Professional Frump: What To Avoid

How to Avoid Professional Frump | CorporetteHere’s a fun topic that we haven’t discussed in years — what makes something frumpy? How can professional women avoid frump?

I agree with a lot of what I said four years ago — primarily:

Must a Blazer BUTTON to Fit?

Must a Blazer Close to "Fit"? (And other fun questions of plus-size fashions)... | Corporette Hot on the heels of yesterday’s reader question about feeling frumpy in a suit, I was thinking about Drop Dead Diva. I stopped watching the show a while ago (her guardian angel was still the guy from Mad Men back when I watched), but I’d always wanted to do a 360 review on the lead character, lawyer Jane Bingum, and her fashions, if only because she’s one of the most stylish and plus-sized TV characters I can think of. I have some problems with her fashions, though — the ridiculously high heels, the overdone makeup, etc, etc. My BIGGEST problem, though, has always been that the vast majority of her blazers couldn’t be buttoned (not even kinda-sorta) — the picture at left demonstrates the problem.

But then, as I was falling asleep last night, I started wondering: maybe I’m the one who’s been wrong to think that a blazer must button all these years.  Maybe the trick for a busty girl (or an overweight girl) — short of massive and expensive tailoring — is to buy jackets that fit in your arms and back only, but not worry about it fitting across the bust.  This flies in the face of everything I know about suits — but when I think about it, Jane definitely does not look frumpy. I might say this is one of those times that your fashion sense speaks to your judgement — were this a 360 review, I might say as either an underling or a boss I would wonder why she didn’t buy suits that fit — but again, I’m rethinking this now. [Read more...]

The Perfect Pants Fit

How To Get the Perfect Pants Fit | CorporetteHow should pants fit? When are they too baggy; when are they too tight? Reader K wonders…

Can you discuss proper fit of suit pants/slacks for the workplace (including trouser jeans for casual Fridays)? I can’t find anything related in the archives- I was hoping for something like the guide to hem length. How do you find the right balance between too baggy and too fitted, especially in the thighs and butt? If they have a crease on the front, should the pants be loose enough that the crease stays creased all the way up?

I’m curious what readers say here — for my $.02, I think this is easier to say what NOT to do than what TO do. In my mind, you want to avoid: [Read more...]

The Best Workwear for Petites

The Best Workwear For Petites | CorporetteWe have a super old post about the best suits for petite women, but we haven’t talked about this in ages, so let’s discuss: which are your favorite stores and brands for workwear for petites?  Are there any indie brands or Etsy shops that you love?

For my $.02, it seems like the list of stores that offer petite sizes is growing, which is a great sign; I feel like bespoke dressmakers and suiting alterations are both more common than before as well. Here’s the list of stores that I know of that offer petite clothing:

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The Best Blouses for the Busty

The Best Blouses for the Busty | CorporetteWhich are the best blouses for those of us who are on the busty/hourglass side? We’ve talked about how to dress professionally if you’re busty and how to fix your own gaping shirts, as well as where to get bespoke dresses for work, but we haven’t totally talked about the best blouses for bustier women. Reader A wonders:

I am an older woman who wears a 44 DD bra. The blouses in the larger women’s department are sized with armholes and sleeves that are too big. I would like to find a silk professional button down shirt, or have one tailored to fit. We live in Montana so I have to shop online. Any suggestions as to where I can find this blouse?

There are a ton of places that make shirts like this, and I’m also going to refer you to the blog Hourglassy, which I enjoy as a reader.  I was particularly intrigued when one of the bloggers there tried to get an off-the-rack shirt tailored for her (which is what I’ve always heard people recommend). (Pictured: The Signature Silk Shirt, available in four colors at The-Shirt.com for $138.) Readers with bust issues — which are your favorite stores for blouses? Has anyone had custom shirts made from scratch?

That list of stores that I know of in this space:

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How to Wear Dresses If You’re A Size 4 On Top and Size 12 on Bottom

bespoke-dressesLadies, do you buy bespoke dresses and clothing?  How else can you wear dresses if your top and bottom halves are very different sizes? Reader N wonders:

I would like to wear dresses more frequently to the office, but I find it very difficult to find a good fit. I wear a size 4 to 6 on the top, and a 12 to 14 on the bottom (I definitely carry all my weight in my bottom half). Any suggestions on a style/cut of a dress that might work? I don’t always want to wear a wrap dress.

We haven’t talked about how to dress professionally if your top and bottom are different sizes for a long time, so let’s discuss.  My immediate thoughts for reader N:

- eShakti sounds PERFECT for you.  Not only can you customize dresses in “standard” sizes — for example, for the dress pictured above you can choose from five different sleeves, four different hem lengths, and two necklines), but you can also get the dress entirely custom made to your exact measurements for just a few dollars more.  (Portrait collar poplin dress, starting at $59.95 at eShakti.)

- There are a number of new specialty boutiques popping up that do custom sizes, as well.  For example, Carrie Hammer[Read more...]