May 26

Dresses for the Fashion Conscious

I love dresses and why not. You immediately identify as a woman. And for the fashion conscious, your choices are easy without the added effort of matching tops and bottoms.

Perhaps you are wondering what a certain type of dress looks like on you since there are so many types such as a-line, sheath, empire, trumpet, ballgown and so on. So  lets start with the silhouette of the dress and the different types of necklines and waistlines to give you a basic sense of styles that may be suitable to your body type and personality.

Dress Silhouettes

dress silhouettes“Fashion is architecture:  it’s a matter of proportions.”

-Coco Chanel

 

How to know what body type you are:

right dress for your body type

Hourglass, rectangle, triangle, inverted triangle, oval…  It can be confusing and a little daunting to try and figure out what your body shape is!  But not to fret there is a simple way to figure it once and for all and start dressing to accent your assets.  Mirrors can be deceiving so best to stick with quantifiable resources, i.e. a cloth tape measure, paper and pencil.  You may want to grab a friend for this as getting an accurate measurement can be a little tricky to keep the measuring tape straight on your own.

Shoulders:   Measure in a straight line the widest part of your shoulders by placing the tape at the edge of one shoulder and wrapping it around your body until it meets back at the shoulder you started with.  The tape should be so close to the top of your shoulders that it almost slides off.

Bust:  With a straight back wrap the measuring tape across the fullest part of your breast (usually around the nipples) , under your arms and around your back.

Waist:  Wrap the measuring tape around the smallest part of your natural waist, which is usually just above your belly button.  Make sure the measuring tape wraps flat around your back without buckling.

Your Hips:  Standing with your feet together, wrap the measuring tape around the widest part of your hips, which should be a few inches below your hip bone, and around the widest part of your bum to meet back at the hip where you started.

*Tape pressure – The tape should rest snug against your body without making indents in your skin.

 

Descriptions of each body type.

and tips for your everyday best.  Check out these celebrities with different body types

celebrities with different body types

 

As an Hourglass body shape, your bust and hips are well balanced with a well-defined waist. Your shoulders are nicely aligned to your hips and your upper body is proportionate in length to your legs.

Your shoulders and hips are within 5% of each other and your waist is at least 25% smaller than your shoulder, hip and bust measurements.

To dress your body shape best, you want to dress the top and bottom proportionately while enhancing your waist. To create even more curves to your body, you can add volume to both your upper and lower half but always maintaining a balance.

 

As a Rectangle body shape, your hips and bust are balanced and your waist is not as defined. You may have a bottom that is more flat than round and your lower legs are always shapely and probably your best assets.

If your shoulder, bust and hip measurements are within 5% of each other and your waist is less than 25% of your shoulder or bust.

To dress your Rectangle body shape, the focus is to proportionally dress the top and bottom of your body while emphasizing your waist. You are able to wear form fitting clothing while still creating a waist with a dark belt. To create a more curvy effect, you can add volume equally to your upper and lower half by mixing and matching separates.

As a Triangle shaped body, your hips are larger than your bust and you have a defined waist, which is your best asset. You have an elegant neck with proportionately slim arms and shoulders.

Your hips are more than 5% bigger than your shoulder or bust measurement.

The key to rocking your shape is to enhance and add volume to your upper body while emphasizing your waist and doing the opposite to your lower half. This creates a nice balance and an hourglass effect.

As an Inverted Triangle, you are more top heavy with broad shoulders, an ample bust, and a wide back. You have slim hips with a subtle waist and beautiful, shapely legs.

If your shoulder or bust measurement is 5% larger than your hip measurement.

The key to rocking your body shape is to create a balance between your more broad shoulders, chest, and back with your narrower lower body to create an hourglass effect. Choose clothes that add curves to your hips and bottom while creating a more defined waist. Take advantage of your great legs by playing with different skirt lengths but don’t go too short as to further a top-heavy look.

As an Oval body shape, you have a large bust, narrow hips, and a full midsection. Your waist is undefined and the widest part of your frame. Your behind is somewhat flat and your legs are slender.

Your shoulders and hips are around the same size. You have a chest and waist measurements that are fairly close, but your hips are about six inches smaller than your chests.

The key to dressing your shape is to create a more defined waist while de-emphasizing your midsection. You want to choose clothing that adds curves to your lower body and tops that taper at the waist. Take advantage of your great legs by playing with different skirt lengths but not too short as to create a more top-heavy look.

