April 3, 2017

Supportive Swimwear for Larger Busts: Our 2017 Picks

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Hey all! We’ve been getting tons of questions from you ladies about swim styles that offer a bit more support up top, especially for larger busts. It can be really disappointing when you love a certain style, only to try it on and feel like the designers forgot about that silly thing called gravity? Or if you’ve nursed a few babes and now find you need more than stretchy fabric to keep things where they should be, we’ve got you covered.

When you’re looking for supportive swim tops, it helps to skim the description for these key words: underwire, hidden or otherwise; side boning (your hubby will probably find that amusing if his sense of humor hasn’t evolved much since junior high, like mine’s); and 3-row 2-column (or some combination) hook & eye closure like regular bras & sports bras have for extra security.

I found so many good choices this year, even more so than in years past. I noticed a happy and inclusive trend this year that stylish and on-trend swim brands are making the same style in regular, larger cup sizes and plus sizes. Yay for finally recognizing bodies come in more sizes than small, medium and large! I grouped swim styles by tankini/bikini and one-pieces, so everyone can find their comfortable level of coverage.

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June 21, 2016

Two Piece Coordinates (Not Crop Tops!)

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Summertime usually brings with it a few outdoor events: poolside cocktail parties, beachside weddings, outdoor graduations, etc. It can be tough to find the right attire that will a) be flattering and b) provide you with options to wear again. I do hate having to buy a dress or outfit that I only wear once!

Enter the two-piece coordinating outfit (the British sites call them coords – love that.).   With two pieces to work with, you can wear them to your event together (for the dressiest look), then pair them with other pieces for future options. I love the versatility! Three or more outfits in ‘one!’

Reader Randi wrote in asking about two-piece dresses and that’s what spurred this hunt for these hard-to-find yet 0h-so-versatile pieces.

I am desperate! I have a 40th birthday and a casual wedding coming up. I am looking for a fun two piece dress that is not a crop top and hides some of my extra winter pounds.  I am desperate to feel fabulous!! Any ideas?!?!

The Search

Here are the key words here that complicate matters: not a crop top. Oh boy. Crop tops are everywhere right now, and the vast majority of co-ords feature some sort of crop-top paired with a skirt.  And while there are some mamas who can successfully show off their toned abs (high-five, you!), many of us are a little…softer in that area.

The tricky part of this search was…how to search. Do you search for ‘two-piece dresses’? Yes, there are a few that come up. But you also get a lot of Mother-of-the-Bride outfits. Searching ‘coordinates’, brings up a few more options. Some of the pieces were discovered by simply hunting for a top and skirt in the same fabric/print…not as easily entered into Google. In any case, after much searching, a collection has been made! Thank you to Shana and Jess for help and some great additions!

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January 12, 2015

What To Wear To a Beach Wedding (With Options for Maternity, Nursing, and Post-Partum)

Lately, my inbox has been filled with requests like these:

My biggest dilemma is finding a casual-yet-appropriate-for a beach wedding dress.  Any ideas?! 

or….

We are fortunate enough to be able to take our family to the Caribbean for a sibling’s wedding in April.  I need help!  I will be 7 months post partum with a belly that still looks pregnant and I am hoping to still be breastfeeding.  Where do I start to look for a dress that is appropriate for a beach wedding?  

 

I’m always happy for an excuse to look at pretty pretty dresses.  And if any occasion calls for a pretty pretty dress it’s a beach wedding.  But not just any pretty dress – you need something…unstructured.  And by “unstructured” I mean an unstructured feeling…something that feels light, breezy, something that goes with sun-kissed skin and windswept hair.  Tailored perfection is not the goal (even if the wedding is fancy).  My rule of thumb?  Look for a silky, flowy, or glamorous dress that could also be worn with flipflops in some cool-girl California wedding.  That’s your dress for a beach wedding.

