Boots N’ Skirts N’ Stuff

A lovely colleague who just purchased some super riding boots asked me the other day how to wear them with skirts. Although we went over the Skirts and Boots Question at great length here, I just wanted to tell you about a gal I saw in the grocery store who was doing it all wrong. She was a fit, handsome middle-aged white woman who looked confident and put together except that she was wearing a pleated skirt well above the knee and knee-high boots with nude stockings. The big gap of flesh between her boots and her skirt made her look exactly like a drum majorette from the waist down. Not good, not good! Reverend ladies of all ages, stay far away from this look or someone may hand you a baton and big, fluffy hat with a chin strap and start following you around with a tuba.

In other Shoe Problems, one of my spies called to leave news of a Flip-Flop Sighting on my voice mail. His message was simple, and so right so I’ll just quote him: “It’s DECEMBER. You should NOT be wearing flip-flops!” Here, here.

PeaceBang is noticing that long, full skirts are still being worn by female Clergy of Size and she has to say precious butterbeans, if you feel at your best visually adding about 30 lbs. to your frame, that’s just the way to do it! Be plump, be flowing, be abundant if you absolutely insist! Or, if you’d like to show that you have a shape that’s actually lots and lots more interesting than voluminous fabric, try on a more fitted style like this one from Catherine’s. skirt.jpg

What’s so scary about that?? You don’t have to buy it or anything but seriously gals, if you want one change in 2008 that can be as Moses bringing you out of The Land of Frump, this is it. Shapeless jackets and skirts are out, out, out, and Why? ‘Cause although the world of fashion can be crazy at times, sometimes it makes changes because certain silhouettes are ugly and unflattering. Please give away your utterly shapeless skirts or take them to a tailor and have them taken in at the hips, or hemmed, or do something that will give them some shape. Will you do that for me? Because I just have an irrational need for you to look at least as beautiful in the world as Condi Rice. I don’t like what she represents but she consistently far outshines the female clergy in the polished image department, and that ain’t right.

Speaking of shape, and I was, PeaceBang is squeezing out of her favorite black blazer and noticed that her blouse was pooching out below her blazer buttons during tonight’s worship service for The Compassionate Friends. Oh sure, I was fine standing but sitting at the pulpit, Houston we had a problem . Good thing I could cover my poochiness with a combo of strategic placement of my leather binder of readings and good posture.

Certain items in our wardrobes are so essential that it’s important for us to make sure they fit appropriately at all times. If you have a tendency to change sizes throughout the year, be vigilant. While you work on slimming down (or fattening up, if that’s the issue), be sure you’ve considered what fits and what might need to be purchased or borrowed in a size up or down to get you through the transitional time. In my case, a classic black blazer is something I cannot be without. So while I work on losing the buttah, I’ll temporarily switch to the dreaded Unstructured Black Jacket and wear higher heels and dressier accessories to give my outfits the polish that I want to try to have. That and a good girdle should see me through the holidays.

Remember: NO SNOWMAN SWEATSHIRTS. NO SNOWWOMAN OR EVEN SNOWPERSON SWEATSHIRTS.

Lament Of The Plus-Sized Pastor (A Fashion Rant)

WHY oh WHY is it so hard to find beautiful, classic tailored clothing suitable for plus-size gals?

Lately most of what I see is this sort of thing offered up by designers who apparently think I want to go about looking like a knocked-up milkmaid.

milkmaid.jpg

and Queen Latifah’s design over at Curvation Apparel are even worse. Half of these garments look like what you’d get if you crossed Bo Peep with Stevie Nicks. I am way too old and experienced to play the ingenue or some sort of gypsy femme fatale. Yes, I like a little flair to my clothes. But you designers don’t seem to get the concept of “flair,” mistaking it for “hootchie-mama.”

Avenue’s fall offerings are only just sort of acceptable (she looks pretty, though) but I know from experience that their fabrics and tailoring tend to be downright shoddy.
They do get props from me for offering nice textured hose ; an item I’ve been looking for. They also offer a boot with a wide-enough calf that I think I can live with, having sought knee-high boots for two years. I did find a pair for $8 on the super sale rack at DSW Shoe Warehouse last winter, but the heel is incredibly tiny, which makes me look even more like a meatball perched on two toothpicks. These aren’t too bad, are they? I don’t love the detailing and they might look dead cheap in real life, though, so I’ll make sure to check them out in person.

