Dressing Up with SimplyBe

When SimplyBe recently reached out to me and offered the chance to try some of their new items, I jumped at the chance. It had been a year or so since I had gotten an item from SimplyBe, but they were always in my dream-wardrobe building website visits, especially since they care so many different brands with signature styles. As I looked to pick out items, my eye kept going to dresses, dresses, and more dresses. So it was decided, I was going to dress up with SimplyBe :).

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My first choice was this print wrap dress. I was drawn to the colors, the flowy bell sleeve, and the potential to wear with tights (a must as we approach winter). The dress did have stitching to make the v-neck have a higher gathering. It cause a little gapping on me, so I took out the stitching and added an under tank.

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The dress is faux-wrapped at the waist. It was a little loose and didn’t have much elastic, so I went with a belt, which I think added to the look anyway. I added a pink floral earring to finish off the look.

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The second dress I went for was a blue Joanna Hope wrap dress (I must have also been feeling wrap dresses that day). This one is also a faux-wrap, as it really is just a knot off to the side. This dress is perfect for a date night, going to a play, or wearing to work. It is super comfortable and no-fuss, but looks dressy.

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As I write this post, I’m already eyeing some other dress styles, available sizes 8-28. Check out my new favorites here and here.

Let me know what you think of these styles and if there are any others I should check out!

Thank you to SimplyBe for these gifted items.

Review: Little Red Dress

On the occasion that I need dressy attire or semi-formal wear, I always look to Kiyonna first to see what they have available. I started wearing Kiyonna when I attended a wedding in 2010. I had never had a dress that fit me so well, and I felt elegant in the piece. So when I had an occasion this past summer, I looked back over their collection again. I still wanted the great fit and elegance of Kiyonna, but I also wanted to select a style that was more bold than the demure styles I typically pick. I was really intrigued by the shape of their Foxfire faux wrap dress, so I picked it up via their Amazon shop in ‘Merlot’. I was excited to try on this style, but even more excited about the color. My life needed a little red dress.

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I loved the ruching on the side and the way the “wrap” dress front hangs on the body. I could have done without the halter strap on the dress — just a normal sleeve and shoulder would have worked for me, but it does add something different to the dress that not all dresses have.

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The back comes down in a deep-v, and the dress fits closely to the body.

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I kept my jewelry simple because I just can’t take a lot of jewelry. These earrings worked well and brought in other colors to the look without demanding a ton of attention (similar style here).

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I also pulled out a clutch that I got years and years ago from Evans when I used to do blogging collaborations with them. It’s still in great condition, and I love the beading and color.

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I love this little red dress and how powerful and beautiful it makes me feel. It’s a great option for a date night or for an event where a less-than-modest dress is appropriate. As always with Kiyonna, the fabric is heaven, and the size fit just as described in their size chart. I highly recommend this piece!

*Shopping tip: this style is available on their Amazon shop but not their regular website. I sometimes find the Amazon store has other colors too. Downside- no discounts.

**Dress purchased on my own. Post was not sponsored.

Labor Day Sales: New Additions to My Closet

Having been blogging about plus size fashion since 2010, I consider myself a pretty expert shopper in terms of knowing how to get good deals and a bit of a shopaholic in how often I look at various online stores. As I looked at items to add to my closet for this current and coming season, I knew I wanted some pieces from more expensive brands than I typically shop, like Melissa McCarthy, so when the Labor Day sales went live, I hopped on the chance to get some of the pieces I had been eyeing for prices I was willing to pay.

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Continue reading “Labor Day Sales: New Additions to My Closet”

OOTD: That Dress Hidden in the Rack

I have a love-hate relationship with Target. It’s one of those stores that frustrates me constantly with its mediocre-at-best plus size clothing selection, while also pleasantly surprising me with the occasional awesome piece. Shopping in the store isn’t exactly fun either. Target said they were revamping their plus section, and they did to a certain extent by coming out with the Ava and Viv line, but actually shopping in the store is the same: racks mixed in with clearance and maternity racks, few styles actually in store to try on and purchase, etc. After a little hunting yesterday, I found this black and white striped maxi dress hidden in the racks, and yet again I was both glad for and annoyed at Target.

