Monday, 9 April 2012

Black Puppy. Long Post alert!

Not quite a full blown dog but definitely a down time at the moment - maybe partly literally downtime after all the business of last week.

 Not in the best of moods and have dealt with it by doing some serious throwing away and tidying . Still a MASSIVE amount to do but everytime I manage to get a bit done I feel pleased.

Anyway - part of my misery at the mo is feeling fat and frumpy. I haven't been slim for about 20 years and am usually relatively accepting of my little stumpy bod's design faults. I bloated like a balloon last year when I was on steroids and thankfully that came off eventually.
But at the mo it's one of those 'everything in my wardrobe hates me' times.

Because my hands are knackered I can't wear a lot of my 'usual' clothes - buttons are out, back fastening things are out etc. I caught sight of myself in a long floaty dress I thought disguised a fair few faults - and believe me IT DOES NOT.
So I think it is sewing time - time to make a few dresses etc that (hopefully) suit me.

I finished the shawl the other night and had that jittery what the hell do I knit next thing.

 I looked through loads of pattern books and had to admit to myself that one of my favourite designers simply wasn't going to work for me. Very 20s styling and I do not have a 20s up and down figure! I love the styling and the patterns but no, most are not for me.

It's time to face it - I need something more structured, to give the illusion of a waist even on fat days.
So last night I ended up spending far too long trawling the web for those 'How To Look Good' / Dress for your Shape type sites. Remember Trinny and Susannah and their strange bosom grabbing ways? That sort of thing. Once upon a time I wouldn't have given a flying fart and would have just dressed in what I like - but at the moment I want a few reliable outfits I know fit and look fine.

Biggest issue - what the hell shape am I????????
 I seem to be a mix of several. Easier to say what I am not I think.

I am not a banana (scuse me a what???) - not slim or boyish.
I am not pear shaped, my top half is a size larger than my bottom half, not because I am busty but because I have broad swimmer's shoulders. I also have large upper arms, grrrr. If I could change just one thing on me I think slim upper arms would be it. Or a flat tum.

My bust is very similar size to my hips and I have a definite waist, even though it is no way as small as it used to be! So that would make me an hourglass shape which is supposed to be the easiest to dress.
I am just under 5ft so allegedly petite - I tend to think stumpy is a better description.
BUT I also have a tummy, more noticeable lately because of medication and digestive issues.
So that's a mix of an apple and petite stumpy and an hourglass. Erm .... this is where it all got silly.

The lists of what I should and should not wear then started to contradict themselves. I should wear this neckline but should NEVER wear this on fear of certain death and ridicule. Then the exact opposite. Sigh.
I should wear floaty things AND fitted things apparently. At the same time? Eh?

No wonder I didn't sleep last night....

Then I thought about things I do own that I feel happy in and confident in, things that people have complimented, that fit and that I don't tug at or make me want to permanently suck my tum in. My working wardrobe is mostly stored away now but I do have a few favourites I still wear now and again - I like dressy clothes and never ever wear jeans.

Black net skirt from Monsoon - love this so much I have two. Very long, slim over the hips, very full at the hem.

This sort of bolero cardi - but in black of course! My favourite Laura Ashley one has flared sleeves.

I love long waterfall type cardis but not convinced they love me. I want to hide in loose baggy things but learnt many years ago that they don't HIDE fatness but simply exaggerate it. So no, not hugely baggy. I like my shift dresses but I know they are not flattering (I wear them with leggings and have chunky legs). So what I have decided to start with are some 50s style dresses, this sort of thing:
Not with a halter neckline, maybe thick shoulder straps or a scoop neckline. Hmmmm. Wouldn't wear it without a coverup of some sort to hide my chubby arms. But yes, I like this - would give me back some semblance of a waist and if I make it with a side zip (or front?) it would work with my hands. I have some skull fabric too just crying out to be a dress.
I trained as a pattern designer / cutter many years ago and it's calling me at the mo, I have my cutting paper, design materials and pattern cutting rulers, curves etc at the ready. Energy would help!

And a bolero type cardi like the one above but I want a black one and a bright pink one! Pin huge flowers on and that would make me happy.

I have one or two (dozen) plain black tee shirts that I seem to live in all summer, but they aren't great for us bingo wings women. I have a rather nice flattering black top with a tie back (again making a waist), 3/4 sleeves and a shaped neckline, must have a closer look at that soon and make a pattern.

Not sure what else though - any ideas? Do you know what suits you? Do you care?!
Knitting wise - I finally ended up casting on this cardi:
Petrea by Amy Herzog. It has a decent bit of waist shaping, a nice neckline and most of all sleeves that should hide the worst bits yet still be pretty. I know Amy blogged in depth about body shapes in her 'Fit to Flatter' posts.

Watch this space .... and thank you for bearing with a long post!


Anonymous said...

Sorry you're having a down time. Thinking of you...papiokc

lilac73 said...

Hugs and love, I hate how I look in my clothes too and don't know what suits me :( The dresses you're planning look good.

Puddytat purr said...

I love the skull dress - where did you find the pic?

sulkycat said...

Thank you both - am OK I think, just a grumpy cow at the moment!

sulkycat said...

Puddytatpurr - I think it's a Vivien of Holloway one, I know Hellbunny do similar too.

Ambermoggie, a fragrant soul said...

Some lovely ideas there I love your black skirt and the cardigan you cast on and like puddytatpur I think the dress is wonderful. Sending lots of hugs your way

Roobeedoo said...

Have you ever thought of drawing a "croquis"? You photograph yourself in your scanties (I know I know!) and then trace the outline onto paper, so you have the overall outline of your body on paper - do back, front and side views, then make a heap of photocopies and draw clothes on top! It sounds stupid, but I have seen so many sewing bloggers do this and immediately realise what might suit them. N.B. destroy the photographs asap! ;)
And I agree that clutter-clearing is very therapeutic - my favourite activity for bad days as long as I have chocolate to fortify myself through it!