Back to Fallwear… Back to Basics

Now that labor day is over it is time for my favorite season for deep colors, boots, sweaters, and great coats. The thing I like most about fall is getting back to comfort clothing without completely having to bundle up for winter. There are some tips that are essential for the fall weather for us full-figured ladies.

  1. Silhouette still matters: Even though we are getting into weather where more bulk wear is required it is still important that we show our curves in the most figure flattering way.  Where sweaters that are thin and can be paired with a wide belt to accentuate the smallest part of your body. This can be a boy cardigan with a button down and some jeans worn with a wide leather belt. It is also important to ensure that when wearing tops that are oversized like tunics pairing them with fitted bottoms like skinny jeans.
  2. Leggings really are a girls best friend: I cannot think of a better way to say I am here to fall then a great pair of leggings, jeggings, or any other type of eggings they decide to come out with. They are versatile, come in many varieties and are the perfect staple for fall and even leading into winter. Also perfectly pair with thigh or knee-high boots.
  3. Scarf Essentials: For me a scarf is a go to accessory when fall kicks off. It is a great way to bring color or print into an outfit without overpowering it. I normally shop Nordstrom’s collection of scarves in their accessory department. For something even more affordable and just as fun you can browse H&M or even Macy’s.
  4. Boots that fit: See my past blog post BOOT”ylicious” for my top pics!
  5. Form flattering dresses: I have found some great fall finds when it comes to dresses for my body type. Of course one being the infamous wrap dress created by Diane von Furstenberg. The original version is a bit pricey but this Suzi Chin Ruched version is just as form flattering. To see a full assortment on Nordstrom.com click here.  Great with pumps to dress up or thigh high boots to commemorate fall.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t… Study says full figured models damage self esteem

This article by Gabriel Bell is about how even seeing plus size models in fashion magazines can still cause overweight women to feel worse about themselves. The study suggest it is not necessarily the image itself but the representation of beauty. At the end of the day this illustrates how certain standards of beauty have set a bar, and the further women feel like they are from that bar the worse they are going to feel about themselves (particularly plus size women). As the article notes the only way to move forward in the right direction is for magazines and editorials to show a wider range of plus size women.

I hope you enjoy the article like I did!

Nonplussed: Study Says Even Full-figured Models Damage Self-esteem

Big girls not a big help.

Damned if you do … According to a new study conducted by a team of researchers from the U.S., Germany, and the Netherlands and published in the Journal of Consumer Research, magazine photos of models, be they magically emaciated or plus-size, make overweight women feel worse about their bodies and, conversely, “underweight” women feel better about themselves. So unfair, right? A serious blow to the growing interest in “plus-size” or “full-figure” spreads, the study suggests that redefining standards of shape across the editorial and commercial side of print fashion won’t be some sort of panacea for the already fragmented self-esteem of women who fall outside of our modern understanding of beauty. “Overweight women’s self-esteem always decreases, regardless of the model they look at,” says the study, implying that it’s not the particular image someone looks at that’s damaging, but rather the presentation of beauty, in any form, that troubles many readers. Anna North over at Jezebel breaks it down for us: “The fact is, images whose purpose is to sell women shit — whether those images look more or less like them — are probably never going to be on the forefront of social change. Including plus-size women in ads and fashion spreads is an important step not just for social good, but for aesthetic value — magazines would be more interesting if they contained a greater diversity of models.” The takeaway? Crystal Renn and all the size 12 sweethearts in the world aren’t going to make you feel any better if you don’t already maintain a healthy distance between the fun and fantasy of fashion imagery and the real, live girl you see in the mirror.

Written by Gabriel Bell

A pair of Christian Louboutins that fit please?

So yes I will admit that even though I sometimes buy things a bit on the not so easily known designer variety that I deem as quality and an investment piece I occasionally get caught into the luxury item of the moment that EVERYONE is raving over. Yes Louboutin! I tried to treat myself once. Went into the really nice section of Nordstrom shoes, You know the designer section “The Salon” that most of us can’t frequent that often. I was fresh from a really nice work bonus and wanted to give myself the pat on the back I fully deserved. I thought some red bottoms would be just the gift.

