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How to dress my, er.. 'Unstructured' body?

(19 Posts)
NuevoNombre Sun 18-Jan-15 11:13:41

I am really hoping that you might be kind enough to offer me some style advice. I'm size 10/12 long bodied 5ft.5, early 40s. Was once a confident Pear shape but a few years post-baby, there's now some sort of Apple (Pumpkin?) going on as well. Legs not great but I wear tights and shortish tube skirts anyway for comfort. Can't wear heels. Need at least elbow length sleeves. I am struggling to dress my shape.

I like the 'hush' type of look/shape (which seems to me to boil down to wearing something textured or drapy over something tight, and overall quite covered up). Well, I like it on the models in the catalogue anyhow.

My question to the wise people of MN is why does this kind of dressing just seem a bit 'meh' on.? Is it that my body is already er, 'unstructured' enough without putting further layers on top? Or due to pear shape issues.. do I need more going on at the top/shoulder area to balance out? The relaxed slouchy V neck and a short skirt, tights boots etc are just not working for me.

I also like 'architect' looks as they seem unfussy and modern. I got great ideas from those MN threads for places to look. However am finding those clothes don't seem to work on my shape. The more statement-y and structured, or boxy or oversized or midi length or buttoned up to the neck stuff just seems a bit unconvincing on me, like i'm trying really hard or wearing a costume.

I'm basically lazy, short of time and very unskilled with hair and makeup so a fairly low-fi look overall with clothes is what is needed I think but I guess I'm really asking if that's possible at my age/shape.

Any thoughts? I am wondering whether the key is trying to find time to exercise and doing some grooming/hair/make up. or maybe just trying out some other kind of look completely that's a bit more forgiving?
I am prepared to accept that I might need to spend a bit more time on looking OK nowadays, I just don't really know where to start. Thanks in advance for any advice.

Tanaqui Sun 18-Jan-15 15:23:49

Hmm interesting as I can't carry off the hush look either- I think you need an elegant neck above the draping, and maybe not much boob?

Tube skirts sound lovely though- how about long ones? Or a a line skirt with a fitted top, 50's sort of shape?

Milmingebag Sun 18-Jan-15 18:37:40

Sounds to me proportion wise, a long tube maxi skirt or dress would work better to elongate the pear shape and then lose layering on top to detract from the apple shape. Not too baggy just slouchy. I think finishing off with a scarf/snood would help balance out the shape further or wearing a slouchy cowl neck. Get some nice lived in boots to keep it casual from somewhere like Free People /Toast. Arm warmers help keep it looking slouchy too. Great casual hobo bag/satchel.

Identify your best neutrals first and then buy your basics in those.

What sort of hairstyle have you got? That can really make or break this sort of style if it is too structured.

With respect to scarves- if you have a short neck the triangular shaped ones look better as they add less bulk.

PrimalLass Sun 18-Jan-15 21:25:55

Certain drapey things make me look so frumpy. I thought they were the answer to my fat belly, but no they make it look worse.

PrimalLass Sun 18-Jan-15 21:27:20

This sort of thing. Train to frumpsville for me.

NuevoNombre Mon 19-Jan-15 07:32:55

Thank you so much for your thoughts everyone.

Tanaqui your diagnosis sounds spot on. And yep- short neck here. I usually try to get around it with a lowish neckline- cowl neck not crew neck etc. YY to having any boobs not really seeming to fit in with the hush kind of look.. ! Sigh.

I do keep wondering about trying the 50s' shape, for the waist. I wonder if it might require a more made-up, groomed hair and make up look to pull it off though? Definitely something to think about. Am terrified of eg doing red lipstick but now feel I need to get over myself or stay stuck in a rut.

Mil thanks for the pointers on proportion. I think sometimes I have been going for relaxed fit and ended up with overly baggy.

Not really thought about trying maxi but actually that makes perfect sense. And I already have most of the things on your list except arm warmers which I LOVE the idea of. smile

Hair is just past shoulder length and wavy which I just wash and wear- automatically tie it back every day as have small DC.

