You’ve Gotta Have boobs….

I bet that title got your attention.  It actually comes from an old cabaret song from the 1960’s by Ruth Wallis. I’ll leave it here for your listening enjoyment. But you say, Okay Evelynlouise what’s the point?

While trying to come up with a good way to approach the delicate subject of bras, I found myself tumbling into a hate spiral of magnanimous proportions. I started with a top 10 things to look for in a bra for all of you plus sized ladies looking for tips and tricks for better bra fit. However, what ended up coming out was this long and judgmental list of fashion industry standards that totally negated the desires of the wearer. I promptly deleted this and decided to start again.

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First of all we can’t have perfectly photo-shopped breasts like those seen in countless articles, billboards, fashion magazines, etc. Why? Because they are an idealization of the real thing. Breasts are lopsided, gravity works its magic on them with age. Not only does gravity get you, but also the loss of elasticity in your skin and having babies. I could go on and on, but I digress.

Breast Cancer researchers can not seem to make up their minds about what causes or how to prevent breast cancer. One week they release a study saying that underwires cause breast cancer, the next week they release a study saying all bras cause cancers to form. Then they release a study saying that it’s only women who sleep in bras. Then a group of students do an interesting study concluding that squeezing your breasts can actually reduce the size of potentially problematic cancer cells. If you try to keep up at all with what the latest science tells you about how to avoid and prevent very dangerous diseases your brain could also explode.

Steps to a better Bra for you

1. Get measured – Measuring Guide – IF you want to do it from home, this awesome website explains step by step how to measure yourself for a better fit. If you don’t feel confident in your use of a tape measurer, JC Penney, Lane Bryant, and Victoria Secret all have associates who are trained to measure for bra fittings. Even if they don’t carry your size, they will usually help you get measured.

2. Figure out what you need and want from a bra – If you don’t want bells and whistles, don’t buy them!

  • Do you want lift? Go with a push up
  • Do you want comfort? Go for a t-shirt bra – these come with underwires, you don’t have to sacrifice support for comfort or vice versa.
  • Need more support in your shoulders? Lane Bryant has a whole collection of bras with wider and padded shoulders to help distribute the weight of your girls!

3. Make sure it fits –

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  •   A properly fitting bra band will feel snug when you first buy it (it will break in over time). Snug does not mean so tight it is painful. If you’re not used to wearing an underwire, it will be uncomfortable the first few wears, but just like shoes, bras have to be broken in.
  • Make sure the cup is the right size. is there a giant gap between your boobs and the cup of the bra? This means it’s too big go a cup size down.
  • Are your breasts threatening to spill over the top of the cup or creating what my friends and I affectionately refer to as quadra-boob (Where the bra is making 4 breasts because the top of the cup is too tight)? Go up a cup size.
  • The center section of the bra in between the cups should sit relatively flat on your chest in between your girls.
  • Make sure you adjust the straps to wear they feel secure but not where they are falling off of your shoulders or digging into your skin. Poorly adjusted bra straps or bra-straps that just don’t fit will cause your bra to ride up or worse, you’ll have to constantly be pulling at your shoulders all day.
  • The back band of the bra should sit straight across your back and not arch up in between your shoulders, this means the band is too small or the straps are too tight.

4. Get the right tool for the right job. –

  • don’t try to make a strapless formal wear bra into an everyday wear. Going to the gym in a $60 Lane bryant satin strapless bra sounds like a painful way to spend your time exercising. Have a few types of bras that will meet your needs for the occasion you are dressing for.

5. Make sure you wash your bras properly

  • Nothing can lead to a ruined bra faster than putting a bra in the dryer.
  • If you invest the money in a good bra, invest the $3 in a delicates wash bag from Walmart.  This allows you to wash your bras with your other perm press items, and then simply remove it, reshape your cups and hang it up to dry.
  • A dryer will make underwires brittle and prone to breakage. The heat can also warp underwires and padding in bras.
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Here is the link to Lane Bryant’s online bra shopping. I personally swear by their bras. I have tried over the shoulder boulder holders (as we refer to them in my home) from Walmart, Target, Sears, JC Penney, and Torrid and I have never found a bra that is higher in quality. If you have a store near you, go in and get fitted. Their bras may be a bit pricey, but they usually always have a buy one get one sale, and they last for a pretty decent amount of time. My longest lived bra died after 5 years of wear. Now that’s pretty darn good.

Lane Bryant Bras

So, How did I do? I don’t want to get into the nuances of cultural ideas of where and how breasts should be worn, but this should help get you started on a search for a better fit to your bra and possibly the garments under which you wear it.

