Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Element of Surprise

I've been thinking about how much what you wear affects the way other people see you. I always knew this was the case, and it was actually one of the reason I started a blog, but I feel like I was missing a big piece of the picture. Part of this shift in focus has to do with the dress I wore out on New Year's Eve and, if I'm staying honest, people's reactions to it. I didn't know people would be so surprised. 
I realized that no one has seen me dress that way in a long time. There wasn't the occasion in my life to dress like that on a regular basis. I can't exactly take Lua for walks in skin tight mini dresses. I'm starting to see that I almost never dress to flatter my body. Instead of trying to highlight certain parts, I always go the cover and conceal route. It's easy and comfortable to cover everything up, especially when the weather is colder. I looked back at how I've been dressing and I completely understand how much it can change the way your body looks. 
The day after New Year's Eve I put on some of my go to items. When I saw these pictures I understood why everyone was so surprised about the dress the night before. The white tights made my legs look shapeless, the socks and boots stumped me, and the untucked chambray shirt made me look boxy. Basically I was an amorphous blob. Or something along those lines.
I don't think I always have to dress to compliment the ins and out of my body, especially not on a day when all we were doing was wandering the streets watching a parade. On the other hand, being a twenty five year old woman I think it's important to flatter my shape more often than I have been. It's just not something I can commit to all the time. Plus, I sort of like the element of surprise.
Sweater from Urban Outfitters, Chambray Shirt from Madewell, T-Shirt from JCrew, Wool Shorts from Madewell
Confetti-esque Tights from Anthropologie, Socks from Madewell, Old Riding Boots

So what camp are you in? Do you dress to compliment your body all the time? Do you want to capture some of your personality when you dress? Do you think confidence is key? Do you blindly follow trends regardless of how they make your body look? What components do you take into account when you get dressed in the morning?
Photos by Merl
Merl took these pictures for me on New Year's Day in Philly. Her, Kim, and I walked to Rittenhouse Square to snap a few pictures. You can check out Kim's post on the day here. If all goes as planned I'll have another post up shortly with the last of my Philly trip. I'm sort of sad to see the rehashing go, but there'll be plenty more to look forward to soon enough!



Farm Girl Fashionista said...

Unfortunately, my body shape pretty much dictates what I wear and how I'm perceived. I'm a definite hourglass with a lot "up top." Looking conservative without making myself appear as if I'm big top to bottom is challenging. I want to be an "Audrey", but I'm built like a "Marilyn." In the words of Jessica Rabbit "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way." =)

Farm Girl Fashionista said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
amanda said...

well, i love it. i love what you're wearing here and i loved the nye dress. i don't think we always have to put on clothes that show off all the hills and valleys of our bodies. i don't, and i work harder than most people i know so that my body is fit and...and well, sexy! i think you're right about the element of surprise too. that's part of the fun of it.

Between Laundry Days said...

I think Amanda put it really well. Both the NYE dress and this outfit show off yourself, more than you might think. This outfit, while it doesn't necessarily hug every curve, shines with pure "Morgan-ness". Covered up can be sexy, too!

Though I do agree, in a sense. I know that blogging has allowed me to understand what styles and cuts flatter my body. I've made a greater effort, each day, to wear things that work with my body, not against it, and maybe that's what it really comes down to. Body con dresses aside, maybe we should all work to wear things that work with our physiques, our figures, and our personalities.

Caroline said...

I actually like the element of surprise! Comfort is key for me as my campus is in the mountains and I am practically trail running to class. So of course comfort is key and not always ideal outfits for my figure ... but when I am comfortable I am confident and I like that. However, when there is a special occasion I love bringing out my heels, pairing feminine with masculine and simply dressing all together sexy in a classy way. Any who, I love love your style and your words that go along with your outfit posts. You truly have a unique and wonderful style so different than a lot of other fashion blogs. I like that you don't seem so brand oriented and that you let the clothes speak for themselves ... and that each article has story of their own! Cheers to you lady! Keep rocking it! XO!

Kristyn said...

I read the NYE post right before this one. My first thoughts after reading were, "Look at those stems - she is designed to wear dresses like that!" and "Where's a picture of the back of the dress?!"

I love the element of surprise and I definitely was, surprised, by the dress choice. But I don't think it necessarily means it doesn't fit with the rest of your style. It IS winter after all, can't be baring those legs all the time.

I would say I dress to flatter my body 90 percent of the time. When I wear tighter clothing, something with a defined waist... I look hourglass like, but when I don't I look like I have a boy's figure. No curves! & quarterback shoulders.

Once I figured out what made me look curve-less and boxy, I quickly adopted flattering clothing as my staple. I think it still works with trends, you just have to put a spin on it. No matter how I spin it though, a shapeless dress will never look good on me.

Whether you are showing it off or not you still have a fantastic figure!

Kate said...