There are a few items on this page that you might be able to snazz up with some great accessories. The colors are rather “eh” but I appreciate the clean lines and the attempt to fit, rather than to obscure, our bodies. So okay, Avenue, you get a PeaceBang pass.

Lane Bryant has some great stuff if you happen to work as a a go-go dancer (although to be fair, they have some really acceptable tailored skirts for sale this season), and I frankly don’t know what Abby Z. is thinking, aside from one really cute dress.

Listen up, plus size designers! Stop with all the diva nonsense (apparently every woman with a big bust and a big mouth now qualifies for that honorific) and give us something we can WEAR for an honest price!! We don’t need shiny, lacy tops, we don’t need empire waists that serve up our bosoms on a platter in such a way as to upstage our expertise and intelligence. We don’t need shimmering kimonos and flouncy sleeves and skirts with bizarre, jaggedy hemlines. We need beautiful clothing that fits, in clean lines and strong fabrics, and lovely, flattering colors. And we’d like a little flair and pizazz without looking like we’re off to our night job at the Sizzlin’ Lizard Western Saloon.
I do not work in Nevada as the madame in a house of ill-repute! I work in the house of the LORD, who will smote you down if you don’t quit designing this dreck for full-figured gals! Ya hear?

Whew. After all that looking at bad clothing, I think my mind is a little cloudy. Do you think I could wear these with a denim jacket and black pencil skirt?
JUST KIDDING!

Michael Kors designed a very pretty and fashionable cardigan for large and small ladies alike, thank you, Mike. A bit expensive for most of us, but at least you’re making an effort.

Three-Quarter Length Sleeves

PeaceBang is a short, chunky gal with short, chunky arms and will not be seen in public in anything sleeveless (and neither should you be, clergygals — not when you’re on duty, anyway). I inevitably have to get the arms of blazers and jackets shortened and therefore tend to jump for joy when I find three-quarter length sleeve blouses. They are terrific-o!

However, I have noticed one thing: when I stand with my arms at my sides with a sleeve that ends right at my waist, and the sleeves wing out a bit (as they tend to do when the bouse is cotton and the cuff is wide), I manage to add another 10″ or so to my waist line. Oh happy day! Just what I need!

Not that this will keep me from wearing three-quarter length sleeved blouses, mind you, but it certainly will keep me from being photographed in one, unless I can do something creative with my arms (raise them up in a fetching “hallelujah” pose, maybe? Weeping all the while, like Tammye Faye?). Just a tiny vanity tip from Yours Truly, pigeons.

Abundant-Bodied Petite Pastor Cries For Help

Dear PeaceBang,
I found your blog not too long ago while I was looking for some vestments tailored for women…a difficult search as we both know.

I’m in my first call as a Lutheran pastor in the Washington, D.C. area – brand new to the area – and I’ve found reading your blog is like having a friend who knows my pain! 🙂

Anyway, to my dilemma…
I’m under 30, single, short (5’2) and plus sized (18). I have found that one of the most flattering looks for me really is a suit jacket…tailored, emphasizes that I do indeed have a waist, covers up really ugly clergy shirts, helps people older than me take me seriously, etc.
BUT…it is now approaching the humid summer months of swampy D.C. and I can’t go on wearing things over my clergy shirts just to “create smooth and clean lines”. Any thoughts on summer looks for clergy in more formal offices who already have challenges finding clothes that fit their petite and wide frame?
Thanks!

Oh honey, I so feel your pain!!
MAN, do you I feel your pain. We’re the same approximate size! We can swap clothes! But first, your dilemma.

I think the Belt is going to have to be your good friend. A belt, you see, will give you that waist that you want, and will neaten up the icky blouse. Also, finding excellent skirts and trousers will really keep you sane — and I’m taking skirts that don’t drown your bottom half in tons of fabrics (try the Style, Inc. line or “inc.” — they make nice professional skirts for chunky short chicks like us), but are have clean lines and to which you can add a smart belt and great shoes.

