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

Monday, December 29, 2014

Prep'd Picks | Welcoming 2015

I am totally ready for 2015. Toodles, 2014. 

I wasn't quite sure what to feature for today's post. The after Christmas sales (everywhere) or maybe New Year's Eve dresses (already covered, more or less)? I decided to go with some things I'd like to wear in the New Year, plus the 50,000 sweaters I got for Christmas(!).

I love the colors in this Pendleton blazer. Yes, it is the same Pendleton that makes those classic wool blankets that are currently trendy. I didn't know they sold a plus size line until I came across it on 6pm.com.  This is a nice piece that could be worn from September through April.

I know the red dress with the awesome sleeves? cape thingys? is very much a summer dress but I love it so much that I had to feature it. If you're one of those lucky women who got a winter vacation as a Christmas gift this year, this dress would be perfect to take. I absolutely adore those sleeve thingys, they really turn this from a simple jersey dress into something much nicer.

Fair aisle + sweater dress + fun colors = a great buy for $68.  Truly, the colors are everything in this cheerful sweater dress.

My mom bought this Old Navy blouse recently and I decided that I really like it. It comes in this coral shade ("Apple Guava") and navy. It's almost tunic length so take that into account. This is a good piece if you're wanting something bright to wear yet seasonally appropriate.

Lastly, I've received a few emails from readers wanting more dresses with sleeves. Sleeves, plus a fun print make this Calvin Klein dress a good all-year-round choice. This would look amazing with colorful accessories.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Resort 2015


Some may be lucky enough to already have plans to take a cruise or have plans for an island getaway this winter. Others may be even luckier to be gifted such a vacation on Christmas Day. A) If you're going on a cruise, be sure to take your flight the day BEFORE the cruise. Flight delays and cancellations are so common this time of year the extra bit spent on a hotel for the night is well-worth the piece of mind.  B)...can I come with you?

 If you've been wondering about the small selection of swimsuits that suddenly popped up in stores amidst the cashmere sweaters , it's due to a very small fashion cycle known as resort. The two main fashion seasons are spring/summer and fall/winter. The resort season only lasts for a few weeks in December and January but it brings in big bucks for retailers and designers. These small collections tend to be very wearable and allow for designers to test ideas. If you'd like a swimsuit that isn't covered in hibiscus blossoms, now is the time to shop for one.

Lands' End is single-handedly the place to shop for swimwear right now. Great prices and selection, what more can you ask for? No matter what kind of suit you like, they have it right now. Of note are their rashguards which come with a UV filter built into the fabric to help protect against the sun.  I really can't emphasize proper sun protection enough. I have a permanent scar covering most of my upper back from sun poisoning a few years ago. I'm lucky it hasn't turned into skin cancer.

Even though resort is big in straight sizes, for plus sizes it more or less means a few swimsuits and one or two floral dresses. However, I was able to find several pieces perfect for drinks on the lido deck or even just happy hour after lunch (minus the jumpsuit. Totally not work wear).  The blue sheath has a beautiful color that's perfect for spring. The pink floral sheath is made of ponte, so it's easy to throw on over a day at the beach. The palm print dress is whimsical, and these Old Navy Pixie Pants are perfect in Nantucket Red. I was iffy on the jumpsuit and almost didn't include it, but I like it better than any maxi dress I saw. It has a great shape and details without crossing into club wear, which is the category that most plus size jumpsuits fall into. 

Seriously, though, can I come with you?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Prep'd Picks | Lounge Lizards

I'm excited because I get two weeks off for the Christmas holidays. I'm not sure what I'll do with myself. After checking my planner, it says I'm hitting the couch. I'm okay with this.

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At this point in the holiday season, it's time to kick back. Presents are wrapped and are under the tree, the parties have mostly died down, and it's time to relax. My lounge wardrobe is pretty extensive, although I have shingles to blame for this--please get the vaccination if you can! I had to wear yoga pants for almost four months straight. Even though plus size selection is getting so much better, there are a few areas I think need improvement. Mostly, true luxury goods in rich and soft fabrics. This cashmere robe is the very epitome of luxury. I'd probably wear this for the rest of my life, no matter the occasion or weather. Why yes, your honor, I am wearing a bathrobe. Thank you for noticing. Seriously, you need to feel this thing it's so freakin' soft. Wait, what does contempt of court mean?*

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I've noticed that pajama quality has been going downhill. It's just one of those odd things I've picked up over the years, but as style is becoming increasingly casual the quality of clothes just isn't following suit. I've purchased several pairs of flannel PJ pants in November only to have them threadbare by February. This is the time of year, though, to pick up some really nice lounge gear at even nicer prices. Flannel? Rayon? Sweats? Leggings? No matter the style, it's out there on sale, or if you wait a few more days, it'll all be marked down even more.

