To belt or not to belt. And also tucking.

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To belt or not to belt. And also tucking.

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Greetings honeybees! As I type this, I have a sleepy, slightly sick basset hound fighting for lap-space with my laptop. Silly basset hound. The computer has the word lap IN ITS NAME!!

I don’t know about you wasp-waisted stinging insects, but one thing I’ve learned since I started blogging (and seeing myself immortalized in digital film) is that I like my waistband MUCH higher than I once thought. A tricky subject, waistband focus. There’s a bunch of style rules I’ve seen here and there. Wide belts and extra boobage don’t mix. Minimize big hips with giant shoulders (honestly, have you guys looked at the styling tips in Fit For Real People?) Wearing white after labor day proves communist leanings (was that just MY grandma who said that?)

A few months ago I noticed from the stats on my blog that some of my photos were used as an example of what NOT to do on a discussion board over at Pattern Review. I don’t remember exactly the specific photo or the topic, but I remember there were two different outfits – one with the shirt tucked into a skirt with a high, wide waistband and one with the shirt untucked. The poster thought that the tucked in version, while accenting my more narrow midriff, put all the focus on my hips, while the untucked photo created a longer, more balanced visual line that minimized my hips.

At first the comment got me all steamed up – mostly because the poster phrased it in a “I’m sure [thesnugbug] thinks that…” I’m not a fan of folks assuming they know what’s in my mind. But when I clicked through some of the other posts in the discussion I realized that the whole discussion was about minimizing hips – a style goal that I’m just not that into. I don’t mind if my hips are all like HEY NICE TO MEET YOU, although I like the hipline to be smooth, not weirdly bumpy. I DO, however, dislike a column-like silhouette for me. I’m a fan of a waist. Wherever that waist might fall on my body.

So in that spirit, I snapped some photos during my marathon photo session this weekend. One outfit, four ways. I honestly can say I’m not sure which one I like best, although I know which one I don’t like, and which one I think makes my head look strangely large**

**OK, so mr. bug and I went to Target at midnight on Thanksgiving. It was super fun and and got a new camera  - a Cannon Elph500. It has a wider angled lens than my old one and this weekend was my first real time using it. I thought my head looked oddly large in ALL the photos. I think it has to do with getting used to the new lens angle – I had to set my tripod a few feet closer to me than I used to!

Untucked

This is probably my least favorite one, although that’s mainly because I think it’s boring. Also, I think I like the higher waistband because it makes my legs look longer. I fancy myself a seven foot amazon and prefer my style choices reflect that inner image…

Skinny belt

It has taken me AGES to even consider putting on a skinny belt. I think that belts this size look freakishly small on me, although I suspect that that is just because I’m not sued to seeing them. I very much prefer this outfit with a bit of black at the waist to break up all that coral.

Wide belt

I have to say it, bee-friends. I don’t care how unflattering a wide belt is or how much it gives me a super-shortwaisted look. I freaking LOVE wide belts. I love how they look and I love the forced extra-good posture that results from wearing them. It’s hard to slouch wearing a three inch band around one’s waist…

Tucked

While this used to be a look I just thought was strange, I’ve grown fond of the super high, wide waistband. Doesn’t this make my head look strangely huge? Alien-like, in fact?

The side-by-side

Oooooo… I love a good side-by-side, don’t you? The relatively similar posing was a complete accident. Or, at least, it was unintentional. We all know how much I love my hands-on-the-hips pose. I stand like this in real life, too.

Style-wise, I probably go for the wide belt and untucked look most often, although I see the merit of the skinny belt versions. The untucked version really isn’t THAT bad, I just think it looks unfinished in this outfit. Someone get that poor look some accessories, on the double!

What say you – is the high waisted look (a favorite of the curvy-girl-fashionista-set, from what I see on the interwebs) freakish? Do you steer clear of wide belts? Should I stick some giant shoulder pads in this sweater?