Once the pretty dress is found, I recommend you finish off your glamorous self in the best beachy-casual kind of way:  with flat metallic sandals and simple jewelry (I like a few gold bangles).  Warm it up with a denim jacket (for a casual wedding), a pretty wrap (for a fancy wedding – and by ‘wrap’ I mean ‘lightweight scarf’)…or a white blazer.

 

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 Tbags Knotted V-Neck Dress | Ancient Greek Sandals

Echo Wrap | Blaque Label Ivory Blazer | BCBG Gold Beaded Metallic Clutch | Drop Earrings

Gap 1969 Denim Jacket (also like this Paige Denim Jacket) | Jessica Simpson Bow Clutch

 

Happily, there’s a whole bunch of dresses (and sandals) perfect for beach weddings.  Keep reading to see my favs.

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June 2, 2014

TEAM FANNY PACK! (Oh yes I did just go there)

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GO TEAM!  

Fanny packs, Mamas.  I'm totally in.  I tested them out for reader Melissa, and the whole hands-free thing is life-changing.  I forgot how good it was, Mamas.  Hands-free is so, so good. 

It all started with Melissa's email:

I’m a long time reader and huge fan of your blog. I value your opinion in all things fashion, and especially appreciate your high and low price point options. I’ve used the price-per-wear argument many times with my husband! I’m 37 with 3 kids (ages 9, 7 & 4).

Summertime and festival season is fast approaching. Thankfully, our family no longer requires a diaper bag or loads of emergency snacks when we hit the town. But, I always need my keys, phone and some money. I hate stuffing all that in my pockets, so what are my most unobtrusive options? Last weekend, I stuffed it all in my trusty butt pack and was ready to go. However, my ultra-hip 9 year-old strongly disapproved (photo attached—I love how the Despicable Me band-aid reminds us she is not a teenager J). Can you suggest anything for this situation? I’m imagining something like a leather belt with a small purse attached—but not something that looks like the holster the workers at beauty counters wear for their makeup brush collection.

Thanks so much for your input!

– Melissa

Downwithfannypacks

 

 

Ok so first of all, I need to copy your nine-year-old's exact outfit.  

Secondly….thanks for including a pic.  It helped me narrow down the whole what works/what doesn't pretty quickly.  I think fanny packs can work, but it has to be in one of the two following combinations:

Super chic fanny pack + casual outfit

or

Casual fanny pack + super chic outfit

 

For the purposes of testing out the fanny, I picked up Herschel Supply Co's canvas fanny pack because A. it's $25 and B. dressing around a casual fanny pack is the harder of the two. 

 

Tip 1:  Wear Your Fanny Slung Low on the Hips

I think this goes without saying, but casual fanny packs should be slung low like a tool belt, rather than around your waist like an actual belt.  (If you do opt for the seriously fancy fanny packs, they can be worn higher up, but should still stay an inch or so below the snap on your jeans.)

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wearing:

shirt: Madewell Linen Folktale Blouse

jeans: old AG…try Acquaverde's Patched Skinny Jean

shoes: old Shoemint…similar sandals by Rebels

sunnies: Ray-Ban folding wayfarers

On Raines: Geofox pants and tee, saltwater surf sandals

On Pax: Tribe is Alive tank, FabKids pants, saltwater surf sandals….I like Nordstrom for kid's sunglasses

 

Tip 2:  Keep The Rest of Your Outfit Chic

The key to making your fanny look ironic rather than sad is to make sure that the rest of your outfit looks intentional.  Wear a pretty shirt, bust out your big girl lipstick, wear glam sunnies.  

   

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Tip 3:  Show Some Skin

Whether it's your arms, boobs, or a little bit of hip….adding some sex appeal really helps to style the fanny.  (And it'll make a believer out of your husband.)

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wearing:

tank: old Sunner…try Bailey 44's Mesh-Back Top (check out the back) or their fully cropped version if you dare

sweater: old Qi Cashmere – they make really cool, unusual cashmere sweaters like this one.

jeans: old AG…try Acquaverde's Patched Skinny Jean

accessories: Ray-Ban folding wayfarers, Chan Luu wrap bracelet

 

Tip 4 – Use a Fanny Pack to Belt a Dress 

You'll have to play around with this one – depending on the dress, you may need to violate the whole "wear fannys slung low" tip….but it can work.