I felt great to ask for it in my size and just knew I was going to feel even greater once I swiped my credit card at the register to own my first pair. There was a style I had been eyeing for a while. The classic black patent pumps. I thought for something that cost so much play it safe first and get something classic and practical that will go with multiple outfits. It was not until I tried them on that I realized the shoes were literally made for china doll feet. I felt like my toes were curling up underneath themselves and the sides of my feet were screaming to get out.

Such a shame because that was a $700 sale lost. This is exactly what all of the plus size editorials are referring to when they say “We plus size women have money to spend! So keep us in mind when you are making clothes AND shoes!”  I plan on making one more attempt this season and will be giving Louboutin another opportunity to earn my money… but if it does not work out I have my eyes on a pair of Pradas that have already proven to be friendly to my not so petite feet:-)

By the way ladies if any of you out there are a size 8 WIDE that own a pair of Christian Louboutin let me know. Email me at my blog or send me a tweet @yoshishimone. I would love to know if you found a style that worked so I do not give up hope!

Happy shoe shopping my curvocious ladies!

My Fall Basic… The Tunic Tee

As fall approaches here in Seattle and I hang on to what has felt like 5 minutes of summer I find myself reviewing my arsenal of clothing only to realize I am unprepared for the transition. Shopping trip!

This is wear I reinforce my personal style of  less is more. Back to basics in comfort and style is everything, especially for us curvy girls. As I think about what I can wear with tights to make a grocery run or skinny jeans and heels for a evening out I stumble upon Nordstrom’s new collection of tunics and oversized tees.

The Boxy Dolman by Rubbish comes in several colors (I have it in gray). Great basic for fall and can be dressed up with a textured scarf. Can also pair with skinny jeans (check out my post, The Jean ISSUE  for a reco) and a wedged heel. This will be my go to top for the fall and beginning of winter.

Frenchi Drapery V-Neck Tee (Below) in slate blue is hot with tights and knee high boots. This top comes in multiple colors. Both of these tops were under $50 each. I could have easily spent $500 getting them in more than 1 color. They are comfy, classy, and versatile. The perfect companion for the fall season! Both go up to XL in size.

“Why is Size 14 Plus Size?”…an article by Diane Palmer

I think this article is very refreshing in terms of explaining how size has evolved over the decades to become smaller. It highlights how there was a time when the smallest size was a 6-8 and that was considered tiny. In a world now where clothing comes in size 0 the expectations and pressures that come along with it are frightening. It also sets a tone for women that people at double-digit sizes are out of the norm and that the smaller single digit sizes are the benchmark that all women need to strive towards. I agree with Diane in this article that not everyone is made to be a size 2 and that as long as you are taking care of your body, are active, and healthy what size you are should not matter.

Hope you find this article as insightful as I did.

“Why is Size 14 Plus Size?” by Diane Palmer

If 6 out of 10 people are considered “plus size”, then why do the retailers  aim their fashions towards the lower sizes?.

Why do we see new fashions with a top limit of size 12?

We are not all size zero, and many of us women have a body type, that no  matter how much we diet, exercise and starve ourselves, we would never be a size  2.  Are we suppose to be a size 2 to look good in the latest fashions?  This is  very difficult to explain to a healthy larger built teenager when she is trying  to fit in at school.  What type of message are we sending out to our young  women?..  that size 2 is the norm?.  In the early 70’s, you couldn’t even find a  size 2.. the smallest was a size 6-8 around where I live, and that was  considered very tiny.

Fashion designers, should be taking notes here, if the statistics are right,  and at least 60% of us are in the size 14 and up bracket, then why do we not see  more magazine ads, or billboard ads, or TV ads, showing that size in the latest  fashion?

In the last few years, there have been stores popping up for the “plus size  girl” that are segregated away from the main stream department stores, as if it  were a disease.  It was not that many years ago that a size 12 and curvy hips  were considered sexy.  What happened?.. was it Twiggy in the 60’s that triggered  this starvation as beauty?

