Figure Flattering?

the clothes horse, fashion, style, redhead, retro, black tights, patterned tights, cynthia rowley, silk blouse, blue skirt, blue blouse, patent wedges
I've been making myself seek out more separates, but while I often find skirts I like shirts and blouses are another story. When I saw this top at Gilt, I was intrigued. It is in one of my favorite colors, silk, and had an interesting hem: short in the front and long in the back. However, when I put it on and looked in the mirror I didn't like how it looked on me...it was unflattering. The longer length in the back seemed to bubble out and make my upper torso look rather ovalish...like a walking blue egg with legs perhaps...I was ready to send it back when I started to think about why "flattering my figure" was such a big deal...

I don't think fashion is all about looking pretty or even merely making me look decent. Societal norms of style don't interest me, so how do I still get hung up on this idea of dressing in a flattering manner? If I can abandon the style of the majority of my peers and try to find clothes that I organically enjoy wearing, then why do I still avoid clothes that might make me look short/round/etc?
Even the idea of "flattering" is an attempt to be objective of an entirely subjective view. What does flattering mean? Making my figure look like some stereotype of feminine appeal? Or merely highlighting the best features of me, rather than some impersonal, cultural ideal? Yet, even if we focus on strategically dressing for my best features there is still no easy answer. What are my best features? Wouldn't that depend on who you're asking and their rank system? I couldn't give myself any satisfactory answers to those questions, but I also couldn't see the reason I should try to "look my best" and dress my figure to "my advantage." What is the purpose of getting dressed in the morning, truly? Since I am dressing to please myself, flattering my figure seems quite unnecessary.
So, all this debate led me to the conclusion that I'm keeping the blouse. Why? I like the color and the way it feels on and for now, that is enough for me.
the clothes horse, fashion, style, redhead, retro, black tights, patterned tights, cynthia rowley, silk blouse, blue skirt, blue blouse, patent wedgesthe clothes horse, fashion, style, redhead, retro, black tights, patterned tights, cynthia rowley, silk blouse, blue skirt, blue blouse, patent wedgesthe clothes horse, fashion, style, redhead, retro, black tights, patterned tights, cynthia rowley, silk blouse, blue skirt, blue blouse, patent wedgesthe clothes horse, fashion, style, redhead, retro, black tights, patterned tights, cynthia rowley, silk blouse, blue skirt, blue blouse, patent wedgesthe clothes horse, fashion, style, redhead, retro, black tights, patterned tights, cynthia rowley, silk blouse, blue skirt, blue blouse, patent wedgesthe clothes horse, fashion, style, redhead, retro, black tights, patterned tights, cynthia rowley, silk blouse, blue skirt, blue blouse, patent wedgesthe clothes horse, fashion, style, redhead, retro, black tights, patterned tights, cynthia rowley, silk blouse, blue skirt, blue blouse, patent wedges
Outfit details:
Myne silk shirt via Gilt
F21 skirt
Cynthia Rowley tights
Bloch wedges via Gilt
*I wish my wrinkles were another sartorial statement/stance, but that is sheer laziness...

CONVERSATION

72 comments:

  1. Gor Jus! Your photos are art! Thanks! franki

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  2. the colour of your hair is perfect with the blue dress!

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  3. I don't think it's unflattering—it's just a different shape than what you're used to. (I've noticed that you tend to prefer more structure in the bodice, particularly around the waist.)

    The color is lovely with your hair. I think it would look great with very slim tapered pants or a high-waisted pencil skirt to balance the drape-y quality of the top.

    Keep up the good work!

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  4. oh i love that shirt! and i agree, your hair colour goes perfectly with those dark blue clothes.

    http://flash-delirium.blogspot.com/

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  5. i like what you have to say.

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  6. this is a very interesting piece, and some very interesting thoughts accompanying it. i think, this blouse may prove really fantastic with all sorts of different bottoms. personally, i would have pribably paired it with a pair of black or gray (highwaisted) jeans or pants, or with a pair of shorts. i like how you combined it with a puffy skirt! i guess the form of the skirt adds to the oval form of the top rather than balancing it, and so the whole outft really stands up to the point you're making in the text you wrote.

