Monday, March 27, 2017

A New You...Dressing the Petite Plus-sized Apple Shape #3...Favourites Old & New

 
I'm working hard on my New You French Chic goals for this year. I'm a long way from being where I'd like to be, but I'm proud to say I've already made some significant changes. What about you? I'm also still perfecting the art of the flattering full length selfie, but I thought it important to update you, since you've come along on this journey with me.
 
So far I've decluttered my closet, my underwear and sleepwear, my shoes, and my jewellery. There is now nothing in my wardrobe or jewellery box, that I will not wear with pride.
 
That is a huge thing for me. I am a bower bird of the highest order, so letting go of my enormous collection of costume jewellery, belts that do not suit my Petite Plus size Apple frame, and shoes of all kinds, was actually very difficult for me. I had to sit down and dig deep, and journal the reasons why this was so emotionally draining. Having been raised in a large family, where sometimes there wasn't a lot of money for new clothes or shoes, is a large part of that. A little voice in me is constantly saying 'but what if you never see that item again, what if you need it sometime and have to go and buy it again, what if you MISS OUT!'.
 
Fear of missing out  has guided many of my purchases over the years. Not just of clothing and accessories, but of homewares, linen, gifts and a plethora of other items. It's only as I've grown older, that I've come to realise that 'things' are always available. Yes, even the so called 'rare' things like vintage kitchenalia, antique furniture, and embroidered linens. Everything goes in cycles, and this years 'must have', is next years thrift shop fodder. Even if it came from the thrift shop originally.
 
I have to credit this in part, to Marie-Anne Lecouer at The French Chic Academy. Her course has helped me in more ways than one, and much of it, nothing to do with French Chic, as such. I've always prided myself on my European outlook, courtesy of my Nanna and Mum, but Marie-Anne has helped me take that outlook to an entirely new level. Check out her blog, if nothing else. She's the 'how-to' in this journey, I'm the willing student!
 
So having decluttered according to Marie-Annes guidelines, I then wrote a wish list for myself. I had in my hand, her guidelines for my Petite Plus-sized Apple Shape, and was stringent in my list of requirements. I want bang for my buck. Whatever I buy from hereon in, has to be the best I can afford, versatile, and flattering. I looked at images of outfits I liked, and asked Marie-Anne personally (yes that's part of the course!), how to adapt these looks for my shape.
 
To my enormous surprise and pleasure, looks that I had thought unachievable for my shape and height, CAN work for me, with a few tweaks.
 
At the top of my post, is a recent accomplishment. Yes, an accomplishment. Why shouldn't looking good, and feeling good about yourself, be as much of an accomplishment as anything else? I loved the outfit that designer Caroline Herrera wears in the small top picture. I showed this to Marie-Anne, and asked her if this was a flattering look for my shape. She responded that yes, it was possible, and gave me a few tips. The result you see, is on the left. Not identical, admittedly, but certainly close enough to make me very happy. I have believed for years that this look was no longer for me, but a slim fitting shirt with a V neck, the right gentle A-line skirt in a heavy quality fabric, a pair of low cut peeptoe heels, and a long strand of pearls, knotted to give another V shape, rather than left 'rounded', all contribute to an illusion of height and length, that make a huge difference. See, it's all about 'illusion'. I am not tall, nor am I slender any more. But heels with 'toe cleavage', V necklines, long necklaces that end in a point, and skirts that have weight that stops them floating, and that have a hemline between just above and just below the knee, work magic for me.
 
I have decided that in preference to buying randomly, I want to assemble a series of complete outfits by the end of the year. So each month I will focus on one complete outfit. That means that between now and December, I will have assembled ten completely new outfits, with the proviso that each purchase I make, will enhance or supplement the previous purchases in some way.
 
To achieve my look for March, top to toe, I decided I needed the following:
 
-Neutral solid coloured, short sleeved, button through shirt with V neckline
-A-line skirt, black, ivory or white, in a heavy fabric, just above or just below the knee, maybe with assymetrical hemline
-black peeptoe heels. Conical heel for comfort, slingback, low cut on the top of the foot to add length to the leg, with some 'toe cleavage'.
-Long Pearl necklace and pearl earrings
-Good haircut
-Manicured fingernails and toenails
 
 
I found a good Curly hair specialist, and treated myself to a new haircut, and some fab products to nurture my curls, instead of torturing them with the straightener. Total outlay $240 including products. I will not need to see her for a trim or products for 4-6 months.
 
