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

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Winter Wardrobe Emergency Kit

I can't believe it's almost the end of January. This month has truly flown by. As much as I'd love to think that Spring is right around the corner I still have about two months before I can start to look for the crocus blooms. A sudden blizzard in April wouldn't surprise me at all. Hopefully you have an winter emergency kit in your vehicle already. If you don't, here's a list from the government on the necessities and you can add to it as needed.

Now, most of us keep a spare sweater in the car but how many of us actually have an extra work outfit? Not many. It's also very likely that it snows heavily during the day and you may not be able to make it home from the office. In case you have to get a hotel for the night or even bunk down on the office breakroom's couch, here's a rundown of what to carry in a winter emergency wardrobe kit:

Look in your mudroom or garage for a canvas tote bag. Typically, most preps will have one from NPR, their local PBS station, the library, their church, and a work conference. These are perfect for carrying extra clothes. When putting together a work outfit, look for the odd items in your closet that you don't wear often. Perhaps pick the blouse with the print you decided you didn't like, or those pants that are a tad too short. Those types of items are perfect because you won't be tempted to dig through your car to get them later and defeating the purpose of this kit. Don't forget a pair of shoes and an accessory or two.

I included a sleeping/lounging outfit as well so you don't have to sleep in your work clothes. This would allow you to work out at the hotel or at least get comfortable while kicking back in the office breakroom. Old but nice sweatpants and an old pair of tennis shoes are acceptable. Of course, don't forget the clean underwear and socks.
The bare minimum beauty kit I put together is just an example, your needs may differ. I included the basics such as toothpaste & toothbrush, a hair brush, and deodorant. A basic body lotion will work on your face, cutting back on the need to carry two products. I included dry shampoo because I fear shampoo and conditioner would freeze. If it routinely gets in the negative temperatures where you live I would switch the aerosol dry shampoo for a powder. Baby powder would even work in a pinch. The baby wipes are to clean your face and defunk in case you can't get to a shower. The pillow and sleeping bag are in case you are on the office couch or even the floor (been there, done that).

You probably already have these on you, but if you don't: cell phone charger, feminine products, change for vending machines. Obviously, your needs may be different so feel free to substitute at will.

Is there anything I may have forgotten? Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Blog Updates

I've been running some ideas through my head about some blog updates:

-I still need to write about myself on the About page. I was trying to do this graphic thing that really isn't working out too well, so I'm thinking about just scrapping that and doing something else.

-My most popular post by far is my old post on finding clothes that are similar to Lilly Pultizer's. I called them Lilly-a-likes, and you can see the original post here. Instead of doing post after post of the Lilly-a-likes I come across, I'm considering making them their own page. That way I can update it quickly instead of going through the post writing process.

-I'm still not 100% satisfied with the masthead that welcomes you to the page, but I really can't think of anything else. I might be playing around with that so if the page looks really weird go ahead and assume I'm on the other end of the computer tinkering.

-I hope you've been enjoying the posts I've put up so far, and please don't hesitate to let me know what you'd like to see!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Preppy Everyday Brown Handbags

Hopefully any day now I'll sit down and do my taxes in eager anticipation of receiving my refund check. I have an idea of how much I'm getting back so I'm already allocating it for certain purposes. Most of it is going into the house fund, but I'm also going to pay on some bills and do some wardrobe updating. I just did a massive closet cleaning and with a few exceptions, I feel pretty satisfied with my closet. This year I'm going to look for an everyday brown leather handbag. I can find hundreds of black purses that I like, but for some reasons I can't find any brown ones that excite me. I've spent the past three years looking for a nice brown bag without any luck, but the forecast is looking good for this year:

Row One//
Maison Dumain by Be & D // I love the rich cognac color of this bag plus the fun fringe detailing. However, I'm hesitant as this bag is from Anthropologie and the last few bags I've gotten from there have been of very poor quality.
Pour la Victorie// I simply love the unique shape of this bag. This one really reminds me of something my mom would have carried in her preppy heydays in the '80s.
Will Leather// I grew up rurally surrounded by farms and this bag just really reminds me of the leather work I used to see on farms.

Row Two//
Brooks Brothers// Gorgeous detailing and beautiful color.
Lauren Ralph Lauren//Another bag that really reminded me of 80s prep. I can totally see Elizabeth (Keri Russell's character) on The Americans using this purse. Also, it's best show on TV right now.
Coach// This is the classic preppy handbag. It's been around since the 70s for a reason. You can also find plenty of them on Ebay for reasonable prices. Now, which color: British Tan or Mahogany?

