How to Pack for a Warmer Climate

I’M GOING AWAY! ON VACATION! TO SOMEPLACE WARM!

Not that there’s anything wrong with the cold, but it *will* be nice for one week to be in mild temps so I can do stuff without bundling up or my face hurting. But it can be a BEAR to figure out what to bring to a warmer climate when you live in a cold one. So I made a little video about how I whittled down from Many Items to Fewer, More Practical, Items. It’s practically a little baby capsule wardrobe.

It can be especially challenging when there are multiple people involved and you don’t know what everyone is going to want to do, so you sort of have to prepare for every possible contingency…WITHOUT having your suitcase go over weight (50lbs in this case).

And since I just did a video and no still shots from my wardrobe brainstorming (thinking pretty highly of my methods right about now), I will share a few pics that I never shared from last fall, of a cute’n’cozy sweater from Gwynnie Bee.

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This is *not* something I’ll be packing to go away. It’s by Rachel Roy, who does a really nice plus size line. One of my favorite summer dresses is from her, you can see it here.

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I loved that this cardigan was exactly the same length as the dress below it. It’s like they were made for one another. But it would have been equally cute over blue wash or black denim.

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Look at all the pretty colors that are in it! I’m just wearing a solid black base layer underneath – black dress, black tights, black booties – but the outfit looks very colorful just because of this one item. The beauty of the base layer.

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Ha ha, funny story. For some reason, I don’t remember now why, I took the sweater off part way through shooting, oh I think I wanted some pictures with it just over my shoulders, which looks cool when I see other people do it but when I do it it just looks like I have no arms. But when I put it back on I turned the shawl collar to the inside so it looks like there’s no collar…and I love a nice shawl collar cardigan. I’m such a derp.

Okay, so it wasn’t that funny.

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Look, no collar. D’oh.

And now our time together has come to an end. Almost.  Take a look at the video. Tell me if you think I’m not taking enough stuff. I did just order a pair of white jeans that I hope will fit so they can go with me. I think they’ll “warm weather-ify” all my black and grey tops. Do you find you usually end up with too much on trips…or not enough? Or the right amount but just of the wrong things…???

Plus Size Summer Outfit Review

I know, I know, I’m the leading proponent of SUMMER’S NOT OVER but…there will not be any new summer OUTFITS this year, so I feel I can do this now.

I think I did pretty well with my summer clothes shopping this year, I kept my “want” list tightly edited and really didn’t get anything that I wasn’t happy with or didn’t get a lot of wear out of. Usually there’s at least a couple duds that I have buyer’s remorse over. My only complaint is that I never got as *many* items as I wanted. My wardrobe is the opposite of many people’s, in that I don’t have too MUCH stuff, I have too little. Which is why the outfit posts got pretty spare for the past month, because I’ve already shown everything!

So I’m going to review my favorite outfits, and why they worked so well…and share one or two of my least favorites and why they got a little less wear than the others. I like to review like this, it helps me in shopping for NEXT season, in this case FALL WINTER, making note of lessons learned through success *and* failure…and what I might want to do differently next time.

My very favorite item was this black sleeveless swing dress from Asos Curve, “The Invisible Dress.” I’ve had it since March and it’s gotten a TON of wear, has washed well (hand washed cold water, hung to dry) and looked good both on its own and with secondary pieces over top. I would be very happy with this exact dress in navy and taupe and grey and…yeah.

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My second favorite item was this navy and white stripe dress from Rainbow. It was $12.99. Come on. I wore it tons as well, until I broke it 😦  I’ll explain that in an upcoming post.

My two other favorite dresses this summer were Denim 1 and Denim 2.

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Old Navy Pintuck Trapeze Tencel Dress 

I had a bit of internal fashion struggle before I could wear this one to work because it seemed so nightgownlike to me. If I didn’t have to go to a workplace every day, this dress would be on heavy repeat. Because it IS like wearing a nightgown!

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Rachel Roy Tencel High-Low Dress

This one was definitely more work-friendly, but if I had to choose (which I never did!) I would let this one go and keep the nightgown one.

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And a perennial favorite for like 10 years, seriously (though this may be it’s last summer)…this Target Mossimmo dress.

