Thursday, May 08, 2008

Dear Daddy Likey: It's Hard Out There for a Frog

Dear Daddy Likey,
I have what I like to call a frog body. (check the photo if you're confused)

As a swimmer, I have huge [broad] shoulders. I go in a BIT at the waist, but according to the technical fashion rules of body shapes, I'm a "vertical rectangle" or "vertical hourglass". Woo. BUT! I go in NOT ONLY at my waist, but at my hips, too, rrrright where my pants sit, like a frog's body. This can sometimes create a faux muffin top, which makes me sad inside. I am tall (5'10ish), so one might say "Gee, what about trying some oh-so-fashionable highwaisted pants?!". Well, I HATE highwaisted stuff, unless it's an AA style skirt. I'd like to hide/fix my frog problem without having to resort to a life of empire/baby doll tops and dresses. Any suggestions?

Hoppily Hoping to Hear from You!

Diane Von Frogenberg

Dear Diane,

I loved your email not only because it's the first time a fashion question had been accompanied by a photo of a dead frog, but also because I had gone my whole life without realizing that I, too, have a frog body! I feel so enlightened and relieved, sort of like the way I felt when I found out the secret twist at the end of The Village, minus the urge to kill M. Night Shyamalan.

Now, most fashion blogs/magazines/tv shows would tell you to just throw on a belt to define a waist and create an hourglass shape. Unfortunately, this is one of the greatest cultural myths of our time. Since I am easily brainwashed and have a steep learning curve, I throw on a belt almost every day expecting a grand transformation, but all I get is more emphasis on my ample gut. Our model illustrates this point:

Belt does not equal Marilyn Monroe.

As the proud owner of a frog body, here are my top tips and tricks that do not include throwing on a belt:

1. Buying pants sucks.

Oops, that wasn't a tip or a trick, but seriously, trying to find pants when your hips are smaller than your waist is a nightmare. It's been even more of a nightmare for the past, oh, ten years or so because of the proliferation of lowrise jeans. Jeans that hit at the hip or below serve as something of a sartorial muffin pan, forcing your belly to bloom out over the waistband, so
I've always viewed lowrise jeans the same way my mom viewed lesbianism in the 70's--an appealing trend, but ultimately not a good fit for me*.

Therefore, I implore you to reconsider your hatred of “high waisted” items. As my friend Lyndsey once said: “I love high waisted pants because if you don’t tuck in your shirt, they’re just a girdle.” Wiser words were never spoken.

Seriously, go to a store, pick out a pair of jeans with a high (or even mid) rise and a straight or slightly flared leg, and put them on. Pair them with a shirt that hits a few inches below your hipbone. Look in the mirror. If you still see a frog, I will pay you $100. OK, I won’t, but I will give you a back massage and a mimosa. OK, I won’t do that either, but you get the idea.

Even this high will do. Not so bad, right?
Gap, $59

2. Rock cardigans, and rock ‘em hard.

Cardigans are a frog’s best friend, because they flatter your neck, boobs, and shoulders while skimming over your belly. Play with different styles and lengths to see which are most flattering on you. I found a shrunken cardigan about a year ago that somehow perfectly hides my lovehandles, and I wear it so often that it’s faded and pilled and full of holes (for this reason, I’m currently engaged in a zealous campaign to bring grunge back…Come as you are, indeed).

This cardigan + long black tanktop + your new favorite high rise jeans = one hott frog. sale, $60

3. Learn to layer; love to layer.

This ties into tip #2 (cardigans are by far my favorite layer), but layering effectively (as opposed to dangerously) can be really flattering and make your outfits more interesting. I personally almost never leave the house without a stretchy binding underlayer to mush my stomach into submission (my friend Rachel, who wears only comfortable, soft, flowy clothing, is horrified by this practice, but that’s another topic for an upcoming post). Try a longer tanktop under a billowy blouse, or a black vest over a men’s v-neck tee, or a fitted jacket over all of the above.

4. Embrace skirts.

Trying on dresses, for me, is not unlike a stay at Guantanamo Bay: it's humiliating, demoralizing, and often leaves me crying publicly in my underwear. Dresses have to fit perfectly in like 80 different places simultaneously--they're basically a mathematical impossibility, especially when your belly is bigger than your hips (I think if you tried to tell a fashion designer that not all women possessed smallish hourglass figures, they would say, "What do you mean?")

If you, too, find yourself on the unflattering end of this equation, consider joining me in giving up on the damn things (life motto: There is much honor in giving up.) and embracing skirts instead. Try flowy knee length skirts, mini skirts with bright tights, those favorite AA skirts of yours. Playing with proportion in your outfits is the best defroggifying (deeeefffiinitely my new favorite word) strategy I've found, except for, possibly...

5. Spanx.

*When I called my mom and asked, without explanation, if I could write about her lesbian yearnings on my blog, she said, "As long as you make it clear that I didn't actually do anything. I thought about it a lot because I was down on men and it was the cool thing to do but in the end I just couldn't get there."


