Monday, October 23, 2017

Dressing the Petite Plus Apple #10...12 steps to styling the Fit and Flare dress...

I've been seeing these little frocks (love the word frocks) on other women for a few years now.
But try as I might, I could not make them work for me. If I'd had a more savvy shop assistant in the local Shop for Fat Ladies, I probably could have been frocking up a storm long before now. What I really needed, was someone more savvy than I, to show me how to style the dang thing.
Because you see, I'd try one on, instantly recoil at showing off my fat arms and round tummy, and scurry out of there suitably chastened for wanting to look feminine and womanly. Any wonder I've hiding behind jeans, capri pants and smocks for nearly 20 years.
It was only when I spotted this lemon print dress online recently, and at a bargain price, that I decided I'd brave this whole Frock idea again. I could fiddle with it at my leisure, in the privacy of my own home, and try and figure out why these dresses looked amazing on everyone but me.
Well the dress arrived in due course, I tried it on, and had exactly the same reaction. Not for me. Not on your Nellie. Just not right. BUT, something about that lemony dress, kept calling me back. I set it aside for a while, knowing that the solution would come to me.
This weekend just gone, I enlisted my 17 year old daughters help. She of the long, lithe limb and fashion nous denied to 50+ women (apparently).
I tried it on, she viewed it and pronounced it gorgeous. See, she didn't see my flabby upper arms or my protruding belly. She just saw Mum in a fairly glamorous kinda frock. She loved it.
Closer inspection revealed that a few minor adjustments would assist with the fit, so armed with a dress on inside out, and Daughter with a pincushion, we adjusted the Princess line seams, front and back of the bodice, to give a more streamlined fit.
We also removed the little bar of fabric creating the keyhole neckline, thus creating a more Sweetheart neckline. Far more flattering for my Apple Shape. A straight neckline, just makes me look short. A V neckline adds to an illusion of length. Thankfully the neckline was beautifully finished on the inside, so no further action was necessary, other than to carefully handstitch the new 'lapels' into place.

That done, we then proceeded to view many, many full figured ladies in Fit and Flare frocks, on various Rockabilly websites, and on Pinterest. These searches revealed that a Cardigan, Shrug, Bolero or jacket are accessories du jour for hiding flabby arms, and creating a prettier silhouette. We dug out my dark denim, semi-fitted, Chanel-esque jacket, another recent acquisition. It seems to do the job admirably.
High heels were also a must, creating height, and a certain glam feel, that one cannot achieve with Ballerina Flats in this sort of dress. Above, I tried patent nude sandals.

Here I gave my black peeptoe slingbacks a whirl...

...but ultimately, it was the Nude pointed toe, block heels, that got the thumbs up. Pointed toes, low cut, high heels, add length to the leg, you see. Holy heck...even I can see that my legs look longer here. I haven't seen my legs look like that in twenty years!
Now the Daughter insisted I retain the slim little yellow patent leather belt, even though belts truly are my nemesis, and not traditionally flattering on Apple shapes. She said that it completes the ensemble, making it look dressy. I agree with her there, but I'm torn on whether that's a good idea on me. I'll have to ponder that one. Maybe when I've shed a few more pounds I won't feel so self conscious about my waistline!
Here are a few more principles we used to style this outfit:
1. Dark colour recedes - Dark jacket slims my silhouette

2.Hip length jacket adds length to the frame

3. Apple shapes should show off dainty wrists and legs

4. Bright colours are youthful

5. A-line skirts give balance - this is more a semi-circle skirt, but the fabric sits beautifully without adding too much additional volume. I like how it makes my legs look more slender.

6. Above the knee is good for Apples to show off legs

7. Nude shoes add length to the leg

8. Low cut shoes add length to the leg

9. Pointed toe shoes add length to the leg

10. Heels add height giving a long a lean silhouette

11. Slightly 'undone/messy' hair gives a youthful look

12. When wearing a print, keep everything else simple

I'm calling this a raging success. I love this look, and it has inspired me to continue with my quest to lose several more pounds, which will give me the waistline I need to wear this style more beautifully.
Who knew that a few seamline adjustments, and styling a dress the right way could make such a difference? Will you try styling a previously unsuccessful look for you, to make it work?


