Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Matter of Size (Review & OOTD)

In the April issue of Vogue magazine, there's an article about a small group of fashion insiders who are embracing their "imperfections," and dressing to emphasize their height, regardless of what it may be. The author gives examples of prominent figures (no pun intended) in fashion, who are incorporating their size into their personal style, by choosing clothes that almost exaggerate their actual size. For instance, one small-boned, slender woman who stands at 5'3" gravitates towards long maxi skirts and oversized coats to accentuate her smaller stature. Another woman who stands at 5'10," dons 4-inch stiletto booties which catapult her to an astonishing 6'2." 

I found this notion intriguing. As a shorter woman, I definitely tend towards clothing choices that don't make me look short - I prefer to wear garments that elongate my lines and add to the illusion that I'm taller than I am. In my mind, this spring's maxi dress trend is all wrong for me - even on the hanger, they seem taller than me. I immediately imagine that they'll look cut off on me as I'd have to hem them and make me look stumpy - and worse, frumpy.

But what if that's what I was going for? What if I chose a dress, to emphasize my size? To embrace the "imperfection" (and of course, it's entirely debatable as to whether I even consider my height so) of my shorter frame? The very idea was eye-opening. Suddenly, the gorgeous, flowy maxi dresses I'd been deliberately ignoring for the past month or so had all kinds of new potential. I decided to give one a try - baby steps - and just get a sense of how I felt with it on. I chose one I'd been wistfully eyeing ever since it showed up on the cover of Nordstrom's February catalog.




I'm wearing 3.5" heels with this dress, and as you can see, it still manages to pool around my feet. I was pleasantly surprised to find that even so, I didn't feel particularly short. Instead, I felt (and yes, this will sound a little silly, but I never said I wasn't) like I'd been magicked into some otherworldly story, where I would wear, as a matter of course, long flowy dresses whose skirts pooled at my feet.

At one point, I even thought that this was the sort of dress I was expecting when I heard that BHLDN was going to be offering a unique, alternative selection of gowns for the discerning bride. This would be beautiful in a wedding, don't you think?

As for the fit, I'm wearing the XS, and the waist hit at my natural waist, which looks about right, after comparison with the model shots. For ease of wear, I'd probably hem up the skirt another inch or two - but still let it graze the floor as I walked. Overall, I really loved it and was glad to try it on. Sadly, it's priced way out of my budget, but maybe I'll be able to find something similar, closer to what I can actually afford. Now that I feel up to the task of wearing such a dress, im/properly, that is. ^_-

So sorry for the poor photo quality, but here's the back of this dress:



And a couple of other options I'd like to see in-store for a try-on:

Parker Tie-Neck Silk Georgette Maxi Dress:




Leifsdottir "Cockatoo" Maxi Dress:




And here's my OOTD:

Sweater: Cloudcover Poncho, Anthropologie (similar here and here)
Top: Pure and Good long sleeve tee, Anthropologie (similar here and here)
Shoes: Seychelles "She's Got the Moves" sandals
Necklace: gift from mother and father-in-law


I haven't worn this poncho very much since I bought it, late last summer. It was a total impulse purchase (not good), which requires a bit of creativity to style, so has mostly been waiting patiently in my closet, as usually I'm in too much of a rush in the mornings to think up ways to wear it. However, this was a weekend day, and my in-laws had just brought me this gorgeous necklace as a gift from their 10-day cruise to Hawaii (it was so thoughtful of them, and I love it! It picks up on the bohemian feel of this season perfectly!) and I wanted to build an outfit that showcased the necklace while still being interesting. What do you think? Did it work? 

Hope you're all having a great weekend!

28 comments:

  1. I'm not big on the maxi-dress/skirt trend just yet, but that first dress is GORGEOUS.

    I love your poncho and how you styled it... and I normally hate ponchos. Now I'm reconsidering. :)

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  2. Yup- love the way you've styled this- it looks like a nicer, mixed fabric 'neo-refinement pullover' actually!

    That floral dress is gorgeous!! You can totally pull off the mini-person maxi (heh- Mary-Kate Olsen, eat your heart out!)

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  3. I think the maxi dress looks beautiful on you Carol! I think you can definitely pull off the look! :)

    I am only 5'4", but have been wearing maxi dresses for several years now and love them. They are perfect for the spring and summer months here in Florida, so needless to say I have a lot of them in various styles and colors.

    Love your OOTD! You are just way too cute!

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  4. The dress is gorgeous on you Carol. Although i don't think it shortens you, a pair of heels or wedges would complete the look.
    You look so effortlessly chic in your OOTD. It's understated yet so stylish!

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  5. Your OOTD is genius Carol!! Makes me rethink ponchos. Love the blue-gray tones. You look lovely in the halter maxi, I wish we could both afford it.