I scoured shoe stores and online shoe outlets to find my perfect heels. It took some time, but I eventually found them, for $160.
 
My daughter-in-law introduced me to Jamberry, where I've made significant savings by doing my own nails with their heat activated nail wraps. Each manicure and pedicure costs $11 in total, and manicures last up to three weeks, and pedicures up to 6 weeks. Total outlay initially of $96 including the little heater and a selection of wraps and application accessories that will last at least 8 months.
 
And finally, my big treat, a custom made strand of blue-white, oversized Baroque pearls with a crystal embellished enhancer clip/fancy clasp, to which I can attach different enhancers (pendant attachments) to give me that long, lean 'V' look, rather than the traditional 'round' pearl necklace look. Purchased from an Etsy dealer, Laura at JaguarJems who went above and beyond to manufacture the pearl necklace of my dreams for my budget of $500AUD (about $380US), including the enhancer drop and a matching pair of earrings.
 
My skirt I found at Big W, in a gorgeous heavy fabric, and is perfect for me. On sale, $12 (a lucky buy!).
 
My shirt also from Big W, on end-of-season sale also, just $7. I will be looking for a similar shirt in a better quality fabric as I go along. This one looks lovely, but I imagine it won't last more than a season at that price.
 
This brings my total investment in myself, since the beginning of December 2016, to $895 or $56 per week. I am being brutally honest, both with you and myself, when I say that I would have previously spent that much a week on random thrift store purchases, without thinking twice, because they were all 'bargains'. If I didn't wear them more than once, I felt justified in discarding them for the very same reason. If only I'd realised sooner, that I was going about things all the wrong way.
 
So, here below, is a before and after, of my favourite 'lunch with friends' ensembles.
 
On the left, is a favourite silk shirt, over casual, so called 'on-trend' ripped jeans in 3/4 length. I would wear this with my favourite Birkenstock Gizeh sandals which I love for comfort. Many of my friends would dress similarly. There is nothing really wrong with this sort of outfit here, especially in the middle of a Queensland Summer, but here are the reasons why I won't be dressing like this any longer.
 
The colour is not flattering and drains my face of glow. Ripped jeans are not 'chic', nor are they 'elegant', which is how I would now like to present myself. The long shirt is not figure flattering, but merely hides the bumps and lumps. The 3/4 pants just make me look shorter and fatter, because the length between the bottom of the shirt hem and the bottom of the jean hem, just makes me look stocky. The Birkenstock sandals do the same, by not adding height to my frame, and by having a surface that covers my foot from toes to ankle. Just as importantly for me, this is not what one might consider 'French Chic'.
 

On the other hand on the right, this black shirt is fitted without being figure-hugging, enhancing my waistline, and giving me a more flattering silhouette. The black is slimming too, and the V neckline, gives an impression of length. The pearl necklace (not my new pearls, but rather a thrifted $5 strand for now), knotted, also enhances a V rather than a round shape, lending further length and a slimming illusion to my frame. My new skirt skims my outer legline, flaring gently at the bottom to make my waist look trim. The skirt is A-line with a very subtle asymmetrical hemline that again, adds a long and lean look. The gap between the bottom hem of the skirt and my feet is longer, giving the illusion of height. The shoes, add length to my leg and foot, and a couple of well needed inches to my 5'3" (163cm) body. Lastly, this is far closer to my idea of embracing French Chic and making it work for me.
 
Can you see how a few simple illusions and tricks can make a difference? I had no idea that such easy little tweaks, could alter the way I look and feel so substantially.
 
Now if I can just work out how to take a full length selfie that doesn't have a double chin, I might be happy...lol!
 
What do you think? Can my lessons be your lessons too?
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34 comments:

  1. Wow! You really have achieved a very elegant look. This is a timely reminder to revisist my winter weather clothing.

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    1. Dear Jane, thankyou! It's really becoming quite fun now. It was a very daunting experience to discard so much of what I'd accumulated at first. But I am now starting to see that I will adapt, and sail out the door full of confidence every single day. Love, Mimi xxx

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  2. you look very chic. just shows how a little thought and planning makes such a difference.
    thanks for being so brave showing full length selfie. its nice to put a face to your blog. i enjoy reading everything you write. thanks Ann

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    1. Ann, what a lovely thing to say. Thankyou so much. Mimi xxx

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  3. I love what you are wearing....the skirt is so lovely. Its mature, chic and very sophisticated.
    Blessings to you

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    1. Thankyou Ifeoma. I love your blog, so I consider that praise indeed. Mimi xxx

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  4. What a great look!!!
    Have a nice week

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    1. Thankyou Manu. You have a great week too. Mimi xxx

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  5. Dearest Mimi,
    you look so elegant and charming !
    Thank you for this so interesting post of yours, I've enjoyed this reading so, so much !

