Archive for Basic Concepts

Read this!

Allie over at Wardrobe Oxygen published a post in response to some style rules tweeted by More Magazine, and I think every woman needs to read it.  She talks intelligently about why some of the items on the list just don’t make sense anymore and how others are not necessarily hard and fast rules for all.  Trends come and go, and sometimes (as seems the case now), many of them come all at the same time.

I don’t and/or won’t ever try to rock many of these, but not because of a rule; because they are not suitable for my body shape and the look I am going for. Allie’s comments, though, can help you think through whether any of them would work for you.

  • I wore orange today and last thursday.  I’m not about to stop anytime soon.
  • I prefer a capped sleeve to sleeveless – I need the width at the shoulder to balance out my hips, and the cap sleeve provides that while leaving my arms cool and free.
  • I’m keeping all my stripes, thank you.  I love a nice wide stripe, and actually think that wider stripes often look better on plus girls than on straight sized.  YMMV
  • I have several boxy jackets – as long as they are balanced with a narrow pant, they look terrific.
  • I am currently reconsidering my dark-wash jeans only wardrobe, and acid wash is not out of the question.

The point is that you need to look at each of these in terms of your shape.  Find what works for you, what makes YOU feel comfortable and confident, and run with it.  Regardless of what a magazine says.

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

This will probably sound stupid, but…

I had a bit of an epiphany this evening.  I was walking out of work and thinking about how I hadn’t taken a picture of today’s outfit.  I didn’t think it was up to snuff.  I didn’t think it was good enough.

If I don’t think the outfit is good enough to photograph and post, why should I think it’s good enough to wear at all?  More importantly, why should I wear it at all?  I obviously don’t think it’s that cute.  It was actually pretty generic, with a top that doesn’t fit quite the way I would like.

So why did I wear it?  It was easy; it was fast; I liked the color of the top.  But that isn’t enough.  Perhaps, if nothing else good comes of this blog and no one ever reads it, I will at least start to pay more attention to what I wear, get rid of the of the stuff that doesn’t fit correctly, and focus on buying things I love instead of lots of things in general.

Now if I could just find a nice, flowy black tank top to wear under things….Maybe this one. Update: Ordered.

(Comment from Sandra:   This month’s MORE magazine had an excellent article on this exact concept.)

Articles not to miss

If you haven’t noticed, I love black.  So it was both gratifying and useful that Wardrobe Oxygen did a great post today on why she promotes black for wardrobe staples.  You might agree or disagree, but she captured all of my reasons and put some of the fuzzier ones into words!

Already Pretty has a timely article on boot shaft height that was really an eye-opener for me.  Granted, having wide calves limits the number of choices I have, but I guarantee after reading through the article that I will think differently going forward when I try boots on!  Once I find the right height, zappos has the ability to filter boots based on both height AND shaft circumference!

40+ Style has been doing a great series on editing your closet (something that almost everyone needs to do).  Her latest article was on how to decide whether to keep or donate a garment that might help you make the hard decisions when the time goes.

Finally, Not Dead Yet Style posts a few quick and easy things you can do to give your look a pick-me-up.  One was “Lift your bra-straps” and this one is a BIG deal for us big-chested girls.  Your boobs should sit halfway between your shoulder and your elbow.  The BAND should be doing most of the heavy lifting, but the shoulders need to be sitting correctly as well.  It makes a WORLD of difference in how you look.

I would add one more tip to hers: STAND UP STRAIGHT.  I see so many women slouching, when you can easily look better and thinner by just improving your posture.  Shoulders back, ladies.  It really helps.