Definitely show some leg. I wear Spanx-like tummy-thigh trimmer shorts under skirts so I am free of pantyhose. I fake-tan my legs and it all looks fine.

As far as trousers go, make sure they FIT AT THE WAIST AND BUTT and THIGHS and have a nice gentle flare at the bottom. You’ll (we) need that balance. I don’t know if you have the dreaded tummy bulge that I have (my torso is basically a set of tires balanced on top of each other), but get a good slimmer, tuck that bloody shirt in, and add a nice belt. Don’t wear a big pendant and a belt — you’ll cut yourself all up. Either pendant or belt, not both. Wear nice earrings, do up your face, keep your hair looking shiny and great, carry fresh white hankies to dab at your face in that humid heat, and you’ll be great.

I give myself dispensation to wear an open-toed shoe when I have to wear a collar in the summer. I wear 3″ platform sandals, tuck my shirt into black flared trousers, wear biggish earrings and decide just to funk it up. Also, a nice thick wristwatch provides some balance, too.

Sorry to be so rambly!
Let me know how it goes!

Love, PeaceBang

***

Readers of all shapes and sizes,
Belts are very fashionable right now, and they really can add a nice, polished dimension to a simple outfit. Gals, got a clean, unwrinkled nice tee-shirt and a terrific pair of trousers? Add a lovely belt, some nice earrings, a chunky bracelet and voila, you got yourself an outfit.

Guys, got some pressed khakis and an Oxford? Add a belt and you’ll look even more ready for your day!

Tip for full-figured gals: a belted, fitted shell looks very nice under a blazer or cardigan. It adds a waist, but only if the belt isn’t too wide (super wide belts are in right now, but don’t be fooled — you’ll just look dissected).

P.S. Dears, I’m having a hard time finding elegant, well-fitting shells lately — everything’s either the tacky, ribbed “wife-beater” style (I’m sorry, I know it’s an offensive name) or a camisole with spaghetti straps and a too-low neckline. Any tips?

On Puppies

I wrote in the last post that when shopping for white blouses, we should check the rear view for “puppies.”

“Puppies” is the endearing term that MotherBang uses for those little unruly rolls of fat that bulge out of the bra straps and that ruin the elegant line of our clothing. They are the bane of the roly-poly, and we do have to be mindful of them. The expression “sloppy fat” should be one we assiduously try to avoid being appropriately applied to us.

I see a lot of sloppy fat out there, and have certainly been less vigilant myself than I should be in wearing constraining undergarments at all times. As I have said before, I am a veritable meatball of a gal and have pretty much given up trying to achieve a smooth silhouette. However, I do try to avoid wearing outfits that egregiously highlight my roly-poly attributes. It’s a challenge.

That said, I believe it is still better to wear body-conscious clothes with some SHAPE to them than to try to camoflauge everything in enormous tentage. Hanes Her Way makes some marvelous undies that are cotton and spandex, and PeaceBang wears the industrial strength version every day herself, and the version that comes way up over the tummy when wearing more fitted blouses that could be all about a blobby midsection if I wasn’t careful. I buy them at the Hanes outlet, as they don’t seem to be widely available anywhere else, and I am devoted to the cotton-spandex combo. I buy them five or six at a time and they are indestructible, darlings. At almost $20 apiece, they should be.

These look pretty good, as I can’t seem to find my exact product anywhere on the Net: http://www.essentialapparel.com/index.cfm/a/catalog.prodshow/vid/3306/catid/39

This is an awesome item:
http://www.jms.com/cgi-bin/ncommerce/ProductDisplay?prnbr=12958&cgnbr=40B1000000

Every chunky minister should have a few key body smoothing items in her closet. Do lay in some Spanx and control top hose and a body smoother. And remember that good posture takes off ten pounds! Which is beauty magazine nonsense, but PeaceBang WANTS TO BELIEVE IT!
Watch my wishful thinking at work!