belly sensitivity, hide belly outfits, personal style, how-to, body size issues, plus, petite, misses

Body Size: Common Personal Style Blocks and How to Surmount Them

Right now, I am not doing a lot of exercising.  I have had a spate of injuries:  knee, ankle, shoulder and neck.  Of course, I had to cancel my gym membership and riding classes in June due to my international move in July.  Put it all together and I haven't been regularly physically active in 7 months!

Obviously, this has and will affect the shape of my body.  In fact, during this period I’ve come against a number of common personal style blocks: comfort, body size and time.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to explore these common style blocks and share with you the solutions I’ve used myself and offered my clients.  If you want to read more about comfort, click here.


Body Size.

Many women cite body size as the reason they cannot embrace personal style.  However, this is an excuse — not a reason. It is absolutely possible to embrace your personal style regardless of your body size.  In fact, I posit that having great personal style helps you achieve your healthy living goals!

Why?  Because when you create a personal style you love, you make feeling good about how you look your everyday reality.  Yes -- you read that right.  Once feeling good about how you look happens everyday, you can focus on changing your habits to achieve your health goals precisely because you already feel good!

You can feel beautiful at any size.

Would you be surprised to know that in my process for personal style, your size is just data we collect along with many other data points?  It's not a barrier; it's just an element.  You can find great pieces in your size once you know what you're seeking and where to look.  It's true that there is more on offer for women in the middle size range -- but more choices can actually be an issue itself.

Common Client Issue:  "I feel sensitive about my belly."

Many of my clients feel sensitive about their belly area.  Perhaps you have always struggled with your weight, your body changed due to becoming a Mom or your metabolism has slowed down.  No matter how well your body is working or what other elements about it are beautiful, you may only see your belly.  I used to be the same.

Here's the thing:  your belly is part of you.  It may not be your favorite part, but you are human and you have flaws.  It's okay to be sensitive about this area of your body.  However, it does not need to define how you feel about your body as a whole.

Even though I am injured and am definitely not fit, I am proud of my body for how well it is working.  I am able to get around for the most part despite my knee injury.  I am able to work, hug my loved ones and do many of my favorite things.

How We Solve It:

  • Create a waist by wearing a tailored jacket, but respect your belly by wearing an untucked top
  • Try high-waisted jeans or trousers to pull in the belly and create a smooth line
  • Wear tops or dresses with shaping at the waist to trick the eye into seeing a waistline
  • Layer a belt or self-tie at the waist to distract from your pooch


Tailored Jacket Over Untucked Top:

The jacket points to the waist here either highlighting or creating a waist to balance your shoulders and/or hips.  The loose or untucked top underneath keeps the line even, ending the proportions at your hips for a pleasing and balanced look.

personal style, shaped jacket, body size issues, hide belly, how-to, plus size
Vince Camuto Plus Shaped Jacket ($154)
personal style, shaped jacket, body size issues, hide belly, how-to
Vince Camuto Misses or Petite Shaped Jacket ($150)











High-Waisted Jeans or Trousers:

If you have belly issues, I highly recommend this brand:  Not Your Daughter's Jean.  They have a particular construction that smooths the belly and lifts the bum to make you look and feel gorgeous!  Truth:  they are the only jeans I wear.

personal style, jeans, high-waisted, body size issues, hide belly, how-to
Not Your Daughter's Plus Marilyn Straight Leg Jeans ($109)
high-waist jean, personal style, body size issues, hide belly, how-to
Not Your Daughter's Misses or Petite Marilyn Straight Leg Jeans ($109)











Shaped Top or Dresses:

Using a faux-wrap or set-in waistband can create or highlight a waist, which hides your belly issues.  With a little extra fabric layered over the belly, you have extra coverage to feel more comfortable.  The v-neckline draws the eye away from the waist and towards your face, while simultaneously tricking the eye into seeing an hourglass shape.  Cool, huh?

personal style, body size issues, hide belly, faux-wrap top, plus
Foxcroft Plus Faux-Wrap Sweater Top ($96)
personal style, shaped dress, belly sensitivity, body size issues, how-to, hide the belly
Maggy London Misses or Petite Crepe Dress ($138)











Layer a Belt or Use a Self-Tie:

Employing a belt or self-tie seems counter-intuitive with belly issues, but can actually serve to distract from the belly itself.  The self-tie will sit on top of the belly, so you don't actually see the curve and the belt at the waist sits just above the belly, so the flare of the skirt provides coverage.  This takes some confidence, so may be a tactic you need to work up to if it feels daring right now!

personal style, belted jumpsuit, belly issues, how-to, body size, self-tie
City Chic Plus Belted Jumpsuit ($119)
belly issues, personal style, how-to, body size, belted dress, fit and flare
Eliza J Stripe Misses Fit and Flare Dress ($158)









Try It Yourself!

Above are some of the simple and easy tactics I use with clients (and on myself) to deal with belly sensitivity issues.  There are many elements, tricks and tactics we can employ to help you look and feel your best every single day -- these are just a few.  Try them and see if they work for you!


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fall shopping 2017

Fall Shopping With Tawny Port: 5 Easy Pieces

fall shopping 2017When you have built your wardrobe to match your personal style and every piece you own is one you love, your Fall shopping is simply easy.

A few new pieces to refresh your looks will suffice to explore the new trend colors (to the left) if they work for you, replace a tried & true classic and/or try a new silhouette.

I'll take you head-to-toe through my Fall shopping so you can see how this works.  I hope you'll be inspired to add something new!


