Plus-size fashion & beauty

Wrap Dresses for the Plus-Size Woman

Dresses.

Some women brag they haven’t worn one since the Reagan administration. Others embrace them.

And, really, what is better than a dress? Throw it on, easy breezy, and you are ready to go. Make it casual with a jean jacket and Converse sneakers or glam it up with pearls and heels. Usually I pair it with flats and a cardigan, and I’m good to go.

Have you ever considered giving a wrap dress a try? You actually have two options:

  • A wrap dress usually has a front closure made by wrapping one side across the other, tying the sash at the back or at the hip, and hidden buttons may be involved. They almost always have v-necklines.
  • A faux wrap dress is very similar, except that it made to be slipped over the head. There is no opening in front, and usually has an empire waistline.

They reached icon status in the early 1970s with Diane von Furstenberg’s designs. While many people hailed her wrap dress as revolutionary, the design is actually an old one. British-born designer Charles James created what the christened the “taxi dress.” While it looks innocent enough, he cheekily suggested he called named it so it could be put on and taken off in the back of a taxi.

Take a look at it and decide what you think:

Diane von Furstenberg certainly popularized the look, and it’s easy to see why the wrap dress is a staple in many women’s closets:

  • They were created to hug the curves of every woman, no matter if she is hour-glass shaped or has a rectangular silhouette.
  • Faux wrap dresses are even more flattering because they accent the chest and the empire waistline ensures the stomach and hips aren’t an issue.
  • Bright and bold patterns and vibrant colors make the wearer stand out in a crowd.
  • Lengths can suit any desired hemline, from mini- to maxi-skirts.
  • It is favored by famous women from Michelle Obama to Kate Middleton.
  • It is seen as a symbol of feminism and women’s liberation because it is easy to put on and even easier to take off.

Unfortunately for us plus-size women, DVF only goes up to a straight size 14 in her couture and ready-to-wear line. So where does that leave us?

Never fear.

If this article has whet your appetite for wrap dresses, there are several plus-size designers who offer beautiful wrap dresses:

  • My personal favorite is Igigi. They do mostly faux wraps, and I have one I live in during the fall and winter months, as well as my LBD. Made in San Francisco, I can personally attest to their quality and excellent cut. $128-$180.
  • Kiyonna probably has the largest selection of plus-size wrap dresses. They offer both classic and faux wrap dresses in a wide variety of patterns and solid colors. I have never worn one myself, but one look at the reviews of the dresses on their site will tell you how much their customers love them. $60-$118.
  • ASOS Curve also has most faux wraps ranging from casual to formal/wedding guest quality. $24-106.
  • Ashley Stewart has a lovely selection of mostly faux wraps, many on sale as of the time of this writing (July 2017). I really like the variety of patterns they offer, from python to bold, tropical colors. $26-$60.
  • Retailers such as Lane Bryant, Macy’s Saks, Neiman’s, and Nordstrom’s carry wrap dresses as well, but it depends on their stock.

Because it hugs your curves and is so easy to wear, why not give a wrap dress a try? With such a large range of price points and styles, add one to your capsule wardrobe. And who knows? You may have found yourself a new fashion addiction!

Have you ever worn a wrap dress? Comment below!

Photo credit: Glamour magazine

How to Dress Like a Thin French Woman If You’re Not Thin Or French

There is just something magical about how women in France dress.

Whether it’s Brigitte Bardot in a black turtleneck, black skinny ankle pants, black flats, and a silk scarf, or Vanessa Paradis in a simple white dress and black blazer, these ladies have an effortless chic that exudes a je ne sais quoi.

And women our size can look just as chic.

Yeah, right, Annie. Both Brigitte and Vanessa are thin Frenchwomen. How am I supposed to look as good as a plus-sized woman?

