Trying Before Buying

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I’m still mucking around with the wireless shutter remote. I think that thing hates me almost as much as my sewing machine. But I’ll keep going til I either Get It…or it “accidentally” gets stepped on and crushed into the asphalt.

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Fortunately not everything is as frustrating as photography! Renting plus sized clothing from Gwynnie Bee is *super* easy. I’ve been using the service for almost three years now and I’ve learned so much about what looks good on me, what I’m consistently comfortable in, even what my “fashion personality” is!

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By having the luxury of being able to try and wear many different styles before buying (or returning!) you really get a feel for what items work best for you. Trying on an item in a dressing room for a few minutes, or even bringing it home to try on with your own clothes, is just not the same as wearing an item out in the world, in and out of the car, to work, out to dinner, etc. Many things look good in the mirror when you’re primping and posing…but as soon as you start moving around in your real life, all sorts of issues can pop up! The notorious “bust gap” when you sit…or dresses that ride up Just a Little Too Much when you walk or slide into a car…or that fabric that seemed fine for two minutes in the dressing room, after 2 hours is itching your neck like crazy…etc.

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You can try Gwynnie Bee plus size rental service for one month FREE, just click the text link at the bottom of this post. I pay for the “one item out at a time” plan and typically get 4-5 different items in a month if I wear an item once and return it the next day. I don’t own a lot of clothes, so having one extra item every week really helps keep my wardrobe fresh and interesting! Give it a try for a month – you’ve got nothing to lose…and a bunch of clothing items to try!

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What I’m Wearing

This is not a sponsored post, I am not being paid to write this. I am a happy customer…and if you join up after doing the one-month free trial using my coupon code, I will make a small commission. 

GWYNNIE BEE: Why buy it when you can GB it? Free shipping. Free exchanges. Free 30-day wardrobe rental.

The weekly vlog is up on my YouTube channel. This week is In the Dressing Room at Target. I try a couple things outside my “usual.”

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Using Base Layers to Build Your Wardrobe

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This week’s video is all about using a couple simple base layers to build your wardrobe.

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I did a little “fashion math,” and realized that once you start using base layers + third item, you will start increasing the number of outfits you have in your wardrobe, exponentially.

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For example, a black tunic and leggings as the base layer + 5 different “third pieces,” whether a cardigan, vest, kimono or blazer, creates 7 different outfits. If you add another base layer – say a black turtleneck and black jeans or slacks + the same 5 different third pieces, you now have another 7 outfits, just by adding 2 additional items. Add a white tee and a pair of denim to the mix as another base layer, and those 2 items add ANOTHER 7 outfits…and so on.

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It’s kind of brilliant when you think about it. Rather than just buying things willy-nilly…”oh, I like this so I’ll buy it,” ask yourself the question, does it go well over one of your base layers. If it does, then that’s a wise purchase.

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Of course, you’re always going to want to have some “wild cards” in your wardrobe to spice things up a bit, like this black floral print. But I try to limit the number of outliers I purchase and stick to “things that will go with many other things.” That way I can make the most outfits.

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I explain it more fully in the video and you’ll see the theory in action, as I make many different outfits from just a few items.

What I Wore:

* Pink chenille cardigan from Charlotte Russe, size 3x
* Black floral top by American Rag from Gwynnie Bee, size 3x
* Black skinny jeans from Charlotte Russe, no longer in stock, size 22

 

IS Imitation the Sincerest Form of Flattery??

So, a couple weeks back, Julia at When the Girls Rule posted a photo on her Instagram of this look…

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…and I commented that I liked it so much that I was going to steal it (and she said she was waiting to see it). And I did!

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I didn’t have a wine scarf or a gold bag…but I DID have a gold scarf, so I improvised there. But otherwise, I was able to pretty well replicate the look that I liked so much on her, with clothes from my own closet, with my own spin. I was inspired by her outfit.

