Tuesday, 20 November 2012

TV styling for the XL Hourglass

I have mentioned it a few times on Bratabase as well, but I've been cast to get a make-over in a show (I am not mentioning the name here, because I don't want this blog to pop up when people search the show).

Well, it was today!

As I've mentioned on Bratabase, I encountered some problems with the bra brand who sponsored the show: They only went up to a UK G-cup, which is just never gonna cut it for me. You'd have to sister-size the shit out of it to get close, and many fitters have tried, and most have admitted defeat (others have said "Oh, but it is normal for a new bra to cut in" and "Some bras just aren't meant to have a flat center-gore" and "You just have to really keep pulling the band down")
I had informed the casters of my size in bras and everything else from day one, and still it was impossible to convince them that this wouldn't work for me. After some very condescending emails from the production, and a slightly snarky answer from me, they contacted the brand, who said they could do nothing to help, and that was it. I am quite disappointed  as the make-over hosts have stressed in interviews how important a proper bra is, and one of the hosts herself is a 32G. But oh well, I'll rather not get a bra, than be forced to say "Oh, how wonderful to get this lovely bra" about an ill-fitting one.

I know most of the stores that carry this brand very well, and therefor know that most of the ladies at the make-over show would not get a good fitting (we had to go get it ourselves before the make-over day), so I was rather worried.

The day came, and all the ladies were excited about their new bras, and so was I, on their behalf. Luckily, some of them were spotted to need a re-fitting at the set, and came out with much better garments than those they had brought.

I was advised to go talk to the bra ladies about my 'situation' and I was already sick of it. They bra-ladies had not been informed that I had already discussed this throughout  so they were rather confused: I said I did not fit an G-cup, and they said they wanted to take a look , and already my guard was up. To my surprise, even though I was wearing the most unfitted top I own, thus making my waist look 40"+, they said "How about a 38band?" (which is usually what I am suggested after I demonstrate that I am not as wide as I look in loose clothing) I then put my hands around my underbust and said "Actually, I prefer it much smaller than that, to get proper support" and they surprised me (I was prepared fot the worst) by saying  "Yes, of course, smaller bands is how you get the support, and you are much smaller than we thought - I'll bring you a 34band" Hooray! A fitter who knows what they are doing! She put me in a UK 34G, and, surprise  surprise, it was much, much too small. And that was it! They admitted "you are right, we don't have your size, so brilliant you brought your own ones, I think the one you are in now is great for the make-over" (It was Ewa Mickalak PL Onyks 34JJ) I am so glad I didn't have to struggle with the fitters there, and so relieved on the others behalf that they are in good hands. And so glad that the show actually bothered to get someone skilled!

Moving on to other hourglass-related topics on the show: I have to say, I am disappointed that despite giving my measurements, sizes and fit problems of clothes, none of the clothes brought seemed like they had been bought with any of that in mind. I only tried one thing on, that wasn't way too tight, and that was an oversized tunic.

First there were some stylists who put me in a bunch of different clothes, while I was blind folded - I got a full body wear-your-own-bra shape wear ting, which, as always, was too tight (rolling up) at the thighs, and too loose (not shaping) at the waist. Story of my life! But perhaps again a case of who is sponsoring - this was the hosts own line of shape-wear, so obviously they couldn't use something else.

Then I tried on about a million wiggle-dresses. And when I say wiggle, I mean that several stylists had to try to attempt to pull it over my boobs, or over my bum and thighs  If they finally succeed  the waist was still loose-ish , and omg, I can't sit down (or breathe).

When the host came, she took a look on me (note that I had to cover up, as my bra was the 'wrong brand', whereas the others were styled from their underwear - so perhaps I don't mind too much that they didn't get me a bra? :b), and said "Your thighs and breasts - fantastic breasts - are what is causing you a problem, size wise, and that's why we never see gorgeous your waist" You got it! So, good start. But as I said, nothing was brought to actually solve these problems. So it was a bit steep from then.

Weirdly enough, she didn't put me in any of the clothes that I had been pre-styled into - she gave me jeans, long tunic and a small jacket.
The jeans, no shocker, was waaay too tight around the thighs, and too loose at the waist - meaning it was inevitable that they would crawl down all evening.
The tunic was a thin , wrap-over-bust, low empire cut, which sort of draped over the belly, and created a rounded shape around the bum (for an hourglass like me, I've got a surprisingly insignificant bum, so a bit of extra volume there is welcome). All in all quite flattering for my shape, I think. It was larger than what I would have gone for (meaning that it would often fall open at my bust, and bunch up around cleavage, underbust and waist), but seeing as options were limited, I figured it was fine.

