Archive for October 31, 2012

OOTD: texture and sheen on Black

Today (Halloween), rather than going with color I wore all Black.  That didn’t mean it had to be BORING however; rather the opposite.

After some fiddling with the levels on the image I was able to make the details of what I’m wearing clearer.

The pants are from Lane Bryant; Seven7 Paisley Coated ponte pants.  They have a gorgeous paisley pattern in a shiny fabric over a ponte fabric that makes them CRAZY comfortable and easy to wear.  They are going to look terrific tucked into a pair of boots once the temp drops (it’s supposed to be nearly 90 again today).

The top is from Valarie Bertinelli’s line and I got it at Marshall’s.  Hopefully you can see the diagonal line of gathers going down the front, which both adds an architectural detail and at the same time makes it a very forgiving style.  The 3/4 sleeves are ruched at the bottom, but are loose so they don’t stay up well.

Jewelry wise, I wore my fun black and white check statement necklace.  With that I wore a silver tiffanys bracelet.

Shoes are a simple CL by Chinese Laundry wedge sandal.  They have almost no support, and aren’t shoes I should be wearing TOO often, but they are cute and have a very modest heel, which makes them comfortable.  They work for a day when I’m mostly sitting still.

Oh, and in a moment of laziness (read: I overslept) I am still carrying the black and camel Modcloth bag.  It works well enough and had everything already in it.





pleated poppy

OOTD and a Closet Cleanout

This almost equates to a black suit; I am wearing black ponte knit pants (Coldwater Creek) and a black ponte knit boyfriend jacket (J.Jill).  Black shoes as well. No occasion, just felt like trying it this morning.  Because I thought I was going to have to walk across campus, I am wearing black peep-toe Merrill slingbacks that are just this side of sneakers in terms of color but look much better.

The shell underneath is a Calvin Klein that I got at Marshalls. I particularly like it because it isn’t straight animal print; it has sections that are burgundy/oxblood red.  The close-up picture without the jacket shows it better.  The only problem with this top is the draped neck; while it doesn’t add a lot of weight/size, it doesn’t always drape quite right.

Jewelry is a silver Tiffany’s bracelet that my husband bought me just after we got married and a necklace with beads in a red that matches the top, made by my artist friend.  One of the great things about having a friend who makes jewelry is that I can tell her “I need something to go with fill in bizarre pattern or color here” and she will make it for me, usually at a reasonable price.

Part of the reason I felt like wearing this today was due to cleaning out my closet in a big way on Sunday.  Now don’t get me wrong; I still have a good amount of clothing.  But I went through and got rid of anything that

  • Didn’t fit my body in a way I was comfortable with.  If I would look at it and put it back because I didn’t like the way it fit, it was toast.
  • Didn’t feel nice; I got rid of a LOT of basic Tees because the cotton they were made out of just didn’t feel all that pleasant
  • Were in colors that I just don’t wear (even if I can); for example I had chocolate brown and navy skirts that I never wear; I’m sure I could have come up with something, but after 3 years in the closet it’s time to let them go and focus on the things I do wear.  For that matter, I got rid of BOTH pairs of khaki pants I had in there because I never wear them; if I want that aesthetic I wear olive green instead, so why keep the pants around?
  • Stuff that had seen better days or where I had something similar in better shape
  • Stuff that I had a LOT of duplicates of (where I kept the ones in the best shape); This was particularly the case in work pants, where I appear to have had (I am not joking) upwards of 15 pairs of 2 different cuts of black trousers.  No one needs that many unless you are going to be COMPLETELY unimaginative and wear them every day, and even then that seems like a lot.  I left myself with the best 2 pairs of each style and am planning to *gasp* add trousers in other colors soon.
  • Stuff that is trendy but just not overly flattering on me; like skinny jeans.  I kept 1 pair (coated and with a baroque-style pattern that you will see soon), but in general if I want to tuck something into boots it will be leggings, not jeans.  I may buy a pair of colored jeggings for that look if I can find one that doesn’t make me hate my legs.  But the collection I had was far too big for my lifestyle, generally in blah (and too light) washes, and just needed some living up.
  • Cardigans in either colors or styles that just weren’t me.  Some of them are very nice, but just not my look.
  • Shoes that either weren’t comfortable, had lousy support, or that I just don’t ever pick out.  I mean I had at least 2 pairs that I donated that had never been worn.  Ever.  But weren’t good enough brands for me to take the time to list them on ebay.