The answer is très simple, my friend. Read below for French style secrets that will help you look great at any size:

  1. Start with a neutral palette. You will not see many Frenchwomen walking around with a canary yellow shirt and royal blue pants. Their closets are teeming with black, navy, gray, and beige, with a few accent colors in there. I’ve blogged about the importance of a capsule wardrobe, and having a neutral color scheme lays the foundation.
  2. Pick quality over quantity. Many more Frenchwomen see their clothing as investment pieces. Stores in France can only have sales legally in the months of January and July, so finding deals there is rather difficult. They will pay extra for a two-ply cashmere sweater that lasts, rather than a single ply that won’t last an entire winter. They will favor durable leather shoes instead of cheap made-in-China synthetic ones that will last a few months. Choose quality pieces that are well made rather than the fast fashion so prevalent today.
  3. Gym clothes are for the gym. Full disclaimer: I am so guilty of breaking this rule. And often. But Frenchwomen usually aren’t wearing yoga pants, running shorts, tennis shoes, and athleisure wear when they are out running errands. They wear work-out clothes only for the work-out, but otherwise they wear street clothes.
  4. Embrace flats. Of course there are Frenchwomen who love their heels, but you are much more likely to see ballet flats, loafers, moccasins, or oxfords than anything else. And if your feet are as jacked up as mine are with bunions and no arches, your tootsies will thank you.
  5. Fear not the horizontal stripe. I remember working on my fashion badge as a Girl Scout in the 1980s. We had a wardrobe consultant come and talk to us, and I can still remember to this day hearing, “Fat women shouldn’t wear horizontal stripes. It only makes them look fatter.”

It’s 2017. Screw that.

There is nothing more quintessentially French than the classic Breton stripes, especially on a shirt. Who cares if we’re plus-sized? Who cares about the traditional fashion advice? Rock the stripes, and know you look good doing it.

  1. Add a touch of whimsy. Whether it is a concert/band t-shirt under a black blazer, Converse sneakers with the classic Breton shirt and skinny jeans, a vintage piece of costume jewelry with your little black dress, or a leather pencil skirt with a crisp button-down shirt, find a way to communicate your sense of fun through fashion.
  2. Think timeless, not trends. Frenchwomen do buy trendy items, but they are the exception to their wardrobe, not the rule. By all means buy a fun piece every now and again. But you won’t find many Uggs, decorative ponchos, jeans with rhinestones on the back pockets, or super low-rise jeans gathering dust in their closet. Classic, basic pieces stand the test of time.

You don’t have to go and start follow all these rules. Start with one and commit to it for a week, whether it is leaving the running shoes for the treadmill or wearing neutrals with just a pop of color. Find what works best for you and incorporate it into your daily life.

 Which of these rules sounds easiest for you to follow? Comment below!

My First Facial

OMG you only now got your first facial?!

Yeah, yeah, I guess I don’t get out much. How I made it to my late thirties without a facial is beyond me.

I thought this would be a fun topic to blog about, so I got a recommendation from my sister, is good friends with an esthetician. Both of my sisters have seen Melissa for years, so I knew I was good hands.

Melissa works out of an unassuming office building, and I loved the tranquil pale blue walls and gold accent art on the wall. She had prettily arranged products for sale on shelves, and the chairs at reception where white.

After filling out four pages of forms about my skin, allergies, etc. I got settled onto her table. She popped on a Pandora playlist of soothing music like oceans sounds, and it wasn’t hard to relax.

The first thing she used was a green tea antioxidant cleanser, then added a 17% glycolic acid cleanser to help exfoliate. I honestly couldn’t feel my skin being cleaned, but the cleanser smelled fresh and was cool on my face.

She then put a fresh, hot washcloth on my face to wipe it off. That felt ah-mazing. It was hot, rough, and took to sweet-smelling potions off my face.

Melissa then put a paper mask over my eyes so that I wouldn’t be blinded by the super bright light she put in my face. She carefully examined my skin for imperfections, blemishes, and to see what needed the most work.

