Hi curvy sewists! Gillian here…I’m starting a new series today, all about what to wear for different occasions… except unlike all those magazine articles about how every woman looks great in a little black dress, I’m hoping to celebrate the diversity of ages, figures and tastes that make up the CSC community!
Picture this, if you will: elegant venue, fancy cocktails, food on sticks, men in suits, and you, wearing… what?
‘Tis the season for holiday parties with colleagues, friends or as someone’s plus one. You want to feel confident and maybe just a bit sassy or sexy – the best version of yourself!
Here are three looks that I think could be fabulous:
1. Retro Cutie
Look, sometimes a party just calls for a big twirly skirt, ok? My fellow editor Tanya swears by the Decades of Style E.S.P. dress, which she wrote about here. It’s got a classic 50’s feel, and works well in a variety of fabrics. Tanya says it’s quick and easy to sew, so you could whip one up last minute. How about a kitschy quilting cotton in a festive print, some bangles, and a big flower in your hair? Or maybe a silk cotton or double gauze in a solid colour for a more elegant feel, with a big statement necklace?
And if, like me, you are constantly cold, a ponte or sweater knit Jenna cardigan on top would be perfect. Sophie-Lee reviewed the pattern here, and it’s been popular in our monthly curvy sewing round-ups. I think version with gathering at the yoke is particularly flattering, and channels the same vintage vibe as the E.S.P. dress.
The E.S.P. dress goes up to 46″ bust, 40″ waist, and 49″ hip. The Jenna Cardi goes to a 48″ bust.
2. Casual Elegance
Do you prefer a little Lagenlook? Butterick 5655 is a lovely drapey dress with lots of hem volume. You could style it over the slim trousers included in the pattern, or pair it with leggings or tights. If you live in a cold climate like me, you’d want to extend the short sleeves longer or layer a sleeveless version over a knit top. The pattern works in stable knits or lightweight linen, so you’d have lots of options. I can picture it a metallic linen, given the whole thing twinkle and texture… in a solid jewel tone ponte… or in black bamboo jersey with lovely drape!
Butterick 5655 goes up to size 24W. MIY Collection Cowl is one size, and the shrug goes to a 40″ bust.
3. Sassy Skirt and Top
Let’s start this outfit with the Snapdragon Pencil Skirt from Tenterhook Patterns. It’s designed specifically for plus-size women, with the option of a petal hem, asymmetrical hem, or a class pencil skirt shape that I’d be tempted to chop into a mini!
Maybe you make it in an attention-grabbing print or bold colour, and pair it with a solid jersey top, like the designer did here, or CSC member Andie did here! Andie’s looks great with her Bronte top – and if you like a little more skin, you could carve out the neckline into a lower curve like I did when I sewed the pattern as a dress.
Then again, how about a neutral skirt, and something attention-grabbing up top? I think a lace tee would be fabulous (fully lined or over a camisole) or sparkly sequins! Something like McCalls m6927 would be a good place to start for the top. You could even go for a crop top inspired by Ashley Nell Tipton’s recent Project Runway Collection!
Bronte goes up to a 49″ bust; Snapdragon runs to a 56″ hip; M6827 goes up to a 53″ bust with cup sizes pattern pieces up to DDD.
I’ve tried hard to picture women of all ages, figures, and senses of style as I wrote this post – in truth, I’m picturing the women from my family and particular individuals from our fabulous curvy community. I hope I’ve represented that diversity well!
Now, what would I wear to a holiday party? That’s easy – a sparkly shift dress I made recently, or a floral version of the same pattern that I just wore to a family wedding. With a long coatigan, of course, which have been my obsession this fall!
Do you have any holiday parties coming up? Which of these outfits would you choose? I’d love to hear about your ideal party outfit, or what you will actually be wearing to an event this season!