Plus Size Prep'd

A blog dedicated to plus size women who enjoy a classical and preppy lifestyle.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Deciding On The Future

So hello, it's been a long, long time.

I've been blogging since 1996. Last spring marked my 20th year running a blog, be it fashion or just whatever was on my mind. I found my Wordpress blog from my early 20s and it's hysterical until I think my employer or a future employer finds it. Then I grimace and consider taking it down.

I'm currently deciding if I want to keep up blogging. I've never been good at a consistent blogging schedule but this past silence period I think was my longest one. I had a lot of things going in my life--some good, some not so good--and blogging just fell by the wayside.

So, real quickly let me go over some of the good:
I started writing a novel. At first it was just kicking around an idea I'd had in my head for about a year and then the next thing I know I had over a 100 pages written. At some point last year I decided I hated it and went back to rewrite sections. That's been a slower process than I imagined and it's been frustrating but I'm happy with the rewrite. So that's where a lot of my spare time has gone.

Some of the bad:
I lost several friends, one of which was one of my best friends. Her death was very sudden, complications from surgery. I wasn't able to make it to her funeral and I'm still having a very hard time dealing with losing her.

And for the interesting:
And when I say it was interesting, it was probably the most interesting thing I've ever done. I was contacted by a company that owns several brands you've heard of. They were interested in developing a plus size line of one of their existing brands and they wanted me to help consult on it. Unfortunately the project got the ax due to the ongoing instability of the retail environment.  One of the leads of the project and I decided to continue the project on our own and got to the point of having samples made. We were able to get some funding but nowhere what we needed so we canned the idea. At some point, I'd love to be able continue work on the brand but with everything else on my plate I'm probably just going to leave this on the menu.

When I make up my mind I'll announce it both here and social media.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Prep'd Picks | Quintessentially Preppy

I had a reader request a post for what I would consider "quintessentially" preppy staples. Since we're heading into fall I picked out a few things inspired straight from the pages of The Official Preppy Handbook.

Loafers | There are many styles and colors available in loafers but you can't beat the classic penny loafer. If you don't have a pair yet, consider picking up a pair in one of the traditional colors of burgundy, black, or brown.
How to style: Use loafers as a replacement for boat shoes during the fall through spring months. Occasionally I'll wear them in the summer but not very often. Loafers are usually worn sockless but if you're pairing them with slacks for work trousers I think trouser socks would be fine. Bass Weejuns are the gold standard and come in around the $100 mark. For those on a tighter budget, consider this Lauren Ralph Lauren pair for under $50.

Boat and Tote Bag | Another absolutely original preppy piece with a mandatory monogram. L.L. Bean and Lands' End both make a good tote although I slightly lean LLB. Lands' End offers more variety including prints and critters.
How to style: The more beat up, the better.

Classic Wool Blazer: This, dear readers, is truly a plus size preppy unicorn. 100% wool, lined, and all the right details. This is probably the preppiest piece on this list. It's from Lands' End so take advantage of their frequent one day sales to grab it at a great price.
How to style: Simply put, with everything for the next decade. You'll then wish you had bought another one.

Blouses of all types |  Wear 'em to work and wear 'em on the weekends. From the true OG OCBD (oxford cotton button down) to the tie neck blouse I showed here, they're worth their weight in gold. I love the colors of this blouse but it also comes in a navy or white.
How to style: Tie neck blouses are one of the hot styles for fall and really, I don't think they really ever do. However, skip the skinny jeans and grab some flares to look on trend and still classic.

Plaid Puffer Vest | If you already have a solid-colored vest, a plaid version is a fun addition to your outerwear wardrobe. It's a nice contrast among the sea of black and navy vests that are everywhere during the fall.
How to style: With a fair isle sweater, corduroys, and near a campfire in the hills.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Old Navy Fit Review | Harper vs. Pixie

harper pants // pixie pants

It's no secret that I love Old Navy's Pixie pants. I own over five pairs of them currently and I think I might still have some more in my parent's attic. I love them because they're comfortable, come in fun prints and colors, and probably most important to me, they're flattering. I don't get to say that last statement much.

At the same time I went on my Lands' End binge I picked up two pairs of the Harper pants, mostly out of curiosity. I got them in, tried them on and well...