I try to take really good care of my skin; and Melissa commented how good my skin looks for my age. I slather on my Oil of Olay in the morning and then creams at night. I also avoid the sun like the plague. Melissa decided that I needed a good exfoliation more than anything else

The next thing she used was an antioxidant facial oil. She did a facial massage, lightly rubbing my forehead, eye sockets, cheeks, chin, neck, and shoulders. It was fantastic. I very much enjoyed chatting with Melissa about skincare up to this point, but I slipped into a numb stupor and simply enjoyed my tired skin being massaged.

Melissa then put on coconut papaya enzyme with what felt like a makeup brush. It was cold, goopy, and tickled. But it did the trick and sloughed the dead skin cells off my face.

The last thing she put on my face was hyaluronic acid serum to moisturize, soften, and to bind moisture to face. It contains vitamin C to moisturize and brighten the skin. Then she put on a moisturizing goji berry mask on top of it, which had a great peppermint smell to it. The berry mask tingled just a little bit, but that’s how I knew it was working.

Then she covered my eyes and steamed my skin. I could feel the tingle deep in my skin, though it was maybe a little uncomfortable to have steam on my face on a hot August afternoon. It wasn’t too bad—it only lasted eight minutes.

She also massaged my arms. She had to very nicely tell me to relax here, because my default mode is “tense” pretty much all the time. It was by far the nicest part of the facial.

Then she finished with another hot towel.

I will tell you Melissa has a new devoted customer. My skin looks and feels bright, clear, and like I had five years taken off. And that massage made my stress melt away. Melissa’s knowledge about skincare was mind-boggling, and I learned more in one hour than I had in the previous ten years about my skin.

Because she charges such reasonable prices, I can see this as something I can enjoy every couple months. I look forward to seeing her again!

Have you ever had a facial? If yes, what do you love about it? If not, what’s holding you back? Comment below!

How to Buy Plus-Sized Clothes on eBay

eBay is amazing. It is literally the world’s biggest consignment shop.

I never have any luck when I hit the thrift shops. Why would this be any easier?

eBay is an often overlooked asset for expanding your plus-size wardrobe, and allowing you to try different labels without the hefty price tag retail would subject you to.

You can find designer brands, international designers, and, if you’re lucky, smaller indie labels on eBay. Some are new and in pristine condition. Others are gently used but still in great shape. Whatever you’re looking for, here are some things to keep in mind when buying clothes on eBay:

  1. Shop with a specific item in mind. I find that mindless browsing can lead to mindless buying. Knowing exactly what you want will help you save time, narrow your search, and save you money in the long run. If I want a silk shirt, I am not going to look at poplin shirts or t-shirts. Keep your eye on the prize.
  2. Know exactly what size you are for each different fashion label. I am a size 22 in Lane Bryant pants, but a 20 in Marina Rinaldi skirts. Taking a couple minutes to Google the company’s measurements will save you money from buying something that doesn’t fit.
  3. Read the measurements carefully. I don’t trust sellers who don’t list measurements on the product listings. Read the item description to ensure the seller is talking about the measurements laid out flat or if they are guessing the entire circumference.
  4. Ask questions. If they don’t list measurements, ask away. You have the right to know if the item will fit or not. My experience is the vast majority of eBay sellers are customer-service oriented, and will respond to you within 24-48 hours.
  5. Know the material of the garment you are ordering. You can have all the measurements in the world, but 100% silk does not have the same elasticity as 100% cotton.
  6. Get every detail if you are buying a used item. There’s nothing wrong with buying used, but check the buyer’s feedback to see if they are reputable and will disclose everything. Ask them to send pictures of the defects. I’m OK with having a scuff on a shoe or a little tear in a hem, but I want to know that beforehand. (I was selling a shirt on eBay one time and set it on fire. I had to cancel the sale. True story. LOL.)
  7. Cheaper does not always mean better. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: quality over quantity. I will pay more for a used Lafayette 148 pencil skirt than a new White Stag skirt. Because I have a very specific item in mind, I’m not wasting money on cheaply made clothes I don’t want.
  8. See if the seller offers refunds. Though it wasn’t such a big deal to me a few years ago, I now often find myself only buying from sellers who offer refunds. Yeah, many charge a restocking fee, but I’m OK with paying that if it means I get most of my money back if the item isn’t just what I was looking for.

