Stepping WAY Outside the Box (in more ways than one)


I was trying SO hard to get an outfit post up this week as promised. I did a little shoot on Sunday…and then Monday found myself in the ER. I debated sharing my story vs not, but figured in the interest of “keeping it real,” I would. This is not a pity post, an attempt to garner “oh, poor you”-s, or even really a cautionary tale (Don’t Do As I Have Done)…it’s truly just a…What I Did This Week. With some outfit pictures!

So, I’m not always so good with adulting when it comes to the medical realm. If I’m not incapacitated or in unbearable pain, I generally avoid doctors. There’s also, at the risk of TMI, a financial aspect to this. Even with insurance all that medical stuff is EXPENSIVE!

I don’t want this to be too long and drawn out, so here’s the bullet point version:

  • Went to emergency room on Monday for blood transfusion due to anemia due to long-term heavy bleeding (of the female kind) – *I* thought due to fibroids.
  • How did I know I had fibroids if I never go to the doctor?  I DO go the doctor for kidney stones cuz those things are painful AF. And a kidney stone scan awhile back showed fibroids. So I just assumed they were the cause of the bleeding.
  • Wednesday they did a D&C to try and stop the bleeding and to do an endometrial biopsy to rule out cancer (hospital protocol) as a cause of the bleeding and other things.
  • After the D&C a blood clot (small) was discovered in my left calf and Vascular Guy recommended a blood thinner (even with the bleeding situation, cuz clot seems more significant than the bleeding. Clots are bad mothers. My father died from a blood clot. I’m doing what the doctor says).
  • All this took 5 days and I was just released today, Friday. There were some mix-ups with scheduling things and everything took longer than it should have and I spent MOST of the five days hooked up to one IV or another AND on a “no food or drink” order. I think I had 4 meals in 5 days.
  • I will follow up next week with the OB-Oncologist from the hospital, she’ll have the biopsy results and we’ll go from there.

SO – that was Part 1 of my Stepping Out of the Box post – seeking medical attention. I had NO IDEA I would be there all week. I thought I might be there overnight so I did pack some things in a bag – and have been making mental notes all week to comprise a list of Things to Bring to the Hospital. I’ll share the list with you guys when it’s done.

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Meanwhile, Part 2, the more fun part, was this cute outfit! I LOVE this black-and-white striped top with the trendy bell sleeves. As I’ve mentioned, I was never really a trend gal, but I can feel that sort of changing. The REAL stepping out of the box element here was that the shirt was snug across my belly…and shorter than I normally wear shirts, so it showed my belly and butt more than I’m used to…or really comfortable with. BUT….I liked the concept of the outfit so much I wore it anyway. STEPPING OUT, BABY!

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I wish I had more pictures, but it was really really cold and windy that day and I was not feeling so great, so…we got what we got.

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There’s always one!

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I love my red sneaks. I haven’t worn them in awhile cuz lace-up sneakers are so hard for me. My feet are so so so far away.

What I Wore:

  • INC International Concepts Stripe Bell Sleeve Top, size 3x, via Gwynnie Bee
  • Bongo black faux leather jacket, size 3x
  • Plus Size Refuge Hi-Rise Skinny Jeans, size 22
  • Red converse-style sneakers from Target

My friend Marcy from Fearlessly Just Me was my photographer du jour. She’s really doing a great job, don’t you think?

Just Keepin’ It Real

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So, I know I’ve been sharing a lot of casual outfits lately…and especially “jeans’n’sneakers” looks, which is not really my normal MO, but….

a) I think I have worn every cold-weather item in my closet multiple times for the blog, I’ve mixed and matched just about every possible combination I can come up with. Soon I’m going to be wearing things inside and out and upside down just to show things in different ways. I keep a really small wardrobe and I’m still a couple items short of completing a couple different outfits (HOW CAN A PLAIN WHITE SHIRT BE SO HARD TO FIND???). I repeat outfits a lot in my daily life, but it would be pretty boring for you guys to see that on the blog, so…I’m trying to stretch it out as far as I can but we’re getting down to the bare bones. Pretty soon it’s going to be “you can’t see it, but I’m wearing a different bra today,” ha.

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b) When I get items from Gwynnie Bee and they’re not something I would actually wear in my actual life, I don’t share them in an outfit post. My aim with outfit posts is to show what I *actually* wear in my actual life.

