What Not to Wear–Ever

In the three-year history of The World According to Jennifer, there is one post that has been demonstrably more popular than the rest. Confessions of a Short-Waisted Woman, in which I write about my lifelong struggle with trying to dress in a way that kind of sorta makes it look like I have a definable midsection, is the most searched, commented on, and read, of my 155 entries.

So it should probably come as no surprise that I have been itching to take another stab at the world of fashion. But I didn’t want to just take a stab. I wanted whatever I came up with next to come from a source of inspiration. It was after all, a life well-lived, but lived without a real waistline, that inspired my first successful fashion-related post.

It has taken a while (one day shy of 23 months, but who’s counting) for lightning to strike again. But today–boom!–it did. (Oh wait, that’s thunder.)


(photo credit: http://www.saksfifthavenue.com)

I came across the above dress (I would use the word sack, but the high-end retailer listed it as a dress and I am going to take them at their high-end word) online while perusing a 40 percent off sale. Here’s the view from behind:


(photo credit: http://www.saksfifthavenue.com)

This lovely little frock originally could have been yours for the very reasonable price of $1,515, but is now, thanks to the holiday discount gods, available for a mere $909. That’s quite the bargain–no?

What? You don’t think wearing this dress could change your life? Look at the model! She clearly feels great about herself in this red-hot number. I’d even go out on a limb and say she feels confident and probably beautiful. And who wouldn’t when wearing such a fine example of couture?

And lest you be confused, this design is indeed considered to be couture. It originated in the house of Comme des Garçons, a Tokyo-based fashion label that reportedly grosses around $180 million in revenue each year. The best part? Comme des Garçons is French for: “Like the boys.” I am going to assume that in this instance, that stands for “thinking like the boys.” Because there is no way any woman–at least not one who actually likes other women–could have come up with this particular design.

There you have it, my fashion advice for what not to wear–ever.  I hope I helped. I suspect that I did.

Confessions of a Short-Waisted Woman

…A big-legged woman ain’t got no soul. ~Led Zepplin

What about a short-waisted woman? No morals? Questionable taste? A sick sense of humor?

I suffer from the above defect. As defects go, it isn’t the worst–not by far. But I’ve still had to learn how to dress myself to compensate for the fact that my waist, (if you can call the barely discernible indention that circles my core, a waist), hugs the bottom of my ribcage instead of hovering slightly north of my belly button.

The following looks would be horrible on me:


But the absolute worst article of clothing for someone with my affliction?


That would be mom jeans. (Also known as the short-waisted woman’s nightmare.)

According to the designers at the Gap, this look will be big in 2011. (Thanks to my friend Noël at BirdrockFabrications for sharing the horrible news.) Talk about setting women back. Which man decided it was a great idea to resurrect mom jeans?

It’s a new year, so I am going to take a deep cleansing breath and focus on the positive. And there is a positive in all of this. Below are some looks that work for those of us with misplaced waists.


I think this outfit works because the dark color of the dress combined with the low-slung belt makes the torso appear elongated. Hip-hugging belts are the waist-challenged girl’s best friend. It’s a fact.

Something else that works? Hide your waist. If you can’t see it, it doesn’t matter where it is–right?


I am a huge fan of the 1960’s mod look, and nothing says mod more than a classic shift dress. Well… maybe a pale girl riding a Vespa is more mod, but other than that–nothing. This dress is by Stella McCartney.

Layering is another great way to elongate the torso while hiding the waistline:


This sweater is by Vince. I love Vince.  They are king (or maybe queen?) when it comes to making comfortable, high-quality, short-waist friendly tops.

And finally, you know what looks really good on those of us who have middle of the body issues?


Low-rise jeans!

Fashion industry, I am begging. Please don’t take my low-rise jeans away.

What do you think? Are you a fan of high-waisted clothing? Do you have any tips for camouflaging a figure flaw?

Herbivore, Omnivore, Polyvore?