Row Three//
Yves Saint Laurent// One of the few acceptable logos for a prep to carry. I'm saddened by what Hedi Slimane has done to this classic fashion house.
MICHAEL Michael Kors// A workhorse of a basic work bag. I have several friends who have this bag and they all love it. I'd take off the hanging MK logo, though.
Jil Sander// Like most of the bags on this page, it has beautiful lines and color. Having seen this bag in person, there's just something about it. It's like the Mona Lisa's smile, you can't quite put your finger on why you covet this purse. It's easily one you'll use until the grave and one that your children will fight for in the following estate conversations.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Prep'd Kitchen // Jackie Kennedy's Shepherd Pie

Having spend the past several years living by myself, I didn't do a lot of cooking. I was working two jobs and really didn't have a lot of time to cook, and cooking for one person can get tricky as most recipes are usually made for four or more. Now that I'm living with family right now to save up money to buy a house, I actually get to cook for people. I have a handful of cookbooks that I've bought every now and then but never really used. One of my favorites that I actually have made quite a few recipes out of is Marta Sgubin. Marta was the longtime nanny and cook for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, working for her from the late 60's up until Jackie's death in 1994.  At the urging of the Kennedy children, Marta released a cookbook of family favorite recipes in Cooking for Madam: Recipes and Reminiscences from the Home of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.  The recipes in the book are really easy to follow but do require a bit more prep time than most recipes you find in cookbooks nowadays. One of my favorite recipes out of this book is an easy and tasty Shepherd's Pie, which doesn't include any peas (I hate peas with a passion). 

I now have the urge to cook all my shepherd's pies in their own little dishes. So cute!
This cookbook is no longer published, but you can find copies for under $10 on Amazon.

Here's the recipe for the shepherd's pie:

Click on the recipe card to view bigger!
What's even more exciting? Click here to download your own Lilly Pulitzer-inspired blank recipe cards! They're identical to the one above and come in the standard 4"x 6" size so you can add them to your own collection. I highly recommend printing these on cardstock, as basic printer paper won't hold up too well.

Photos: 1

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Prep'd Picks // Sailing Into Spring

Row One // While the nautical style is always in for spring & summer, the entire fleet is coming in for spring. I can't visit any store without seeing an anchor or rope print. This makes me very happy. I bought this sailboat sweater from Old Navy the moment I saw it. The bad news, it's only in misses sizes. I featured it because it does come in XXL, which fits a wide range of plus size women. I usually wear a 3X and most Old Navy XXLs fit me no problem, so it's worth checking out. This Kate Spade ring is adjustable and also comes in silver, along with anchor, bow, and other motifs. I'm still on the hunt for sneakers and New Balances are my long-time favorites. I'm just loving these navy & pink ones, but I'm also digging these vivid purple ones as well. These pink & green Sperrys remind me so much of the 1980s. If you don't remember those times, all the girls were wearing them with the laces curled into a tight spiral. I can remember watching my teenage neighbor & babysitter Deanna do this with a pencil around '89 or so. If you have big feet, Nordstrom has these Sperrys for half-price.

Row Two // Lipstick is one of my makeup must-haves and it's one where I hesitate to buy the better brands because I tend to lose it easily. I picked these two shades up from Covergirl, Delight is a strawberry pink with a very subtle shimmer that doesn't pick up the lips. The second was an accidental pick. I was reaching for one shade but grabbed Spellbound, a bright pink, by mistake. It was a happy mistake, though, and I really enjoy the brightness. I'm going to save this color for warmer weather, though. In keeping with my theme of clothes I can wear right now and later in the spring, this brightly colored printed cardigan is on my shopping list. Same goes for this gorgeous red Coach satchel. I love, love, love colored leather handbags and this one is basically perfect for me. I have been eyeing Kate Spade's Beau Bag as well so there's going to be a tough fight for which one comes home with me.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Preppy Looks from Hautelook!

Hautelook has a plus size event that starts today and here are some of the preppy looks I pulled :

Daniel Rainn Printed Blouse // 
This is a nice piece that would do well in both your work and casual wardrobe. 
Lafayette 148 Braided Cable Neck Wool Sweater //
This is a perfect sweater to wear through spring. I love this sunny golden color.

