Lately I’ve been thinking about clothes. A week or two ago, while trying to fall asleep at night, I returned to an old pastime: designing outfits.
These two were outfits I’d want to wear: comfortable, practical, colorful and a little quirky. It’s too bad I never got good enough at sewing to be able to make my own clothes — at least to my own standards of fit and workmanship — but it’s still fun to fantasize every now and then. The clothes in the mass market these days mostly don’t suit my body; nearly everything I wear has to be stretchy and knit. It’s not just — though I used to think it was — about being fatter than a fashion model. I have a large chest, a long torso, and an ample belly and bottom… compared to average, which is what most designs are based on. My proportions simply aren’t the proportions clothes are made for.
Take my design on the left, for instance. It looks like separates, but it’s a dress. If I tried to buy such a dress in a shop, thanks to my long torso, it’s almost guaranteed that the waistline would hit at the bottom of my ribcage instead of at my actual waist. Given the rich curves above and below my navel, a too-high waistline makes me look chubby at best, pregnant at worst. And on the shirt at right, there’s an empire waistline, and princess seams fit the shirt through the waist and avoid the billowing-tent effect empires can create on busty women. If I saw this shirt in a store, it probably wouldn’t fit me. Most clothes are designed for b-cup breasts; standard empire waists hit d-cups like mine somewhere around mid-boob.
Anyway, it’s no secret that many women dream of having clothes that fit them better than the ones they can buy off the rack! (Heh. The “rack” is my problem in more ways than one…) I love daydreaming the things I want to wear, but unless I magically find more time in which to perfect my sewing skills, we won’t see me in impeccably-fitting attire anytime soon. In the meantime, I’ll keep drawing away on sleepless nights!
What sweet designs – a lovely blog. I really loved the pussy cat poking out from the clothes in your banner picture :). Nice page.
Thank you for visiting and for the kind words! I made that collage a couple of years ago, while trying to figure out what my taste was in home decor. It makes me happy whenever I look at it!
Cute outfits, Lisa! I especially like the one on the right. I guess it if you ever really get frustrated enough about trying to buy ready made clothes, you can get out the sewing machine, and rededicate yourself to sewing a fine seam. I’ve learned more about how to dress myself in the last year by watching that horrible TLC show, “What Not to Wear.” Hate the show, but they know their stuff.
Thanks, Sherry! I did make a skirt a few months ago and that was very fun and rewarding, but tops would be much harder I imagine. I’m a bit afraid to start with them because I think I’d either sink too many frustrated hours into the process… or it’d be do-able and then I’d never get anything else done! 😉
I love to watch WNTW but yes, it’s definitely “our way or the highway” with them!
I feel your angst, Lisa! 🙂 I love “What Not to Wear” and was thinking about it myself as I read this. From Clinton and Stacey, I learned ‘what not to buy’, and that was my first hurdle. I have two basic problems with buying clothes: my present body type, and the high price of everything that fits or is made reasonably well.
I used to sketch clothes I’d like to wear, too. (But my sketches aren’t pretty!) I dream of finding the perfect jeans again.
Oh, jeans are tough. I’m glad there’s one style from Old Navy that fits me well enough that I pretty much never buy any others. They still aren’t perfect (can such jeans exist?!) but they’re good enough!
What I’ve learned from that show is to be more ruthlessly critical about how I walk the fine line between self-expression in fashion and just dressing like a kook. My natural tendencies run to the costumey, but there’s a time and place for that, and it’s good to know when to be quirky and fun, and when to leave the purple crushed-velvet cloak at home (yes, I do have one, and it now comes out only on Halloween). 🙂
Re, my beef with this show is how “ugly” Stacy and Clinton are to the people they help. It makes me cringe. However, I guess that is called tough love. But they do know how to help people find clothes that actually work for their body type, rather than against, and I’ve learned a great deal from watching.
I agree with you about that ugliness, Sherry. Thanks for bringing it up, because that sort of thing is my pet peeve about television at large. Not everything has to be about tough love, right? I get the idea that a lot of tv’s producers think we won’t watch if they don’t show the ugly sort of confrontation. As a writer who wants to reflect a more rounded view of life in my own fiction, I hate tv’s “let’s insult instead of communicate” approach to interactions. Not that I can’t appreciate a well-crafted insult when it’s warranted, but I agree that it’s out of place when dealing with someone who has self esteem problems to begin with. I know I wouldn’t be able to take it.
I agree with you ladies, and moreover their tough love is very much conditional: when you start behaving the way we want you to, we’ll reward you amply. The style they impress on people is pretty standard, too… it’s good to know, but I do get tired of seeing the same silhouettes and the same kinds of garments suggested for everyone (not just on WNTW either, but in magazines and such). Rules are made to be bent as well as understood! I appreciate the Lady Gagas of the world, I must say. Let ’em run with things the rest of us dare not try. And this is why I like Tim Gunn’s style book; he says of icons like Gaga that he can’t approve of their choices, but appreciates their individual spirit.
I like these drawings a lot, and to tell the truth, I think you would look so very beautiful in these works of art. Overall, I think you are a very attractive woman with the perfect figure……yours!!
Thank you, Walter! My intention in designing these was certainly to set off my own figure… I’ve spent so much time envying others’, it’s delicious to think of dressing my own in clothes that set it off to advantage!