Saturday, September 22, 2012

Covering up

If you're like me, you might sometimes get turned away from the recent fashions (even ones that you like) because of a plunging neckline, a short hem or a gaping back. Whether it's because of your upbringing, your religion or body image issues, finding clothes that you like that cover everything you want to cover can be difficult. After many years of dance concerts and a few night-time outings I've learned how to cover what needs to be covered even if the dress doesn't quite do it for you.
This is where it all starts. I like to look for  something appropriate first, so I don't have to worry too much about covering up. I am a bit of an old fashioned girl and while I have no problem with beautiful people flaunting what they've got (tastefully) I don't feel comfortable dressing that way myself. Dressing conservatively is definitely something I intend to do.
One of the great things about buying vintage clothes (meaning 2nd-hand op-shop finds) is that many of them tend to be more conservative than some of the modern-day shop bought clothes. I've also discovered that many of the vintage-inspired boutiques or ranges for department stores are more reasonable where length and necklines are concerned.  What I look for in a dress or outfit is that it is reasonably long (mid-thigh or longer), that it isn't too-low cut in the front (that a t-shirt bra wouldn't poke out of the top), And, that the item isn't backless or too low in the back (again, I don't want my bra to be showing).
Sometimes it's hard to get exactly what you want, or you find the perfect dress only to discover that it's a bit see-through or a bit short. It's for this reason that I think it's just as important to have the right undergarments or basics on hand as it is originally to try buying more conservative clothes. The right undergarments can be the difference between tacky and elegant.
Bra Straps
Many strapless dresses and bras now come with loops sewn into front and back for straps to be attached. For those who don't like to be hitching up dresses all the time a pair of clear gel straps can stop your dress from falling down.
Fashion Tape
I've never used the stuff, because I've never worn anything that revealing that I needed to, but apparently it's useful stuff. I'm not sure how it goes if you get sweaty though...
Safety Pins
Great for keeping in a handbag to disguise or fix any wardrobe malfunctions that may occur. I also like to use these to keep cross-over necklines from gaping too low or to keep scarves in place.
A Strapless Bra
Even if you don't tend to wear strapless dresses, dresses with one shoulder, a boat neck or spaghetti straps may not look the most tasteful with visible bra straps. So going strapless, or wearing clear straps with a strapless bra ultimately adds more class. Some strapless bras are more rounded and less likely to poke out of the top of a dress like a t-shirt bra with removable straps would.
A Boob Tube / Crop Top
You can get plain or lace varieties of these from the underwear section of most department stores, boutiques or even ebay. (I'm not talking about cropped-t shirts BTW. I mean the crop top bras) these are great worn over a strapless bra or alone, under a dress with a low neckline or back.
Handy for wear under chiffon, lace or white(see-through) tops.
Great for a see-through dress or skirt.
Opaque Tights /Leggings
Leggings and Tights are a fun way to convert your summer dresses to winter weather. They are also great for wear under a dress that is too-short.
Bike Pants
In hot weather a pair of lace-trim bike pants can replace leggings in any short-skirt-situations. They are also handy for keeping your stockings/tights up in winter.
A Bolero or Cardi
If you're a bit wary of showing off your upper-arms a nice cropped cardi can hide them without covering up too much of your dress. Also, great for cooler weather.
Colours recommended for undergarments: black or skin-tone
Colours recommended for basics: black, cream, white, navy or grey

Just because you're trying to cover up and be conservative doesn't mean you can't have a little fun with your outfit or show off your figure.
-Patterned, beaded or sequin bra straps can add some fun to a strapless dress.
-Substituting safety pins with brooches makes pinning easier (not having to worry about hiding the pins) and can add sparkle to a plain dress.
-some boutiques and department stores are now selling patterned/printed bandeau tops a la Prada SS12
-Bright coloured crop-tops, bike pants and/or leggings are fun with a patterned dress.
-A tulle petticoat can add some volume to a skirt or dress
-add a belt around the waist or tie a ribbon for an instant hourglass (not recommended for baby doll tops)

I've noticed only too many times that people feel they can't wear a garment that they really like because it's unsuitable by itself. With the right underclothes and accessories an inappropriate outfit can become appropriate. And, while the aforementioned undergarments, basics and accessories may all be extra cost they will certainly get their use and may even save money where the cost of an appropriate length dress is concerned.
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