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OOTD: September 9th, 2012

It’s over 100 out and I’m heading out to a nice restaurant with a friend.    Here’s an example of a trend I adore: some sort of breezy chiffon poncho I can toss over a simple cotton tank and jeans that hides all the figure flaws the tank exposes.

I found the poncho on clearance at Avenue for $10; it’s a greyish white with two shades of plum and black.  I paired it with a plum Faded Glory tank in 2x from Wal-Mart and my favorite go-to jeans, a 22W from JCP St. Johns Bay in pure dark wash.  These jeans are ridiculously fabulous for the price ($25).  They fit me flawlessly, are comfy and hold their shape remarkably well.  The demin looks and feels similar to a premium denim.  I love them, and I wish I had bought a backup pair.  These are pretty close and on clearance for $17, though, so I just may have to have them.

Now if i just had Rebecca’s Naturalizer Glee Strappy Sandals in Jungle Orchid my feet would match!!!  but alas I had to struggle by with Volatile Trixxy Flips.

Lately there have been a slew of premium flip flops, and it has not been  unusual for them to be $75-100. At first I balked, but 1) I live in a warm climate, 2) they are super comfy, and 3) I would pay that for sandals.   Given that the fit/finish of the shoe and quality of the rubber is far superior, I’ve gotten over my mental block about the price.

Finally, I paired the top with a long necklace from Chico’s, pretty sure from their collection last Spring ~$40 and a chunky magenta bangle I have had in my collection for years.

OOTD September 8th, 2012

Outfit of the day: the Casual First Date

Dipping my toe  back into the dating scene, I needed the perfect “burgers and a beer” meet and greet first date outfit.  I settle on Jeans (Cato, $29);  A chocolate Peasant top (Cato, $17), my new cowboy boots, a great copper necklace (Stein Mart ($99) and some copper hoops I’ve had for years.

The Jeans are boot cut, with on-trend pocket detailing.  I typically prefer boot cut jeans with no detailing as my go-to jean, however, for $30, I’m happy to have some variety and I think they pair well with the Boots.

Boots:  I really wanted Cowboy boots, and was thinking Black, but these just grabbed my attention, and they are pretty comfy.   I bought mine at Cavender’s Boot City locally, but they have a web site.   Look for  Corral Ladies Distressed Black w/ Winged Cross Golden Inlay Snip Toe Western Boot, $260).

The final detail, with me always is a great necklace.  I have such a love of accessories, it’s not atypical for me to start with a necklace and work from there.     I found this gem at Stein Mart a few months back.  I’ll pay attention to the artist next time since I have seen some other of her pieces.   At $99 it’s a bit pricey for Stein Mart jewelry but it’s a substantial piece; the cross is handmade inlaid with copper roses.  I have the earrings as well but opted for simple copper hoops so the effect would not be too matchy.

A note on Cato :  While Cato doesn’t have an online presence (the link will let you find a location near you), their plus section has some decided benefits.  One is the price point.  Rarely is anything over $30.   It’s always on-trend, and sizes run from 14-24.   I find their Tees fit small, and I always size up, but things like jeans, skirts and other items are about normal.    2nd big advantage is the store is divided up (Similar to Dress Barn) one side is Plus, and they devote equal real estate to both, it’s not shoved back in a corner as an afterthought.   They get new things in weekly and I always find something.   I shop there for anything trendy.  I’m not typically a trendy dresser per se, but it’s my go to spot for things I don’t need to last and last and I can feel current without breaking the bank.   I tend to mix high/low anyway, so this is one of my haunts.

Trends that should end: Skinny Jeans, Ankle Jeans and Jeggings

I know I am going to take a lot of heat for this one, but I’ve had just about enough of Skinny Jeans.  Jeggings and Ankle Jeans are just special cases of Skinny Jeans, which I will get to later.  But first, let’s talk about the monster in the room.  Skinny Jeans.

Skinny Jeans have their place.  They make it much easier to tuck your jeans into your boots (when you are going for that look.  But in general, I find them unattractive on MOST women (not just plus sized).

  • Skinny jeans accentuate how skinny our ankles are.  Therefore, by comparison, they make our thighs, hips and butt look wider.  This effect is FAR worse on plus-sized women, as skinny jeans accentuate the difference and angles in ways that aren’t flattering.  (Don’t believe me?  Take a look at these Orange jeans and tell me you think they are enhancing her figure –> )
  • They accentuate cellulite and flab on our thighs, usually by clingy there.  See picture –>
  • They bunch up and wrinkle oddly around our knees – adding another set of horizontal lines that breaks up the nice vertical one that our jeans could have. <– See picture –>
  • They cling to our calves <– See picture –>
  • They bunch up around our ankles <– See picture –>
  • By adding in all those curves to match our legs, they break the nice flowing line from the hip that a good pair of jeans gives us.  That line lengthens the leg and makes us look taller, thinner AND more put together.
  • They look casual under EVERY circumstance.
  • Many women wear them too tight, so camel-toe is rampent.

Jeggings are just extra tight skinny jeans.  Suffice it to say that Jeggings take every sin of skinny jeans and make them worse, usually in a lighter weight fabric that subtracts the control that some skinny jeans provide.

