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

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Critter Sweaters

I rather hate talking about sweaters and fall clothes at this time of year because it's not autumn yet, but long sleeves are all that's available in stores. I live in West Virginia and it's not unusual for it to be 90 degrees well into September and maybe even the first week of October. However, I do like to be prepared, so a few sweaters will probably find their way into my house before Labor Day. 

Critter sweaters have long been a preppy wardrobe staple, adding a bit of whimsy into the outfits of those cold, gray days. They went out of vogue for some time as I recall them being rather difficult to find past the mid 90s. It's been interesting to watch critter sweaters resurge due in part to the hipster fashion movement, as spurred on by Urban Outfitters. It was a story of "out of sight, out of mind," until we reviewed the photo albums of those who prepped before us. Wait, why is my dear Grandpap wearing the same sweater as that weird kid from Art History whose hair resembled a Jackson Pollock painting? 

The good news is that critter sweaters are now starting to pop up in the plus size area, as offered by Old Navy at the highly reasonable price of $35:

A note about Old Navy's sizing: it runs rather large as everything stretches out. I usually wear a size 24/3X and I can easily fit into most XXL in ON's misses sizes in stores. I mention this because there's an adorable French Bulldog critter sweater that isn't available in the plus sizing.

Critter sweaters are perfect for running around campus, or running errands if you're beyond those days. While they pair perfectly easily with jeans, dress them up a bit with some burgundy pants, 8" Bean boots, and some pearls. I'd roll the sleeves up to my elbows to show off the bracelet and watch.

I'm really liking the canvas tote in this outfit. I'm looking to replace a Longchamp that was lost to a certain basset/beagle (also known as a bagel!) puppy. I should just go out and buy an identical replacement bag, but I've been looking at everything from the classic Boat & Tote to this Lilly tote to this newcomer I pictured from Abercrombie (really). 

The fox sweater is calling my name, but the long-legged bird is also sweet. Which one would you choose?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Plus Size Sorority Recruitment

During college I was really into the whole sorority thing. I probably put more time and effort into sorority life than I did my classes. As bad as that sounds, a huge majority of my classes were based on labs so I actually had little to no homework or papers due for class, just projects I had to do in lab. Many sorority women will tell you the highlight of their college years was being with their sorority sisters and I'd tell you the same. I still keep in touch with a huge majority of my sisters, I even work with one of them!

Sorority life can seem tricky if you're plus size. I never had any troubles with being plus sized, nor did my plus size sisters. There were plus size girls in all of the sororities on my campus. We all had boyfriends, we all had fun. I know from talking with plus size college women that a lot of them won't even consider going through sorority recruitment because they feel their size would keep them out of joining a group. If you want to read more about this subject, head over to Sorority Girl 101, probably one of the best-run blogs on the subject of sorority recruitment. Tam explains how nearly anything can keep someone out of a sorority.

In the meantime, if you think you'd like to go through recruitment here's some tips on what to wear!

First and foremost: Some schools will send out a schedule of events and some will even send lookbooks on what to wear. Base your clothing decisions on what the school recommends. If the school recommends wearing a shorts with the official recruitment t-shirt, don't walk in wearing a Lilly-a-like.
Round One: The Open Houses
This is where you'll meet all the sororities on campus. Some schools have tried to democratize the recruitment process and give out a t-shirt for this round.
Typically for this round they advise wearing just shorts or a skirt with the provided t-shirt, which usually has some generic saying along the lines of "Go Greek!" If you're going to wear shorts, wear long ones like the ones pictured as they tend to be more flattering. If you can, a fun skirt can make a big impact. One of the secrets to sorority recruitment at larger or more competitive schools is to stand out in a good way. When you see hundreds of women a night all dressed nearly alike, it's hard to stand out in someone's mind. Instead of being #231 in a green t-shirt and shorts, be that gal people remember for the cute polka dot skirt.
Some schools won't provide a t-shirt for the open houses so you'll have to wear something nice. My basic to advice for anyone at this stage is to wear something you'd wear on a date to a nice restaurant. I'll admit these aren't the preppiest of picks, but I chose them because something about them would help you to stand out, such as the muted paisley print on the dress second from the left, of the bright stripes on the maxi dress next to it. If you feel more comfortable in pants, this brightly-colored Lilly-a-Likes from Lauren Ralph Lauren are a solid choice if you pair them with a nice blouse.

Round Two: The invitational rounds
At this point, both you and the sororities have narrowed down your respective lists. Typically these nights have themes like Philanthropy Night or Skit Night and you get a more in-depth look at the sorority. Some schools will give out t-shirts for these nights, in which case just refer back to the first photo set.

For this round, you still want to dress to impress but don't have to go to the extreme lengths that you may have for the open houses. These are the nights you really want to talk to the sorority women, find out about them, and tell them about yourself. I typically tell people to worry more about the conversations and communications rather than your outfit.

Round Three: Preference Night
This is the final night before Bid Day. Typically, these are dressy events where the sorority makes a final impression on who they are. A lot of times sisters will share what they've gained by being members in the sorority, and some of the stories can get very emotional. This is the dressiest night, so look for something more than a sundress.

Pref Night dresses should be a step or two above what you wore previously during the week. I've heard of some schools requiring black dresses but I can't say that's the norm. This is the perfect night for that little black dress, or in a prep's case, little navy dress. If black is required, though, wear black.

Round Four: Bid Day!
Congratulations! Go join your new sisters and enjoy the day! This day is so radically different at each school it's near impossible to give fashion advice for it. 

 I'm a firm believer that details really make the outfit for sorority recruitment. When a sorority is trying to make it's list for the invitational rounds, giving them something to remember you by is a good thing. Shoes in a unique print, or the cute parrot earrings pictured above with a tropical print dress can help them remember you. 

Some DON'Ts for Recruitment:
  • Don't wear strapless dresses and I'm even iffy on sleeveless dresses. 
  • Avoid heels if you can, you're going to be doing a lot of walking and standing for several hours. Make sure what shoes you choose to wear are broken in and if you do choose to wear heels, you can walk in them.
  • Stick with hairstyles and makeup you know look good on you. Now is not the time to experiment.
  • Fit is everything. Nobody is going to see the number on the tag, but they're going to notice if clothes don't fit well.
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I'll answer them the best I can!

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