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  6. The maxi dress looks amazing on you! I'm a shorty too and recently tried on a maxi dress just for kicks. I'm actually falling for them but am hesistant to purchase because of the fact that it may make me look shorter. But in the mirror I appear long and lean, and so did you! Your OOTD is too cute!

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  7. I think this is such an interesting topic: as the mother of a ten year old who reads magazines (not fashion ones per se but she has a subscription to Real Simple), I have been trying to figure out what to say about all these articles on dressing which seem to suggest that the goal is to dress towards an ideal, an "objective" ideal. Even magazines with an emphasis on real women, like Real Simple (not Vogue), still make it as though short women want to look tall, tall women don't want to look "too tall", women with hips want to look less so, women with fewer curves want to seem more curvy, etc etc. How confusing for a child and for the rest of us!

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  8. Carol I just really loved this post. This is something that I struggle so much too specially being 4'10"... and when I saw this massive trend of maxi dresses and maxis skirts I just wanted to curl up and hide because there is no way it would ever work on me being so short. I have the same issue with skinny jeans but if skinny jeans were to look as good on me as this dress looks on you then I will buy many! hahaha the dress is so gorgeous on you it really is. It shows off your petite frame! I love it!

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  9. The maxi dress is lovely, but I actually REALLY like your OOTD! The poncho is terrific and I think it looks great layered over jeans and a simple tee shirt.

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  10. It looks great! I think the key here is: If your clothes fit on your body, then other people will 'accept' how you look. So if you shorten this dress to maximum 'still-be-able-to-walk' length, no one will think anything of it. :)

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  11. I'm super small too, and I just adore the maxi and the long skirts. Maybe I'm in the accentuate your flaws crew! I always thought I had a hippie spirit!

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  12. This is so interesting because I am 5'8 and I think that maxi dresses don't look good on me because I'm tall. I've only tried one on once and it wasn't as nice as this one. I don't think I could wear heels with a maxi dress though. This particular dress is super gorgeous. I think it would be perfect for a wedding. You look so ethereal in it. And tall too! I love all of these maxi selections. It makes me want to try on some more and possible buy one this season.

    The poncho is so cool too. It looks great with jeans and a statement necklace. LOVE!

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  13. Oh that dress looks absolutely stunning on you! Maybe you and I should try the maxi dress trend-- it's one that I've been scared of too. And I love how you styled that poncho-- you look effortlessly cool.

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  14. I love the way styled your OOTD! It works!

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  15. Carol, you look great in it. You can totally do the maxi look. I'm 5'2" and no one could ever dissuade me from my maxi dresses.

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  16. You can totally rock the maxi, the length is an easy fix. Love the OOTD, it's so effortlessly chic. I'm inspired!

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  17. Age old adage...you won't know if you like it unless you try! I guess it's true! You are fantastic in this maxi style! And I love, love, and more love your OOTD - so stylish and the shoes are an awesome punch of color - you look effortless.

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  18. That Maxi dress is to die for. You look emboldened in it. I love that! And I kind of think Maxi dresses elongate women of shorter stature, since they go ALL the way to the floor.
    I love that cloud-cover poncho. You look boho-easy, cool, a woman I'd totally want to have lunch with. Let's get the mixed berry chix salad at the Nordstrom cafe, k?

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  19. Such chic casual outfit, love it Carol...=) xx Mary

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  20. I am delurking to say your poncho outfit is my most FAVORITE thing I've seen on you. You look so stylish and chic. :)

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  21. I think the dress looks fabulous! In fact I think it specifically looks better on you than it does on the model in the website photo, for whom it is perhaps the 'correct' length. I'm not tiny (5' 7 1/2") but I wore a dress to a wedding last summer that still pooled around my feet, even with heels. I could have had it hemmed, I suppose, but for whatever reason, it felt glamorous and luxurious to have it so long, and even moreso when I had to lift it to walk - made a modern dress feel a bit Victorian. So I say go for it!!!

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  22. That dress is beautiful! You look like a southern lady!

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  23. i love the dress on you! It looks like it would be a great dress for an outdoor summer wedding.
    BTW, what do you think of the BHLDN bridesmaid dresses? I would love to hear a review from you guys!

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  24. Love it on you! Absolutely love it! You're making me re-think maxi dresses too. I'm tall so I always feel gargantuan in them!

    P.S. I have the same Kate Spade iphone 4 cover and love mine too! : )

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  25. OMG that Winter Kate dress is STUNNING on you! Glad you threw your hesitation to the wind and embraced your body the way it is. You look amazing!
    Amber's Notebook

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  26. The dress is gorgeous and you look fab in it! I think we're all a little too hard on our imperfections, and it's good to 'encourage' yourself to embrace :) Have a happy day!

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  27. Where can I get those cupcakes?

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