There is nothing wrong with a healthy active girl, who happens to have a  larger build, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with a size 14.   I went  shopping for a outfit at Christmas, the manikin was wearing a size 4, and I was  told my size 14 version was in the back of the store.  I went back there almost  feeling ashamed, and yet I am healthy, active and fit.  The sales girl was a  size 2, and proud of it..  (she was telling everyone her no nonsense diet of 800  calories a day to get that size).

I think all of us size 14’s and up should be proud of our size and as long as  we do our best to take care of our bodies, and health, then we should not let  our self esteem be eroded by these skinny ads!

I have noticed a few more stores online and offline, that are taking the  chance and stocking their stores with trendy, chic and fashionable 14 and up  sizes, along side the smaller sizes, I applaud the designers, as some of these  styles look great…. but I guess the label “plus size” is here to stay!.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/982792

My Favorite New Top

Ignore the fact that the girl rocking the top in the photo is about a size 0. The top is fierce on us curvy girls:-)

Form fitting but not too snug, this Caslon shirred side top is great with skinny jeans (check out Kut from the Kloth Diana skinny jeans in Exquisite wash). Available at Nordstrom.

The top goes up to XL and the jeans go up to size 16. Top also comes in 2 other colors. Click here to see details.

“BOOT”ylicious…Great fall finds for thick calves!

Ok so one of my all time disappointments is salivating over all the cool tall boots that come out for fall only to realize my calves can’t fit into any of them:-(

Based on that when I go shopping for boots now there are a few rules I live by.

  1. If it looks like it might cut off circulation it probably will – You can tell if a boot may not cut it from a first glance, even though I am a big believer in trying on if you see a boot is not really soft leather and is more stiff that means it may not have a lot of give. Do try on but just emotionally detach yourself up front before doing so. If it fits than it will be a pleasant surprise.
  2. Don’t force it – If it was meant to be it will zip up with limited effort. If the zipper stops right at the base of your calve and the gap to zip it up all the way is huge DO NOT continue. I tried doing this with a pair of Sam Edelman boots last year and ended up not being able to bend my knees to walk.
  3. Ask before you try on – Engage with the sales person and ask them up front to help narrow down the boots that are going to be more friendly in the calve area and have more give.

Here are some of my favorite finds for this fall:

Fergie Women’s Varsity Boots 

I scooped these as soon as the zipper danced up my calve. They are super cute, high, and the leather is soft so it will stretch out. I did however have to go up a size bigger to make a little more room in the calve area, but being that it is for fall/winter thick socks will solve any extra room issues in the foot area. Depending on your calve situation you may not need to go up a full size. Color options are a chocolate brown and a grey (grey pictured). Buying tipI got my grey Fergie Varsity’s at the Nordstrom’s anniversary sale 30% off

Vince Camuto ‘Bilco’ Boot (Nordstrom Exclusive)

I tried these on and even though the calf circumference is the same as the Fergie boot it was a bit snug. I think it is the style, and the way the leather gives in the boot itself. However since everyone’s calf size is different I think this is worth sharing as a viable option.

BP Ruston Boot

This boot has a larger calf circumference than the Fergie Varsity and Vince Bilco. It comes in both black and a cognac color.

Miz Mooz ‘Kellen’ Boot

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these boots. The calf circumference was a full 1/2″ bigger than the Vince Camuto’s and Fergie at 15″ but It was a snug for me. The leather does not have as much give as the Fergie’s but it did zip up! These are definitely worth trying on.

Where do you fit in?

As I continue to define this blog and finesse how I can truly add value to the sea of plus size blogs already out there I realized that I want to speak to a very specific woman. Almost a niche or small segment within the plus size community. This woman is a direct reflection of me and my struggles with body image and not quite fitting in 100% on either end of the size spectrum (what is considered slim and plus size). This sub segment ranges from sizes 12-18 (in my mind).

