Way back when, I tried Gwynnie Bee for a while. And then cancelled it. It wasn’t working for me then, mostly because I wasn’t wearing dresses all that much and their non-dress inventory wasn’t from the better brands.
The dress thing has changed, and I gotta tell you; if you wear dresses and live in the U.S., you cannot find a better way to spend your money than Gwynnie Bee. If you haven’t heard of it, here’s the deal: You pay a monthly fee and basically borrow garments for as few or as many days as you like. The fee defines how many you can have out at the time. When you are done with something, you send it back; they wash/dry clean it and make it available for the next person. If you love it, you have the option to buy it at a reduced price (since technically it’s used).
Gwynnie Bee has been helping me on my style search. I’ve been able to try shapes, brands, and fabrics that I never would have otherwise (particularly as long as so many plus size vendors are online only).
This dress is a Jessica Howard – The waist is ruched and it is sleeveless, something I tend to avoid. The reviews on the site pointed out that the high neck and longer skirt make it a touch matronly, and I suppose they are right about that, but that also makes it very appropriate for a work dress. At the office, I threw a red sweater over the top to keep my arms warm and felt very pulled together all day long.
That having been said, looking at pictures I’m not sure I will wear it again or keep it; the print (which is actually polka dots) feels too busy to me. Moreover the ruched waist makes shapewear a requirement, and it is FAR too hot for that in Arizona in August. And thus the wonder of Gwynnie Bee – I send it back and they will send me something else!
You will see a lot more Gwynnie Bee dresses over the next couple of months. I’ve become quite fond of dresses and have found some things that do and don’t work for me.
Things that don’t work for my shape:
- Shift dresses – I’m a pear, and every shift dress I’ve tried on so far is too tight in the hips and loose in the chest – bad on both accounts.
- Set-in waist bands or belted waists – This is less about the pear shape and more about that noticeable roll right between my boobs and my waist. If I don’t wear heavy duty shapewear with these types of dresses, the line isn’t right. That is part of the problem with this dress.
- Narrow straps or halters – One of the things with being a pear is that my hips are wider than my shoulders. These types of necklines make that appear even more unbalanced.
- Strapless – I’m a 42G – the amount of engineering required to make a strapless bra that will support me cannot comfortably be made into a strapless bra. Key here being COMFORTABLY – I know they make long-lines and such that can do it, but I don’t want to wear them.
So what does work?
- Fit and flare – room for my hips, emphasize my smaller parts. These don’t all have things like contrasting or set-in waists, so finding the ones that don’t is my current mission.
- Empire waists – my smallest measurement is my bra band, so raising the waist does good things on me.
I’m sure I’ll find more with time. Stay Tuned…
- Jessica Howard Print Ruched Waist Stretch Knit Midi Dress $89.50
- Jewelmint* Owl Ring $29.99
- Bracelet – Little Black Bag (RIP)
- Reiker Sandals $79.99
- Kate Spade Purse (I knew I forgot something, but this is one I’ve had for a while and love every bit as much today as when I first got it!)
(I’ll work on getting better at cell-phone selfies. And getting a new camera…)
*Note about Jewelmint: When you purchase a piece from them, you agree to essentially a monthly subscription – you either need to cancel or buy something each month, otherwise they charge your account and give you a credit. This was quite a surprise the 1st time it happened, and not a happy one. However they often have nice pieces at a decent price, so I’ve gotten good at remembering to skip.