Thanksgiving, not just for tight fitting pants you know

To my dearest fashionistas,
As the holidays are fast approaching (Tomorrow), I can never make it through a thanksgiving without really thinking about the things I have been fortunate enough to have consistently in my life. Clothes, shelter, food, and loved ones. There are many things that we really consider on Thanksgiving, I’m sure we all have something we are grateful to have in our lives. But what about fashion, Evelynlouise? This Thanksgiving, I issue a challenge to you all my lovely fashionistas. Storm your closet!

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That’s right! Storm the living crap out of it, pull out clothes you don’t wear, sweaters that are okay, but not your favorite. Coats that are still gorgeous, but you’ve moved on. Pull out your jewelry, be honest. Your shoes. All of it! When you have a sizable (because you know you have crap in there with the tags still on it and you’re never ever in a million years going to wear it) pile, remove the things with holes, broken clasps, missing buttons. Put those things in a bag for Goodwill, because they will recycle it. Then all the stuff you have (if it needs it) wash it. Wash it with your best scent boosting detergent, dry it, fold it nicely.

Go through that hoard of bath and body products that you have in your linen closet and grab all the stuff you’ve been collecting for the past four Christmas’s and give it a new home.

What’s next you say?

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Get on the phone, call your local women’s shelter, your local YWCA, your local youth group home and ask them where you can drop off a donation of quality clean clothes and toiletries.

Why these places when I can just give it to Goodwill or Salvation Army?

Because while it’s a great feeling to rid yourself of the things you don’t use, these are still businesses who turn a profit from the clothes and donations you give them for free. All the way down to the ratty jeans you donate which they sell in bulk to companies to recycle and turn in to stuffing, insulation and industrial rags. But if you don’t have extra money to buy clothing, this means Goodwill too. Many of the individuals who live in shelters have jobs, they work just as hard as you do, and some are looking for something better.

When I volunteered at the YWCA in college many of the women who lived in the shelter were plus sized, and it was difficult enough to find them clothes at Goodwill that looked good on their bodies, and the money was a luxury many of them couldn’t afford. Imagine, that pant suit that you bought that’s still hanging in the closet with the tags still attached could be a fantastic interview suit and a new career path for a woman who has found herself in a place she never intended to be.

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This is a challenge to give of yourself. Fashion for me is a shared experience that we all enjoy as a society and in my humble opinion we can share with those around us who also deserve as much as the next person to be pampered and treated. If you don’t have a lot to give, get your friends together, make it a group effort and when you’re done sorting and folding and putting together a care package for that local shelter, go out together and be thankful that you have each other.

If you have extra money to spare, ask the shelters if there are things they need. I’ve donated to shelters in the past and I always called to ask them what they needed most. Some of the requests were things I’d never thought of, such as crafting supplies, diapers, baby bath products, puzzle books, books, etc.

I think so many times of how grateful I am to have the things I do. This time of year I think all of our hearts soften just a touch. I wish more often it was a year round effort, and for some it is. This challenge doesn’t cost you a cent, but it could really mean the world to someone who needs it.

Spread some love, with the things you love!

❤ Evelynlouise

An Alternative to Shopping

A weird caveat to the typical holiday shopping crusade, I’ve been turning my own attentions at this time of year to finding ways to purchase meaningful gifts for friends and family for the up and coming holiday seasons. While this shopping craze is in no way related to a fashion blog, and you are probably pondering what soap box I am about to stand on, I simply have an interesting look at the consumption and our views of it in the fashion world. As you know from my entry on the LBD: Uniform Project entry and my ode to more sustainable wardrobes I am a big proponent of lightening our ecological foot print when it comes to fashion. Instead of entering a tirade about the horrendous amounts of things we don’t need that we purchase anyway at this time of year I instead turned to the veritable cornucopia that is the internet to provide me some alternative thoughts. I ended up finding an artist named Sarah Lazarovic, who recently released a book called A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy about her year not shopping for anything.

