Introducing 22+ Style Lookbook

A few months ago I was approached by Marcy of Fearlessly Just Me about an idea that she had. She wanted to put together a lookbook that featured women size 22+ to both give space to bloggers on the upper end of the plus size size spectrum as well as show how stylish women size 22+ can be, even with less options than our smaller plus size friends.

Marcy summed up this project and her idea well this morning on her FB page: “I am a firm believer that there is no dream too big or crazy AND it is so important to create opportunities for yourself and others. You should never wait to be seen — you should make it possible to be seen. With that said, this project I have been working on with 11 other amazing women is proof of those two key things and I am so happy to finally announce that it is live. I think there should be more diversity shown in the media and campaigns. Too often, us women a size 24 and up get ignored because we’re visibly plus and sometimes people think it’s negative to show larger bodies. Well, this lookbook is proof that style doesn’t stop at a size 22 and that body diversity is a great thing. All bodies are beautiful and everyone is worthy and deserving of fashion. Please check it out! Special thanks to all the babes in this lookbook from so many corners of the world. Together, we are a force to be reckoned with in this Big Girl Revolution.”

I knew I wanted to be involved right away.¬†While the project was a lookbook, Marcy made sure to stress that she wanted to introduce us as people. I though through what my favorite clothes were and how I saw myself, so I tried to choose looks that exemplified how I see myself. My lovely sister-in-law Brittany helped these looks come alive through her photography — thank you!

I’ve shared most of these looks before here on my blog, but there was one I kept until the lookbook was live. It is a simple enough outfit: a white top from xWhoWhatWear at Target, jeans from Evans, and a purse from Aldo, but it was also a look that broke a lot of rules I have placed on myself in the past: no defined waist, slight turtle neck that touches my double chin, and even just posing without a smile. I’m not a model, and posing with a serious expression is something that ends up forcing me into a critique-spiral. These photos made me feel beautiful though.

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Check out the full lookbook with the other 11 participating bloggers below ūüôā

Trying Out GwynnieBee | My First Box + See My GB Closet

I’m back at it again with another video-blog on YouTube.¬†Come learn about GwynnieBee plus-size clothing rental subscription service through hearing about my process of joining the service, getting my first box of clothes size 24+, and using the website.

Get a free month of service by signing up through my referral link: http://goo.gl/Llbr4
**I get a credit toward my subscription if you sign up through my referral link.

This is not a sponsored post! I pay for my own service, and I wanted to share about my experiences.

If you’re already a GwynnieBee subscriber, what brands should I try out? What’s in your closet now?

OOTD: Marble

Over the last year I’ve been working toward buying more quality pieces for my wardrobe that could work well in a professional environment as well as evening/”going out” type of situations. Finding pieces with eye-catching and adaptable styles in good fabrics and in my size is a tall order that I often can’t achieve, but I do feel that in the past couple months I’ve made some great discoveries as I’ve found more brands that offer these kind of pieces (mostly) in my size.¬†Now when I’m considering higher-quality items, I’m thinking of quality materials, polished styles, and better fits, not necessarily higher price points. This look has some of my latest finds that are helping me improve my wardrobe, and I wore it out today to an academic conference:

1arimg_8618Top: Eloquii, Skirt: Melissa McCarthy Seven7, Shoes: Lane Bryant

I’ve known about Eloquii for years. In fact, I still have pieces from their first existence as a sub-brand of The Limited, but I am not a regular shopper of Eloquii because they do not offer all of their styles in sizes 26 and 28. I had a couple months there where I would go to their site, and literally every. single. item. I. wanted. stopped at a 24. I also had purchased some items about a year ago that I thought had good promise, but they ended up being slightly too tight and too short, and so they never became a part of the circulation of my wardrobe.

I’ve been really impressed with Eloquii working toward offering more sizes lately. They now have some petites as well as the “Viola” cut, which is meant to fit shapes where a person’s bottom/pant size is 1-2 sizes larger than their bust/top size. When looking at their site at the Viola options, I saw a few styles up to a 28 that I liked, and Eloquii always has great sales, so I took advantage and decided to try them out once again.

I was pleasantly surprised. Everything I ordered fit me really well, and this top, which was purchased at a 28, is even a little big in the bust and sleeves. Not at all what I was expecting from my last experience of things being too small (I like this top so much that I’ve already ordered it in a size down). Putting on this top, the fabric was denser and nicer than one typically gets in plus size clothing. And, I should say, with the coupon this top was only $35 dollars — “nicer” pieces are not always expensive. This is cheaper than some Old Navy tops and 1000x better quality. Once I tried it on, I knew immediately that I wanted to pair it with the marble print pencil skirt that I had purchased from Melissa McCarthy Seven7.

itemsTop: Eloquii, Skirt: Melissa McCarthy Seven7, Shoes: Lane Bryant

Melissa McCarthy’s line has impressed me over and over again. She has great quality items. This skirt’s fabric is so nice, the print is vibrant, and her pieces would work wonderfully for tall people. Most impressive– after one season of offering items up to a 24/3X, she expanded to a 28/4X. I’m hopeful that she’ll keep exploring more sizes, but I will note that her dresses and skirts are roomy and many could fit someone at a size 30.