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Summer Purse Switch Up

With this summer has come some amazing bags! As you know if you’ve been following this blog since March, I love myself a wonderful purse. Although, for me purse shopping is as much about finding the perfect bag as it is keeping it in a price range that doesn’t break the bank. I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for the last couple of weeks looking for the most awesome summer purse, and to be honest I just can’t pick one. Maybe one day I will save up the money or be in an income bracket that can afford a brand spanking new Steve Madden, Coach, Gucci, Chanel, D&G, or Stella McCarntney bag, but in the mean time my pocket book has me at more of a T.J. Maxx, Target, or Thrift store range. I will be highlighting some awesome purses that are out there this season for under $50. (Click on any of the pictures to go directly to the source).

 

My first pick is this awesome Merona Leaf Tote, it retails for  $34.99, but is currently on sale. What is it I like about this tote?

It has sturdy faux leather straps, that are long enough you can throw them over your shoulder. The bag itself is a quilted cotton bag that has a very sturdy shape that is certain to withstand quite a beating through use. The bottom is stabilized and the size is perfect for those of us who stuff our purses to the max, or for going to the beach, an overnight bag, kids activities etc. The colors are rich and the texture seems like it would hide dirt with wear and tear. They also have this tote in a printed pink and chocolate fabric that is very reminiscent of Vera Bradley, if that’s your cup of tea.

I am not generally drawn to cotton printed bags, but this organic print is just geometric enough that it lends itself to a variety of styles. In addition the background is a nice neutral Navy that looks great when paired with most colors.

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My Second pick is kind of cheating, because the only thing that brings it under $50 is a sale. But it comes in at just $44.99. The Adorable Alumna Bag from Mod Cloth.  I am personally not a huge fan of nude, but as I’ve seen some of the amazing people do with it, it is definitely growing on me. The thing that makes this purse however is the amazing laser cut texture. In addition it has a long enough attachable strap that you can wear it to your side or as a cross body bag, which is a deal maker for me.

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My third pick is another Merona bag. The weight on this bag is awesome, it’s a faux leather so it isn’t heavy. The color is gorgeous with silver and black findings and details, this purse stands out. The color itself is much richer in person. the nice spacious interior has a couple of pickets and the two other great features of this bag are it’s detachable cross body strap and it’s zipper closure. This bag comes in at $44.99.

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I am a little biased to this next brand. If you are like me, every once in a while you need a purse that speaks to your inner art teacher. Not only do these bags come in amazing bright and fun prints, but the fabrics are made from recycled plastic bottles. So you can feel great about helping the environment, while increasing your personal style. I have owned a Lilly bloom bag before. The straps are comfortable, the construction is very well done and mine withstood 2 years of abuse in college through bar life, if that tells you anything about the amazing durability of these great bags. In addition, they give you the most space and organization for the smallest purse and the brand makes their bags in an array of sizes and prints. I personally love the bicycles for summer time. This one sells for $45.50. However, I purchased a past season print at T.J.Maxx for $26.00.

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These bags are amazing!!! They come in several different colors including, turquoise, brown, tan, yellow, and bright red. I enjoy this periwinkle purse because you don’t see bags in this color very often. In addition to being super colorful it has a multitude of pockets, a zipper closure, has super soft and playable faux leather, and comes in at just $24.99.

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And my final and very uncharacteristic pick for this purse collection is this $25 number from journeys. I’ve been enjoying the Floral print bags, but to be honest there aren’t many really great floral print purses for under $50 running around in the world and I made the mistake of not purchasing the one from Target that I fell in love with, but I digress. It has some great faux leather detailing with brushed brass findings and details. The brown is accented perfectly by a mauve and yellow floral print. I think the only thing that could make this purse more 90’s is if it were made out of corduroy.  The things that I love about this fold over top is that it is styled to look like a messenger bag, while having all of the amenities of a hobo cross body purse.

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What bags do you like to wear? As you can see from my dream assortment for this season I love cross body bags. If you’re looking for great purses but are on a budge, try the awesome shopping feature through google. It will connect you to an array of different stores and at the same time it has features to search by price. Happy summer purse season!

Plus sizes? On the Internet?

As many of you know finding clothing in stores can be a  really frustrating. It starts out relatively innocent, you decide to go hunting for the perfect top or a great fitting pair of jeans. If you find stores that carry sizes you may be successful, or you may have a day of absolute misery that ends in you purchasing nothing on your list or purchasing pieces with which you are less than thrilled.  Not to mention a ridiculous amount of buyers remorse and a slight sense of personal failure. Maybe it’s not quite that dramatic.

