Playing with Proportion: Avenue Patchwork Ruana

*This post is sponsored by Avenue.  I selected the items and theme myself and opinions are 100% my own.

Playing with Proportion: Avenue Patchwork Ruana | Designing From My Closet

Lately it seems I have been getting more and more questions regarding body shapes and body types.  Not that long ago, I used to be pretty strict when dressing when it came to my short-waisted, rectangle (or as some would call banana shape) shaped body.  Today I am going to be showing you a look for the upcoming fall season from Avenue that bends those rules by playing with proportion.

When I first saw the Patchwork Ruana on the Avenue website, I instantly fell in love.  Why, you might ask?  First of all, it is the sister to the Belted Patchwork Handkerchief Dress that I featured recently in my Western Chic with Avenue: Wear it Now, Wear it Later post.  Second, it reminds me of an Native American blanket which gives a nod to my heritage (I love that!)  And third, it incorporates everything I love: color, print, and texture.

Playing with Proportion: Avenue Patchwork Ruana | Designing From My Closet

As a rectangle shape, I am told I should not wear tops that go past my mid-hip.  While this ruana and chambray tunic go way past my mid-hip, they elongate my upper body nicely.  This blanket like wrap is  incredibly soft and the navy blue, cream, and merlot red color scheme is just stunning.  It is so cozy to wear and look chic all at the same time.  It is sewn at the sides, so it does have large armholes.

Playing with Proportion: Avenue Patchwork Ruana | Designing From My Closet

To avoid tight fitting and loose fitting clothes is also a rule my body shape is “supposed” to do.  Well, I totally missed the mark on that one with these gorgeous fitted ponte knit jeans in a coordinating merlot color + loose top.  I am so happy to do this rule-breaker too because I am so incredibly happy with these jeans.  They are cut like a jean, but have fantastic stretch and great weave.  And because they are a ponte knit, they hold their shape!  I ordered these in petite sizing (did you know Avenue carries petites?, well they do) and they fit much better than the last pair of jeans I got in both the rise and inseam.

Playing with Proportion: Avenue Patchwork Ruana | Designing From My Closet

Oh ya, I am told I should wear my belts down low, but here I am wearing it way up high.  I added this belt from my own closet as the ruana does not come with one.  You will for sure know I will be wearing it sans belt in the future as well.  I am also not supposed to bring attention to my waist, but I am not following that rule either.  The effect it gives of a skirt on the back is so cute.

Playing with Proportion: Avenue Patchwork Ruana | Designing From My ClosetPlaying with Proportion: Avenue Patchwork Ruana | Designing From My Closet

Down on my feet, I am sporting the Myla Oxford Bootie.  I selected them in this brown, and they come in black as well.  The color is super dark and rich.  I have come to really appreciate the Cloudwalkers brand that Avenue carries.  Every pair I have are comfortable all day long.  After having my hip surgery earlier this year, heel height has become a major factor for me, so these 2 3/4″ chunky heels are perfect.

Playing with Proportion: Avenue Patchwork Ruana | Designing From My Closet

I have worn this Rose V-Bar Necklace in several past posts because I just love it.  It compliments some of my more busy outfits so well and this one is no exception.  I also cannot leave out mentioning my new favorite handbag.  The Ontario Hobo Handbag is from the Kenneth Cole Reaction collection.  I saw Liz of With Wonder and Whimsy wear the grey color not that long ago.  I went with the tan coloration to go with this look and have been toting along with it ever since.  The faux suede gives a lovely texture and I almost can never have enough tassels.

Playing with Proportion: Avenue Patchwork Ruana | Designing From My Closet

I wanted to show you a look at the Princess Seam Denim Tunic without the ruana to give you an idea of fit.  It is for sure a tunic style being long and flowy.  I love the seaming on the front and the fact that it has pockets.  I am wearing the sleeves all the way down (although I had to fold up the buttoned cuff once for it not to cover my hands, which is typical for me), but it also has button tabs so you will probably see me in a future post with them three quarter length that way.  I am so very tempted to wear this as a dress, but I think it may be a bit short for me.  Hmm, I will experiment.

Playing with Proportion: Avenue Patchwork Ruana | Designing From My Closet

Outfit Details all via Avenue

I am so happy that I do not follow my body type rules anymore because otherwise I would have missed out on this outfit that makes me feel so good.  While I do think that some silhouettes functionally fit better for specific body types, there is really no need for me to steer clear of styles that call to my inner fashionista.  For me, confidence begins when you personally feel great.  It just exudes from your internal spirit.  Playing with proportions, I can have fun with creating a look that is uniquely mine and mine alone.  There is no body type rule in the world that can do that for me!