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Maxi dresses are my go-to in spring and summer, but they are often sleeveless or too formal. While I love sleeveless dress for outside events and to throw over a swimsuit, I usually want some type of sleeve for work or for other indoor activities. Because of this issue, this dress really appealed to me with its long capped sleeves. I usually only find plus size clothes that are 3/4 length sleeve, full sleeve, or sleeveless, so this is a nice in-between: long enough to be comfortable and different enough to stand out from other pieces in my closet. I also liked the horizontal strip at the end of the sleeve.

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I also liked the sporty feel to the dress with the tie at the waist and pockets. Sporty isn’t a word I’d typically use to describe my wardrobe, so this was as “sporty” as I probably would go. I plan to wear it with colored tennis shoes once I get them in the mail. I assumed at first that the tie would be too low on the waist for me, but I enjoyed the shape it created.

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I am slowly building up my tolerance to accessories. I value them aesthetically, but rings and necklaces get on my nerves when wearing them. One accessory I can get down with is a good purse. A colorful, patterned purse goes well against this black and white dress, and I liked that this Aldo purse had a small amount of stripes to tie back into the dress. I think most purses would go well with this piece. You could stick to a neutral or put in a pop of color to have the piece stand out (similar purse here).

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I love the ease of this piece, how put together you can look with minimal effort, and how comfortable it is to wear. I even got a compliment on it within 2 hours of putting it on — it’s just a piece that does stand out.

This is one piece that I’ll go out on a limb for and say it’s worth searching out the racks (or saving your peace of mind and ordering online :)).

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New Additions: Back to School

The nice thing about being a teacher is that every start of the fall season has that same excitement that I had since I was a little kid going to elementary school. I love beginnings. I love school. Now it just looks a little different, and I’m forgoing the brightly colored folders for office decorations and figuring out my teaching style.

I started adding to my school wardrobe in July, and I recently added some more pieces with these Labor Day sales. You don’t realize what colors you are oriented toward until you put it all together. I’m obviously geared toward blues, pinkish corals, and black. I’m enjoying prints as well. Although I will never solely wear black, grays, and white, I do find that those pieces work really well for my work wear, and allow me to play around with accessories and make up instead. I’ve complained in the past that I struggle with my style in the office, so I’m pretty excited that I’m beginning to find pieces that work for me. One thing you’ll notice is a lack of pants/bottoms. I still swear by my ASOS Curve jersey pencil skirts, Torrid jeggings (in black and denim), and my new Lena fit pants from Lane Bryant. I also have some colored pants from Old Navy that isn’t carried right now.

 

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I was able to get the two Lane Bryant jackets for BOGO free. It was a great deal, and both jackets are incredibly well made. I also love both of the graphic tanks. I bought the palm tree top in person, and I don’t think that I would have been pulled to it online, but the trim has a sporty look to it, and the fabric lays really well. I’m loving longer cardigans for fall. The blue and black are great starter pieces, but I’m hoping to add in some printed cardigans over the next few months.
What pieces are you adding for your fall/winter wardrobe? What trends/colors are grabbing you?
P.S. A lot of these stores have sales going on through today, so if you click on the item I think you will be taken to those items.

A little fashion, a little reading, and a little teaching.

A little fashion…

I’m not on Twitter as much as I used to be, so sometimes I’m not as clued into the plus size fashion happenings as I used to be, but thankfully I follow lots of “in the know” bloggers who share great content, especially The Curvy Fashionista’s Facebook page. I saw on her page a link to a blogger/brand collaboration between P.S. It’s Fashion and Fame and Partners. The collection spans sizes 16-26 and offers special occasion wear. I’m really loving some of the designs, and I think the price point is on par with quality special occasion wear. My favorite is the Maya dress, but you can check out the full collection here.

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Maya Dress


Another interesting thing I saw this week was DearKates.com‘s feature of women in the tech field in their Ada collection lookbook. One of the women featured is Sarah Conley of Styleitonline.com (see her post here), and I absolutely loved seeing someone near my size/shape featured in such an intimate setting. I’ve admired Sarah as a blogger for awhile, so it is also just really cool when you see someone you kinda know in these things. Apparently some people feel that the lookbook sexualizes women in the tech field, and I guess that means that sexual women in that field can’t also be seen as great workers (?!), but I found the lookbook fresh and exciting. As I said to Sarah, my read of it was that women can be powerful, confident, smart, intimate, and vulnerable. We can be all of those together, at the same time, and one doesn’t take away from the other.

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By the way, I own their Rosa brief in a 3x, and it is a great product (fits up to a 26/28).


