I'm in an epic fashion rut and need your help! Actually, there are a few problems:
1) I cannot find a chic look that will suit me. 2) I cannot find a dress that will look good on me. 3) I'm on a budget.
Ok, so I've always been that girl, the one that can always be caught hangin' out with the guys more than with the chicks - aka I'm a bit of a tomboy. Jeans, sneakers, and a snug, well-fitted tee comprise of my typical outfit. But even I know that one needs to dress up for interviews and graduation pictures. But my body type is just all wrong. Cursed with the fastest metabolism in existence, I'm on the too-skinny side, with a height of 5' 1" and quite the small upper body. I've been on the hunt for a dress to wear to my (high school) graduation, and it's getting tough. Strapless, I feel will not work. Halters and spaghetti straps emphasize my already bone-thin shoulders. On top of all of that, I'm on a budget. What to do? Some ideas I've contemplated are perhaps long skirt + tee may suit me for a more casual, but still someone feminine look. But how about that dress? Help please! Skater Girl Minus Skater
This is truly a fashion dilemma - however, do not fear! We'll navigate this style situation and have you looking gorgeously girly in no time at all!
First things first: You are most definitely a petite girl, which could be why you are having a difficult time finding a dress that looks right on you. You need to be shopping in the "petite" department - steer clear of the women's section, and stay far far away from the little girls' section! Petite clothing is cut shorter through the torso as well as the legs to accomodate a smaller frame and more diminutive height. Dresses from the petite section will hit exactly where they should instead of flapping around your ankles. All major department stores have a Petite section - Macy's, Nordstrom, Bloomies and Saks, as well as some of my favorite boutiques like Anthropologie, Shopbop, J.Crew, Banana Republic and the Gap.
Next, because you have a small upper body you might think you should avoid styles which emphasize your narrow shoulders - like halters, spaghetti straps and strapless styles. However, there is the fabulous concept of layering, which adds a whole new dimension to your style, not to mention giving you even more fashion options! For instance, you could take this gorgeous classic sheath style dress and layer it over a crisp white short-sleeved blouse and you have the perfect interview ensemble! Add a pair of mid-heel black pumps or slingbacks and a sleek handbag. Finish with a streamlined watch and small hoop earrings. The look is chic and sophisticated, not skater girl at all!
You could also wear a gorgeous tissue tee under a tank dress or spaghetti strap dress. In fact, this is exactly what my neighbor Amanda is going to do for her high school grad night. She just had an enormous mole removed from her shoulder and still has the bandage, so she is opting for a short sleeved tissue tee under this flirty little dress and a pair of sassy wedge sandals. Very chic and trendy!
Luckily, this season there are so many gorgeous styles out there to choose from, like this slinky satin belted dress from Banana Republic. The style is loose and sporty, but the satin fabric totally dresses it up. Best of all - it's on sale! I would pair this dress with metallic gladiator sandals and a fun little handbag. Finish with easy accessories like funky dangle earrings and a bold bracelet and you are good to go!
Another option, as you mentioned, would be a great skirt/top combo. However, instead of a long skirt (which actually would make you look even shorter) I would opt for a dressy knee length skirt, a gorgeous top and killer skyscrapers - they will add the illusion of height, as well as dress up the ensemble. Add a chic handbag and a little bling and you're on your way!
Well, darling girl, I hope this gives you a head start for your graduation and interview apparel quest. One word of advice: buy the best quality items that you can afford - no need to break the bank or go deep into debt. But it is much better to have one pair of excellent quality black pumps than five cheap pairs of shoes. And you will save money in the long run by not having to replace fashion staples as often.