Tag Archives: a-line dress

Dresses for Your Body Type: The Petite Apple

If you’re petite, 5’4″ and under, dressing well, particularly in skirts or dresses, can be a challenge.  And if you’re apple shaped – top heavy, a bit lumpy in the middle, with smashing legs-  it can be far too easy to wind up looking like a big lump.

My BFF K rang me up recently, in need of a dress to take her through a few occasions, with about $150 to spend.  Her challenge, proves that anyone with any body shape can find what they need and still be fashionable, and in budget.  K is a pretty average petite apple, but she has one specific need: long sleeves to cover a tattoo.

MaxStudio.com - SHIRRED DRESS, $138

MaxStudio.com - SHIRRED DRESS, $138

What I went looking for in a dress to flatter K, and would for any petite apple are three things: 1) Either an empire or a dropped waist dress – a true waist will call attention to her tummy.

2) A loose fit in front. If you’re doing two pieces do not tuck in your blouse.  You need it to cover anything extra between your waist and hips.

3) A hem length at or above the knee. For a petite, anything below the knee is going to make you look overwhelmed and dumpy.  In a sense you’re lucky: skirts that might be too short on a taller woman can be an appropriate length for you.

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When I think floaty dresses, I think Max Studio.com.  This shirred, tuxedo front dress will flatter a larger chest, cover arms, and show off legs, with no one will be the wiser to anything you don’t want to show around your stomach.

An open neckline will balance a larger chest – and most importantly, the chest is just decorative not stretchy.  If you have a large chest, you don’t want anything that’s going to stretch over it.  This is ruffles, not elastic.  Its conservative enough for a business dinner, and formal enough for a wedding.
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Generra Tunic Dress

Generra Tunic Dress, 6pm.com, $178

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This tunic dress from Generra at 6pm.com is slightly over budget, and a similar style to the first.  But since it’s not quite as floaty and a little more contemporary, it’s a nice comparison.

Made out of silk and cotton, it’s a great deal at 30% off the original price.  Notice that the basic shape is the same as the first dress: long sleeves, open neck and straight from gathers at the chest.

It looks mid-thigh on the mannequin, but will likely hit lower on a shorter woman.  The contemporary style is a little more casual, but it can easily be dressed up with accessories, and the silk will help it look dressier.

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PAROSH Shirt Dress from YOOX, $155

PAROSH Shirt Dress from YOOX, $155

I adore everything about this next dress at Yoox.  From the silver color, to the rough silk fabric, to the modern shirt-dress cut.

It’s a winner in my book, and it’s selling out fast. It’s not a completely long sleeve, but on a petite it should be long enough to get the job done.  Worst case you could put a sheer long sleeve tee underneath

This particular dress could be very flattering for all shapes:  on an apple it’s going to flatter a tummy and show off your great legs.

Even pear shapes or hourglasses could find this accommodating to hiding a hip-y area while flattering a waist – or it could be too tight around the bottom and have no shape around the waist.  You’d just have to try it on.

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Diane Von Furstenburg - Short dress, $195 on YOOX

Diane Von Furstenburg - Short dress, $195 on YOOX

I don’t know what it is that’s got me showing all blue dresses, but that’s just what I’ve been finding.  This Diane von Furstenberg short dress is different from the others I’ve shown, because it has a dropped waist.

Ideally the sash will hit around the hips, and the dress will be looser everywhere else.  For you apple shapes with your flat tushes and nice legs, by all means try this type of dress.

A lightweight cashmere dress such as this one is virtually seasonless: just put a long sleeved t-shirt and tights underneath it when the weather gets chilly.

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Mixie "Maggie" Dress at Green Apple, $150

Mixie "Maggie" Dress at Green Apple, $150

I finally found a pop of color at Green Apple, this neat site that showcases new and unique designers.  Mixie is a local Orange County, California designer.

“Maggie” is made out of Modal, which is a slightly more casual looking fabric, but between the color and the style of the dress, I think it’s sufficient for a slightly dressy occasion.

At 36″ long, it could be a touch long to be in proportion, but if you can wear a pair of nice 3″ heels with it, that will adjust accordingly, or you can get it hemmed.  A good tailor is your friend.

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Eve Gravel Air Dress at Mudshark Streetwear, $165.60

Eve Gravel Air Dress at Mudshark Streetwear, $165.60

Pr0n stars, I searched high, low and everywhere in between to fine just one more fabulous dress for all of you.  I found it at Mudshark Streetwear, a fabulous online Canadian retailer with a simply enormous selection of unique, reasonably priced clothes, much of it eco-friendly.