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  7. I think Anonymous up there took all the suggestions out of my mouth. It'd be really cute with your black body con dress (skirt?) and those tights you have on now... it may be another way to stretch outside your boundaries--going with a fitted top and tighter bottoms (as you seem to favor fitted tops and fluffier bottomes).

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  8. i think its a gorgeous top. and besides, you could always tighten it around the waste with pins and make the back ruffly like you did with your triptych dress (maybe, i dunno if the fabric would cooperate).

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  9. What an interesting post, it really made me think. I don't think it's an unflattering top at all, and I think keeping it was a good decision!
    From Carys of La Ville Inconnue

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  10. i bought a jumper a similiar hem line, it's comfy, and a bit quirky, and who cares if I look like an egg.

    You look lovely in this, and not at all like a walking oval.

    INTOTHEFOLDFASHION.BLOGSPOT.COM

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  11. This is one of my favorite posts that you've written. You brought up several interesting points and what it really comes down to is how the individual feels in what they choose to put on their bodies. There have been so many times where I love a piece of clothing yet can't muster up the confidence to wear it out of the house. Thanks for this!!

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  12. These are lovely photos, I love the silk blouse and your tights. Blue looks really nice with you hair.

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  13. Hmm I see what you're trying to say. I always felt that when I dress for something to be "flattering," it just means it's something I'm comfortable wearing out wherever I'm going. Whether someone else agrees with me or not is another, and quite irrelevant, story altogether. If it makes me feel pretty, then it's a keeper!

    By the way I'm glad you're keeping the top. If you like it, then keep wearing it (the color is beautiful!).

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  14. love how your paired blue on blue.
    i think the blouse flatters you in a different way, it is a sort of slouchy, loss fit. i think different fits take getting used to. but i do think it looks really good on you.

    the tights is a really great touch. love the pattern on it.
    the blue on top and black on bottom is great.

    afewsillylittlethings.blogspot.com
    always;L

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  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  16. Interesting point; I think while for some people the idea of something being flattering may be to look "nice", eg slim/tall/chic/etc, for others it may mean wearing something you love. In the end though, I guess whatever makes you feel good is flattering!

    Like that Dahl quote: "If you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely"

    This Love Is For Real

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  17. I really like that shirt!
    I think that panic about whether garments flatter or not simply lies in the mind of the owner. The rest of us are too busy thinking about how flattering our own clothes are to think about how clothes look on other people. All we notice is how nice, or fun others look. So don't panic! You look great :).

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  18. I don't think there's a need to overanalyze "flattering" in terms of cultural meaning. It's like "obscene." You know it when you see it. Do you look good or do you not look good? Easy.

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  19. I find the blouse gorgeous. I think it looks good on you. Your hair matches beautifully with it.

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  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  21. You know, I think this top really looks good on you. When I think about "figure flattering" I think about proportions. To me, clothing is like art (really it IS art) but I mean so in the sens that it is about colour and composition and line.

    And one of the stereotypical archetypes of fashion is the "hourglass figure" (have you ever looked up how a .7 waist to hip ratio is considered attractive across cultures and also corresponds to good health?) So I think that is another part of it...the biological part.

    Still, this in no way accents or mimics or shows off an hourglass figure. Yet it still looks awesome because the proportions and colours are just spot on. Someone less adept/experienced with dressing would probably not have been able to put this outfit together in such a "flattering" (compositionally pleasing) manner. So uh, sorry to be long winded: but you look good.!

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  22. loved this post, i love that you kept this top even thou you dont think the hsape is flattering but i think teamed with skirt or skinny trs it is flattering and fabulous with your hair colour. Im always attracted to balloon shapes tops or tops with pleats in the back that once on disappoint but sometimes its just harder work teaming them with right bottoms but its worth it in the end :) x

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  23. I know you're not much of a jeans person as i don't know that i remember seeing pants on you ever... or at least not that comes to mind immediately, but i could totally see this shirt looking great with a pair of skinny jeans and heels... in general.

