It is so often that we fall in love with unique styles yet tend to shy away from actually buying them if they appear to be difficult to style or wear. If you feel intimidated by more challenging-to-wear clothing, rest assured that there are plenty of options to style even the most difficult items without forgoing comfort.
Here is a list of commonly difficult-to-wear clothing and how to fix some of the styling issues associated with them:
Backless or Open-Back Tops and Dresses:
So why are backless and open-back tops and dresses so intimidating yet so appealing to us? It is true that an open back garment can feel like a risky choice yet if designed and worn properly, exudes elegance in evening wear and more casual styles. If you learn a few tricks to comfortably wear and style them, open back garments can become regularly used clothing items in your closet.
The main challenge when it comes to backless clothing is what to do with that pesky back bra strap. How can you achieve comfort and support without going fully braless (unless you feel comfortable doing so!)? The good news is that there are plenty of accessories and products on the market that allow you to have comfortable coverage and support without the inconvenience of the back bra strap. You can choose whichever product works best for you based on your comfort level and style.
Truly, the easiest way to wear a backless garment is going completely braless- That of course, is if you feel comfortable enough doing so. If you invest in some pasties for nipple coverage, you’ll be able to tackle wearing any backless style you fall in love with. If going braless is not up to your comfort level and you need a bit more coverage and support, there are some adhesive products and invisible back-strap bras that offer additional comfort and coverage.
Get creative! Just because a clothing item features an open back design does not mean the back has to be completely uncovered. If you have a black or contrast color bra, allow the back strap to show for a more relaxed, casual look. Don’t forget to hide or trim any tags the bra has at the back. Try to avoid tan or white bra colors as these colors are more suitable for wearing underneath clothing. If you are feeling a bit more risqué, a colorful lace bra can add a flirty, feminine flare when paired with more casual backless clothing.
Another option for styling backless clothing items includes pairing them with racer-back bras. These style bras add a unique design touch to open-back garments. The most common racer-back styles on the market include crisscross and bandeaux shapes. If you are lucky enough to find a color match, these styles will incorporate with you backless garments beautifully giving the impression that they are part of the design. If you prefer more coverage and support, a racer-back bra will work with most of your open back clothing providing a more casual look that does not jeopardize comfort.
Spaghetti Strap Blouses and Dresses:
The beauty of spaghetti strap tops and dresses is that they make great layering pieces. Believe it or not, spaghetti strap styles can become everyday items easily adjustable from an office setting to an evening out afterwards. During the late spring and summer months, spaghetti strap dresses and blouses will make a versatile, feminine addition to any closet.
It is certainly true that spaghetti strap clothing can be a little bit tricky to wear if you particularly dislike your bra strap showing. For that reason, many women shy away from purchasing spaghetti straps all together and may sometimes become a bit uneasy with this somewhat junior-esque style.
When it comes to wearing a spaghetti strap garment, we encourage you to embrace your figure regardless of size or shape. If you feel comfortable enough going braless, do so, especially if wearing a bra has always felt a bit too confining for you. If you choose to go braless, pasties are a great way to add a bit more comfort and solve the issues of the nipples showing through the lightweight fabric.
Adhesive bras on the other end, are another suitable option if you prefer more coverage, support and maybe a bit of extra padding. The adhesive nature of these products are often a hassle to wear on a regular basis but will become a go-to with more formal eveningwear and cocktail dresses that feature spaghetti straps.
On the other hand, a traditional strapless bra may be quite suitable if the spaghetti strap item in question features a horizontal seam underneath the bust line. The main issue with traditional strapless bras is that they shift down during movement which can be frustrating and uncomfortable. A horizontal seam underneath the bust line may provide more stability for a regular strapless bra by preventing it from shifting down during wear. If you are lucky enough to fall in love with a spaghetti strap item that already has built in padding at the bust, you do not have to worry about bra straps all together.
In the case you don’t mind having the bra straps showing, spaghetti strap dresses and blouses can actually handle this look very well if you choose a neutral bra color. The combination of the straps will create a more casual look and allow you to get creative when pairing the bra strap color with the spaghetti strap item at hand. Keep in mind that wearing a simple black bra with black straps will work with almost any spaghetti strap dresses or blouses. Even better, if you find a bra color that matches the dress or top in question, pairing them might give the impression that the bra strap is part of the spaghetti strap design. You can also go for a more color blocked look by combining a bra of contrasting color with the spaghetti strap items you own. We do encourage you to stay away from styling spaghetti strap items with tan or white bras as most of them are designed to be worn under clothing.
If you get a bit too warm during the fall and early spring months, layering a spaghetti strap blouse or dress underneath heavier pieces will provide a great balancing act temperature wise. Spaghetti strap blouses work great with light cardigans and blazers and can be paired with almost any bottoms. They make a perfect addition to an office setting while easily adjusting to any environment outside of work. These styles are lightweight enough to be tucked into higher waist pants and skirts while also eliminating bulkiness in the layering process.