I absolutely love the mix of ’80s and ’60s style in their Gravel Air Dress.  The top is a raglan sleeve – it’s hard to tell whether or not it’ll stay on both shoulders.  If not, wear a cami underneath, or have a tailor put one of those lingerie bra buttons in.

The slightly lowered waist has a matching belt with a pop of white button, and then attaches to an above-the-knee slightly A-line skirt with white front pockets.  It’s all together in a stand-out indigo color.  For a dress that matches your attitude, look no further.  Your budget will barely stretch at $165.60.

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I hope this post has shown you a variety of styles that will work for your body type.  I love dresses because of their ease and flexibility.  It’s so easy to make them different by putting on a blazer or sweater or different jewelry or hose or tights.  K, I hope there’s something here for you. :)

Got a body shape or an event you need help with?  Email me! Shoppingpr0n@gmail.com.  Maybe you’ll have your very own post.

Until next time, it was good for me.  Tell me, was it good for you?

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How to Shop For Your Body Type: The Pear

Pr0n pals, I’m really excited about today’s post.  One of my strengths is being able to see what clothing styles work on different body types; it’s something I’ve worked at, rather than springing from Pr0n Mom’s womb the fashionista I am today.  So I was thrilled when my friend Rebecca wrote to me and said she was fashion challenged for her body type.

Meet Rebecca

Meet Rebecca

Rebecca is pretty normal: average to plus size figure, young, married with a young child, and doesn’t have tons of money to spend but deserves to look her best.  She’s just a little style challenged.  Today’s post promises to be full of fashion tips, do’s and don’ts, and really down-to-earth advice about buying clothing and putting together outfits that you’ll enjoy.  Let’s meet Rebecca.

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If there was ever a pear shape, Rebecca’s it.  She’s 5’7″,  and according to her measurements wears about a 14 on top and an 18 on bottom. She doesn’t have a very defined waist and she carries a lot of her weight in her hips.  I doubt you’d call Rebecca plus sized if you met her; just curvy.

Rebecca Now

Rebecca Now

But  when Rebecca told me she didn’t know how to dress, she wasn’t kidding.  This is more or less the outfit she was wearing in the picture she sent me.

I don’t know very many people who can wear well horizontal stripes.  Her top was too long, shapeless, and made her look wider than she is.  Her jeans just didn’t fit well and didn’t flatter.

That’s just a bad dream from now on; what Rebecca or other pear shapes should achieve with her clothing is learning to minimize her hips, bringing the rest of her body into proportion, and creating a long, lean silhouette by using clothing shape and color to her advantage. Fashion is 50% architecture, 50% art.

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Pear Shape Dress

Pear Shape Dress

The first virtual outfit I used is so simple and perfect for pear shapes, you’ll wonder why you never tried it.  This is a scoop neck sheath dress in a solid color, with a wide waistband, and a hem that hits just above the knee.

Immediately, Rebecca looks four inches taller and 20 pounds thinner!  The open neckline on the dress helps to balance her hips and chest, while the monochrome color and sheath glide over her hips so your eye doesn’t focus there.  The really critical piece is the dress’ hemline.  If the hemline were much higher it wouldn’t look age appropriate, any lower and the dress will make her body look short and dumpy.

Nine West Short Sleeve Plus Size Dress, $83.40 at Macy's

Nine West Short Sleeve Plus Size Dress, $83.40 at Macy's

In real life I found this adorable Nine West dress at Macy’s.  If she buys a 1x she may need to have the top taken in a bit – such is life as a pear shape, because you need to fit the widest part of you – your bottom  half.  But what I like is that the dress is youthful, and it’s definitely going to fit because the skirt is an A-line – it has an A shape rather than going straigt down.  Pair the dress with heels and a fun colored bag.

I’ve shown virtually here a sweater option for pears to wear over a dress.  Notice how short the sweater is.  I’m stopping the cardigan at her smallest part (above the waist)in order to emphasize it. If you’re a pair shape and you wear a regular length cardigan over an outfit, make sure it’s fitted and stops at the top of the hip.
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Pear Shape Jeans Outfit

Pear Shape Jeans Outfit

Virtual Pear Shape Outfit #2 is a basic jeans and t-shirt look; I forgot to give her shoes. :(

What pears need to look for here are shirts that stop at the hip, that show your curves rather than hide it, jeans with a straight wider leg to balance your lower body and a waistband that stops at your widest part.

