3 Basic Tips to Dress Your Hourglass Figure

Dress Your Hourglass Figure

Dressing curves presents an interesting challenge. On one hand, shifting through racks of the trendy hipster options presented by Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, and the like can be damaging for your self esteem. This flowy fringed crop top looks way better on that petite girl at my church than it does on me.

On the other hand, once you finally get it right, you’re curves have the potential to look va-va-voom amazing. It just takes a little time to learn the tricks of the trade and to retrain your mind to think for your body type.

After years of trial and error, I’d like to think I learned a few things. Here are a few of my tricks for doing justice to your amazing curves.

1. Curate your wardrobe.

Having a capsule wardrobe is very “of the moment”, but it’s even more important when you are curvy. I’ve learned from experience that a wardrobe packed with low-quality items doesn’t serve me well.

Cheaper stores like Forever 21 churn out inexpensive clothing at the expense of quality. The outcome is that the clothes aren’t cut as well as an item you would purchase at Nordstrom. Besides the cut, cheaper fabrics tend to stretch and loose their shape more easily. Curves tend to require a more precise fit, which is why these clothes might look great on someone of a different build, but won’t work very well for the hourglass, top-heavy, or pear-shaped woman.

Plan your wardrobe in advance and buyer fewer pieces of higher quality. Shop frequently, but buy seldom — it’s good to be picky and to have an extra discerning eye.

My favorite way to stock up on quality items while saving money is to buy clothing from high-end thrift stores. I’ve gotten gorgeous items (sometimes with the tags still on!) from great brands at a fraction of the retail price. High-end thrift is the best option for finding quality on a budget. You’ll often pay more than you would at a Goodwill, but the clothes are in much better condition and are well-made.

I know all of the good thrift stores nearby, and I check them regularly for new items. Once again, the mantra, “Shop often, buy seldom” applies here. Your goal isn’t to buy something on every trip, it’s to keep an eye out for the real gems that are the perfect addition to your capsule wardrobe.

Here are a few of my spots (I’m from the Philadelphia area, so these are all local to me):

[ Style Encore ] [ Greene Street ] [ Plato’s Closet ] [ Frugal Thrift & Vintage ]

2. Treat your curves like an accessory.

I once knew a girl who had this fabulous, hippie-chic style. She would pile on jewelry like it was nobody’s business – bangles, rings, necklaces galore! It looked amazing on her, but when I tried it, it didn’t have the same effect.

You carry jewelry and accessories differently than someone with a different body type. Many people don’t pay attention to this, but it makes a huge difference in the outcome of your outfit. Piling on jewelry, belts, or scarves can add bulk if you are curvy. I tend to wear minimal jewelry or one piece of statement jewelry. You’ll rarely catch me wearing earrings and a necklace together or a bracelet with a ring. If I choose to wear a scarf, I’ll select thinner material that doesn’t add a lot of bulk to my chest area when I wear it.

3. Invest in tailoring AND Learn to Sew.

You’ll also want to invest in tailoring, since certain styles may not fit off-the-rack. The items I most often need to have tailored are pencil skirts, sheath dresses, and occasionally a blazer or jacket. These are usually worn for important work events where my outfit needs to fit properly.

I am fortunate that I have a sewing machine and a mother and grandmother that passed on basic sewing skills. I usually will take in my own clothes rather than spend on a tailor. If you are less experienced, I recommend taking important items to a tailor — it’s not worth ruining an item if you aren’t confident in your skills. Find one nearby that you like and use the same person every time, if possible. Building a relationship with a tailor will help both of you — they’ll get your repeat business, and they will get to know you and the way you like your clothes to fit, so you’ll end up with a better result. It’s a win-win!

Still, there are some very easy sewing tricks that even a novice can use to make little adjustments to clothes. A small tuck in a skirt, the addition of a hook and eye closure to an open blazer, or even taking in the sides of your t-shirt will make your clothes more flattering.

Stay tuned for my self-tailoring tricks, how to shop for items that will get tailored, and even more tricks for dressing curves.

Things I Didn’t Know About Motherhood

Motherhood is an experience that is both challenging and rewarding. Despite having many friends who became mothers before me, and despite listening to them tell me about their experiences, there was absolutely nothing that could have prepared me for the reality of motherhood. There were parts that were way more difficult than I anticipated, but there are also parts that are so much better than I could ever have imagined.

I’ve only been a mother to baby Alexa for just under two short months, but in this brief time period I’ve experienced so many highs and lows. Here are some of the challenges I’ve encountered in this journey so far!

Postpartum recovery can be lengthy and difficult.

I knew going into my pregnancy that there would be a recovery process after giving birth, but I didn’t realize how challenging that would be. After giving birth, the bleeding can last for several weeks, and everything hurts down there. It’s difficult to move around. Specifically, if I was seated and holding the baby, I had to ask someone to take her so that I could stand up. I couldn’t stand up and hold the baby at the same time.