I hope you will browse eBay and see what different labels it has to offer, and that you will find something you can afford, and that you can’t find in the stores where you live!

What is the best item of clothing you have ever purchased online? Comment below!

6 Reasons Why You Need to Go Bra Shopping Every Year

Bras. Swimsuits. Jeans. Bridesmaids dresses.

What do all these things have in common?

They’re all things most women would rather get a root canal than go shopping for. (Full disclosure: I’ve never had a root canal. But I can’t imagine they’re fun.)

I used to work at Lane Bryant and was a certified intimate apparel expert. (Second full disclosure: I watched a video and took an open-note quiz. But I was actually known as a pretty damn good bra saleswoman.)

I can attest to the fact many women only shopped for bras every two or three years. Other women I know—specifically ones who gave birth to me—do it even less often. (Full disclosure: I love my mom.)

Trust me: I get it. I understand the many reasons to put off bra shopping, from cost to the time factor to the stupefying number of choices.

But the reality is you need to go bra shopping at least once a year.

I have a list of six reasons to consider why you need to go bra shopping. You’ll be doing yourself and “the girls” a huge favor:

  1. Chances are very good you’re wearing the wrong size. Depending where you read it, anywhere between 65-85% of American women are wearing the wrong bra size. And having worked at LB so long, I believe it. No store charges for a bra fitting, so at the very least, it costs you nothing to find out how far off the mark you are. Because of hormones, weight gain/loss, and many other factors, you are probably not the exact size you were five years ago.
  1. You’ll boost your fashion IQ. I am amazed at all the different types of innovations bra designers and manufacturers come up with. Back smoothing. Moisture wicking. Bralettes. Demi cups that fit a DDD. Lace that doesn’t show under knits. Hundreds of gorgeous patterns. You’d think such a simple garment would be pretty dull, but there’s a lot you can do with it!
  1. You will find a new best friend. Once you are properly fitted and find a comfortable bra with good support—yes, they do exist—you will seriously wonder how you ever lived without it! Imagine being at work without having to adjust your bra at a staff meeting. Or if you went running without pain because you had a proper sports bra. Did you just improve your quality of life? Yes, you did!
  1. Your clothes will look stunning on you. I see so many shirts or dresses that don’t look quite right because of an ill-fitting bra. I see boobs that are pointed up and down. I see uniboobs. Quadriboobs. And other types I can’t even mention. When you are fitted with the right bra for your frame, I cannot even tell you how well your clothes fit. You can be proud of your figure and wear clothes that are sleek or tailored instead of boxy and baggy. Believe me, others will notice.
  1. You could get the chance to treat yourself and your SO. Hell, I don’t even date, but even I occasionally splurge on something lacy and/or oh là là for myself. Why not? It’s fun! And if you enjoy something black or sparkly or with ribbons, I’m guessing your SO does, too!
  1. It will save you money in the long run. A good fitting bra is an investment. Stop throwing your money away on cheap bras that don’t fit. And definitely stop buying expensive ones that don’t fit and you don’t take care of! A quality bra will last approximately 180 wears, or even longer if you wash and store it properly.

The next time you put on a bra, ask yourself:

  • Does the back ride up?
  • Are the wires rubbing scabs into my skin?
  • Do I spill over or under the cup?
  • Do I often fiddle with the straps?
  • Is it cutting red marks into my shoulders or chest?
  • Does it hurt so badly that I take it off right when I get home, even before I take off my shoes?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to go get fitted for a new bra. Block an hour out over lunch, after work (Mondays and Tuesdays are typically the slowest nights in retail), on a Saturday morning, or when the mall opens on Sunday. Take a sister or a trusted friend. It doesn’t have to be torture.

You deserve to be comfortable and look great. With a bra that fits great, you are ready to conquer the world like the amazing curvy goddess that you are!

Be honest…when was the last time you had a fitting? Comment below!