Low, Plunging V-Necklines:
We’ve all fallen in love (in theory) with a deep V-neck dress or blouse at some point or another, but are we daring enough to wear them? It is true that not only are they a bit difficult to style and high maintenance to wear, they are certainly not suitable for every occasion.
Deep V-necks are commonly added to evening gowns, cocktail dresses and formal/evening blouses. While they may not provide an everyday style suitable for the office, a plunging V-neck garment is feminine and sexy yet still maintains an elegant flare.
As is also the case for backless garments, lower V-neck clothing often requires investing in a few additional items in order to wear and style comfortably. The problem area is usually the bust- Specifically, choosing between the right support and coverage such that it does not show in the open V area. Needless to say, a regular bra just won’t work.
Let start with the simplest solution: Going completely braless. If you feel comfortable or have the courage to do it, simply going braless will create a clean look and eliminate the need to hide any unwanted bra elements. If you do decide to go braless however, you may want to use pasties to eliminate the nipple-issue. Invest in some double sided adhesive tape to hold some of the unstable fabric edges down thus avoiding those risky “peek-a-boo” accidents. If you are looking for a quick fix and don’t have time to go on a search for adhesive bra tape, use duct tape. It adheres just as well (if not even better) and nobody has to know your secret!
If you are not so daring as to go completely braless, or you need some additional support and cup-enhancement, there are plenty of products on the market that will fulfill these requirements. For starters, if the V-neck in question is very low, whether it is open or sheer, you may want to invest in adhesive side cups. These adhere to each side of the bust leaving the center completely uncovered. Some adhesive bras are more padded than others providing an option for size enhancement as well.
In the case of a garment that features a higher cut V-neck not extending all the way to the belly button, there are some specialty bras on the market that are designed to accommodate less exaggerated V-neck styles. These bras replicate the V shape of a V-neck garment by extending lower than a regular bra. They also feature a thicker band under the bust area providing more stability and support.
You might find this difficult to believe, but a basic sheer blouse is truly an everyday item. If you familiarize yourself with some simple styling tricks, it is incredibly easy to transition most sheer blouses from the office to an evening out afterwards. They are lightweight enough to be layered with cardigans, sweaters, and blazers which classifies them as multi-seasonal. See-through blouses like those made of chiffon are elegant and appropriate enough work just as well with a pair of blue jeans as they do tucked into a tailored skirt.
Don’t be intimidated by the transparent characteristic of the fabric. If you invest in a few spaghetti strap tank tops in different colors you can effortlessly pair them with all the chiffon blouses you own. Not only does this fix the see-through issue, the spaghetti strap tanks provide enough warmth thus counteracting the lightweight characteristic of the blouse.
Vise versa, you may layer a sheer blouse with a slightly revealing dress to make it more formal or work appropriate. The best example is a spaghetti strap dress that requires a bit of shoulder coverage- Throwing a chiffon button-down blouse over it can make it more elegant and appropriate for a number of different settings. You may tie the bottom edges of the blouse at the waist area for a more playful, casual look.
Corset-Imitation Tops and Dresses:
As opposed to actual corsets, corset-style clothing features less complicated seams and often forgoes the use of boning, padding and other structural elements. A corset silhouette can be quite flattering to the waist and bust area but it can prove to be a bit tricky to style and perhaps not quite appropriate for every setting.
When it come to a corset-style top, choosing the most suitable bottoms in the styling process can be a bit of a challenge. For a more feminine look, pair a softly draping skirt with more form-fitting corset items. If you like to juxtapose your styles a bit, pair a corset fitted top with tailored trousers and skirts. In the case you prefer a form-fitted look from head to toe, a pair of fitted skinny jeans in combination with a corset-imitation blouse can accentuate your waist and hips alluding to a more elongated figure.
As is common with all styles that are trickier to wear, some corset-imitation clothing can sometimes cause challenges at the bust area. Due to the increased cost, many corset-imitation tops and dresses do not have built in padding at the bust area. This means that if you are a smaller cup size, you may experience some fit issues in this particular area.
However, corset-type clothing is very friendly with various styles of removable padding whether adhesive or non-adhesive in nature. This is made possible due to the placement of the seams which provide enough stability and structure to support added padding at the bust area. If you usually steer clear of adhesive bras, you can cheat the system and use regular, non-stick cup enhancements. With most corset-inspired clothing, the form-fitted silhouette and horizontal seams underneath the bust line (if any) should be enough to hold them in place during wear.