Trying to keep up with things while I was recovering was incredibly difficult and overwhelming. The first night I came home from the hospital I started crying hysterically. I was sore, exhausted from the lack of sleep in the hospital, and I felt like my husband, Juan, was doing a much better job than I was of taking care of the baby. Fortunately, I had some great friends and family members that came over during this time to help clean, bring food, and hold the baby. I have no idea how I would have gotten through this without Juan’s paternity leave – and I have a newfound admiration for single mothers, because this was challenging, even with all the help.

Once I had fully recovered, taking care of things got a lot easier and I began to find my groove. Parenting still has its difficult moments, but it’s much easier now that my body has healed.

Taking care of a baby is incredible, but it can also be isolating.

During my maternity leave, I got to experience what it would be like to be a stay-at-home mother. Juan’s paternity leave was shorter than my leave, so I had about three weeks of taking care of Alexa on my own during the day. I had some absolutely incredible moments, but I can definitely see that taking care of a baby is isolating. It’s easy to get sucked into the baby vortex and fail to spend time with family and friends. It’s easy to get stuck in the house all day, as taking the baby with you can turn even a simple outing into an event.

I definitely recommend scheduling visits with friends and family and taking your baby out of the house, even if it’s challenging. Being able to spend time with others and go places is an important part of self-care. Don’t neglect your self-care just because of the baby. And make sure that you take some time away from your child to do some of the things you used to do for yourself. For me, that means leaving Alexa with my husband on Saturday for a few hours so I can go thrifting and grocery shopping on my own. It also looks like taking the time to write and journal in the morning before she has woken up for the day.

Breastfeeding can be incredibly hard.

In the hospital, I had a difficult time getting Alexa to latch. The nurses had me waking her up for feedings, and she was so tired that she had no interest in eating. She latched exactly two times, and both of those were times when the lactation consulting helped her do it. I wasn’t able to get her to latch myself, which led me to decide that I wanted to pump and feed her through a bottle.

I was advised to pump every three hours around the clock. This alone proved to be a difficult struggle – who wants to sit there with a breast pump all day, especially when no milk is coming out yet?

At the pediatrician’s office, I started crying when he asked me how I planned to feed her. We talked and it became clear that I didn’t really want to give up breastfeeding just yet. Since Alexa was over 9 pounds, he told me to take her home and for the next two days offer her nothing but breastmilk, even if she cried and refused to eat. We would check in two days later to see how she did.

Fast forward to later that night – Alexa is crying uncontrollably and refusing to breastfeed. I’m falling apart because I feel guilty letting her starve. Juan wanted to cave in and give her formula. Finally, my mom came over to help and with the aid of a nipple shield, we finally got her to latch.

Once she latched, there were still many challenges. The first challenge is cluster feeding. She tends to sleep pretty well at night, but that means that during the day she is making up for it with extra feedings. She can feed for 45 minutes and then half an hour later she’ll be ready to feed again. Making this even more challenging is her love of using me as her pacifier – she loves to comfort feed, and she could do this for hours on end. All of this leaves me feeling like a human milk machine.

Since I’m planning to go back to work, I had to figure out how to pump as well. To make pumping less of a hassle, I invested in a hands-free portable pump, which was a game changer. I hated pumping, but with this pump I am able to get some chores done at the same time. The only challenge is that I’m supposed to pump after each feed, but Alexa is often awake and requiring attention. The one thing I can’t do while pumping is hold my baby, so right now my pumping is a bit sporadic. When I return to work and she is in daycare, I’ll be able to adhere to a consistent pumping schedule.

I’ve grown to love breastfeeding her – especially since I learned to how to feed her while lying down in bed. I often will lie down in bed the afternoon with a tv show on and allow her to comfort feed a bit, which helps her fall asleep for a late afternoon nap. This has become one of my favorite parts of the day.

Leaving your child at daycare is super emotional

As of this writing, I have one week of maternity leave left. I am dreading having to drop off baby Alexa at daycare next week. We really love the daycare we selected, but I still feel the dread. I’m going to miss the long hours spent with her during the day, and I don’t want to pass her off to someone else who will get to enjoy her while I’m at work all day. Before giving birth, I didn’t think this was going to be difficult for me to do — I thought I might enjoy the break. But now that I’ve met my child, I have no idea how I’m going to be able to be apart from her during the week. Since I work from home, my plan is to prepare dinner during my lunch break so that I have the entire evening to savor my time with her.

Your Motherhood Journey

What are some of the challenges you have faced in your journey with motherhood? Do you identify with any of the ones I shared? Let me know in the comments!

On Weight Gain and Body Acceptance

Over the past few years, I’ve put on a lot of weight. It actually started with a medication that I had to take for bipolar disorder. One of the side effects was that I put on a few pounds. But it wasn’t until recently, when I got pregnant with my first child, that the weight really started to pile on. During my pregnancy, I was a bit overwhelmed at the rate at which I was gaining weight, and it was hard to prevent it from happening. I was constantly hungry, and as my pregnancy progressed, I replaced going to the gym with more leisurely walks because I was constantly winded and tired from my workouts.