Let’s review what you have learned in this short video. Remember crossdressers tend to have rectangular or inverted-v (broad shoulders) bodies and apple-shapes as they grow older and carry more weight in the mid-section

Now check out our selection of beautiful and elegant dresses

Necklines

Knowing your body type and the dresses that flatter your shape is good but you also need to consider the necklines of your dresses. Not all of them will work for you.

different necklinesHere is useful guide in choosing the necklines that work for your body

best necklines for your body type

May 23

Pride Events

There are PRIDE parades and events all across the country. PRIDE is not just for the LGBT participants, but it’s also an arts and cultural event for the local community. PRIDE events incorporate activism, education, and the history and culture of global LGBTTIQQ2SA communities.

The following list and photographs are the courtesy of Connextions Magazine. If you know of other PRIDE events not included below, please email the information to tasi@sisterhouse.net. More detailed information is in the Summer, 2014 issue of Connextions Magazine.

 

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A

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Alabama

Alaska

Arizona

Bisbee Pride       Bisbee AZ       Jun 13-15, 2014      www.bisbeepride.com

Tuscon Pride      Tuscon AZ      Oct 18, 2014      www.tucsonpride.org

Sedona/Verde Valley Pride      Sedona AZ      Sep 25-28, 2014      www.sedonagaypride.org

Arkansas

B

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None

C

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California

LA Pride      Los Angeles CA      June 6-8, 2014      www.LAPRIDE.org

Los Angeles Black Pride      Los Angeles CA      July 3-6, 2014     myblackpridela.com

Palm Springs Pride     Palm Springs CA     Nov 7-9, 2014      www.pspride.org

San Diego Pride     San Diego CA     Jul 18-20, 2014     www.sdpride.org

Pacific Pride Festival     Santa Barbara CA     Jul 12, 2014     http://pacificpridefoundation.org/index.php/events/pacific-pride-festival

Sonoma County Pride     Sonoma CA     May 30-Jun 1, 2014     www.sonomacountypride.com

Ventura County Pride     Ventura CA     Aug 22-24, 2014     www.vcpride.org

Canada

World Pride     Toronto, Ontario CA     Jun 20-29, 2014     www.worldpridetoronto.com

Colorado

Boulder Pridefest     Boulder CO     Sep 14, 2014     www.outboulder.org

Connecticut -.

D

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Delaware

Delaware Pride Festival     Dover DL     Aug 2, 2014     www.delawarepride.org

E

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F

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Florida

Gainsville Pride     Gainsville FL     Oct 25, 2014     www.gainesvillepride.org

Key West Pride     Key West FL     Jun 11-15, 2014     www.keywestpride.org

Pridefest of the Palm Beaches     Lake Worth FL     Mar 28-29, 2014      www.compassglcc.com

Miami Beach Gay Pride     Miami beach FL     Apr 12-13, 2014 www.miamibeachgaypride.com

Come Out With Orlando     Orlando FL     Oct 6-11     www.comeoutwithpride.com

St Pete Pride Festival     St Petersburg FL     Jun 27-29, 2014     www.stpetepride.com

Stonewall Pride     Wilton Manors FL     Jun 21, 2014      www.StonewallPrideWiltonManors.com

G

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Georgia

H

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Hawaii

Honolulu Pride     Honolulu HI     Jun 7, 2014     www.honolulupride.org

I

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Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

QC Pride Fest     Davenport IA     Jun 6-8, 2014     www.qcpride.org

J

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None

K

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Kentucky

Kentuckiana Pride Festival     Spender IN     Jun 20-21, 2014     www.kypride.com

Spenser Pride Festival     Spenser IN     Jun 7, 2014     www.spencerpride.org

L

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Louisiana

M

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Maine

Maryland

Massachuetts

Boston Pride Parade     Boston, MA     Jun 14, 2014     www.bostonpride.org

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

N

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Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey

Jersey City Pride     Jersey City NJ     Aug 2, 2014     http://hudsonpride.org/events/jc-pride-2014/

North Jersey Pride Festival     Maplewood NJ     Jun 8, 2014     www.northjerseypride.org

New Mexico

Los Ranchos Pride     Albuquerque NM     Jun 1, 2014     www.sinatradevine.org

New York

Capital Pride     Albany NY     Jun 14, 2014     www.capitalpridecenter.org

Buffalo & WNY Pride     Buffalo NY     May 25-Jun 1, 2014     www.buffalopridefestival.com