    That said, i like this post. I like that you are willing to try something that doesn't exactly flatter your figure and that you are dissecting what that means. I think a lot of people get caught up in wearing things that "flatter their figure" and never consider that though something might not do that, if you still like it and it feels good then you should wear it for those reasons regardless of what it does for your figure. great post!

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  24. Great post...I would love to see your blouse with your leather yellow skirt....so into cobalt blue with mustard yellow right now. Oh and by the way my favorite shape is the egg (pear, back end of a cat, etc...)Embrace the deconstruction.

    Lynn

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  25. yeah, i was going to suggest balancing it with a more form fitting bottom like black pencil skirt, but a few people seem to have beat me to it. its like how those giant goofy hammer pants that were so popular for a hot second look ridiculous to begin with, but they look just plain slouchy and slobby when paired with one of those super loose tshirts that also seem to be so popular (and are actually referred to as 'slub' shirts). if put with a more fitted top, they start to look almost reasonable. its all about balance.

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  26. i like the way it looks! and it's such a beautiful color!

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  27. First, I have to say I feel the same way you do about separates. Finding tops I like is nearly impossible, save for basic t-shirt type things. I just wind up with a million skirts and nothing to pair them with.

    Second, I think this top is beautiful! The hem is definitely an eye catcher, the color is lovely, and I think it does flatter you for those reasons if not the traditional reasons, like showing off your figure to your advantage.

    I also have to point out that the entire concept of beauty is not as "in the eye of the beholder" as everyone would like to believe it is, since you brought up the point that what is flattering is quite subjective. I have to disagree. There was someone above who commented on a waist to hip ratio and the appeal is has across cultures; symmetry and proportion are actually what has to do with someone being considered attractive and can be present in anyone at any size, either encompassing their whole person - facial structure, build, torso length vs. leg length, etc - or only in one of the mentioned areas. You are probably aware of a rather recent study where pictures of people were altered to show how much moving their eyes a centimeter farther apart could change their entire look, and make them more traditionally beautiful.

    This is very long and rambling now, but I just find that sort of discussion supremely interesting. Great post, it sparked a lot of thoughtful comments.

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  28. I personaly love the top on you. The color is amazing and it has such a chic sillouete! I'm so glad you kept it, it would have been a shame not to keep it.

    The Girl in the Paper Dress

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  29. so levely phtotographs <3
    and such a cute girl!
    ...great header!


    check out my blog if you have time ;)
    its all about FASHION.

    xox
    sarah from http://madame-lala.blogspot.com/

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  30. I think that color looks nice with your skin and hair!! About the figure, its not a big thing, beacause you are thin, and its not that big!!

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  31. i love when you get all analytical :) i like the blouse and the outfit as well.

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  32. that is a nice blouse!! :D the color and cut is really contemporary! :D

    Animated Confessions

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  33. The top is gorgeous on you, love the colour! I often have the same problem with tops, but maybe I'll adopt your approach.

    Carmen.xx.

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  34. Why not try out new shapes? What's ugly today can be stylish tomorrow, that's how it's always been with fashion. Maybe you're setting a new trend?! :)

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  35. YOU LOOK LUSH IN THAT UNFLATTERING NOT THAT ON YOU BUT FAIR POINT ON FLATTERING STUFF THOUGH

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  36. I really enjoyed reading your post, and I definitely agree with your points. Thank you for writing that! Also, I think top looks lovely on you, and I like the way you styled it.

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  37. I disagree completely. It's amazingly flattering.

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  38. It looks completely wonderful! And if I'm honest, I think the creases just add to the wonderfulness :)

    http://bittenfingernails.blogspot.com

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  39. I think you should wear what you like, I like what looks good on me... it is a weird thing, but maybe I should try stuff like that..
    I think the shirt looks good on you, I wonder what it would look like with maybe some (skinny?) black jeans
    LOL at the wrinkles, but they look better than just the normal skirt because it would be the same top to bottom

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  40. gorgeous outfit girl ^^
    love it!!

