It’s my last week of radiation – yay. It’s a good thing, too, cuz at this point I am beaten down. Life is pretty much work, treatment, home to lay down. But this past weekend I dragged myself up and out, picked up my buddy Marcy, and headed into Brooklyn to a new plus size boutique I’ve been seeing all over social media called Plus Bklyn.
Plus Bklyn is a funky little shop at 455 Graham Ave., Williamsburg, that caters to trendy ladies from size 14-26. Owner Alexis Krase and colleague Ivy were so charming and hospitable when we visited. We tried on bunches of fun things – there were dresses, tops, bathing suits, sunglasses, bags, jewelry and so much more!
So let’s play What Did I Buy?!
What do y’all think?
It’s so nice to have a new in-person plus-size shopping destination, I’ll definitely be back!
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.
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!
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.
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
This cardigan is one of my favorite purchases of the fall/winter. It’s soft and cozy and moozhy* and warm (love) without being overly thick and stiff and bulky (hate). I would love more like this. But here’s the thing – there are *very* few plus size options in the moozhy realm. Site after site, when you search on “sweaters,” there is a plethora of thin knits, mostly crew and v-neck, or cowl neck (a personal NON-favorite)…and they try and pass off jersey-type knits as “sweaters.” I am on the search for more textural knits, chunky knits. It’s like finding a needle in the haystack for this plus-size gal…whereas my straight size sisters have TONS of options. Maybe the designers think the plus size gals are fluffy ENOUGH, we don’t need fluffy sweaters ADDING to our “bulk”?? Ahem. It’s a hard cold world out there. This plus size girl wants all the comfy cozy FLUFFY she can get!
Question: if the average woman’s size in the US is 16, then why are there SO many more sizes available UNDER size 16 and so FEW sizes available ABOVE 16?. If you search at, say, Nordstrom, which actually HAS a large plus size section (relatively speaking), on “sweater,” in the straight-size section you get 2000-ish results. If you search on sweater under plus sizes….184. Come on! And OF those whopping 184 plus size sweater options, how many are something other than a fine, thin knit?? VERY. FEW. Where’s the boucle? Where’s the chenille? Where are the super-soft chunky knits? Where are the big half-your-face covering turtlenecks? I’m not saying they don’t exist AT ALL, but there are very VERY few of them. I think there are two. And I own them both (funny not funny).
And to complicate matters even further…I would like to start moving my grey cold weather palette towards blush, oatmeal, soft soft pink as we head (soon. right? soon?) towards milder weather. I see these colors EVERYWHERE online. In shops, on fashion bloggers, on Instagram. But guess what? That palette virtually Does Not Exist in plus sizes. WTF??? Is it too much to ask for a cozy soft textural blush knit cardigan? Is it? Apparently it is.
Grr. You know what else is annoying (I’m on a roll now!)?? Going into a store that carries “straight and plus sizes,” and seeing rack after rack after rack after RACK of straight sizes…and I’m talking the LONG racks, like at TJ Maxx or Burlington or Nordstrom Rack or Macy’s Backstage…and seeing two racks – two SHORT racks for plus sizes. IF PLUS SIZE WOMEN MAKE UP HALF THE FEMALE CLOTHES-WEARING POPULATION, WHY DO WE ONLY HAVE LIKE 10% (this is an estimated “eyeballed” estimate) OF THE CLOTHING OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO US??? How does that make sense??
Sigh. I just want a pretty sweater. I’m not talking a giant miracle here. Or maybe I am. I’d like a plus-sized miracle, please.
So if you have been challenged by this same thing, there are some things you can do. When I get those little pop-ups on online shopping sites that say “how’d we do?” or “how was your shopping experience?” I take the time to respond. I say, “Gosh, you have so many great items! I really want to buy Item X but I don’t see it in a Size 24. Where do you keep the sizes for ALL the ladies??” Now I know perfectly well they don’t CARRY size 24 (or 20, 18, 16, 14 and maybe even 12…and CERTAINLY not size 26, 28 or 30), but I’m trying to make the point that MY MONEY IS JUST AS VALUABLE AS THE SIZE 0-10 GIRLS, WHY DON’T YOU WANT IT?