Project 333 and Me: A Review

As nerdy as it sounds, I am obsessed with simplicity.

I want things easy breezy.

I have long sung the praises of the capsule wardrobe, so when I saw the 333 Project on the Becoming Minimalist Blog, I thought I had to give it a try. I want to introduce you to this super easy minimalist wardrobe, how I did it, and what I learned.

What is Project 333?

Created by Courtney Carver in 2010, the 333 Project is pretty straightforward for those of us ready to leap into the capsule wardrobe:

  • You are limited to 33 items. That includes clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear, and shoes.
  • It does not include sentimental jewelry you always wear (I always wear the same necklace and right-hand ring), undergarments, sleepwear, loungewear (leggings, t-shirts), and workout clothes (but you can only wear those when you actually exercise).

How I Did It

You can buy her $19.99 mini-course on how to get started, but here’s what I did for the price of zero dollars:

  • The day after Christmas, I laundered all my clothes and threw them on my bed.
  • I was shocked that I still had quite a few clothes that no longer fit. Except for three shirts, they all went in the donation bag. All of them.
  • After that, I considered which clothes would be best for work and play. I tend to wear my work clothes out, just changing the trousers or skirt for jeans.
  • I only picked what I really, really loved and needed.
  • I don’t know what this says about me, but I gravitated towards my most expensive and/or high-quality clothing.

Here is my list:

OUTERWEAR

  1. Wool coat
  2. Fleece vest

SHOES/ACCESSORIES

  1. Black flats
  2. Red flats
  3. Converse sneakers
  4. Black knee-high boots
  5. Tan-and-cream Burberry scarf
  6. White gold hoop earrings
  7. Watch

PANTS/SKIRTS/DRESSES

  1. Black work trousers
  2. Black jeans
  3. Black cropped pants
  4. Blue jeans
  5. Leopard-print pencil skirt
  6. Little black dress

SHIRTS/TOPS

  1. White t-shirt
  2. Black t-shirt
  3. Grey t-shirt
  4. White tunic
  5. Denim shirt
  6. Black boyfriend blazer
  7. Igigi shirt
  8. Breton t-shirt
  9. Floral tunic
  10. Black cami
  11. Black cami with lace
  12. Nude cami
  13. Fuschia cami
  14. Leopard print cami
  15. Black flyaway tank top
  16. Cashmere sweater
  17. Lightweight cropped sweater
  18. Black cardigan

Project 333 Hacks

Though it’s not mentioned in the rules, I swapped out items as the weather got warmer. I live in the Great Plains; I’ll be damned if I wear a cashmere sweater or wool coat in March. They were traded for a t-shirt and another pair of cropped pants.

Sunglasses are considered accessories, but since mine are prescription, I cheated a little and didn’t count those.

I also bought new clothes as needed. My black dress was several years old, pilled, and showing signs of wear, so I got a new Igigi dress on mega-sale thanks to eBay. As Courtney says, this is not punishment. This is only taking what you really love and wearing it in heavy rotation.

What I Learned

The 333 Project was super easy to do. Laundry loads were a little smaller, getting dressed was a heckuva lot faster, and I still got tons of compliments on what I wore by people who’d seen me wear them countless times. If my coworkers noticed I was wearing the same things over and over, they never said a word.

I realized it really is OK to spend money on quality items. My stuff from Lane Bryant (about half the clothes) isn’t expensive but still good quality. My Breton shirt and blazer came from Target. But I shouldn’t feel guilty about spending $100 on quality shoes for my poor, deformed feet. I spent a pretty penny on the Burberry scarf, but I’ve gotten more value for wear out of that than any other scarf I own.

The one thing I am scratching my head about is my jewelry collection. I have a lot of silver jewelry. A. LOT. Some of it is from my grandmother so – duh – I’m not giving it up. But I have so many rings and earrings I never wear. I want them to go to a good home, so I am going to have to figure out how to dispose of them. I will keep you posted!

Do you find Project 333 intriguing? Could you live with just 33 items? Comment below!

