Weekly Roundup: Tops & Bottoms

Here’s a selection of tops and bottoms that have worked well on my clients recently, or simply caught my eye. There are lots of patterns and colours this season, which I’ve very much enjoyed. Get your fill before retailers go dark and solid for Fall and Winter. Be sure to browse all the colour options. 

  • Banana Republic Easy Care Snake-Print Ruffle Blouse: The draped ruffles on this blouse are SUBLIME. You need to try it on to appreciate the magic. You have to wear taupe well though, so consider yourself warned. It's subtle. Best on a small bust and narrow shoulder line. Very good on pear shapes that fit that body type description. Runs a size big.
  • Banana Republic Tiered Ruffle Maxi Skirt: Amazing ruffled midi for Team Tall. Romantic, and brilliant with a white knot-front tee and sneakers. Do NOT try this style unless you are tall because it cannot be hemmed.
  • Banana Republic Sailor Stripe Boat-Neck Pullover: Good Modern Classic boat neck stripe that works best on narrow shoulders, small bust and a long neck. Tailored, yet slightly fluid. I did not think it's a snag fest as described in the reviews. All the colours are nice. The ink blue followed me home to keep my other wardrobe essentials company. Runs short so not good on long torsos unless you want a shorter top to wear with wide crops.
  • Banana Republic Floral Bell-Sleeve Knit Dress: A frock that works on a straighter and curvier bottom half. Best on broad shoulders, shorter neck, and larger bust. Fab as a tunic over cropped straights too.
  • Banana Republic Easy Care Floral Bow-Sleeve Top: Pretty blouse for a long-necked and small-busted gal. Great with black pants. Sleeves are fussy, so you have to be okay with that. And it's a little sheer - but the coverage of the pattern works wonders.
  • Banana Republic Avery-Fit Snake-Print Pant: AMAZING pants on a curvy bottom half. The substantial fabric drapes beautifully over the thighs and the waist is tailored. Looked much better on my pear-shaped clients than on the model. No whiskering. Not good on straighter bodies, narrow hips and narrow thighs.
  • KUT from the Kloth Reese Release Hem Floral Straight Leg Jeans: Patterned pants that work best on a straighter or slightly curvy figure. A little waist adjustment is an easy alteration if there's gaping, and so is hacking off some length. Fab substantial fabric.
  • Zara Tulip Dress: Swing tunic to wear over leggings, cropped skinnies or cropped straights. Excellent on a pear shape. Fitted on the shoulder and through the sleeves, and voluminous on the midsection. Needs a little camisole for the low V-neck if you're worried about exposure. Modern Retro.
  • Zara Floral Embroidery Shirt: One of the best oversized embroidered shirts I've seen all season. High-low hemline, very light and gauzy, and flattering despite the volume because of the great drape. Works on and assortment of body types. Size down.
  • Zara Frilled Top: Fab flamenco blouse to wear with wide crops or culottes. All the colours are nice. Substantial fabric.
  • Zara Lace Blouse With Bell Sleeves: A good top for a tall pear shape. The lace is soft and not scratchy. Does not crease, and holds its shape well. Festive and romantic for travel.
  • Halogen Knit Cold Shoulder Tee: A fluid cold shoulder top that works on a range of body types. Needs a semi-tuck on a body type with a defined waist. Read the rave reviews.
  • Zara Tunic With Puffy Sleeves: Dramatic tunic shirt for the long-waisted gal to wear over cropped skinnies, cropped straights or full-length bootcuts. The sleeves are very voluminous so consider yourself warned. A long-waisted large-busted gal might find this bust-accentuating.
  • Vince Camuto Slub Linen Blend Sweater: Good top for a tall larger-busted apple, hourglass or rectangle. Might need to size down. Nice fabric and rich colours. A little sheer.
  • Hei Hei | Anthropologie Striped Linen Joggers: Comfy and very breezy linen pants that work on an assortment of body types. Cool yet covered. Best rolled at the hem. Size down.
  • Farm Rio | Anthropologie Chevron Knit Skirt: VERY fun chevron knitted skirt that moulds to the body. Works on most body types if you don't mind showcasing your curves. Good length.
  • Pilcro | Anthropologie Pilcro Embroidered High-Rise Slim Flounced Jeans: Flounced studded jeans are fun and trendy. These are super soft, run big, and work on both a curvier and straighter figure. Not good on a short waist.
  • Elevenses | Anthropologie Gardener Silk Wide-Legs: Super cute patio pants to wear with a fluid semi-tucked tee or cropped boxy top.
  • Chino By Anthropologie | Anthropologie Relaxed Chino Pants: Fab chino for a curvier bottom half. Works as well on straighter body types, although you might need to size down. It sits on the hips and is quite low rise and relaxed. Very lightweight. MANY colours to chose from. Fun twisted seam.
  • Eri + Ali | Anthropologie Windward Top: Fab breezy top for a larger bust and short waist. Does not need a camisole. Despite the volume, there is adequate structure on the waist. Crease-free and forgiving of perspiration marks. Runs big so size down.