Some other summer faves were from Gwynnie Bee…

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Sangria Blue Dipped Floral Dress
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Alice & You Dress in Ditsy Floral Print

And moving away from dresses, the is the year I discovered I love tunics over leggings…and this was my favorite outfit of that type.

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Olive green sleeveless tunic from Bobeau via Nordstrom Rack. When it was still a little cool I wore this crochet knit black duster/cardi from Avenue, and as it got warmer and I learned the SO WHAT IF MY ARMS ARE FAT philosophy, I wore it sleeveless.

So what do *most* of my favorite items have in common? NO WAIST. No elastic or seam or belts. I feel so much better in a swing or trapeze style dress…no futzing all day with an elastic waistband or feeling like a maternity case when my belly protrudes out below an empire seam. They’re more challenging to find, but for me, worth the time and effort.

My *least* favorite purchase for summer was this sagey green knit dress from BooHoo…

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I fell for the color and the super-soft stretchy knit fabric…but see how the elastic empire waist right under my boobs makes my stomach appear to be BURSTING with child?? Ha. Not the look I’m going for.

So this fall I will be looking for leggings, tunics or oversized sweaters and blouses, and waistless dresses.

I think it’s valuable to assess at the end of each season and consider what worked for you and what didn’t, to avoid costly mistakes in the future.

What were your fashion failures and successes this summer?

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The Invisible Dress

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How great is this dog?!? This is Zeus. Or Rambo. I never know which is which. They definitely have differences, but when they’re just milling around you (with 2-3 other dogs), bumping you over or sticking their head under your dress, it’s hard to have the presence of mind to recognize their identifying pictures.

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INVISIBLE DRESS?! You see a dress, you say? Well yeah, I didn’t mean it in an “emperor’s new clothes,” way, but it’s like this. This dress is like tofu. It’s pretty much flavorless, it just takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it with. Without some sort of seasoning…or ACCESSORIZING (keep up with me now, we’re gonna connect the circle verrry soon), it’s INVISIBLE. But it can be sweet or savory or tangy, depending on what you put with it. Like this dress (bam). It’s just a basic black swing dress. I can ath-leisure it with a chambray shirt and sneakers…or prep it up with a khaki linen jacket…or be a little boho chic, like today, with a kimono and pendant necklace.

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I started the season building a wardrobe of essentially “invisible” clothes. Things that go under things…now I’m at the fun part when I’m starting to collect the seasoning…the spicy personality pieces to wear on top. And I love me a kimono. I’m such a cardigan girl in the cold weather…kimonos are a perfect warm weather alternative – they’re generally lightweight, inexpensive, and yet add a real pop of pow to an invisible base.

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I paired this up with a mint green druzy pendant necklace from Charming Charlie’s and some gold dangle oval hoop earrings handmade by an artisan in Brooklyn.

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I REALLY need to color my hair!!!

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What I’m Wearing:

Cleanin’ Out My Closet

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Well, I think the weather is *finally* going to hold here in NY and today I started switching out my winter clothes for spring and summer. I love pulling out all the big bulky sweaters and coats from the one narrow closet I have and having more SPACE. I keep my off-season clothes in a vintage metal clothing hamper and some in a tub in a storage unit. I stacked the spring/summer clothes from the hamper (sort of, ha) neatly on the bed…and now I don’t want to hang them up and lose the space (and empty hangers!) I just reclaimed by taking the cold-weather clothing out. Besides, Janey is napping on some linen slacks, so…PROCRASTINATION WINS.

The good news is I have two garbage bags-full of clothes to donate…and two garbage bags-full of clothes to post on Swap.com, an online clothing consignment site. I used to sell clothing on ebay and I am SO over all that…and with Swap.com I just send the clothes to them, they do all the annoying photographing, describing, listing and shipping, and I get a check when things sell. Easy-peasy! You can also buy clothes there, they have TONS of women’s plus-size items at thrift store prices. I’ll let you know how I make out with that.

I’m still editing down the amount of clothes I have and am focused on building a manageable capsule wardrobe. I don’t have room here for more than I need. For some reason the hardest things for me to let go of are the stretched out, holey, had-them-forever tops that I like to wear around the house or to take the dog on walks. Good “comfy but not precious” items are hard to come by. I can’t just *buy* something and relegate it to laying on the dog-hairy sofa and planting pansies in the outdoor pots duty. That’s a job for things that long ago re-couped their original investment so I no longer care if I ruin them. Am I crazy that way?