  1. You look ADORABLE in that ensemble! And I liked every single one of your shoes with it, too.

    Well done. I have the same problem so I appreciate this post.

    Truly - that dress is AWESOME and you made it work for you perfectly!

    It's now your very own Haute Couture, girl friend!!!! ♥

    1. Wow! Michele, thankyou! What a beautiful comment to wake up to! Mimi xxx

  2. This is the sort of thing that imagined you would normally wear before I saw your pictures on this blog. This style is a reflection of your positive, sunny cyberself. I'm glad you are frocking up. It says a lot in all sorts of subtle ways. People really appreciate looking at people who have made an effort. I like the nude sandal as much as the pointy toe. It's interesting how much shoes make or break an outfit. The point toe shoe is fine. The point toe shoes take the outfit from daytime (sandals) to a summer evening outfit. Really happy for you. You look lovely. Janiebabe

    1. Janie, this is what I imagine myself wearing too! I've had a pretty awful couple of years personally with extended family issues, so I really lost my way for a while. Self was way at the bottom of the list. That's why I started this journey for 2017. I knew if I didn't pick up my act now, I might never, you know? Thankyou for your continuing encouragement. It's really meant so much to me. Mimi xxx

  3. Mimi, You look gorgeous! Wonderful post.
    I have the same problems and I always feel you are speaking to me!

    You give me inspiration that maybe it isn't over yet. LOL

    1. Thankyou Laurie! Well I knew there were other Petite Plus Apple shaped folk out there, so it was always my intent to speak to you if it helped. And NO, it's never over...till it's really over if you get my drift. Keep trying, and you too, will find the formula that works for you. My best advice? Get really fussy. Get fussy with your current wardrobe, and ditch anything that doesn't make you look and feel beautiful. Get fussy with anything you buy from now fact have a detailed list, and if the item isn't on your list, or it lacks something that you can't readily fix, don't buy it at all. That's saved my sanity and my bank balance this year! Mimi xxx

  4. Looks lovely Mimi. As a very petite 60 something apple shape I have the same problem so follow these posts with interest. I have just discovered Love Notions PDF patterns. Each pattern has multiple sizes so I can adapt them to my figure. The Laundry Day Tee (free on Facebook page) is a fit and flare style which is very flattering. It can be made up as a dress as well. I also bought patterns for Sabrina Slim pants, the Sybil skirts (multiple styles in one pattern) and Tessa sheath dress. This will form the basis of my entire wardrobe. Patterns are very versatile - for example the top of the Tessa sheath can be mashed with the Sybil skirt to make a dress. The patterns are for knit fabrics so very easy to sew up on my overlocker. (PS I have no association with Love Notions patterns - just a happy customer).

    1. Hi Carol :) This is a great comment. I sew as you've probably gathered, so I'm off to look at those now! Thanks so much! Mimi xxx

    2. Just got email to say Love Notions patterns are 50% off until Friday. No coupon needed. Remember Laundry Day Tee is free on Facebook page even though it is priced on website.

  5. You are simple darling in that lovely little frock! Thank you for sharing your tips with us. It's great fun to play with fashion, isn't it? You've got me re-thinking those long skirts that have been showing up all over that I adore. I've not been brave enough to try one on, but perhaps I could find a way to get that look without the long long skirt that I would most likely trip over lol! Love, Teresa

    1. Awww Teresa, gosh you're lovely. It is fun to play. Actually I correct myself hasn't been fun for a very long time as I didn't know what I was doing, and couldn't seem to find anyone who could help me. I have my mentor now, an angel named Marie-Anne Lecouer, and she has changed my life, literally. NOW it's fun to play with! Teresa, go, try the long skirt, find a way to love it, and WEAR it. I've missed out on so much, and I now want to make up for it. Don't be me! Love, Mimi xxx

  6. Thanks for linking up to Top of the World Style. Great tips!


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