Saturday, September 20, 2008

Every Stylish Woman is Not a Size Two

While it's true that a lot of vintage clothes are smaller than a lot of women today, not all vintage clothes are tiny. At the Xtabay, Liz makes an effort to make sure the shop's stock of dresses, blouses, coats, and suits always include larger sizes.

These photos of Ashley show just how terrific a woman with a double-digit size looks in vintage clothing. If you--like me--haven't been a size six since grade school, here are some suggestions to make the most of your figure:

--Many women are most narrow just below their busts, and a dress that hugs the body at that point can be really flattering. Vintage clothes are great, because so many dresses were cut to emphasize the natural waist rather than the nook just above our hips we're now used to thinking of as our waist.

--Find the feature that you like the best about your body and play it up. I know it's obvious, but it really does work. Ashley is lucky to have great legs, an hourglass figure, and gorgeous facial bones, so she has a lot to work with. But most larger women have an enviable decolletage. (Give the girls a little moonlight, as a friend would say.) If you have a waist, wear something that shows your shape. If you are more apple-shaped, chances are you have great legs. If that's the case, choose a dress that hits just where your calf slopes in below the knee.

--Stay away from bulky clothing. That counts for coats, too. A boxy coat will just make you look like a chunk of wool. A formless skirt that drops straight from your hips will make you look like one of those doll torsos crocheted on top of a toilet paper roll cover. Not good. The photo below of Ashley shows a great coat for a curvy gal.

I bet you thought double-breasted coats were off limits. But these buttons are placed to make the most of an hourglass shape.

--Larger women can often wear bold prints and dramatic colors well, usually better than their less curvaceous friends. Why not take advantage of this fact and phase out some of the black in your wardrobe? Wear a lipstick-red beaded choker or a four-inch rhinestone brooch.

--Finally, and this applies no matter your size, whatever you do choose to wear, wear it like you own it. Walk with confidence and smile at all those heads that turn to look at you.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Another Satisfied Xtabay Customer

One of our beloved regular customers Kami wrote about us in her fabulous Blog! Check it out at
Thanks Kami and we hope you enjoy your new-ish shoes!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Primer on Pattern

The fashion magazines this month are full of dresses made of fabric that looks like it came straight from the early 1960s. The fabrics are festooned with large gold roses fading into a rose background, or a tone-on-tone brocade, or pastiches of four-inch blooms.

Pattern is wonderful, especially if you've been used to wearing practical solids. But if you're unsure about how to wear pattern, here are a few pointers:
  • Large patterns tend to look best on people with large or dramatic features. Otherwise, a person can end up swallowed by a pattern, or, worse, look like a couch.
  • Patterns with sharply different colors also tend to look better on people with dramatic features or coloring. For instance, vivid Pucci prints tend to suit brunettes and pale blonds--people whose coloring is almost as extreme as the print.
  • It can be chic to mix prints. Last week I dressed one of the dress forms for the window with a pansy-patterned circle skirt, a yellow mohair cardigan, and a wide, robin's egg blue belt. It still needed something. Liz handed me a leopard print scarf to tie around the neck. Perfect.
  • If you're wearing a print, avoid fussy jewelry. Small or elaborate jewelry can get lost next to patterned fabric.

Most of all, if you're looking for a dress or blouse in an early 1960s patterned fabric, come to the Xtabay before you try the mall. You'll end up with style (and money) to spare.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Recent Arrivals...

1950's emerald taffata splendor... 125.00.
How glamorous is this early 60's red velvet cocktail dress....sold.

Behold this fabulous 1950's silk organza party dress by Alexa of Honolulu...sold.