Visit the collection page to see the items alongside my descriptions.

Summer Dress with Blue Suede Shoes

A new outfit from E of District of Chic, whom we introduced to YLF in November 2016.

Powder blue suede oxfords and a coral ribbon on the fedora add an unexpected touch of colour to this Summer look. E is sporting a relaxed above-the-knee shirtdress in a pale shade of blush. She’s dressed it up with a tailored white blazer that is low-contrast against the blush dress. E’s pastel-coloured oxfords add subtle punch and give the outfit a hint of tomboy vibe. Her rose-gold cuff bracelet, cocktail ring and rosy lipgloss enhance the tonal colour palette. A cute mini straw bucket bag makes everything feel extra Summery.

District of Chic - 1

District of-Chic - 2

Printed Pants and Curvy Body Types

Note: Curvy describes a body shape and not a size. In other words, you have a small waist relative to the size of your hips and thighs. That’s the proportion that creates a curved line from waist to thigh – hence “curvy”. You can be curvy at ANY size. The opposite of curvy is straight, and that’s when there is a smaller difference between the size of your waist and hips. A relatively wider waist and narrower hip creates a more straight bottom half. 

All sorts of body type guidelines suggest that figures with curvy bottom halves like hourglasses and pear shapes should not wear patterned pants because it makes the bottom half look wider. Solid dark bottoms are best because they’re the most visually slimming, which balances out proportions.

Solid dark bottoms are visually slimming, but when the fit is right, patterned pants can look extremely good on curvy body types. I see this over and over again because most of my pear-shaped and very hourglass-y clients wear patterned pants and feel fabulous in them. For some, wearing patterns on the bottom half came easily. For others, it took a while to get used to drawing attention to an area of the body they were trying to conceal. 

Just last week, I dressed two pear-shaped clients in patterned pants from Banana Republic — and they looked sublime. The Avery Fit is tailored at the waist with more ease through the hips and thighs, making it work extremely well for curvier bottom halves. These clients usually take one, two or three sizes bigger on the bottom than on top, and were excited to be sporting patterned pants that fit so well. In fact, they both think that patterned pants are MORE forgiving and flattering on the hips and thighs than solid pants! How’s that for defying a body type dressing guideline. 

These are the exact styles of patterned pants from Banana Republic that took my breath away when my clients modeled them in stores. Beautiful proportions. One client is relatively short in the waist while the other has a regular length waist. Cropped two to three inches above the ankle bone, I could not stop saying how incredible they looked. 

Good fit and fabric drape goes a long way to making clothing look attractive on the body. In this case the subtlety of the pattern had little to do with it. The bold checks looked as fab as the tonal animal print. If you’re curvy on the bottom and feel that you can’t wear patterned pants because they make you look wider than you are – PLEASE THINK AGAIN. Get the fit and fabric right, and you’ll be amazed at how great they look.

Roundups

Tops & Bottoms

Fun Summer items for a range of body types.

Read More

Summer Items

A selection of warm-weather items that covers a range of body types.

Read More

Summer White Tops

An assortment of white tops across a range of price points and silhouettes.

Read More

Violeta & Jackets

Larger sizes and some fun toppers make this week’s roundup.

Read More

Assorted Items

Fun stuff to add to your wardrobe for Spring and Summer.

Read More

Casual Dresses

An assortment of easy casual dresses for Summer, some of which can be dressed up.

