Fashion Advice for the Short and Stumpy

November 20, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Carol Barnier –

There is a woman in my church who is always pulled together. She is sweet, kind, thoughtful, funny AND…she is always perfectly dressed. I mean perfectly. She is just the picture of lovely. Her colors always complement her creamy complexion, they fit her beautifully, and they have just a bit of snazzy to them – enough to make me look at her with admiration…

…which I then follow up with a look of resignation. . .

…which is usually translated into a sigh when I pause to consider my own appearance at that moment. I have two (count them: one, two) “church skirts” that I typically pull out; one is for cooler weather, the other for warmer weather. (I previously had an additional beloved swirly summer skirt but I was informed by the committee-for-unsightly-in-church-offenses that it made me look like a tired bohemian Gypsy. Skirt now retired. Made into lovely throw pillows.)

But now, as I look upon this pulled together woman…let’s call her Grace, (what else) who wafts in each and every Sunday morning looking like a catalog cover, I decided it was time to actually choose my clothing with forethought and proactive intention. Gone will be my previous methodology which basically was “Does it cover my person and was it clean at some point in recent memory?”

Choose Your Shape—I began to research my topic with enthusiasm. My study quickly took me to the science of body shapes. First, I learned, one must “dress to their shape.” My many years of raising preschoolers taught me that round is indeed, also a shape, but apparently it has been callously cast aside by the fashion shape selection police. So while “round” might best suit me, apple, pear and rectangle are the standard industry choices.

Create Proportion—Next I was informed that puffy sleeves add extra dimension to one’s top half if one already has more than enough dimension to one’s bottom half. But further reading revealed that puffy sleeves are not recommended if one has either an abbreviated neck or extra flappery in the neck region. No suggestions if one has all of the above.

Height Assessment—Additionally I learned that certain accommodations can be made if one is too short. To give you perspective: I once stood behind a podium to give a speech and was later accused on an audience survey of having sat down the whole time. Apparently only my head could be seen, given a frightening rendition of the oft used “talking head.” All my animated gestures and meaningful body language were completely lost.

For those with such linear deficiencies, fashion authorities state that one must take hem lines to just above the knee to give a better sense of proportion. But a tad later, in the exact same article, they mention that if, however, one has pudgy knees, the hem length is better just below above said knee pudge.

How had they determined that you were only permitted one body flaw per person? Why hadn’t I gotten that memo long ago?

I continued to follow the lengthy flow chart of questions designed to lead me to the perfect fashion choice, which in the end…big sigh…was a burkha.

One day, when I am finally successful in taking my shape from round to apple or pear, I shall astound them all…even Grace…with my Sunday morning style. But till then, you’ll find me in my American Burkha (read that—winter pajamas) working on my latest book: Fashion Advice for the Short and Stumpy.

About Carol Barnier

Carol Barnier is a delightful speaker, entertaining author, adequate wife and pitiful housekeeper. Her objective is to have the wit of Erma Bombeck crossed with the depth of C.S. Lewis, but admits that most days, she only achieves a solid Lucy Ricardo with a bit of Bob the Tomato. Visit her humor blog at and her speaker's site at
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2 Responses to “Fashion Advice for the Short and Stumpy”
  1. Hally Franz says:

    Carol, thanks for the laughs! I have often had similar thoughts about swimsuits — which single figure flaw to address? Why can’t a suit help in multiple areas!

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