I’ve also been thinking about getting together a letter-writing campaign to straight size brands saying essentially the above “we want your nice things, we want to give you our money, please make this possible.”
Blogger Sara Chiwaya at Curvily started a hashtag campaign a few years ago called #PlusSizePlease…in which if you see a straight size item you wish was in a plus size, you take a pic and put it on social media with the brand’s name and hashtag #PlusSizePlease. Read more about it here . I don’t know how active this is any more but it could (and SHOULD!) be resurrected.
*moozhy: my word for soft, cozy, warm, textural, maybe a little puffy
What I’m Wearing:
New Navy Michael Kors open-front boucle cardigan, from Macy*s. Out of stock. Wish I had a comparable alternative (read post above).
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:
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.
I like the juxtaposition of the faux-leather moto “bad a**” (ha ha) jacket over the more, literally, buttoned-up conservative outfit underneath.
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.
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.
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 🙂
So…before I get into the trying on, I wanted to share with you one of my goals for the blog for 2017 – VIDEO. Not instead of the written blog, but in addition to it. I think it’s nice to feel like you’re sort of having a conversation with a person (albeit one-sided) and video can help things feel more like that. Also, it’s helpful to be able to see the movement in clothes – how does the fabric fall and drape, what happens to the dress when you move or sit…all shown better in a video than a still photograph.
My defined goal was to have a YouTube channel up and running with some decent production quality vlogs…by July. But it’s all harder than it seems (!!!) so guess who gets to be my test audience? YOU! Ha. I don’t know if I should say “You’re Welcome” or “I’m Sorry,” but I’ll be sharing short videos here as I practice this new skill. Please share any thoughts or critiques. I know in the beginning these will be pretty rough – I don’t really have proper videoing equipment or lighting or anything, I’m just using what I have for now til I see if this is something I even really like doing.
So. That brings us to today’s post. I hadn’t really meant to share anything so soon, but…I video’d two Gwynnie Bee items that arrived this week for a Gwynnie Bee Facebook group I’m in (we like to share our “try-on’s” with one another so other people can tell if the item is something they’d like to put in their online closet), so I wasn’t thinking of things like, oh, sweeping up the dog hair off the floor, or maybe brushing my hair or putting away all the mess in the line of the camera. But I just had a little fun with it and then thought, you know what? I could use this on the blog with the caveat LOW EXPECTATIONS = SMALL DISAPPOINTMENTS, ha. It’s really a mess. But that’s why this blog is called Fashion SCHLUB and NOT I’m A Pretty Pretty Princess.
So here you go. Note: I don’t always hate *everything,* ha. And pardon my voice, I’ve been on and off sick since Thanksgiving.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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).
Like my favorite summer dress (seen here), an “invisible uniform” is a wonderful thing to have. Over the summer it was a simple black dress. Now in the fall it’s black leggings and a black tunic top. That’s the base. It’s comfy, it’s easy…and it’s invisible. It’s so…unremarkable…that people really won’t notice if you wear it again and again. It’s what you wear *with it* that makes it an outfit.
In this case, for fall, I’m layering several lightweight pieces over the base.
A lightweight chambray tunic from Avenue creates one look…
An army green rayon waterfall vest from Target creates another.
And lastly, a faux suede fringed Cuprio vest over a chambray blouse from Target makes up a third look. I would also wear the vest alone over the leggings and tunics but I was trying to see how many looks I could create from my closet.
The only “rule” I give this, is the “over” piece should be at least as long as, if not longer than, the tunic.
As the weather gets colder I can switch out the thin leggings and flats for black skinny jeans and booties or knee-high boots and cozy long cardigans. I’d love a plush, deep wine longline cardi over the black base.