Read More

Wovens, Knits, Knitted Tops and Knitwear, Defined

The differences between wovens, knits, knitted tops and knitwear bear repeating because I use these descriptions daily on YLF, and they can be confusing. 

First, it’s important to understand the differences between woven and knitted fabrics. Apart from animal hide, all fabrics fall into one of two categories: wovens or knits. It’s not the fibre content that distinguishes them, it’s the manufacturing process. Yarns like cotton, viscose, rayon, wool, polyester, velvet, silk, and all sorts of man-made fibres can either be knitted or woven.

Woven Fabrics 

Woven fabrics are produced on huge looms that “weave” different yarns together by interlacing threads both horizontally and vertically. If you look very closely at the construction of woven fabrics — which requires a magnifying glass — you’ll see that the fabric is made of tiny squares. Woven fabrics do not stretch unless lycra, elastic or spandex fibres are woven into the fabric. 

Clothing made from linen, denim, cotton twill, satin, chiffon, corduroy, tweed, silk, rayon and canvas typically use woven fabrics. Silk and polyester blouses, cotton peasant blouses, jeans, denim jackets, tweed jackets and wool coats are examples of woven items. 

Knitted Fabrics  

Knitted fabrics are produced on huge knitting machines that “knit” different yarns together. These machines use essentially the same technique as hand knitting to make fabric. They knit a row of plain and a row of pearl at high speed to create a “stocking stitch” effect. You’ll see the stocking stitch pattern on knitted items if you look closely. All knitted fabrics stretch. 

Knitted Tops

Knitted tops are tops made of knitted fabric like jersey. A T-shirt and sweatshirt are examples of very basic knitted tops, but knitted tops can be much more complex in design. Any style of top made of jersey knit, terry cloth or fleece is a knitted top. Refresh your memory on the pros and cons of knits and wovens

Knitwear

Knitwear is also knitted, but the components of an item of knitwear are knitted “piece by piece” on large machines instead of cut out from knitted fabric. Knitwear is divided into pullovers that do not have a centre front opening, and cardigans that do. In the US, knitwear — both pullovers and cardigans — are referred to as “sweaters”. Colloquially I refer to a pullover as a “jumper”, but pullover is the correct term. 

To confuse things further, retailers can be sloppy with the terms they use. They often lump knits into one category, when knitted tops and knitwear are very different. I hope this clears things up.

Happy Father’s Day

I spoke about my Dad on Mother’s Day, but Papa needs a post of his own for Father’s Day because he’s a special man who I love with all my heart. 

My Dad is Dutch. He grew up in the Netherlands, in a quaint little town called Velp which is close to the German border. As a child during World War II, his family saw extremely hard times. Things were also tough for years after the war, but life for my Dad improved. He completed his education, married my Mum, had two children, lots of dogs, lived the expat life, and retired early. He spent forty years living in Yokohama, Hong Kong and Cape Town. He moved back to his home town of Velp in 2000 when my Mum passed away, and leads a happy and peaceful life there. 

Jaap

My Dad is an academic, global and cerebral man. A Chartered Accountant by profession and very precise with numbers, he as a keen eye for detail. He still completes his own tax returns! He is calm, careful, confident, loyal, gentle, generous, introverted, tactful, polite and patient. He is extremely charming, very smiley, fearlessly independent, and an absolute gentleman. Papa is the King of understatement and never exaggerates anything. In many ways, he is different to my fiery, street smart, intuitive, and fiercely protective mother. Opposites do attract, and their marriage worked.

Siblings

I appreciate that Papa stays connected to the hard times his family experienced during the war. It’s why he’s awfully modest, humble, frugal and appreciative of the smallest things. It’s also made him tough, resourceful, very hard working, and tenacious. He seldom complains, simply getting on with it. He’s an incredible man and a role model to me. 

Park

I speak to Papa every morning at 8.30 a.m., and have since the day my Mum died. We are close. Up until two years ago, he regularly flew to Seattle. But at almost 85, understandably, he’s done with flying. There is nothing that makes my Dad happier than seeing his children, so I visit him regularly and we have a wonderful time together. The pics above are of my Dad, brother and me in Velp earlier this year. In true Dutch fashion, Papa likes wearing orange. 

We treasure and celebrate the fathers who are with us, and fondly remember those who are absent, but who made a very positive difference. We at YLF wish you a happy Father’s Day.

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