Simply Irresistible Crochet Lace Blouse //
Pair this with white jeans and Jacks in the summer for perfection.

Lafayette 148 Bellamy Wool Jacket //
A beautiful jacket for any wardrobe. This needs to sneak into my closet ASAP.

There were plenty of other lovely pieces in this Hautelook event and while it goes through Tuesday a lot of stuff is starting to sell out.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Prep'd Will Be Back After These Messages

Due to an unfortunate case of shingles, all posting is held off for this week. See you next Monday when I'm hopefully feeling much better.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Post Coming Soon

The first post for this week will be put up later tonight. Today is my day off but due to the chemical spill in West Virginia I got called into work and didn't get a chance to finish it. I'll post on Twitter when its up, so be sure to follow me!


Saturday, January 11, 2014

West Virginia State of Emergency // State of the Blog

I live in West Virginia, and if you haven't been watching the news there's been a chemical spill into Elk River contaminating the water supply to hundreds of thousands of people. They can't use the water in any way, they can't drink it, use it to cook, wash clothes or dishes, or even shower. Although I live close to Charleston I have a different water company so my water is safe.  I have had friends and family in popping in and out for the past two days doing laundry and taking showers. I work in downtown Charleston and my workplace has been shut down the past two days. It's entirely possible and likely I will miss a few more days next week. This is slightly frustrating as I haven't had a full paycheck since before the holidays.

If you want to know more about what's going on, here's an excellent video giving a rundown on what happened from the Charleston Daily Mail:


In blog news, thank you so much for all the kind words about the blog this week! I'm still ironing out a lot of kinks but I feel really good about the direction the blog is going in.  As you've probably noticed there's still a few finishing touches that need added to the page but they're in the final stages of being done. I'm also considering doing a survey to get a better feel for my audience (which is you). If you have any suggestions on posts or anything else you'd like to see, please don't hesitate to reach out to me at plussizepreppie@gmail.com. There's a lot I'm still unsure of--like how often do I want to post--so any feedback you have would be deeply appreciated.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Is Black the New Prep?

As soon as about a year ago, had you asked me if black was preppy my answer would have been a very quick "no."  I would have encouraged you to seek navy or gray instead.  However, at that time I was working in the construction supply industry and wore jeans most days to work.  I wasn't really aware of the fact there's not a lot of navy blue clothes like their used to be.

Land's End dress also in navy, red
When I accepted my current position, it was the first job where I've had to dress semi-professionally. No problem, I thought, I'll just go get some navy suit separates.  Went through Macy's. Went through Nordstrom. Went through Dillard's.  Went through Target.  Hmm. There wasn't anything navy. All I saw was black, and it black polyester at that. If I saw a cute dress or blouse, it was black.  Salespeople at most of the stores told me that navy was considered a seasonal color and would be back in the spring. I went later in the spring, and it wasn't there.
So what's a prep to do? In particular, what's a plus size prep to do when most store offerings are in black?
I have decided to tolerate black in my wardrobe, in small doses. As I wrote in my first post for this blog, "[preppy] fashion is appropriate for the occasion, is relatively simple, and is of good quality and taste."  The picture of the Land's End dress I pictured above meets and exceeds all the criteria.  Black does seem to be inching in on preppy fashion, thanks in part to Jenna Lyons, the president & creative director for J.Crew.  What was once a respectable mall prep store became a place to buy a nice cashmere twinset and sequined harem pants. Even one of the most respected Trad/Preppy writers in the country, Christian Chensvold of ivy-style.com, has written on how black has started to enter his closet.  Is black going to continue to move into preppy style? I think it will, as I know most people my age (late twenties) whom consider their style to be preppy have a considerable amount more black in their wardrobes than their parents did in the '80s.  Is it going to be a big thing tat you should put some money into? Put your AMEX away, black doesn't age as gracefully as navy blue. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Prep'd Playlist January | Cabin Fever

Ever since I left college in 2007, my job required me to work outside. Heat and sun, snow and ice, I could take it all.  In an effort to have more financial stability I took a job as an office manager and I sit inside an office all day.  I don't even have as much as a window in said office.  It's pretty rough for me hardly seeing any sunlight during these long winter days. It's dark when I go into work, it's dark at my desk, and then it's dark when I get home.  When I sat down to make a playlist for this month I noticed that the songs tended towards melancholy, such as Broken Bells' Holding on for Life.  I also added some peppier songs that reflect on my New Year's Resolution of caring less on things beyond my control.  Foster the People's Call It What You Want and Man Man's Head On fit my theme well.