So, if you are plus-sized lady who thrifts in the phoenix metro area, I dropped off 8 garbage bags of clothing and shoes at my local Goodwill.  Some of it was excellent quality stuff, but my time is too limited to photograph it all and list it on ebay.  [If I were more entrepreneurial and could afford the drastic cut in pay, this area could use a consignment shop focused on plus-sized clothing.  (If it already has one, they SUCK at marketing, since in the 11 years I’ve lived here I haven’t heard of it.)]

What I’m left with is a lot of stuff I love, some things that deserve one more chance, and some beloved basics approaching their replacement dates.  (Specifically half of the black trousers and my standard “under a cardigan” black tee are both starting to pill and fade.  The pants need replacing, and the tee probably could be re-dyed if I were willing to take the time.)

I also came away with a better idea of what I DON’T have

  • Trousers in colors other than black.  I have knit jeans in other neutralish colors that will pass in my office, but I was thinking that a nice pair or two in brighter colors (say red and purple) would make a great addition.
  • A stripped t-shirt or shell; I have almost NOTHING with stripes, and have been liking some of the looks I’ve seen of late with them, so it’s time to go shopping.
  • Dark purple tank/shell for under cardigans and such
  • Burgundy/purple/dark red shoes for fall/winter

I also came away from the process with a clearer idea of my look.  For example, all of the skirts I have that fall relatively straight ended up in the bin.  What’s left are maxi-skirts and knee-length skirts, almost always with an A-line and some swing.  The others leave me feeling frumpy.

There are a few things that may not be long for the closet; most of those are floral print tops.  I’m not feeling that look right now; somehow it doesn’t look quite right to me.  Of course my favorite summer tank dresses are floral prints (albeit in bolder colors like black and white or yellow and purple), so it might just be the colors on some of these tops.  It may be that I need florals in BIG BOLD designs and highly contrasting colors.  Not sure yet.  But there are at least 3 that don’t fit that model that I’m not sure about.

And maybe that’s what this blog and this process is about; there IS a personal styled buried in my closet under all the stuff I bought because I got a great deal or thought I might wear it later.  It’s getting uncovered.

In the meantime, people are noticing that I’m trying harder and commenting positively. Gotta love that.


Real Girl Style Link Up

OOTD: Building up from the shoes

Ever built an entire outfit around new shoes? Of course you have. Today, so did I.

The shoes are Josef Seibel Marissa‘s that I found at TJ Maxx for $39.99 in this gorgeous deep green color.  While I am a sucker for a good deal, I am a REAL sucker for a good deal on comfortable shoes.  I walked the last pair of Josef Seibel’s I had into the ground, so I know all about the quality of the shoes and the comfort of them.

Of course, Green shoes require a bit of thought to put together an outfit.  I went with a green cardigan (which is closer in shade to the shoes under different light) from Eileen Fisher (on clearance last fall), a burnt orange tank picked up at a Dillards Outlet, and Brown Trousers from (where else) Coldwater Creek.

Boy, do I look grumpy in the longer picture.  No real reason, just forgot to smile I guess.

Here’s a better look at the color of the tank (which is less pumpkin and more dark salmon than the first picture looks).

For accessories, I went with another beautiful wire-wrapped piece by my artist friend (in this case she wire wrapped a stone I purchased up in Sedona) and my Modcloth camel and black with leopard detailing bag (on the counter behind me).

I’m not entirely happy with the two shades of green, and these shoes are inspiring me to add more dark forest green to my wardrobe.  (It’s a good color on me, so I don’t know why I don’t buy more of it.)  While the brown pants in between makes the color difference less obvious, the sweater has some blue tones to it while the shoes are just a touch olive-y.  (Eileen Fisher calls the color of the sweater Spruce while Josef Seibel calls the color of the shoes Forest; Spruce in nature has a touch more blue to the green needles, so….)

