Archive for Gwynnie Bee

Reflections on style and some shopping results!

246932_10100498100389721_3514712_nSimon’s Surgeries: Update

Simon had his 2nd surgery, so outfit pics have been overshadowed by helping him get around.  He’s healing nicely.

Thoughts on Style

In the meantime, I got into a discussion with a friend that I wanted to share.  We were talking about personal style.  She informed me that mine was somewhat boring because I tend to prefer cardigans to jackets and tend to prefer fit-and-flare dresses or fuller skirts to sheath or body-con dresses and pencil skirts.  Her argument was that the latter were in style and were very flattering on “everyone”, so I should try them.

Here’s the thing.  I have tried them.  Gwynnie Bee has allowed me to try all sorts of things with no real risk.  Most recently (literally yesterday) I received and tried on a shift dress.  Then I put it in the bag and sent it back.  Even with shapewear, the dress made me look like I was all hips and nothing else.

But more importantly, I WASN’T COMFORTABLE IN IT.  I felt self-conscious.  I have the same issue with pencil skirts, and in addition I don’t feel as though I can move comfortably.

I don’t care HOW in style something is or how chic everyone says a look is.  If you don’t feel comfortable in it, you aren’t going to LOOK comfortable in it.  And if you aren’t comfortable, you sure as heck aren’t going to feel sexy, attractive, powerful or smart.

For me, that means an A-line or wider skirt.  Others may find they feel more pulled together in a pencil skirt, and that is their right.  (Chastity over at Garner Style TOTALLY rocks those, and she’s curvier than I am!) I’ll keep rocking my fit-and-flares.

On to something more fun: SHOPPING!

_9066308Remember this cardigan/jacket that was $368?  *happy dance* It went on sale for 40% off ($220.80), which is STILL expensive but a lot better.  At that point I showed it to my husband who agreed that it was an AMAZING, wardrobe-making piece.  After some negotiating about my spending money, I bought it and am spreading the cost out over a month to pay back our credit card.  I CAN’T WAIT!  This will be my perfect Arizona winter coat!

jumpers-and-knit-zhenzi-knit-cardigan-berry-purple-black_A22058_F5224Another thing I’ve been focusing on this fall is particular colors.  Specifically deep purples, plums, burgundies, wines, etc.  I’m also making an effort to buy better items, but fewer.  So I was surfing around and found this cardigan.  It arrived today and the colors are every bit as rich and beautiful as I wanted.  Expect to see it very soon now that temps are dropping below 100.  (This has the advantage of being a loose enough knit that I can wear it already…)2014-09-11_13-02-11

I used 2 different store credits I had this week.  First I had a store credit at eshakti – a dress I ordered had proven to be too tight through the hips, and they are absolutely amazing about returns, so back it went.  Instead, I bought this swing/trapeze dress and had them modify it with short sleeves.  It’s an incredibly light weight gauze in a beautiful red.  In general, I’ve been afraid of swing dresses, since many tend to look like a mu-mu on plus women, but this one has fixed pleating at the bust to keep it from belling out too much.  It’s cool, crazy comfortable, and is about to become a hot weather staple. You’ll be seeing it soon!

8f37a6253d56d7f14a08a931ebb9ad46The second store credit was with Modcloth, and this item hasn’t arrived yet.  One of the dresses I ordered had the weirdest shoulders that just sat wrong, so the dress went back and I decided to try to fill in that charcoal to gap I’ve previously mentioned.  I found this one and decided to give it a go.  Fingers crossed that it will look as cute on me as it does in the picture.  Per the comments, I sized up, so we shall see.

That’s all for now.  I hope to get back to outfit pics soon, and I am still on the hunt for the PERFECT burgundy purse (with no luck in my price range).

What have you added to your wardrobe this fall?

Karen Kane for the win!

IMG_0187I have been blown away this year by not just the quality, but also the fit and styling of Karen Kane dresses.  Most of them came to me by way of Gwynnie Bee, and honestly I couldn’t be happier!

This is the Karen Kane Contrast Binding Dress, and yet another one that I bought as soon as I tried it on. Note, there is some discussion in the comments about whether this is black or a really dark navy.  Since that appears to depend mostly on the lighting, I just ran with the black accessories.

The shrug is necessary for working in an office all day.  It is a Jessica Howard and also originally came from Gwynnie Bee.

combine_images2What I love most about this dress is the combination of contrast binding and changing the direction of the stripes in the curve of the waist.  It draws the eyes there and provides curves without needing a belt or or explicit waist band.



More Polka Dots from Gwynnie Bee

Gwynnie Bee has you create a “closet” with lots of items in it and then sends what is available.  As it happened, I received 2 polka dot dresses in a row and decided to wear them back to back and compare.  You saw the previous one, so here is the latest.

QGdzJDxb1SY0xBAL.jpgThis dress is from Elementz and is a much simpler style.  For work (where it is a bit chilly in the office), I wore it with a short red cardigan from Modcloth. (Yes, I’m still working on the iphone photography – I can only improve, right?)  I finished the outfit with the Rieker sandals I wore the last time, although as I am wearing them the leather across the front of the foot is stretching and they are becoming somewhat less comfortable.  I carried my beloved Kate Spade Deborah Dot Little Nadine bag (which is out of stock everywhere) and wore a one-of-a-kind necklace made by my artist friend.

This outfit is actually a little challenging for me – the sweater stops right at the little pooge of my stomach, making me VERY aware of it.  And my chest is big enough that I’m always trying to make sure the buttons on the cardi aren’t pulling. But I still think the outfit looks terrific.

