I'm not big on trying on clothes. I think it is the result of being constantly disappointed when things do not fit me. I shop online a lot now and deal with sizing issues by having my tape measure handy. Last week I had the pleasure of being invited (along with Georgia from Red Magpie) to Assemblage Project to have a play with their current collection. This night completely changed my mind about trying on clothes.
Karen Lee Cotton Dress
This simple yet exquisite black cotton dress by Karen Lee is a Small-Medium. I put it on and was about to slip it off (because it was just too big) when Karen suggested playing with the back - and tah dah! She transformed the back of the dress into a flattering (particularly on me) racer back style by slipping a pin through. It altered the look of the entire dress. The final look was one that appeared tailored to my body.
Karen Lee Cotton Dress with 4Minutes33 Travel Cardigan
I then teamed the Karen Lee piece with the travel cardigan by 4Minutes33. The pieces by both these designers complement each other beautifully. This travel cardigan can be worn long or short depending on how you put it on. Many of their pieces are versatile providing the perfect collection of clothing for travel.
As someone who moves around so much and is sensitive to changes in temperature, I would suggest investing in this 4Minutes33 travel cardigan, the 4Minutes33 Loop Dress (not featured here) and the Karen Lee Loop Jumper (featured below). These pieces would provide the basic staples for any travel wardrobe. Perhaps that should be another post.
What I've really been drawn to is how delicately almost all the clothes in the store drape. The pieces should be too big for me - and in my head they should make me look shapeless, engulfing me, instead the fabric and cut seem to do amazing things on different body shapes and sizes. Mine included. I am someone who loves having everything very closely tailored. Each holiday I take multiple bags of clothes with tags on them to Fiji to my very competent tailor. Trying on clothes from the Assemblage Project is changing my mind about the need to have everything fitting and so closely tailored.
4Minutes33 Travel Cardigan
4Minutes33 Nakata Dress
This piece, the Nakata dress by 4Minutes33 is in a Size 12 - again the cut and the draping allowed it to fit me. I would be more inclined to wear it as a skirt or with some sort of top under it, just to cover my back. I love how the bottom of the dress falls, again quite structured and fitted around my waist but very easy and romantic at the bottom. It was towards the end of the night when I tried this and off came the shoes. I enjoyed the feel of the beautiful wooden floors under my feet, it just made the outfit seem so whimsical and romantic - so me.
4Minutes33 Nakata Dress
Karen Lee Loop Jumper
“I don't wear red, I just can’t pull it off” I say that all the time. I feel like I’ve been such a liar! These photos tell me something very different.
I saw this piece at FashFest and it looked amazing on the model and while I'm not model – I was keen have a play. I was stunned by the way I looked. This Loop Jumper by Karen Lee would fit someone who typically wears a Size 18, the way I have it on here is how someone with a larger body shape could wear it as a jumper. It fits and looks like a dress on me. Karen also styled it as a dress on me (it's one of those pieces that can be worn in a variety of ways), I haven't included those photos because it had a very low back and I was worried about hateful skinny comments! I don't feel like this 'dress' drowned me at all. It added volume without adding 'volume'.
4Minutes33 Y2 Dress
This dress, Y2 by 4Minutes33 - again not typically something I'd put on because I worry about the cut being too big. I don't want skin tight but I like things that show I have some curves. In my mind this dress shouldn't work. Gemma (who after all these months probably knows me and my body!) suggested I put it on and by this point I've learnt to give things ago. Besides, it's not a tattoo - if I don't like it, I can just take it off, and quite easily too. I put it on and I feel like the result and the look on my face speaks for itself. With a fun pair of heels this dress which wasn't supposed to be 'me' suddenly becomes very 'me'!
4Minutes33 Y2 Dress and The Scarf Project Scarf
I loved every single garment I tried. In theory, nothing in that shop should have fit me (going by sizes) and in theory I probably shouldn't have liked everything given that I like clothes that hug my body a little more. But all that theory went out the window. I love the way these pieces moved with me, I loved the softness of the draping and the beauty of the fabric. I was drawn to the versatility of the pieces and the relaxed silhouettes. The one thing I learnt was - just try them on!
Because I hate trying on clothes, I went in prepared.
Here are a few of my tips:
- I set aside time for this, I didn’t want to be rushed
- I took a belt, just because sometimes they make a big difference, and of course there's an element of functionality to them
- I wore adhesive silicone cups instead of a bra. That way I didn't have to bother with bra straps being in the way or worrying about the right type of bra
- I took a pair of shoes that I'd most likely wear these clothes them. Or at least a type of shoe you wear often. I wear heels a lot but the day we took these photos I had been out all day and had flats on. I took a pair of heels to wear whilst trying on the clothes
- Try different sizes - up or down – don’t pay too much attention to them
- I listened to what the designers had to say about the pieces, I trusted their judgement
- I also listened to what I thought and paid attention to how I was feeling. Just because someone says something looks amazing on you doesn't mean you have to love it or buy it or wear it
- I let the designers know what I was uncomfortable about and often they had great, easy solutions
- I took photos, that way, I could come home and have a good think about pieces I may have been unsure about
By the end of the night we realised that I had tried the entire size range available at the store from the Small/Medium pieces all the way through to Size 18! A few months ago I purchased a 4Minutes33 jacket in large – even though there was a small available. I no longer look at the sizes on the tags. I picked up what I liked and Karen or Gemma talked me through the garment and helped me with the fit.
I think it's so important to have a play and try on clothes, to not worry too much about the sizing.
Thank you Karen and Gemma for being so selfless with your time, and for showing so much patience while I twirled and squealed and jumped around your store! Thank you Wendy for recognizing importance and relevance of bloggers, especially in Canberra.
You can have a look at these pieces and more (the pieces at the store are updated regularly) at:
Unit 3a 25 Lonsdale Street
Phone 0435 001 886
Hours: Tue - Thu 10am-6pm | Fri 10am-7pm | Sat 10am-4pm | Sun 10am-3pm
*This is not a sponsored post, I was not given or gifted anything to write this post, all thoughts and comments are my own.