Why You Should Wear Red Lipstick

Marilyn Monroe. Taylor Swift. Dita Von Tease. Gwen Stefani. Dr. Frank-N-Furter.

What do all these people have in common?

Red lips. Crimson. Scarlet. Vermillion. Ruby. Cerise. Carmine. Matte, shiny, or glossy. Whatever you call it, they know how to take the color red and rock it as their signature color.

I don’t wear red lipstick every day, but when I do, someone often tells me, “That’s such a great shade on you. I wish I could pull it off!”

Well, I’m about to let you in on a little secret. You can pull it off. For those of you who have always wanted to wear red lipstick, I am going to give you reasons why you should and what you need to do when selecting a shade. Hopefully it will give you the boost you need to try it yourself!

There are a lot of reasons to even consider wearing red lipstick in the first place:

  • You can wear no makeup except a red lip and still look pulled-together. I wear very little makeup as it is, but when I wear red on my lips, no one cares if I did my eyes or am wearing foundation. Your lips will be there front and center!
  • Red complements nearly every color you wear. There’s just something about it – it matches every color under the rainbow (except maybe pink…I personally don’t mix the two), so you will always look polished.
  • It makes you stand out in a crowd. Do you ever see a woman wearing a beautiful shade of red and envy her for it? That could be you. In a sea of colored lips, the red is definitely a show-stopper!
  • It is a timeless color. Think of every old-timey actress you can. How easy is it to imagine her in red lipstick? It’s not hard at all. Purples, pinks, corals, and earth tones come in and out of style over the decades, but red is eternal.
  • There is a shade of red that will perfectly match your skin tone. Not all hues of red were created equal, but some time at a makeup counter will not be wasted!

Below is a chart from InStyle magazine about which shades of red will work best with different skin tones:

Skin tone Undertone Lipstick shade
Fair Cool Raspberry
Fair Warm Red with an orange undertone
Medium-light   Pinkish red
Medium Yellow Tangerine
Medium Gold True red
Medium Neutral Blue-red
Golden   Berry
Tan Warm Orange-based
Tan Neutral Bright cherry
Tan Cool Merlot
Dark Warm Opaque blue
Dark Cool Ruby or wine

 

Note that “cool” undertones mean you have more pink or blue hues in your skin. “Warm” is more yellow or peach, and “neutral” means you have a combination of all the above.

Again, if you’re completely confused by this chart, make an appointment at a department store makeup counter. They’re almost always free, and their expert advice can get you started. Many will even give you a sample to try. If they do, take it to your local drug store to find a budget-friendly substitution!

I hope this post has inspired you to consider buying a tube of red lipstick. Because it is so eye-popping and timeless, you really can’t go wrong. And there is definitely a shade that will flatter you, so what are you waiting for?

What is your all-time favorite lipstick shade? Comment below!

An Interview with Hackwith Design House

(photo credit: Hackwith Design House)

I am so excited to bring you Plus One Woman’s first interview with a fashion line! Founded by Lisa Hackwith in 2013, Hackwith Design House is a leader in minimalist design and sustainable fashion. Best of all, they carry plus sizes!!!

Every piece is a limited edition, handmade at their studio in Minneapolis. I love their high-quality fabrics and durable wear. Each item really is a wearable work of art.

Enjoy the following interview with Erin Husted, their Director of Operations!

  1. What is your definition of slow fashion?

Slow fashion is about creating pieces that are meant to last and sustainable. At Hackwith Design House, we strive to use natural and sustainable fabrics as much as possible, and we make every single piece in our Minnesota studio. You can read about our whole team on our website, and you’ll know that one of those women made the clothing you buy from us.

  1. Many of us are on a budget but would love to embrace slow fashion. What would you suggest as one or two key pieces she should consider investing in for her capsule wardrobe?

We believe that women are as diverse as their skills, talents, and accomplishments, so what I might want as a key piece will be different than what someone else might want. But I’ll give my two cents, anyway J. Any piece from our HDH Basics line (which is sized through XL right now) is a great first start to a capsule wardrobe. We also have a beautiful Trench Coat that will work with anyone’s closet, and it is available in HDH Plus.