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c) My heel really really really hurts! I have plantar fasciitis in my left heel and it is so so painful…that I wear sneakers a LOT more than I usually do just in an effort to keep my feet a little more comfortable. All day long I look forward to getting home and putting on my wonderful orthotic slippers (oh MAN do I sound old!) and getting some relief. Next is a pair of orthotic sneakers. Oh yeah, this is one sexy fashion blog 🙂

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So, the point is, I’m just trying to keep it real. Bear with me. It’ll be spring soon and there’ll be some new looks…and lots of try-on hauls!

These pictures were taken on a cold day in Rockaway Park, Queens. Me and my blogger friend Marcy of Fearlessly Just Me were looking for an interesting spot and I just loved this old “Sea-Port” building. We decided we really need to do a behind-the-scenes vlog because shoot days are pretty hysterical with us changing clothes in the  car, trying to sneak into places, climbing on things for “that perfect shot,” etc.

I love this soft Style&Co sweater. It has an interesting detail of cable stitch along the hemline and allover on the back. Kinda “business in the front, party in the back.” It’s nice and loose fitting so a silk tee or turtleneck fits easily underneath.

And this has been my favorite scarf this winter – it is so so long! Which is very nice on a plus size body (read: fat neck) because there’s actually enough length to wrap it around several times and not just have little stump ends left over like with normal length scarves.

I’m looking forward to maybe a big snow later this week! Ooh, and a super secret work trip…but I’ll share that when the time comes…

What I’m Wearing:

Mixing It Up. Again.

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile you know about The Invisible Dress, because I have mentioned it 12,483 times…and have worn it almost as much. It’s just a simple black sleeveless swing dress I got from ASOS Curve last spring and I’ve dressed it up and dressed it down, worn it alone and with other pieces over it. If you’re not familiar with The Dress, you can see it here and here .

Well it occurred to me recently that not only can I put things OVER it, I can also put things UNDER it…and wear it like a proper jumper (not an English “jumper,” which is really a sweater).

So that’s what I did here. I actually had done a little video with the two outfits, but I, in my vast experience, managed to accidentally delete one clip and that was the better one, so…I need more practice.

Enough talking, here are the looks:

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I paired it here with a lightweight polka-dot blouse, sleeves rolled up, collar buttoned up. I would wear this to work or to a professional meeting away from the office.

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I like the juxtaposition of the faux-leather moto “bad a**” (ha ha) jacket over the more, literally, buttoned-up conservative outfit underneath.

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Side note: it’s so funny, when I look in the mirror I feel like I have SO much make-up on…but when I see the pictures later I’m like, do I have ANY make-up on?? Need to work on that.

The second look is more casual. I would wear this to work but also to meet friends after work for coffee or dinner.

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Side Note: I do not own a full-length mirror…and sometimes shoe choices look alright in my mind’s eye or in the bird’s eye view I have of them from above…but if I see myself in a mirror somewhere else later or in a picture…I am horrified. Like right now. In the video clip I talked about how I would really pair this look with a pair of white sneakers but one of my white sneakers has been missing for months (think it’s with the black duster??) so these seemed casual and appropriate. In my head. They. Are. Not. Please pretend I am wearing almost anything else on my feet here.

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Okay, so this blue Tencel chambray blouse dresses this look down a bit I think, to a more casual level. In the video I rolled up the sleeves and it looked better but you’re not seeing that here.

If I was going out I might put a denim jacket over this or an olive green utility jacket, to keep with the low-key vibe.

So I now have like 3 dozen different ways to wear this one dress, ha. Do you have one item that you accessorize a gazillion different ways? Can you think of a piece of clothing you have in your wardrobe that you always wear a certain way…that you could maybe do something completely different with? You’d be surprised.

I apologize for all the technical difficulties. Between the video attempts and the fact that my computer has been dying a rapid death for the past weeks and I’ve been working on an ancient laptop without full *anything* capability, I’ve been a little out of blogging sorts. I hope to only get better from here 🙂

What I’m Wearing:

  • ASOS Curve Sleeveless Swing Dress, size 22. Sold out, similar here (this actually looks like the identical dress to me)
  • Who What Wear polkadot blouse via Target, size 22. Sold out, similar here
  • Blue Tencel blouse from Charlotte Russe, size 24. Sold out, similar here

Your Mama Ain’t Always Right

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I. Love. This. Dress. I love it almost as much as the invisible black dress I’ve worn 12,657,921 times since I bought it from ASOS last March. Guess where I bought this dress from? ASOS! ASOS Curve, to be exact. They have such a great selection of plus size clothing. I was asked the other day what plus size brands are my favorite, and I have to say if I had to purchase from only one brand forevermore…it would be ASOS (this is not a sponsored post! I just love them that much).