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I think sometimes in fashion (and blogging…and photography…and really any creative endeavor) there is a fine line between inspiration and imitation. If I’d gone out and bought the same dress and bag and scarf and created an exact duplicate of her outfit, that’s imitation…and these days I don’t know that most people are all that flattered by that (imitation may not be the sincerest form of flattery) imitation. In fact, in most applications, direct imitation is a form of copyright infringement! It would be pretty hard to prove anyone guilty of that in retail fashion, I mean, all the stores sell all the same things, eventually you’re going to have some pretty similar outfits out there, purely coincidentally….but you get the point.

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While it’s nice to look to others for inspiration (and to copy someone for fun, as I did here), it’s best to use your own creativity–don’t just copy someone else’s look, create your own! Do you!!!

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This is a favorite easy-to-wear dress from Old Navy, in it’s second winter with me. It goes with a lot of other items in my closet. The black duster cardigan is also from Old Navy, but this current season and still available – it’s a fine knit, so very lightweight. With pockets!

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The scarf and crossbody bag are from TJ Maxx, last season. The over-the-knee boots are from Avenue, two winters ago. I’m really getting my money’s worth out of all these things!

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I wore my new Gorjana G Ring hoop earrings from Nordstrom. I have been coveting these exact earrings for a lonnng time – well over a year, maybe even two. I first saw them on Joanna Gaines on Fixer Upper and loved the movement the hoops had – you know how hoops are usually sort of still and fixed in place on your ear? Because these hoops are hanging on the S-hook thingie that goes through your ear, there’s a lot of movement and I really like that. I never ever buy myself nice jewelry but I’ve been watching these for a long time and they finally went on sale on Black Friday and I snatched those babies right up!

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I shot with a new photographer this day, I’m really happy with the pictures – what do you think?

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Also, I’m still doing Vlogmas every day on my YouTube channel. I realized today from trying to film “the interesting parts of my day,” that most days do not have interesting parts! Not this time of year, anyway. In spring summer fall I get out a lot more and it would be much more fun to watch. Today the big excitement was scraping ice off the windshield, Caleb making new friends at the park, and new packages in the mail. But…hey, I’m giving it a shot. Stick around, maybe something good will happen eventually!

Photography by Robert Mitchell Photography.

ANNND…I’m linking up with the #IWillWearWhatILike linkup on Not Dressed as Lamb. Definitely take a look at the other bloggers sharing things – you might might find a new favorite!

It’s Almost December!

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So! I have been toying with the idea of doing another 30-day challenge in January – which is challenging myself to wear a different outfit every day in January, but now I’m thinking that, instead, maybe I’ll do Vlogmas (vlogging every day in December leading up to Christmas)! I’m SO not prepared for that, but I’m a big believer in just jumping in first and figuring it out later…and vlogging Every Single Day will help me get up-to-speed on All Things Vloggy pretty darn quick!

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It could be awful..for me AND you, ha! But I think I’m going to give it a go…if I can’t do it, I can’t do it…but I’ll certainly give it the old college try. They’ll be short, maybe 5-10 minutes a day, more or less. So…I know you’re excited, ha ha! If you want to witness this, just subscribe to my Fashion Schlub YouTube channel.

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That aside, this is another day of tripod/remote shutter selfies. On this day, a man walked his dog up to where I was shooting and proceeded to ask questions about what I was doing, including “would you like to take a picture with Miss Wiggles?” Uh, OF COURSE!!!

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Then a town worker truck pulled up, and they knew one another, so THAT guy got out of the truck and started asking me questions about what I was doing…and then they both stood there watching me. AWKWARD. Suffice it to say I didn’t get too many pictures that day. And they’re really not doing this outfit justice, because I LOVE this potato sacky dress from ASOS Curve (their plus size section) and faux leather jacket by Chelsea & Theodore via Gwynnie Bee…and I loved them together. But I didn’t get to check my car window reflection between shots so my wig was wacky and the jacket was askew and my tights are dirty. But that’s real life, so. There ya go.