Long Island Pride     Huntington LI NY     Jun 14, 2014     www.lipride.org

Harlem Pride     New York NY     Jun 22-29, 2014     www.harlempride.org

CS Gay Pride     Rockland NY     Jun 8, 2014     www.gaypriderockland.org

CNY Pride     Syracuse NY     Jun 21, 2014     www.cnypride.org

North Carolina

Blue Ridge Pride     Asheville NC     Oct 4, 2014     www.blueridgepride.com

CGBP     Charlotte NC     Jul 15-20, 2014     www.charlotteblackgaypride.com

Shades of Pride     Raleigh NC     Jul 25-27, 2014     www.shadesofpride.org

North Dakota

 

O

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Ohio

Columbus Pride     Columbus OH     Jun 20-21, 2014   www.columbuspride.org/

Cincinnati Pride     Sawyer Point OH     May 31, 2014    www.cincinnatipride.org/

Toledo Pride     Toledo OH     Aug 22-24, 2014     www.ToledoPride.com

Oklahoma

OKC Pride     Oklahoma City OK     Jun 20-22, 2014     www.okcpride.org

Enid Pride     Enid OK     Sep 20, 2014     www.enidlgbtcoalition.org/enid-pride-festival.html

Oregon

 

P

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Pennsylvania

NHC Pride     New Hope PA     May 11-18, 2014     newhopecelebrates.com

Phila Pride     Philadelphia PA     Jun 8, 2014    www.phillypride.org/

Pittsburgh Pride     Pittsburgh PA     Jun 13, 2014    www.pittsburghpride.org  See also http://wesa.fm/post/sharing-stories-pittsburghs-transgender-community

R

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Rhode Island

S

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South Carolina

Upstate Pride SC     Spartanburg SC     Sep 13, 2014     www.upstatepridesc.org

South Dakota

T

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Tennessee

Knoxville Pridefest     Knoxville TN     Jun 21, 2014     www.knoxvillepridefest.org

Texas

Austin Pride     Austin TX     Sep 13-21, 2014     www.austinpride.org/

Dallas Pride     Dallas TX     Sep 21, 2014    www.dallastavernguild.org/

Houston Pride     Houston TX     Jun 20-29, 2014     www.pridehouston.org/

North Texas Pride     McKinney TX     Jun 8, 2014     northtexaspride.com/

Pride San Antonio     San Antonio TX     Jul 5, 2014     www.pridesanantonio.org/

U

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Utah

Utah Pride     Salt lake City UT     Jun 6-8, 2014     www.utahpridefestival.org


V

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Vermont

Pride Vermont     Burlington VT     Sep 14, 2014    pridevt.wordpress.com/

Virginia

Virginia Pride     Richmond VA     Sep 27, 2014    www.vapride.org/pridefest-2014/

Roanoke Pride     Roanoke VA     Sep 6-7, 2014    www.roanokepride.org

W

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Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Milwaukee Pride Fest     Milwaukee WI     Jun 6-8, 2014     pridefest.com/

Wyoming

Y

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None

Z

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None

May 18

Wonderful Afternoon

One of my favorite areas to visit is the Branson MO area. I go to the area primarily for the lake, but also there are some great shopping areas. My favorite is the Branson Landing. There are two stores that I frequently shop and that is due to the wonderful treatment that I have received from a couple of wonderful ladies. This past week I had an amazing experience.

Carolyn 02I walked into Limited Editions For Her at about 12:30 and was greeted by Carolyn with a hug. We spent a few minutes catching upon happenings in each others lives and then I started browsing. After I had a selection of several dresses, skirts, and tops, Carolyn showed me to my dressing room. I ended up only purchasing one dress, but it was a red and black color block dress that I really wanted to buy last summer, but at $225, a bit steep. It was now on sale for $165, still too steep for me, but it just happened that I hit the 50% off of sale merchandise sale. Yeah, at $82.50 that dress is now in my closet.

Karla 04

From there I walked across to the Dress Barn where my friend Karla greeted me with a hug. She had recently gotten engaged so I had to goo goo over her ring, caught up on things. Got great comments on her and her assistant on my look at last the Tri-Ess meeting I attended. (They especially liked how my hair was styled, thank you Mellissa) While Karla and I were chatting I got in on a bit of store drama as there is this old guy that comes in and makes a general pest of himself, doesn’t ever buy anything but occupies Karla’s time. Anyway I assisted with a block and cover that got him out of the store pretty quick.