    Wishing you the best of weeks,
    I'm sending blessings across the many miles

    XOXO Dany

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    1. Dany, your comments always make me smile. Thankyou dear one. Mimi xxx

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  6. Dear Mimi,
    You look beautiful !
    I too love reading your blog and have been following you for many years from SS days !

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    1. Hi Chris and thankyou! I'm pleased to see an old friend here. Love, Mimi xxx

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  7. It's amazing how a few new pieces that fit your style can completely change your look! Very elegant and beautiful!

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    1. Thanks so much. It is amazing what you can do with a bit of knowledge and planning, isn't it? Mimi xxx

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  8. Very nice! I'm nearing my mid 50's and am interested in polishing my style into a more classic look. I discovered Jamberry wraps very recently too, and love them, even though I haven't had any luck doing my toes with them yet. Love this post!!

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    1. Thankyou! Yes the Jamberrys are amazing. I do my toenails using a hairdryer to heat the wraps. It's amazingly quick to do once you've trimmed them to size, and they last for ages! I hope you'll come back and visit for more inspiration. Love, Mimi xxx

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  9. Wow! Another great post.
    You look great in your new chic clothes!
    I'm really enjoying your journey.

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    1. Thanks so much Laurie. Your comments are so encouraging. Love, Mimi xxx

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  10. I absolutely love your outfit--you look so polished and smart! I would be grateful to see you feature more of these little "How I made [a look] work for me." Never would have thought it possible until I saw it on you!

    Sue

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    1. Hello Sue and thankyou! I will be featuring many 'how I made this look work for me' posts, so stay tuned. I'm glad I've opened your eyes to the possibilities. Mimi xxx

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  11. Dear Mimi:

    Absolutely. Amazing.

    And totally usable lessons on my end considering I'm also petite and plus-sized. I'm short-waisted though so I have a bit of a hindrance there but overall, I'm taking notes! :) <3

    xoxoxox,
    Melinda

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    1. Dear Melinda, I am short waisted too, so all of my advice will work for you as well. Thankyou Sweetie. Love, Mimi xxx

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  12. I really love the whole ensemble...tres chic 💖

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  13. I love the more elegant look in the photo on the right. I am slowly changing my wardrobe so that I look more "put together" rather than an unmade bed lol. I am also working on walking more like a gazelle than an elephant.
    Margaret

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    1. Margaret, thankyou. That is my aim. I'm still a long way from perfect, but I don't think my blog has ever been about being 'perfect'. I'd rather keep it real. Love, Mimi xxx

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  14. Dear Mimi the transformation is stunning! You look a million dollars and oh so very tres chic! What a difference the right outfit and confidence can make to our lives. You sound so happy and excited to have found the look that suits YOU and you wear it well! I must admit I belong in the category of the left picture- even though the individual pieces were not inexpensive, they nevertheless did nothing to enhance you (or me for that matter!)
    I admire you so much for this journey you are making for self improvement and am so looking forward to future posts about your monthly outfits (though I still secretly long for a short denim jacket! At 60 am I too old?). Please keep up these inspiring posts, best wishes, Lorraine xx

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    1. You're lovely Lorraine. Thankyou! I AM excited. Suddenly I don't dread trying to find something to wear each day. I have a wardrobe full of clothes I love. And I don't face the choices wondering whether they'll fit me or flatter me. It's a good feeling. And no, you are NOT too old for a denim jacket. Go dark denim, with as little embellishment as possible, and you cannot go wrong. Love, Mimi xxx

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  15. You look beautiful and stylish! Wish I had a sense of style. Lol! Thank you for sharing with us at Funtastic Friday!

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    1. AW, I bet you underestimate yourself...Mimi xxx

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  16. 'Love this look! Thank you for all the tips! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

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  17. What a transformation. I love this and found it helpful as I approach my retirement.

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    1. Katie, funny thing is, I didn't think I looked too bad before. Cringe! Thankyou and all the best for your retirement too. Love, Mimi xxx

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I love hearing from you! I always respond to comments, so don't be shy! Mimi xxx