Redefining Sexy: Being Sexy and Black

Today’s post comes from Jame, the guest poster who showed us a great bust-friendly dress from Target last August, and a synopsis of the Me-Ality Body Scanner last year. (Look for Mia’s post tomorrow, after the Halloween craziness ends.) It was a fun surprise to receive Jame’s tweet earlier this week saying that she has something to say on the Redefining Sexy theme. Keep reading for a thought-provoking treat.

I am a little late to the party on the “Redefining Sexy” theme of October, as I am weeks behind in catching up on Feedly. I was looking at the posts from other busty women and wanting to be able to claim their cleavage with no judgement.

Being busty can mean you are automatically perceived as sexy.  No matter how covered (or not covered) up you are.  I think this is compounded even more if you are busty and black.

Ever since I was little, I have always loved the classic looks of the “Hitchcock blondes.” Or Grace Kelly.  Or more recently Michelle Obama and Kate Middleton.  I probably have really old taste–I’ve been coveting a Kelly bag since I was a preteen (I am in my 30s).  😀

Quick: what’s your mental image of a “sexy black woman?”

I am sure many of you saw Rihanna, or Beyonce, or maybe a King magazine model.  In many ways, being a black woman, I am supposed to be “sexy,” in a “wild” or “exotic” way.  Or maybe it is really just in a Jezebel way.  Or completely asexual, since I am the funny friend (just look at the controversy around Gabby Sidibe this week based on the recent episode of American Horror Show).  There isn’t any middle ground.

How many of you saw something like this:

dorothy dandridge

image source: http://fashionbombdaily.com/2010/10/20/snapshot-nia-long-as-dorothy-dandridge-for-ebony-magazines-65th-anniversary-issue/

For me, I have always found the pinup look or the sexy secretary look with a pencil skirt/blouse/pointy pumps one of my favorite expressions of sexy.  But I rarely see women who look like me depicted as sexy in this way.  Especially when you look what’s current these days. We don’t often see images of the “sexy black girl next door.” Unless she looks like one of those video vixens.

Back in the 90s, there was a wide range of “sexy” black women in pop culture.  We had everyone from the ladies on Living Single, Girlfriends, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Different World, Cosby Show, En Vogue, Salt n’ Pepa, TLC, and of course the video vixens to represent sexy.  But somehow, with the passing of time, all we get are now are the Housewives, Love and Hip Hop ladies and King models.

I guess for me, sexy is having the freedom to choose your own definition of sexy, whether you chose to imitate Rihanna, Beyonce, Dorothy Dandridge, Janelle Monae or Michelle Obama.

Off the Rack ~ Happy B-Day Hourglassy & A ModCloth Contest

Remember to join our birthday party this week, and come out smelling like lavender, eucalyptus, grapefruit, jasmine or simply a natural, complements of Eucalan.

Since this week is Hourglassy’s 5-year anniversary, I’m starting off with how the site has affected my life. It’s definitely given me a deeper understanding of my own body and its quirks. This has helped immensely when it comes to shopping for clothes and lingerie, and has really impacted my self-esteem positively. More importantly, though, it’s introduced me to so many wonderful people. Darlene is one of the sweetest, most positive people I’ve ever met and it’s a joy to have her in my life. I also feel like I’ve become part of a community of other big bust women and big bust bloggers, some of whom I’ve even gotten to hang out with in real life! It’s such a pleasure to meet so many women who are just as excited (obsessed?) about lingerie and big bust fashion as I am, and it really normalizes our particular body shape. Yay boobies!

 ———

Next up is a fun little contest ModCloth is hosting this week. Bloggers were all assigned the same garment and directed to create an ensemble out of it. A winning outfit will be picked weekly and shared on ModCloth’s Polyvore page. The winner doesn’t seem to actually get anything aside from potential clickbacks, but I thought it’d be a fun little challenge to create a bust-friendly outfit out of whatever random garment I was assigned.

