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

 

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.

Giving Thanks

It’s that time of year again where we’re reminded to be thankful for all that we have in our lives. Obviously that’s something we should be doing all year ’round but…we get busy, we have lives, demands on us, blah blah blah. And we forget. So I’m glad there’s a holiday. To remind us: Be Thankful.

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My Top Five Things to be Thankful For (sorry, My Top Five Things For Which I Am Thankful. Nope. Not doing it. I know its right. But I’m not doing it.)

  1. My health. After a difficult year, I am finally almost back to normal (well, health-wise, anyway).fashion schlub bettye rainwater plus size fashion blogger 11.12.17 4 resized
  2. The people who were so kind and thoughtful and helpful when I was sick this year. I felt an outpouring of love and support that I’ve never experienced before and for that I am thankful. Cuz I really needed it!fashion schlub bettye rainwater plus size fashion blogger 11.12.17 6 resized
  3. I’m so thankful that Caleb is still with me. Last year about this time I never would have expected it, but with the support of good friends and some miraculous meds, he’s still going. fashion schlub bettye rainwater plus size fashion blogger 11.12.17 2 resized
  4. I’m thankful that my daughter (while too far away from her Mama) is doing well. Well-employed, self-sufficient, making friends wherever she goes, traveling. She’s doing all right, that kid of mine. I’m so so proud of her.fashion schlub bettye rainwater plus size fashion blogger 11.12.17 8 resized
  5. I’m thankful for my new apartment…and hand-in-hand with that, for my friend who bought this house and invited me to move here. I feel so so good here. It’s a wonderful sanctuary.

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What are *you* thankful for??

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This is a perfect “just slightly chilly” fall outfit. The floral top is a sleeveless summer top that is always flattering as it does not cling to lumps and bumps, it hangs away from the body slightly, which is perfect if you have a bit of a tummy. The duster cardigan is a lightweight fleece that is cozy but not too warm. Skinny jeans and taupe booties round out this easy-to-wear outfit.

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What I’m Wearing

Thanks to my friend/landlady/photographer Karen for taking these pictures!

I’m linking up today with Emma Peach over at Style Splash for her “Style with a Smile” linkup – go take a look at her site for great style ideas for us…uhm…EXPERIENCED ladies 🙂 as well as all the other linked-up blogs!

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!

2017 Plus Size Fall Haul #1 (with video!)

I finally bit the bullet and purchased some new plus size fall wardrobe items online…and I thought I’d share with you my thoughts about the items I got.

I purchased items from online shopping sites: Full Beauty/Woman Within/Jessica London, Forever 21, Asos, Thred-Up, Rainbow Shops, Gwynnie Bee and Old Navy. These are all in size 2x or 3x. It wasn’t such a successful shop and most of the items have already been returned…and as soon as I get all my refunds I’ll give it another try.

I rant a bit about spending money on “basics,” when they’re really so simple and invisible…and about brands using inconsistent sizing.

I apologize for it being SO so long. I considered cutting it in half and doing a Part 1 and Part 2, but….let’s just move on with it, shall we?

I spent almost the entire day last Saturday recording this fall haul; this vlog stuff has a steep learning curve! It took me so long, by the last couple of outfits the video is so dark you can barely see the color of the items I’m wearing! I also committed the cardinal sin of videoing, which is filming in portrait orientation (instead of landscape) – GAH! I’m having some video/photography challenges in the new apartment still, so bear with me while I get my space and lighting figured out!

If you have any questions about the items, please comment here or in the comments section underneath the video.

Playing Dress Up

plus size, fashion blogger, fashion schlub, over 50 style
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