Photo: from the most excellent tumblr, Vintage Ski

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

My New Year's Resolution...Involves Laundry

In the past my New Year's resolutions--if I even made them--usually involved some sort of vague theme that typically could be translated as "take better care of myself."  One year my resolution was to "look better."  I really didn't tell myself how I wanted to look better and I ended up getting highlights that turned my normally dark brunette hair orange.  It later started breaking off in long clumps which in turn led me to my current pixie haircut, which I really love. 

I wasn't going to make resolutions this year, but I decided on two at the last minute. The first involves me stressing out less on things I can't control.  The other involves my laundry.  I by no means consider myself neat and tidy.  Organized, yes.  All my sweaters are in one pile, work clothes in another. That counts, right? Washing and drying my clothes isn't what bothers me, it's the folding and putting away.  If my little sister is home from college, I can pay her twenty bucks to have her do all of it for me.  But if she's still at school I'm on my own, swimming in laundry that I'm not sure is clean or dirty.

I have the world's tiniest bedroom that's roughly 7'x9'.  I keep thinking having a hamper would help greatly with the laundry problem but I really don't have anywhere to put one.  However, I found the cutest laundry hampers at West Elm so I may give up some space somewhere to get one of these:

Anchor laundry bag//  I prefer to use laundry bags because they take up less space than a hamper.
I love this anchor print and the matching towels that go with it.  Perfect for your beach or lake house or any prep still in the college dorms.

Hammam Stripe laundry hamper//  If I had more room I'd get this one as it matches my bedspread perfectly.

Bamboo hamper//  This simple and elegant hamper comes in single to triple load size. 
Also, I never thought I'd call a hamper elegant but that's the word that came to mind.

Rolling wicker hamper//  I love this hamper so much. Not only will this look good in any prep'd decor scheme, it's amazingly handy for those who have to tote their laundry to the building's laundry room or laundromat. 

While I'm on the subject of laundry, I wanted to share my love of Method's Clear + Free detergent.  Next to Cheer's sadly-discontinued fragrance-free detergent powder, I think it keeps clothes looking their best. As for fabric softener, I typically just pick out some Snuggle sheets that smell good.  Now if only I could buy something that would fold my clothes for me.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Follow Me on Bloglovin'!

I'm officially now on Bloglovin', which is a nice little one-stop shop for all of your blog reading.  It's a lot like what Google Reader used to before it died (R.I.P.!). You can follow me and all your other favorite blogs on one handy page.

You can click on the link in the left sidebar to add my to your reading list and I've made it easy by adding another one below:

Follow on Bloglovin

There's also an iPhone app for reading on the go!

Prep'd Picks: Dreaming of Spring

The beginning of the year has always struck me as an odd time for fashion. It's generally the coldest time of the year, yet the stores are chock full of resort items or their pastel spring lines. If you're looking for something you can wear now you're generally in the back of the store, pursing what's left of the picked-over Christmas clearance. At this point, I'm looking for warm clothes that hint that spring's coming for a bit of a wardrobe pick-me-up. Was I successful...that's debatable.  Luckily, I did find a few things that met most of my criteria:

Row one // I've been looking at getting a quilted barn jacket and vest for sometime, so these picks from Old Navy and JCP come at a good time and great prices.  I'd prefer to spend more money to get better quality but I wasn't able to really find what I was looking for.  I love critter bangles and I love elephants so I was excited to find this one from Banana Republic.

Row two// I'm totally excited that Vera Bradley is bringing back two of my all-time favorite styles, the Curvy Tote I featured here and the Bucket Bag.  I love this pattern, Clementine as it's so bright and cheerful.  

Row three// This Land's End blouse has lovely rose print and works just as well for work as it does for the weekend.  The watch is from Shinola, which used to make shoe polish back in the day.  One of the few things I remember about my grandfather is his constant saying "He doesn't know sh-t from Shinola."  I've only heard wonderful things about the Shinola watches so I think his saying is now void. The watches are quite pricey, though, so if you'd like something at a cheaper price look at this Marc Jacobs watch or this Kate Spade tank watch with a black band.  Tahari makes the some of the best plus size clothes on the market.  I'm really in love with the ivory & yellow brocade shift.  There's just so many ways to dress it up or down and it can be worn year-round.  I definitely see this dress in my closet soon. 
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