She wanted the jacket to stay open at the bust, and then pinned at the waist, and I must say, that was a flattering look - but oh my, arms way too small. The host then argued that most plus-size clothing is made much more tent-like, so if I want a waist like this, I wouldn't have to sacrifice size in other places, in this instance in the arms "But I can't move" "But you'd look fantastic going out for drinks with your friends" "Not if I intend to get a drink near my face" "You could with a straw, couldn't you?" "It would have to be a very long straw" Chuckles from the film-crew, and cue the jacket was sent to a seamstress to be made a bit larger in the upper arms.

When it was returned to me, they had continued the extra piece of fabric down to the bust (which was fine - the tunic was see-through, so more coverage was welcome), but they have put it too far, so it also gave extra room at the waist and underbust - though it was already too big there :( So, "Story of my life" continues! (They are wide stitches though, so I'll make an effort to alter it myself) But, because I had seen a lot of the other ladies get something they really, really weren't comfortable with, I decided to stick with this that was almost good.

So, all in all, I don't think they were properly prepared to actually give an XL Hourglass like me, an amazing make-over. The clothes were lovely (though perhaps only one at a time ;) You know how it is for TV, a little over the top), but styling and fit-wise, nothing new. Still same old struggle to find something that even fits, and the only thing they focused on was to emphasize my waist - something I am already desperately trying, so knowing the 'what'  is not enough: I need the 'how'!

After the show has aired, I will share some pictures and stills with you to show you more, I just figured a post now, while it was fresh in my mind, was in its place :)

I am curious/anxious about the editing of my interviews, because I get the sense that they are sticking to their view-point of who I am... I know that so often these shows are about someone with low confidence who feels inadequate, who gets turned around... But I said in interviews that I am not insecure at all, so I am more looking for clothes to match my confidence, but they may just edit that out :b They also kept asking me 'what would you wear for this or that', and I said an example ('jeans and a fancy top') 'Oh, so you never wear heels?' (could see them thinking 'we must show her how good heels are') 'no, no, I often wear heels' 'ok, but you always keep your legs covered, you'd never wear skirts or anything short?' 'No, I have lots of short skirts' Sorry I am not a stereotype of an body-insecure girl xD
And they also asked something like 'most other young people care a lot about clothes, how do you compare to your friends, when you are going out for example?' and I said that my friends care more about clothes, and they know what works for them, whereas I just don't really make the same effort... Well, I think (I couldn't hear properly) that they presented me on stage as "She often feels left out when her skinny friends dress up", and that's not at all what I said, at all. First up, she doesn't know anything about how big my friends are - from what I said, they could just as easily have been bigger than me! So I hope there are not too many of those bits where I am put in a way different light :o

I am glad that you are already used to seeing me without my head, because the hair they made for me was hideous! Anybody out there with very 'fat' natural curls? Do you know what we hate? Hair dressers. Know why? Because there is apparently no other outcome from a hairsalon than frizz. And proof here, when the best hair stylist of the country, gives me hair 3 times it's size, spread out one strand by strand. Luckily, they liked the color and they liked the length  so they just refreshed that, so nothing is permanent! 
And on another non-hourglass relevant note, they loved my make-up :b They said I had the best self-applied make-up they had seen when doing this season shows (and this was during the 28th episode, so I am very flattered!), so they also wanted to keep that much the way I had it (of course a bit bolder, as it has to be seen on TV)

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

A coat for the hourglass: Mission impossible!

Sorry again for neglecting this blog for a while! I've got plenty of excuses, but hey, doesn't matter, I hope I am back now :)

So, winter has come, it's cold, and we need to be dressed warm. But oh, it is not easy when no winter clothes seems to be made for our shape, is it?