Based on who I am targeting I wanted to feature this article which is very timely. Yes the article is about the modeling industry and how plus size is being represented, however I felt it had a deeper meaning.  It not only brings to light the pressure a plus size model has to endure but it shows how the fashion industry is just scratching the surface of plus size modeling with mainly sizes 12-16 being peppered throughout major magazines. The conflict however is that these models are generally not seen as truly “plus size” by their fellow full figured ladies who may be at the larger end of the size spectrum.

It seems that this sub segment of the plus size community is dealing with a double edged sword as they are perceived as being too small to be deemed “plus size” but obviously not small enough to be considered as a part of the main stream fashion industry.

I think that this article really illustrates how we perceive ourselves in relation to others that also perceive themselves in the same way. Body image and fashion are so personal that we tend to project our perceptions onto others which can lead to more dangerous consequences like marginalizing someone else’s identity of what they feel makes them fit in. At the end of the day we are all beautiful full figured women and a win for a few of us is a win for all of us and a start in the right direction.

Enjoy!

Excerpts from the article written by Nicolette Mason which is featured on Refinery 29 are below.

When it Comes To Models, What Exactly Is “Plus-Size”?

by Nicolette Mason

In the last couple of years, plus-size models have gone from being novelties in high-fashion shows and couture, to being included in mainstream campaigns and editorials in nearly every glossy from Glamour Magazine to Vogue Italia. But, it’s nearly impossible to even mention the words “plus-size” without stirring up a bit of controversy; whether they come under scrutiny for being too thin, too fat, or too “normal.”

We talked to some thought leaders in the plus-size community to have them weigh in on the issue. Read through their opinions, and then let us know what you think about plus-size models and representation.

What is the range in sizes for a “plus” model? How is that range determined?
Madeline Figueroa-Jones, Editor-in-Chief of Plus Model Magazine: “At the moment, plus-size models range from size 10 to 16. There are a few size six, eight, 18, and 20 models working, but very few and far between.

“I wish I knew who exactly was determining the size of plus-size models. Whenever I ask a brand, they tell me the agencies don’t have high-caliber bigger models. When I speak to agencies, they tell me that the clients are calling for smaller models, so I’m not exactly sure what is going on. All I know is that I can’t get a clear answer from anyone.”

What kind of role do you think diversity (body type, ethnicity, etc.) plays in the fashion industry as a whole?
MFJ: “I would think that model diversity should be a key factor for brands and designers. For example, I have to be mindful of ethnicity and sizes of models for the magazine. If I use too many of anything, the emails start to come in asking about when they are going to see more red-heads, bigger models, etc. Plus-size women want to see themselves being represented within the companies they support. Look at the Dove campaign and United Colors of Benetton—why are we not seeing a rainbow of colors and sizes as we did in the past? This is what attracted us to the brand and designers in the very beginning. The plus-size customer used to be silent and took whatever was given to them, but since the fashion market has exploded in the past five years, they are choosy and shop all over the globe.”

Do you think there will come a time when models won’t be distinguished by their size or body type?
MFJ: “I think that when society no longer distinguishes people by size and color, we could possibly see a change. In the meantime, plus-size fashion needs plus-size models in order to sell to the customer. This is not about models, it’s about how the plus-size woman is marketed to.

“I read a lot of the comments whenever an article comes out online about plus-size fashion or models and I’m appalled by the ignorance I read. People equate bigger people with being unhealthy, but I would bet my career that if I took the plus-size board and the straight-size board of an agency and had them take physical exams, the straight-sized models would not be ‘healthier’ than the plus-sized models. To some women, being a size double-zero or zero is natural, but for those that starve or abuse drugs, it’s a battle to stay at a size that your body is rejecting.

“No one should have to starve themselves or overeat to be a model. There is an industry for models that do not fit the criteria—it’s called commercial modeling. I feel like the plus-size boards at modeling agencies have become a dumping ground for models who can no longer starve themselves and are at a size six and eight. They know very well [that these women] are not marketable to plus-size women.”

Click here to access full article

The Bradometer – July 2011

The Chantalle and Panace Tee Shirt BraThis is a post I could not wait to get to. Right next to shopping for jeans or anything that requires getting my legs into a piece of clothing bra shopping is up there on the list of things causing high anxiety. This post will most likely be done every four months since us well endowed girls have to frequent the bra department more often than our more lack luster sisters.

