Check out these gorgeous gingham garments!!

Gingham fashions courtesy of Peter PilottoD and G, Michael Kors and House of Holland

Can We Lesser Mortals wear gingham and not look like we blew in from the Windy City? (Doris Day)

Whip crack away, whip crack away, whip crack away!! Howdy partners! Gingham I hear you say…well I’m either going to look like Dorothy, without the Wizard of Oz, or I’m going to look like an extra from Calamity Jane (Doris Day don’t you know) Not so – the modern twist on gingham means you can find mature styles which are appropriate to your age and life style. Additionally, I would recommend that you take care when you find it styled up with frills, ruffles and embroidery, as you may start to look like a pair of curtains in a transport caff or in “Allo Allo”!

How to wear gingham:

Do think about what colour suits you best – most of the styles in the shops are black and white, which I find drains me. As a result, I’ve looked for other colours to flatter your skin tone. The check pattern will attract attention to it, so wear it over your best feature (boobs if you like them, bum if you like that) The off the shoulder styles are very fashionable this summer, and this can make shoulders look broader. Full frilled skirts can draw eyes downwards away from larger busts. So think about where your best and worst features are before you try on.

Finally, gingham can be smart and casual. The Boden trousers featured below can be office appropriate when worn with a blazer, and the Warehouse gingham dress would be perfect for a formal lunch.

So don’t ignore gingham this summer….check it out ( get it? check..gingham??)

  1. Off the shoulder gingham blouse. £17.99. H and M Size 6-20. 100% cotton. Machine washable. This blouse will make shoulders look broader so is best for pear shapes and boyish figures. Apple shapes and larger chest, may get away with it too. Hourglass ladies could wear it belted in. or tucked into trousers or skirts which show off their waists.
  2. Richmond gingham trousers £59.50. Boden Size 6-22. Petite, regular and long length. Cotton elastane mix. Machine washable. Drawing eyes downwards, these trousers will suit top heavy, boyish, and some hourglass ladies,

  1. Gingham dress. £56. Warehouse. Size 6-18. 100% cotton. Machine washable. This A line style will work perfectly for pear shapes, as well as boyish figures.
  2. Gingham ruched sleeve blouse £35. Warehouse. Size 6-18. 100% cotton. Machine washable. Slightly loose in shape, this will suit boyish best, but apple shapes can wear it, and some pear shapes – watch the trumpet sleeves don’t accentuate your hips.

  1. Gingham check cardi. £59.99, Zara Size XS-XL. Cotton polyester elastane mix. Hand washable. These little jackets from Zara are very popular and easy to wear. Best for pear and boyish. Other shapes will get away with it if worn undone.
  2. Gingham frilled skirt. £29.99. Zara Size XS-XL. 100% cotton, machine washable. Adding volume to the lower part of the body, this skirt will balance a large chest out nicely. It can add curves to boyish figures.

  1. Nina Gingham dress. £149. Coast  Size 6-18 100% polyester. Dry Clean only. This dress will highlight your shoulders, and skim over hips, so is good for pear shapes, and boyish ladies. If your bust isn’t too big, it will suit hourglass shapes too.
  2. Wendy bow wedges. £39. Top Shop  Size 3-8. 100% textile. Specialist clean.How cute are these? Perfect for beach holidays and casual occasions.

  1. MOTO gingham shorts £32. Top Shop Size 6-18. 100% cotton. Machine washable. Ok, so you’ve got to a have a cute butt for these or long slim legs, but that doesn’t mean you can’t wear them if you’re over thirty!! Best for long legs and boyish figures
  2. Gingham check shorts. £25.99 Mango. Size S-L. polyester cotton, Machine washable. Stylish shorts with a slightly longer cut. The retro shape means these will suit hourglass best, but will also work on top heavy, boyish and pear shape if the hem doesn’t sit on the widest point of your hips.

