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

Friday, November 28, 2014

Hello (Black) Friday!

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5
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.  

Plus Size Prep'd. All rights reserved. Copyright 2015 The Plus Size Prep'd.