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Old 06-14-2011, 10:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Help! Fashion police!

Okay, embarrassing, but needs to be posted!

So... I've been overweight or obese most of my life. I'm still overweight, but I'm getting to the point where, for the first time in my life, I kind of like clothes.

The problem? I have no clothes sense. I was a tomboy through my formative years, and T-shirts and baggy jeans have been de rigeur. I can do ok throwing together an outfit for, say, going to the bar or if I need to look nice at work, but I only have a few pieces that I know are anything above casual.

I'm flying home next weekend to attend a mish-mash party with family (it's a retirement/birthday/reunion party) and part of it will be at a casino, and there will be some cocktail hours/at least one nice restaurant involved.

In previous years, I probably would have thrown on a sack of a dress, done nothing with my hair, thrown on flats and sat in the darkest corner I could -- and now, going through my closet, I realize I own nothing of the "cocktail" variety.

So I guess my question is - what sort of clothing should I be looking for? My BF has suggested that "this could all be solved with a little black dress" (one of which I do not own, the horror!) Is he right? I just want to wear something that'll transition easily from sitting in a limo, through cocktails, and into a nice sit-down dinner (or two). If I can get away with just buying one dress (or a dress/skirt combo) for that, it would be awesome (also - knee-length? Is that appropriate?)

Due to an ankle injury I have a tough time wearing heels that are not chunky, so anything requiting sexy stilettos is a no-go. Hence why I do not have a LBD; I have no shoes to wear with one that look okay, or at least I don't think so. I *can* wear a little heel (like a kitten heel, I think they're called) but my ankle is none too pleased with me when I do.

I feel a bit pathetic and non-girly, lol, but I need advice!
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Female, 30 years old, 5'4 1/2" tall
Starting weight 1/4/11 = 215.2 lbs.
Weight 8/30/13 = 179.8 (net: -35.4)
Current mini-goal: 175 lbs.
Lowest weight: 156.7 lbs.
150.2 lbs. <--- Official "Healthy BMI" weight
Estimated final goal: 130 lbs.
"You don't have to change your life today. You only need to change your day today."
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Old 06-14-2011, 11:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi Terri,
BF is probably right that a little black dress would be perfect. But since it is summer, so would a more colorful sundress with a little jacket or sweater. Look for something with a waist and maybe a v-shape neck line. Avoid the boxy/baggy look - you got curves worth showing off .

What shops do you have available? I have become a dedicated JJill, Chicos, and Coldwater Creek shopper - all of which I found great flattering options when I was a size 12. Occassionally Ann Taylor Loft has come through, but it is pretty hit or miss. The advantage of the smaller shops is that you can get some help for the store keepers. They know their stock and can help you locate things that match.

There are a lot of low heel sandles to choose from right now. You might shoot for something bright if you go with a LBD, or something neutral if you go with a colorful outfit. No need to struggle with heels IMO.

Since you are still shrinking you probably don't want to invest too much, yet. But as I have said before, there is nothing like finding a couple of new, updated pieces of clothing to give the old ego a boost.
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Old 06-14-2011, 11:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Another option would be dressy pants or capris with a couple sexy tops and jacket. That would solve your shoe issue and you could switch tops for the different events. Would also show off your curves and you might feel more comfortable. The Little Black Dress is always good too if you can find sandals that work. I never like myself in a dress without a shoe with a bit of heel. Go shopping and have fun or do you have friends you can borrow from? I did that last summer when I had nothing that fit me for a wedding. Mary
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Old 06-15-2011, 12:01 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Terri, I could've written your post myself!

As a matter of fact, I did...about 5 months ago!

Yes, I agree, the LBD is the way to go in terms of versatility and being able to dress it up or down. Knee length or a little above would likely be appropriate. However, you may also want to consider a classy sundress; if you go that route, you can wear sandals, maybe a little on the fancy side, or some ballet flats w/ a bit of bling. A swingy, flow-y light sweater could help with being able to do the different events and have a bit of a different look. Could you manage maybe a small heel that's more of a wedge as opposed to a kitten heel? Those don't offer much stability.

The important thing is not to rush it; take your time looking, take a friend if you can. I ended up scoring a $100 dress for 75% off; just be patient.

But keep in mind I posted originally in January because I'm fashion-impaired also, lol!

Would love to see pics when you settle on something!

Oh, and beware...once you get to the point where you "kind of like clothes," sometimes you create a monster that has to be reined in...
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Last edited by cjohnson728; 06-15-2011 at 12:14 AM.
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Old 06-15-2011, 12:29 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The LBD is always safe, it goes either casual or dressy depending on the accessories and the shoes. RunBikeSki is correct there are a ton of flat heel sandals out right now, anything black with a little glitz is going to go great with that dress any time of day. The sundress idea could also be the ticket, if you find something flattering. The other option you might explore is a graphic top (like the one you're wearing in the "during" shot you posted) with a skirt for a dressy look, or with a pair of long shorts for a more casual look. You could get a couple of those shirts and mix and match them for day and night looks. Jewelry also can really juice up your appearance, so get a little bling to brighten things up, jewelry is also a fast way to change from a "day" look to an "evening" ensemble. Believe it or not I've had some success at Fashion Bug, the sales ladies are very helpful here on the local scene. Outside of our town I've had good luck at Cache', JCPenny's and Ann Taylor. Now if budget is an issue, you might start your search at The Burlington Coat Factory. I bought my DD's First Communion dress there for $29.99, the exact same dress at JCP was $124.99. Oh and if you have a Dress Barn, always a good strategy to stop in there, I always find at least one thing that is fantastic in that store.

