Giving Peas a Chance

Back a few years ago several of my friends were struggling with small children and the challenge of expanding their food preferences beyond peanut butter and chicken nuggets.  One parent’s approach impressed me with its cheerful determination and irrefutable logic.  Her young son had informed her that peas were green and icky and he would not eat them.  When asked if he had ever tried peas he had to grudgingly admit he had not – to which his triumphant parent exclaimed “see, then peas aren’t a food you don’t like, they are a food you haven’t learned to like YET!  Try them and give them a fair chance.”   Said petulant toddler grimaced his way through a few bites in high drama but when the adults weren’t watching determined they weren’t half bad, and finished them up.

Thinking “huh, Mom may have a point there” I decided at the start of this year to apply the same logic to myself and I have challenged myself to broaden my sartorial preferences and give more stuff a try.  And not just a half hearted, “look-I-tried-on-an-ugly-color-and-it-still-sucks” try, but more of a “I’ve-never-worn-something-like-this-but-lets-put-it-on-and-play” sort of try.  I selected garments in colors besides black, I stepped away from my tried and true cuts and revisited different silhouettes – leggings, skirts, longer tunics, even skinny jeans.        

At a recent “play date” at my favorite local boutique, Curve Couture, I tried on a bunch of stuff I typically would never have considered.  It took some extra time, an open mind, and a willingness to fail.  Let’s face it, no matter how great a piece is on the hanger, it has to be equally great on your body.  But if it doesn’t look great, its not YOU, it’s the garment and you shrug and move on.  So…that super cool shiny leather-look top I loved? On me, tragic!  But the funky asymmetrical tunic was awesome.  As were the cute swingy tops I would have previously left untried, written off as unflattering.  However, another funky asymmetrical top by the same designer was…well, not so much.  Clearly trying stuff on is still the order of the day, especially when you veer from the tried and true.    

Granted, I have to push myself to try those things that don’t look all that great on the hanger, and when I work with someone else, I challenge them to do the same.  Let’s face it, there are some terrific styles that will do terrific things on the body that look simply horrible on the hanger.  This has been especially true with a couple of recent trends, notably ruching, ruffles, asymmetrical cuts and new stretchy fabrics – all of which can look amazing on….but downright wonky on the hanger.  

I have a close friend who, with some none-too-gentle coercion on my part, tried on a Herve Leger bandage dress.  While it had fabulous potential, it looked absurdly miniscule and restrictive on the hanger.  But when she put it on, it turned out to be one of the most amazing things she has probably ever worn.  It hugged and shaped her curves, elongated her where she wanted it to, and generally looked incredible.  And it was even pretty comfortable too!    

Given the success of that dress I have continued to challenge my friend and on a recent excursion we really pushed some boundaries.  First we found a ruched dress that looked limp and sort of, well, misshapen on the hanger but on her was simply stunning.  Then we found a sequined beaded ponte dress which had similar hanger challenges as the bandage dress and was in a color I have never seen her wear. Modern and cool, it was simply a WOW moment when she put it on.  On a roll, I excitedly brought her BCBG’s foil printed “power skirt” – a ridiculously small square of neoprene overlaid with metallic that looks simply un-wearable.  Holding up the slightly stiff garment her expression indicated that yes, clearly she thought I had lost my marbles – where and how would she wear it?!  I rattled off a couple of suggestions and then I gave her spaniel-like pleading eyes.  She tried it on.  It was terrific.  I knew it would be.       

Hanger appeal not withstanding, not everyone has the body, confidence, or lifestyle that will make some of these garments work.  But you won’t know if that is the case until you try them out and see what you think.  Equally, there are also some garments that look amazing on the hanger and still find their way to the clearance rack because once on a human, they look dreadful.  It happens. 

Granted, I still find some cuts and colors work far better than others for me and buying what I know works is easier.  But I think its FUN to try new stuff, and every once in awhile I find a new silhouette or look that becomes part of my go-to collection. So now my closet has a pair of skinny jeans, a pencil skirt, some swing tunics and the color cobalt blue – all of which have garnered me compliments.  Gosh…maybe mom was right, some things just need a chance.

PS – Curve Couture, in Solano Beach, just launched their online store – – YAY!!!!  Here is a great source for truly unique pieces you won’t find everywhere else and you don’t need to come to Southern California.  (Although their store is so terrific it is well worth the trip)  For those of you who aren’t plus-sized, they carry quite a few European designers with sizing that runs rather small in some cases, as well as some absolutely fab accessories so do check them out!

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