A little reading…

I’ve also been reading a lot of things to potentially use in my class, especially writing that comes out of personally-motivated inquiry. “The Strange and Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit” was a really interesting read. My class looks at identity and how we use language to form the self, manage the self, etc. We also consider who we are recognized as and probe at how that recognition forms identity. So much of my life is connecting to others that I have a hard time thinking about going 2+ days alone, let alone decades alone. It made me think about my class subject in a new way.

“I did examine myself,” he said. “Solitude did increase my perception. But here’s the tricky thing—when I applied my increased perception to myself, I lost my identity. With no audience, no one to perform for, I was just there. There was no need to define myself; I became irrelevant. The moon was the minute hand, the seasons the hour hand. I didn’t even have a name. I never felt lonely. To put it romantically: I was completely free.”


A little teaching…

This week my classes are also thinking about the stories we associate with ourselves (those we tell or are told) and how places are connected to identity. We read this piece about how places are connected to our sense of self. It reminded me of the poem “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon. It’s a poem that is often imitated, and I had a chance to go back and look over the version I wrote in 2008. It’s fun to think about how my sense of place has changed over the years. How now at 26 I associate “Where I’m From” with other things (now probably more things that have happened in my adult years rather than only my childhood).

Here’s the version I wrote in 2008:

I am from rubber,

From weather-stripping and classic cars,

I am from the wooden dock,

(splintery, worn

it creaked beneath my feet.)

I am from the daffodils,

the paper tree

whose bark I peeled off

to become

secret notes for my sister.

I’m from skip-bo and the Droulliard nose,

from Evelyn and Giuseppa.

I’m from the laugh-too-louds,

and the speak-up-to-be-heard,

from the good old days and quit picking on your brother.

I’m from Mass on Christmas,

then never again

waiting for answers, but afraid to search.

I’m from Lincolnton and the Grammaticos,

lasagna and no-bake cookies.

From the years of my mother being

a caretaker

my grandma’s stroke that started it all.

In the basement is my plastic box

birthday cards, letters

old school yearbooks,

news articles of my deceased dear friend.

Each piece makes up my limbs-

A medley of people who’ve changed me-

Supporting me as I walk on.

What have you been reading and thinking about this week?

OOTD: My Kind of Romance

Every year when Valentine’s Day starts getting near, I start seeing and hearing things about romance. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a little prickly when it comes to romance, but the romantic styles of dressing that pop up still draw me in. This year my love affair is all about tulle.

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I’ve been really drawn to the dressed up sweatshirt, and this seemed like the perfect time to pull out this H&M sweater top. The tulle skirt from Kiyonna looks long, but in reality it stopped at my knees. Being 5’4″ has a few disadvantages, and the camera angle is one of them.

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I’m quite smitten with this sweater. The back is a stretch sweater material, and the front has rosettes. This top is not available online, but last time that I was in store, it was still there.

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I’ve never owned a tulle skirt before, but the material is truly lovely. It has a movement that is entrancing, and I get to live out a little of my ballerina dreams in it.

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I also tucked in the sweat for a more figure hugging look. This skirt by Kiyonna has a really wide band at the top, which allows you to play around with the shape (you can easily tuck it under to make a thinner band).

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I topped the look off with some glitzy earrings from Forever21. To me, this is a romantic look — not necessarily “sexy”, but romantic. This look is perfect for seeing a play at the theater and celebrating a special occasion. Depending on how casual the sweater/top/jewelry is, you can also make it work for many different situations.

arIMG_9201H&M sweater, Kiyonna Twirling in Tulle skirt* (gifted; available in merlot and black), F21 earrings

A note on fit: I got this in my typical dress size for Kiyonna, but I didn’t consider that I would wear the band much higher on my waist. I should have sized down, as I had to pin this to correctly fit me. When you buy, pick the size for where ever you think the band will sit. If that’s on your hips, size for that. If it’s your waist, size for that.

What’s your kind of romantic style? 

 

OOTD: Striking Silver in Gwynnie Bee

When I first learned of Gwynnie Bee a year or so ago, they had limited items in my size. I started a subscription than quickly ended it because I couldn’t find enough items for my virtual closet that I actually wanted to try. Well, a LOT has changed over the past year, and I decided to check out their selections size 24, and there are so many more things available than I had expect.