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wearing:

dress: old DVF…but I'm DYING over this strapless minidress…or try Old Navy's basic strapless mini

shoes: old….but I'm seriously considering these Dolce Vita flat sandals with the cool beading

accessories: Gorjana Taner collar necklaceRay-Ban folding wayfarersChan Luu wrap bracelet

On Raines: Geofox Good Vibes Tee, FabKids shortssaltwater surf sandals

On Pax: Geofox Sunshine and Daydreams tee, Nico Nico dot surf shorts, saltwater surf sandals, old Atomic kid's pack….Osprey's Zip 25 is a similar size

 

 

 

Tip 5:  If Nothing Else, Wear Chic Shoes

This really should be my life mantra.  

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wearing:

shirt: French Connection (sold out)…try this French Connection top

shorts: A&F…try 

shoes: old Shoemint…also love Everlane's simple sandals

accessories: see above

On Raines: see above

On Pax: see above

(Notice that my kids wear the same stuff everyday?  They'd go weeks if I let them.)

 

 

Melissa, I suspect that if you swing your fanny pack around, let it ride a little lower on your hips, then swap out your sneaks for chic flat sandals…even your nine year old will approve.  

Ok you guys – let me have it: Are you still hating the fanny pack?  Actually, the new term is "belt bag", which make us Team Belt Bag.  Does that help?

GO TEAM.

xo,

S

 

 

 

 

March 12, 2014

Make Your Legs Look Longer While Wearing Flats – Part 3

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Here we go…the last part of the series on leg-lengthening while wearing flats.  You can find a list of key pieces, as well as other styling tips in Part 1 and Part 2.

Today?  Let's talk about my most unexpected find:  Over-the-knee flat boots.  

Over-the-knee boots help to create a long, lean line…making your legs look longer.  The key is getting the proportions right.  I wouldn't worry so much about how high they come up your leg….the trick is to pair your over-the-knee boots with tops (or skirts) that still show off at least 2-3 inches of leg.   Let's get into it, shall we?

Continue Reading…

March 10, 2014

How To Make Your Legs Look Longer While Wearing Flats – Part 2

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In Part 1 of this series, we talked about the key wardrobe pieces for leg lengthening, and did a little fashion math involving sneakers.  Today I want to focus on the leg-lengthening miracle flat: the nude ballet.

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February 27, 2014

How To Make Your Legs Look Longer While Wearing Flats – Part 1

 "Though she be but little, she is fierce." 

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My Hermia impression.

Anyway, a couple of months ago, I received not one, but four different emails from readers asking this exact question:  How can I make my legs look longer while wearing flat shoes?

So I googled it.  And the number one answer?  Wear heels.

Um.  Ok.  Thankyoufornothing?

Leaving Google behind me, I started playing around.  And I think…I THINK…I'm on to something here.  There are a few styling tricks and a few key pieces I keep coming back to.  Per usual, I've created something ponderous (on par with a dissertation, because YES I take all of this fashion stuff very. seriously.) so I'm breaking it up into multiple parts in the hope that one can actually read it over morning coffee.  At this point, it's looking like a three part series?  Hopefully not more, but no promises.  Sometimes I think I should've named this blog 'an engineer's approach to fashion' just so there were no surprises, and I could then feel free to use charts.   

But enough blathering.  First up, the key pieces….

Key Pieces

Longlegs

 

Clockwise, from top left: 

1.  High-Waisted Denim (or Shorts)

Nothing will visually elongate your legs faster than high-waisted denim.  Of course, you've gotta show off that waist, so tuck (or half-tuck) your top.  