Dropped Shoulder or One-Shoulder Clothing:
When it comes to dropped shoulder or one-shoulder garments, the main challenge is the bust area- What to do with those pesky bra straps? It can be somewhat of an undertaking to incorporate bra straps into the styling of a dropped or single-shoulder clothing item. While perfectly matched color bra straps might give you some pleasantly surprising results, adding the extra strap risks altering the look and design of the garment. Needless to say, the extra strap will jeopardize the one-shoulder look.
The solution? This is where those adhesive products can really come through for you. If you are comfortable not wearing a bra all together, some simple adhesive pasties will provide an easy, quick fix. If you are after a bit more coverage and support or perhaps an enhanced cup size, adhesive bras will work great with dropped shoulder or one-shoulder styles. It is true that adhesive products are not always suitable for everyday use and can be a quite a hassle to apply and remove on a regular basis. For that reason, they are more suitable for occasional rather than regular use.
If you prefer to steer clear of adhesive products all together, you can always go for a traditional strapless bra. One shoulder garments provide an additional advantage when paired with a regular strapless bra- You can actually leave one of the bra straps on for additional stability and support by hiding it under the covered shoulder portion. Doing so will prevent the bra from shifting down during movement which is such a common issue with traditional strapless bras.
If you own a lot of dropped shoulder and one-shoulder clothing, it is a good idea to invest in a specialty bra specifically designed to tackle the challenges associated with this style. Single shoulder bras are available on the market and come in a few different designs and support capabilities. Most of them feature a wider single strap resembling somewhat of a sports bra look.
A wider strap will allow for increased stability and support without jeopardizing comfort. Other options include thin, removable straps that can be used with one shoulder garments featuring thinner straps themselves. In many cases, multiple thin straps are preferred in order to maintain stability. Regardless the design, investing in a one shoulder bra, especially if you own a large number of single-shoulder clothing items, will take the hassle out of styling and comfortably wearing these challenging styles.
As a side note, single shoulder and especially dropped shoulder items are not particularly easy to layer. Their asymmetric nature is designed to work best alone and not in a layered combination. That is not say that you should completely shy away from pairing them with other pieces in your closet- if you get a bit creative you can certainly make one-shoulder items work in a layered outfit.
Crop tops are looked upon as a younger, more junior silhouette. If you feel like you are past the age where crop tops are appropriate, you might still get away with wearing them if you learn how to style and use them in the appropriate setting. While crop tops might not be a winner at the office, they are a great option for a night out with the girls weather you are going out for a drinks or risking it all on the dance floor.
The secret? Pair them with high-waist bottoms.
There is nothing wrong with showing your belly button in your teens and early twenties but when you get a bit older it is always safer to lean on the elegant side. Believe or not, crop tops can still be elegant while providing a casual, playful edge. As mentioned above, the principal rule is to combine them with higher waist bottoms. Not only does this combination provide comfort and allows for more coverage, it also creates the illusion of longer legs thus elongating the figure.
Due to the shorter length, crop tops offer a great option for women that have a longer torso by providing somewhat of a balancing act proportionally. In addition, pairing crop tops with high waist jeans, trousers or skirts will further accentuate the waist allowing for a more slender appearance.
A cropped sweater works great in combination with high-waist, blue jeans providing a more casual, everyday look. On the other hand, cropped silk blouses mix beautifully with high-waist tailored skirts for an elevated, more elegant style. Needless to say, cropped tops can provide a lot of versatility regardless of age if you apply the right styling tricks. They are a great tool for layering especially with longer cardigans and blazers for a flattering, elongating effect. When styled in this fashion, the variation in hemlines provide a visually balanced appearance that enhances the waist and hip area.
Sewing the most basic of sleeves can be quite a challenge for sewing beginners. Even intermediate dressmakers can sometimes struggle with the construction of a basic sleeves. The challenge? Well, not only do you have to sew within a circular shape (which may feel a bit unnatural), sewing a regular woven sleeve requires the addition of ease (excess for movement) in the sleeve cap.
The sleeve cap has to have a rounded, three-dimensional structure in order to accommodate the shape and movement of the upper arms. This is achieved by adding two very subtle gathering stitches along the edge of the sleeve cap before the sleeve is actually sewn together. Working with these gathering stitches is one of the greatest challenges for sewing beginners as the gathering needs to be invisible on the face of the garment yet achieve a 3-dimensional shape. If it sounds a bit confusing, don't worry! We will walk you through all the steps necessary for achieving this concept below.
What is a basic set-in sleeve?
A set in sleeve is what you may know as a regular or basic sleeve. It is the most common sleeve style used with woven fabrics. The sleeve itself is sewn and prepped individually after which it is attached to the armhole of the garment. As mentioned above, it requires two rows of gathering stitches along the sleeve cap before the sleeve is actually sewn together. These gathering stitches add excess and allow for proper movement within the sleeve cap adding comfort to the upper arm area.
