I’ve been following Holly Jackson from her debut as a columnist on The Lingerie Addict (I’ll include the link once I find it) through the development of her own great blog for full-busted women, The Full Figured Chest. If you’ve spent any time on her blog, you’ve probably developed a giant wish list from the gorgeous lingerie options that she finds for us.  In her latest post, “What Lingerie Has Done for Me“, Holly writes, “I still can’t claim to have a fantastic sense of fashion when it comes to my outerwear choices, but I’m hoping one day it will catch up with my underwear choices.” Today she documents her first steps toward making that happen.

A few weeks ago, I threw out all of my jeans. My last three pairs didn’t fit well and finally ripped, and I was faced with the horrifying prospect of going out and finding jeans all over again. I decided to start my wardrobe over, with a focus on flattering clothes that fit me and emphasized my curves. I’ve always been a jeans and t-shirt kind of person, but jeans generally just make me look short, fat, and dumpy.

Since this is going to be a series, let’s start with the basics. I’m 5’4″, a size 12/14, and I’m currently hovering somewhere around 175 pounds. I’d love to lose another 40 to 50 pounds over the next year or so, and I’ve been experimenting (read: trying to curb my cheese addiction and to exercise more) with ways to do so that work for me. I’m currently a 32HH/J in most bra brands. I know lots of women choose to wait until the end of weight loss to buy new clothes, but I’ve decided to learn how to dress myself better now instead of waiting for a goal that still seems very far away in my mind.

Lots of women out there are built like me, and there isn’t a lot of information out there on how to dress yourself. It’s easy to either dress yourself in t-shirts or tents, but there are tons of clothes out there that will work with our figures. As I’m finding out, it’s just a matter of trial and error. I do most of my shopping from consignment and vintage shops, since my neighborhood is chock full of them. I like supporting local places when I can, and I love finding unique stuff.

This outfit that I wore to a cocktail party recently is a good example of that. The dress is by Norma Kamali, and I picked it up for about ten dollars in a consignment shop. It still had the tags on, and it was a size large. This was a dress that looked awful on the hanger, but has a totally different effect on a real person. I love how it cinches my waist without a belt, and I love how classic it is. It reminds me of Audrey Hepburn’s outfits in Charade, which is one of my favorite fashion movies.

My jewelry is all 60’s era runway pieces from my favorite local antique shop, and the purse is also vintage.

My stockings are by Erica M, which is a new line that has absolutely amazing designs. I managed to rip them with my heel when someone bumped into me at the party, and I’m really feeling the loss still. When I do put serious money into things, it tends to be accessories and stockings.

I feel like the first photo shows lots of progress but still has some glaring weaknesses. I have no idea what to do with my hair. I’d like to start doing more with it, but I’ve never learned anything about it. I’m pretty lost beyond putting it up in a ponytail. I’m wearing lipstick here (another new addition in the past few weeks) but I’d like a redder red that works with pale skin.

What are your tips for dressing in figure flattering ways?