After years of fashion disasters, I'm pretty content with my current personal style. I know what I like and I typically know what will flatter my figure. However, I wasn't born with any innate styling sense or ideas of what my "look" is. It's been an excruciatingly slow process to learn what slims me, trims my bust, or turns my ta-tas into man-nip. Conversely, it's been tricky to uncover what I gravitate towards. As a kid, my mom dressed me and when she stopped the L.L.Bean from head to toe, I tried to dress like my peers. After years of experimentation, I know what I like (florals!) and what doesn't quite feel like "me" (polo t-shirts). So, I suppose this post is intended for the old me, or anyone who might like style, be the proud owner of a killer set of boobs, and isn't sure how to work with 'em. Here are my top 5 shopping tenets:
1. You will always look best when clothes fit you (Bras especially!).
Now, I realize that wearing a garment too big or too small just isn't quite right. Like a bra in the next band up or the cup down, the fit simply isn't there. Whatever the size on the tag says, I reach for the next size smaller/larger when what I've brought into the dressing room doesn't sit right. In a weird way, it's a tough habit to get into. It makes shopping a little more time consuming and obnoxious, but it's worth it when you find a fit that suits you. Which brings me to rule #2...
2. If an item doesn't fit you, it's not your fault.
You know that scene in Moonstruck when Cher yells "Snap out of it!" in her no-nonsense New York accent? Yeah, that's what I feel like doing to 2010 Cece and every woman who blames herself when something doesn't fit right. Of course, it's important to eat a balanced diet, exercise, and maintain an individually-determined healthy weight. I don't want to discount or ignore that, but I also believe that a healthy lifestyle is a separate issue from anything that goes on in dressing rooms at the mall. Somehow though, these two worlds have become mixed up in one another and in my own head, it's best to divide them again.
3. If you can't find a particular item, don't worry. It's out there.
Nope, wrong. If you're looking for an item -- button-up white blouses, pencil skirts, plus size hosiery, size 12 shoes -- you might need to search longer than average, check out a small business, or save up for an investment piece, but these items do exist and they're available to purchase. It's just a matter of finding them and that's where over opinionated and easily excitable bloggers come in.
I realize that what I'm discussing is a luxury and I'm writing from a standpoint of privilege. I understand that not all the women of America have a choice to vote with their wallets or purchase bespoke pieces on a regular basis. With that stated, if you possess discretionary income, I'd suggest thinking about not just what you spend, but how you spend it. What do you want your money to say? For instance, maybe you want to buy 80% of your wardrobe at Forever 21 and 20% of it with smaller retailers. But just imagine, that seemingly small percentage could mean so much to an independent designer, small business owner, or niche shop.
5. Your body is beautiful. If something doesn't make you feel lovely, forget it.