Here's what Old Navy has to say about these two pairs of pants:

A few more notes:
  • pockets: They're on the sides for the Harper and in front for the Pixie.
  • length: Both are cropped, but both come in a long length which makes them the same length as a regular pair of long pants. 
  • fabric: The fabric on both pants is stretchy, but the fabric on the Harper is smoother, similar to the Eloquii Kady pants. 
To continue from above, the fit is different between the two pants. Despite getting the pants in my normal Old Navy size, the Harper's were too small in the waist while being too big in the hips and seat. I took them off and put on a pair of the Pixies thinking maybe I had gained weight but nope, the Pixies fit just fine. If you're hourglass or pear shaped, you might check out the Harpers.

I've already compared the Pixies to Eloquii's Kady pants. I think the Harper is much closer in style and fit to the Kady with much better pricing. 

I wouldn't have minded sizing up in the Harpers if it weren't for the fact that it would take quite a bit of alterations to get the fit right in the hips.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Prep'd Picks at Target

For the more frugal of my readers, Target has been on the ball with great releases lately. The in-store choices still aren't the best but online has some good choices. The best part? Nearly everything is under $40.

The plaid shirtdress comes in four different plaids and I can't get enough of the gingham detailing on the sleeves. If you're so inclined, you could look at switching the tiebelt for a leather one for some more character. The military-inspired anorak (in stores) look is still in. I've been eyeing this one in stores and will probably pick it up once it gets a tad bit chiller. Seeing as I live two hours from the Minnesota border, that might be sooner rather than later. It's not very thick but it'll layer well. This button front skirt harkens back to the Preppy heyday of the 1980s. I'd trim off the frayed hem, though. Target also has a variety of Plaid buttonups (in stores) in several Tartans. The shirt pictured isn't quite a Dress Stewart but it's close enough to make me happy. The material is probably best described as a thin, smooth flannel. Kinda sorta pictured are the dark flare jeans (also available in a lighter, faded blue). I'm personally over skinny jeans so flares are a nice breath of air...for my shins.

If you're wanting to accessorize, you're in luck. I could have done an entire post on the great shoes Target has right now (again, some online) and no, they're not sponsoring this post.

First off, let me start with the shoes: The Bit Loafers and Ferragamo ribbon bow flats knock-offs are preppy budget perfection. Both pairs come in around $35, but Target puts their shoes on sale pretty often and you can sometimes find additional savings on their Cartwheel app. I've never been a clutch fan but I've been to a few occasions lately where I think one would have made my outfit look better. I love the color on this faux suede deep green clutch which also comes in a seasonless blush pink. Another clutch I liked was this Clare V. inspired striped clutch in pink and brown. I picked out the red and blue windowpane bag for something fun on the weekends when you may need to carry a bit more. The bucket bag is sleek enough for work but casual enough for the weekends. Finally, if you're in the market for a good work bag, this black Satchel is great pick. If you need something bigger for work, I recommend this quilted black tote.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale | August 22-23

It's that time of year again: the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale! As usual, here are my tips for grabbing what you want:

1| Create an account on the Lilly website and make sure ALL of your information is updated. Most importantly, make sure your credit card and shipping addresses are correct. Be sure to remove old credit cards and addresses! The website closes a few hours prior to the sale, so try to do this the night before.

2| Utilize all available equipment: computer, smartphone, tablet, etc. You'll also be able to shop via the Lilly Pulitzer app. Last After Party I shuffled between the Lilly app, my computer, and the mobile website and I found the app got me in the soonest. This may not be the case for you but it doesn't hurt to try.

3| Don't refresh the page once you're in line, otherwise you'll end up at the back of the line!

4| If you can, try to get to the website shortly before the sale begins.

5| Follow Lilly on social media! Sometimes there are sale items exclusive to various platforms (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) so be sure to check those out.

6| Shipping is free, which is always a bonus. Do be aware that shipping may take longer than usual due to the staggering amount of orders Lilly will be handling.

7| There are no returns on final sale merchandise. If you're unsure of sizing double check your measurements. As far as shoe sizing goes, I think it runs a bit smaller than true-to-size.

8| Items can change during the course of the sale. I've noticed in several sales additional items will be added towards the afternoons and evenings.

9| Prioritize what you want and make a strategy. Tote bags on the computer, scarves on the tablet. Some have found it handy to make a second account (or more) and sign in on a different account on each device. The reason I say to make a plan is this tip #9.

10| Items in your cart are not held for you. You can only be sure they're yours once you check out completely.

And again: Put everything you want in your cart and THEN checkout--especially if you're shopping in the first few hours of the sale. The moment you leave the sale you'll end up at the back of the line.