Primal YY! That top is exactly the type of thing that I keep going for, with all the draping etc. And I would definitely have picked that very one off the rail with the cowl neck to go with short skirt or skinny jeans. Hmm. Wonder why it's coming off frump inducing? Is it made worse because this shape often seems to come in shades of greige?

I feel like there must be some kind of magic combination of the right kind of fabric and shape/cut in knitwear which will look OK. So many people seem swear by this kind of dressing after having had kids, I feel I must have missed something obvious. Have you found any drapy top shapes that work for you?

Tanaqui Mon 19-Jan-15 07:57:59

Primal- I would look awful in that too! I think basically the drapey look works if you are willowy, or very angular, or conversely quite fat but tall so the draping is still graceful. I have a body that is strong/ stocky depending how polite you are, and draping just makes me look bulky. Actually that is quite a helpful realisation!!

Try the look Mil suggests- like the boots and bag suggesting the look, but how do you wear a triangle scarf without looking like the queen?

GetLow Mon 19-Jan-15 08:58:13

Hmmm. I think the drapey Hush look suits slim/straight figures or hourglasses.

I'm tall and slim-ish, but I'm broad shouldered with boobs and a slight tum and it makes me look pregnant and a bit schlocky. Shame, as its such a comfortable, wearable style!

Mil's advice is good.

GrapeWallofChina Mon 19-Jan-15 09:07:45

You sound a bit like me - best discovery for me is fitted jackets. They can be cotton, wool, Jersey whatever but throw a fitted jacket or blazer over whatever I'm wearing and I look better, more structured with minimal effort.
Works with trousers or jeans - skinny or boyfriend, works with tshirts or in the winter fine knit jumpers.
I've also given up skirts in favour of dresses - they just seem to work better and be significantly easier to sort out what else to wear (oh and the jackets go over them too wink)
And yes - how do you wear a triangle scarf without looking like the queen? Would love to know.

PrimalLass Mon 19-Jan-15 10:56:47

Wonder why it's coming off frump inducing?

They seems to accentuate my stomach, which is so ageing. I prefer a boxier top now with something long underneath.

But an wearing my Hush Henley dress over skinnies today.

VenusRising Mon 19-Jan-15 13:43:49

Have a look at this site- it's basically a how to dress without losing yourself.

I think you sound like a H shaped natural.

Tanaqui Mon 19-Jan-15 14:32:45

I love the idea of fitted jackets or boxy tops but I end up looking blocky or matronly.

Nuevo, you might look good In jackets if your top half is slimmish?

I quite liked that site Venus, but I don't like where it put me!!

Mereguemeringue Mon 19-Jan-15 14:57:10

Where do you buy arm warmers?

Milmingebag Mon 19-Jan-15 17:28:12

Re the triangle scarf- it's one of those large ones with tassels etc that you wear back to front and bring the ends around the front after wrapping it around your neck. It's less bulky but gives that layered look.

Re arm warmers - Brora did them as did Johnstons of Elgin. There are loads on eBay that are hand knitted and less expensive.

Milmingebag Mon 19-Jan-15 17:31:06 sort of thing re triangle scarf.

GeorginaWorsley Mon 19-Jan-15 17:35:52

I love the 'architect' look and the Hush layered styles.
When I was bigger and more hourglass though I couldn't wear them as they made me look frumpy and like a ship in full sail grin
The ironic thing is that now I'm slimmer and this sort of stuff looks good, I sort of don't want to hide under layers or boxy shapes!
I like a tight fitting long vest layered under a shorter slouchier fine knit jumper, I think it's important to get the proportions right with this style though.

Tanaqui Mon 19-Jan-15 19:05:56

Thanks mil I
Might try that- didn't realise those started as triangles!

Mereguemeringue Mon 19-Jan-15 22:38:39

Thanks Mil!

NuevoNombre Tue 20-Jan-15 22:04:21

flowers Thank you so much all of you for your great tips. Have been reviewing my scarves for work Mil- and Grape, excitingly I picked up a soft blazery kind of jacket in the chazz to practice with. Really appreciate your link too, Venus. Your diagnosis was right I think!

I am going to try to stop worrying that I'l look like my mother if I try dressing in something a bit more structured and give it a go.

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