Morgan, I really hope that all of our comments about the NYE dress didn't make you think you don't look awesome all of the time, because you DO! You are absolutely right, most of our lives do not allow us to strut around in body con dresses and heels all day (no matter how awesome you look in them!) and I love that you showcase how you really dress on here and not just your 'going out' type outfits. I think you definitely surprised us, but I think that element of surprise is awesome & fun, and you just showed us a different side of you! In reference to some of your questions, I think blindly following trends, especially ones that don't flatter your body, is never a good idea. I definitely don't dress to flatter my body all of the time (sometimes oversized is necessary!), though you will notice I wear a lot of high waisted dresses that flare out at the bottom, which works to conceal areas I don't want to showcase! ;) That's actually somewhat of a goal of mine for this year, to stop hiding under my clothes. Which leads to your point, confidence is key!

Anonymous said...

I tend to wear clothing that underscores my personality/spirit. I do have several items that my husband likes that are figure flattering. And I have been trying to break out of my rut. Bought a Burberry mini-skirt today.

Anonymous said...

I think the only rule you should follow is to dress how you feel confident. Of course, there are those times when some people should opt for the conceal... but at the end of the day, I don't think fashion is much of anyone else's business. It would stifle progess otherwise. No? I bet you looked hot either way.


amberly said...

I love the "element of surprise" view, I think that's a great reason, and girl, you look amazing! Not a blob at all! I went thrifting today and I noticed myself picking out some of "your" colors -- pale pinks, mustard and olive.. and now I want these tights! Grr.. your style is amazing and expressive, and you can choose to be less 'conservative' on occasions, but I think your day-to-day style is great, pulled-together, form/age appropriate and has this sense of mystery... And I bet that gets only the worthy guys attention, eh?

I can't even begin to think of how I dress....but you've definetly got me thinking about it...I think I like to think about pushing my own boundaries, wearing just one more layer because something can always be added (or taken away, via Coco Chanel), or weird color combinations, or taking something I've had for years and wearing it a new way... but that's only because I've been so inspired lately. I feel like I have all the tools but don't know how to use them. Fashion blogs helped me find out how...I just need to get a better camera ;)

Happy New Year Morgan!!

Santina said...

Morgan, I am almost regretting what I thought was a flattering comment about your NYE dress. I certainly wasn't implying that you don't always look gorgeous, because you most definitely do! KNOW THAT, LADY!

For me, what I wear is mostly an emotional decision: how I feel or how I want to feel. I am not the most confident person, so I try to compliment my body as much as possible...of course, that doesn't stop me from wearing things that one might say are a "don't" for my body. My clothes, my rules, right? I think my style is in a transition phase right now. I'm stuck being far more casual than I normally would be, but life on a beach leaves no other real options. Sure, I could have brought fancy clothes with me, but it seems so heinously ostentatious to me...not to mention, they probably would've been stolen in the break-in. In retrospect, I'm happy they're safely stored in a temperature controlled environment back in Portland. :)

Stay true to you, Morgan! And, by the way, I wouldn't rule out walking Lua in a hot dress...I think she'd like it!


Angy said...

great outfit!
love your blog, I will follow you, follow me back ;)

Anonymous said...

Um, I most definitely do not think you look like an amorphous blob. Maybe if you were wearing baggy pants, but the tights and shorts show off your shape. You look great!

I tend to wear body conscious clothes, and I'm not sure why. Ever since I was a kid I've always felt more comfortable in snug fitting clothing. I would probably wear a unitard all the time if socially acceptable. I think when it comes down to it people should dress how they feel comfortable and what best expresses their personalities.


SWF_Terra said...

I've tried to do the slouchy, comfortably looking pieces. Perhaps it's because of my height, perhaps it's because I'm not super lean (no seriously, I'm not) but I look awful in it. So I tend to skew toward the form-fitting clothes. Perhaps I'm just not selecting the right slouchy pieces. I don't know. Help?

Ellie said...

I love this outfit! I looks so comfy yet cute! I have some tights like this that I've been wearing around the house but I've never considered working them into an outfit. Great Idea!


Bridget said...

you look so great - i love that outfit.

and i definitely don't dress just for my body all the time, but i don't wear a moomoo either. hahaha.

megannielsen said...

Sweetie I don't think you cover yourself up too much - you always look soooo cute! and it's winter, so you need to be warm! And obviously there's different codes for what you wear out partying than during hte day - so I really don't think you need to stress about dressing for all our assets all the time!! You ALWAYS look great, and that's the main thing!! XOXO

Kayla said...

I am so glad you did this post! I find myself often in the in-between. I like to dress comfortably, and that doesn't always mean I am flattering to my figure. Sometimes however I think that I am 24 and should dress more like it! I know that in a few years I will not look this way and I should take advantage of it while I can, but in the end I always put on what feels the most comfortable in that moment. I think that is my goal at the end of every day, whether that be concealed or otherwise :)

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