Featured: MiH Nouvell High Rise Straight LegLove Culture Denim Shorts

2. Nude Ballet Flats

In general, the more of top of the foot you show, the longer the leg line.  So ballet flats are a better choice  than, say, loafers, simply because they show more foot.  Nude ballet flats kick the illusion up a notch further, and are like leg-lengthening magic shoes when wearing shorts or skirts.  The key is to find a pair of nude flats that are in the same color family as your skin.  I'm a sunburn-easily kind of girl, so I had more luck with a blush pink than with a true nude. 

Featured: Tieks in ballerina pink

3. Trapeze Dresses or Tops

The trapeze silhouette is perfect for leg lengthening because the swing starts above your bustline, completely obscuring where your waist actually starts.  Perfect for the short-waisted – especially with a pair of high-waist denim.

Featured: Topshop Chiffon Tank, Mango Chiffon Panel Dress 

4. Drapey Cardigan To Create a Long Line

A cardigan that creates a sharp vertical line has overall elongating powers.  Just be sure (if you are on shorter side) that it doesn't overwhelm your 'small but fierce' self.

Featured: Llove Short Sleeve Geometric Cardi (currently 40% off for a grand total of $28)

5. Two-Button Blazer

You are trying to fool the eye into thinking your waist is higher than it actually is, to give the impression of longer legs.  Buttoning the top button of two-button blazer does this perfectly.  

Featured: J.Crew Schoolboy Blazer

6.  Black Sneaks, Black Laces

In general, sneakers are not leg lengthening.  They cover up the entire foot and add bulk.  However, sneakers are sofreakingpractical for Mamas trying to chase their kids around a park that I had to figure something out.  Here it is:  Skip the contrasting laces.  Black sneaks with white laces?  No.  Red sneaks with white laces?  No.  But…if you can find cute sneaks with laces that are the same color – BAM.  It'll work for leg lengthening.  I like the black/black combo.

Featured: Onitsuka Tiger by Asics (lots of non-contrasting laces options – the lighter pairs would be perfect with light wash denim for spring) 

7. Over-The-Knee Flat Boots

Not only does this trick work, but it works really, really well.  And it almost doesn't matter where the boot hits – anywhere between above-the-knee and mid-thigh makes your legs look longer.  The trick is to  make sure the boot is sleek, and fits well (slouchy boots should be avoided for leg-lengthening purposes).

Featured: Chinese Laundry OTK Boot (if price is no object, the boots you really want are Stuart Weitzman's 5050 in any color.  I like black suede.)

8. Disco-Band Tops and Dresses

Those tops and dresses with the elastic waistbands sewn in?  Some – some – will hit slightly higher than your actual waist, making your legs look miles long.  However, some won't (maxi dresses often are too heavy and pull the elastic down).  But keep your eye out – it's worth a shot, right?   

Featured: Ruffle DressFloral Dress

9. Peplum Tops

Some peplum tops are fitted through the waist, flaring out at the bottom.  You don't want those.  Look for peplum tops that flare just above the waist.

Featured: Petunia Peplum Cami

10.  Accessories 

Use accessories to draw the eye up towards your face.  A little cleavage, a stunning statement necklace, a scarf or a cool hat will lift eyes up.  This whole feeling of up will help to elongate your body. 

 

Continue Reading…

January 13, 2014

Reader Q | Lace Up Booties – How To Style For Tomboys?

Reader Q:

Hi Shana! I can't explain to you how much I love your blog – it's always a high point in my day when I see you've put up a new post! I was hoping you could help me with a style problem…  I just got these Clarks Rosepoint booties:

Clarksbootes

I think they're super cute, but they're not really my usual style and I'm not sure how to wear them. Normally my style leans towards kind of casual boho tomboy (that's probably not a thing, I know) and these booties are pretty ladylike. Also I almost always wear more rugged, chunky shoes – moto boots, chucks… because I'm comfortable in them and I feel like they help balance out my, uh, ample…?… thighs and hips. I don't want to look like my curves are tapering down to tiny pointy toes. Right? I'm pretty sure you could make anything look cool, can you help me? thanks so much, and thanks for everything you do for all of us mamas!  