In my frequent visit to Nordstrom I (and my back pain) decided it was time to visit the bra department. It was time to replenish my supply since bras have literally become my new commodity item. Normally the right approach is to change out your bras every 6 months, however if you are more bustier you will most likely need to replenish every 4-5 months if the quality of bra is great. If not so great probably more often than that.  This is because after washing and wearing the elasticity starts to wear down. We also tend to fluctuate in size as well so another good reason to change out your bras in a timely manner.

Here are my tips to a stress free bra shopping experience:

  1. Do your homework – Make sure you pick a store that has variety in numbers and in sizes. This is very important. Most places only go up to a 38DDD. If your ladies need additional support the only way you are going to stand a chance is going somewhere that stocks more options and styles. My advice would be a high-end department store like a Saks, Neiman’s, or Nordstrom. This way you can also ensure quality of the brands being stocked.
  2. Get fitted – There is no sense in going to the bra department, taking your size from the bra you have on, going to pick out the cheapest thing you can find and buying it. You should always seek the help of a sales associate in the bra department to get fitted (no matter what size you are). This way you have a professional on your side to help you narrow your options and to ensure you are being measured properly.
  3. Be aware of what makes you feel good – One thing with bras is that the size you need could vary depending on what styles you prefer. Make sure during the fitting you are in tuned to what is truly a comfortable fit. Do not assume because you measured out to be a size 38G that all the bras they bring you in that size will fit perfectly. For instance if the band ends up feeling too snug in one style the other alternative may be to go up a band size and go down a cup size.
  4. Ask for the deals – Once you have landed on what styles you like and feel most comfortable in you should ask the sales associate if they have the same bras in other colors that may be on sale from last season. For instance the same brand could have had a color that was introduced for holiday and if you are shopping post holiday you could save up to 20% if they are trying to clearance out those colors. May not be a color you LOVE but an option for saving some $$$ on an already expensive shopping venture.
  5. Take care of your new best friends – The best way to be sure your bras are lasting for as long as they can is to handle them appropriately once you get them home. Use a bra garment bag when washing to put them in along with a delicate detergent that helps protect the elastic in your bra. The department stores I mentioned would most likely have these items you could purchase along with your bras.

My Recent Bra Finds:

  1. Chantelle – This bra is literally like a piece of armor. There is no movement or jiggling which you will either like or not like. This is a classic molded bra so that is something to keep in mind if you prefer something that is a bit more natural feeling. This particular style was a little snug in the band once I had it on for more than an hour so something else to keep in mind when trying on. I got this in a 38DDDD.
  2. Panache T- Shirt Bra (bottom image) – LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this bra. I have designated it my travel bra because of its comfy feel and fit. The material is exactly how it sounds, like a t-shirt and what is brilliant is that there is still a slight mold in the cup for support. This one I scooped in a 38FF.

Some other interesting bra insights can be found in the following articles:

The Disadvantages of wearing the wrong Bra Size

Does Your Bra Measure Up

The Jean “ISSUE”

Shopping for jeans can be daunting at best and a major self-esteem killer at its worst.

But there are designer brands out there that can help minimize the stress and anxiety of entering that fitting room and trying on a pair.

My favorites so far are David Kahn and Kut from the Kloth. Both offer a wide selection of different styles and are forgiving in those problem areas. I find that Kut from the Kloth has a lot more leg and thigh room while David Kahn is great for low rise styles and helping to minimze the but and waist area.

I will admit that David Kahn can be a bit hit or miss on size selection but Kut from the Kloth goes up to size 16 in pretty much all of their styles! My favorite grab for summer is their boyfriend style.

Another brand I hear rave reviews on but have no personal experience in wearing (yet) are NYDJ (Not Your Daughters Jeans). They have a collection of fitted cargo style chinos that also includes their Lift Tuck Technology like their collection of jeans.

You can visit their websites to find a retailer that carries these brands in store or online.

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