Hunting for figure-flattering dresses and separates

In Philippine Star Column on September 14, 2012 at 2:29 am

Jersey sure: Souk’s long sleeve maxi dress

A fashion “dash” is how I would describe my last-minute dress-up habit. Since I like to hit the snooze button one too many times I end up rushing through my morning rituals so I’m not late for work. I admire those who can plan their wardrobe the night before or can mentally dress themselves up and not have to throw a bunch of stuff on the bed to see what goes with what. I’ve since then found an easier solution (yes, rather than just wake up earlier) which was to invest in easy-wear pretty dresses and separates. Normally, jersey is an ideal choice of material as it (when made well) falls on any silhouette nicely and just needs you to slip it on and head out that door. Of course, pattern and print are very important if you’re not a Skinny Minnie so if you want to steer away from the monochromes then take time out to try them on, and take your time. Just because it looks good on the rack doesn’t mean it’s going to complement your shape and size; also vary per brand and also be wary about “free” sizes. So, again, make sure that you really like how it looks on you — a maxi dress can make you look pretty or pregnant (when you’re not).

Summer’s still here. A printed razor t-back maxi dress from Souk.

Retailers have embraced the practicality of dresses in this fabric which is also travel friendly. I spoke to designer Richie Ortega-Torres, better known for her bespoke bridal creations, about her line of figure-flattering dresses for Souk. “My design inspiration for this line is me, or people like me who feel their ‘problem’ areas are at the tummy and the arms. These dresses are easy to wear, forgiving and can be dressed up or dressed down so they’re very flexible.” To add to the flexibility and practicality of her printed pieces, Ortega-Torres puts pockets in almost all of them, and with prices ranging from P1,950 to P2,750 they are relatively light on the pocket as well. For those who are already familiar with this brand and are happy with their silhouettes, they’ll be happy to know that Souk plans to launch (as the designer coins it) swimwear that is also on the more “forgiving” side. “We tested them over the summer,” she shares, “and the result was fantastic, so I’m excited for that.”

Graphic novel. A boldly printed short, and 3/4 sleeve jersey dress from Souk.

Another source for jersey-made pieces is Details, a store conceptualized by design couple Conrad and Hywel Joson. Hywel does the designing and product development. This includes dealing with overseas suppliers as well as deciding which pieces are finally included in the collection. Conrad is in charge of the men’s line (which is available in selected stores) as well as most of the backroom/administrative functions. “Our design philosophy is anchored on providing our clients with fashion forward but tasteful pieces,” says Conrad (or Copa to his friends). “Wearability is a key factor in designing and producing our pieces.” Best-sellers from Details are their jersey dresses and jumpsuits. These are pieces that are flattering to most age groups and body types as they have classic cuts that can be worn for a long time. I’ve had personal experience with this, having made my first purchase of a striped multi-colored maxi dress several years ago and have happily worn it on many occasions, getting compliments for it each time. If you’ve already had your fill of dresses and want other options their price points can allow you to get a variety of separates to mix and match (ranging from P995-P1,300) or a waist-creating wrap jersey jumpsuit (P1,895) in either a solid color or print (P1,995).

Office chic. Three fourths jersey top and pleated pink skirt from Details.

Remember, if you’re going for these versatile pieces that shouldn’t be an excuse for lazy dressing — accessories are also key in keeping them fashionable. Also, flattering as this fabric may be, it is no excuse to fall flat in your health and beauty routine. You do not want to max out a maxi dress. Even if you now can shave off minutes when getting ready, looking effortlessly stylish still takes some work, but it’s always worth it.

Scarf prints. Padded and printed jersey dress from Details.

* * *

Richie Ortega-Torres’ jersey dress line is available at Souk Gallery, at The Ramp Crossings at Glorietta 3 and TriNoma. Details can be found at Power Plant Mall, TriNoma, Shangri-La Mall and Glorietta 3 (The last two inside The Ramp Crossings).

Photos of Souk Gallery courtesy of Toto Labrador for and other photos courtesy of Details

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