— Rachel

 

Thoughts:

Rachel, I love this question.  I have very similar booties and I struggle with the same thing.  I find them to be…too precious sometimes. You know?  Yes.  You do.

Ok – so here's a few (thigh-friendly) ways to TOMBOY UP a sweet little laced bootie. 

Booties

 

Continue Reading…

November 19, 2013

What I Want To Wear: Thanksgiving

Several of you have emailed asking for Thanksgiving outfit ideas…and this year I'm looking for the sartorial equivalent of comfort food.  But I also want something pretty, dammit!  I want to offset all of the hard and ugly of Fall 2013.  So whether you've been dealing with your own form of #takethatbreastcancer (and OMG I hope not) or just had a crazy few months….these are for you.

 

A Glamorous, Long-Sleeved, Maxi 

Nothing adds drama like a long, sweeping skirt.  I'm picturing myself regally entering the dining room: red lipstick firmly in place, shoulders back, one (sparse) eyebrow perfectly arched, my patchy, bird-like hair – UGH!!  SEE?  It's why I need the glamorous dress.  Such effortless elegance.  Besides, these things are crazy-comfortable.

[Dresses 1, 2, 6 and 8 are nursing-friendly.  Dresses 4 – 8 would work for pregnancy.]

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1. Cavatina Maxi Dress from Anthropologie, $148

I think her pose says it all.  I'm willing to bet that this is nursing friendly, too. 

2. LA Made Jersey Maxi Dress, $105

Awfully boobalicious, I know.  Kinda why I like it.  A plunging v-neck (and artful ruching) does wonders for hiding a poochy stomach.  I'd layer it over a pretty bra and probably pin the neckline a touch, or layer it over a lacy cami. 

3. Fairbanks Maxi Dress From Anthropologie, $148

I love the sophisticated art teacher vibe here.

4. Tart Off-the-shoulder Maxi Dress at Nordstroms, $148

Hey baby.  My naked shoulder is distracting you from my poochy stomach. 

5. Rachel Pally Stormy Dress, $248

For when you want to feel like a tall, statuesque goddess.   Too pricey?  Forever 21 has one that is similar…ish.  Similarish. 

6. Swell Siren Long Sleeve Maxi, $34

See the little bit of ruching over the pooch?  Now that's what we like to see for Thanksgiving.

7. Mossimo Long Sleeve Maxi at Target, $35

Ok, I can see her nether regions…but the reviewers like it. I suspect it's just a lighting problem.  Most of us don't want around backlit with our legs spread.  Just sayin.

8. Three Dots Pleat Jersey Maxi Dress, $198

These long, swingy dresses make me feel like a princess.  Or maybe a grecian goddess.  In any case, Piperlime also has it in blue.

 

Continue Reading…

October 14, 2013

Reader Question: Three Ways To Style a Plaid Skirt

Reader Question:

I was wondering if you could help me with styling this new skirt which I recently bought at Zara. The skirt is lovely and vintage-y but I found the styling surprisingly difficult.

plaidskirt

 

I thought it would work with black but I am wearing it with black t-shirt and black ballet flats today and it just looks … blah. Help please?

-K

 

Answer:

K – thanks for emailing!  Printed skirts are hard.  As you mentioned, you can easily end up looking a tad boring, or I sometimes end up with some weird color-blocking thing going on and regretting that I ever bought bright blue tights. (Why? WHY?)

The key, I think, is to either mix patterns (you can do it subtly, if nervous), or make sure your accessories are interesting.  

For example, if the outfit K described above had been black stiletto ankle boots and a black faux-leather tee, there would've been nothing boring about that all-black look with the plaid skirt (although admittedly not work appropriate).  

Anyway, allow me to illustrate my point:

 

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Look 1: Stylemint tee, Sam Edelman leopard flats

Look 2: Phillip Lim for Target dressJames Perse sweatshirt dress, faux-leather clutch , Enzo Angelini boots

Look 3: Zara striped shirt, Madewell chambrayNine West boots 

 

Hope this helps!

xo,

S