Wardrobe bootcamp: how to bring sexy back

Kim-Marie WilliamsFashion, How to 39 Comments

Editor’s note: This is a regular series in which we help Styling You readers solve a particular wardrobe or clothing crisis with a little advice and some shopping suggestions. If you think you’d like to be considered as part of a Wardrobe Boot Camp post, then please email me ([email protected]) with a couple of photos and a brief rundown of what specific help you would like.

The plea

Libby has been suffering from menopause for seven long years and is unable to take HRT. Not only does Libby have hideous hot flushes and marauding mood swings, but a libido that is lost in action. At only 53, Libby is too young to be feeling this old.

Libby loves her darling husband, and had the brilliant idea that wearing something that made her feel good, even sexy, might help. I’ve been tasked with Operation Sexy Back!

I reckon I am the woman for the job as I’ve experienced something similar when I was diagnosed with autoimmune disease when I was only 32. I was constantly sick, tired, sore, exhausted and grumpy, plus I put on weight which just made me feel worse about myself – and my libido went MIA too.

Libby is blessed with big boobs and wears size 16, the average Australian dress size, and says she doesn’t feel comfortable in spaghetti straps or see through fabrics. Quite right too – sometimes sexy is more about what you can’t see than what you can.

The tips

A good quality and well fitted bra is a must as keeping the girls lifted and separated is an easy way to look like you’ve dropped a dress size. Hoisting your boobage higher visually lengthens your torso, thereby making you look slimmer.

The vintage glamour of 50s style underwear is perfect for making Libby feel sexy and has the added benefit of helping to create a smooth line. If the waistband is too high, the tummy can pouch out underneath, and if it is too low, the tummy can pouch out over the top, creating the dreaded muffin top.

A fabulous smoothing slip that smooths rather than squishes, in a breathable fabric for dealing with Libby’s hot flushes, is a great confidence booster. I frequently layer mine over leggings or skinny jeans and under a loose fitting top, as well as under dresses.

My lazy girl fashion secret weapon when I need to look fabulous yet stay comfortable is a dress, as there are no worries about coordinating tops and bottoms, shirt buttons straining, or waistbands coming untucked. If it’s cold, layer a long sleeved fine gauge tee underneath, a jacket or cardigan on top, and add a pair of opaque tights, and just discard layers at will as you warm up.

I am a huge fan of Verily. Leonie Macleod is a very clever lady with her flattering designs, which take all sorts of figures into consideration.

I’ve chosen a few dresses for Libby that will show off her banging bosom and skim over the bits she’s not so happy about. The breathable fabrics will help with her hot flushes, and the flattering designs will make her feel so good about herself on the outside that she’ll feel better about herself on the inside.

The Watercolour Kaftan is a stylishly sexy piece that can be dressed up for evening, with a hint of skin with the open arms. The Kimino Maxi comes in at the narrowest part, under the bust line and reveals alluring cleavage. Wear with a pair of wedge sandals to lengthen your line. The Cross My Heart Dress is an uber flattering option that can be styled up and is cleverly designed to make the most of curves. The Red Rosette and Missy Dresses are fab day dresses with scoop necklines and are designed to flow over hips, tummies and thighs, most women’s least favourite parts. The Missy Dress can be worn with or without the waist tie belt.

Accessories that will help Libby bring sexy back include pretty scarves and long necklaces to draw the eye down and lengthen the torso, thereby minimising the bust. Some sparkly earrings and jewellery will draw attention to her smiling face, because nothing is sexier than a confident smile!

The shopping

1. Salsa Underwired Balcony Bra by Fantasie $51 Salsa Short by Fantasie $26 | 2. Rebecca Underwired Moulded Bra by Fantasie $67 Rebecca High Waist Smoothing Brief $35 | 3. Rebecca Brief by Fantasie $26 | 4. Luxe Dress Slip by Oroton $35 (on sale) | 5. Smoothing Underwired Balcony Bra by Fantasie $41 Smoothing Brief by Fantasie $22 | 15% off full price items with code 15OFF from Clara-Olivia

1. Cross My Heart Spot dress $109 (on sale) | 2. Berry Kimino Maxi $120 | 3. Red Rosette Dress $99 (on sale) | 4. Missy Dress $99 (on sale) | 5. Watercolour Kaftan $139 | Dresses from Verily

Now it’s your turn. Have you had similar issues to Libby? Any tips you’d like to pass on? Would love to hear how you have managed this stage of your life.

Kim-Marie Williams is the Editor, Stylist and Consultant at KimbaLikes.com, where she chats about Family | Fashion | Frivolity – the things Kimba Likes! A retro cute stylish individual with a passion for fashion, a beauty junkie and opshopper extraordinaire. Offering style tips and reviews and sharing life, love and laughs on KimbaLikes.com, Kimba is celebrating her Big Four Oh My Gods this year, and is enjoying the confidence which comes with knowing your own style. You can find @kimbalikes all over the social media landscape, sharing her latest bargain as her life mantra is Never Pay Retail.


Comments 39

  1. Nikki – this post touches on a question. I’ve been looking for a every day sexy camisole but can’t find anything that’s not cotton and not $200+ (which I would LOVE to wear but can’t afford) and doesn’t look like I’m going to lounge in bed with my husband. Got any good leads?? Thanks

  2. Agree with all these points. Leona Edmiston does a good line in frocks too.

    Would add
    -good haircut
    -statement lippy
    -depilation/ body moisturiser.

    They don’t take that long to attend but add a lot in terms of sexy.

    I tried bringing sexy back but I forgot the receipt.
    cilla x

  3. Love this!

    New boobage lifters are on my shopping list… I love the ones you have featured.

    And… Verily – oh my …. LOOOOOOVE!!!

    So great to see you HERE! Excitement!

  4. Couldn’t agree more about wearing a fitted but not too tight slip under your clothes. It really does help to create a nice line and absorbs some perspiration so you reduce any marks on your outer clothes. I find that I need to launder my dresses less when I wear other layers that can stand up to more washing- this works really well when you are travelling as the slips can easily be rinsed in the sink and dry really quickly.

  5. Yes but I don’t have the big boobs to go with it ,I have been going through Menopause for a long time too,after an early hysterectomy,that sent my ovaries into shock and they have never recovered ,my Libido goes MIA a lot though Libby there is new treatment available that helps and is not HRT,talk to your Doctor next time you go.I love all the things you have chosen Kim-Marie especially the gorgeous undies and that Watercolour kaftan,dresses are my favourite item in my wardrobe.Thanks for addressing this issue.I find summer horrible because of hot flushes and I get hot so quickly and can’t get cool,Great post!

  6. Nikki – a BIG thank you from a lady with a bust, for addressing the importance of supporting the girls!! A properly fitted bra can solve many problems, including redefining your waist in an instant and helping reduce any shoulder or neck pain that might be experienced. So much easier to feel a bit sexy when you’re not constantly hurting! Plus of course it makes your clothes look better 🙂

  7. Love this post a million times over. Oh yes, first step is good artillery for your girls and then make sure you buy matching knickers, for a set, so you are secretly gorgeous under your frock/oufit. If in Melbourne, head to Brava (I have NO association) but those ladies have fitted my changing body with beautiful underwear with absolute sensitively. Love all the links, esp that exquisite watercolour kaftan and link to Kimba. Yay!
    Oh saving grace, plenty of exercise and coffees or drinks with girlfriends

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