 

 

36 Comments

  1. Amy says:

    I love that you posted all options. I wish we could all do this for every outfit. I struggle with belts, though absolutely love seeing on others. I don’t like the untucked version, especially when I see the other options. I really liked the tucked in and wide belt. Believe they balance differently, while both very complementary to your figure.

  2. angie.a says:

    Honest to gosh, I stopped reading the garbage over at PR because all they do is b**** about something or someone.

    There. I said it.

    And, I’m offended for you. Really, to snag ANYONE’s photos from their personal blog to use to illustrate a fashion DON’T, when you so clearly love yourself and are comfortable in your own skin, is just horribly uncouth (to say the least).

    I think people routinely “say” that they support size equality but the reality is they’re so uncomfortable by a positive, uplifting example of a woman with curves, who’s not afraid of showing them off in fitted clothes and (!) belted torsos, that they can’t help but try to knock those women down.

    It’s their problem, in other words. Not yours. You’re fabulous!
    angie.a recently posted..Retro Cafe CurtainsMy Profile

    • StephC says:

      Hear, hear. I dropped away from PR for the same reason… Such b*tching… Completely unnecessary.

      When I read Patty’s post and that someone would do that, I immediately thought how I’d respond in a similar way… I figure it just shows the individual is pretty narrow-minded and probably a bit petty (picking apart my outfit? Go get yours out for us to see, sweetheart…) and maybe just maybe a tadbit jealous.

      I think the untucked looks a bit schlubby, and the people who seem to think that’s the only way to wear tops are usually of a certain age. If you catch my drift… Yep, being a little catty here, but it’s an observation.

      I don’t like narrow belts that much, personal preference.

      As a curvy gal myself, I like waist definition too. So I’m a fan of the tucked/high waistband and the wide belt. Cause that’s what I’d wear and feel fabulous in. ;)
      StephC recently posted..Conversant In Color: Buying Fabric Part 2My Profile

  3. Sue says:

    Haha … don’t you dare put huge shoulder pads with that top!!!
    You are gorgeous as you are … my fav, the skinny belt or tucked versions.
    Super post.

  4. Rhiannon says:

    I think my favourite is untucked with skinny belt. But maybe try it how I will often wear skirts? Shirt tucked in to a high waisted skirt and then a wide belt over the top of the skirt. I think that might work as well. And if you’re me, the belt is an opportunity to pack even more colour into the outfit.

  5. Michelle says:

    I love that you did a side-by-side photo comparison.

  6. Joyatee says:

    I “try” to stay away from wide belts, especially because of my short stature. However, some outfits need a wide belt to really put it together for me. I think the wide belt looks fantastic on you, though, and you seem to be tall enough for it work for you in a very flattering way. That’s my favorite look, too, though the skinny belt is a close second.

    Very interesting post!

  7. Clio says:

    Ooh the skinny belt really looks good. I’d like the not tucked look more if there were accessories (like an arm full of bracelets or huge necklace). I’m not afraid of showing my hips either. Although wearing a look with a bit stronger shoulders works well on my shape, too. It balances out the sand in the top with the sand in the bottom of my hourglass, if you know what I mean. I need a belt or waistline to show that I do indeed have curves.

    Oh, and SHAME SHAME on whoever made a comment about you. Someone should tell their mother!
    Clio recently posted..Fancy Footwork: 13.1 Miles and a SockMy Profile

  8. Janet says:

    I like the wide belt or no belt. With no belt you need a big necklace. The tucked would be nice with a cardigan or jacket but I would wear a belt with it. The little belt looks out of proportion to me. I think it does not make any difference what looks good on other people; look at what looks good on you. To have a little waist, you need larger hips, by the way. It’s sort of the definition.

  9. I like the tucked version because it looks more pulled together and intentional. The belted versions…I struggle with this myself as I have no waist and only belt trousers, and then only if there is an overhanging jacket. I can’t decide between the wide or the narrow one.

  10. Miz spike says:

    To me, the untucked displays your beautiful curves the best. Next best is the skinny belt.

  11. graciepea says:

    My vote is for tucked. It looks marvelous on you!

