that vary weekly. I'll buy tough, inexpensive cuts of meats like briskets, flank steak, chuck roast or london broil. Whatever is on sale. I'll then marinade them to add flavor and tenderize them. I make a lot of Asian and Mexican marinades. A beef brisket slab, flank steak, or a london broil will usually make enough dinner for two, plus strips for a steak salad the next day. I don't buy chicken parts, which are very expensive. Packaged chicken breasts are $4.99/lb in my area. I buy whole chickens at $0.99-1.50/lb that I will either roast or cut up myself for recipes.
While I have cut back drastically on my grain/starch consumption, there are some meals that just aren't the same. Indian curry without jasmine rice just doesn't feel right. Carnitas without rice is a cardinal sin. I make a mix of brown basmati rice and white jasmine rice. I eat a small scoop, about 1/4 a cup. This is far, far less than I used to eat. I used to eat maybe a cup or two of rice. I find 1/4 cup to be satisfying, and I don't feel like I'm missing anything. Just cutting down is enough. It has not stopped my weight loss. However, I will say, on days when I eat rice, even a little, I am far hungrier later in the day than I am without it. If I eat a rice meal, I know to get ready a high protein snack in a couple of hours. I'll eat a hard boiled egg and a piece of cheese when that inevitable hunger attacks. That is usually enough to halt the hunger for the rest of the evening. Now that I know what causes my hunger (insulin), I know how to put it back into balance.
I eat less food than I used to, before low carb. The result is, I have actually saved money on groceries.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
An update on the sewing projects.
I bought a dressform because I will not be able to fit my dresses correctly without it. I don't have friends or relatives nearby who can help me. So it is either a dressform, or I buy a dress from David's Bridal. I was able to find a dressform on sale and gave it a try.
I got the "small" size, which is too big across the bust for me, even though it has an adjustable bust. The bust adjustment is supposedly in my range, however, the problem is the upper bust. The upper bust was much too large - I would never be able to fit a strapless dress to fit me with it. Unfortunately, I had to take it back. I have a "petite" size on order. I was able to find one at a good price (thank you, Google!).
During the short time I had the dressform, I was able to take advantage and fit it to my evening coverup!
I finished the mockup jacket. I wanted to make a lightweight, sheer coverup for when we go on vacation in a couple of weeks. This was the dress I was originally making it for.
After putting it on the dressform, it occurred to me it had a wonderful Mandarin flare on the sleeves. I decided this might look better on my Chinese dress. I'm think black silk or a black brocade for the jacket. I think a black brocade with red embellishments, an inverse of the dress, would look really sharp.
I bought that dress for $25 at a second hand clothing store. Incidentally, it doesn't fit me anymore. I pinned it so it looked right for the picture. I'm eager to get the new dressform so I can alter it to fit!!
I'm bummed I had to return the dressform. In the short time I had it, I fell in love with it. It made things so much easier! The back length and the shoulders/neck didn't fit right on the jacket, and I was able to see how to fix it. If nothing else, I now have the right back length/shoulder adjustment, so I can finish making the jacket. I'm testing a jacket without a flared sleeve for the blue dress, so I can finish it to take on vacation.
Also, I was able to find a wonderful site called PatternReviews.com. It has tips from other people who have made patterns. My Vogue dress is in there. The reviews say the instructions are hard to follow, but there are only actually 3 pieces to sew. Once people figured out how to piece it together, it seems to come together ok.
However, I am going to have to think a bit more about this. We are doing a warm weather wedding, so I may have to consider a lighter dress. When we go on vacation next month, I am going to take a peak at the weddings and see what others are wearing. I still have time, and I'm not set into anything yet.
Probably won't do any sewing tonight. It's just too darn hot. I can't even think about turning on my iron. Will probably just barbeque a brisket, cool off with a sugar free pina colada, and maybe go see Harry Potter in an air conditioned theater later in the evening.
Edit: Looking at the pattern review, I think I'm going to have to find a different dress. There are simply too many layers with drape, accent, and lining. I'll faint from heat stroke. Keeping my eyes open for a similar style that is warm weather, outdoor wedidng friendly. I still want to make it, I'll just have to think of some place fabulous to wear it!
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