03 January 2007

The button is for decoration.

This is the waist-up counterpart to yesterday's post about what not to wear from the waist-down.

I know it's unseasonably warm outside. I know it's not really worth putting on a coat when Caribou is four doors down. I also know that mistreating a bolero/capelet/shrug in the above manner is a frequent offense on ConnAve.

At the intersection of Conn/M around 2pm, a woman transformed what was supposed to be a prim, decorative jacket into a short-sleeved sports bra. She was literally getting as much over-the-shirt support from her poor, abused sweater as she was presumably getting from her bra. "If she's even wearing one," I thought to myself. Leaning in for a closer look, I was quickly shot a back-the-'eff-off peripheral glare. That she was twice my girth heavily influenced my decision not to proceed with the investigation. Yes, heavily influenced. I'm not above a gratuitous pun.

I try my darndest not to be a sizist, to accept people of all shapes, sizes, yada yada yada, but in some cases, I have to put my peeptoe down and say out loud that certain trends will never look good on women of larger carriages. The miniature jacket, unfortunately - and I express deep empathy because I love love love them - is one of these.

Remember "Tommy Boy" with Chris Farley and David Spade? Yes, that scene, that's what a big girl in a bolero looks like.

What should a larger girl do, then, when it's 57 degrees at lunchtime? Sit tight, I have four suggestions.

First up is this cozy Dolman-sleeve cardigan by Laureate Lane ($148 at anthropologie.com). The fabric, a soft alpaca, is very stretchy and generous, which is ideal for someone with a larger mid-section. The length, which falls a few inches over the waist, will appeal to women with hips. Yes, there are buttons on this sweater, and yes, they're fastened in the picture, but it may not be a good decision for you after eating breakfast and lunch at Corner Bakery. As the title of this post suggests, sometimes designers put form over function. Look for that. This sweater comes in two shades - oatmeal and black - both of which are versatile, professional colors that will complement just about anything in a woman's wardrobe. This is that *perfect* leave-it-at-work sweater.

Second is this cable-knit high collar drape sweater by Vince ($265 at shopbop.com). Again, the length hides any semblance of a muffintop, and the dramatic neck adds some trendiness to what otherwise would be a pretty traditional sweater. Unlike the cardigan, this is a casual look and should be worn mainly with jeans and cords.

The third choice is slightly different from the others in that it's a pullover. Unlike the first two, this Phosphorescence sweater by Odille ($49.95 at anthropologie.com) is not a style that would go with just any top. I wouldn't suggest pairing it with something collared - an Oxford shirt, for example - but pretty much everything else would work. This wool/angora/cashmere blend, because of its kimono-style sleeves, is slightly dressier than the cardigans, which means come 6 o'clock, it's happy hour ready. It could easily class up jeans but in my opinion, works best with a pair of black, gray, or herringbone trousers.

The last style I recommend is this velvet jacket by Joie ($165 at saks.com). 57 degrees is not Michigan but it's also not Miami. Though I don't always abide by what are for the most part antiquated style guidelines, I do believe one should be fairly strict in observing a November through February velvet season. This means velvet skirts, dresses, and coats are luxuries you should invest in only after you've taken care of the necessities. The velvet jacket, however, has become so ubiquitous in the past decade that it's now completely acceptable for anyone to wear it at any point during the calendar year. Over a cute novelty tee with skinny jeans and flats or paired with a little red dress, the velvet jacket adds a touch of uniqueness to most any outfit.

There are plenty of other styles out there to flatter a larger figure, these are just a few examples that align with my style standards. Just remember not to rock the cropped cut and not to buy too small a size. Whether you love your extra bits or want to burn them off, grandstanding them in tight fabrics isn't flattering, nor is it professional.

No comments: