25 June 2010

June 25th, 2010 § 39 comments

25 June 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Dress: Banana Republic Factory
  • Belt: from another dress
  • Hat: Banana Republic Factory
  • Yellow sandals: Old Navy

End Notes:

As mentioned earlier, I am all about the embellished dress + belt + sandals + floppy hat combination for summer picnicking, and I think I found a winner in this putty brown dress with a macrame neckline paired with accessories in unexpected colors.

25 June 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

25 June 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

Certainly, being the mom of a grabby little boy has compelled me to temporarily retire many of my favorite accessories — especially necklaces and big earrings — and as a result I think I’ve become increasingly enamored with built-in accessories (like embellished necklines) or baby-safe accessories that pack a big punch (like a belt or bright shoes).

But let’s talk for a moment about sizing. I tried this dress on a month or two ago at a visit to the Banana Republic Factory store in my usual dress size and was really disappointed. The neckline did nothing flattering for my figure, the dress overall was too short, and the shape was neither structured enough to wear unbelted or flowing enough to be a “look.”

When I went back a few weeks later, the dress was on the clearance rack, but this color was only available in a large. S. has successfully purchased and styled a dress that was several sizes too big for her, and I’m so glad that I followed her example and tried on the large. The fuller cut let the neckline fall in a more flattering line and the resulting drape was far more conducive to belting (though I had to cut off the little threaded “belt loops”).

What do you think? Is buying several sizes up essentially another way of “altering” a garment? Or does it go against the notion of fit being key? What are some things to be aware of when buying “too big”?

25 June 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

25 June 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

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§ 39 Responses to 25 June 2010"

  1. Personally, I don’t care about the “tag size” since most of the time it means different things to different manufacturers. If it looks good and I feel confidant in it, I buy it!

  2. Jaqui says:

    Just wanted to say that I love the last photo! :)

  3. lala says:

    Lovely outfit, but I’d really love to know about those buoys.

  4. Clare says:

    Okay, that last picture is adorable. And I’m ALL for buying a different size if something fits better that way. This dress is a perfect example, and it looks excellent!

  5. Laura says:

    I agree with Della. I think that sizing really doesn’t matter– and it really just boils down to clothing preference. I usually buy things that are obviously too long or large for me because I prefer the “just draped” look. But I do have some clothes that look “draped” but are sized xs/ s (and i usually wear L). I say, if it fits the way you want it to fit, who cares about the size?

  6. Katie says:

    In some stores I wear an “L;” in others I wear an “XXL.” Fit matters, not size. So when you ask if changes sizes goes against the notion of “fit being key,” I think it depends on what you want the fit to be.

  7. Kat says:

    Ah, I think I know where you are! Context clues. :)

    In regards to sizing, I generally don’t pay too much heed to whether or not something is “my” size – there seems to be so much variance between brands that I often traipse off to the fitting room with two or three sizes of the same garment. When buying a size “up”, I usually try and be conscious of the less critical details – for example, it fits in the waist, but are the inseams too long, and would it be worth it to me to hem them? Little things like that can ruin a piece for me if I’m not careful.

  8. Holly says:

    Excellent action shot!

  9. Kathryn says:

    The dress looks great on you regardless of its size! I really want to know more about those glass orbs behind you in the fountain.

  10. Shaye says:

    I have tops that fit me in every size from XS to XL. But then, I prefer my clothes to fit a certain way, and when manufacturers make otherwise cute clothes that are somehow intended to fit a different way, sizing up or down is the only way to get the look I want. Plus, it expands my available styling options (and is sometimes my only option when the way I want my clothes to fit is not what’s currently in fashion.) As they say, size ain’t nothin’ but a number (or letter!)

  11. Sara says:

    I think it looks lovely! I really like the blue belt with it to give it that pop of color. You must be at the St. Louis Botanical Gardens! They are beautiful!

  12. Cassie says:

    I think that buy what fits is certainly a good guide to go on. Did stores size things different. I sometime by a dress and wear it as a shirt of vise versa. A great way to make it your own!

  13. Raquel says:

    I don’t care about the size as long as it gives me the fit I’m looking for. And each manufactures has it own size chart, so one cannot rely on them.

    However, I have a friend who refuses to wear anything that is not her size 2… because hello, wearing a 4 would mean she is fat.

    Love the dress by the way! I envy how well you can wear brown.

  14. Raquel says:

    Ooops, I forgot to say, what a beautiful place! Where is it?

  15. Jing Jing says:

    So I’ve been a lurker for something like a year, and I have to say I love your blog. But I can’t tell you how excited I was when I saw this post and recognized the location (was actually gonna visit tomorrow morning if the heat relented) because I’m in the same Midwestern city (for an MD instead). Will keep my eye out for you girls around town! =)

  16. Ang says:

    Love your blog! Where is this fabulous location in your picture? Love that pool(?) with the colorful globes!! Love the dress…and to answer your question… size is only a number, so buy and alter whatever!

  17. Liz Rosas says:

    What a magical place! Love your outfit, I agree and think that tag size doesn’t matter just make it work on your body!

  18. I am jealous that you still look lovely in a jumping photo.

  19. Lauren says:

    I love that last photo! :D I find myself buying larger sizes these days, especially in Asian stores. I try not to make a big deal out of it, but it sometimes awakens deep-seated body issues.

  20. Katie says:

    I know it sounds goofy, but your pictures today especially touched me. I grew up in that city and miss it terribly. I’m in the third year of my PhD program and live a good eight hours from home, so I don’t get to visit often. But! I’m going this weekend and your location is at the top of my must-visit list. I just have to say that you ladies are such an inspiration not just on fashion, but also on being strong and intelligent women.

  21. First off, I love the free-spirited photos!

    Sizing is so variable that I don’t worry about the number or letter on the tag so much as I care about the fit, drape, etc. of a garment. This dress looks fantastic on you!

    I won a vintage dress in a charity auction a few weeks back. It’s definitely a couple of sizes too big, but I’m enjoying belting and playing with the silhouette.

  22. Diana says:

    These pictures make me smile :)

  23. Fia says:

    Ugh, I hear you on the accessories thing. I have a box full of bracelets and necklace. I try not to think about them because I wish I could wear them but every time I try, I immediately realize my error when my daughter gets all grabby hands. I DO like that it has forced me to be more creative with things like belts, scarfs, and hairstyle.

  24. GingerB says:

    Nice outfit, great pictures!

    I would agree that it’s not good to get stuck on a particular “size.” If you see many of the same items on a sale rack that’s a clue that the sizing if funky and be prepared to switch to a size you might not usually fit into.

    Clothing needs to fit. Your chances of altering something to fit are better if there is extra fabric, unless you have some magic power and can twitch your nose to create room for alterations!

    A lot depends on your seamstress skills. I would never attempt to alter a set-in sleeve because I am not that good. A hem, a too-long sleeve, a top with too much fabric at the side, a waistline that an extra pleat or dart can fix – I’ll consider those things.

    I regret the demise of sewing class in the now defunct Home-Ec because even if you didn’t ever sew much it helped you to see the parts of an article of clothing and have some vision about how they could be altered.

    I know a nice tailor, above my dry cleaner, who can fix all kinds of things. Anything with a lining goes to him. I add the cost to the price. It helps me avoid deep discount sale disasters.

  25. [...] These photos of E. from Academichic in a garden make me smile.  Such a gorgeous outfit, and such joyful images. [...]

  26. Iris says:

    I love the action shot!

  27. Cari says:

    I’ll echo all the comments above about how lovely the dress is and how size is mostly arbitrary.

    I’m between sizes and larger on bottom than on top, so when going “up” a size, I often have to have the hem, shoulders and (randomly) arm holes altered.

    I was actually just trying on a dress this morning that I think would make a wonderful neutral if only I could take in the armholes, shorten the hem, and adjust the straps. I even thought to myself that it was a very academichic type of garmet. You’ve inspired me!

  28. Sylvia says:

    Fit over (alleged) size, definitely. I rarely think to go UP a size (or two), but it looks lovely here.

  29. Kendra says:

    Your idea inspires me to experiment…. I usually am so focused on steadfastly ignoring the size on the label, or, more accurately, steadfastly ignoring the fact that I do indeed know the size on the label, and on and on and on…

  30. Shannon says:

    + 1,000 on the action shot :-D

    The “things” in the water are Chihuly, and they’re called “Walla Wallas”.

  31. Sara says:

    I often find that buying a size that’s different than what I usually wear can get me to buy an item that just isn’t right in my standard size. Usually, however, this only works when I don’t have any set idea in my head about how it’s SUPPOSED to fit and I just go with how I LIKE it to fit. Once I see that model shot on the website, for instance, and think “THAT’S how they expected it to fit someone?!” it kind of ruins it for me. haha

  32. e. says:

    Thanks, everyone!

    Like Shannon said, the floating glass onions are by the well-known glass artist Dale Chihuly. I love them and they make me want to have a huge pond in my yard (with someone to take care of it, of course :)

  33. Kerri says:

    so there have been a couple of times when i’ve been on campus and I was like I think that’s E. from academichic? and now with the context clue I do believe i have seen you :) Love the blog, especially love today’s outfit (and love the background of course, but who wouldn’t?)

  34. Deepti says:

    You look so pretty!

  35. erin says:

    i love the big floppy hat, but how do you wear it inside? do you even try?

  36. Fit *is* key. So it makes sense to buy a dress in a size that fits you properly (neckline falling gracefully – that’s important!), rather than the tag size, which may or may not mean anything.

  37. Stacy of KSW says:

    Well, aren’t you the cutest little thing EVER! I just found your site via Pinterest and have fallen in deep blog crush in just two posts. Adding you to my reader IMMEDIATELY. Looks like we’ll be seeing each other around :)

  38. [...] A broad mixing of neutrals – navy and black – a perennial favorite for me. I took a page out of E.’s book when I bought this dress, which is sizes too big, but since I knew I’d be wearing it with a belt anyway, it wouldn’t matter. The only catch was [...]

  39. [...] Last summer I became a hat lady, and I added to my hat collection this year with a little straw fedora. I’m wearing it as-is in these pictures, but I’m already plotting ways to personalize it a bit more (suggestions welcome). [...]

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