Speaking of Real Life, I’ve just uploaded another video, “Switching Out My Plus Size Wardrobe from Summer to Winter: Part 2,” wherein I get all my cold weather clothes out of storage, cull through them to decide what stays and what goes, and add the “stayers” into my closet. It’s scintillating stuff, be sure to watch.

What I Wore:

* Asos Navy Ripple Stitch Dress, size 22
* Chelsea & Theodore Taupe Drape Front Faux Leather Jacket, via Gwynnie Bee, size 2x

Today I’m linking up with A Labour of Life and her Labour of Fashion link-up party!

What I Wore This Week

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Monday: This is my favorite cozy, cold weather outfit. The dress is 2 years old from Alice & You, so no longer available. The thick cushy deep blue cardigan is last winter’s from Michael Kors at Macy*s. I can’t remember what brand the booties are, they’re pretty generic taupe, faux suede with a low rubbery heel. The rubber soles and heels are so nice to walk in. The plus size navy tights are from Amazon like 3 years ago and purchased through someone else’s account (oh, how did I survive in the olden days without Amazon Prime??) so I don’t have a link but I’ll try to get it for you. And my new hair, ha ha!

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Tuesday: Snuck in one more bare-legged day. The dress is THAT dress. The never-ending sleeveless black swing dress from Asos. That particular one is no longer available but there’s always something similar. This is a US 22 and the width and length are perfect. Then I put my new olive green fleece duster cardigan from Rainbow over top for some lightweight coziness. I’m wearing a 2x and it’s just right. I should never wear these shoes again but I’ve yet to replace them so…they’re Christian Siriano for Payless, like 3 years old. Nothing against the shoes but I need serious arch support at this point and these do not have that.

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Wednesday: I was a little casual because I knew I was headed to the storage unit after work and it’s dirty there. Karen Kane brown waterfall cardigan, 3x, this is it’s third winter. It’s looking a little sad and old but…I keep reaching for it, so it stays. In its fifth winter is my beloved Tahari merino wool camel/taupe sweater from TJ Maxx – and they always have comparable lightweight merino sweaters and tunics, reasonably priced – like this or this. Charlotte Russe plus size cropped high waist skinny jeans, size 22. I don’t think this exact style is available right now, but many extremely similar styles are. I wear these a LOT. They’re super comfy and stretchy but don’t stretch out. Same booties as Monday.

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Thursday. I WORE THE SAME JEANS TWO DAYS IN A ROW OH THE HORROR. The weather changed at the last minute and looked blustery and stormy and the dress I’d planned to wear this day did not look appealing at all, so I did a last-minute switcharoo. And lived to tell the tale. See above for info on jeans and booties. Cream-colored long-sleeve tee from Avenue, no longer available but it’s pretty basic. Plus-size duster-length draped waterfall cardigan from INC International, no longer available but similar here. And my cream cloche is from Headcovers Unlimited. This exact style is no longer available but this is similar.

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Fri-yay! Another blustery morning so I broke out the fleece-lined footless tights (sorry, I don’t remember where I got them) AND my brand new silk ankle socks from WinterSilks. Two-year-old black (it’s not navy, it’s NOT!) and white striped 3x dress from Old Navy (no longer available, similar here. And the wine-colored fleece duster from Rainbow. Last year’s black booties from Avenue.

My favorite was definitely Monday’s – every element is comfortable and cozy and I like the geometric print of the dress with the slightly textured look (close-up) of the cardigan – it’s a subtly interesting combination.  What was the favorite outfit that *you* wore this week?

I’m linking up today with Shelbee on the Edge and her Edge of the Week link-up!