Sometimes I spend hours going to several different stores to leave with one blouse and feeling so big and so unattractive that it lingers with me for months. So, for those of you who need to supplement your wardrobe with better pieces, or are just tired of store selections here are a list of websites that I have personally shopped at one time or another or my mother/ family members enjoy. You may know them all  by heart, but  just in case you don’t I have broken them down into age categories and given details on the types of garments found within. Sometimes you just need to know you’re “walking in” to the right store.

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For Casual and Work Wear for women ages 25-40:

  • Simply Be– This online shop is stationed in the UK, they not only have a wide variety of plus sized garments they also offer a brand called Bespoke. Now bespoke in a sewing sense is associated with a tailoring technique in which a garment is made specifically for you. While this brand is still a ready to wear clothing manufacturer, they offer skirts with different lengths and specialty sizing that feels more like it was tailored for your body. They ship relatively quickly. My one word of caution is sometimes customs will pull these orders and slap a customs tax onto it. If this happens contact Simply Be’s customer service as they will actually pay the customs tax for you. I purchased 3 dresses, a blouse and a pair of leggings from this company over 3 years ago and they are still going strong and look amazing!
  • Torrid– Now Torrid can be found in many malls throughout the United States, so please double check that there isn’t one close to your area. I wouldn’t say that they create the highest quality of garments, but it’s a much superior quality compared to stores like Old Navy and it still stays within a relatively friendly price range. They also offer many sales and they have a coupon program that can be used in store or online that can save you lots of money. It’s pretty similar to Lane Bryant’s Real Women Dollars- where for every X amount of $$ you spend you get $25 off a purchase of $50 or more on your next purchase, and you can earn multiples of these coupons.
  • Mod Cloth– Watch yourself, this website will suck you in and take ALL of your money if you aren’t careful! They recently started a plus size category to their clothing and this online only retailer certainly knows what they are doing. I have purchased sweaters, dresses, tights and shoes. They are priced accordingly with the quality of the garment. Not only this they have an amazing size review system so you can see what others thought of this garment before you buy it. They also have a program called “Be the Buyer” where by way of signing up with them you can help dictate what styles actually make it to their store. The customer service is excellent and in my experience and opinion the clothes they sell are AMAZING!
  • The Dress Barn – Now when I was younger my mom liked to shop at dress barn and I had always associated it with frump and ugly clothing, but in the last few years this store has really stepped up it’s game. Now it is definitely a store for finding work appropriate wear, but they have definitely livened up their clothing with more modern styles and appear to be catering to a younger demographic than before. It’s definitely a good source for some good work wardrobe pieces! They have a very friendly staff and if you have a physical store near you, pop in they are very helpful and encouraging!
  • Lane Bryant– Now, for all of us that wear plus sizes your saying, “Really? I go to Lane Bryant all the time, or I’ve been in one before.” The truth is Lane Bryant carries more than the clothes that they are showing you at your store! Shopping for clothes with them online can open you up to a completely different experience of clothing than you thought they offered, simply because each store only carries what they believe will sell in their area. Not only this but I often find their bra selection online is much much easier to look through than in the store. After I get my proper sizes I will order a bra, it saves some gas money and some frustration if their out of the style and size you want!
  • Forever 21– Now I have a very love hate relationship with this brand, however they have stepped up their game in the last few years and are trying to lessen their economic foot print. Their clothes are not very high quality and personally I don’t like buying things from them as I feel they fall apart easily, but you get what you pay for and if you are trying to stay trendy in a tight budget check out their plus size collection online. They do have some really cute clothes and if there is a store near you, it makes returns super convenient!
  • Old Navy – I don’t know what Old Navy was thinking when they removed all of their plus sized clothing from the stores, but they have some really cute offerings from time to time through their online store. Now just like Forever 21 their clothing tends to be lower in quality. But like I said when you are trying to stay in a tight budget, Old Navy actually offers some very affordable work appropriate garments and casual wear that is easy to accessorize and style with other clothing. And i will say they are still my favorite place to buy light weight cardigans in the newest colors!

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Now sometimes I will find garments at the stores below, but they tend to be for an older demographic, but still for casual and work wear.

