Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Easy Glamour

A mission:
Hello Charlotte,
I loved your response to the size 6 PGCE interviewee and therefore feel confident in you ability to help me (if you have the time).
I am 5ft 4 and size 16/18 (34 j boobs but relatively small waist).  I have been invited to an uber glamorous 40th and am dreading going because for me glamour + dress = me feeling like a man in very unconvincing drag.
I did try on a purple halterneck at Coast recently and didn't look completely stupid but it's too rich for my pocket and I'd never wear it again.
Please can you point me in the right direction?  I am blonde with blue eyes and short thick legs attached to size 8 feet.
Many thanks in anticipation,

Dressing for a glam event can feel like a challenge, but it should be fun, too. Enjoy the element of theatricality involved in wearing richer colours, finer fabrics and an outfit designed to make you look special. Regular readers will know that I don't recommend a lot of black - and I wouldn't normally do so for a blonde... but there's truth in the lore of the Little Black Dress, and this one is particularly flattering for Selena's body.  It's by Monsoon and it's £85 but you would be able to wear it for years - particularly if you wore it with different accent colours each time.  For this summer and your colouring I recommend pale gold or pewter accessories: a chunky bangle, dangly earrings, a simple pendant to echo the neckline and a pair of strappy sandals - wedges to give your legs some shape or flats for comfort, but not heels in a metallic shade with this dress - too middle-aged. The dress would work for Selena because the neckline is perfect to flatter her boobs, and the structured tailoring at the waist will accentuate her waist.  As it's a high waist it will also give the impression of longer legs - as will the shorter length: it's more flattering than a long hemline if you're not tall.  This dress is in the 'New Arrivals' section of the Monsoon website, but is only showing in a limited range of sizes.  Monsoon, however, don't hold a centralised record of stock on their website (which is why they have such great sales) - you'd be well advised to phone a few branches.

I've written before about the often disappointing design output from Bravissimo's clothing range, but this Kingfisher satin dress (£65) is quite beautiful - and remember that blues and greens are the most flattering colours for pale complexions.  Being by Bravissimo it is cut to fit perfectly over the bust (you'd want the 18 'Super Curvy' size), but the tailoring detail is flattering to the rest of the body too.  The waist is defined by the jewelled applique, and that pleating over the tummy is generous and flattering to your lumps and bumps.  Which is not to say you won't want to wear Spanx - not to reduce your size but just for smoothing.  Because of the detailing at the waist it's keep jewellery simple and silver.  Some nude (pale tan) heels or heeled sandals would look best. 

 I know I'm becoming predicable in my love of a dotty frock, but I really think this one shows why.  Patterns go in and out of fashion - currently the newest trend is for tribal prints - but the simpler the pattern, the more longevity it will have.  These spots are fun and by breaking up the expanse of solid colour they are flattering too.  I really think this is a pattern that won't date because it's so simple.  The frock itself is on the expensive side - it's £89 from East - but it's fearsomely flattering to a curvy girl.  The crossover neckline will accommodate larger boobs (you can add a vest or camisole in your chosen colour accent if it gets too boobalicious), and the plating and cut of the skirt will smooth over lumps and bumps while giving the impression of an hourglass silhouette. There is a matching camisole, but I wouldn't - matchy-matchy feels matronly. Instead team this with a close fitting cardigan in a fine knit.  I think a sherbert colour (like a pastel but with more guts) would work beautifully: perhaps sky blue or pink. You can then work that colour through to your shoes and jewellery.

Lastly, although I really do think that shorter legs do better with shorter dresses, I know that people's sensitivity to their body imperfections can be all consuming - so I offer you a maxi dress.  It's £35 by Next, and unlike most maxi dresses it's glamorous enough for a dressy event and you can wear a bra with it.  It's possibly going to need a vest or camisole underneath because of that plunge neckline, so I'd go with black accents including flat black sandals as here.  The empire line silhouette elongates the legs and draws attention to the fabulous boobs.


  1. That polka dot dress- OMG!

  2. Dear Charlotte,

    After writing to you for help I went on and bough 6 dresses from Ebay in various styles (inspired by the thought of experimentation), the dress I had at the top of my list is a virtual copy of the one you recommended at the top of the response (not very good photo is attached)!

    I loved the all the dresses you suggest , you are truly beyond clever and so kind to respect the fact I have good boobs and a waist - pure genius!

    I'll buy a few more dresses now as I feel inspired to keep going and I might even go and get the daring red nail varnish I've been thinking about getting!

    Once again, thank you so much for your response -I am a genuinely appreciative new woman!

    Selena x


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