I have been reading your blog a fair while now, and it’s pretty great.
I’m writing to ask a bit of fashion help from someone who isn’t my husband, or his mum and dad (with whom we live; I’m English living in the states so few real life friends).
I have loads of skirts that are fairly voluminous and I’m struggling with what to wear on my top half. I’m a curvy 14 and I’m trying to balance the skirt with plainer tighter tops but having issues finding the right things.
Have you any advice you can offer? I don’t like to wear very thin strapped cami tops as I wear these to sleep in and feel odd wearing them as daywear.
I, too, love voluminous skirts. They can be flattering and forgiving. With the right top, they create a great 50’s, hourglass silhouette.
I agree that camis are for sleep or underwear. The biggest problem with camis (and tanks, or vests as the English say!) is not the lack of sleeves, but that the fabric is usually some sort of clingy jersey. It looks too casual, does nothing to conceal lumps and bumps, and has little structure. Most t-shirts have the same drawbacks.
To balance out the voluminous skirt, I recommend a top made of a woven fabric. A button-down oxford is a classic option. To sweeten things up a little, look for a top with puffed sleeves or a peter-pan collar. If your oxfords tend to gape at the bustline, consider unbuttoning it to just below the bust and pairing it with a matching camisole. Oxfords with shaping (i.e. darts) or spandex are also good choices for busty figures.
There is no need to rule out knits altogether. A close-fitting, fine-gauge sweater can emphasize your curves. I’d stick with something sleeved to keep the look proportional. Knitted options include sweater sets, cardigans, and turtlenecks. Cardigans are especially useful because they can be buttoned to emphasize your waist. Fit and quality of knits are very important, though. The sweater should skim your curves, not emphasize bulges around your bra or obscure your figure.
For cooler weather or an air-conditioned office, a nipped in blazer looks fabulous over a full skirt. Look for versions with feminine detailing, like puffed sleeves and a fitted waist. You want to avoid anything overly mannish, like double-breasting or a large collar. Stay far away from swing or trapeze-style jackets. Combined with a voluminous skirt, you’ll end up looking like a tent. If a jacket is too hot, you can create a similar look with a vest (waistcoat).
Whatever top you choose, the most important thing to remember is that you want to show off the slimmest parts of your upper body. Emphasize your waist and wrists to counter the fullness of the skirt. A belt can help create curves. Place it at your natural waist, or even a bit higher, to highlight the smallest portion of your torso. A few bangles or a large ring bring attention to your wrists and hands.
Here are a few more of my favorite outfits featuring a full skirt and some of the tops and tricks I’ve mentioned above.