Wednesday, 5 November 2008

What I wore to work yesterday.

New term: new frock - because one likes to make an effort - and this particular number (Marks and Sparks, a bargainous £35) is a gorgeous solution to the barriers to someone my shape wearing the sexy-secretary stylings of the pussy bow blouse.

I like the idea of the blouses currently all over the shops - demure but retro and sexy - like whassername in 'Ashes to Ashes' and Maggie Gyllenhall in 'Secretary'; dressing for work has become a chance to raid the dressing-up box and play at being smeone else.

The typical pussy bow blouse however, is deeply inappropriate for girls who are bigger on top.
  • A high neckline gives the impression of your boobs being lower - or rather a low neckline gives an illusion of their being higher (visually connected with the face) and a high neckline doesn't allow for that.
  • Blouses with buttons tend to gape over the bust, unless specially tailored (see Bravissimo).
  • Many cuts of this style of blouse are quite voluminous - adding bulk to the torso - no one wants to look like a ship in full sail.
So this dress appealed because it incorporates the look of a purple satin pussy bow blouse, while actually being and all-in-one, close fitting, stretchy frock. Easy care - machine wash and I doubt there'll be ironing - this also dress solves many of the problems above. The scoop neckline of the false pinafore breaks up the expanse of fabric across the bulk of the boobs which together with the empire line tailoring prevents the "low-slung-boob" effect. Furthermore, the tails of the bow break through that scoop line to draw the eye still further, in a flattering vertical. The section below the dress is pannelled - princess line style - allowing for a closer fit above than below the waist - empire lines can otherwise look rather hippyish or worse, maternity-wear shaped otherwise.

Attention to design detail: the satin is wintery and luxurious (many other pussy bow blouses at the moment are also in 'eveningy' fabrics - silk chiffon animal prints, gold satin...) and the length is over the knee even on me, but still a modest workplace length, especially with my purple tights and winter boots. What I'm not buying, however, is the sleeve. It's puffy of course, we know these blouses tend to be voluminous, but by finishing short on the upper arm it's about as unflattering as possible.

The model gets away with it, but I don't. Two reasons - firstly, even though this is a size 2o, and an M&S 20 at that, it's a bit too tight on the arms. You can see in my pic that it can't come as far down my arm as the model's, cos the widest bit of my upper arm is just a little too wide. Secondly, the sleeve finishes level with the fullest part of the boobs, and the two horizontal lines across the arm draw out a widening optical illusion for the whole area. (You can see this better on the model's pic. I'm far too vain to stand straight on to the camera.) It's a winter frock and a full sleeve would have worked better even on a slim girl. At any rate, if a short sleeve was favoured, something ending at the elbow would surely had more of a vintage look.

On balance though, it's a keeper. Easy wear and two different girls asked me where they could get one. It's not just Drama I'm teaching them I tell you...


Thanks for commenting - always nice to know I'm not talking to myself...