I signed up for a subscription again, opting for the 1 item out at a time subscription to ease myself back into their program. One of my favorite pieces was the dress below, and I was super lucky because it was the very first thing sent to me. It’s the kind of item that I normally wouldn’t buy because of its tightness on the model and short hemline. This is why I love Gwynnie Bee. I can try it out without committing to the full price. It was also a brand I had never heard of before (Three Dots), so I knew it was a bit of a gamble.

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But the gamble paid off! I tried it on right away and fell in LOVE. It fit me with room to spare in the hips (my biggest fit issue area), and I loved the material and the detail at the bust.

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Gwynnie Bee allows you to buy the item at discount if it’s at home with you, and that’s what I did. I’m planning on wearing this again to a conference I’m going to in April in Chicago. I’m presenting my research on fat activist identity and blogging, and I know this is going to give me that dose of confidence I will need to get up in front of strangers and speak.

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This dress does have a couple fit faults, but they make sense for my body shape. The sleeves are a little snug and too long, and the back along the shoulders is too broad. I am planning on having the back altered and sleeves shortened. I could make do with the snug sleeves (which are slightly stretchy) if the back fit correctly. I paired the look with a black suede belt, deep red wedge heels, and a small clutch. There are many, many possibilities in styling it differently.

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The texture of the dress was really interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever owned anything like it. It’s a boucle knit and very soft. This dress also comes in a dark gray version, which I might have to try out at some point (P.S. I’m wearing the size 24 here without any kind of shapewear underneath).

theplussideofme gwynniebee 4Three Dots dress via Gwynnie Bee, Target wedge heels, ASOS suede belt (similar), Target clutch (similar)

Do you get items from Gwynnie Bee? What were your favorite finds? Any brands I should try out?

*This is not a sponsored post, and I pay for my own Gwynnie Bee subscription. However, links in this post to GB are my “referral link”, and I get credits for those who sign up for the service through it.

Lovedrobe Review and Giveaway!

A couple of weeks ago, the lovely Beth at Lovedrobe.com reached out to me to see if I’d like to review an item. I had definitely heard and seen the brand before, but had never bought from them because I thought they only went to a UK26 (US22). I was very wrong! When I went to the website, I saw many items up to a UK30/32 (US 26/28), so I agreed right away and they sent over a piece for me to try.

Looking at their site, I loved a lot of the items they carried. Lovedrobe incorporates different fabrics, patterns, colors, and details into their styles that make clothing items special. If I were to go on a spending spree, this is what I’d pick up:

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For the review, I asked for a dress that was definitely outside of my comfort zone. It’s shorter and sassier than I usually go for, but I love clothing that allows me to express different aspects of myself or try new things.

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I received the Koko Coral and Stone Geometric Pattern Dress in a UK 30/32. This dress is in a non-stretchy material, and I found the sleeves slightly tight. This isn’t unexpected, as I have bigger arms compared to my top/size, but it’s something to be aware of if you also are shaped that way. I loved the houndstooth pattern in coral. I often associate houndstooth with fall and winter, and this piece with the coloring is a perfect summer addition and can carry through to the fall. The top is quite fitted through the bust and waist, which I love. This part fit perfectly and I had plenty of room in the back and bust to move around.

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The length is shorter than I usually go for. If I were to bend over, it’s possible that I’d show things that I’d rather not show. Granted, I have a big behind, so someone smaller there would not have the same issue. I recommend leggings/shorts, opaque tights if you also find it a bit short. I added a orangish-coralish belt and some casual bracelets for a simple, no-fuss summer look.

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If the pattern is a little much for you, then a cardigan or jacket would be a perfect addition. I basically only wear jean jackets in the summer because it’s so easy to add to almost every look, so I wanted to show you that as well. I tried the dress with a jean vest, and that’s a cute look too. There’s plenty of room to play around with styling this piece.

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And now to the best thing! Lovedrobe.com really wanted to also give away a piece to a reader and give you all a discount code to use during purchases through the remainder of July! You can receive 15% off of your purchase with the code PLUSSIDE (this code is now working!). They’ve recently put a lot of good items on sale, so there are some major sales to be had!

For the giveaway, one lucky entrant will win a dress of their choice from Lovedrobe. I love this giveaway because you can pick an item that is in your style and size range. This giveaway runs from today until 7/31 at 11:59pm EST. To enter, you must do the “leave a comment” entry, but all other entry methods are optional and earn extra entries. Best of luck, and I’m excited to hear which piece you would pick if you won!

