Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cold weather fashion tips from the creator of Yummie Tummie

It's not every day (or ever, really) that I get the chance to hang out with a fashion designer to the stars, but sometimes mommyblogging has its benefits, and last week I had the honor of meeting Heather Thomson, founder of Yummie Tummie. YT, for those uninitiated (aka those who didn't attend BlogHer 09), is a line of shapewear and fashion basics that promise to slim flabby mummy tummies and make you look thinner and more toned without all those pesky sit-ups. And Heather, in addition to being the designer and founder of the company, is a fellow working mom to two children about the same age as mine. When I sat down with her on Friday after our company holiday party, she was looking forward to heading home after a busy week on the road and regretted she would be missing sundown on the first night of Chanukah.

Yummie Tummie got its start shortly after Heather gave birth to her first child. She was looking for something to hold in her post-partum jiggle but was astonished by the ugly, ill-fitting garments in the fusty, old-fashioned shapewear department. She was so disappointed by what she'd bought she ripped them up and patched the stretchy fabric together to sew a tank top for herself. She liked it so much she went to a fabric store and made more tank tops in black, pink, nude and white. Now Yummie Tummie sells dozens of control tops, bottoms, slips, and lingerie. Heather even confessed her body shaping teddie has helped women ashamed of their bellies turn the lights back on in the bedroom.

I actually bought a Yummie Tummie tank early this year, and while it's really well constructed and battles back my muffin top, I wasn't totally sold on it. It crept up when not tucked into my pants or tights and I just wasn't convinced it was sucking in $62.00 worth of flab.

Turns out I was wearing the wrong size. With a quick up and down glance, Heather pronounced me a small and hello, my new small tank feels much, much more snug. It holds onto my hips and really sucks in my gut. I think it even make me stand up taller. I wore it under a belted purple sweater to a couple of holiday parties on Saturday and 5 people told me I looked like I'd lost weight! (I haven't.)

So the Yummie Tummie works, but it's not worth it if you're hiding under jeans, a hoodie and a down parka, right? I needed to pick Heather's brain for stylish, flattering looks for those of us facing a long winter of sub-zero temps. Heather recommended dressing monochromatically and spending money on a couple of coats and a wardrobe of cold weather accessories. She suggested navy or cream hats and gloves for dressier occasions and pairing funky striped gloves with jeans. Matching my mittens to my clothes and boots never even occurred to me before! She also showed me how you can vary your look without buying anything new; grabbing her own gray hat, she demonstrated all the different ways you can style a simple fold-over skullcap. She added that scarves are great accessories that can be worn lots of different ways while also keeping you warm outdoors and in.

Heather also stressed the importance of choosing a warm coat that's not overly bulky and complimented me my fitted black Lands End down coat. She told me I should try belting it and I did so today, giving myself a bit more of a waist with the addition of a wide, elastic and pleather belt I picked up at Forever 21.

You can get more cold-weather fashion tips from Already Pretty, a fashion blogger from Minneapolis. Check out this post on layering without lumps.

Also in this picture, a hat from Etsy, gloves from H&M, a scarf from Loehmann's, jeans from Forever 21 and my new Frye boots

Disclosure: I received a free Yummie Tummie tank top during my interview with Heather