I’ve had the same body type since I was about 14; average bust, smaller than average waist and larger than average hips, thighs and derriere. I would say I’m somewhere in between an hourglass and a pear shaped figure. Let me also say before I continue that over the years I have grown to love my body, and nothing written below is meant to be insulting towards my figure, it’s just realistic.
My biggest issue is not with my body itself, but with the fact that I have always loved clothing styles that are made for someone with a “boyish” or “petite” figure. I know the general rule for buying women’s dresses with my proportions–go with a fit and flare. The tight waist accentuates my smallest curve while the full skirt hides and minimized my fuller “bottom area.” So almost every dress I own is that style, and that’s perfectly fine–except sometimes I long for something different: a pencil dress. I’ve always admired the classy and classic silhouette. I cannot even count the number of pencil dresses I have tried on in the past 20 years, but I can tell you the results were always the same. If it fit my bottom half, the waist of the dress was baggy around my torso creating a saggy, floppy looking top half. If it fit my waist and bust, it’s a guarantee that it would be straining and pulling inappropriately around the bottom, which would undoubtedly end up in a split seam or some other wardrobe malfunction.
When I began working at Sweet Brier Boutique in Parrsboro, I immediately admired Manager Ashley Ellis, who is very petite and athletic, in a blue polka dotted Emily and Fin pencil dress. I gushed compliments on how perfectly it fit her tiny frame. When it came time to take my employee photo, she asked if I’d like to try it on. I laughed at her foolishness, told her I’d never get my thighs into a dress that looked like it was tailored for her, and grabbed a black and white fit and flare from the rack. The fit and flare looked great, as I knew it would and I shelved any thought about trying to squeeze myself into that exquisite pencil dress I’d admired so much. I looked longingly at it whenever I passed the Emily and Fin rack, and when there was only one dress in my size left, one evening after my last customer left and the door was locked, I took it back to the dressing room–just to see. I fully expected to leave feeling disappointed and dejected. Have you ever read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? It’s a teen novel about four friends with completely different body types who wear the same pair of jeans and magically all look fantastic in them.
Well, when I looked in the mirror I was certain that whoever made those jeans must have made this dress as well, because the same dress that looked so amazing on my petite coworker also made me feel like a knockout.
Once the shock and delight wore off, I took a closer look at the dress and realized it wasn’t some sort of sorcery that was making this dress so divine, it was good old fashioned quality craftsmanship.
Both the lining and the dress were made from a high quality cotton and each stitch and seam was sewn with care and attention to detail. The modern, timeless style did not pull or strain–it held my curves in a strong and stable fit that was nothing but flattering from all angles. The pockets were an added bonus! Not that I will be giving up my fit and flares–they suit my body type and will always be a fashion staple for me. But after 20 years of looking for the cloth equivalent to the love of my life, I finally found it in the blue polka dot Robyn Dress, thanks to Emily and Fin.