One of the reasons I started fashion blogging several years ago was because I was getting tired of seeing people out in their PJ pants all the time. In particular were the women in fuzzy Tweety Bird PJ pants with full faces of makeup and straightened hair. If you have twenty minutes to apply your eyeliner, you have thirty seconds to put on a pair of jeans.

*I totally don't recommend doing this.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Marsala | Color of the Year for 2015

Marsala Pantone Color of the Year 2015

The coming new year brings us a brand new Pantone Color of the Year. After much deliberation for the lucky 2015 hue, the committee settled upon Marsala, a reddish-brown shade. Pantone believes that Marsala will "embody a certain amount of confidence and stability."  Typically Pantone's announcement is made to great fanfare but this year the reaction has been more subdued. It's been compared to rust, dried blood, and 90's lipstick, not to mention what the blog The Cut had to say about it:
It's a color that makes you want to go to Olive Garden or order Tampax in bulk.
Personally, I'm fine with Marsala. In my eyes it's a base or foundation color, it's there to make another color pop out somewhere. However, I believe Marsala is going to have limited uses. Pantone has envision the color everywhere, from furniture to cosmetics but ultimately, I don't think it's going to do well. The comparisons to a Clinique lipstick from the 90's isn't too far off; Marsala really does feel dated despite its more or less classic shade.

I'd also like to issue a warning: when it comes to cosmetics, Marsala and similar shades can be aging. It's fantastic and very wearable as eyeshadow, but you should be wary around lipsticks and blushes. Granted, I loved the 90s very much--I spent more time in raves then I'd care to admit to--but I don't feel the need to return to the cosmetic aesthetics.

If you'd like to see more selections in Marsala, head over to my new Pinterest board!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Prep'd Picks | Ideas for the Not Yet Cold

 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

 1} It hasn't gotten what I call "coat cold" yet--that comes in January. If it's 30 degrees and above, I'll just wear a jacket or a thick sweater. I've been thinking about getting a barn jacket for a while and L.L. Bean has this amazing jacket that is lined in flannel. Great for weekends or casual days at the office.

2} A great trench for the work week. There's also a short version available.

3} This dress is so pretty and the velvet fabric is perfect for winter. Unfortunately, the velvet fabric is the one bad point of the this dress--depending on where you live, velvet is more or less unwearable for most of the year. Had this dress been in ponte or another fabric, this could have been an amazing year-round dress.  In the meantime, a red blazer or gray cardigan would be chic.

4} These boots carry many names: Chukkas, Desert Boots, Wallabees. Whatever you prefer to call them, this pair has a lot of great details (and tassels!) for under $40. You can't beat that.

5} One of my longest fashion itches has been for a white purse. I've held off on one because, well, I know for sure I ain't going to be able to keep it clean. This one is not actually white, more of an super light gray that I'd call oyster.  More to the point, according to Lands' End, you can simply rub out minor scuff marks. It can also be monogrammed, and comes in a hobo and bucket shape. 

6} A shirt that can be worn professionally with all the comfort of a tee. The details keep it business appropriate--banded collar, bracelet sleeves with buttons.  I'd pair this shirt tucked in with my navy blue suit or just with jeans on the weekend.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Gift Guide | Hostess Gifts

Welcome to Gift Guide Week! All this week will be full of gift guides to help you plan for your holiday shopping, even if it's just a little something to stick in your own stocking.

I'm starting the week off with hostess gifts.  With parties and gatherings around the corner it's never a bad idea to have a gift or two on hand. A hostess gift doesn't need to be expensive or fancy, a sampler of jams or a bag of a seasonal coffee blend is perfectly acceptable. 