  1. What was the catalyst for launching HDH Plus?

Lisa and I both have friends who consider themselves plus-sized, and they are beautiful, fashionable women. It didn’t make sense to us that there weren’t more lines catering to these accomplished women who wanted to buy sustainable, well-designed clothes. As soon as we had room in our budget, we decided to launch HDH Plus. We hope to be able to expand the line over time as our budget allows.

An Interview with Lottie L’Amour

 

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For Plus One Woman’s first interview, I want to introduce you to the fabulous Lottie L’Amour, a fabulous British plus-size blogger who is based in London. Lottie has been blogging for nearly two years. Her bright affinity for patterns is what initially brought me over to her site, but her articles on living as a plus-size woman, body positivity, and unapologetic confidence reeled me in, hook, line, and sinker. I can’t be the only one – she has thousands of followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. As if that weren’t enough, she has also branched into the world of vlogging!

Enjoy this interview where Lottie shares her insights on British designers, mixing trends with classic pieces, and being at peace in her own skin.

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PoW: More and more UK designers are offering shipping to the States. For those of us who are completely uninitiated, how would you describe the styles of: River Island, Simply Be, Lovedrobe, ASOS Curve, Evans, and Elvi?

LL: It’s funny because this side of the pond, we’re jealous of places like Society Plus and Torrid! UK fashion is pretty progressive for plus size women, we’re getting more choices than ever before but unfortunately these choices don’t always reach all the way down the larger end of the plus size spectrum. Places like ASOS Curve, Evans and Simply Be do fashion all the way up to a UK 32, so they are leading the way in offering a wide range of sizes, but newer brands like River Island, Boohoo and Elvi are adding more sizes as time goes on (those three do up to a UK 26).

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ASOS Curve is second to none for fashion forward pieces, closely followed by River Island and Boohoo, who’s curve ranges are basically an extension of some key pieces from their straight size ranges. For girls needing workwear or occasionwear, Evans, Simply Be and Elvi are perfect to find those high end pieces mixed in with some regular staple items. Just make sure you read a few UK plus size fashion blogs to check up on the fit of the items – some of them can come up small, so it’s worth reading up so you know when to size up!

(PoW note: ASOS has a good size conversion site here. But remember to always, always check measurements & ask if you aren’t sure!)

PoW: You wear such fun, bold patterns! How do you like to mix up the trends of a season with classic staples like the little black dress, a white button-down shirt, skinny jeans, Breton stripes, etc?

LL: I love to mix in elements of the past with outfits that I put together – whether it’s going full hog and wearing a 1950’s dress, or just a little nod to the 90’s with a choker, I constantly take inspiration from bygone eras and make them into something trend-led in a street style. For example, if I’m wearing a plain black dress, I’ll always rough it down with a giant novelty clutch bag or a pair of biker boots and a glittery bomber jacket! Skinny jeans go with absolutely everything – my black ripped skinnies are a staple in my wardrobe. I often wear them with a cute breton stripe bardot off-the-shoulder swing top and a pair of metallic trainers for when I want to make a little bit more of a subtle statement.

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The beauty with using plain staples is you get to choose how much you want to stand out that day – life isn’t all about making a statement all the time, it’s perfectly cool to tone it down and have a little nod to your love of bright prints and sparkly things with your accessories if you’re not feeling it that day.

PoW: What is the best advice you ever gave or was given to help you love the size you are?

LL: The first thing you need to do is make the decision to not give a crap about how anyone else views you. The minute you decide “actually, I’m living my life for me, and I’m happy as I am” is the minute your whole perception will change. That’s a decision that only you can make – there’s no magic formula or guidebook on how to get there, you just need to decide to be kinder to yourself. For me, I decided that I’d spent too much time attributing my worth to my size, and that was wrong. One of the most radical things I did was actually just looking at myself in the mirror – and I mean really looking at myself. Not skimming over the chubby bits I used to. Not focusing on what I thought were my best bits. I focused on every single part of my body and I told myself that I loved my body, every inch of it. My body has done wonderful things for me – it allows me to hug someone I love, it allows me to explore the earth, my soft stomach protects my organs, my wobbly thighs help me to walk… it really is an amazing, beautiful thing, just as it is. All bodies are deserving of love, yes, even your own!