Disclaimer: All comments must have a valid e-mail address to win. Please comment separately for each entry. WordPress.com does not allow javascript, so I have to run this giveaway the old fashioned way (rafflecopter, I really wanted to use you *cries*)

Giveaway Entry Methods:

1. (Mandatory to win) Visit Lovedrobe.com and select a dress that you would possibly pick if you won the giveaway. Come back here and leave a comment telling us what you’d pick!

2. Follow @_lovedrobe_ and @theplussideofme on Twitter and tweet the following: “Fingers crossed! Just entered to win a @_lovedrobe_ dress from @theplussideofme https://theplussideofme.com/2013/07/20/lovedrobe-review-and-giveaway/” Comment here with your twitter name.

3. Like Lovedrobe on Facebook and comment here with your Facebook name (name can be shortened in comment).

Giveaway ends on 7/31 at 11:59pm EST.

Don’t forget! You can receive 15% off of your purchase with the code PLUSSIDE at lovedrobe.com (this code is now working!).

*The dress shown was gifted to me by lovedrobe.com. The opinions expressed are my own.

NYC Day Four: Torrid Fall Fashion Preview

 

On Thursday I headed over to preview Torrid‘s fall fashion line, and I was pretty excited because last year’s event was fun and Torrid is a store that I can actually physically go to and try on the items (a rarity in plus-size shopping it seems). Last year we previewed their at-the-time new Stiletto fit jeans, so I was interested in what denim they had lined up for fall.

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After a sangria and a quick look around, the designer of Torrid’s line walked me through some of her favorite pieces for fall. There was a lot of prints, bold colors, and military inspired pieces.

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Torrid had a good amount of blazers in various cuts with a full sleeve, which a lot of shoppers wanted as plus size blazers often only come in 3/4 sleeve only. The blazer she is wearing has a two-tone floral print.

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Plaid blazer with a black lace maxi.

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The print shows up again in this dress (is it a babydoll cut? I honestly don’t know!). This dress also comes in a black and white lace print.

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Prints and studs were also featured in the looks. This lightning bolt dress is cute–and would let me live out my Harry Potter dreams.

After looking through the racks, Brittany grabbed my attention trying on some of the pieces from the fall line. She is wearing a striped top and their new jeggings. These jeggings are AMAZING. I don’t say that lightly! Jeans are hard to find. I put on a pair in a 28, which can sometimes be tight, and they fit loosely, so those on the upper side of 28 definitely try them when they come in. They have a zipper and button enclosure and fit closely at the ankle.

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I got in there to try on the jeggings and a top from the fall line.

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And then I tried on the dress. I’ll admit, this cut feels not “me”. Maybe it’s because I wore this cut when I was 8-9 years old and can remember them vividly. I got a lot of compliments on the shape though — what do you think?

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I loved Shainna of A Thick Girl’s Closet‘s look pulled from the Torrid Fall Preview.

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After trying on some looks I noticed that Sarah of Style It Online was looking at some clothing. She is one of my absolute favorite bloggers and was featured in my 20 bloggers size 24+ post. Needless to say, I promptly went over and gushed to her about how much I love her blog.

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I also spotted Beck of The Manfattan Project looking gorgeous as always.

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And Chasity of Garner Style who was also featured in that post.

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After a bit, Jessica Kane talked greeted all the attendees and talked about Torrid and plus size fashion.

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The designer also greeted us and discussed some key themes for their fall line.

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After, bloggers mingled more and checked out the clothing. I spotted Kellie of Fatshion Insider.

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I spy Jennifer of Jasifer Lions Club.

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Dani of Danimezza

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Marcy of Marcy Guevara, Margie of Margie Plus, and Kiah of From the Rez to the City

I wish I had had the courage and more time to introduce myself to a lot of the bloggers attending. Shyness is something I’m ALWAYS working on – it’s tough!

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Before heading out, I got to have a quick chat with Elann Zelie. She’s designing her own line — check her out!

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Brittany looked so cute and had a great time at the Torrid event. I think her favorite item was the jeggings too. Check out what she wore here.

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I had to skip out a little early and head to the next event, but I had a great chance to look over the collection. I really appreciated the designer walking through the different themes in the clothing and what Torrid’s intentions were. I also loved getting to try on the pieces and chat with Torrid salespeople who work in their physical stores. I was struck by how often they asked for our honest opinion and discussed how they took customer opinion and made design decisions based on them.

Thank you, Torrid, for a great time!