A note on certain gifts:
It's nice to have some--for lack of a better word--generic hostess gifts on hand, don't forget to think about the person to whom you're gifting. Flowers are always appreciated but don't forget to bring them in a vase or even a jar so the hostess doesn't have to worry about arranging them at that moment. Wine is also another fantastic gift, but skip the two buck chuck and get something extra nice.
Shop hostess gifts below:

Friday, November 28, 2014

Hello (Black) Friday!

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I am almost done with my Christmas shopping already so right now I'm just looking for a few little pick-me-ups. I really love the Lands End sweater as I can see myself using that any season. Either California Dreamin' mid-January or just a little too cold on the river in June, this sweater will keep you warm. I like the necklace because it would work well with my turtlenecks. The smoking loafers from C.Wonder are 40% off through Monday and add just the perfect amount of whimsy. I'm a huge fan of J.Crew's new-ish fragrances--I already have both roller balls-- and I'm going to snatch them up while they're 30% off.  The one item I really want to point out is the Lilly Pulitzer coffee table book. Originally offered last year as a gift with purchase, it's been going as high as $250 on Ebay. I actually lost an Ebay auction not two weeks ago for this same book as I didn't want to go over $50. However, it's now $40 on the Lilly Pulitzer website, along with a free shopper tote bag with each purchase through Monday. For an extra $2, you can get it wrapped in a gift box that comes with a luggage tag. I ordered my book this morning around 9:30 yesterday morning just in case they ran out, which is a fairly normal occurrence with some Lilly things.

-In light of recent controversy, Old Navy will begin to take all plus size returns in stores starting December 5th. My local store has always taken the plus size returns back so I didn't realize how much of an issue this was for a lot of people. Old Navy is also forming a panel to discuss plus size issues that will meet four times a year. However, prices will remain the same. (Racked)

-Did you know that actress Melissa McCarthy originally went to the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC before a friend talked her into dropping out to do comedy? She's been talking for years about making a plus size line but it's now becoming a reality and will debut in the autumn of 2015. (People StyleWatch)

-Ever wondered about the world of plus size modeling? Not that it comes as a surprise, but it's very much like straight size modeling; gaining or losing weight can ruin your career. (The Cut)

-There's also a book coming out about plus size modeling. (NYU Press)

I tried to make a Black Friday post but I simply couldn't keep up with the massive amounts of  information. If you are interested in partaking in sales, I highly advise PopSugar's round-up, they're on top of everything (click here to check it out!). 
Have a good weekend, and be safe. See you Monday when I unleash the Prep'd Gift Guide.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

20 Perfect Plus Size Party Dresses

Plus Size Party Dresses
With the holiday season mere days away, it's time to start pulling out the party dresses out of the closet. Now, I'm a bit of a magpie and will openly admit that I love to wear anything sparkly. The good news about sparkles on your dress takes a lot of pressure off the rest of your look. A simple go-to updo, a swipe of lipstick and mascara and you're good to go. When you wear a disco ball, you want people to notice and admire your dress, not the 30 minutes you spent screwing up an eyeliner cat's eye. Likewise, a simple dress would pair well with those who knows the job function of a stippling brush. 

Even if you don't need a party dress for the holiday season, with all the sales going on it might be a good time to snatch up a prom dress for an amazing price. 

Without any further ado, 20 of the best plus size party dresses:

Party Dresses!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Prep'd Picks | Surviving Winter

Wide Width Snow Boots
one / two / three / four / five

This autumn I've covered some of the necessities for the plus size prep'd: wide shaft boots, plus size coats, so.much.plaid, and even Lilly-A-Likes perfect for cold weather. However, as you've probably seen on the news, it's time to talk about surviving the cold weather.  

1} Winter in West Virginia is beautiful; I really love nothing more than watching the snow dance gracefully through the air before settling down on the ground. Once on the ground, however, it turns into the most awful mess of salt slush mixed in with coal dust. This frozen mud gets everywhere, shoes, all over your car, your coat, etc. Not wanting to risk ruining a leather bag, I prefer to carry a patent leather or nylon bag. I've actually been using a Coach purse circa 2008, a patent black Ergo tote (similar to this one).  If I were to replace it today I'd choose the Longchamp I pictured above. It's a great shape and size and just look at that beautiful rich brown color.