Any piece of clothing that goes over your hips will emphasize them; it may seem counter intuitive, but by stopping things at your widest part you trick the eye, which is exactly what you want as someone who is bottom heavy.

The same concept applies with jeans – if your widest part is your hips, that’s where your waistband should go; usually just below your belly button.  If you go with jeans that stop above your widest part, rather than emphasizing your small waist, it makes your hips look larger.

Most jeans styles have a “bootcut” or a “flare” leg.  Pear shapes should for a pair of jeans with “trouser” style or “wide leg” if you can.  If you can’t, look for a pair that have a minimum of tapering at the knee.  The more you taper, the more you emphasize what’s above and below.

Here are some reasonably priced real life options for this type of jean/t-shirt pear outfit.

Spring Casual for a Pear

Spring Casual for a Pear

Spring Casual for a Pear by din2quared featuring Old Navy jackets

Again, this is a really simple outfit to pull together, mix and match and add to with clothing from your closet.  It can be dressed up or down with a few changes, so it will take you from the grocery store out to dinner.

Both t-shirts are from the Gap – the one on top has a strong color and an open neckline to be the primary focus, and then I layered a plain gray long sleeve t with a slightly more open crew neck under it.  Crew necks that are right up against the neck will make you look bustier.

The jeans are a drawstring trouser from Old Navy.  Rebecca appeared to be in between sizes, so a drawstring jean could help avoid a tailoring charge (jeans can be tailored!).  Just be careful not to go for an elastic waistband on pants; it may seem like an easy fix, but elastic waistbands don’t flatter anyone.

These jeans are more lightweight; for a a dressier look, choose a heavier, darker trouser jean.

I’ve pulled together the outfit with an adorable tote bag on sale at Luna Boston, a trench coat from Old Navy and Cole Haan Wedges at Zappos. A tote bag, trench coat and comfy flats are three accessories that will take you everywhere

The Cole-Haan wedge shoes are the splurge item here at over $100, but as I’ve said before don’t skimp on shoes.  Cheap shoes won’t last, they won’t support your feet, ankles, hips or knees and you’ll wind up spending the same amount of money on several pairs versus one.  Cole Haan has an entire line that’s made with Nike Air technology.  Looks like a pump, feels like a sneaker.

I created two more virtual pear style outfit variations: one good, one bad.  Look what happens if you pair dressy jeans and the tote with a cute blouse for casual Friday or dinner with friends here.  On the other hand, look what happens if you put a pear shape in an over-sized, too long top.

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Pear Shape Date Outfit

Pear Shape Date Outfit

This is one more outfit type option for Rebecca or any of you pear shapes out there.

What’s funny is that I put this outfit together right after I bought my dress, and the two dresses are very similar styles.  Several things are working together to slim and balance; if you look carefully you can see that there’s actually a wide waistband that starts just higher than her natural waist  – this draws the eye up, and the slightly rounded shape of the skirt hides the hips. But by wearing a dress, all one piece, the effect is not to break up the body, which is almost always slimming.

Continuing the monochromatic theme, she’s wearing black tights with black heels, and then I kept all her accessories within the same color family: (Ish. i didn’t have tons to work with.) A red wrap, a red necklace, and a burgundy clutch.

Donna Ricco Sleeveless Bubble Dress, $178 @Nordstrom

Donna Ricco Sleeveless Bubble Dress, $178 @Nordstrom

For a similar dress look, try this Donna Ricco bubble dress from Nordstrom.  It’s a little fancier than what I showed, but it’ll be a classic wardrobe addition.

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None of these styles are terribly complicated once you understand your body and its proportions.  Bring a digital camera with you shopping and take pictures of outfits, or do it when you get home.  Once you start working with some basic structure, you’ll understand what clothes do to your body, and gain more confidence.

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I’m always happy to answer questions, and I’m always happy to help if you’ve got a particular figure you have trouble dressing.  Drop me a comment, or an email: shoppingpr0n@gmail.com . :)  And don’t forget, if you’re looking for plus size clothes, Shopping Pr0n readers get 20% off at Simply Yours and Simply Be through this special sales code.

Please let me know if this helped you – I love feedback!

Until next time, my little pr0n pastrami.  It was good for me; tell me, was it good for you?

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