Outsmarting the Little Black Dress

During the summer, I developed a fondness for bridal shows. I don’t actually want to get married (this month), but I do enjoy the spectacle and ceremony of weddings. And the dresses, oh, the dresses…chiffons, ruffles, lace, ribbing, beading. Enough fabric to swathe a preteen beauty pageant. When the gown fit the bride perfectly and the cut accented the positive parts without betraying the less-superior bits, well, it was magic. The groom’s jaw dropped, the mother wept, the father beamed, the bride glowed. The dress made the wedding. Unfortunately, the wrong dress can also ruin a wedding. Puckering, tugging, and cinching can make a perfectly beautiful girl look like a vacuum-sealed mozzarella cheese ball. It has nothing to do with the color: don’t blame white. In fact, don’t blame any pastels. Even if wedding gowns were black, the result could be just as tragic. Looking great in an outfit relies not on the color, but on the cut. Voluptuous bodies are just as gorgeous as their svelte counterparts, but many fuller-bodied women feel their color options are limited. Banishing themselves to the realms of muddy neutrals and drab blacks, these women feel they are simply not allowed to wear colors of any sort. And so, wrapping themselves in funerary garb, they leave the house and are content to vanish.

Wearing black does not necessarily make you look thinner. Fuller-figured women should wear color; they should thrive in it and glory in the unlimited options of multi-hued clothing. There are, however, some tips to achieve a flattering outfit:

1. Fabric – cheap fabric clings to bumps. Thin fabric exacerbates jiggles and rolls. Stick to stiffer, natural fibers such as silk shantung. These fabrics are thick enough to cover variations in skin, but still drape enough to accentuate positive curves.

2. Fit – Every body is different, but clothing manufacturers produce generic sizes to appeal to a wider consumer base. If it’s off the rack, spend a few dollars and get it altered to fit perfectly. Beware of puckering and bunching. A correctly-fitted outfit is not only classy, it’s slimming.

3. Pattern – Your mother’s told you to stay away from horizontal stripes, but thick vertical stripes can be just as distracting. Try small prints, small plaids, and thinner stripes. A vertical pinstripe can add great height.

And remember: there’s no rule that says black is best. Explore the options, and focus on fit, fabric, and pattern. Try a sassy pink wrap-around dress, try a fun floral skirt. After all, life’s too short to live in the dark.
By Jennifer Diffley

About Author:
Jennifer Diffley is a graduate of Brigham Young University with a BA in English. She is currently pursuing her MFA in creative writing at New York University and working on a full-length novel. As the daughter of a seamstress, her knowledge of textiles has served her well in the fashion industry where she currently works as the senior writer for NY Fashion Center Fabrics.

For over 11 years, NY Fashion Center Fabrics has been the intrepid force behind the Fashion District of New York City. With its own precision dye house and access to thousands of unique freshly milled fabrics, NY Fashion Center Fabrics is the lead fabric supplier to hundreds of world-famous designers, couture houses, and artists. They are unmatched in reputation and unparalleled in customer service and will locate any trim or textile upon request.

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