    THE SECRET LIFE OF "D"

    hug and kiss

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  41. You make a lot of interesting points in this post. I agree with a number of previous comments that (for me) when I wear something "flattering," it really just means that I'm dressed in a way that makes me feel comfortable about my body. The problem is that I tend to get stuck in a rut when it comes to silhouette. (I seem to gravitate toward the modern version of the 50's New Look. Poufy skirts, dresses cinched in at the waist... You get the idea.) I like that you went for an entirely different shape here. I'd love to see you try a remix with this top. It could be interesting paired with skinny jeans or a body-con skirt. Plus, you might happen upon a pairing that makes you feel absolutely fantastic! :)

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  42. Rebecca,

    I *love* the discourse you're having about fashion and style. I'm curious if there's anything about the philosophy of fashion (beyond things like the Beauty Myth and Deluxe and all that).

    @chicspace

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  43. I have a shirt with that same hem, short in front, long in back. It is kind of a strange silhouette, and perhaps we just get so used to seeing ourselves dressed a certain way that when a new silhouette is introduced, it kind of makes us feel uncomfortable.

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  44. yay for keeping the blouse! i really like it and it encourages me to start wearing some of the clothes in my closet that i shy away from for exactly the same reasons! i hate getting caught up in that stuff because it cuts off a whole realm of interesting clothes and silhouettes.

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  45. I really enjoyed reading this blog post, made me think.

    I am always in a constant battle with clothing that doesn't quite fall on me the way I want to to fall but I seam to convince myself to wear certain garments even if they are to big or small on me, I don't know if this makes any sense but I get were you are coming from. I think this top looks great on you and glad you kept it. You have a great eye for putting interesting pieces together.

    Have a wonderful Sunday,

    -Izzy

    :)

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  46. I agree wholeheartedly with what you have to say, but personally I dont think that top is unflattering at all! I think you look stunning! and the color is beautiful ;)

    Sarah
    theantiquepearl.blogspot.com

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  47. Those tights are fabulouss!!!

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  48. Aaaaaaah, I love, love, love those tights!

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  49. great post! well the idea of what is "flattering" is a great question...why do we do it and why does it matter...well i think what ever makes you feel good whether it flatters your body or not or whether you get a extreme joy from wearing something are in the eye of the beholder...i like to wear short skirts...i get comments all the time about how short my skirts are but they are never inappropriate just that i have long legs...this always seems to annoy me but i keep putting on those short skirts because it makes me happy...fashion is whatever you make it to be... confidence to me is always the key <3

    xo,
    cb
    www.thecitybirdsnest.blogspot.com

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  50. I really love your tights, they are so pretty!

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  51. Personally, and without wanting to get slaughtered by the online community of positive reinforcement, I think that top is a bit unflattering. The colour and texture are gorgeous of course, but the fit is definitely strange.

    I think that dressing in a flattering way is sometimes important and sometimes not. On average, I think most of us want to look nice most days. However, I have a dress (the most expensive dress I ever bought, incidentally) that makes my bottom look larger than it is. Fact. I think so, and my mother never fails to point it out. But I love the dress: the texture, the colour, the style. And I figure I spend the majority of my days wearing things that are flattering, and everyone I know knows what size my bottom really is (for better or worse). So it doesn't much matter if once a year I wear that unflattering, but spectacular, dress.

    The tights and shoes are fantastic, by the way!

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  52. You look lovely in that shirt! I don't think it is unflattering on you. I think you hair also stands out with the blue. I love your hair, by the way!

    http://hisforhaley.blogspot.com

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  53. I have that skirt from F21 with pockets, OMG, I LOVE it. It is so versatile and seriously anything with pockets I will devour.