The garment turned out to be the “Following Dreams Sweater,” pictured below. To be honest, I’m not actually a huge fan of the sweater. But seeing as it appears to have very little defined shape, I thought it’d be a good busty challenge. Additionally, even though I’m not especially excited about this particular top, it’s a good representation of ModCloth’s quirky-cute aesthetic and is also fairly representative of the quirky, blousy tops one often finds at fast fashion chains like Forever21 and H&M. But those tops are usually very bad for busty ladies, giving notorious “tent-boobs.” So how can a busty gal accessorize these types of tops in a way that makes them a little more flattering? Read on…

Following Dreams Sweater as styled by ModCloth.

Following Dreams Sweater as styled by ModCloth.

Click to view bigger.

Click to view bigger.

Here’s a list of the garments clockwise from the upper left with links:

  1. Rocking Major Cords Pants
  2. Cloud Nine to Five Blazer
  3. In With the Elegant Bustier Bra (We of course know this as the Parfait by Affinitas “Danielle” longline bra in Dusty Rose.)
  4. Bear for You Undies
  5. The Best of Times Heel in Grey
  6. Eager Achiever Bag

I knew right off the bat that I wanted to pair the sweater with high-waisted pants. Leaving a blousy top untucked means it’s going to hang straight down from your boobs, creating a tent effect. Even tucked into regular pants, it turns into something of a bubble effect. But with high-waisted pants that stop at or just below your natural waist, usually the narrowest part of your torso, tucking the blouse in can emphasize your waist and bust instead of swallowing them up.

I also wanted to find a bust-friendly blazer and this double-breasted style is fabulous for busty ladies. You may recall that I wrote about a very similar one from H&M earlier this year.

Now that the outerwear is taken care of, obviously I had to move on to the lingerie! Luckily ModCloth actually does carry a few big bust-friendly styles from Parfait by Affinitas. Parfait’s vintage-style offerings clearly resonate with ModCloth’s ethos. I selected a blush-colored longline because the sweater is semi-sheer and this bra might disappear on certain skin tones. But even if it’s visible, it could pass as a camisole and it’s pretty, so it wouldn’t be totally unseemly-looking.

Even though ModCloth offers matching underwear, I personally like to mis-match my bra and panties so I just chose something totally random for the bottoms. This teddy bear pair is fun and silly, and actually looks pretty comfortable and ride-up free.

Because I have an unhealthy shoe obsession, I insisted on looking through all 1,250 pairs to select just the right ones. They needed to be classic yet a little funky, and have at least a medium-height, not too dainty heel. Stilettos or flats just wouldn’t work with those ’70s-style flares. I love Oxford-inspired shoes and this pair is no exception.

Lastly, I wanted to wrap up the outfit with a handbag. Since the blazer and sweater are a little conservative (well, for me), I wanted a purse that would really pop. ModCloth sells a number of animal bags (including a bat for Halloween!), but this beaver seemed the most odd. Foxes and pugs and cats all make regular appearances on tee shirts and accessories (and junk on Etsy), but when do you see beavers??

Apparently “randomness” seems to be something I embrace in my fashion…

Corporate Curves Report: Happy Birthday Hourglassy!

Remember to join our birthday party this week, and come out smelling like lavender, eucalyptus, grapefruit, jasmine or simply a natural, complements of Eucalan.

Happy birthday, Hourglassy! And thank you, Darlene, for asking me to be a part of it. I have thoroughly enjoyed it and the diversity that this great group of women brings to the blog. For me this is the second year I’m writing my column so blowing some early second birthday candles on this day!
Corporsate Curves Report is on its second year.

Corporate Curves Report is on it’s second year.

Why do I enjoy writing my column on Hourglassy? [Read more…]

Happy Birthday, Hourglassy!

Hourglassy turns five tomorrow. Be one of the first 50 readers to send us a “birthday card”, and you’ll receive a “party favor” of a single use Eucalan sample!

five-candles-on-cake

You don’t need to rush to your nearest Hallmark store because a simple email will do, and it doesn’t even have to rhyme. Here are three simple steps to join the party. [Read more…]