At 5’4″, I need to alter her items (for example, I pulled up this skirt to be right underneath my bust — that’s how long it is on me), but it is always easier to take fabric off than to not have access to it at all because it’s too small/short/etc. Melissa’s line is just outside of my typical price range. It means not spending money on more affordable fashion that won’t last as long in order to purchase one piece from her. Now, this isn’t hard for me because I own too many clothes as it is, but it might be harder for others who are building their wardrobe. She does occasionally have sales, and I recommend hopping on it when she does.

1rimg_8608Top: Eloquii, Skirt: Melissa McCarthy Seven7, Shoes: Lane Bryant

Lastly, Lane Bryant has been impressing me lately with shoe options. Often times the shoes I like are “online exclusives”, so I take a gamble on them, and these cutout block heels really paid off. The heel height is perfect for me–I cannot do high heels. The base is cushy and comfortable. I’m into the ties, and I love that the ties are suede and just as nice looking as the shoe themselves. I think I bought these with a coupon too, and I feel that these shoes look more expensive than they actually were.

I finished my look with cheaper jewelry – simple silver earrings from a local boutique and a really old faux white-marble stone ring. One place I haven’t made investments? Jewelry. Maybe someday….

Have you tried these brands — what did you think? What brands do you buy from for higher quality pieces?¬†

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.

OOTD: Ready for Work, Thanks to Torrid

Styling looks that are a. work appropriate, b. slightly “well dressed” but still meeting some level of comfort, and c. fun is not exactly an easy thing to do. Some days when I go to work, I am thankful that I had enough energy to wake up and dry my hair. Other days I’m stuck to what’s clean and available. Then I have my on point days, where the stars align. I can fix my hair AND have an outfit that not only “works” for work but also is an expression of my style. The following look is one of the latter–though, I’d make a small edit next time…

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Continue reading “OOTD: Ready for Work, Thanks to Torrid”

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.

In Search of Clarity

So this photo and its humity-induced soft focus is pretty representative of how I am feeling about my blog. Ever since I graduated from my grad program, I’ve been hobbling along and only posting here or there. I know enough people who blogged two years ago¬†who¬†still do now to not feel completely isolated in the blogosphere, but I also feel out of touch, and it’s of my own doing.

Being a teacher isn’t an easy thing for me. It’s something I have to work at, and I¬†really, really, really want to be the kind of teacher that I loved and wanted, so I put a lot of time and thought into it. Lots of people have time or energy consuming jobs, but I’m still trying to figure out the balance for me. I also am still, 2 years in, trying to find my style in the work world, and sometimes it’s just not as fun as when I was a student.

All of this leads me to ask myself what to do. I love this blog and what I have learned about myself and others throughout my time writing it, but I also don’t like how half-assed it seems to have been these past 2 years compared to before. I’m searching for clarity. What will this blog be now? How will it¬†reflect¬†the ways that I have changed?

raIMG_0197ASOS Curve dress, Aldo handbag, Forever21 heels

I’m not planning to stop writing/posting here any time soon. I’m just wondering…how do I make my personal fashion blog feel, well, personal again? Hmmm.. still thinking.

OOTD: Chevron and Studs

A few months ago many of us plus size shoppers realized that our local Targets were slowly dwindling their plus size stock. There were a couple months there where my local stores had ZERO plus size options, and they didn’t really announce or discuss it. In fact, my anger was only made bigger when store clerks would sometimes send me on a hunting game (Oh- I think it’s mixed with maternity or clearance) when in reality the section just did not exist anymore. After a couple months, I think I heard from The Curvy Fashionista that they were rolling out a new plus size section, or at the very least the section WAS coming back but that they had issues with stock or who knows what. About a month ago I did find that the section had returned. For me, it wasn’t anything new or greater than before (at least at¬†my Target), but I knew their online offerings had been growing in number, so I was hopeful (and remain a little hopeful) that the section was better. I did see one improvement. They still had their basics, but they also had more “styled” pieces too, and I actually found a skirt that fit me correctly (major win!). I finally wore it out for a bit yesterday and wanted to show my look.