It looks kinda like a sack, you say? HELL YEAH IT DOES!!! That’s exactly what I love about it. It just skims away from my body, there’s nothing to shift or tug or adjust. It’s like wearing your nightgown out in public. And we all know that’s my Fashion Holy Grail 🙂

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In spite of it being sack-like, I think it falls nicely in the category of “minimal.” It has very simple, clean lines…the only detail being the ribbing on the body (the sleeves are smooth), which seems a little spage-agey to me. It reminds me of the Robot’s arms&legs from Lost in Space.

My mother used to say you couldn’t mix black and navy. I happen to think black and navy is very chic. Mama ain’t always right.

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What did I tell you?? There’s always one…

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We shot this in the West End of Long Beach, a charming beachy community. It turns out there’s a story behind this be-flagged box in the street. A resident of the street turned the car-blocking (it’s a narrow one-way street) planter into a memorial when he discovered that a neighbor’s daughter was killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. He painted the planter, added the flag pole and flags and put a protected September 11 remembrance flag on the base. He regularly updates the memorial with plants or flowers and decorations appropriate to season or holiday.

My friend Marcy of Fearlessly Just Me took these photos. We’ve been taking turns photographing one another for our respective blogs.

What fashion advice do *you* ignore?

What I Wore:

  • Asos Curve Ripple Stitch navy knit dress, size 26
  • Black faux leather moto jacket by Bongo, via Sears, 3x
  • Black footless fleece-lined tights from Maurice’s, 3x
  • Faux black leather booties from Avenue

 

Winter Cardigan Style Guide

I love cardigans. I love wearing things over other things. I like adding a “topper” of some sort to the base outfit. In the cold weather: cardigans, blazers, light jackets. In the summer, kimonos, lightweight dusters, oversized blouses.

But for today, I thought I’d share some style tips I’ve learned (or made up!) about wearing cardigans.

One of the easiest cold weather outfits is pants and a light sweater or knit top. To me, that feels a little unfinished, so I like to put a cardigan over top.

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Charlotte Russe blanket cardigan 3x, Old Navy Rockstar jeans 22, silk-trimmed long-sleeved tea from Avenue 26/28, Avenue booties

With pants I always like a cardi (or blazer, kimono, etc) that’s at least a little longer than what you’re wearing underneath.

I also prefer when the top layer is darker than the underneath layer. This might just be me, but to me colors have weight. Dark colors carry more visual weight than lighter colors, and wearing the lighter over the darker just always feels “off” to me. In this case they’re kind of close, they’re both grey, but the long sleeved tee base top is a lighter grey than the cardigan over top.

Here’s an example of the opposite…and it’s not TERRIBLE (fortunately my closet is not full of too many “don’ts”!). Lighter over darker. I’d have to really be down to just a few things in my closet to opt to wear these pieces together.

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Another favorite outfit of mine is a cardigan over a dress. In this case, I like the two to be almost exactly the same length. This can be more difficult to arrange unless you’re buying both pieces at the same time, so it’s especially nice when it works out like it does here.

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Michael Kors blue cardigan 3x, Alice & You swing dress 22/24

I didn’t have a good example to show from my winter closet, but I really only like shorter or cropped cardigans over a dress with a defined waist. With a loose trapeze or swing dress like the one shown here, I opt for an equally long, loose and swingy overpiece. I feel like when the bottom hem lengths of the two pieces are too disparate that it can cut the body horizontally too many times – and most bodies don’t benefit from horizontal chopping. Does that make sense?

Here’s an example of wearing a top that is shorter than the bottom piece. Again, imagine the bottom piece as even longer, like a tunic – I had to work with what I currently have!

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Mustard yellow cardigan old, 3x; Avenue cream silk-trimmed long-sleeved tee 26/28; Charlotte Russe Refuge jeans 24 short

Who wants multiple horizontal lines cutting across their butt?? Not this girl!

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m really enjoying the athleisure trend. In the past, I would have only thought of a sweatshirt or zipfront jacket over leggings but now there are darling hoodie cardigans to wear. My “rule” in this case, is to be sure that either the under or over piece covers your butt when you’re wearing leggings. That said, if you’re tall and slim this rule does not apply 🙂 But for us mere mortals it’s nice to have some guidelines.

