Thursday, September 10, 2015

Pencil Skirts and Curvy Women: A Special Kind of Sexy

As you may know, my last post a pretty upsetting one. It was all about fashion shoots that portray women in peril, being raped, or even dead. It was not at all pleasant to write that post. It may seem odd after looking at all those images of objectified women, that my spontaneous reaction the next day was to create an outfit much sexier than my usual outfits. But, when you think about it, it's not so odd at all. Here's why.

We have all encountered men who call us prudes when we object to degrading, sexualized images of women in the media. Such men think it's their right to define what makes a woman sexual and sexy and what makes her a "prude." If we don't enjoy sexuality on their terms, they think that we must hate sex itself. How absurd! I think, in creating this sexy outfit, I unconsciously wanted to grab hold of my sexuality, my sexiness, and own it, on my terms, in my own way.

And so: a light, sexy post, in bright red for happiness -- and for power.

Sweater: Active; Shirt: TanJay Petites; Skirt: Old Navy; Belt: boutique; Sunglasses: Aldo; Shoes, watch, earrings, bracelet, and brooch: vintage
It felt very daring to show this much (this many?) of my curves. When I saw the skirt at Old Navy, I decided to be brave and buy it, but I almost sent it back when I saw how it looks on me. Beau loved it, of course, but could I ever be that brave in public? Yikes! Instead of sending it back, I kept the skirt in this size and also got it one size larger, so I could wear the same skirt when I'm feeling less brave.

I also turned the skirt around so that the slit is at the back and not the front. This just makes sense for a disabled woman who often uses a wheeled mobility device: the front slit would allow my underwear to show when I'm using my mobility scooter and that's just not okay with me.

As I dressed, I was thinking of Christina Hendricks in Mad Men, naturally. 

I wore a 60s brooch (which was my grandmother's) ...

... and a little office sweater to complete the look.

Who wouldn't want to emulate Christina Hendricks? She wins, of course, in the being Christina Hendricks thing.

My hair is auburn. (Also: look at my watch.)

Her hair is full-on red. (Also: Look at her watch. Notice a resemblance?)

I have an hourglass figure ... 

... and a large bosom.

But her hourglass is a little fuller than mine.

I'm not complaining, mind you. Neither is Beau. As he took this photo, he made a pretty racy comment about how much he likes my figure in this outfit. Thus my laughter.

In fact, I couldn't get him to stop taking photos ...

... getting near me, touching me, and admiring me from all angles. I like that in a fiancé

His desire to take a lot of photos led to this cool, artsy one, which is now officially one of my all-time favourites. 

I really felt sexy, beautiful, playful, and powerful -- on my own terms. Even I, with all my insecurities, noticed men glancing at me appreciatively on the street.

Their glances made it very clear that young and skinny is not the only kind of sexy.
Jayne Mansfield
It never has been.

Nigella Lawson
It never will be.

Mary Lambert

The curvy woman in the pencil skirt or pencil dress is a wonderful thing.

I don't want to diss skinny women like this model, but this is a look that works better on curves.

Marilyn Monroe
Wouldn't you agree?

It looks good from the front.

And it looks good from the back too!

Marilyn Monroe
As the boys in Some Like It Hot say adoringly when they first see Marilyn from the rear, "It's like jello on springs!" 


But what about from the side? Curves bring "thickness" and I was pretty shy about that.

Marilyn Monroe
But look! Even Marilyn Monroe had a belly. 

Jayne Mansfield on her wedding day.
As Beau says, the only way you get the curves without the belly is plastic surgery.

There are occasional exceptions, but, mostly, that's true ...

Marilyn Monroe
... especially as we hit middle age. 

Mariska Hargitay, Jayne Mansfield's daughter
But we're still sexy.

Imagine that!

Revel in that fact.

Own it!

Be proud, regardless of who is or is not looking at you. After all, it's your body and you get to love it on your own terms.

(I'm sharing this with Rachel the Hat, Modish Matrons on In The Writer's ClosetSydney Fashion Hunter, Happiness at MidLife, Fashion Should Be Fun, Not Dressed as Lamb, and Not Dead Yet.)


  1. I hear you! Sometimes dressing up for yourself is the best compliment you can ever pay yourself. You look amazing! I love that skirt, it's perfection! Swinging by from Passion for Fashion, great to meet you xx

    1. Some people don't understand that a person can dress up just for him or herself and no-one else. You get it. Glad to meet you too.

  2. Va va voom! Is all I can say!!!
    Love the skirt, the shoes, the cane, the belt, the brooch, the watch, the hair, the smile! Oh, obviously I found a little more to say ;-)
    Your attitude is spot on. As a person who has IBS and often has a big belly due to bloating with no curves elsewhere to camouflage, I say Yay for the bellies! Xo Jazzy Jack

    1. Thanks for the kudos. I felt pretty sexy that day. I have IBS too, most likely because of the PTSD, and it can really be a problem on my scooter, with waistbands, belts, etc., cutting into my belly. Beau has trouble with that too because he has an ostomy. He had ulcerative colitis and nearly died. Someday we'll write a post about that.

  3. You look wonderful! Love this post. The past dozen years or so, I've been dressing to blend in, self-conscious about weight gain. I'm finding your posts very encouraging; you're helping me to accept myself as I am and dress myself as well as I can, in clothes and colours that I love. Thank you for that.

    1. I'm so glad to hear that. That's one of the main reasons I started this blog: to help improve the self-esteem of myself and others. I was so inspired by other "plus size" style bloggers that I wanted to be a part of the movement they had created. Body shaming has no place in my world, even as I still struggle with my own body image issues.

  4. Terrific post! I really enjoyed not only how thoroughly you delved into the role of pencil skirts in a curvy woman's world, but the bevy of old school images used throughout.

    From one die hard pencil skirt loving gal to another, I say, hear, hear!

    ♥ Jessica

    1. Well, fashion history is great joy and passion of mine, as I know it for you too. My wedding dres was not exactly "pencil" but it certainly wasn't a-line either. I'll be posting it soon.

  5. This skirt looks amazing on you! I love your gorgeous shoes too.

    Thank you for being a part of TBT Fashion link up and hope to see you Thursday.


    1. I got the shoes for $40 on Etsy. Isn't that cool? I wear them all the time. They're very kind to my crippled back but stylish at the same time.