So, here are some of the jackets I've battled with this season:

Here we've got an H&M jacket that I bought in 2009 (yes, it's been a while. I am a practical type of person, I only shop out of necessity, which is also why you won't see many style-posts from me ;) ), and if I remember correctly it cost £75 / $120. Though I rather liked this one, I knew it wasn't ideal for my shape. As you can see, I look quite flat-chested (and I very much like being busty, so this is sad news for me), and my waist looks huge - I definitely don't look like the shape I have! There is the option to tighten the waist, but as you can also see, the 'waist' is no where near my waist - it is in fact higher than my underbust. The top section is just too small, and tightening it will just make the boob-space even smaller! There is also a little bit of flattening boobs, due to the small shape. The jacket is a good fit on the rest of me though, not too much excess fabric at my hips or arms, and I loved everything else about it, so I would have kept it: Unfortunately  I forgot it when vacationing this summer :( (I went north, hence why my jacket-season started early) 

So, reluctantly, I went on a hunt for new jacket!

I had a coupon for Ellos, so I went there and found this coat for £85 / $136. I went by the size guide (Which is definitely not a curve-friendly chart), and took a size 52 (UK 24 / US 20) to make sure there was room for both my hips and bust. 

I think it is very obvious that this is a quite large size, that I have tightened excessively at the waist band (and it is still not actually at my waist) and I am not crazy about that look. There is just too much bulk at my arms and armpits, and the waist area. But, I think this is as good as it gets when it is done by sizing up, and it is not too bad.

But, this is a horrible, horrible jacket, and that is just unacceptable for that price. It is so horrible that Ellos has agreed to give me my full  amount of money back. The quality is just horrendous, and it started to fall apart from day 1. Added to that, I think it is obvious that there has not been put much thought into it - the pockets openings are almost vertical, making them useless as storage (compare those to my old jacket, where I could store bottles of water and books if I wanterd to. The fabric of the coat is of such poor quality that it can't even support it own seams, and the waist band has broken - horrible jacket.
But, up here in the cold north, I can't exactly send it back without something to take its place, now, can I? So the hunt continues... 

Enter Pepperberry
I have much love for Bravissimo, and I really want to love their clothing as well, but oh, it is difficult.
My waist measures 85cm, so that is on the small side of a size 16. But, the bust and hip measurements put me off this: My bust is about 119cm standing up, so I outsize even the Super Duper Curvy for size 16, and with a hip measurement well beyond the 110cm suggested  as well, it didn't seem likely.
So on to size 18. With a hip measurement of 117.5cm, and a Super Curvy bust of 118cm, this seemed a bit more likely (there are no Super Duper Curvy coats. I wish, though!).

I have to admit, this 'making do' with sizes reminds me an awful lot of the compromises I have to make with regular size charts?

I chose the Fur Trim Parka Coat, for £60 / $95

This is a truly lovely coat. I was worried that it would be too thin, more like a shell-type, but it seems quite warm, and quite heavy. The cotton feels very sturdy and of high quality.
And check the inside:

Cute floral at the back of the neck, along with a little chain that says Pepperberry. A little pocket with matching floral trim, and blue checkered trims along the inner seams, and the inside of the sleeve is satin. Quite lovely details, that adds to the luxerious feel you get from Pepperberry.

But, looks are not everything, lets look at the fit:

I am wearing a regular long sleeved top under this, and I can tell you, it is quite tight at the hips, as I feared it would be. It wouldn't be a deal breaker if it was great everywhere else, as it wouldn't be impossible to wear an extra layer. And to be honest, it looks so great when it is more trimmed down around the hips.

Going further up, we encounter the first problem, which is quite the opposite of what we had with the first coat: The waist on this one is too low. It is not at my narrowest point of my waist, it is closer to my hip, in fact. This fitted waist was not very fitted either, but since I had sized up to a size 18, I don't blame them, and it can just be tightened with the inner straps.

Now comes the most important: The fit of the bust. And oh, I'm sad :( It is so small! Like, really, really small, probably smaller than in most jackets in fact. As you can see, it really really squashes my boobs flat, if you compare it to the Ellos jacket. And I can hardly move my arms, because all the fabric is needed to allow me to breathe! It is especially tight at the top of the bust, and is therefor squashing my boobs downwards: I imagine this would not be a bad fit for droopy boobies - the lower (and looser) waist means there is plenty of space right around my underbust. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) my boobs are much higher than that, and this jacket fails at making room for them :(

So, it seems I am stuck with having to size up in jackets, and then just tighten their waist. I do find it annoying that jackets are even more so 'straight figured' than so most other clothing - with all the extra padding they give, I would have thought there would be especially demand for them being nice and fitted? Or is stuffy-looking simply the look for winter? I hope not :o