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All items (except Adidas sneakers) from Avenue: grey waffle-knit hoodie 22/24; cream silk-trimmed long-sleeved tee 26/28; navy cropped pima cotton leggings 22

Another type of cardigan is the oversized wrap. My little rule with this is: baggy on top, snug on bottom. If you’re wearing an oversized piece on top, then wear skinny jeans or leggings or slim tailored pants or a pencil skirt on the bottom. Below I’m showing another “don’t.” These jeans are just too baggy and wrinkled at the knees to look their best with this oversized cardigan. My black skinny jeans would be a much better choice.

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BB Dakota blanket cardigan via Gwynnie Bee 3x; cream Gloria Vanderbilt Amanda jeans 24; Avenue grey silk-trimmed long-sleeved tee 26/28

It’s important when putting outfits together to not just think of what colors go together, but what scales work together, and what the lines of the clothing are doing to your body.

All that said, WHO THE HECK AM I? Ha! Anyone who knows me knows that “Bettye Breaks the Rules,” so read what I’ve written and then put your own spin on it. These are just things I’ve learned that work for me, that when I can, I apply to my wardrobe. But you do you 🙂

I like to really analyze outfits I see that I like…and try and understand WHY I like that one, and not another one. It’s more complex than just “ooh, that baby pink looks so pretty with camel.” Color can be the most obvious characteristic of an outfit but I wouldn’t say it’s the most important. Scale, balance, ratio, fabrics, line, style: all extremely important. And ha, this is “do as I say not as I do!” With this body I often have to take what I can get – based on what fits, so even *I* am not able to follow all my guidelines all the time. But I’m always mindful of them. And I hope after reading this you will be too.

Stepping Outside the Box

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I am normally a pretty basic dresser. Solids, neutrals, limited palette, that’s my usual wardrobe. And then THIS happened. This floral tunic by American Rag that I’ve rented from Gwynnie Bee. I feel so HAPPY in it! I felt a little like a Matryoshka – those brightly painted Russian wooden nesting dolls. In a good way!

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Sometimes you just have to take a little walk on the wild side, try something new, step outside your box. It’s so interesting to me how *difficult* that can be with something as seemingly insignificant as clothing. Yet sometimes wearing something DIFFERENT…in PUBLIC…can be The Most Terrifying Thing.

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But it’s a good thing to slip a little strange into your normal routine, know what I mean? Don’t dress and live The Same Exact Way day after day after day. There are just so many days. Explore, adventure, spread your friendship wings, wear a brightly colored blouse.

LIVE.

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What I’m Wearing:

Do you think you might like to try Gwynnie Bee? It’s a clothing rental service for sizes 10-32. And the first month is FREE! If you want to give it a try (and you know you want to), just click the banner ad below. I’ve been a member for almost 2 years and it has helped me on the road to finding my fashion style because I can try so many different things without filling up my closet or emptying out my bank account!

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If you do join through this affiliate link, I will get a small commission (thank you!). But I wouldn’t recommend the company if I didn’t REALLY love them (and I do).

My new friend Marcy of Fearlessly Just Me was my photographer once again – thanks, Marcy!

One Dress: Three Outfits

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a) HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Okay, so, one of my requirements for new items to be added to my wardrobe is that they must be versatile. I ask myself if an item I’m coveting can be worn three different ways. If not…it has to REALLY have something else going for it. I especially like pieces that can be dressed up *and* down just by switching out accessories.

This is one of those items. I got this dress from JC Penney’s Boutique+ plus size line. I love the fabric and fit, it floats across my body barely touching it and has a lot of swing and movement when I walk. And it’s simple without being boring – the lace-up detail at the neck gives it a little sumpn-sumpn. And it dresses up and down very nicely. I’ve styled it here for a date look, out for a drink with friends, and a comfortable work look.

For the date look, I’ve worn it with over the knee boots and a slightly sparkly cardigan…some swingy earrings and a little arm bling.

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I would wear the next look out in the evening for cocktails with friends (anyone wanna go out for cocktails?), with my faux leather moto jacket, black booties…and dangly brushed silver earrings that I forgot to photograph. Bad blogger. Bad!

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And lastly, a comfortable work or afternoon at the coffee shop outfit. A cozy longline cardigan, low-heeled booties and this darling ring my daughter got for me.

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I’d like to thank my new blogger friend Marcy of Fearlessly Just Me who took these photographs – she did a really good job, don’t you think?

What I’m Wearing:

  • Wine swing dress, 3x, JC Penney Boutique+
  • Black sequin cardigan, 3x, TJ Maxx (old), similar here and here
  • Black boots, Avenue (old), similar here
  • Black Bongo faux leather moto jacket (old), similar here
  • Black faux leather Myla booties, Avenue
  • Taupe longline duster cardigan, INC from Macy*s (old)