While the official beginning of summer is still nearly a month away, the traditional Chinese summer solstice of this year is coming next Monday. That's why I'm presenting a Mandarin dress with printed lotus --- the most popular summer flower in Chinese culture.
As a local news reporter, I wore this dress hosting a community event in celebration of last year's Chinese summer solstice, also known as Dragon Boat Festival or Duan Wu. If you would like to learn more about the Chinese summer solstice, which falls on different dates from late May to late June from year to year, you can read a feature story about it at: http://cupertino.patch.com/groups/opinion/p/legends-and-legacies-of-the-chinese-summer-solstice
Here in this post, the last part of my 2014 May flower series, I will only talk about how a lotus print can flatter your figure.
See the slender curves of the lotus stems along the torso of the dress? They create the illusion of a curved-in waistline. That's why this is quite a slimming dress despite being mostly white.
This dress is no longer available, but here's an even more universally flattering one you can order from http://www.elegente.com/refined-cheongsam-daily-dress-silk-lotus-print.html
I call it universally flattering mostly because of its loose-fit elbow sleeves. Many women have underarm jiggle, but most cute dresses reveal the entire arms. While longer-sleeve dresses tend to look matronly, this one comes in a youthful painterly print.
The subtle presence of the lotus flowers makes the Mandarin dress less exotic. It's conservative enough for the workplace. Yes, you can certainly wear it to work. Its standup collar can protect your neck from strong air-conditioning in the office. However, if you prefer it without the collar for the warm or hot weather outside, I'm sure you can negotiate with the seller about it while getting it custom made.
Below is another office-appropriate Mandarin dress with printed lotus flowers, available at http://www.elegente.com/retro-cheongsam-dress-ink-green-lotus.html
What makes this dress slimming is its huge lotus flowers and leaves, which make the body look thinner by contrast. Its sleeves are short, but long enough to hide some of your underarm jiggle. Sleeves any shorter than these would be a no-no to those concerned about fatty upper arms.
Keep in mind that cap sleeves are the most unflattering to the arms. A sleeveless design is actually better than cap sleeves because it exposes the bony joint between the shoulders and the arms, taking some attention away from the thickest section of the upper arms, which is near each armpit.
Below is a cute sleeveless mini dress with printed lotus flowers, available at http://www.elegente.com/chinese-ink-lotus-sleeveless-cheongsam-gradient.html
Look at how the dress gets darker and darker toward the bottom--the darkest color starts right around the widest point of the hips. This design will help those of us with wide hips look more proportionate.
The lotus print looks like a classic Chinese ink painting, but the simple cut and mid-thigh length of the dress make it absolutely contemporary. Tradition and modernity blend incredibly well here. It's simply classy and implicitly sexy at the same time. If you are single, definitely go clubbing in this dress --- guys will flock to you!
If you've settled down with someone, you can surprise your man with this dress. It's always good for the relationship to spice things up once in a while.
Even so, I won't blame you if you just want to live in a comfy cotton T-shirt all summer. There are actually some T-shirts with figure flattering lotus prints. The large lotus flower on each of them will make you look thinner by contrast.
This concludes my 2014 May flowers series. In my next post, I will discuss how to look as skinny as you possibly can on camera. See you next week!
About the Blog
Flatter Your Figure is a weekly blog on www.crystaltai.com about how to make the latest fashion work for real women of different body types. It presents a new post every Wednesday or Thursday.