Do you think you could wear gingham? Have you looked at it now with a fresh perspective? It wasn’t something I was immediately drawn to, but since looking, I’ve seen quite a few styles I would wear. If you want help you can ask me in the comments box, or email me via my website

Further reading:

20 style tips on how to wear gingham clothes:

30+ ways to wear gingham style (sans Dorothy): Closetful of clothes

22 street style approved ways to wear gingham:

How to wear the Gingham outfits in a fashionable way: Styles Weekly

What clothes will flatter my body shape?

sculpture image NExt

Can We Lesser Mortals find clothes that trick people into thinking we have perfect bodies?

A good “image consultant” or “personal shopper” should be able to find clothes which flatter your body shape, disguising any areas you dislike and drawing attention to your assets. This may be the boost in confidence that you need, to make yourself motivated enough to start eating healthily and enjoy exercising. Sometimes all it needs is a compliment from a friend or stranger, that cheers you up, and nudges you to take control of your own health. Equally, body confidence issues are not always about weight loss, but are just due to your own unique body shape. All is not lost – I have some ideas here for clothes which are like “trompe l’oeil” – they trick your eyes into thinking they see something which isn’t true. See what you think? I’d love some comments – it gets very lonely writing here…..

scultpture boden 3sculture tummy dress

  1. Pall mall dress. Boden. £89. Cotton, polyamide, modal, elastane. Sizes 6-22 petite, regular and tall lengths. 2 colours available. Slightly A line, and darted through bust, so perfect for hourglass figures. The the vertical centre stripe will slim and lengthen you, and the middle band, narrows your waist. It could give shape to apple and boyish shapes, as well as the top band broadening the shoulders of pear shapes.
  2. Lipsy VIP print shirt dress. Lipsy at Next. £80. Sizes 6-18. Polyester elastane mix. Hand washable. The fabric has a bit of structure to hold in a few lumps and bumps, and the black side panels and waist highlight your waist and narrow your hips. Monochrome is still on trend, so perfect for summer and winter. Would flatter hourglass figures, but will also add curves to boyish ladies who need to add a waist line, and if it fits, may trim down hips on pear shaped ladies.

sculpture metallic dress TEd sculpture dress Next

  1. Decadent jacquard midi dress. Ted Baker. Sizes 6-16. polyester, viscose, cotton, elastane, metalised fibres. Generally Ted is cut for slightly hippy ladies, but this dress will narrow your waist and shave off width at your hips. So it flatters slight pear shapes and if it isn’t too flappy over the hips, will also suit boyish. There doesn’t look much give for big busts.
  2. Pink colour block body con dress . Next. £40. Available in sizes 6-22. Polyester viscose elastane mix. The side panels are going to disguise any love handles round the middle, but beware as it does say “body con” so won’t be too forgiving. This dress will give you shape if you are boyish, or Miranda shaped (but maybe smaller chest) as it is going to give you curves. The longer length helps ladies with heavy upper legs. Will also suit hourglass shapes like Kate Winslet, but need flattish tummy (body con).

sculpture boden 2 sculpture hip dress

  1. Milano dress. Boden. £129. Sizes 6-22, petite, regular and tall lengths. This fit and flare dress, has some great reviews, and is available in 3 colour ways. Machine washable. Doesn’t give fabric comp, but seems to be knitted, so comfortable. Perfect for any size pear shapes, as the top red vertical lines slant outwards, making shoulders look bigger.
  2. Black and white stripe perry dress. Coast at Next. £95. Polyester elastane mix. The A-line shape here, suits pear shapes, and the vertical panelling in the middle will make you look taller and slimmer, by drawing eyes up and down. If you are thicker round the middle (apple shaped or boyish), then this may also suit you, as it is slightly “shift” shaped, and the stiffer skirt will give shape if you have no hips..

sculpture dress Boden sculpture dress big top half sculpture Reiss shoulders

  1. Eliza tunic dress. Boden. £99. Viscose silk mix. Machine washable. Sizes 6-22 regular and long. 2 other colours but they don’t have the front panel, which flatters apple shaped ladies by slimming and narrowing them. 3/4 sleeves hide heavy top arms. Will fit boyish shapes, but won’t add any curves for them.
  2. Eliza textured black and white dress. Reiss. £159. Size 4-16. Dry clean only. This will really flatter top heavy ladies, by narrowing big chests, and adding volume to the hips to balance the chest out. Cotton polyester elastane mix. It will also add shape to boyish or ladies with wide shoulders and slim hips. If you have a big bust, you may need to go up a size, and possibly add a belt to nip in under your chest. ( or get alterations done)
  3. Felicity cut out detail black dress. Reiss. £195. Viscose nylon elastane mix. Hand washable. Size 4-14. Can you see how this broadens the shoulders? Perfect for pear shapes to balance them out. If you are very pear shaped, the Coast dress above may be a better option, as the fabric is more rigid.

