Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Competition Wardrobe, Getting Dressed For Business

by Kris Pitcher

If you're like most competitors you are trying to figure out how to make your wardrobe work for you while you're prepping for your show. Most of us aren't lucky enough to make yoga pants a staple in the what do you do?

I used to have up to three sizes in my closet. Then I'd put the "little" clothes in a big bin and put them in storage during offseason. As I would trim down I would try things on. "Nope, not yet." Or, "Bingo!"

But now my offseason looks different than it used to. I actually just purged a bunch of clothes out of my closet. Holding up a pair of slacks in a size 10, I mumbled, "I'll never be a 10 again."

I have a few 8's in there, but frankly I'm still wearing my 6's that I wore all through my diet. Now, I never fit into a 4. My quads and butt just aren't shaped into that size, so I wear my 6's even as they begin to fall off me.

The question is still on the table, how do you make your wardrobe work? I find I like to wear dresses. Not any dress, jerseys and knits. A structured dress doesn't make it over my upper body, we're not shaped like that.

I like separates. Skirts and tops, sweaters and suit jackets with stretch in them. As things get baggier, I put a belt on. In fact I'm usually double holding up my pants, and one pulling in the waist of my blouse, dress, or top.

There are a few pieces that work really well for me. I wear them all the time. They are fairly neutral and I can throw on an accessory - necklace, scarf etc. I also keep a supply of safety pins handy, the big ones. Use the safety pins to take in the sides of your slacks a bit at the waist.

Consignment is a really great option. Find a nice consignment store and buy a pair of slacks or two and some skirts in a size that fit so you have a few pieces to rotate through the week. It's difficult to find suits that fit. The jackets never fit across my back if the pants fit...I need to mix and match sizes. So buying things second hand is a good option for those of us who are changing size.

The biggest change for me has been to maintain between 10-15 pounds of my contest weight offseason. That way I really don't need those 8's and certainly don't need those 10's any longer. I definitely love stretch fabrics and they work really well for those of us who don't fit the industry mold of sizing.

As I'm gaining, I'll move the little items out so they don't get in my my white jeans with the sparkle pockets that stop at my thighs now. No need to keep those in front of me. Besides, it is after Labor Day.

The other thing I remind myself is that fashion trends don't always work for my build, and that's fine. I can wear things that work well on my body and make me feel great. Think outside the structured suit to find things that look professional and fit your athletic frame. Separates and stretch are my two best friends in my competition wardrobe. Now get dressed!

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