2-5} Wool is truly a wonderful fabric, but wearing it can leave one itchy or in a puddle. I have several pairs of 100% wool socks and while they keep my feet toasty I also feel like I'm standing in swimming pool by the end of the day. The scarf and hat are from J.Crew, who mixed in cashmere with the wool, for a soft and non-itchy scarf and hat. I also have a slight preference for glittens over gloves with touch screen fingers. I've found that the coating on the finger pads wears off pretty quickly, rendering sometimes pricey gloves useless. Not an issue with glittens.

6} If you live somewhere with lots of snow and ice, you probably already have a pair of slip-on spikes for your shoes. I've been iffy on picking up a pair because the weather doesn't get quite that bad where I live but I'm thinking just having a pair on hand is a good idea.

7} Leggings are not pants and wellies are not a good replacement for snow boots. However, when you're dealing with three inches of slush as opposed to snow, the wellies are a better choice. I like this pair from Hunter that come in a bright, cheerful red as well as being wide calf. 

8} This is the first winter where I haven't worked outside. I bought this spray last year after getting my face snow blasted while working on an airport ramp. I can just spray it on and go, no need to rub it in, it truly was a lifesaver. 

9} The L.L Bean duck boot, more commonly known as "the" Bean boot. I easily wear mine from September to May, because it can get soggy pretty quick and rain can change to snow in the blink of an eye. 

10} Just a pretty coat :) 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Hello, Friday! | The Old Navy Pricing Controversy

Another week, another controversy surrounding the plus size industry. Last time it was Target's lack of offering plus sizes in their designer collections. This time it's Old Navy as the brand at the center of the storm. It started with a Change.org petition to ask Old Navy to stop up charging for the plus size fashions as they didn't up charge for the men's larger sizes. Old Navy responded back with this:
“Old Navy is proud to offer styles and apparel designed specifically for our plus-size female customer, which includes curve-enhancing and curve-flattering elements such as four-way stretch materials and contoured waistbands, which most men’s garments do not include. This higher price point reflects this selection of unique fabrics and design elements.”--Gap Inc. spokeswoman Liz Nunan 
As an experienced sewer and pattern maker, I can attest to the fact that this statement is true. Adding those flattering details to items, like darts or the aforementioned contoured waistbands requires additional work on a garment. That requires additional labor and everyone knows that labor is the most expensive part of any business. However, I'm not 100% behind Old Navy's story. The fabrics used in the plus size line tend to be of poorer quality than the straight sizes. I have yet to see any four- way stretch fabrics used in any of the plus size line.

Read more:
Buzzfeed: Old Navy Explains Why It Charges More for Women's Plus Sizes
Jezebel: Six Frustrating Things About Old Navy Plus Size Pricing

-Nordstrom is quietly ending its half-yearly sales. Don't fret, though. They're moving their sales to dates that better reflect customer expectations, i.e. around Memorial and Labor Days.

-Rue21 now offers a plus size line called Missguided. Offered in sizes 12-20, it's a teen-centric line filled with clothes that, quite frankly, nobody needs to be wearing.

-Plus size model Candice Huffine is featured in the 2015 Pirelli calender. At a size 16, she is the first plus size woman to ever be featured in the calender, a honor that has been described as winning an Oscar for modeling. The pictures are wonderful but totally NSFW.

-If someone wanted to buy you clothes for Christmas or another occasion, what would you tell them?

-Speaking of Old Navy, their Black Friday special is 50% everything in store and online.

-Ralph Lauren is having a Thanksgiving Sale of 40-60% and there are some great deals to be had.
I've featured this herringbone blazer before in Prep'd Picks and it's down to $92 from the original $290 price tag. This blouse with pleated sleeves is incredible for under $60.  I'm also liking these jeans for $30, and this cozy brown sweater for $57.  

-Lane Bryant has most of their store on sale for buy one, get one 50% off.

-Lands' End has outerwear up to 40% off as well as an additional 20% off sale items.

-Bloomingdale's is having their Big Brown Bag sale and you can save $25 for every $200 you spend. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Guide to Plus Size Coats for any Budget

Guide to best plus size coats

I can remember trying to buy a coat a few years ago (2007? 2008?) and it was a miserable experience. All I wanted was a either a thick wool pea coat or one that had Thinsulate. I couldn't find one. The only thing I could find in my size that I could afford was a bulky black puffy number that made me look like the Michelin Man dressed in a garbage bag. I ended up finding a wool herringbone coat at Goodwill that fit, but the sleeves were way too short. Fast forward to last year and I bought a simply beautiful wool duffel coat from Lands' End. It comes down to my knees and has a hood (I hate wearing hats).  It's no longer available for sale, but here's what it looks like. It's been a great choice and I know I'm going to use it for years.