Switching Out My Wardrobe from Summer to Winter

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So, I FINALLY got around to switching out my warm weather wardrobe for cold. We had such a lovely long pleasant Indian summer here on Long Island, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it any earlier even though I’d had to pull an item or two out for the few chillier days…and I had already bought a couple new things (see Fall Haul). The video got so so long as I explained my reasons for leaving this in or taking that out…that I decided to split it into two videos. So, Part 1 is taking out warm weather items…and Part 2 is putting in cold weather items. Ha, it kinda sounds like watching paint dry, but I know I LOVE watching this kind of stuff, so…maybe you will, too!

I’m still working on improving the production quality of my videos. I realize that in my Fall Haul video it got so dark it was practically impossible to tell a black item from a dark green one from a plaid one. My apologies. I’m very aware of the imperfections and will rectify them asap. I begged a good friend to go with me to my storage unit yesterday so we could dig out (among other things) my tub of lighting equipment from my vintage clothing selling days, so hopefully that will be better soon. And I think I’ve resolved the lens focus motor noise.

Meanwhile, I’m still trying to round out my cold weather wardrobe by online shopping like a madwoman…and returning like five things for every one kept – online plus size shopping is a Very Slow Process. But so there will be ANOTHER Fall Haul video soon…I promise not as big as the first!

Thanks so so much for sticking around while I learn the ropes about videoing and YouTube. I appreciate every like and view I get! I hope you’ll watch “Switching Out My Wardrobe from Summer to Winter: Part 1” and give it a thumbs up!

What I Wore This Week

It was one of those autumn weeks that ranges from 70 one day to 50 the next! Add to that the fact that we had a power outage in our area for almost 48 hours on the two coldest days, and I got a chill I couldn’t get rid of! Suffice it to say the plan for my weeks’ wardrobe went out the window and I found myself pulling from the fall/winter bin before I’ve officially changed my wardrobe from summer to fall.

Monday: Junarose Tie-Dye Blue Dress from plusBKLYN; Avenue Thermal Knit Waterfall Hoodie (old; similar here and here); cotton bandana.

Tuesday: Cat in the Hat hat, borrowed :-); Avenue cream long-sleeved tee (old, similar here); Old Navy black longline duster cardigan (sold out, similar here).

Wednesday: Karen Kane polkadot plus size swing dress (old, similar here or here); Rainbow burgundy fleece longline cardigan; vintage headscarf.

Thursday: Torrid plus size grey spacedye longline sharkbite cardi (old, similar here); JJill woman’s white linen blend tee (old, similar here); Charlotte Russe skintight legging jeans (similar here); vintage headscarf.

Friday: Junarose plus size abstract bird print dress (old, similar here); Oatmeal cardi (old, similar here); Oatmeal cotton chemo cloche by Headcovers Unlimited (old, similar here).

What are you wearing now at the beginning of November? Still in warm weather clothes, all the way into cold weather clothes…or somewhere in-between??

Playing Dress Up

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The Cat in the Hat with Jen 1 & Jen 2

Clothes are fun in that you can dress up as whatever you want. Want to be the center of attention? Wear something that people can’t miss – bright colors, sequins, extreme lengths, etc. Want to disappear in the crowd? Wear monochromatic, bland tones. Want to command respect? Wear a well-fitted suit. Want to make people laugh? Start an argument? Attract the opposite sex? There are outfits for all those things.

But when your clothing options are limited by size–and that can be either end of the spectrum, large or small (I hear ya, Iris!)–sometimes your clothes can make you feel “not like you.” Mostly I have a way I *want* to look, but the available clothing in my size can keep me from looking that way. This is really the one thing that motivates me to try and slim down a bit. Not for my health, but cuz I want to look the way I want to look! It’s so so frustrating to look online at straight size clothing (and I don’t really do that intentionally, but I follow mostly straight size fashion bloggers) and think, I love THIS, I want to look like THAT…THAT THING would be perfect with many things I already own, but when I look in the plus size section, nope. It doesn’t exist. Not even a reasonable facsimile. And I end up with things that are not REALLY what I wanted, or in a size that’s MOSTLY right, but not quite perfect, cuz hey, I have to wear SOMETHING. And so I’m often out in the world feeling not EXACTLY like who I want to portray, who I want to BE.