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This closet is an ongoing project. Every work vacation I say “I WILL take charge of that closet this week.” I have some time off at the end of this week…maybe I’ll have an “after” shot to show you soon. Maybe. It’s the only closet I have in the whole apartment so it becomes a catch-all for Everything That Doesn’t Have Anywhere Else to Go. I *would* love for it to be easier to walk in so I can reach things – and put clothes away – more easily. Because I hate going in there so much, during the week most of my clothes get tossed on my bike after wearing…until the pile gets so heavy that the bike threatens to go over. Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this.

I might finally break down and read that Marie Kondo organizing book, take EVERYTHING out of the closet, and only put back the things that bring me joy. Yeah. I’ll let you know how THAT goes, too.

What system do you have for not letting your wardrobe and closet get out of hand?

Building a Wardrobe: Part 1

G-A-A-A-A-A-H !!!!! Ha. I’ve always had a closetful of clothes, but I’ve really never had a WARDROBE. A collection of pieces that make sense for my life, *all* parts of my life, that all go together in different ways to create different outfits and looks, with *all* the necessary components. Probably *most* of the time, the majority of my closet is full of “things that don’t have the things they need to go with to make a complete outfit.” The sundress and lil cardi that are super adorable, but not the right shoes – so all that adorableness goes unworn. The leggings and sneakers that make up 2/3 of the perfect weekend errand-running outfit, but no tee shirt long enough to cover…things that need to be covered, so no perfect errand-running outfit. And so on.

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TJ Maxx Dressing Room Try-on

So in all my recent new trying to look better and be better-ness, I’ve been reading about “building the perfect capsule wardrobe,” a concept that has apparently been around since the 70s, that I, in my not-fashion-focused-fog, have totally missed. I’ve read articles and watched videos and stalked Pinterest boards…and have seen wardrobes that are enviable and admirable and seem So Simple. And yet. Oofah. Not. So. Simple.

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Kinda cute, but way too see-through. Fail. * Spense Woman 3x

 

I’ve compiled a list. A wonderful list. Simple basics that will go together in many different ways (think of every article you’ve read entitled “Create 37 Different Outfits Out of 3 Basic Pieces”). And they will mix and match harmoniously and I shall never be outfitless again.

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Was a weird stretchy-knit-hugging-all-bumps fit. Fail. * Andrea Jovine 3x

But the list is The Easy Part. I chose a palette for spring into summer: *mostly* (cuz I’m only human and can’t TOTALLY stay within a 4-color palette) black, white, grey, olive green…with a few accents sprinkled in of soft pinky-blush and pale blue.

Here is My List:

JEANS
white
black
olive
medium wash denim

LONG & SHORT SLEEVE/SLEEVELESS TEES/TANKS
white
grey
black
olive
light blue
pink/blush

5 knit PULLOVERS/KIMONOS/CARDIGANS to coordinate w palette

DRESSES
navy/white stripe tee shirt dress
black/white stripe tee shirt dress
olive
black
denim

SHOES
white basketball sneakers
black slip-on sneakers
black flats
leopard flats
brown faux leather sandal
sandal w gold something

Looks pretty simple, right? Nothing really out of the ordinary. But now I have to find these things THAT FIT ME, that I can AFFORD…and that I actually LIKE. Ha.

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Meh. Pass. * Sorry, didn’t note brand or size

My goal is to have 10 work outfits – so I can go two weeks without repeating an entire outfit. I can repeat pieces, but not an entire outfit. And 4-5 ath-leisure (my new favorite term in the whole wide world) slash “going to Brooklyn/having coffee/going to art galleries with friends” outfits. I don’t think I *need* more than that. I think that’s a reasonable goal.

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Oh. So no.  * d. jeans (high waist skinny), size 22-24

SO – in the attempt of reaching that goal, I have been doing a whole lotta trying on…and a whole lotta returning. Sadface. Shopping not so fun when you’re larger than the largest sizes in most stores. But I’m powering through. So I’ll be sharing with you some of my try-ons – good and bad…and updating you on how the whole Capsule Wardrobe Building thing is going.

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Ding Ding Ding We Have a Winner!  *  Cynthia Rowley 2x

What do you have in YOUR closet??