In the past few years, plus size women shopping for coats have gone from having maybe 50 options total to almost a thousand.  No matter your style or budget, it's very possible to find something you like.  In the graphic above, I've highlighted a few of the bigger trends for this season, such as plaid, pastels, and oversized almost sloppy shapes. Want a pastel coat with that oversized silhouette? It's available for under $70 at Old Navy. Want a camel coat in the most gloriously soft cashmere/wool blend? Look no further than Lands' End.

No matter if your budget is around $50 or a thousand, I've rounded up some of the best coats available for plus sizes:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Prep'd Picks | So.Much.Plaid

So I've been picking up some things for winter and I didn't realize I had a theme going until my sister pointed it out to me. 

"Um, that's some crazy amounts of plaid," she said.

First and foremost, I have to address the wicked amount of stuff Lands' End has been putting out in Stewart plaid. There's this vest picture above, tote bags, pants, a flannel shirt, a fabulous scarf, and this simply incredible blazer. I picked up the vest over the weekend (it was 40% off!) and the scarf has been on Christmas list for a few weeks already & I may add the blazer as well. If I could only wear one pattern for the rest of my life, this would be it. 

I have a lot of casual lightweight scarves but I only had one for winter. I picked this scarf up from the Gap, it's super soft and will pair nicely with most of my wardrobe. 

While Lands' End offers a similar pair in my new favorite plaid, I opted to pick up a pair of plaid pants from Old Navy's Pixie line. I really like my Pixie pants (I have them in wine and a grid pair I showed earlier in the year) but I wish I could get them in regular length, like one that covers my ankles and lower shins. 

Here are some more plaid picks:

Monday, November 17, 2014

Gift Guide | Monogrammed Gifts

Santa has yet to ride into Herald Square, but if you've been thinking of a monogrammed gift for someone now is the time to shop. These gifts can take anywhere from one to two weeks to ship after you've placed your order and obviously, the influx of the holiday rush can push orders back.

 Many stores now offer monogramming on many of their wares, the caveat being you have to order everything online. Land's End is a traditional provider of everything monogrammed, but some other solid choices are Mark and Graham (accessories & home goods), Madewell and J.Crew (accessories--Madewell makes the best under $200 bags on the market), and Neiman Marcus rounds out for high end items.

Here are my picks for monogrammed gifts (there are two #4s. oops):
I would have to say my favorite thing on here for the ladies is the colorful leather bag (#5) because I'm a sucker for colorful leather purses. Most of mine are simple, yet they really add a punch to outfits. For the gentlemen, I'm absolutely loving the pocket square/bow tie/cuff links set. The pocket square and cuff links are both monogrammed and come in three different shades of seersucker. 
Again, if you have any sort of plans to order something monogrammed, now is the time to do so. Even if you're not ready to just yet--is me it, or is the Christmas Creep super early this year?--be sure to check out the deadlines.  

The rest of my gift guides will be the first week of December, to allow everyone to properly celebrate Thanksgiving with turkey and football. Prep'd Picks will be posted tomorrow!


Monday, November 10, 2014

Out of the Office

Hi Everyone,
I will be out the rest of this week as I have to fill in on a work trip for a co-worker
who fell ill. I'm really looking forward to the various travel delays for the winter storm
that is hitting most of the mid-west. Indiana, here I come.

Have a nice week, and be careful!


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Lilly-A-Likes and Prep'd Picks on Sale!

I pull a number of Prep'd Picks and Lilly-A-Likes from Nordstrom because I think they offer one of the best plus size sections currently available. They're constantly refreshing their offerings and their customer service simply can't be beaten. Currently, 'tis the season for clearance sales, since stores will be bringing in their Christmas wares soon. There are a ton of Lilly-A-Likes and Prep'd Picks in this sale, along with some great coats and accessories. If you already have an idea of whom you need to pick up presents for, now would be a great time to do so!

