Easy Summer Essentials + My Thoughts on “Dressing for Your Body.”

A few pieces I'm loving lately... + my thoughts on dressing to feel your best!

I just want to live in this outfit. I’ve been buying short-sleeve button down shirts like crazy. My obsession with them started with the one in this blog post (wearing these same jeans – ugh I’m so predictable) and now I’ve acquired three more… this one and the ones in this instagram and this instagram. All from Madewell, of course (also remember you can shop all of my Instagram posts here. I try to keep this page as up to date as possible!). And these jeans are just the best. They’re under $100, have no stretch, and are flattering on everyone I know who has tried them – friends of all sizes have bought them and they look great on every single person I’ve seen wear them!

Today though, I wanted to talk a little about the notion of dressing for your body. I’m a big believer in wearing the pieces that make you feel your best, and oftentimes that means looking your best but does it really? The biggest criticism I get here is for not dressing for my body and you know what? Sometimes, that is very fair. That being said, I’ve never proclaimed to be Stacy London or the girls from What Not To Wear. When I first started blogging, I made a lot of unfortunate style decisions. I still do, sometimes. But I wear what I want and sometimes that’s a sack dress that makes me look like two sizes bigger. If you take one thing away from this post, it should be to wear what makes you happy!

Outfit Details: Madewell Central Shirt  (wearing a small) // Levi’s Boyfriend Jeans (true to size) // Manolo Blahnik Nude Patent BB Heels // J.Crew Belt (similar here) // J. McLaughlin Bag (custom monogram by Hathaway Hutton)

 J. McLaughlin Bag (custom monogram by Hathaway Hutton)

That being said, I do try to reign it in and wear flattering pieces. My style has gotten a lot more simple this year (I blame Brooklyn – walking around in all those ruffly dresses, I’d just look silly!) and I like to think I’ve streamlined things a bit.

I think the biggest realization was some hard honesty with myself in that a lot of the pieces I love and naturally gravitate towards (specifically: anything with a peplum, anything with ruffles at the waist, any and all sack + shift dresses, most jumpsuits) don’t look that great. I started dressing (or at least trying to dress) in a way that complements my body as opposed to hiding it. Hiding behind all of those ruffles and girly layers only makes you (me) look bigger.

On top of that, fit can be a really big issue. I’m generally a size small/medium/6 but I have a very long torso and my body is naturally more apple shaped. I have skinny arms and legs and hold my weight in my stomach, hips, and thighs (and sometimes my face). So sizing is all over the place depending on the fit in the torso. Even though I’m only 5’8 (tall but not thaaat tall), the tall section at J.Crew is a godsend for shirts + sweaters.

I hate “don’ts” though, so on a more positive note, here are a few things I always feel good in!

  • Short sleeve button downs like this top are great with pretty much everything. They hide my midsection and show my arms (but not my upper arms, which I’m a little self-conscious of). I love them with shorts, skinny jeans, or even boyfriend jeans like in these photos.
  • I’m always hunting for cute casual day dresses with short sleeves and a nipped in waist. A good midi dress (like this one) is my favorite.
  • When in doubt, jeans and a tee is always a good idea. I really love these t-shirts… they’re cut in the waist so they’re a lot more flattering.
  • Structured, tailored pieces look best. Long tailored blazers (like the ones in this post and this post)  are my best friend.
  • Always highlight your waist. I mean, sometimes I break this rule but I know what I’m getting myself into.

What do you feel your best in? Tell me in the comments!

On another note, how dreamy is this bag? I’d had my eye on this J. McLaughlin Bag for a while (I love the woven leather!!) and they gifted me one, hand-painted by Jen of Hathaway Hutton. It’s the best… I’m taking it out to Sag Harbor with me today!

Photography by Trent Bailey.

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Comments

  1. I’m completely with you when it comes to dressing for your body! I think it’s just that most of the time when we dress for our body types, we tend to feel the most confident, so the two things are often tied together! Also, loving your casual outfit this post! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
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  2. Carly A. Heitlinger says 7.18.18

    Your bag came out SO cute– like, wow, obsessed with the monogram placement + stripe!!!

  3. Sara says 7.18.18

    I’m a fairly new reader (a few months in!) and this is my first comment. I just wanted to say that I think it’s weird and rude that people are commenting saying that you don’t dress for your body. Everyone should feel free to dress however they want, and as a reader, you should read blogs that inspire you. I don’t know, just irks me.

    I also am tall-ish and have a long torso and wear things I probably shouldn’t. I always want to wear peplum tops and dresses that are supposed to hit at the waist and on me fit slightly oddly. Lookin at you J.Crew Factory 😉

    • grace at the stripe says 7.18.18

      Hi Sara! First of all welcome! And thanks for commenting.

      OMG J.Crew Factory is the worst with that. I love their clothes but their blouses are SO UNFLATTERING!!!!! I do love their dresses and swim separates though.)
      Wear what makes you happy, if you are happy and feel good you will look good!

      And haha don’t worry. I don’t let it bother me, it’s part of the job. If you’re putting yourself/your life on the internet, some people will say things. I feel like compared to other bloggers I have it pretty good.

      • Rowena says 7.19.18

        YES!! I love J. Crew Factory for affordable pieces that I can wear either to work or for fun lol but their sizing is so unreliable!! In certain things I can get away with a small but with others I need an XL…please tell me how that makes sense haha

  4. Annette says 7.18.18

    I always feel my best when I’m wearing black. It’s kind of like a bright lipstick, you want to branch out but feel like a fraud wearing something bright. I find a lot of the flowing styles in the stores frustrating as if you have a chest, they are incredibly unflattering.