So I had a few selections and headed off to the dressing room. While I was in there, they kept bringing me more and more things to try on that they thought would work for me. I spent about two hours trying things on. During the process either Karla or Stacy would comment on each item and how it worked for me. I ended up with four dresses and a scarf but had several more that I really liked. Total ticket price was $232.74. However with sale, daisy dollars, and a coupon that they dug up somewhere, the final price was $99.74.

I asked them to hold on to my purchases because I wanted to do a bit more shopping. I went down to VS where I got a new white bra and three pairs of panties. Hit that store during a promotion that got a free beach towel with my purchase.

I figured at this point I had done enough damage to my bank account and it was time to head back to my home away from home. Stopped and picked up my dress from Carolyn, got another hug, then my dresses from Karla. Her and Stacy had to see my dress from Limited Editions for Her, and commented they really needed to go shopping with me next time.
When I got in the car I notice that Karla has put a little goodie bag into the bag with the dresses. Inside the bag with a bottle of water, some Hershey miniatures, and a repair kit is a card. They thanked me for coming in and making their day. I spent two hours in their store being lavished over like a princess and I made their day? Needless to say I was in tears.

A wonderful afternoon of being treated like a lady, and feeling very special indeed. Oh did I mention that I was shopping en homme? Such special and accepting ladies, makes me feel very fortunate to be able to call them friends.

 Note from Tasi: Dress Barn caters to the “T” community and often offers special shopping events for “T” groups. Their clothes are fashionable and trendy. They are a Sister House store so please visit them here.

You might also enjoy this short video on another woman’s experience. Oh! those beautiful clothes

May 08

How to Choose the Right Skirt for Your Figure

Reprinted from WikiHow. Original article here.

Not in the mood for a dress today? Don’t forget the wonderful world of skirts! Perfect for dressing up or down an outfit – but which style for your beautiful figure? There are so many different styles of skirts that sometimes it can be difficult to know which one to choose. This is particularly relevant if you have to buy the plain old black skirt for work, and are faced with a wide range of polyester nightmares, grabbing the nearest one just to get it over with!

Don’t despair! All it takes is a good look in the mirror and a little logic, and you’ll be adding more skirts to your wardrobe before you know it.

Identify the different types of skirts available.

WH-types of skirtsThere are many choices out there and it’s useful to know the basic shapes if you’re not already skirt-conversant. The following are fairly standard skirt types from which other variations can be found:

o Schoolgirl skirt – a very short skirt style, often with pleats, can be used for sports
o Mini and micro-mini – short skirts
o Bubble skirt – bulges at the hem like a bubble
o Pencil skirt – slimline, very slinky
o Flip skirt – fitted from waist but then flares around the hemline
o Sarong – a wraparound skirt
o A-line – shaped pretty much like the letter A, can be any length
o Handkerchief – tends to hang in graduated hem lengths, with a diagonal hem cut
o Fishtail – slim waist, billows around hips, narrow around the knees, flares at the heels, like a mermaid’s tail
o Peasant – billowing, wide, layered style skirt, usually three quarter length

Select a skirt according to your figure type.

WH-2The following guide is general and there may be some variations depending on the specifics of your own body shape:

o Short figure: The best skirts for short figures are tapered straight (slim) skirts and A-line skirts but avoid stiff A-lines as they can make you appear squat. Length should be around the knee; if it’s either too long or too short, the skirt can make you appear even shorter although if you have shapely legs, a shorter skirt can make them seem longer. Suitable styles include button-fronts and wraparound skirts, as long as they are not stiff. And off-center slit can help to elongate the legs. Vertical embellishments or detailing will also help create the feeling of length. Things to avoid include hem detail, mid-calf length skirts, patch pockets, and girly skirts.
o Thick waist: If you have a thick waist, wear skirts that draw attention to your legs and away from the waist. Wear long and full skirts or short skirts. Avoid skirts with any embellishments around the middle, as these will draw attention to the waist.
o Curvy figure: Skirts with subtle tapering are ideal, and A-lines and wraparounds are also suitable. Choose skirts with a flat front, side or back zippers, drop-waists or no waistband if you’ve a thick waist (or keep if you have a waist to show off), flat-textures with little stretch, and soft, fluid fabrics to float over curves. As with the short figure, an off-center slit can help draw attention to the legs and not the curves. Skirts to avoid include box styles, stiff fabrics, pleats, patch pockets, full styles, and any horizontal patterning. Don’t wear any skirts that are too tight.
o Larger stomach: Wear lightly tapered pencil skirts and A-line skirts that drape. Avoid waistbands or remove them, avoid anything clinging or tight, bias cuts, pleats, wraps, darts in the front, gathered or bulky styles, and front pockets. How to Choose Makeup Colors|Dark colors and flat textures are best. Don’t wear sarongs.
o Boy-like figure: Skirts suitable for this type of figure include most styles although if you are concerned that your legs are too skinny, wear a long skirt with a slit or buttons on the front to increase the leg appeal. Pleating is good for slim hips and you can wear slanted pockets, patch pockets, gathering, belts, and thick waistbands. A small waist can be given added attention by the use of a wide belt.
o Bottom-heavy figure: This figure is flattered by a moderate A-line style or loose,softly draped skirts, and wraps, and the good news is that skirts flatter your figure more than pants. A tapered knee-length skirt can work if it’s not too severe, and avoid waistbands. Details should be vertical, and prefer dark colors. Avoid pockets on the skirt, pleating all the way around, bias cuts or trims, Lycra fabric, hem detail, a lot of flare, or horizontal embellishment. Don’t wear any skirts that are too tight and avoid any skirts that have pleats above the hips.
o Flat bottom: Wear Lycra fabrics, tight skirts, and bias-cut skirts.
o Long waist, short legs: Select straight skirts to give your legs length. The best length for the skirt tends to be between mid-thigh and above the knee. A belt in the same color as the skirt can visually shorten the upper body. Wear short tops or jackets, tone the pantyhose with the skirt, and rely on vertical embellishments to give a sense of length.
o Short waist, long legs: Look for skirts which are straight and have a dropped waist. Skirts that hip-hug or are low-rise, no waistband, and low-slung skirts are also a good choice. Tops that fall past the waistline can swallow up some of the leg-length and fluid skirt fabric can hide the short waist. Avoid anything on the skirt that interrupts the line of the top coming over the skirt (for example, pleats), belts that don’t blend in, high or wide waistbands, and horizontal detailing near the waist zone of the skirt.
o Large thighs: This figure is flattered by skirts that are loose and drape or have soft pleats. Avoid wearing Lycra-blend narrow skirts.
o Thick ankles: If you have thick ankles, skirts are best when long and loose and with above-the-ankle boots. Any skirt with hem detail, embellishment, or flare in the lower half will draw attention to the ankles, so avoid this.

 

Understand the importance of hem length with skirts.

WH-3Hem lengths change constantly but it’s important to stick with the length that flatters you most. The best way to find this out is to check out the skirts in your wardrobe that you feel best in (or try a few lengths on at the store). Note where the hem falls. InStyle suggests that this will often be on the leanest part of your legs, which is usually mid-thigh or just above or below the knee.

Find up to three lengths that flatter you best and aim to keep with those when shopping for skirts. You can do this with ease provided you are honest with yourself about those dowdy skirts you’ve been hanging on to for too long; we’re all born fashion-conscious, sometimes it just needs reawakening!
o Hems should sit straight when on, with no dipping front or back. If not, try on another skirt.

Select a 1950s style full or half circle skirt for most figure types.

WH-4The full circle skirt is almost one-shape-suits-all. The 1950s glamor girl look comes from the flowing, flirty shape, making this skirt perfect for both work or a night out. Not only that but this skirt works for basically every figure – giving a cola bottle silhouette to a Twiggy figure, and coasting over the lovely bumps of the fuller figured lady, this really is the Little Black Dress of skirts. All you need to worry about is length and fabric.
o Too long and it’s a granny skirt, too short and you get that 1990s look heavily inspired by Empire Records, or the late 1960s. This is all well and good if you’ve got thighs that like being out and about, but if you’re a little more shy, one bend over and the whole world’s your audience! Generally the perfect length is just on or over the knee, as the curve of the hem subtly complements your lower leg by ‘cutting off’ the knee.
o If you’re a vintage fan, this is a great skirt to hunt out in vintage stores. You can often get a beautiful 50s cotton skirt, perfect for holidaying, and often in a kooky, unique fabric. But don’t forget the power of evening wear – you should be able to find sheer, layered fabrics, perhaps with glittering details at the hem. And don’t forget: for the perfect 50s shape, pull in your waist with a wide belt, and slip a full petticoat underneath the skirt!