Shop the sale:

Monday, November 3, 2014

Prep'd Picks

Ok, yes, this absolutely beautiful Burberry bag is over $3k. It's the kind of bag that makes you wish for autumn and cold weather and Manhattans. This is one of those bags your teenage daughter will try to steal out of your closet when you're not looking. I could just sit here and talk all day long about how pretty I think this bag is. If the price tag gave you a coronary, check out this $60 option from Sole Society--if you sign up for their emails you can also get 20% off!.

Also pretty? This bottle of Christian Dior nail polish on your vanity. Dior has packaged the polishes in his past two holiday collections in these beautiful bottles and this year really is no different. I have several bottles from his past two collections and I was disappointed to find this year's colors to basically be the same as the previous year's. This year's red, Shock, looks to be almost identical to the red of the past two collections, Marilyn. If you don't have them, though, the polish has good formulation and again, these bottles are too pretty to keep tucked away in a drawer. 

One of my chief complaints about plus size clothing is that it will try to tack one several trends onto one article of clothing. This cardigan has several trends going on and it looks great.

One of my friends says that grown women shouldn't wear ruffles and normally I tend to agree with him. However, I do like this shirt and think it would work well in most wardrobes, especially if you're a lazy dresser. It pairs well with work slacks or jeans. Pair it with nice skirt, pumps, and a few delicate bangles for a holiday party. 

PJs, like socks, are one of those things I keep meaning to buy but never do. This is why I spent my weekending repairing holes and patching my PJ pants. I think this penguin set is super cute but there are a ton of sets available right now if you want something else.

I have been eyeing this insanely gorgeous cardigan from Lane Braynt's Sophie Theallet lingerie ever since it was released. I've already put it on my Christmas list and hope that Santa will remember to pack it on his sleigh.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Prep'd Picks // Quick Picks Under $125

bottom row:  betty lipsticktartan shirt  /  sweater dress  /  gray sweater

There are officially less than 60 days until Christmas. Yes, take a second to mentally freak out a bit because I don't feel ready either, not to mention there's a call for 80 degrees later this week. Since I just had to replace most major electronics that I own (new laptop! new cell phone that won't ship for another six weeks!) and paid off a bunch of medical bills, money is tight at the moment. In the spirit of saving money, I threw together a list of some nice things that are all under $125.
I have a gray ponte pencil skirt from Land's End that I wear a lot, and I like the flared shape of this skirt from Nordstrom. It looks flattering and would pair well with most wardrobes. Speaking of things I wear often, I'm always looking for new dresses. I really love the colorblock dress from Macy's ($75) and well as the vibrant red sweater dress from Target (it's under $35!).

Just want a quick pick-me-up? The horse bit necklace is great for those who balk at the classic Gucci Bit Loafers. The faux leather bag has an incredible shape and would tote all the junk I normally carry.  I like this Edward Bess lipstick in Betty, which is a homage to the famous Neiman Marcus personal shopper, Betty Halbreich.  She also has a book out that details her life and wisdom from behind the dressing room door.

I just love the tartan blouse and could easily wear that through next March. I could wear it to work, I could wear it on the weekends, I could wear it anywhere. The sweater is a nice piece to own because you don't need to accessorize it too much. Maybe a simple bangle and a simple bag and you're out the door. Great for those days--like this past weekend--where you've consumed anything that is a delicious combination of carbs and cinnamon (#NoRegrets) and you just don't feel like fussing with anything.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Reader Mailbag

I have a couple of questions from some readers sitting in my inbox, so I though I'd answer them here:

anchor blouseblack bow flatsflat brown boots
glitter oxfords / beige booties

Question 1} Hi! I'm currently a junior in high school and we have to wear uniforms. We can wear a white, light blue, or light yellow shirt. After Christmas break, we'll be allowed to wear any collared shirt in those colors, like a polo or button down. I've already seen a lot of the cute shirts my smaller friends have bought but I can't seem to find anything other than the same boring stuff. Any ideas?
Before you buy anything, A) make sure you have the dress code in writing and B) Ask about details to make sure a shirt is allowed. Are logos like the Lacoste crocodile allowed? Shopping is a lot easier when you know preciesly what you can purchase.

The blouse above is a great example of what to look for; it's hard to see but there are white anchors embroidered all over it. You may also look at getting a plaid button down in one of your allowed colors and having a seamstress add details, such as a scalloped collar or maybe even scalloped sleeves. You also raid Michael's for some trimmings like lace, rick rack, pop-poms, etc., and sew that on yourself. Again, without knowing more about your dress code it's hard to give advice but most likely you're going to have to do a bit of DIY to get something fun.