  12. I would go either tuck, but with the skinny belt on top of the skirt waistband, or untucked with the wider belt. If you do no belt I would add jewelry like a statement necklace….my two cents :P
    petite josette recently posted..WIP: I might actually finish something by the end of the year…My Profile

  13. Debbie Cook says:

    I think you’re rocking all 4 looks, but the unbelteds def need something from the accessory dept to finish them off. My personal fav on you is with the wide belt, and like Ruby, I’d like to see the high-waisted with either belt for a little sumthin-sumthin.

    No matter what, I love how you embrace your curves. You have been very inspirational to me in embracing mine. I think of you every morning when I put on a shorter cardi and think about belting it. Most days I haven’t, but I still think of you. :-)
    Debbie Cook recently posted..FNSI, and a PlugMy Profile

  14. HelenH says:

    Strangely, looking at the individual pics I liked the untucked and the skinny belt, but seeing all 4 side by side I preferred the wide belt and the tucked in! I think for the untucked and the skinny belt, some chunky black jewelry would look great.

    Love your blog, love your style.

  15. Kris says:

    I have a similar shape to you, with slightly smaller measurements (I think. Maybe.). I actually LOVE the skinny belt look! I find it difficult to wear wider belts for some reason. :) Your tucked in version totally needs accessories, but I do like that look as well. I usually go untucked because… well, IDK. Because I’m used to it, I guess.

    Guess it goes to show that everyone has their own preferences!

  16. Andi says:

    I like both belted looks, with the wide one being my favorite. I think it does the best job of emphasizing your shape and breaking up the stretch of coral.

    I stopped listening to figure flattery advice the day I realized that my figure flattery options cancelled each other out. Basically, I have to be unflattering SOMEWHERE in order to meet every requirement. Usually I go for comfort plus whatever makes me feel sassy!
    Andi recently posted..Sci Fi Sunday — I Need A White FlagMy Profile

  17. Steffie says:

    I’m digging the wide belted look the best. Maybe I’m biased because it looks so very “you”. :) I’ve got a similar body shape to yours and you’re inspiring me to try more belted looks.

  18. Halo says:

    I have a similar body shape as you, and I like all of these options. Also, rock on! I hate that we’re constantly told to try to minimize our bodies, and I love that you’re another resistor.
    Halo recently posted..This is not a style blogMy Profile

  19. Jeri says:

    Skinny belt for sure!!!! Definitely emphasizes your curves in the best possible way. Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe’esque…Twiggy eat your heart out :)

  20. Tanit-Isis says:

    I think we can do (at least) two things with styling—either try to minimize the ways our figures diverge from the average, or run with it and emphasize the things that make us unique. I’m not saying either is bad, it’s just the goals are different. So while the un-tucked look makes your torso appear longer (standardizing divergence), the high-waisted looks (belted and tucked) emphasize your curvy shape and embrace it.

    Fashion is full of both strategies. With my own short-waisted, rectangular figure, I find I prefer to either camouflage with a dropped waist, or exaggerate, with an empire-line. Both are good looks for me, for opposite reasons.

    Of course, by this same logic, I should either eschew puffed shoulders or go completely 80s-power-dressing. Perhaps it’s a reflection of my age, but I prefer to keep my broad shoulders in check—with minimal padding and balanced by width on the bottom.

    When it all comes down, it’s about personal taste, choosing a look, and achieving it.

    And I definitely think you win in that department. :)
    Tanit-Isis recently posted..All I want for Christmas is some sewing time…My Profile

  21. Alex says:

    I like the skinny belt best! Another option is to tuck the shirt in and wear a different colored skinny belt over the skirt.

  22. Laura says:

    Ha! I have similar aspersions of my fantasy self-image. I believe that I favor 3/4 length sleeves simply because I want to appear that I am growing out of all my clothing like some kind of She-Hulk.