Choose a pencil skirt carefully if you have curves.

WH-5A great little slinky skirt, particularly prevalent in the pin-up style, this is a great way of looking sexy whilst covering up. Find the right fit, and these slinky delights will make you look and feel very sexy indeed. But some words of warning – underwear and fabric. Be sure to choose smooth underwear underneath and go for a heavier gauge fabric. This way the fabric coasts over your curves without illustrating them.
o Make sure you buy the right size skirt. You should be able to fit a finger between yourself and the fabric, comfortably.
o If you love your waist, have a look for the nautically inspired high waisted numbers that have been out and about lately.

Wear a mini skirt with confidence.

WH-6The mini is great fun, and essential for a 1960s party. But it really comes down to confidence, no matter what size you are. If you’re slim, you can go for any shape of mini, and may particularly enjoy the flared, flirty style that’s popular on and off. If you’re a little curvier, a straight mini in a heavier gauge fabric (denim that isn’t too elasticized is a good example, or basically anything lined) may be your best bet.

Choose an A line skirt if you have an hourglass or Twiggy sort of shape.

WH-7The A-line is a bit of a 1970s style but really it’s a very simple, unfussy shape, which can be perfect for smart casual work wear. Just be careful with it, as occasionally it can give a never-ending widening look.

Choose the trumpet skirt if you’re an hourglass lady, pear shape or a slim lady, as it creates soft curves.

WH-8The trumpet skirt is usually a floaty in and out, rippled hem skirt (it’s the one your aunt always wears to weddings with a suit jacket). In the right fabric, with the right lining, it can really float over your figure, giving the idea of an hourglass (especially when cut on the bias). But if you have a big hip and upper thigh region, it may accentuate this region, and can really draw the eye to the flaw, so avoid in this case. Check out The Timeless Trumpet Skirt on Tasi’s blog.

Wear the tulip style if you have curves.

WH-9This skirt style was a big hit in the 80s and now is found in even more stylish fabrics. Depending on the length and quality, this can be a really good way of showing off your figure by exaggerating it – it’s a trick of the eye that Escher would have been proud of. These tulips often have a wide band around the base (which just about stops it from being a puffball) so it’s not recommended for the slimmer ladies, as it’s designed with curves in mind, and if there’s a gap there, you won’t have that sexy wiggle look at all!

 

May 06

The Way of Skirts

“A good sermon should be like a woman’s skirt:
short enough to arouse interest
but long enough to cover the essentials.”
~Ronald Knox~

My fascination for skirts is renewed every season as skirts remain an all time favorite item of clothing worldwide. Interestingly, skirts have been around since the evolution of mankind. The rectangular piece of animal skin, leaves interwoven together and the earliest form of fabric – loosely woven tartans; all used to be wrapped around the waist and were the initial basic form of skirts.

chinese mini-skirtIn fact the first recorded use of skirts was in 3900 B.C. in Armenia. Now get this, the first mini-skirts were  worn by the Miao people of southwest China in the early 1700s, perhaps even earlier. The Duan Qun Miao, which literally meant “short skirt Miao” in Chinese and was in reference to the short miniskirts “that barely cover the buttocks” worn by women of the tribe.

The skirt is a garment so distinctly feminine that in the 1800s, the word itself was slang for woman. For hundreds of years, a long skirt was the very definition of luxury, mainly because fabric was so expensive. Women wore long skirts mostly as a matter of modesty and prestige. The narrowness of a woman’s waist was a sign of beauty and status, hence the fashion of expanding the skirts through hoops and petticoats and perhaps even a padded derriere

Beginning around 1915, hemlines for daytime dresses left the floor for good and for the next fifty years, hemlines went up, then down, and then up again. Since the 1970s  no one skirt length has dominated fashion for long, with short and ankle-length styles often appearing side-by-side in fashion magazines and catalogs. You can read a more comprehensive history of skirts here and here.

Today, a skirt’s design is all about personal style. Skirts, like pants, are a great wardrobe expander. The wide variety of shapes, styles and lengths; coupled with an almost limitless array of fabrics, colors, patterns and textures means there’s a skirt for every occasion, personality, age and body shape.