  • Catherine’s – Now, I don’t know if it’s the stores in my area, or what, but the Catherine’s near me never have anything very young and flattering. This said, The brand has re-imagined itself online helping you shop by your age group, your size and your clothing preferences. It’s kind of fun to see what they come up with, based on preferences you give them upon visiting the website.
  • Romans– my mother buys from this store, and I have to say the quality of their garments is pretty descent. My only word of caution is, just because you are an aging woman, doesn’t mean you have to accept some of the questionable prints they think you should wear. My personal opinion with this company is to stick to their solid colors unless you just absolutely fall in love with something. But they offer an array of sizes and from what I’m told they are comfortable and last. You can also order these through their catalogues.
  • Jessica London – now I personally find this store more suitable for work wear and for accessorizing.
  • Chicos– I have had the wonderful opportunity of meeting the creative director of Chicos, and she is a very well dressed, stylish older woman. This brand has actually turned their focus to the baby boomer generation and you can also find them in a store format, but they are sometimes more exclusive in their location choices. They keep up with current trends and are all about keeping yourself young while dressing your age.
  • Ulla Popken – I would call this store a wardrobing store. They carry classic pieces and seem to change it up with pattern and color, but for the most part could be a good source of wardrobe pieces that you can pair with more trendy looks.
  • Cold Water Creek– A word of caution, it’s expensive and it tends to run small, but the quality is outstanding, the customer services is great, and the pieces you buy here can last for a very long time. They tend to cater to what I would like to call bohemian styles but with a sophisticated twist. These are also physical store locations and you may or may not have one close by, but to get a sense of their brand if you have the chance to shop in their store I recommend it.
  • Woman Within – This site tends to cater to more simplistic casual wear. However, according to individuals I know who order from them, they love what they buy and it’s comfortable (which is of the upmost importance to this stores demographic)

For Formal Wear: proms, bridal, cocktail parties, military functions, mother of the bride dresses, etc.

  • Light in the Box – Hands down the best store I have ever shopped at, the best customer service experience I have ever had with a large online store and the best quality for the best price for formal wear. The majority of their ready to order garments stop at a women’s size 26, but they offer custom made formal wear up to a size 44W. Not only does almost every formal wear dress they offer come in standard and custom sizing, it also comes in almost any color you can think of. If you are planning a wedding and your bridesmaids range in sizes 0-22 and you don’t have large amounts of money to spend on dresses, this is an amazing place to go. If they run out of the lace or fabric styled in the garment you purchased they will contact you to work out a suitable substitute. Now this said, the only draw back is that their return policy for custom wear is almost non-existant, but this is true of most places where you pay for a custom garment. I believe you have up to 3months to return a garment to them if you truly don’t like it. But the great thing also is if you order your dress from here you can take it to most alterations shops and have it altered to fit perfectly. They offer an amazing selection of styles as well. Why do I rave over them? I bought my wedding dress here and it was exactly what I wanted right in my price range.

Do you have other stores you like to shop for online? Suggestions to others about stores they could shop at? Place them in the comments below! If we stick together and help each other we can all find new and better fitting clothing in prices that fit our budget!

In Living Color

To my dearest Readers,

Let’s chat about colors for a moment. If you are a stylish woman you may have thought to yourself while shopping the shelves at your local mall or boutique, “Where do these colors come from?” “Who Get’s to decide what colors each season has to offer?”

There are several companies that look at these color trends, however, Pantone is one of the most accessible so I will discuss a little of their process and then show you their color predictions. There is a fine art to the forecasting of colors, because though it is well practiced it is not an exact science. Sometimes color trends fall flat. Either because designers aren’t interested in using those colors in their design pallets or consumers aren’t interested in the colors in a season. The first steps to looking at color trending is knowing your clientele. There are many color trending companies because not all color trends are intended for everyone. There will be different pallets for children’s wear, women’s wear, teens, mens and even housewares.

For those of you who are interested in preparing for the color pallets you will see in stores months before you see them, Pantone is an excellent and accessible resource for finding out new color ways.  Pantone not only forecasts colors for many different industries, but they are also in the business of color creation. Watch this awesome video about them!

The color you saw in stores last week was in fact a color that has been on the minds and at the forefront of the fashion world for up to two years before it’s appearance on the mannequins lining the isles at your local stores. Every season Pantone takes a look at these colors and you as a consumer can actually peruse the forecasted colors and know what to look forward to on shelves months in advance. Please Check out this Fall’s colors, you’ll see them on shelves in the next coming months.

Fall 2014 Colorways.

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For Summer of 2014 the color pallet was released to the public in the winter months with an interesting video of their color analysis for the summer months. To get an idea of how serious these individuals are about color you can click the link below and see their video release for the summer colors.

Spring & Summer 2014

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Enjoy Putting your own looks together with these colors. Below I have added two of my polyvore sets. The first are pieces that are out this season that inspire in me a sense of summer in these color ways. The second is showing how to use accessories to take a classic such as this LBD (Little Black Dress) to coordinate with any seasons color ways.

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Utilize key pieces in your wardrobe and spice them up with seasonal color ways. It can save you money and keep your wardrobe fresh.

Utilize key pieces in your wardrobe and spice them up with seasonal color ways. It can save you money and keep your wardrobe fresh.

 

A cooler color pallet for your LBD.

A cooler color pallet for your LBD.