    I like all of these, but might pick the skinny belt as number one. I’m surprised at how much I like the simply untucked look. I love the high waisted look too, because it looks so curvaceous and retro to me.
    Laura recently posted..Beautiful DisasterMy Profile

  23. Krista says:

    I think Ruby might have something – wide belt over tucked high-waist. Likely this is becuase it is my latest personal styling preference. I’ve been experimenting with wide belts after years of beltlessness and love them so. The side-by side is the greatest part of this post because it helped me see how much I like the skinny belt too. I’m going to have to reconsider my personal skinny belt fear.

  24. PurpleIvy says:

    Hey there! About time I said ‘Hi’. been following your blog from over here in the UK for some time now and love your enthusiasm and well illustrated blog.

    For me, I would go untucked and unbelted, but then again, I don’t have a waist and my hips are relatively narrow. I hate the feel of stuff round my middle.

    For you, if you like to emphasise your waist, which is what makes your lovely curvy figure, then belt away. No preference between narrow or wide.

    Keep up the good work.

  25. Sara Upshaw says:

    I assumed up front that I would be with you all the way and prefer the wide belt, but from the pictures, with these particular articles of clothing, I really do like the untucked and the skinny belt best. I’m thinking I might need to do this same exercise with myself…
    Sara Upshaw recently posted..Lark!My Profile

  26. Sølvi says:

    Lovely post! And your comment on the shoulder pads made me giggle:-), I use The Perfect Fit instead of Fit For Real People just because of the styling! :-)

    I love the skinny belt and the tucked in versions best, for selfish reasons – that is the way I like to wear an outfit like that;-) Although Ruby´s option with a tucked in/wide belt combo sounds pretty cool too! :-) You looks smashing as always!
    Sølvi recently posted..Keeping it cozy.My Profile

  27. Ela says:

    I love the version with the skinny belt. And I like the tucked one as well. And let me say: The stuff you are sewing is really georgeous! Greetings from Germany!

  28. I like skinny belt. I am more of an untucked kinda girl, but you are right, it needs accessories. Like a black necklace to draw your eyes up.
    Seraphinalina recently posted..We will return to regular programming… soonish.My Profile

  29. craftosaurus says:

    Oh, see, I find it really interesting that you were initially uncomfortable with the idea of skinny belts, because I always LOVE the outfits you post with them.
    craftosaurus recently posted..No reason. Just because.My Profile

  30. Andrea says:

    The wide belt and skinny belt are tied for favorite in my book. I think the skinny belt looks more professional and the wide belt is a more funky, going-out look. I think the unbelted look would work with a long, chunky necklace or a scarf.
    Andrea recently posted..Star CardiganMy Profile

  31. Mia says:

    I really like the wide belt version and actually the tucked one as well.
    I adore your blog and really miss it when you take a break. I read a lot of sewing blogs and while I enjoy them all (otherwise I wouldn’t read) I find yours to be my favorite. You have a beautiful style and attitude that I really aspire to.
    PS. I hope Lucy gets better soon! Poor pup!

  32. roberta says:

    Fascinating post! Really made me think about doing a series of pics for myself. I like that skinny belt a lot – so crisp! And I know this is not really the point of the conversation, but I think this outfit could use more SHOE.

  33. K-Line says:

    Skinny belt wins it for me. And, btw, you’re not imagining it – there’s something up with the proportions of the new lens. It makes your head seem, not big, but extra-long. I’m sure you’ll sort it out…

  34. Mela says:

    The light bulb just went off in my head earlier this week. I honestly love the look of a high waist on my curvy figure. The waistband sitting at my natural waist makes me look like I actually have a waist. Win all the way!

    I love the skinny belt look the best because it’s such a clean look, making your torso look longer. But the wide best is a very close second.

    All in all I think you’re fab and you are definitely one of my fashion and sewing inspirations.
    Mela recently posted..Schoolhouse (Rocks!) TunicMy Profile

  35. Ruby says:

    Would it be totally weird to consider a fifth option: wide belt over high-waist/tucked combo? The skinny belt also lends a nice retro flavour. Waists seem to be alternately our enemy and our friend, though without them we’d probably appear frightfully stumpy.

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