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To find out more about Lottie, visit:

Note: All photos (c) Lottie L’Amour and used with permission.

Carmakorma: A Review of a Danish Plus-Size Retailer

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Plus-size shopping. Blech.

If you’re not confined to Lane Bryant, Avenue, Torrid, or the hidden plus-size section of major department stores, you have to go online to find gems that you want to wear. (Please note I am not knocking the above-mentioned retailers, but let’s face it…our straight-sized sisters have it a lot easier!).

Being your crash-test dummy, sit back, relax, and let me tell you the story of one e-tailer I found and my opinions of their clothes.

I was reading a recent article of Glamour magazine online. It’s not a magazine I habitually read, but it was really well done article entitled “Finally, There’s Good Fashion for Everyone! Here’s How to Master Plus-Size Style.” I read about a Danish retailer named Carmakoma, who the article called, “cool, of-the-moment pieces.”

I was game to try. After all, I am a sucker for all things European and I wanted to try a new brand. Carmakoma brands itself as “Luxury Fashion for Curvy Women.” Armed with a 15% coupon for signing up for their mailing list, I ordered two black-and-white tops for about $120, which included taxes. They offer free shipping and handling from Denmark for orders over $100.

I was pleasantly surprised that the shirts got here in less than a week from Denmark. I wish I could say I was just as excited about the shirts.

The first was their Gemma top. I am looking for a summer-weight Breton t-shirt, and the website branded it as “…a summer top in a soft and heavy jersey fabric. The fabric is very flattering because it shows the curves, but without revealing too much. The top has a ‘tight fit’, without being uncomfortable. The short sleeves are flattering and the top can be styled in many ways…”

Well, here it is:

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Unfortunately, this top did not live up to the stellar write-up. I did like the color and the interesting way the material met at the neckline for a twist on a classic silhouette. However:

  • The fabric is 87% viscose, 10% polyester and 3% elastane. It was hot, heavy, and it clung mercilessly to my spare tire.
  • I think the worst thing about it is that it is unforgivingly boxy. I can’t stand boxy clothes, and there is no way I would feel confident wearing it. So up on eBay it goes.

Next shirt was called their Avi top, which is, “…a flattering sleeveless top featuring a V-neck at front and back, and a button closure along back. The top has vertical stripes. Its a soft fabric with a little bit of stretch and a perfect top for springtime use under a blazer.”

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I liked this one better. It had dart seams that ran across the bust for a more tailored look but it didn’t cling. The vertical stripes were very cute and I loved the cream color. However:

  • I didn’t like the 92% polyester, 8% elastane material. It was a heavier, stretchier, and cheaper version of a crêpe de chine.
  • The material is doubled up over the neckline and it doesn’t sit very well. I kept having to adjust it to make it sit flat.
  • The neckline was too plunging and the armholes too low to wear without a cami.
  • I know buttons on the back are “in” right now, but it just looked weird on this shirt.

So, it’s a nice enough top, but I don’t adore it enough to keep. Up on eBay this goes, too. Why eBay? Because the returns form is in Danish, I am not paying to ship them back to Denmark, and there are a lot of horror stories I read on their Facebook page about trying to get refunds or exchanges from America and Canada. At least on eBay I can recoup a little of the money I spent.

I don’t think I will buy from Carmakoma again. They do have nice things, fast shipping, and the prices are mid-range. But the bottom line is that they are simply not my taste. The material is too heavy, the clothes sit funny on me, and I wasn’t impressed enough to want to make their items part of my capsule wardrobe.

Have you ever ordered from a new brand and been disappointed? Comment below and share your story!

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