When I showed you how the DD Atelier Samantha dress fits me a few weeks ago, I confessed that I was going through a frumpy phase. Well, it turns out that confession is not only good for the soul, it’s also good for the wardrobe. Your comments became my homework assignment, and this is the result. Four steps took me from the look on the left to the look on the right.

dd atelier before and after samantha

First, alterations. In my original post, I mentioned that I should probably hem the dress, but then I tried rolling up the sleeves and realized I should shorten them as well. This goes along with the petite issue that I mentioned last week. While I prefer waist-length sleeves because they highlight my waist, shorter sleeve and hem lengths also mean less fabric to overwhelm my frame.

Second, even though you can barely tell, I listened to what you said about patterned tights. I think I found the last pair of polka dot sheer black nylons in New York City! I had always considered opaque black tights to be a winter staple–almost like boot substitutes, but a friend set me straight in this email:

I agreed with the comments about “lighter” hosiery.  The solid dress (which was beautiful) and the opaque black tights felt “heavy”.  I liked the suggestions for patterns, but I’d keep it subtle and also consider lighter shades and something more sheer. “Fun” hosiery can look awkward on women our age–it can look like you’re trying to be too young or come off as vintage (in a not good way) or old.

Third, obviously, I changed my shoes. I also tried boots with this dress, but as with the opaque tights, they weighed everything down. I had no idea I already owned a pair that would work here (unless I wear them with opaque tights, of course!).

Fourth, I experimented with pendants. Wow! Thank you for opening my eyes to the possibilities! I often skip necklaces because mysterious metals give me a rash, but when reader Rachel wrote that she has “found a pendant chain that I like the length of, and I rotate what’s on it”, I realized I could do the same with a plain gold chain that I never wear.

For this dress, I needed something fairly prominent to break up the expanse of fabric across my chest–plus, a large pendant also helps balance–and sometimes even minimize–a large chest. However, I bet you’ll agree that anything is better than nothing, including the onyx rock pendant on the far left that came with my Rock Cotton tunic.

busty pendant size comparison

I’ll also be experimenting with length some more. For instance, I usually raise the  cluster of freshwater pearls that you see in the above center photo by a couple of inches (although I’m still not sure why the pearls don’t work as well as the disks in the photo on the right. Too vertical? Too light? Any ideas?).

Below, I tried lowering the disks, thinking this would help group my chest with my neckline. Instead, I get a disk that bounces off the cliff of my bustline! Plus, in this case it looks like balance points trump neckline grouping. (Here are links to my first post about balance points, as well as my latest post about balance points.)

busty pendant length comparison

These simple improvements to my outfit kept me so busy that I never got around to bracelets or brooches, but I’m looking forward to to trying those sometime as well.