I hope this has made you think about how patterns and shapes can change how you look. It is very difficult to put someone in to just one category, as you could be a tiny pear shaped lady, or a 6 foot pear shaped lady, and that changes things dramatically. Equally you could be a petite boyish shape or an extra tall boyish shape and that affects what you can chose. For a real insight into your own body shape, you really need a one to one consultation to get personal advice on your own requirements. People worry it may be invasive, or embarrassing, but even Image Consultants have their own problems – hence the title of my blog. For an enquiry, contact me at I don’t bite, and I’m actually really down to earth.

Further reading:

Tricks we use to hide our wobbly bits: daily mail

slim your silhouette: Lauren Conrad

3 style tricks to elongate your body: Ginger Burr



Who can wear Summer 2014 pencil skirts?

Can We Lesser Mortals wear a pencil skirt no matter what shape, age and size we are?

Pencil skirts are a big fashion statement for Spring Summer 2014. Older women (i.e. over 30!) are often stuck for fashion advice, worrying about whether they look like mutton dressed as lamb. Of course it is possible to be a stylish older woman (and I don’t mean you’ve got one foot in the grave) and pencil skirts are a current fashion trend as well as being a shape which has seen the test of time – think 40’s war images, 50’s screen sirens etc. Don’t worry what shape you are – pencil skirts flatter hourglass figures, boyish shapes, curvy ladies, pear shapes and top heavy women. I would only be wary if there is a huge difference in size between your top half and bottom half, of 2-3 sizes. e.g you buy a size 10 top and a size 16 bottom. Also be VERY careful with knitted jersey skirts (T-shirt fabric), as they will show every lump and bump, and also make pear shaped ladies even more pear shaped. Go for a good thick woven material. Here are some of my favourites.

karen millen pencil boyish skirt next pencil skirt pear shape

  1. Stretch Cotton pencil skirt. £99. Karen Millen. Cotton elastane. Dry clean. Sizes 6-16. Suits a boyish figure, as the peplum creates curves. See how the high waist shortens your torso though. Also hourglass figures suit this, as again the peplum accentuates your curves. Add a belt to remind people of your tiny waist.
  2. Stone Skirt. £35. Next. 100% tencel. sizes 6-22R. Suits a pear shape, as the contrast line in the middle draws attention towards the centre. Also, it needs to be worn with a coloured top, which draws attention upwards.

boden pencil skirt for top heavy boden flower oragnza skirt

I love these 2!!! How summery????

  1. Modern Pencil skirt. £59. Boden. Available in stripes, florals and denim. In regular, petite and tall lengths. Sizes 6-20. Cotton elastane mix, and machine washable. If this is pricey for you, there are ALWAYS offers on Boden. Suits a top heavy lady, as the pattern draws attention downwards, and the slightly lower waist, elongates a short body.
  2. Flower organza skirt. £99. Boden. Available sizes 6-22 and reg, petite and tall lengths. Cotton polyamide mix. Hand washable. also in bubblegum and navy colours. With a matching top, you get 3 looks if you buy the top too. Suits most shapes, but petites will gain the benefit of appearing to lengthen their body and looking taller.

reiss pencil skirt for tall women

  1. Bryant Straight midi skirt in gem. Reiss. £120. Viscose elastane. Dry clean only. sizes 6-16. This is a very modern length – midi, which would be quite daring on regular heights, ridiculous on petites and fantastic on tall  ladies!!

If you like what you have seen, please take a look at my website or give me a call or text on 07976 635518

Further reading:

Best pencil skirts : marie claire

8 ways to wear a pencil skirt:

7 inspirit ways to wear your pencil skirt: who what wear




































Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)