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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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!

Time Flies

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As Thanksgiving weekend passes and we move into December and the Christmas holiday season, I remember being little, maybe 5 or 6, and counting the days til Christmas and bemoaning HOW FAR AWAY IT IS and WON’T CHRISTMAS EVER GET HERE?! It was probably early in December, I remember decorations already being out. Anyway, my mother said “blah blah blah – you know, when you get older, time will go faster.”

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I didn’t think much of that at the time (come on, I was 5), but I never forgot her words…and as I did get older and better able to think more philosophically about things, I gave more thought to the passing of time. And now, at 57, I realize she was correct, time does seem to pass more quickly now. Obviously it doesn’t actually go faster…a year is always 365 days, an hour 60 minutes, etc., but looking back, I feel like I’ve been alive about a minute.

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People ask why this is so. My (highly scientific and educated, ahem) opinion is that it has to do with relativity. The more time has actually passed, the smaller any segment of it seems. When you’re 5, one year is a fifth of your entire lifespan, that’s a big chunk. When you’re 57, a year is only 1/57th of your entire life…that’s a very small sliver, relatively speaking. It’s still 365 days, but it SEEMS smaller (shorter) compared to earlier years.

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But when it all comes down to it…just make good use of the time you have. You rarely have as much as you think. Have some fun. Take a day off. Don’t waste time being aggravated (I’m whispering this one in my own ear). Surprise a loved one with a visit or phone call. Volunteer. Make a difference.

Lecture over!

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I’d been saving this plus size Junarose “botanical print” tunic til fall, even though I got it late summer from plusBKLYN. It just seemed autumny to me and I knew it would be perfect under the olive green duster I didn’t own yet (but obviously do now!). And I was right! I’ve seen it worn as a dress (if you’re a little more daring than I!) and as a tunic…belted and unbelted. It has a cool exposed zipper in the back and loose three-quarter sleeves. I’ve just worn it over black leggings and I meant to change into my black flats after traipsing through the woods looking for the ideal photo spot…but I got so aggravated (what a time waster!) at my new wireless shutter remote (that has since been replaced by one that actually works with my camera) that I forgot to change my shoes. D’oh! Anyway, it’s an ideal transitional piece because it’s super lightwight if it’s warmish but with a cardigan over, it’s just right if it’s coolish.

What I Wore:

PS – Today – Nov. 28 is the last day to enter the Karen Kane Shopping Spree contest so be sure to enter by clicking on the graphic below!

Win A $500 Shopping Spree

Today I’m linking-up up with the #IWillWearWhatILike link-up on Not Dressed as Lamb, I’m in LOVE with the tapestry coat she’s wearing today, you should take a look!

 

Learning Curves

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They say old dogs can’t learn new tricks. When my now ex-husband and I were first dating his father had two dogs that lived mostly out in the yard. Seven-year-old Princess kept herself entertained by chewing on rocks (and had whittled-down razor sharp teeth to prove it!). I figured she was bored…and since sometimes I would be there while my then boyfriend was sleeping (he worked odd hours) or working, I decided to spend some time with Princess. We started out just going for walks but she was so attentive I figured I would try teaching her a couple things. She ate it up and we were soon in the obedience ring claiming trophies and perfect scores. The point of the story? At seven years old, she was the fastest learner I have ever known. The other point of the story? Old dogs CAN learn new tricks.

I’m a pretty old dog…and I’m trying to teach myself some new tricks – film-making, vlogging, and now, shooting myself with a wireless shutter release. It sounds so simple, but there are endless mistakes to be made.

Like this…

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And this…

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It’s one thing to make the camera take a picture from a distance. It’s another thing to get the subject in focus! And get all the desired body parts in the frame! So I hope you’ll bear with me as I master this new trick. This time of year (early darkness) it’s harder than ever to get people to take blog pictures for me so I’m going to have to rely on this new method quite a bit. I *will* get better (woof!) but it may take a little time.

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The other new trick I’m working on is video-ing (it’s probably a little optimistic and premature for me to call what I’m doing “film-making”!) and vlogging. It’s *really* time-consuming and not nearly as “fixable” as photography. So my YouTube vlogs are going to be bad…until they’re not. I’m a person that learns by doing, so…I’l just keep doing until I learn.

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Me standing in a hole, next to a garbage can. I’m knocking it out of the park with my selfie photography, oui? 

This mauvey pink chenille cardigan is the one from the newest video “Plus Size Fall Haul Part 2” (could that BE a more compelling title? How can you NOT watch it?). I put it over the polka dot dress that you last saw under a wine-colored duster in a What I Wore This Week post, here.

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It’s finally cold enough for the fleece-lined footless tights. Yay? The polka-dotted Karen Kane dress is my favorite swing dress style and this one is in a nice weight fabric that just skims over the body and doesn’t show off any lumps or bumps.

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PS – here’s a long-ago picture of Princess (photo right) and skinny 20-something me with two of my girlfriend’s dogs.

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And I have a new plus-size fall clothing haul up on YouTube – there are clothes from Charlotte Russe, JC Penney, Target, Gloria Vanderbilt and New Look.

Thanks for sticking with me and my learning curves!

What I Wore:

PPS – take a chance at winning a $500 shopping spree at Karen Kane, woohoo!

Win A $500 Shopping Spree

I’m linking up today with Linda at A Labour of Life: Life & Style for the Woman Over 50  who is wearing THE most amazing plaid suit today! Go check her out.