Maybe some of you straight-sizers feel the same way, but you have 10,487,362 more options than us plus-sizers do and MAN, THAT JUST AIN’T RIGHT.

I may sound like a broken record on this topic, but it is brought to my attention ALMOST EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE when I get dressed. And it’s SO much better than it used to be, really. But we still don’t have anywhere near the options that other sizes do.

Designers, fashion retailers, manufacturers, buyers – LISTEN UP! We want the same options that everyone else has. That is not an unreasonable request. If you make it and sell it, we will buy it. We’re STARVED for it.

I don’t WANT to play dress up. I don’t want to look like a pink-kitten-sweatshirt-wearin- granny…or a lookin-like-i-was-painted-into-this-dress-hoochie-mama. I want to look like ME. And I’m not the only one. So, more options, please!

Okay, that’s all. For Now.

PS – how cute are my darling co-workers as Jen 1 and Jen 2? And they’re not just adorable – they are smart and open-minded and kind. They are the future. And if they are the future?? The world might just be a better place.

What Am I Going to Wear This Week??

So, THIS is a terrifying thing. I’m sharing my first real vlog with you today. Have patience. Be kind. I was going on the “don’t go live til everything is perfect” model but realized…I will NEVER go live! So here goes, for better or worse…

I know there are some issues. Focus is going in and out. The focusing sound the camera makes is quite loud. I feel like I roll my eyes a lot (ha) and I sound a little nervous. I have to figure these things out. And it *will* get better (dammit).

The video explains my process for putting together a weekly wardrobe, so I don’t waste precious time every morning when I could be sleeping or scrolling through my Instagram. Maybe everybody does this already, but maybe it will help *someone,* and that is my hope. It also talks a bit about how I organize my closet so putting outfits together is easier.

If you enjoy the vlog I hope you will give it a thumbs up and comment and even subscribe. Tell me what you liked and didn’t like about it so I can make future videos more helpful and interesting.

Okay. Here goes nuthin’!!!

Ha ha, nice picture, Bettye! I have to figure out how to make a nice thumbnail!

Cardigans Are a Girl’s Best Friend

Okay, first of all, forgive me as I have selfied. I had no available photographer this week so I figured out I could use a light stand as a tripod workaround. I always lose the little piece on the tripod that attaches the camera to the tripod, rendering said tripod useless. But the hard part of selfies isn’t where to put the camera or how to take the picture from umpteen feet away…it’s how to get yourself in focus!!! So, my apologies in advance for a high percentage of not-quite-in-focus pictures.

That said…I really enjoyed wearing this Karen Kane floral dress from Gwynnie Bee…BUT it was only wearable with a cardi over top. It was a little too clingy to my hip bumps and my tummy on its own…but a cardigan is magic and just glides right over those things and you’d never know there were any problem areas at all!

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Aforementioned hip bumps…not quite as evident in the photo, but trust me, they’re there.

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And tummy…

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But with the cardigan all that just disappears…

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Interestingly, my friend Julia over at When the Girls Rule just posted today about a top she calls “the fixer.” And I think a loose-fitting cardigan falls into the category of “fixer,” as it fixes whatever’s underneath. I’m borrowing your term, Julia, cuz it’s brilliant! 

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So if you have something that seems a little too snug for you in spots, don’t necessarily discount it. If you love it, you can “fix it” with a loose cardigan over top.

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Plus, they’re wonderful for extending your summer wardrobe into the cooler months of fall. I’d had this dress in my Gwynnie Bee closet for some time, and it just arrived now in the middle of October. Layering the cardigan over it made it autumnal!

Speaking of autumnal, just some borrowed scenes from my girlfriend’s front porch…

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What I Wore:

  • Karen Kane floral dress via Gwynnie Bee, 24
  • Old Navy black duster cardigan, 2x
  • Hat from Headcovers Unlimited