Nonetheless, I love my new shoes and will just have to find more ways to wear them and things to wear them with!

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Covered in Grace

Real Girl Style Link Up

OOTD: Why do all my purple shirts look blue?

One of my challenges in writing a style blog is that I don’t have a spouse or friend who can take my pictures.  So I end up using my computer’s camera, in my office.  For some reason this is making all my gorgeous purple shirts look blue.

Case in point:  This is a PURPLE top from SWAK, specifically the Joni top.  It is easy, comfortable and a beautiful color.  Which you can’t TELL because it looks blue due to this camera, fluorescent lighting and background.

I’m wearing it with items you’ve seen before; black tank, black jean-style ponte knit pants, a layered diamond necklace and a bracelet both in brass and black.

Oh, and because it was cold this morning, my Earthies Ramini Boots!!!

One other thing: here’s a closeup so that you can see that I got my hair cut and I wimped out.  Basically I have the same cut, just shorter and with fewer distinct layers.  No bangs.  It’s still long enough to put into a ponytail,  but not as annoying as it was a couple days ago…some of it is even turning under!


OOTD: Bright Cardigan Remix

I love this Talbots sweater; the cut is conservative, but the colors are bright and therefore memorable.  Because of that I try not to wear it every single week :-).

Today I decided to wear it over a tiered beaded tank that I got on clearance from Lane Bryant.  Had you asked me 6 months ago I would have told you that I NEVER would have worn something with all these beads around the neckline UNDER another item (unless that item was an overcoat), but I’m thinking differently these days and I think this works well.  In addition, the tiers create some texture to go with all the color.

While this color-wise isn’t THAT different from the way I wore this cardigan last time, I am more comfortable today because of the tiers; they hid a multitude of sins and make the look a little sleeker.

I also traded in my purple purse for the clutch I was carrying earlier this week, today with the chain strap on it.  I think this purse works with this cardi just fine, but with the tank it gets to be a bit much.  Next time, a more neutral card would go a long way toward showing off both pieces better.

Pants are my standard black Coldwater Creek Ponte Knit Trousers.  I’ve definitely been in a pants mood lately, and since most of my comfortable non-jean work pants are black, they’ve been seeing a lot of wear.  I probably need to do something about that, but until I get a real photographer who can get full length shots it hardly matters.


I want to rant for a moment about the fat tax; specifically the fact that MOST plus-sized clothing is only available online.  We therefore pay extra for the clothing (“more fabric” dontchaknow) PLUS shipping in at least one direction.  I have 4 things on order right now, and I am betting that at least 2-3 of them will go back as not fitting well, not flattering, or not matching well with the things I had hoped to wear them with.  In nearly all cases, you pay for that in both directions.

Now, there are some stores (J.JILL AND OLD NAVY SPECIFICALLY) that CARRY plus sizes, just not in their stores.  There are others (COLDWATER CREEK SPECIFICALLY) that don’t carry their full size range in stores; Coldwater recently stopped carrying 3X in the stores and lost a TON of my impulse shopping money for their trouble.  Oh, and OLD NAVY: How about letting us return plus-sized items in stores instead of having to pay to send things back!  This is why you don’t get my money anymore.

Finally, how about (if you have one) putting your plus line in ALL YOUR STORES!  (I’m talking to H&M, FOREVER 21 and MACY’S here.)  The nearest H&M store with the plus line to THE 6TH LARGEST METRO AREA IN THE COUNTRY (Phoenix) is in LOS ANGELES, an 8 hour drive away.  Forever 21 at least has one store in the valley with the plus line, but it is way off in one corner of the city massively far from where I live.  For that reason I own nothing from the line; I’ve never made it out there to see if it would fit.

I realize that floor space in a retail outlet is expensive, but here’s an idea; have a sampling at least that we can try on, even if we can’t buy those items right there.  Pants and jackets SPECIFICALLY are an issue, since you never know what sizing will be like.



Favorite Frock Friday