And a more casual “base” can be as simple as jeans and a white tee. The same “invisible” rule applies. You can put so many things on top of those two pieces to make completely different outfits – a colorful kimono, a blazer, bomber jacket, cardigan, etc.
This is just an easy way to make many outfits out of just a few items.
Forgive the ucky photo setting. I’ve lost my “after work daylight hours” with the time change and will need to resort to indoor selfies from time to time.
Do you have a “uniform” you change out with different items? I’d love to hear about it…
I realized I’ve mostly only shared more dressed-up outfits…well, not DRESSED UP like FORMALWEAR, ha, but…work clothes…and I think I had a date dress one time (just no date to wear it on)…but I haven’t been showing more casual outfits I’d wear to coffee with friends or to a gallery…or on a doggy date with my daughter! I like outfits I can wear to work but are so comfortable that I can wear them straight through the afternoon and evening to whatever else I’m doing then.
So here’s one like that.
It’s finally cool enough for booties and some light sweaters. But this outfit is also light enough for walking. That whole layering thing is really cute, but…I get HOT when I move and I want as little on me as possible!
Swinging should be on more exercise regimens. After just a few minutes my stomach muscles were exhausted!
My boy is getting old and gone are the days of needing to “wear him out.” He’s happy for a quiet stroll around the block just to get some fresh air and sniff some new scents…and then back to the sofa!
We’re not so unalike in that regard!
Hope you liked seeing a more casual outfit. I like always having a couple “just throw on and go” looks that require no thought and I know I’ll be comfortable in. I’d *really* like an entire wardrobe like that! I’m still working on it….
My high school (and beyond) boyfriend used to call make-up “fake out,” which, really, I guess it is. We can say we’re “highlighting” or “accentuating,” but really we’re CHANGING. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but it’s just interesting. That SO many women spend time and money on doing things to change the way we look. Talk about body positivity (which is a big topic for another day)!!!
I don’t wear MUCH makeup, not for any philosophical reason, just cuz I never really learned to apply things correctly and it’s all expensive and time consuming, yadda yadda yadda.
But I wear a LITTLE. Mascara is my “must wear” item, otherwise I feel like my eyes entirely disappear. WHO CARES? Apparently I do, ha.
And I went through A Lipstick Phase in the mid-90s. My (now ex-) husband would put a new lipstick in my Christmas stocking every year cuz he loved a RED lip. It was always too bold, too HEY!!! LOOK AT ME!!! for me, and I don’t think I ever wore any of the Christmas stocking lipsticks (sorry, ex). But it did get me to try OTHER (less in your face) lip colors…and 20-something years later I’m still looking for the right shade and formula!!!
It’s SO hard to tell how a color will look on you and it’s expensive to buy a new one, try it on and have it Not Be Right and be out the $4-25!!! Kate at The Small Things blog (this same post talked about how she researches makeup purchases online, I highly recommend reading it as I found it very useful) convinced me (well, not her PERSONALLY, but reading her blog, ha ha) to RETURN makeup and beauty products if they are not to your satisfaction. And boy, most of them are NOT!!! Amiright?!?!
Which is exactly what happened here. The pictures that follow may horrify you. You’ve been warned. They’re just crappy close-up cell phone shots. Again, YBW.
This is a lipstick, NYX (that I keep reading wonderful things about), they just didn’t have the shade I was looking for and I was in Lipstick Buying Mode, so I improvised. And things went horribly wrong. But I just want to point out HOW different the color looks in the tube (lovely) vs. on my lips (Whatever Happened to Baby Jane). Okay, here goes nothing (somehow this feels more terrifying to me than posting the pictures of me in the bathing suits!!!)
Ha! How did THAT color come out of THAT tube? Egads! Not what I was going for At All.
So, what is the moral of this long story?
Do your homework before purchasing makeup/health&beauty stuff.
Know that you CAN return opened products! I’ve already returned the day-glo pink lipstick, No Questions Asked 🙂
What sort of experiences have you had with buying beauty products and having them NOT be what you thought they were going to be?