    • grace at the stripe says 7.18.18

      I agree. I love flowy pieces but they don’t look great on me!!!

    • Marys says 7.18.18

      Yes to black! I find I can branch out in trendier or otherwise less flattering silhouettes if it’s a black piece. I’ll end up loving it so much in black that I’ll buy the same piece in another color and it’s always a mistake. Because I wear so much black, I try to buy accessories, under garments, pajamas in fun colors and prints to get my “bright” fix.

  5. Jenn Lake says 7.18.18

    You always look amazing, friend!

  6. Jenn says 7.18.18

    I love your style (and that bag!). I feel like I’ve finally found my key pieces in my 30s, but it’s so dang hard to dress your body when the trends just don’t work and that’s all they have in the stores (peplum was also a big problem for me, ugh!). When I do find something that works (especially jeans!) I buy it in multiple colors.

    • grace at the stripe says 7.18.18

      Thank you so much! Yes it can be so hard!!! I do the exact same. If I love something I buy every color!! xo

  7. Meghan says 7.18.18

    This post comes at such a good time as I got such a nasty, harsh comment on my outfit post today from a reader and it has me thinking too about NO, we don’t all look good in everything all the time. I’m not a model nor do I try to be. I wear what I like, what makes me happy and generally what I feel good in. We all have things about our bodies that make them hard to dress but I’d rather that than having no fun getting dressed. Love your honest approach here and love this outfit!

    • grace at the stripe says 7.18.18

      Oh no friend, I’m so sorry!!! It’s par for the course… we put ourselves out there and not everyone is going to like it! Hugs! xo

  8. Erin says 7.18.18

    Love the bag, the outfit (you’re really convincing me of the short-sleeve button up shirt), and everything about this post. I’ve always taken trends with a grain of salt because I know not everything looks on me like it does on the mannequin. I feel most comfortable in great fitting jeans or in dresses. I have to be careful on the length though. They can pull me down and make me shorter than I already am (5’6″). Shorter hem lines actually work better on me. Thanks for always putting amazing articles out there. Love following along! 🙂

    • grace at the stripe says 7.18.18

      Aw good I’m so glad!!! It’s important to figure out what works best for you! xo

  9. Heidi H. says 7.18.18

    I never would have known that someone gave you a harsh comment. You always look so put together and confident and I admire that you wear pieces that you love that make you happy! Kudos girl. Thanks for your transparency and always-great outfit tips!

  10. Theodora says 7.18.18

    I love this post! I think we have similar-ish body types. I’ve been really thin, I’ve been really heavy…and now I’m somewhere in between, but I’ve never *really* known how to dress for my body type, which I guess is carrying weight in stomach + chest. So…I mostly just stick to Lilly Pulitzer?

  11. Jen says 7.18.18

    Hi!

    Love your blog and this post! I was wondering where you look for and shop for belts? I have been scouring a bunch of places but can’t seem to find any that I like and the one you’re wearing looks great.

    Cheers!

    • grace at the stripe says 7.19.18

      I only have 2 belts really – my brown J.Crew one (but it’s really old… I do like their belts!) and my black Gucci one. Maybe also try Madewell!

  12. Sari says 7.19.18

    this is one of my favorite outfits of yours so far! love this look! <3

  13. Rowena says 7.19.18

    I really relate to this post! My weight has fluctuated so much in the last 8 years or so since I turned 18. I’ve been very thin, on the heavier side, and right now I’m kind of in the middle. I also have large breasts and wider hips, but my waist is pretty tiny. I used to gravitate toward baggier shirts as to not draw attention to those areas, but one day I was looking at pictures on Facebook and realized that dressing that way made me look wayyyy bigger than I am! So now typically I just stick to black dresses/blouses and feel so much more confident. Not super fun or exciting (a guy I recently started seeing told me that I “dress like a nun” haha but he meant it in a cute way) but it works for me!

    • grace at the stripe says 7.19.18

      So happy you relate to it! It’s funny how showing your shape makes you look better, not worse. It’s all about finding what works best for you! xx

  14. Anna says 7.22.18

    Appreciate this post, and love hearing what others take into consideration for their body type. My body has gotten increasingly apple shaped (years ago it was more pear shaped) and I’ve been struggling to find clothes that flatter it lately. Some dresses have been great for this, particularly swing and tie-waist dresses, but the fit and flare I used to love doesn’t work quite so well anymore. Jeans are a struggle, though I realize that’s the case for many.

    • grace at the stripe says 7.23.18

      It’s so hard to find great jeans! I really love re/done, 7 for all mankind, and rag & bone. Oh and Good American – the cut is so good if you have curves!

  15. Natalie Redman says 7.23.18

    Gorgeous! Love that bag.

  16. A Girl, A Style says 7.23.18

    I love this post! I absolutely dress to make myself happy rather than to ‘flatter’ (although it’s obviously great when the pieces you love are also flattering), but I’ve also had to accept that jumpsuits, short skirts/dresses, sack dresses (unless belted) and drop waists are not my friend. I’m an hourglass so carry my weight in my butt, thighs and (annoyingly) upper arms so anything that fits at the waist and then flares out is my friend!

    Briony xox

    • grace at the stripe says 7.23.18

      Yes! Same and same. We will be twinning in our fit and flare silhouettes. Miss you friend!

  17. Jo says 8.18.18

    What a lovely look, cute

    Kiss kiss.*Jo
    Jo & Company Style