My Private Stylist from Image Innovators is Sister House’s recommended source for much of the below information on styling

Fit is Paramount

Great fit is just as important as buying the right style for your shape. Ignore the size on the label as there is no consistency of size between labels – correct fit is what matters most. If the number on the label worries you – cut it off.

Constant creasing is often blamed on poor fabric quality when often poor fit is often the culprit.

When you are in the fitting room go through the following fit checks:
• Expect that the skirt may need to be altered to fit you perfectly. Alterations can make all the different to the look and comfort of the skirt. If they are required, have them done without delay. I’d go so far as to say, do not to take them out of your car unless they are going into the alteration store.
• If the skirt is fitted or straight, fit the hips first; generally everything else can be altered to fit.
• Bend, stretch and move – if you feel the need to pull-down or rearrange your skirt after sitting or walking, select another style or go up one size.
• There should be enough ease for you to be able to place two fingers comfortably in the waistband and be able to slide the skirt 360 degrees around your body.
• Panty lines should not be visible.

Two Basic Shapes

There are two basic skirt shapes:
1. Straight
2. A-Line
From these basic shapes all skirt styles arise.

basic skirt shapesStraight

Seen every day in every situation straight skirts and their derviatives classic and timeless. Their clean shape co-ordinates easily with a multitude of tops and jackets and when the hem is at, or just above the knee. As long as they are not too fitted/tight they are unobtrusive and appropriate for most business environments and flattering on most women.

Each can be transformed by fashion into many different looks through the use of fabric, fit and embellishments. From casual in a chunky knee length tweed, to elegant and formal in a calf length silk to a sensual number if a thigh high split is added. The longer a straight skirt is the more it will restrict movement. To compensate for this vents or side-splits are added or they are styled as a wrap.

Classic styles derived from the straight skirt are pencil and contoured styles. As they becomes more fitted the look becomes sleek and sexy and as such are best reserved for non-business occasions. Some straight styles include: tulip, wrap, sarong, tiered, fishtail, peplum and pleated.

straight skirt stylesA-Line

Named after their shape, A-line skirts allow unrestricted movement. The wider the A shape the shorter in height you may appear and this visual shortening in turn can result in making the you appear wider/heavier. The taller, more slender and long legged the wearer is the more flattering a full A-line skirt will appear. If you are not blessed with height, long legs or a slender figure opt for subtle A-lines and add medium to high heels and you’ll look every bit as good as your long legged friends.

Some A-line styles include: gathered, inverted front pleat, circle, wrap, kilt, godet, bubble and dirndl.

a-line skirt variations

 

Skirt Vocabulary

Knowing the basic skirt shape is just the beginning. The variations are endless and each particular shape is a fashion statement until itself as we see below. Pick the silhouette that compliments your shape. Click here for a description of each skirt shape.

skirt vocabulatoryKey Elements

Hemlines

Today skirts can have many different shaped hemlines. Straight remains the only shape that is classic – everything else will eventually fall out of fashion. If your legs are not your best asset fancy hemlines will not be a good choice for you as they are often become the focal point of your outfit – highlighting your legs. To counteract this add hosiery in a color that will minimse the color contrast between the hemline and your legs.

skirt hemline stylesWaistbands

Like hemlines, waistbands are best plain or not present as in the case of waistbandless skirts. If you have any mid torso challenges only the plainest of waistbands will be the ones to choose. Ties, belts and fancy waistbands all require short or tucked in tops and will add awkard bulk if any tops are worn over them.  Waistbandless skirts give a clean line and elongate the torso however; they do have a tendency to stretch over time.

waistbandless skirts

Length

Your best skirt length will depend on:
• the length of your legs,
• if you have any leg challenges i.e large calves, knobbly knees etc.
• the style, toe shape and height of your shoe
• the color contrast created between your hemline, legs and shoes.

Although the picture below was created for another purpose, there’s a certain amount of truth to be learned when you think about it.

Skirt lengths

Long skirts look best on tall and long legged women. They can work for almost everyone else if medium to high heels are worn.

Skirts which skim the top of the knee are always current, appropriate and flattering on almost every woman. If you are concerned about the look of your knees or legs, wear for hosiery that blends with the color of your hemline, legs and shoes.

When mini shirts are in fashion, for modesty opt for skirts that are longer than they are wide. By adding opaque hosiery a short hemline can be made to appear more modest and flattering.