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  54. That color is stunning on you. I feel that flattering can mean bringing out a feature you want to highlight (for example, a good friend of mine swims and has a really muscular back and shes proud of that and always wears backless dresses whenever she can). Flattering doesnt have to mean fitting into the ideal of beauty.
    Another example of flattering is that color against your hair. It really makes the color of your hair stand out and makes you look even more like YOU.
    <3

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  55. That colour is stunning, so so pretty
    Also, I really like your tights!

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  56. yes to everything! I am so comfortable with the silhouette you've created- and quite like the wrinkles! It's loose, effortless, passionate(?).
    Hair envy, shoe lust <3

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  57. Gosh the colour of your outfit really pops against all that lush green scenery! I don't think it's particularly unflattering but I suppose you know more than anyone if it isn't how you'd imagined. I'm glad you're keeping it though, it's a lovely colour and I soooo love those tights of yours!

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  58. That's a brave choice. I love so many different styles that just don't look good on me so I never wear them.

    First the sheer blouse, now this. So gutsy :)

    Anyway, I think this top would look really nice with a pair of black/dark shorts with detailing on the front (army buttons!) Great choice!

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  59. Everything you said is definitely true.
    In some of these pictures I like the top on you, and some it doesn't seem right. I don't know. I really like the styling though.
    I've got a pair of shoes that are really similar to those, the same laces and everything, but they're flats. I wear them way too much!

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  60. I really love this outfit!
    the way its styled is so relaxed and effortless!
    great post! definitely agree with what you said.

    ohlalatresbelle.blogspot.com

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  61. I remember when I was pregnant, I was happy when I finally started showing enough to wear a belt below my belly to showcase it. Of course, the only other people beside pregnant women who are often told they can get away with a dropped waist or belt at hip level are people with tiny hips. This week, I decided I wanted to wear a belt at my hips even though my hips are far from tiny and I'm no longer pregnant. It's possible that people who saw me might have thought I shouldn't be wearing my belt in such an unflattering way, but I decided I really wanted to.

    Of course, once I took pictures for my blog, I wasn't as brave and I definitely only chose the most flattering picture to post. Ah well. Learning to dress to please oneself and not other's or some societal ideal is a process, right?

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  62. it sucks being short and smalll..that's all i have to say.
    i think the color looks great on you

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  63. iwould be pleased to see the top with a more fitted bottom . .that sohws off the shape of the shirt. i fel the fv21 skirt is just not doing it for me an dtaking over the bottom of the hem of your top .. i personally love that shirt

    dressing to flatter your shape is cute and all ..bt its style 101 .. the sort of thing that style bloggers and muses like you dont need to adhere .. rules can be broken if you are a great a genius style blgoger

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  64. Hi Rebecca!

    Hmm, very interesting to read your thoughts on something being figure flattering. I DO usually try to wear things that are figure flattering (to MY eyes) only because that makes me feel more confident. However, that doesn't stop me from wearing things I like! For example, I love that top you're wearing. If it were me, I would balance out the flowiness of the top with black skinny jeans (I rarely wear jeans but in some instances I think they work really well!) That way, I get to keep the item I like, but keep the balance in my outfit. :)

    Leia

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  65. I think that top looks pretty well on you, I like how it's longer on the backside.
    It so great, when you write post like this!

    Peace and love!

    Life.Style.Fun.
    Life.Style.Fun.Shop.

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  66. wow! i love the blue colorr :DD nice topp !!

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  67. Oh, but you do look great in those pieces of clothing! I love the way you matched all the itmes.

    Hug!

    Miki.

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  68. I am glad you kept it, the color looks stunning on you!

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  69. I have a top with a cut similar to this, shorter in the front and longer in the back, and I love it, although it did take some getting used to! I have to say that no matter the shape of the blouse (which I like, actually) that colour looks beautiful on you!

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  70. this is a great post. it's hard to remember sometimes that "flattering" is subjective. dress in what makes you happy!

    I have a problem finding tops I like too. this one is interesting though! I can see why you like it.

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