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I am looking forward to picking up my own copy. I read this article about the artist and her endeavors and particularly for whom she wrote the book:

This is what happens when you don’t shop for a year.

The article particularly got me thinking about the things we buy, and more specifically why do put so much emphasis on always having new clothing? You can be a fantastically wells dressed person and never spend a cent at a new retail store. However, the point that the author seems to make that I am particularly fond of, is that you don’t need clothes to define who you are. My lovely curvaceous readers, remember that no pair of pants is going to make you love your butt, you have to love it before you put pants on it.

So to kick off this holiday season I impart to you a new thought, maybe a challenge for the up coming year to consider why you buy what you do, and what it means to shop with a more conscious effort.

I hope you at least find it interesting!
❤ Evelynlouise

Solid Color Illusions

Not to get too Portlandia on you, but “I read recently” that when you have a difficult shape to dress, and more often than not plus sizes fall in this category, that keeping a consistent color through the majority of your torso can lead to an uninterrupted line that slims the figure. For many this means lots of black, and if you work in an office that requires you to wear business or business casual attired you instantly go for black as it seems to be the most readily available. However, Don’t neglect the idea of color to create a slimming line on your body! This season and next brings with it an array of bright and bold shades that can be just as flattering but offer more details than the old standby.

So what do I mean when I say keeping consistent color throughout?

Most of us will take a black skirt or solid pants and pair it with a patterned top as seen below.

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While these two outfits are still pretty cute, and they both use elements of slimming such as faded wash jeans or belting to accentuate the waist. It breaks up the space of the body. The White floral on the left in fact widens the hips as the line of definition between the shirt and the jeans accentuates this portion of the body. The stark contrast of the pink shirt on the right compared with the black in the pants and the belt also breaks the body up in to 3 sections breasts, tummy and hips. Now, I’m not saying that these styles can’t be flattering on your body, or that you should give up your cute patterned tops and forgo anything that isn’t denim colored while wearing jeans, but when you utilize monochromatic styles you end up with an elongated silhouette that flatters your curves and creates a slimming effect. Think of it as a way to both simplify and flatter an outfit.

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Lets take for example this lovely fashionistas take on the same dress. The look on the left while still very cute makes her shape look very blocky. She is wearing the same tights and colors of accent on her legs and upper torso, but see how the jacket on the right opens up her posture, her waist is slimmed by this uninterrupted color and the use of a belt and the line created from the neck to just above the knee gives the appearance of slimming and elongating the legs.

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In a casual use, colored jeans and textured pants paired with their color matched top as ween in the outfit above,  shows off the lucious curves of the wearer without creating an abrupt and broken line from bust to waist, waist to hip, hip to knee, etc. It is one soft line that flatters and when using garments in darker tones it is also incredibly slimming. Dresses often achieve these looks best, however with colored jeans, you can create an array of looks for yourself.

Don’t neglect the gorgeous array of prints that are out and about in these lovely seasons, but when going for sleek and elegant, you can never go wrong with a rich solid to show off your curves. The look below embraces the rich and gorgeous peacock blue but brings in accents in the form of a statement necklace to bring attention to the face. When looking at this garment however, the details in the construction pull your eyes throughout the garment rather than focusing you on one area. Your eyes don’t sit to rest an only one part of this gorgeous piece.

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As always, find something you love and makes you feel beautiful. I personally am a fan of the monochromatic look, but who can pass up some of the beautiful patterns we see out this season!

❤ Always,

Evelynlouise

Your date may not be a serial killer, but your wardrobe might.