Experiment by combining different hem lengths and shoe styles, heel heights and hosiery colors. A multitude of challenges can be camouflaged with skilful coordination.

skirts with hose

Color

While skirts can be any color it is only the neutral range of colors that are truly versatile. Color affects both your apparent proportions and weight. A light or bright colored long skirt will focus attention on the lower half of the body making the wearer appear shorter and wider. Darker colors recede and visually slim the hips, thighs and backside.

Short skirts in light colors appear to be shorter than they really are and are best worn slightly a little longer to compensate, while dark colored short skirts have the opposite effect and thus can be worn slightly shorter. The more color difference there is between your skirt and legs the more attention will be focused on your legs, especially at the hemline.

skirt colors-neutralPattern and Texture

Skirts with bold patterns, particularly checks and wide stripes can be difficult to pull-off if you are not slim or tall. If patterned skirts are your thing and you have a full lower body for opt colors and patterns that are subtle and match with a top that carries one of the colours upward, or wear white with a statement necklace.

The use of evening fabrics will transform a skirt from day wear to evening wear.
Texture tends to increase perceived weight and in most cases immediately places the skirt into a new image. For example a straight skirt in high quality, lightweight wool can move freely from the office to home to evening wear, whereas if it is in tweed immediately it will take on a country, casual air relegating it to the weekends. Shiny textured surfaces in the same way render the skirt too glamorous for most work environments.

skirts with patternsFabrics for skirts

The fabric of the skirt largely depends on the season. If you are wearing a skirt in summers, it will be in
• Light to Medium weight 100% cotton fabrics such as poplin, sheeting, linen or denims in 5 oz. to 8.oz.
• A few kinds of skirts are also made in the lighter weight cotton like cambric and voile or in polyester fabrics like georgettes, chiffons or net. However, skirts made in light weight and transparent fabrics are normally lined to provide additional strength and prevent too much transparency. Also due to the fabric strength limitation, these are normally not converted into very tight fitting designs.
• For the colder months, skirts may be made in heavier weight cotton fabrics such as canvas, twills and denims in weight 8 oz. to 12 oz. heavier weights and tighter constructions of poplins and sheetings are also common.
• Warmer fabrics which are less permeable and trap air like silk, satin, taffeta or heavier fabrics like worsted wool , different wales corduroy, uncut corduroy, velvet are also good choices for skirts for colder months. To give added warmth to the wearer, skirts can also be teamed up with leggings and stockings.
• Skirts in knit fabrics such as cotton, viscose or a blend of viscose/lycra, cotton lycra are also very popular. Knit gives the benefit of taking the shape of the wearer.

Now that you know all the basics about skirts, head on over to the Library How To Section and learn How to Choose the Right Skirt for your Figure.

But wait, there’s more. Choosing the right shoe for your skirt length is also important to create just that right look. Imogene Lamport from the insideoutstyle blog gives us some helpful hints in the infographic and notes below.

skirt length and shoe guide

Guidelines:

Mini or Above the Knee on the Mid-Thigh – best shoes are flat, the only exception would be an ankle bootie style.

On the Knee – here you can get away with both flats and heels

Below the Knee on the top of the Calf – as we don’t see you knees you start needing some leg lengthening heel, or at least a wedge/platform

Mid calf or Midi length – now we really get the leg shortening of this skirt (or cropped pant) length, so go for heels, wedges or a boot with heels

Maxi – because this is full length you can easily wear a flat shoe or wedge, no need for heels, unless you want to wear them.

Final Points

• Choose lengths that best suit you; do not be persuaded by a designer’s whim or a girl friends nagging to wear anything else.
• Lined skirts last longer and look better – buy them whenever possible.
• Wear jackets/sweaters and skirts that are well proportioned to each other. Long over short or short over long. Skirt and jacket combinations that are exactly 50/50 are in most cases uninspired and boring.
• Shoes with low vamps (exposes lots of foot), fine to medium soles and heels, and slightly pointed shoes will all make legs look slimmer and longer.
• Discover what styles suit your shape and you’ll find shopping and looking great everyday easier than you ever imagined. My Private Stylist is the only online style program that will teach you about all the aspects of all garments and accessories that will best suit you. See our ad in the Dressing Room.

 

Image Acknowledgements:
• Gilt
• SSence
• Shop Style