Alternatively, consider sticking with the plain shirts and foucsing your allowance on fun shoes and accessories. When I was in prep school we could only wear black or brown dress shoes. If you're looking to make as much of a style statement as possible, sparkly black oxfords will stand out much more than some piping detail on a shirt collar.

Question 2} I graduated college back in May but I'm just now finding a job-yay! However the company has a strict professional dress code, no khakis or polo shirts allowed. I don't have enough clothes to make it a week. Is there somewhere I can go to get a professional wardrobe quickly? My job starts soon and at this point I'm not too picky about cost or style as long as it looks professional!

Congratulations! My top pick for professional clothes is Talbot's. They use natural fabrics like wool and cotton over polyester, meaning they hold up well in the long run. They also make most of their suit separates in colors other than black! They have the all-important navy, as well as gray, dark green, burgundy, tan, not to mention glen plaid. If you need a cohesive collection that works well together and you needed it yesterday, I suggest Calvin Klein. It features a lot of black and a lot of polyester, but the pieces are tailored and they wear well. Most of his work collections have around 8-10 pieces that all work off of each other in color and print. Lastly, don't overlook Tahari or Jones New York. Both have great work clothes.

Question 3} Have you ever considered having clothes made out of Lilly Pulitzer fabric? My daughter is plus-size and is really wanting a classic Lilly shift made in the actual fabric.  She's 13 and is sensitive about her size and I'm afraid of getting her something custom made will get her teased at school.

I have given a lot of thought to having Lilly dresses made, but I have yet to pull the trigger. There is a huge market for anything made out of Lilly Pulitzer prints, everything from home decor items to even Lilly Jeeps:
Lilly Pulitzer Jeep

The only problem I can foresee is maybe getting the right piece of fabric, as most of what I've found for sale is usually in small pieces, around 18"x18", which would make using it for a dress difficult. Get together with a good seamstress and she may be able to track down bigger pieces of fabrics for you. All-in-all, though, I don't think your daughter would be teased for wearing a custom Lilly dress. Again, there's a huge market for anything Lilly and that includes custom-made dresses.
If you have any questions, need help finding something, etc., don't be afraid to email me!

ker [at] theplussizeprep.com
or find me social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.,) using the icons
in the blue bar at the top of the page.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Black is the New Black in Home Decor

Were you to visit my Pinterest board dedicated to anything and everything home related, you may just think that Lilly Pulitzer herself spilled a colorful cocktail everywhere. Every shade of pink you can imagines, vivid blues, oranges, and oh, all those glorious greens. I don't believe my inner interior decorator is familiar with the term neutral. When it comes to color, I'm a firm subscriber to the theory that more is more.

I've always been iffy on the color black, either in my wardrobe and most certain never in my home decor. I have lots of friends with black furniture and well, it just never really looks good. Frankly, a lot of it looks just, well, unpleasant. However, upon cleaning up my home decor Pinterest board, I  noticed I had a number of pins that had black prominently displayed. Much to my surprise...I'm really loving it:

This dalmatian print is very popular in design.

The floral pillow reminds me of my favorite Vera Bradley pattern, Botanica.

The last picture really reminds me of Dorothy Draper and her work for The Greenbrier.

While I am loving this new black design, I'm just not sure if I'd actually put it in my home. It may seem fresh to me right now, but I'm just not sure how well this trend would age. Remember how big brown and turquoise were in the mid-2000s and now feels so dated? I think this may be along those quick fads.

What do you think? Would you decorate with black?

photos 1/2/3/4/5/6/7

Monday, October 20, 2014

Prep'd Picks // In The Pink

Pink doesn't have to be limited to spring and summer.

Just because it's fall doesn't mean you have to suddenly start only wearing forest green and brown everyday. I'm not sure about the rest of the states, but here in West Virginia there's always a period of rain during autumn and well, it's depressing. Adding a pop of pink can do wonders for your mood and your style. Any shade of pink will do, just take care in picking accessories. Avoid pairing pink with white (ivory/cream is okay) or anything nautical or tropical (too summery). With just taking a second to consider your whole ensemble, your favorite pink shirt doesn't have to be banished to the back of the closet until next summer.

