Trade Show Chic…

Alright Bunnies. Today’s post is brought to you by a tragic turn of events in the great state of Texas. I have been instructed, by a boss filled with malice and singular lack of understanding of my personal style , to not only wear a POLO to an upcoming trade show, but to wear said polo… with pants. Or as he suggested “capris!!” (in a voice filled with the excitement of a mad scientist embarking on the creation of a new, terrible travesty of the natural world.)

Oh, and before I forget. He also had ideas on my shoewear. Sandals. But “nice ones, not the ones that flip.”

Ladies, this is very, very bad.

So. Sigh. I’ll say it right now. I’m not wearing pants. I can’t bring myself to do such a thing. Ick. Of all the unflattering garments I could wrap around my hips, pants, ‘KHAKI’ pants, are not happening. I will admit to owning two pairs of ‘capris’ (I call ‘em crops.) One pair is a grrranimals-appopriate shade of magenta that was rejected as trade-show appropriate by the current bane of my existence. My only other pair of crops was rejected by yours truly, as they are the cargo-style with strings that are my dog walking pants. Which, incidentally, is what I think crops are usually only appropriate for – kickin’ it with the dog and/or while doing weekend chores when I run the risk of accidentally getting my circle skirt wet while cleaning the toilets.

So, before we commence with trade show skirt-as-khaki pattern plotting… I have to ask. Does anyone out there generally wear dresses and skirts like I do? Thanks to on again, off again ‘what she wore’ photos I’m well aware of how I look in trousers, and I just don’t think it’s a nice silhouette on me. My narrowest spot is closer to my bust than my waist, so most trousers hit at an unflattering spot. Take that, mix it in with a polo that really needs tucking, and pants just aren’t awesome. So… what’s a girl to do when she bumps up against pant-wearing expectations? I personally think that a khaki skirt is interchangeable for khaki trousers, but my boss isn’t as much on the skirt bandwagon. I think, perhaps, it strikes some people as strange that I don’t really own trousers. Boss-in-question appeared genuinely surprised when I told him that what I wear at work is what I wear at night and on weekends. So. Who out there is a dress-wearing-freak willing to draw the line at unflattering capris? We’re not even going to discuss the non-flopping sandal issue.

Let’s talk patterns. The polos that the ‘girls’ got are sort of OK. For polos. I mean, don’t get me wrong, they still make me feel like I’m choking, but they aren’t like boy-polos. There’s a yoke with some odd pleats and a buttonless placket. They make the ‘assets’ look a bit low slung, but I’m stuck with it. I TOTALLY asked if I could alter the neckline, but for SOME REASON that was denied too!!

Here’s the sad polo in question. This is the black one. The grey one looks exactly the same. For reals.

And here’s a close up to show the awesome yoke-pleat combo. I gotta admit, I don’t even understand the thought process that went into this design. “Hey! Let’s put a YOKE on a GOLF SHIRT but add in odd PLEATS!!

I promise. You’ll see photos of me in said shirt. But not tonight. Tonight I’m still getting used to the idea that I’ll be leaving the privacy of my own home wearing this beast. I’m sure you see why the pants/capri initiative got a big thumbs down from me. You know who I’d look like if I wore this shirt and a pair of khakis??

This guy… uh, girl?

[image Wikipedia/SNL]

Let’s get down to damage control pattern picking. So I’ve got this polo and would like a skirt a bit higher waisted, made from fabric closer to chinos than crepe. You know – heaver khaki.

My FIRST thought was the Beignet from Colette.

Cute, would probably work well with a thicker, stiff cotton, right? Two problems. First, getting the button placement is a pain in the ASTERISKS, and the next show is in two weeks. My first Beignet took six months to finish due to button placement dread. Secondly, it’s a little short. I hate flying with above-the-knee skirts, because then I’m flashing thigh on the plane. In close proximity to strangers. Potentially inebriated strangers.

Another thought was, of course, the Jenny

Totally do-able. I could lengthen just a bit to ease back on the bright, white, airplane thigh, but it just feels WRONG to make a pencil skirt in such a casual fabric.

So then I was thinking of a sort of pseudo-Jenny. AKA – take the Jenny, add a bit of length and a fly/belt loops to make a sort of denim-skirt wanna-be. Totally a thought and very likely what I’ll end up doing, but it’ll involve extra drafting that I’m too lazy too do – especially because I really want to add belt loops to facilitate stay-put belting. I’d really like to start from a pattern. Let’s take a little looksie at the big 4, shall we?

Butterick… strike. Not one skirt pattern in the right size range. NEXT!!

McCall’s… strike two. Again… only skirt patterns are odd and elastic waisted… Sigh. Now I remember why I started messing around making patterns work for me… NEXT!!