This post contains affiliate links and if you click on them I may be compensated. Compensated (whether via affiliate links, sponsored posts, etc.) content will always be labeled as such and I do so solemnly swear to always give my honest opinion and only recommend products that I truly believe to be useful, beautiful, wonderful and sometimes even magical.

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!

Week in Review: Week 90

Wow, the time change last weekend really threw me for a loop! It’s amazing what a difference an hour can make! I’m home from work by 4:25-4:30…and I think most every day this past week I was in my nightgown and cooking dinner by 4:45! I was ready for bed by 7pm. Ha. And I gave myself a week to just go with it. So, my apologies for being totally absent for a week. I just couldn’t get myself going. At all.

I feel like I’ve somehow missed so much “leaf peeping” this autumn…so I’m trying to get out on my lunch break from work a couple times a week just to see some prettiness before it’s all gone. In this outfit I sorta felt like *I* was autumn foliage!

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Floral top from Bobeau; rust fleece cardigan from Rainbow shops; jeans from Charlotte Russe; vintage headscarf

I did manage to see the tail end of sunset one evening when I raced straight to the harbor before even going home. I felt guilty going without Caleb 😦

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If you watched my plus size Fall Haul vlog on YouTube a week ago you’ll know I *planned* to send this Old Navy dress back, as much as I love it, because it was a little “hip bump clingier” than I like. BUT, once I tried it with the black cardigan, I decided to keep it. And I’m glad I did. It *does* need an old school full slip underneath as the brushed cotton fabric is going to really stick to tights once it gets a little colder.

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Plaid dress from Old Navy; black duster cardigan from Old Navy; oatmeal cotton cloche from Headcovers Unlimited

I did manage to get out one evening to see a documentary called “Swim Team” with some friends, about a swim team in New Jersey made up solely of young adults on the autism spectrum. The film covered their challenges, struggles and successes. It was very sensitively done and really a nice film. The film-maker was there at the screening to answer questions so that’s always an added bonus.

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It’s been a long weekend for me. And I STILL hardly did anything, ha! I’d had plans to do some blog shooting with a friend on Friday but when I woke up that morning it was like a mini polar vortex had swept in over night and I made the executive decision that NOPE, we were not going to stand outside all day in the freezing cold, taking pictures of one another.

OH – another little exciting thing happened this week for me…but you’ll have to wait til Tuesday’s blog post to find out about that. Heh heh heh. Don’t’cha hate when someone says, “I have a surprise for you…but I’m not going to tell you what it is” ??

Here’s hoping for a more productive week ahead! Did you guys get as set-back with the time change as I did??

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.

Size Matters

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No, I’m not talking about THAT. Jeez, get your mind out of the gutter.

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I’m talking about clothing sizing. And how *annoying* it is. It’s hard enough to find clothes that fit, but when you have roadblocks all throughout your shopping travels, it’s nearly impossible. Things like: clothing manufacturers not adhering to a global sizing standard, items being available in straight (and even petite) size that don’t exist in plus sizes, or one of my biggest pet peeves, clothing that gets taller/longer as the sizes go up.

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According to Livestrong.com, the average height of non-Hispanic white women is 5’4.” And here’s a shocking fact: as we gain weight, we do not also get TALLER. We get WIDER. But in my search for Sizing that Works for Me, I keep finding lines that get taller as they get larger. Melissa McCarthy’s plus line is very “tall.” Target’s Ava & Viv does this. So does Lane Bryant. I was excited to try something from the new Target line, A New Day, but guess what? Same fit issue as Ava & Viv. As I sized up to accommodate my hips/belly (my largest part), the item length stretched down towards my knees and the sleeves were absolutely ridiculous! UGH!!!

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So, imagine my delight in coming across Loft’s (soon to be released) plus size collection. First I tried a swing dress – my go-to default style. Very good. THEN I got brave and tried a more straight cut dress (shown) and BAM! Not only were the measurements hip-friendly, the proportions stayed true to an average height woman (I happen to be 5’3″ so am just below average height) – the shoulders were not swallowing my upper body, the sleeves were a good length, and the dress length itself was good.

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I. Am. So. Pleased. THANK YOU, LOFT. I understand their plus-size line will go live in early 2018…but they did a small release to Gwynnie Bee and that is how I was able to try several pieces.

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I now have several companies/designers that I know I can buy from, and as long as I stick to certain styles, items will fit. That sounds simple but it was a long time coming and a LOT of trial and error. Avenue tends to fit a wider, shorter body. Old Navy Plus can get a couple inches long in larger sizes, but the shoulders fit well and you can always have the length shortened. Asos Curve items *usually* fit a shorter, wider silhouette (though I’ve had the occasional ridiculous outlier there). And now Loft. I am grateful for these baby steps designers/manufacturers are taking in the fashion world. I do long for a day when everything I see in a straight size will also be available in a plus size, but til then…things are better than they *were,* by FAR.

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PS: if your brain is still thinking about sex, maybe take a look at a recent post by Shelbee On The Edge, she  wrote about “The Midlife Sex Conundrom.”

I’m happily linking up with #iwillwearwhatilike

What I Wore:

 

Did you know you can try Gwynnie Bee FREE for 30 days?? Just follow the banner ad below for more details and to sign up.Fall Collection 2017