Here are some of the difficulties you are bound to experience in the construction of a regular set in sleeve, especially if you are new to sewing:
1. Stitching along the subtle gathering of the sleeve without actually creating a gathered seam on the face of the garment.
2. Achieving an even look for both sleeves: This is perhaps the most frustrating aspect of sewing sleeves for beginners. The two sleeves will most likely look uneven on your first few tries. This has to do with the direction of the stitch during the sewing process and will solve itself over time as you get more practice.
3. Keeping the fabric edges matched along the most curved underarm area of the sleeves/garment.
4. Working with the front and back notches to match each sleeve to the correct side of the garment. This will feel a bit confusing at the beginning but some tricks we'll share with you bellow will facilitate this process.
Silk is one of the most luxurious fabrics that often become family air-looms being passed down from generation to generation. To ensure their maximum life span, it is imperative that your silk garments are cared for properly maintaining minimum damage and disintegration over time. Care is perhaps the most important factor in regards to the long term durability and lifespan of a silk clothing item.
While it is easy to fall in love with the feel and look of silk, we can often feel dissuaded by its need for special care and dry cleaning. The good news is, you can actually wash many types of silk fabrics at home if you follow the proper guidelines to avoid damaging them over time.
We'll walk you through all the steps necessary for hand washing your silks bellow, but before we get started it is important to note that there are some extra sensitive silk fabrics that maintain best appearance and quality over time if dry cleaned only.
The following should always be dry cleaned for best results:
-Dupioni (always dry clean)
-Satin Back Crepe
-Beaded and Printed silks
-Most novelty silk fabrics
The main reason dry cleaning is recommended for these particular fabrics is due to their lustrous, shiny characteristic. Washing these silk fabrics by hand or with a washing machine may cause them to lose their luster and texture.
In the case of silk fabrics that feature beading, trims and other decorative features, dry cleaning is perhaps the best choice to avoid damaging these ornamental features.
Printed silk or silk featuring very bright or dark colors would also work best with dry cleaning due to the risk of color fading over time.
If you own silk garments that are lined (especially if the lining features a contrast color) it is recommended that you dry clean these items to avoid the color bleeding through or getting absorbed into the silk fibers.
Washing Instructions for Silk Garments:
If you choose to forego dry cleaning and tackle silk care at home, it is best to wash silk fabrics by hand. Keep in mind that washing silk will change the texture and appearance of the fabric often resulting in a slightly faded color and altered luster. Some people prefer hand washing silks over dry cleaning due to the fact that if done correctly, it adds a soft quality/hand to the fabric.
It is important to note that silk fabric is made of protein fibers. This means that the fibers' structure is composed of protein molecules. For that reason, silk can disintegrate over time due to friction and high temperatures. It is good practice to approach caring for silk the same way you would care for human hair.
Fashion illustration is a skill that is developed over time contingent on lots of patience and practice. Perhaps the most rewarding part about learning how to draw a fashion figure is being able to sketch your own clothing design ideas in an effortless, readable way. This is especially valuable if you want to learn how to design and make your own clothing.
Lets face it, the concept of drawing clothing on a fashion figure can feel quite intimidating. However, you really don't have to have a fashion design degree to learn how to design clothing on your own and effortlessly sketch your ideas down on paper.
The good news is there are a few simple steps you can follow that will help you avoid some of the confusion associated with proportion and movement and allow you to focus and prioritize when drawing clothing. Before tackling the clothing sketches, it is first important to understand how to draw a fashion figure. Drawing the figure first and then dressing it with your design ideas will not only help you bring the clothing item to life, it will also allow for a much easier sketching process and understanding of basic fabric drape, fit and movement.
A fashion figure is different than a regular figure drawing in the fact that it is a more dramatic, less detailed representation featuring more exaggerated movement and proportions. Fashion figures can essentially take any shape you desire stylistically allowing you to really express your style artistically. Often times, the style of your fashion sketches reflects the style of the clothing you are designing. As a beginner , don't stress too much about finding your style right away- this is something that occurs naturally over time whether you strive for it or not. For now, focus on learning the basic proportion and movement concepts described below which should hopefully lay out the bullring blocks for finding your drawing style over time.
As described above, a good fashion drawing should be able to capture the movement of the design and fabric you are envisioning. If you learn a few basic concepts about proportion, balance and movement you'll be able to sketch a fashion figure in just a few minutes. As you practice, you will find what works best for you and your drawing style.
A journey into our design process, sewing tutorials, fashion tips, and all the inspiring people and things we love.
Designer by trade and dressmaker at heart. I spend most of my days obsessing over new fabrics and daydreaming new ideas.
Executive Assistant &
Client Relations Manager