Anonymous said...

ssoooooo funny! love the lesbian analogy! :)

Anonymous said...

When are you going to get your own column a la Hadley Freeman in Guardian... you really need one....

echidna girl said...

Thank you for making me laugh so hard I nearly made my new eye liner run. Which would have added to my very own frog look.

Pamcasso said...

Most hilarious post ever! you need a column!

Anonymous said...

amen to the love of cardigans!

airstreamdiva said...

dear daddy likey,
what pray tell is the smushy layer you where underneath it all to suck in your stomach??

airstreamdiva said...

ps.... ummm... i said "where" instead of "wear". oops

Unknown said...

hahaha, this blog is easily my favorite part of life. wow. that's sad.
i don't have a frog shape, but i will definitely give that high or mid rise thing a shot-ola. thanks nona!

the upper vest side said...

Hahaha- this is the funniest thing I have read all week!

I too am a frog, and cardigans are such a lifesaver! You can pair them with everything, and buttoning the middle button only, usually gives the illusion of an hourglass shape, and hides any unwanted bulges.

PS- Spanx are great, but never wear them on a date, when there is a possiblitity of ...closeness to a new man. So embarassing.


WendyB said...

I want to hang out with your mom.

Tuesday Taylor said...

Dear Daddy Likey,
I accidentally left this commentary/inquiry under the Woodrow comments, so here it is again.
Thanks for the informative discussion. As I scrolled down, I realized I had just bought that exact sweater at J. Crew last week! Only for the full price of $88! Not happy 'bout it! Snap! Can I take it to the store and demand the sale price, or was it just a special online?

Anonymous said...

Huzzah for the high rise, seriously. I, too, have zero hippage, and thus the last ten years or so were a parade of low-rise disasters. My current favorite high-rise is the Joe's Jeans Muse (ebay, friends, not retail!), which I am sporting today with a hip-length sweater and yes, a stretchy underlayer.

Anonymous said...

all praise to winona. i heart this post.

Anonymous said...

This is brilliance. From the dead frog in a belt to the quip about your mom--this is just awesome and fantastic.

And I have newfound sympathy for the small hipped.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for helping me to not be depressed even though I have finals to take.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, your mom and I need to get coffee or something. That's exactly where I am right now -- not quite at the level of a post-George Susan Ross, but edging slowly and uncomfortably towards "might be gay for the right woman."

Anonymous said...

I would have loved your mom even more if she hadn't felt the need to clarify that she didn't do anything. However, your mom is pretty damn coo'.

I'm a big fat lesbian. (And a frog too!)

Dressed and Pressed said...

You're mom discussed her lesbian yearnings with you... That is so awesome. I want your mom! We could do a mom exchange. Oh, okay, maybe I could add something extra for yours... How about my mom and a whole devil's food cake with extra frosting? I'd say that was a fair exchange. No?

Anonymous said...

hahahahahah ohhh my goodness. I have about seven ap english assignments to do right now but when I saw this post I squealed and ran around for about five minutes and laughed before I even read it. That pseudonym is very very clever! I also think that picture of the frog with the belt is now my favourite picture, and it made me laugh even harder(and so loudly that my cat bolted out of the room). Those are great suggestions, I never even THOUGHT of a cardigan or a longer shirt with medium waisted jeans. I LOVE cardigans, too(even though I only have one)! Now I NEED to go shopping. This post was waaayyy waayyy well the wait thank you so so so sososoo much
ps your mom is so hilarious and amazingly cool. I think she just "spit the truth" (ohh, excuse my thugness there) that's on every woman's mind when they've quit on men.

Anonymous said...

oh. I meant to say well WORTH the wait.

Anonymous said...

I can SOO relate. I hadn't realized that the reason for my extreme muffin top was my narrow hips, but this post shed light on the subject!

Loved all the clothes suggestions.

Do a post on cute, semi-normal looking (not the super fashiony ones, nor the mom ones) higher waisted jeans, please!

Icy Mom said...

"...but all I get is more emphasis on my ample gut." Oh so true and oh so sad...your friend in gut ampleness feels your pain.

LallaLydia said...

Yeah that was some really good advice. I agree about the column.

a little sewing said...

I love your Mom- Happy Mothers Day~~~

Unknown said...

very, very nice blog!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Winona, does your brilliance know no bounds? Even as someone with the opposite challenge (small waist, big hips), I can appreciate this insightful advice, since much of it crosses figure boundaries. You're a total rockstar.

Kelly said...

I have been dress shopping for three weekends straight for a couple upcoming weddings.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels the urge to cry a bit.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, I nearly (literally) burst my stitches reading this post. I have recently had abdominal surgery and my normal froggy body is even worse now with the swelling. I was feeling sooo sorry for myself, but after reading this entry (and once the percocet kicked in) I lifted a mirror to see my body...I AM the frog! Right down to the greeny yellow skin! Now as soon as I can move, I'm getting a belt to see what it does for me.

I know I sound insane but I love your blog!

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