Ankle jeans (also boyfriend jeans rolled up above the ankle and other such styles) were some bright bulbs idea of how to deal with the fact that proper length skinny jeans have a tendency to bunch up around the ankles.  Notice how the pair to the left clink and create curves in bad places, make her ankles look crazy small and proportionately make everything else look bigger.  This is a MODEL.

However the glory of a proper length jean is that it makes your legs look longer, and ankle jeans do just the opposite; they cut you off a few inches too short.  I wouldn’t mention these abominations if my beloved J.Jill weren’t so fond of them.  It’s important to check the length on their pants.

My biggest problem with ALL of these trends, however, is how hard they have made it to find a pair of bootcut jeans.  Particularly a pair of COLORED bootcut jeans.  Manufacturers are churning out every new trend in skinny cuts rather than making them available to those of us who like something else.

And often, that is my biggest problem with trends.  They can take over the market and leave those of us who prefer something else completely out in the cold.

(I didn’t want to be mean to real women (although it isn’t hard to find examples), so these pictures are from vendor sites.  I’ve always had a rule that if it doesn’t look good on the model, it probably won’t look good on me.  These pictures bear that out.)

ISO: a Black Denim Jacket

(Today’s post is the first post from my co-author, Sandra.  We have somewhat different styles (San is classic to my strange hippy/goth/something else mashup) and very different shapes (I’m a pear to her apple), but we both love clothing and love to shop.  

This is also the first in an occasional series on pieces we are actively trying to find that we’ll be calling In Search Of: or, to be briefer, ISO.)

Black Denim Jackets in plus sizes seem to be elusive.  It’s one of those simple, casual but classic pieces (like a white denim jacket) that I love to have in my wardrobe at all times. I never see them in stores, so decided to hunt for one online yesterday.  They are perfect for throwing on over a tee, cami or tank, and do a great job of hiding figure flaws.  This type of piece is essential when you are traveling to a cooler climate without investing in warmer clothes you might not wear back home.

I’d been keeping my eyes open, and Coldwater Creek is featuring one that caught my eye, a more feminine curvy cut.   I have not received it yet so stay tuned for a post on the fit very soon.  I ordered a size 24, to hopefully allow room to allow a heavier weight top and push/cuff the sleeves to bracelet length.    I’ve been on this cowboy boot kick lately and I can envision this pairing with several jeans/skirt pieces I already worn.

This one, Denim Weekend Jacket – $99 constructed of cotton/elasterell has seams that appear to hug your curves, as well as an adjustable buckle in the back to avoid it looking so boxy. I used my $25 off anything coupon to save as the thought of a basic denim jacket being over $100 shipped was a bit more than I had hoped to spend.  However, I have been doing less “wow this is a good deal even though I didn’t need it until I saw it” shopping and spending the extra on pieces I love.

Onestop plus/Woman Within has a cropped one for $39, which i would have totally snagged had it been about 2-3″ longer.   Super cute but unless you are tall, probably is gonna hit at all the problem areas.   Also the cropped is just too trendy to be a staple.

While looking for alternatives, I ran across an online retailer I have not seen before,  Monrow & Main.   While the jacket is not “me” the cut of the jacket is pretty interesting.  (Pintuck Denim, $70).   I’ll be surfing this site for sure to see what else they have.   At first glance, there are some pretty cute things.

(Comment from Rebecca: I had never seen this site before either, and have to agree that there are some CUTE items on here.  When I have time and spending money, I intend to go back and buy a few things to check out the cut, styling, and quality.)

If the Creek one doesn’t pan out, I’ll probably snag Jessica London‘s $44 version… available in sizes 12-38.  This one with classic styling and black stitching is more what I envisioned before I got all misty eyed at the feminine cut of they Creek one.

(I found a few more: one from Domino Dollhouse that is also very cropped.  $45.99  That style looks good on some people, not so good on  others.  Since this appears even more cropped than the one above, it might not be a good bet.

The second one is from City Chic and also appears cropped.  However it has puffy shoulders which MIGHT provide some balance and width at the shoulders for those of us with wide hips. 

My guess is that neither of these would work for San, but they are here for completeness’ sake.  Cropped seems to require the wearer to be tall, and since neither of us are we run the risk of cropped jackets hitting at the wrong place.  

One final possibility would be this design from Simply Be $59.  Given her current western kick this might be really cute.)

OOTD September 5th, 2012

Today I rode my bike again, so I had to plan my outfit last night.  I am not entirely happy, but the outfit deserves to be posted purely for it’s lack of Black.  My chosen neutral for the day was actually olive green cargo pants and a white tee from J.Jill’s Pure Jill line (which I adore), with a cardigan over it that has the olive in with a pink shade (Marshall’s).  I finished the outfit by layering 2 gold neckaces.

OOTD September 4, 2012

Today’s outfit of the day isn’t fancy, but I feel remarkably good.

Dress: Roaman’s A Line Crinkle Maxi in Bright Magenta

Worn with Naturalizer Glee Strappy Sandals which I ordered a couple of weeks ago and which match PERFECTLY with the color of this dress.

The necklace is from an artist friend’s shop on Etsy.  This piece is very similar.

Oh, and I got a haircut 🙂

I also brought a pullover sweater with me, but when I put it on and took the picture I wasn’t happy with the way it looked.  It is described as pointelle, but is heavy, plastic-y, and doesn’t let a lot of air though.  And since the sweater is itchy to start with, it might be going to Goodwill. (That’s the best way to not wear something again…)