(Tangent:  I got fitted for an underwire bra, something that I have avoided for years and am SLOWLY working on wearing for more than an hour at a time.  I am wearing it here.  It’s a Prima Donna Deuville in a size 40H, which my husband says stands for 40 Holy COW!’s)

36zi4NoxaPp5N9m7.jpgHere’s a shot of the dress without the cardi.  I decided to BUY this dress for three reasons: First, I like the lack of a set in waist band. While this one would also be well served with some shapewear, I feel better even though it’s not there.  Second, I like the larger, more symmetrical polka dots on this dress.  Third, I think the length is better – a little younger, more universally flattering and likely to remain in style.

(I apologize for the messy desk in the background – we have 1 full length mirror in our house, and it’s in my office on the closet door.  At least the dogs aren’t milling around – it took a while to get a shot that didn’t have at least 1 random pet in it.)

For comparison, here are the two dresses side by side:

QGdzJDxb1SY0xBAL.jpg 2014-07-22 18.14.24

Did I make the right decision on which one to keep?



Polka Dots and Gwynnie Bee

2014-07-22 18.14.24Way back when, I tried Gwynnie Bee for a while.  And then cancelled it.  It wasn’t working for me then, mostly because I wasn’t wearing dresses all that much and their non-dress inventory wasn’t from the better brands.

The dress thing has changed, and I gotta tell you; if you wear dresses and live in the U.S.,  you cannot find a better way to spend your money than Gwynnie Bee.  If you haven’t heard of it, here’s the deal:  You pay a monthly fee and basically borrow garments for as few or as many days as you like.  The fee defines how many you can have out at the time.  When you are done with something, you send it back; they wash/dry clean it and make it available for the next person.  If you love it, you have the option to buy it at a reduced price (since technically it’s used).

Gwynnie Bee has been helping me on my style search.  I’ve been able to try shapes, brands, and fabrics that I never would have otherwise (particularly as long as so many plus size vendors are online only).

This dress is a Jessica Howard – The waist is ruched and it is sleeveless, something I tend to avoid.  The reviews on the site pointed out that the high neck and longer skirt make it a touch matronly, and I suppose they are right about that, but that also makes it very appropriate for a work dress.  At the office, I threw a red sweater over the top to keep my arms warm and felt very pulled together all day long.

2014-07-22 18.16.13That having been said, looking at pictures I’m not sure I will wear it again or keep it; the print (which is actually polka dots) feels too busy to me.  Moreover the ruched waist makes shapewear a requirement, and it is FAR too hot for that in Arizona in August.  And thus the wonder of Gwynnie Bee – I send it back and they will send me something else!

You will see a lot more Gwynnie Bee dresses over the next couple of months.  I’ve become quite fond of dresses and have found some things that do and don’t work for me.

Things that don’t work for my shape:

  • Shift dresses – I’m a pear, and every shift dress I’ve tried on so far is too tight in the hips and loose in the chest – bad on both accounts.
  • Set-in waist bands or belted waists – This is less about the pear shape and more about that noticeable roll right between my boobs and my waist.  If I don’t wear heavy duty shapewear with these types of dresses, the line isn’t right. That is part of the problem with this dress.
  • Narrow straps or halters – One of the things with being a pear is that my hips are wider than my shoulders.  These types of necklines make that appear even more unbalanced.
  • Strapless – I’m a 42G – the amount of engineering required to make a strapless bra that will support me cannot comfortably be made into a strapless bra. Key here being COMFORTABLY – I know they make long-lines and such that can do it, but I don’t want to wear them.

So what does work?

  • Fit and flare – room for my hips, emphasize my smaller parts. These don’t all have things like contrasting or set-in waists, so finding the ones that don’t is my current mission.
  • Empire waists – my smallest measurement is my bra band, so raising the waist does good things on me.

I’m sure I’ll find more with time.  Stay Tuned…

(I’ll work on getting better at cell-phone selfies.  And getting a new camera…)

*Note about Jewelmint:  When you purchase a piece from them, you agree to essentially a monthly subscription – you either need to cancel or buy something each month, otherwise they charge your account and give you a credit.  This was quite a surprise the 1st time it happened, and not a happy one.  However they often have nice pieces at a decent price, so I’ve gotten good at remembering to skip.

Gwynnie Bee Item 2 and Browns

Today’s outfit features the 2nd item from my Gwynnie Bee order, The Igigi Sakura Cardigan in Multi.  It’s soft, cozy and I love the colors.  It comes with a belt which, after playing with, didn’t get worn; apparently my figure is a little too apple and not hourglass enough to make it work.  It just made my butt look REALLY big.

  • Igigi Sakura Cardigan in Multi; via Gwynnie Bee
  • Rust tank, Marshalls
  • Brown Knit Jeans, Coldwater Creek (which I appear to need a size smaller…)
  • Olive and Camo Sperry Top-siders, previously worn here
  • Gold bracelet, gift
  • Necklace, can’t recall where I got it
  • Glasses: (prescription eyeglasses at a killer enough price that I got a pair of sunglasses the last time I ordered!)

I am seriously considering ordering this and want your opinion;

  • Great enough looking to own?
  • Just OK?
  • Too specific (ie hard to style with other things)?
  • Nice but I should save my money for another purse?  Or something else I suppose…

Of course speaking of other purses, one of my issues this morning was that I didn’t appear to HAVE a purse that matched or coordinated.  The new one I posted about yesterday is bright green (and also not here yet), and I had been thinking about the need for a nice dark brown purse.  I found this and ordered it:

This is the Fossil Vintage Revival Flap in Giraffe, and I am head over heels in love with this bag!  It’s a great size, gorgeous design, has some swagger to it without being colorful and was, by the time I was done, 36% off.  It is neutral enough to go with anything in the browns, but still fun, which is exactly what I wanted to find!

I may need to do something about my growing purse fetish soon…. Wait until you see the funky one I picked up on ebay today.

pleated poppy