Wanting to add a bit of charm to your look? Here are my top picks:

Looking at #4, the super cute coral dress, it can sometimes be hard trying to carry such a summery look into fall. For example, I'd pair the dress with my dark plum wood wrap cardigan and a pair of tall brown boots. If I wanted something more professional, I'd add brown tights, brown pumps, and my tan blazer. Match your tights to either your skirt or your shoes, it not only makes your legs look longer, but it also gives your outfit a more cohesive feel. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Almost Too Good to be True: 25% Off at Saks and Shopbop!

Upscale retailers Shopbop and Saks Fifth Avenue are both currently having their annual Friends & Family sales. Both stores are offering 25% most everything they offer, with the usual caveats of no cosmetics, fragrances, certain brands, etc. These sales are great because it's one of the few times where you can save some serious coin on some lustworthy brands like Marina Rinaldi, Lafayette 148, and Eileen Fisher. If you're in the market for a new coat or jacket, look no further. Also of note are the evening gowns, most costing between $300-500 (not including the discount). If you're in need of a Homecoming dress or just want something nice to have on hand, look no further than Saks. Because these sales usually have some excluded items, Saks made it easy and labeled everything eligible for the sale, which covers everything in the plus size department. Be sure to use the code "FRNFAM" when checking out! The Saks Fifth Avenue sale ends October 19th.

Shopbop sadly doesn't carry plus sizes, but they're one of the first places I look for accessories. They carry an expansive range of almost anything you'd want to liven up you look. Shopbop is based out of the UK, but they have ridiculously fast shipping--no joke, I get my orders in 3-4 days of placing them--plus if you have Amazon Prime you can get two day and overnight shipping for crazy cheap. Oh, did I mention free returns? Be sure to use the code "FAMILY25" when checking out! This sale ends October 16th.

Here are my top picks, including some old favorites you've seen on the blog before:

Monday, October 13, 2014

Prep'd Picks // Inspired: Kate Spade

I got an email requesting Kate Spade-a-Likes and thought it
would be a good theme for this week'd Prep'd Picks:
Plus Size Kate Spade
Kate Spade and Lilly Pulitzer are two sisters in the preppy clothing & accessories family. Both are fun-loving and energetic brands with a love of the whimsical. For a genre of people used to wearing embroderied lobsters on their pants, how could we not love those raccoon flats or the train engine clutch pictured above? 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Ten Shoes You Need for Fall

1) Strappy Sandals // Don't let the brisk temperatures stop you from wearing these babies.  When wearing a cocktail gown, you're going to want something other than pumps and these sandals fill that ticket. They come in a variety of colors and their simplicity lets all the attention go to the gown.

2) Pumps // These are the enormously popular MICHAEL Michael Kors Flex pumps. They're under $100 and come in a variety of colors, sizes, and widths. Yes, that's correct, you can get these in wide widths. 

3) Booties // I chose these booties because I'm in love with the bow on the back of them. I can wear them with a dress or pants and they come in a lovely brown shade.

4) Leopard print flats // I chose leopard print because it goes with a wide assortment of outfits, but a pair of printed shoes can help liven up your "blah day" outfit. 

5)  Basic flats // I loved the scallop details on this pair of flats, but having flats in at least a nude and a black can help cover a range of outfits. They're also handy for keeping in the car or bag in case of heel breakage or if you feet go on strike. If you wear flats almost every day like I do,  it's worth looking into buying a better pair than the cheapest special. I've developed tendinitis from wearing flats so now I have to spend more money on them which feels somewhat criminal to me but my feet don't holler at me like they used to.

6) Duck (Bean) boots // If you don't already have these in your mudroom, can you even call yourself a prep?

7) Loafers // Be it Weejun, tasseled, or with a riding bit, a loafer is hardly ever the wrong choice of shoe. Cordovan or burgundy is the preferred color choice but browns, navys, etc. aren't too far off the mark.  

8) Tall boots // These are best kept without much adornment. The boots pictured have wide-width calves, if want more information of boots, see my post on boot shafts of all sizes.

9) Sporty Sneaks // Hardly anyone dresses up for anything, anymore.

10) Driving Mocs // Driving mocs can be switched easily with loafers, just all-in-all a good casual shoe. They come in many bright colors so don't feel beholden to just stick with a neutral. Some people could also get away with the Minnetonka Kilty moccasin.
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