Tuesday, 2 December 2008

The Incredible Shrinking Shopper

Not me, sadly - but I've had a request for tips on shopping when you are mid-weightloss.

My first tip, and I've mentioned them before, is the wrap dress. It's in their nature to fit more flexibly than a tailored garment. They flatter most body shapes if you have boobs bigger than your tummy, and are endlessly versatile, timeless and easy to wear. Had I the money I would invest in a heap of them by the Queen of the Wrap dress, Diane Von Furstenburg: I particularly love these two (above) from her current collection because of their collars - balancing out the weight of the boobs. Her clothes are available up to a UK 18 - but the plain black one is £235 and the print is £306. *Sigh*.

Of course, if you're between sizes you don't want to spend a fortune anyway. Marks and Sparks have this very pretty printed wrap dress for £35 which would be suitable for work or nights out, I think - it even has sleeves! Keep your eyes peeled though: when you see a cheap wrap dress, pounce on it.

The other style of clothing that can be effectively 'cinched' in, to fit a smaller you, is the empire line top or dress which is fitted with ties at the rear. Remember the caveat for empire lines - they do make your boobs look bigger, and for some of us, that's a bridge too far - in which case, look for those which create diagonal lines: V necks, kimono-style crossovers, or empire seaming which meets at a point, rather than a straight horizontal. Because you're going to be pulling in extra fabric as you lose weight, avoid anything too bulky, but also lightweight silks / viscoses where the extra folds at the back will crease and crumple, drawing attention to the fact that you're cheating the fit.

This dress from, what has to be a contender for shop of the season, Dotty P's fits the bill perfectly. It comes in grey, purple and black as well as teal and at £25 it's good value. No sleeves though - so invest in a lightweight cardigan. Buy a smaller size - so long as you can get your arms into it you're fine, just don't try to do it up until you're down to the next size!

Lastly, trousers - and this is much harder. You don't want to wear trousers that are on the small side, as you can with the dresses above to a certain extent. Trousers which are too small have a tendancy to split and lord knows, we don't want that. So to get length of wear from them, you're going to need to keep them after they're too big. The best option, then, is midweight fabric (no cords, no denim), and a high waist which has beltloops. I like these by Rocha.John Rocha at debenhams (£35) for work and weekend wear. These ones are petite, as the lady who inspired this posting is, like me, fairly short. Bear in mind - as you loose weight, your trousers will be longer as they become less troubled by your hips, thighs and bum. If you know you're losing weight and you've a choice between two lengths - both wearable now - go for the shorter ones.

A final word. If you are size 18 and above and changing size, look at ebay for clothes. There's a very healthy trade in larger clothes, and it makes sense not to spend too much if you're not sure how long it's going to fit. Smaller sizes are available too, of course, but there seems to be much more dross to wade through.


  1. Thank you so much! We have a Marks and Spencer here in Turkey, so will have a look, the wrap dress looks great. I really miss Dorothy Perkins. I might order some stuff online and have it sent over here.

    I'm not usually a dress person but I can see how it would work, so I'm going to give it a try :-)

  2. I really want to buy that dress but it's only available in a size 18 :-(((

  3. I love Diane von Furstenburg dresses. So expensive, though.


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