I met a woman at an event last week who, from her point of view, was well dressed.
Can you tell where this is going? I couldn’t help myself. Now before you kill the messenger here, we were already engaged in a conversation about being well dressed, as I was the hired speaker on the subject.
I know what you are thinking, Doreen must be hell to be around, she must always be critiquing! Listen up ladies – everyone is critiquing.
If you are a painter, don’t you look at others paintings with a bit of a squint? If you visit a new Starbucks are you not evaluating their skinny machiatos? Let’s bring it down to basics – as you drive by your neighbors beautiful green lawn in the middle of this drought tell me you don’t want to cut their water line? Last one – Hillary, Trump? Definite critiquing happening there!
Back to her (your) outfit. The conversation started on my end with, “I love your jacket”. It was the perfect connector piece as it was a tweed fabric that pulled together other solid foundational pieces in her outfit. Her comment, “I bought it at a consignment shop but it is too big”. (An understatement as it was literally three sizes too big.) The dead giveaway that even an untrained eye would see – the sleeves were rolled up. ROLLED UP I SAID!
So as not to come off as a pompous ass, but still ‘do my job’ I had to address the fashion faux pas. I shared my thoughts on consignment, starting with I am a believer, I too shop consignment and have a few wardrobe favorites from a local shop. But here’s the caveat – it has to fit or it looks like a hand-me-down. You know those older sister school clothes that mom said fit you? Ya, not so much!
Look at it this way, if you have just paid a third of the original price of something, take that saved 20, 30 or 40 dollars and spend it on fine tuning! Make it yours, make it marvelous!
They must fit in the shoulders and across the breast first and foremost, or leave it on the rack. The sleeves cannot be rolled over or under! They should come to just around your wrist bone. For most women that is about 2 inches from the crease of your thumb and your forefinger. Have the tailor pin both separately as your arms may not be the same length.
They must be the proper length. Knowing that’s a can of worms right there, let’s consider the following when defining proper. The office dress code is usually no more that 2 inches from the knee cap. Consider what your legs look like and remember to accentuate the assets and disguise the liabilities. Another point to consider is where the skirt ends, the kick pleat continues! You have to look good when you leave the room and if the back vent hits your woo-woo when you walk up the stairs, Houston you have a problem!
The waistband has to fit without pins or paperclips! If you are a curvy girl, look for the curvy fit from the get-go. You can Google curvy, petite curvy, plus curvy, petite plus curvy and even tall curvy. If you still have a little Marilyn Munro room at the waistband, get it tailored! Also, the pant side pockets cannot gap! Curvy girls look for pants without side pockets or have the tailor sew them closed and remove the pocket liner – you just lost 5 pounds! And then of course the length cannot drag on the ground – ever! Don’t even think you can just pop on flats to get to the office and then pop on your heels – the damage is already done – who knows what you just picked up on the subway floor!
Same ‘skirt’ rules apply here. If everything else about that fabulous dress is good for you, make damn sure the length is too! Not too short, not too long! Petite gals, don’t limit yourself to the petite department when dress shopping as you know the selection is minimal and shrinking daily as many stores are even eliminating the petite department. If all you have to do is shorten the hem then by all means buy the dress you like and visit the tailor!
The same applies to blouses when it comes to petite women. There is no code violation if you shorten the sleeves or shorten the length of the blouse. Blouses/tops are made so long these days that even regular height women are drowning in fabric or tucking in 8 inches! Just shorten the bottom!
Yes coats & raincoats! Stop thinking the longer sleeves save you from wearing gloves! When you head to the tailor be sure to wear your suit jacket or your bulky sweater underneath when they mark the sleeves. We don’t want them too long or too short either! The same with the length, if the coat is wearing you, instead of you wearing the coat, it may be too long. Have the length adjusted. Super tip – if you have long coats that you are not wearing anymore – turn them into jackets! Voila, new and improved and actually functional!
You are not well dressed until you are well tailored whether it is new or consignment or hand-me-downs!
So here’s the bottom line on the conversation that started this post. This lovely woman said, “I thought the sleeves were supposed to be rolled because the black lining matches the black piping.” OMG…
So I straightened her out, then grasped the extra 6 inches of fabric in the back of the jacket as she looked in the mirror and she said, “OMG, I have a body.”