Fashion For the New You

By Elana Pruitt © 2006-2009 Editor

Finding the perfect outfit is never easy. And discovering great pieces that flatter your new look sounds hopeless, right? Whether you’re psyched to show off your slim stomach in a hot pair of pants, can’t wait to find blouses that will flatter your new bust, or keep searching for the perfect dress to embrace your natural curves, two fashion experts say the same thing: “Less is more.”

Kym Wilson, the senior executive international representative of Australian designer line Leona Edmiston Frocks, and Lauren Visconsi, buyer and co-owner of Melange, a clothing boutique in Oregon, offer tips on how to vamp up your style following cosmetic surgery.

Know Your Body

“When you’re showing off beautiful new curves,” Wilson says. “Let them be part of the beautiful new you! Not the sole focus.” As the latest trends hit the scene, most women eagerly take on new fashion for a sizzlin’ look. But finding styles that best complement our unique body shape and size takes time, commitment, and most importantly, honesty. “The key is to analyze your own body,” Visconsi says, evaluating the craze of low-rise jeans. Whether young, old, a post-operative shopper or not, learning what flatters your shape will only add to newfound confidence. Low-rise, recycled 60s fashion may be around for awhile, largely attracting a surge of teens and 20-something year-olds. But according to Visconsi, this style is definitely not for everyone: “It really depends on someone’s body type – where they carry their weight.”

Even if having a tummy tuck – which surgically smoothes out your abdominal profile through the removal of excess skin and fat, while tightening the inner muscles – inspires you to try fresh trends, this one may not be your best bet. Also, make note to self: finding the perfect jean rarely happens during one store visit. Seven For all Mankind, Citizens of Humanity, and True Religion jeans are fabulously-low lines adored by many fashionistas, but for those interested in the classic comfort of a lower-to- medium rise, Visconsi gives a rundown of some of her favorites: AG, Big Star, Earnest Sewn, Fins, and Cambio.

Opting for professional guidance with personal shoppers at boutiques like Melange (located in Eugene and Bend) will help you in the long run. From measuring your rise, helping you learn about the right colors, material, and the styles you’ve always wanted to flaunt but never thought you could, a stylist can help you become familiar with your own body. A shopping buddy can also help, giving you honest feedback, which can protect you from days of embarrassment in the wrong gear.

Choose Sexy over Sleazy

It’s all about balance. From the workplace to nightlife, we all know of women who strive to show it all off, giving little thought to an ideal that Visconsi terms as “subtle sexiness.” Remember when you witnessed a coworker wearing a mini-skirt with a tight, revealing v-neck top in the office? Ever see a club girl in the bathroom making sure her pasties were stuck on correctly, because in one simple dance move her breasts could fall right out of her shirt? “Have one piece on your body that is sexy,” she says. After all, not everybody wants to see everything.

For women who recently underwent plastic surgery and now have a bountiful bust, revealing their new look with sexier clothes is a natural response to such an dramatic change. Yet the type of blouses and dresses worn after this type of cosmetic surgery should be carefully selected, so only the most flattering fabrics and cuts promote your new image.

“Women like to be sexy, and do want to show off their bust,” Visconsi says, but warns against “back fat.” To prevent the lumpiness from behind while wearing a tight top, she recommends always wearing the right-sized bra, and investing in a camisole: an easy, quick fix if you must wear “mesh, clingy fabric.” She admits that lines like the youngish-feminine Sweet Pea blouses and “one-size-fits-most” Michael Stars tees can show everything you want to hide, despite its comfortable, stretchy fabric.

For casual tops that look great with low-rise jeans, try C&C California cotton tees, which Visconsi says “are very thin and body-conscious, not super-super tight, with a bias cut.” Available in rainbow-assorted colors per season, C&C’s are ultra-long which give women protection against revealing too much when bending over, as well as versatility. You can tuck in, wear out, and layer under third pieces, like a blazer or comfy cardigan.

According to Wilson, “Every girl needs a selection of perfect little black dresses that can be dressed up or down according to the occasion, and do double shifts from work to play depending on what accessories you put with them.”

Never judge a dress by how it looks on the hanger! “The best cut dresses on the body are frequently ‘hanger shy,’” Wilson says, offering hope towards approaching the search for a great dress. “They’re made for your curves, not the curves of a hanger.” As you travel from boutique to department store (and back to the same boutique where you saw your dream dress), possibly feeling that your body won’t fit in its featured fashion, try considering a salesperson’s sentiments: “Just try it on!” At the Leona Edmiston Frocks boutique on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica, Calif., customers can look forward to dresses with unique, signature designs and timeless quality.

The A-line cut, a skirt or dress that is fitting at the waist and slightly flares out at the knees, may be next on your most wanted list.

“Straight skirts and dresses will only emphasize the hips,” Wilson explains, in regard to styles most flattering to a newly-enhanced body. “Whereas an A-line shaped dress, particularly with a detail that accentuates the waist line and decotage, will give a balanced look showing only the curves you want to show off. We actually have several styles [of the A-line cut] that also work well over jeans, so our clients that are ‘transitioning’ from the jeans and T-shirt uniform have somewhere in-between to go”.

Whether you are 18 or just turned 50, taking pride in your appearance is key to looking and feeling comfortable with a new look. So as you choose risqué pieces accordingly, you may want to consider Wilson’s thoughts, “As long as sexy is an expression of a woman’s femininity and style for where she is at that point in her life… There is absolutely no age limit to dressing sexy!”

Work That Wardrobe

"When you’re showing off beautiful new curves," Wilson says, "Let them be part of the beautiful new you! Not the sole focus."

Take one last look in the mirror before you dash out the door for work early morning – what does your outfit say about your personality?

According to Visconsi, how we put ourselves together in the morning can affect our decisions for the day and how we interact with others at work. She says that a sense of empowerment comes from putting together a great outfit, which explains why she and her staff encourage their customers to overhaul their closet and take out what they don’t need. “You should only leave stuff your actually wear!” she asserts.

Take the time to go through your own closet and evaluate all of your fashion finds. With slimmer hips, a flatter stomach, or a fuller bosom, certain pieces may now fit differently. You may even look at some of your past purchases and wonder what you were ever thinking (where did those hot pink, stretch pants came from?). But with season after season of new trends, styles, and “it” colors always on the horizon, you should feel relieved to know that you can always start over.

“Focus on the quality and fit of what you buy,” Visconsi tips. To help prevent regretful thinking and thoughtless spending on styles that may go out next season, she adds, “Have all of your basics, with a few trendy, disposable pieces.”

The “romantic and girly” look is making waves this summer as dresses, corsets, short shorts, and shrugs are hints of next season’s hot items. Before you think of substituting your jeans for the 50s-inspired “big skirt,” which is part of summertime’s fashion caravan, Visconsi says that this look can be difficult to pull off if you are short or possibly “hippy.”

And always remember: color, color, color. Make a statement in shades of aqua and teal, which Melange’s rep says will hold strong in summer ’05. With yellow popping up here and there, and pinks carrying over from spring, shop around and have fun flattering your new image in vibrant hues!

Once you know how to stylize your body, learn how to be selective with sexy dressing, and feel confident enough to work a new wardrobe, you will know how to sniff out great fashion finds everywhere. Whether you’re the budget-conscious shopper who excitedly marches up and down the aisles of Kohl’s, Target, or Stein Mart, or the type of woman who enjoys lazily shopping with the girls at high-end outlets like Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, or Bloomingdales, remember to stay hopeful when searching for great pieces. Just as finding a great plastic surgeon rarely happens overnight, the same is true for finding fabulous fashion.