Thursday, October 18, 2007

With This Skirt, I Thee Wed

A reader writes:

I bought a skirt recently to wear to a wedding. It's a fairly casual wedding, outdoors at a farm.The fabric is burgundy with an off-white print, and the print is fairly loud. Also, the skirt doesn't seem to look good with a shirt hanging down covering part of it up. The other challenge, btw, is that I am plus-sized, and I have a very modest budget for the shirt. (The skirt was $17 on sale, and I liked that price a lot!) Can you help me find a shirt?

Well, of course I can! It's what I do.

First of all, it's a very cute skirt, it seems to fit you well, and the length is perfect. I'm glad to hear it's a casual wedding, because the skirt, while festive, is not what you'd call formal by a long shot. This is good because it means you'll be able to wear it for other occasions, not just dressy ones. (Here I must interject and say that in general, I disapprove of the informal wedding, for the purely selfish reason that it deprives me of a perfectly good excuse for getting good & rigged up in the fancywear.)

Now, before I get into the meat of the act, I'm going to offer some suggestions for those who are shopping for a specific occasion. First of all, resist the temptation to buy something you have nothing to wear with,
especially if you are working on a time constraint and/or budget. It may be a wonderful blouse at a terrific price, but if you buy it you have instantly doubled your shopping load, because now you have to buy something to wear with it. Before you leave on your shopping trip, do a good look around your closet and note any separates you have that might be appropriate to the event, especially any you particularly love and feel good in. Also do a mental inventory of your shoes, because you have to wear something on your feet. (Even at a wedding on a farm.) And then, when you find yourself standing in front of the adorable garment in the store, click back through your mental inventory. If what you come up with to wear with said garment is bupkes, pass. If the dress is gorgeous and a bargain but you don't have any shoes or a bag at home to wear with it -- well, it's suddenly not a bargain anymore, is it, because now you have to come up with those things.

The corollary to this, however, is: if, while shopping, you serendipitously find something truly wonderful and affordable that fits you & makes you look fantastic that you don't necessarily have a specific occasion for, buy it anyway.
When the Fashion Gods throw you a bone, grab it, because you cannot count on getting tossed a nice meaty one when you really need it. ("Omigod, hubby's office holiday party is this Friday and between carting the kids around, making sure the German shepherd makes it to the vet for his teeth cleaning, Christmas shopping for the in-laws and my own job, I have approximately 15 minutes to find something to wear!" Or a variation thereof. Sound familiar?) I have a truly spectacular Martin Grant dress that retailed for over $2k that I found at a Neiman Marcus outlet for something like 85% off. It fits me like it was made for me, it's elegant, gorgeous, beautiful... I've had it for months and I still haven't worn it. No matter. At some point, I'm going to get an invitation to a wedding or a cocktail party and there it will be hanging, ready for the wearing.

But let's get back to Katie's skirt problem.

First off, let's deal with color. Of course, if you can find a deep red or cream to match the pattern, that would probably be ideal. I also think you could get away with black, although if you do go with black try to make the top short-sleeved or sleeveless to keep it from overwhelming the skirt. I also think a subtle, shimmery gold would work with these colors, possibly camel, and -- believe it or not -- olive green. (Olive green & burgundy or wine love each other. Really. Try it & see.) Of course, with this pattern you definitely need a solid-color top.

I see what you're saying about the skirt not wanting something hanging over it, because of the wide waist yoke. But I do think that if you were wearing something like a fine-gauge knit sweater that hit you just below the waist and had a straight hemline that didn't argue with the seam of the yoke it would work.

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This is quite sweet. It comes in other colors, but I'm mostly showing it to you for the shape. (The details in the photos of very light-colored or black garments tend to get lost, so I'm showing you other colors if they have them so you can see what's going on.)

This is also very nice
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if you could get a matching or coordinating shell for underneath. Here are some more knit top ideas.

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This comes in ivory or black.

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This comes in camel, cream, and black.

And those could be tucked in, as well, if you really didn't love them over the skirt.

I love the idea of this little cardi with a shell or cami underneath it. Very cute.

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Now. We can also go the tucked-in route. These blouses aren't shown tucked in, but all of them are a shape that would work with the skirt.

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This comes in a color called "oyster" that might or might not be what we're looking for -- it's so hard to tell on the computer.

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Again, not the right color, but a great shape.

This is lovely:
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And this might be perfect:

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Love the idea of this:

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And you could get so much wear out of it post-wedding. Great little jacket to throw on with jeans or khakis.

As far as footwear goes... If you go with a black top, black shoes are great. If you go with a warmer-colored top (ivory, camel, red), then I'd go with tan or brown shoes rather than black. Black might seem a little heavy with those color combinations.

I also suggest checking out the Manolo's Big Girl Blog for other great online sources for women's sizes. Those gals know their stuff.

I hope that helps, Katie! Let me know how things turn out!


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1 comment:

WinterWheat said...

Who knew you were offering this service? Girl, I could send you a THOUSAND photos of Piece X in need of Piece Y or Z. I'm always splurging on Piece X without giving any thought to the necessary accompaniments until much later (sigh)...