Vogue… who’s that crazy designer? Sandra Betzina? Sometimes she has good options! OK, maybe not… I briefly considered V1292, but it’s just too odd and wouldn’t work with the crisp, thick fabric.

Simplicity? Can you help me???

Ugh. Side note. SO ANNOYING that they don’t have the patterns broken down by the same categories (aka SKIRTS!) with the larger size ranges. Bastards.

Huh. OK, so 2058 COULD be an option, except that I know that that particularly silhouette isn’t that great on me…. moving on.

The vintage  number 4044 is an option, but an A line skirt without a proper wide waistband is really not the most flattering either. And not really the right silhouette for trade show garb, right?

Sigh. Hot Patterns. Let’s see what Hot Patterns has…

SCORE! Oooooo… check out HP 1004, Metropolitan Sleek and Chic Skirt. Hmmmm… let’s see if I can find any real life examples. I hate those unrealistic drawings…

Harumph. Couldn’t find anything. And now that I look at it, the waistband isn’t quite right. I may as well redraft the Jenny, right?

Alright folks! That’s it! Plotting done. A Jenny hybrid. Next up, getting the pattern right and finding some fabric…

 

 

 

 

 

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26 Comments
  • Donna Spears
    October 11, 2012

    You look fabulous in that looks. Your skirts are cute I love the color pink. By the way you look fab and good. Keep it up!
    Donna Spears recently posted..French Doors Then and NowMy Profile

  • Gina
    September 27, 2012

    I’m the same exact way! Skirts and sandal in the summer and skirts and boots in the winter. I HATE pants. They never look right on me – I have the same waist situation you have. And they’re uncomfortable because they’re always sliding down and then I’m hitching them up and then the seat gets stretched out and then they drag on the ground because I always manage to hem them (I’m short – I always have to hem) just 1/8 inch too long. I’m a skirt/dress girl all the way. I’ve made Kwik Sew 3728′s view with a center pleat, and I think that could work for the type of fabric you’re thinking of. It sounds like you have a plan, but just in case, it’s a suggestion!

  • Kristin
    September 21, 2012

    OMG — a POLO SHIRT?? Gad. I absolutely loathe those things. And don’t get me started on capris. Or khaki anything. I feel for you. I hope this is only for one day.

  • Clio
    September 21, 2012

    Your back! Yay!! But – oh my! – I feel your pain! Blech to polos. I think you’ve got a good strategy thought. Perhaps once you’ve wowed them with your skirt you can push the envelope by making a polo collared dress?
    Clio recently posted..Apple Edition Part 2: When Things CrumbleMy Profile

  • kay
    September 20, 2012

    I had this problem once. I was allowed to wear a skirt when I finally told him in a stage whisper that I had a female problem that kept me from wearing pants right now. He never asked anything more.

    The female problem was I was just too fabulous to stick my big butt in their ugly pants.

  • MadeByMeg
    September 18, 2012

    Your boss clearly has no sense of style! Customers want to talk to put-together, well-dressed people, not capris ‘n sandals. *Sigh* I think a pencil-type skirt like the Jenny would be amazing, especially in a carmel brown–khaki just doesn’t look good on anyone! Good luck!
    MadeByMeg recently posted..I Made Pants!My Profile

  • Tina
    September 18, 2012

    I taken to describing what I am looking and searching the web, under sewing patterns and vintage. I have found some really cute blouses from the 40′s and 50′s for big sizes. Still have not made any yet…it’s been too hot in CA. Gearing up for winter sewing. That polo is hideous. Good luck with the skirt!

  • Joy
    September 18, 2012

    Could you also take jeans? They would look much more professional than cropped khaki’s. I like the idea passed around by adding a scarf and all your pretty jewelry and some awesome shoes.

  • Bonnie
    September 18, 2012

    Have you checked out Burda for this project? I’m getting ready to make: http://www.burdastyle.com/pattern_store/patterns/pencil-skirt-plus-size-042012

    I don’t wear pants unless I am exercising. And then that’s only because running in a skirt would make people think I’m being chased. I understand your pain!

  • Barb
    September 18, 2012

    The sad thing is that he probably thinks he’s doing you a favor by not making you dress-up. Sigh.
    Don’t ask – just show up in the skirt. And surely you have a scarf in company colors that can redeem that even-more-hideous-than-usual polo.

  • Gaidig
    September 18, 2012

    Ugh! Why don’t they simply want the people who represent them to dress nicely? Yuck. Capris? Honestly? Ick. Your skirt plan looks good, and I agree that it’s a good idea to add a scarf to disguise the unflattering neckline.

  • sarajane
    September 18, 2012

    Another skirt-wearer chiming in. “Crops” also worn solely for dog walking and toilet scrubbing. I vote for a khaki Jenny, perhaps with a flat felled seam down the front to mimic a denim skirt. I’d taper the dreaded polo and wear it with a polka dot scarf, if that might be allowed.