Fall Shopping List 2017

Color Inspiration:  Tawny Port

I chose to focus on this season's trend color:  Tawny Port.  We need everything this color brings:  strength of character, dignity, calling in your allies and pulling from the deepest reserves of your power.  This color is deeply powerful -- there is a reason this is the color of royalty!  For more on the power of this color, check out Old Calya.


Self-Care:  Origins Night-A-Mins Night Cream $44

When I turned 40, I switched up my spending to focus more on skin care and less on my hair.  I began adding a facial to my self-care ritual of eyebrow waxing, eyelash tinting, pedicure and a hair cut.  For me, it made a huge difference to safeguard my skin and care for it more deeply as I grow older.

I know that for some of you, hair color and highlights are a non-negotiable.  I was just talking with a dear friend about this topic and she told me it is absolutely a must for her.  If this resonates for you, I encourage you to consider your hair coloring ritual as a choice, however, and celebrate it as such -- instead of feeling like a "have-to" or a burden.  Also, remember to go lighter with your color rather than sticking to what your color was in your 20s or 30s. Otherwise, you unwittingly highlight your wrinkles as well!

This cream is a lovely formulation with a delicious smell.  After cleansing and toning, add an eye cream and dip your fingers into this rich cream to get ready for your night's sleep.


Statement Piece:  Dressy Top $69

In the holiday season, you may be called upon to attend a number of dressy events even within your own family, not to mention work and friends.

These blouses can do it all.

Whether Plus (right), Petite or Misses (left), you can find a statement top that works for you.  An overall pattern works to hide stains, which is ideal for feast days or cocktail parties but a dark color also works well for that purpose.

For those of you who are afraid of pattern but want to try it, just use your features as a guide.  Match the size of your features to the size of the pattern.

A split or vee-neckline is flattering on almost anyone, while a crewneck can be styled with a necklace to frame your face.  Those of you who want more coverage in the bust area or need to smooth out your tummy line will want to employ a camisole. This is a good one: Women's Halogen Seamless Two-Way Camisole.

Over denim, leather leggings or with a trouser, this blouse will take you through the holidays with aplomb.


Investment Piece:  Kate Spade Cross-Body Bag $198

I love this little bag in Fall's trend color.  It's a lovely accent to my color story for work (pink, black, cream) and Mommy (navy, grey, cream) looks.  If you're not sure what a color story is, check out my post, "Which Hue is Right for You?" to understand this integral aspect to my personal style formula.

The bag itself is pebbly leather, which weathers daily use well.  There is an outside pocket which I use for my glasses, I put my wallet right inside and use the smaller pocket for my phone, lip gloss, Lactaid pills, car key and a pen.

I've gotten lots of compliments on this lovely bag.  The design is clean and simple and it holds everything I need.

Love it!



Foundations:  Hanky Panky Retro Thong $23

I have loved Hanky Panky ever since a client recommended them to me as the most comfortable undies out there.  They conquer the VPL issue (visible panty lines) and look super-pretty on.  I like the retro better than the classic because it gives me some coverage in the belly area.  After two babies, I enjoy that!

Every Summer, I order new foundations in a dark color and light color at the Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale.  Hanky Panky's are not inexpensive, so it makes good sense to take advantage of sale-time to do so.  Always order a color close to your skin tone for lighter-colored garments so they do not show through.

These are also available in Plus Size.



Staple Item: Black Crop Trousers $69

I love jeans and wear them almost exclusively, but some occasions call for a proper trouser.  You can wear these with a tee and bomber for a more casual look or dressed up with a blouse, heels and a clutch.  They are stretch, so they move with you, but are also mid-rise to give you coverage on the belly and bum.

In the warmer months, a crop trouser is a fabulous transitional piece.  Be careful to find one that crops at the ankle, not the calf, so that you keep your look long and lean vs chunky. These come in Misses and Petite sizing. For a Plus version, try these from Vince Camuto: Plus Size Women's Vince Camuto Front Zip Slim Ankle Pants.

In the cooler months, I'm in my leather leggings for dressier occasions, but I'm considering purchasing the longer version of this trouser: Women's Halogen Stovepipe Pants.

My neutral is black, which I balance with florals, paisleys and softer colors and textures on top to keep my look grounded yet approachable and fun.

If you have larger hips like me, you'll want to keep the color and interest on your lower half low and focus on your torso instead.  If your hips are narrow, bypass these and opt for pattern, color and texture on your lower half.  It's all about balance!

Fall Shopping List Budget:  ~$630

My philosophy to building your wardrobe is that it's like buying your house minus about three zero's.  At first, you can expect to spend quite a bit.  The amount will vary.  For example, I had a client who only needed to buy one jacket after creating her personal style -- she had all the pieces she needed within her wardrobe already, she just needed to wear them!  On the other hand, I've had clients who went out and bought entirely new wardrobes.

For maintenance, I budget about $250/month including self-care.  That would include the items above plus my hair-cut and visit to the salon for my skin care and grooming.  Everyone's comfort level with spending is different, but hopefully that gives you a barometer.

Most of my clients have come to me feeling they have been wasting money on their wardrobes because they didn't necessarily know what to buy and didn't feel good about purchasing items they weren't sure about.

After working with me, you start to learn exactly what works -- and why.  Once you know that feeling, you won't want to go back!



After Your Fall Shopping, Take Some Time For You

While the holidays are all about gratitude and giving, it's important to take pockets of time out just for you.  Even if this is only 10 minutes of sitting with your eyes closed in a sunny spot, please do take that time.  Consider what is most important to you and yours about the holiday rituals and commit only to those events.  "No, thank you" is a powerful phrase to invoke this season -- and will increase your joy ten fold!



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