12 February 2007

The keyhole effect

J. Crew revolutionized my summers when I discovered its mix-and-match bikini separates. No longer did I have to waste money on two suits just to stock away the smaller bottoms and give away the more accommodating tops to my shapelier girlfriends.

It's a well-worn tale, the story of the woman who was one size above the waist and a different one down below. For nearly every woman I know, every woman with whom I've ever shared a tight fitting room, this is reality.

And it's a good reality, in my opinion.

Not having a mirror-image top and bottom is cause for rejoice, not forlorn. Even when you conjure up a woman with the ideal female figure - let's call her "Monica Bellucci" - it's an impossibility to expect her closet to be filled with blouses, trousers, jackets and silk dress shorts all in a single size.

It's womanly to be a bit bigger on top or a bit bigger on bottom. It's called shape, and those of us who have it wouldn't trade it for anything. Not even for these Louboutian 5-inch pumps.

Because the prevalence of shapely women is so widespread, stores from Old Navy to Bergdorf Goodman's cater to our needs with business suit, bathing suit and evening wear separates. But even with the top-and-bottom problem solved, many women, the woman who inspired this post included, still have unaddressed intra-top (i.e. different sized shoulders, chest, and ribcage) and intra-bottom (i.e. different sized bah'um, thighs, waist, hips and calves) fit issues.

About 5 feet tall in heels, our bartender last Friday at Panache - we'll call her "C" - reminded me at first blush of a Princeton basketball fan. A very well-endowed Princeton basketball fan. Dressed in all black with skin as orange and makeup as cakey as a Staten Island girl's (example at right), C could open Heineken Lights and serve tapas like a pro, but clearly had not yet transitioned from buying her clothes in the juniors department.

The way her oxford shirt fit around her midsection, arms and back were spot-on, but around the girth of her "girls" was a different story. Kicking, screaming, pulling and begging for reinforcement for buttons three through five, C's shirt was in major distress and at the risk of popping with even the slightest movement in an unexpected direction. She had not one, not two, but four resultant unintentional keyholes in the middle of her shirt. Everyone in that bar that night, for better or worse (mostly worse), had a tidy four-in-a-row peek at her Tang-hued cleavage.
My male companion tried unsuccessfully to convince me this was C's attempt at "sex appeal."

I knew better, though. An attempt at sex appeal would have been to wear the shirt open (save for the last few buttons underneath her ladies) coupled with a lacy black cami and a push-up-and-out balconet bra. That might have been sexy. C's look was more unstudied than that -- she just bought a too-tight shirt.

More to come later today on how to deal with intra-clothing fit issues...


a fan said...

I can't remember why, but you sent me that pic of Monica six or seven months ago.

I got it then and I get it now: she's perfect.

Johanna said...

I've been in awe of her - everything about her - since I discovered "Malèna" back in 2000.

And even though I don't think I need to tell you all this, her waist is really much more ample than that picture lets on. She's a good size 6-8, not a 2.

And yes, she *is* perfect.

bff in chicago said...

I HATE when women wear button up shirts that pull across the chest like that! There's a big difference between fitted and too-tight. One is sexy and the other is just sad.

Hopefully DC women are better at this than Chicago women. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

I know why you put the MB picture up. You're still obsessing about Dita in that corset. Get it out of your head, girl.

No argument here about La Belluci.

Don't shoot at the bartenders, for God's sake. Keep this up and no one will serve us.


Johanna said...

Actually, I think it's the other way around. I put up the Dita picture because I'd been obsessing about this Monica picture for 7 months.

Either way, I think I've proven my point that corsets are a wardrobe MUST.

nyc admirer said...

please don't tell me the next picture you post is of Clive Owen in a corset.

Or, god help us all, Dick Cheney in a corset.

Anonymous said...

Mmmmm...Dick Cheney in a corset...

Johanna said...

My thoughts exactly, "anonymous"!

Anonymous said...

Panache is a pretty classy place. I'm surprised "C" was allowed to walk around with such a blatant style offense.

Where has decency gone?

brown '02 said...

I think I speak for everyone (all the males, anyway) when I say the next time you feature a corset on here, it should be on you. Holla!

nyc admirer said...

I second (and third and fourth...) that inappropriate request.