Do you always follow rules for your body type?  How do you make it work?  Are you as ready for fall weather just as much as me?


Do you enjoy reading fashion blogs, but have a challenging time putting those inspirational looks into practice?  Do you have a closet full of clothes, but still feel like you have nothing to wear?

If you are ready to make a change, take the DESIGNING FROM YOUR CLOSET STYLE CHALLENGE.  Click the graphic below to find out more and to sign up.  The fun begins Sunday, October 2nd!


Today’s Postivity Note

Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.

 Be Blessed!


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  1. Oh, Janeane, I am SO ready for Fall and Fall fashions!! Thankfully, it’s finally getting cooler (at least the nights!) in eastern PA, so I’m bringing out my warmer stuff!! I love your look of the day- that ruana is gorgeous! I didn’t notice that particular denim top the last time I looked at Avenue’s site, but I’m definitely going to now- how cute is that!! I really like those merlot pants too. I’m always hesitant about buying pants/jeans online because of the fit, and like that I can depend on my favorite bloggers to give me feedback on what they like and how it fits them. I’ll have to give those pants a view as well!

    Having a pretty-much straight figure (no waistline to speak of!), I tend to stay away from clothes with a definitive waist in them. Some things with waistlines feel “off”, like in the wrong place on me. I love an empire waist for that reason- I don’t have to guess where my actual waist is! As far as following fashion “rules”, I’ve been trying to break out of my real comfort zone, again thanks to my favorite bloggers (you and liz from with wonder and whimsy), but old habits die hard! But I’m trying!!

    1. Yes, this ruana is my newest obsession. I keep petting it every time I open the closet. And this knit denim is wonderful. Pretty much anything in a ponte knit is right up my ally because of how well it keeps its shape. It hugs the body without clinging either which is a plus in my book. Although I have some curves, I am pretty much the same measurements throughout the upper body, hence the rectangle shape. I am always playing with belts because I get to pretty much place them where ever I want because I do not have a defined waist either. It is very freeing getting away from the rules and I am so happy that Liz and I can be of inspiration. Thanks for the wonderful message Donna!


  2. Blessed are the rule breakers for they shall break new ground…and be adorable! This looks so great on you – broken rules and all! I, too, am a self-confessed rule breaker, especially when it comes to the rules for “petite” or short people…I just don’t have time for that. It’s too limiting! Or worse yet, don’t give me rules for what I should or should not wear over 40! Ugh! I hate that!

    The burgundies and merlots in this look fabulous on you! The ruana is one of my favorite tends for fall! Haven’t acquired one yet, but have my eyes open!

    On a side note – do it! I definitely think you could do the tunic as a dress! It would be adorable on you. Add some tights so you wouldn’t feel too exposed and a cute pair of boots… absolutely! I can see it!😉

    1. I used to limit my options as well. I am going with my own personal taste as a guide. I adore these colors and am so happy to have found these pieces. Good luck on finding your perfect ruana!


  3. I have a hard time with belts. I am short waisted and small chested so I don’t feel like I get that hour glass shape of a cinched in waist. When I try it something just doesn’t look right. Do you feel as a stylist that that proportion of bust to hip makes a difference where you place a belt?

    1. I really want to answer your question specifically and directly. And because no one woman is created with the exact same body, I am giving you a little more in depth answer.

      Years ago I steered clear of belts because I virtually do not have a waist. My bust, “waist”, and hip measurements are all near close to the same, I believe within a 1/2″ so I know exactly what you are talking about. I think finding the right belt for the right outfit is key. One thing is for sure, I do not attempt to achieve the “hourglass” shape. What I do is more of a trick with belts to say “yes, my waist is here” because there really is no indentation.

      I have a variety of wide, medium, and skinny widths of belts that I place everywhere from right under the bust to right above my hips (or what I would call my natural waist).

      I did write an article titled “Faking A Waist” that you may find helpful:

      I also wrote an article called “Wearing a Belt When Short Waisted” that you may enjoy:

      For me personally, when I first would place a belt on many years ago it just looked strange to me, and I would remove it. Then I finally started doing it even though it looked weird to me. It was because I was not used to seeing myself that way. Then after time, I began enjoying it. You might notice from my pictures I do tend to place my belts right above my belly button, which is a bit lower than right under my bust.

      Because I am not with you in person and every woman is designed a little differently (even within body shapes), I hope that what I have said here helps. My biggest suggestion to you is to continue to experiment, do not immediately dismiss the way a belt looks and try it out for a day, and remove the idea of creating a cinched waist and see them as an outfit completer and as a way to simply bring attention to what you are defining as your waist.


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