More important than the look however is the cut. Find out which styles look best on you and don't buy anything unless it looks absolutely dynomite on. And don't be afraid to have something professionally altered to fit you a smidge better.
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Last edited by almeeker; 06-15-2011 at 12:37 AM.
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Old 06-15-2011, 12:31 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Oh, and if you're like me, you didn't think about a purse, either...just something large and multifunctional? Get a little clutch with some sparkle or color pop to go with whatever you pick up in the way of clothes .
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Old 06-15-2011, 01:29 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks ladies

I love the idea of being able to wear a flat-heel or wedge sandal if possible - my ankle really dislikes heels, and with the nature of the injury I'll never really be stable in them. I am trying to "train" it when I'm feeling bold - I own precisely two pairs of heels, one of which has a chunky, "casual" feel to it that I wear often to work, and the other with a thinner heel that I still feel wobbly in (the heel is about 1 inch). I can do wedges without much issue, and I was thinking about a wedgy-type sandal maybe?

And I love the idea of a sun dress with perhaps a jacket if it gets cool - I get cold a lot Pants or cute capris might also help with the "cold" issue - I'm always cold in casinos! I've tried on a couple of sundresses recently just for fun and found some issues with "the girls" -- but I don't think the cut was right for me. I have curves, and they looked like they were made for girls with a more willowy figure.

As for smaller shops around - There is an Ann Taylor and an Ann Taylor Loft close by, though I've not looked through there recently. There's also a mall with your standard Macy's/Dillards/JC Penney/Sears, and a Marshall's nearby (Obviously, mostly larger stores). I often have trouble finding clothes in my "age range" - oftentimes things either look too young or a bit too matronly, but that's probably because I don't know how to shop! I know there is a shopping plaza a bit further away - goodness, I might actually have to look this up! My usual clothes shopping involves Target... lots and lots of Target Oh, almeeker, there totally is a Burlington Coat Factory about 15 minutes away (I think, anyway...) That's a great idea, I got a lovely coat there once on sale - $200 leather jacket for $65, score!

Cassie, LOL! You got me. I didn't think about a purse O_O I own uh... one purse. And I think maybe I have a black clutch somewhere my sister foisted off on me when she didn't want it anymore. Thanks!

The only thing I know I'm ok on is jewelry. I am a jewelry junkie; and I can always have an excuse to buy more if stuff I have doesn't go.

Ok... so sundresses with a dressy sandal sounds awesome, OR capris (you know I've never owned any capris!) with a fun top. That graphic top in my "during" picture is currently the nicest top I own, haha! I like LBD too...maybe with awesome red power shoes somehow! Options, options...

You're right, this "liking clothes" this is going to be hazardous to my wallet...
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Female, 30 years old, 5'4 1/2" tall
Starting weight 1/4/11 = 215.2 lbs.
Weight 8/30/13 = 179.8 (net: -35.4)
Current mini-goal: 175 lbs.
Lowest weight: 156.7 lbs.
150.2 lbs. <--- Official "Healthy BMI" weight
Estimated final goal: 130 lbs.
"You don't have to change your life today. You only need to change your day today."
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:29 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I have that same "sundress-fitting-the-girls" issue, as the cut is generally intended for a smaller set. I saw some really cute summer dresses at JCPenny's the last time I went shopping, but that was at least a month ago. I also saw many of those same dresses for half the price at Burlington. Good luck.
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Old 06-15-2011, 07:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Terri,

I agree with all the options given, I would only like to add you might want to look into a wrap dress or a wrap top which I think are very flattering for the "girls" and mark your waist nicely.
Also when you go shopping keep an open mind and although tedious try as much things as possible, sometimes you can become pleasantly surprised at how a dress fits you once you try it on, even if it didn't look that great on the hanger.
Enjoy it!
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Old 06-16-2011, 03:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
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almeeker -- I may just hit Burlington this weekend. Maybe Marhsall's too, though Marshall's often ends up looking like endless racks with no rhyme or reason to me...

Main80 - I hadn't even thought of the wrap style! It's been mentioned to me previously but I'm sure I probably blew off the advice. And yes, try on try on try on I hate it, but you're right that it's totally necessary. I used to just buy things because "Oh, it's in my size" and never even bothered (all clothes just looked like sacks) but now it's necessary.

Found out there's an early-bird one-day-sale at Macy's this weekend... BF needs some new suits and they're doing a buy-one-get-TWO-free on Kenneth Cole (and also dress shirts for $9.99 each!), so we're going to get up and go get him some (he's down a size or two). I'll probably go dress/skirt/nice clothes hunting while I'm there - even if I don't buy anything, it could be good practice
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Terri
Female, 30 years old, 5'4 1/2" tall
Starting weight 1/4/11 = 215.2 lbs.
Weight 8/30/13 = 179.8 (net: -35.4)
Current mini-goal: 175 lbs.
Lowest weight: 156.7 lbs.
150.2 lbs. <--- Official "Healthy BMI" weight
Estimated final goal: 130 lbs.
"You don't have to change your life today. You only need to change your day today."
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