  • VictoriaR
    September 18, 2012

    I think the Jenny would be fine in khaki, but you could also alter the Beignet if you are going to do some pattern changing. Why not add a front seam to a fly-like opening for the Beignet? Then you would avoid the button delima (the reason I have not made this skirt). It might be less work than adding a fly ala jeans skirt for the Jenny. Good luck. I think the skirt option will look much better than the pants and the other girls will want to do the same once they see how much better it looks.

  • dawn shen
    September 18, 2012

    Pentecostals and some other denominations never wear pants, ever ever. So sorry for you. School here tried to institute a polo as school uniform. My poor daughters and I almost had a meltdown. Fortunately the attempt failed.

  • Andrea
    September 18, 2012

    I feel for ya — I do some recruiting for my company and am issued an ill-fitting shirt to wear for this. (And yeah, I also have to wear it with pants … the one and only time each year said pants get worn.) It boggles the mind that my company would want me to represent them in ill-fitting clothes. Go for the skirt — you’ll probably get to do this dog-and-pony show more than once and then you’ll be ready for the next round!

  • Susan
    September 18, 2012

    I wear dresses only. Not even skirts and blouses – dresses only, even for yard work.

    In my company, there have been many iterations of uniform-like outfits for those who deal with the public. (Not my office.) There was a polo and khakis phase, and khaki skirts are a totally doable substitute for khaki pants. I think you’re on the right track. That is a singularly bad polo!

  • Donna
    September 18, 2012

    Ugh. I hate that aspect of corporate jobs (well, that aspect plus many others): being told what to wear by someone who wants to dress the women as if they were men. It looks like you’ve found a solution though – good luck!

  • Marina von Koenig
    September 18, 2012

    Yuck, what a polo… What about adding some daring facing to it? Just for fun’s sake…

  • Louise
    September 18, 2012

    I think the jenny skirt will be best option, maybe a canvas weight. could you not shape the polo shirt side seams so its not so boxy?. I like trousers in winter,they are so much warmer than skirts.

    Louise

  • gMarie
    September 17, 2012

    I have a denim pencil skirt made from S2475 and I love it! It would work in khaki if the waistband works for you. Can’t wait to see how your Jenny hybrid works out – and when is the new puppy coming? g

  • Jennifer
    September 17, 2012

    Jenny is a good skirt – does it have to be khaki? Black with splash of color like What about one of your zippy scarves around the neck, to at least make it not so…polo/industrial/trade-show-ish…?

    Also, I really like the idea of patch pockets and belt loops on a slight a-line skirt.

    And yes, skirts I wear with petti-pants so I too, don’t get the thigh-thing happening. I’m so fair, that a bottle of L’Oreal sunless tanner is always in my bathroom just so I can get away with not wearing hose at the office. Eewww.

  • Anna
    September 17, 2012

    I am a heavily skirt/dress leaning person, especially in warmer weather. UGH, polos. They are usually so boxy and unflattering on so many people! Couldn’t they have given you an iron-on patch or something you could put on a shirt? You always look so cute and professional! I think you could totally rock a skirt with this. A-line, or maybe a gored skirt? Good luck, and let us know what you do!

  • Katie H
    September 17, 2012

    *gasp* That is the most hideous polo I have ever laid eyes on. Nicer polo shirts are okay, but that is just downright ugly. And I agree with you about capris, they were put on this earth to make everyone look like stumps. I want to walk up to someone and say “Are you the victim of a pants-cutting gang?”

  • Kate
    September 17, 2012

    I wear jeans, but that’s it for pants. For work most days I wear skirts with tights/leggings or knee high socks in winter, and nice sandals in summer. I have a bunch of bike shorts that I made myself that I wear under them to avoid chub rub/thigh flashing.

    I definitely think that a skirt of a similar fabric and appropriate cut is equivalent. I was picturing a straight skirt like the Biegnet, or maybe even with a gentle a-line. Although, come to think of it, that’s probably because my go-to skirt for everything is an ottobre A-line pattern that I’ve made in a bunch of fabrics that always looks great. Here it is one me http://www.flickr.com/photos/craftastrophies/7444155010/in/photostream and it’s from the 2/2011 issue. I really like Ottobre as they have a range of patterns for different sizes/ages/styles that I don’t see in the big 4 patterns. Lots of real nice basics.
    Kate recently posted..And Natalie rounds off the argumentMy Profile

  • Elizabeth
    September 17, 2012

    It’s nice to know that another skirts-only person is out there. I wear pants hiking or to the gym, but that’s it.

  • Linda
    September 17, 2012

    Why not do the Jenny with some patch pockets on the front and some belt loops to casual it up?
    I feel your pain with the polo though – there is nothing more hideous than a polo. Nothing. I would love to see you chop it up and make it awesome!!

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