What to expect in the sale: It's always hard to say for sure, but typically it's a variety of items from the past few seasons. Since it's August, I expect to see anything from mid-winter 2015 up through beginning of this summer. You'll find lots of items that had been gifts with purchase or otherwise exclusive offers. Lilly has been flashing a few hints of what to expect in the sale and I've seen a few totes and a phone wallet/wristlet in Oh Shello.

Price-wise, expect the average savings to be anywhere from 40%-60% off original retail. Off the top of my head, I once got an overnight bag for $49 that was originally $198, a necklace that was $19 for $78, and a scarf for $34 that had been $120.

Anything in particular I'm looking for? Right now I have my eyes on things like scarves and jewelry. I really need shoes but unfortunately Lilly doesn't carry size 11. Since I binged last weekend at Lands' End I'm on a pretty tight budget at the moment so I can't get too crazy. However I think the August After Party Sale tends to be a lot better than the one in January so I may end up with something more than I expect.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Lands' End Sale Part Two

So Round #2 of my Lands' End shopping was meant to be maybe another sweater or two. Clearly, you can see that it ended up being much, much more. No regrets, though, no regrets.

I wear tees nearly every day, with a majority coming from Old Navy. However I haven't been happy with the latest batch I purchased so I decided to give the Fitted Crewneck Tee a shot. I picked out a few colors I'd get the most wear out of. Hopefully these work out.

I'm not the type of person to turn down a good Fair Isle sweater, so I picked up two. The Crewneck Fair Isle sweater is available in two colors, the red pictures above and an white/black/ice blue. I loved the red at first sight. The Turtleneck Fair Isle sweater came in several gorgeous colors and I narrowed it down to the one above or a white/red/orange. Ultimately, I'm terrified of white shirts because I am clumsy and spill anything and everything down my front.

I've featured the Linen Boatneck sweater on the blog before but finally just pulled the trigger. It's a linen/cotton blend meaning it's lightweight. I'm thinking it's going to be perfect for those days when it's chilly in the shade but warm in the sun. Same goes for the Cricket Sweater on the right, I've been eyeing it for quite some time.

I'll be the first to admit that the Leopard Cardigan isn't necessarily something I'd normally go for. But sometimes you just want something different to wear. There's a thousand and one ways to style it and I'm thinking I'll probably wear it a lot more than I think I will.

Not pictured: the pair of gloves I bought for $7 because I needed to hit the $250 mark. They've got the touchscreen fabric on the fingers and I lose gloves like it's my job.

I'm happy with the orders I placed today as it's a big chunk of my fall/winter spending. Many of the pieces are things I needed (new cords) or things I've been eyeing for a long time (the cricket sweater). Now if only I didn't have to wait another month or two to wear them...

I Shopped the Lands' End Sale And You Should Too

I'm really glad I swung by the Lands' End website this morning. They currently have a sale going that can't be beat: $30 off $100, $60 off $150, and $100 off $250. The bad news? It ends tonight at 11:59 CST. The sale goes for anything on the website, minus the Canvas or their new Sports line (neither of which is available in plus, boo).
As I've mentioned many times before on this blog, I love off season shopping. So I headed over to the sale section to see what I could find and I wasn't disappointed at all.  Over the past 18 months or so I've been adding a lot of neutrals to my wardrobe so I picked up the Lofty Textured Sweater in French Blue. I have a pair of Old Navy pixie pants it'll look incredible with not to mention it'll be a nice pick-me-up during the gray Iowa winters. The black Boatneck Cableknit sweater was purchased to go with the absolutely incredible wool blend Blackwatch Plaid pants in the bottom row. I think those pants are what I'm most excited about out of everything I bought.

I picked up the mini wale Corduroys in both navy blue and gray. I've been wanting a gray pair of cords for sometime as well as needing to replace my navy cords I bought from Old Navy a few years ago. The Cropped Chinos are in a colored called Hot Tangerine which a review called a poppy red. I'll admit I'm a bit nervous to see how truly bright they are. As someone who gets hot easily, I'll admit to wearing cropped pants even in winter, just with a more substantial shoe like my Weejuns. 

With the sale, I got everything for a mere $150. That's two tees, three sweaters, and four pairs of pants. This purchase is probably going to end up being a big chunk of my fall spending because, well, I got a lot of what I've been wanting. I'm actually even thinking of making another trip for a few more sweaters...

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