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I really love the print of this skirt. It has a chevron style, and it is very textured with the various shades of gray, black, and blues.¬†I find myself to be pretty picky with prints. I don’t want them to be completely overwhelming, and I’ve been giving myself a rule where they have to also be something I’m willing to wear to work, so this fit the bill. I always feel like I’m under accessorized or have an unfinished look, so at first I added in the House of Harlow sunburst necklace along with a studded belt and flat sandals.

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When I was at my local Target, this dress also came in a bright pink, which I loved but probably wouldn’t have worn as often. It has pockets (!!!) and also has an elastic/stretchy section in the back, but the fabric itself is not stretchy.

rzIMG_0038Old Navy top (other colors available), Target skirt, Nine West Outlet sandals, belt unknown

So I guess I will give Target another chance. They make such cute clothes for their other sections, so let’s hope they realize that they should carry that good reputation to their plus size section.

What do you think: necklace or no necklace? Have you shopped Target’s plus size section lately? Any great finds, hopes, or concerns?

P.S. my hair is blonder than it shows here. Apparently my apartment lights turn my hair red-ish.

OOTD: Simple Summer Style

For some reason every year I begin begging for summer in March and conveniently forget that a North Carolina summer means one thing: humidity. Yuck.

It’s been stifling hot here, and it’s only June, but I’m remembering quickly that for me less means more when it comes to my summer style. Over the last year, I’ve been slowly falling back in love with Lane Bryant. They’ve really worked on their designs to make them more contemporary and on trend, and I appreciate it! When I was in the store the other week, I was specifically looking for tops in anything but black (I officially have too many clothes in that color), and I stumbled upon this beauty.

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I was immediately drawn to the faux leather and how the design was suitable for day and night. I’ve been trying to find items that I wanted to wear in the classroom and out, and the higher neckline allowed me to do it. I loved the chiffon hem that goes on the front and back, but when I tried it on the chiffon was cut a little too tight around my hips (this is my number 1 clothing problem, as most item are cut pretty straight and I’m a full size bigger at the hip). Well a little at home scissor work allowed me to take off the chiffon in the back and now it’s most definitely one of my favorite summer tops. I wore it around town today to run errands, dog in tow, and it’s such a striking top in person.


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Colorful accessories would look really nice with this, but I went with gold jeweled sandals and big earrings. My recent trip to the salon has me even more blonde and I’m trying to get used to having a bit different coloring too.

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raIMG_9904Lane Bryant Faux Leather Top, Torrid Cropped Pants, Nine West Outlet Sandals (similar), Forever21 Earrings

Coincidentally enough, when I got home from running errands I had a surprise package from Lane Bryant with a preview of their Isabel Toledo collection and her signature scarf. Amanda from Fashion, Love, and Martinis suggested I take it with me to the beach, so it looks like you will see it soon as I leave for Charleston tomorrow night :). Thank you, Lane Bryant, for the sweet and unexpected gift!

So.. about your summer style — do you keep it simple or do you still like to layer and accessorize?¬†

OOTD: First Dip into Crop Tops

I never really considered myself a “modest” dresser until I started blogging, but I think that modest is a good term to describe my style. Half my shy-ish personality and half my profession, I tend to choose more covered up styles, BUT I still like to wear trends and figure out ways they work for me. I’ve been seeing crop tops all over blogs for over a year, and plus size bloggers have shown over and over again that there are so many ways to wear crop tops, and actually of all the skin showing trends, it’s probably the most demure.

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From the Corners of the Curve and Garner Style

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I could see myself wearing¬†this style with skin showing at the beach, but I wouldn’t wear that on a day to day basis, so how do I then wear the style? Well this past weekend I went shopping with my friend Brittany to a fancy-pants Forever21 that had a large plus size section. The only item I saw that I wanted was a crop top (which¬†was lucky since I am pretty much out of their size range waist down), and¬†as soon as I tried it on I was thinking of various ways to wear it. I wanted to wear it in a way that drew attention to the scalloped hem, which was my favorite part of the top.

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I paired it with a bright blue maxi skirt from Old Navy. Most crop tops I see are a bit more flowy and oversized, and this one is fitted on me, but I still liked being able to work with proportion by choosing where my skirt sat on my waist and how much of the lace from the crop top laid over it.
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I chose scalloped edge studs as well and simple sandals to complete the look.

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Forever21 Top, Old Navy Skirt, Nine West Sandals, House of Harlow 1960 Earrings

So this was my first dip into the crop top pool (okay, maybe more like putting just my toes in), but I really love the end result. I could ramp it up with more accessories if I ever wanted, but for me this is the perfect running errands–meeting friends for lunch–daily life¬†look.

Are you a crop top lover (either on yourself or others)? How do you like to style them?