Friday, August 1, 2008

The Great Shirt Hunt

Thanks for voting on the polls. They've been very helpful. They're still open, so you still have opportunity to have your say if you haven't done so already.

The following four garments are available from

Tips for Tops

Wearing trendy tops modestly seems to be a perennial challenge. If a shirt exposes cleavage, we know that can be solved by layer a tank top or camisole underneath.

Carolyn Ballinger of Toowoomba, Australia, models examples for us here (thanks, Carolyn!), using the JayJays style camisole, which has a straight neckline.

Below, her friend demonstrates one way to use a round-neck camisole (although I suggest a larger size shirt might be helpful).

Carolyn says that for performing at the huge Easterfest event, she managed to make a revealing, low-V, halter neck top work by wearing a camisole and sparkly trendy shrug to cover the unnecessary exposure.

Sometimes the neckline is wide or scooped and under-layers aren’t the right shape to go with them. Sometimes the climate means it’s uncomfortable to wear more than one layer. What then?

1. Keep window shopping,
2. take the top with you and look for a specific camisole to match it,
3. sew your own,
4. and/or read the upcoming post on the abomination of perspiration.

A slip-on top isn’t that difficult to sew. Buttonholes take a little extra know-how, but if you don’t need a collar or cuffs then you’ll have a simple, fairly straightforward pattern. Knit fabrics can be fiddly, but knits don’t generally make great hot weather gear.

A quick look at under the Simplicity label found these cute numbers.

If you’re worried about the level of the neckline, just raise it (allow more fabric), and its facing if it has one, when cutting out. It’s easy to lengthen sleeves and hemlines, too, so long as you do it at the cutting out stage.

Other ways to fix summer tops:
1. Add buttons, press fasteners, or hooks-and-eyes to hold plackets together.
2. Fill a gaping neckline with a scarf. Jane Austen heroines frequently display their version of this...

A modern option is shown here.

Precautions when Shopping

Try the garment on, and look at yourself from all angles. Don't forget the light test, checking for transparency when you lift your arms, shrug your shoulders, or bend forward. If you’re going to be on stage, take the strong lighting into consideration (i.e. a black lace shirt with a pale lining or camisole is not recommended).

If you're shopping online, use the magnification feature to study the images. At, you can enlarge each garment image to check for opaqueness, etc.

There's a link below the Chadwicks zoom button which will take you to buyer reviews. I recommend you check these before choosing – previous buyers will comment if there's any danger of the garment being see-through. You'll also learn about size variations (I recommend you buy several sizes and return what you don't want) and length problems, for what temperatures the garment is appropriate, and laundering hassles (for crinkly voiles, I recommend the screw-and-scrunch drying method so the creases are on purpose). Do take their comments with a grain of salt. Laundering complaints may mean the wearer didn't follow label instructions (i.e. use a delicate wash cycle). Sizing complaints may simply mean that the wearer is frustrated she's not the size she hoped she was.

Here are some reduced-price Chadwicks options.

I find it anti-helpful when a model wears a knit top without a bra underneath. If the fabric isn’t actually transparent, then usually all you need is smooth upholstery under the shirt, such as a properly fitted t-shirt bra.

Ezibuy's new spring catalogue offers a charming, modest, feminine, CUTE ensemble idea (fancy using all those words for the same outfit!), a cotton skirt, blouse, and blazer combo.

To be continued...

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