Retro 2

About six months ago, my daughter, who is a budding fashionista in every sense of the word, introduced me to the website Polyvore.com. Polyvore bills itself as, “… a fashion and social shopping platform that’s redefining how people around the world experience, create and shop for fashion on the Internet.”

And …”Polyvore is the leading community site for online style where users are empowered to discover their style and set trends around the world. With over 6 million unique visitors and 140 million page views a month, Polyvore’s global community of trendsetters and trend seekers are redefining how people create, share and shop for fashion on the Internet.”

My daughter uses Polyvore to put together collections that she then features on her fashion-themed blog.  I suspect this is one of the site’s primary uses, and that people her age (late teens, early 20s) are the target demographic.  It’s a very clever concept, and while I have no research to support this claim, I would think that participating brands and retail outlets will benefit from the partnership, if not now, soon.

I had a bit of extra free time this weekend (the Falcons did not play on Sunday) so I thought I’d give Polyvore a whirl.  The site is very easy to navigate.  I began by “shopping” the brands I like, utilizing styles I know are right for my body type. I started with the red dress, and built my ensemble from there.  Originally, I had a few other items in my collection, but my daughter told me I had to edit it down. Apparently, I missed the point of the exercise, I was supposed to create one outfit, not a product showcase. So, edit I did.  And when I was done, I looked at the price tag.

Just for giggles, see if you can *guess how much my little collection costs. Just a guesstimate. And don’t worry about pricing the snowflake, it is for decoration purposes only. The item that spells out LOVE is a brooch. And the squiggly charcoal line is eyeliner.

To make this exercise a bit more fair, I am going to list brand names, but you have to figure out which item comes from which line.  I’ll come back in a day or two and update the post with the price.

Milly, Tiffany, Chanel, Robert Clergerie, Alexander McQueen, Valentino, Janis Savitt, Aspinal of London, Conservatoire International De Lunettes and Urban Decay.

*Don’t click on the photo until after you’ve made your guess.  If you do, you’ll be taken to the Polyvore.com website where the prices are viewable.

If you’d like to learn more about Polyvore’s business model, this interview with the company’s CEO is a must-read.

*Updated 11/19:  The total price for my pretend (emphasis on pretend) ensemble is $47,900! Pocket change!

30 Years Ago: Buffy and Biff Revisited.

There are a plethora of 30th anniversary commemorations on the horizon. So many in fact, that starting with this post, I have decided to create a new blog category–30 Years Ago.

30 years ago, The Official Preppy Handbook was published.

In 1980, I didn’t realize that Lisa Birnbach, the author, was being facetious when she wrote her popular guide to preppy life. Growing up, I was literally surrounded by people who lived the life that was detailed in the Preppy Handbook and I wanted to live it as well. Desperately. I saw the book as a how-to. As in, how-to achieve nirvana. Unfortunately for me, my parents didn’t feel the same way.

From my semi-bohemian perspective, the preps had it made! They played tennis and wore ducks and alligators on their clothes. They belonged to the country club and drank bloodies (whatever that was). They said, “Mummy” and “Diddy” and never lost their temper–well, not in public anyway. What wasn’t to like about that?
(Photo source)

If I couldn’t live the lifestyle, I figured I could at least dress the part. So I repeatedly tried to convince my mother to buy me Lacoste clothing. No go. She and my dad didn’t want me to want to be just like everyone else. Plus those shirts were pricey and the alligator wasn’t all that special. Or so they told me. So I was left to memorize and lust after the ideals set forth in the Preppy Handbook. And that is exactly what I did, for about four years. Then I went off to college and began my several decade long affair, one that continues today, with the color black.

30 years later, I am grateful to my parents. I truly wasn’t cut from pink and green, whale-covered cloth (not that there’s anything wrong with that). And my parents gave me the room that I needed to figure that out. They did it by denying me–but that’s beside the point…
(Photo source)

Do you remember the Official Preppy Handbook? Were, or are, you a prep? And if not, did you, like me, wish you were?