I was recently approached by one of my long time friends about co-writing a blog about what fashions to wear on a first date, especially an internet first date. My friend has been keeping track of her crazy adventures into the internet dating world through her blog  Ps. Please Don’t Be a Serial Killer (Note: NSFW and if you are easily offended by open sexuality or the F-bomb, just don’t click on it). She asked me if we could write something about tips for dressing on the first date. However, after discussing and having read many of her experiences I feel that there should be a two pronged approach to this advice column. So many are rushing to the internet to find their soul-mates and while I think that it certainly opens up the dating pool, you have to be careful. So heed her cautionary tales, and some advice for making a great first impression or an immediate exit.

I will hand it over to her.

First date nerves. They can at times be a combination of exciting butterflies, and the awful pit in your stomach you get right before you shit your pants. Dating is hard…especially when you have a tendency to shit your pants. Think about it. If you’re an online dater, you spend time messaging someone back and forth. You spend time texting them, thinking about them, and wondering if the connection will be this strong in person (or if they’ll look like Shrek’s cousin and barely know how to tie their shoes). You’re also worried if they will like you as well. Our ego’s come into question and sometimes we allow our insecurities to get the best of us. Most of us try to make a decent impression on a first date. (I say most of us and NOT all, because I once went on a first date with a man who showed up in a holy wife beater. It didn’t work out in the long run-I needed someone who could afford his own Meth). Therefore, Jblondie decided to reach-out with her favorite fashion guru, Evelynlouise, and brainstorm some ideas on how to present your best self.

When wondering what to wear for your next dating adventure, think about three things:

Simple. Fit. Comfort.

  • Simple: I’ve made the mistake before of “trying too hard” on a first date. I was overdressed for the restaurant we went to, and he was underdressed. We looked like a mismatched couple right from the start. Needless to say, things didn’t improve from there. From then on, I promised myself I’d simplify for the first date.

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    • Evelynlouise Tips: Try to shoot for garments that accentuate your most flattering features. Do you have beautiful blue eyes? Find a shirt, sweater, scarf or jewelry that draws attention to your face. Do have gorgeous hair? Let it do the talking, let it down don’t go crazy with the product
    • If it takes you 15 minutes to unroll your spanx just to go pee, you have already over complicated it. You’re clothing shouldn’t be a labyrinth of buttons and zippers, or so many accessories you’re too worried about which of your 15 earrings fell out that you can’t pay attention to the conversation. Don’t overcomplicate it for yourself!

 

  • Fit: The largest turn-off to me when I first meet a gentleman caller is lack of self-awareness. If a guy shows up in a button-down that looks as if he barely fit into it 15lbs ago, I’m immediately disappointed. It has nothing at all to do with weight or vanity (I crave men with some meat on their bones)…but knowing how to dress your body is an important skill to have in the adult world. The same can be said for you. Pick a garment highlighting your assets. I usually wear a sweater that accentuates my fun-bags. ☺

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    • Evelynlouise Tips: For bustier fuller figures think princess seams. Or if you’re a fan of the blousier look, go for a top that accentuates your chesticles but flatters the tummy. Chiffon tops are really in this season and the great thing about them is that they can be layered and show off your amazing curves at the same time.
    • Leave some of your body to the imagination. Even if your date is from Adult Friend Finder and just an intended hook up, EVERYONE loves a little mystery.

 

  • Comfort: Some of us are more comfortable in a sundress then jeans. Others can’t live without their chucks. Comfort is usually lacking during a first date, so allow your outfit to be one thing that provides you with a little. Now granted you should try a little harder than jeans and a t-shirt, but pick an outfit with a relaxed overtone.
    • Evelynlouise Tips: The point of a first date is to make an impression, and how better to make a great one, than if you are confident and collected in an outfit that speaks volumes about you as a person. Clothing is a type of expression. Let your outfit say something about you. Do this with color and styling. If you hate dresses, don’t wear one. If you’re really modest, then don’t go out with your Ta Ta’s as your focal point. If you fall in heels, wear some flats. Let your confidence shine through in the way you put yourself together. Let your date know you love yourself!

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Now that we have some tips laid out for you, I started asking JBlondie about her experiences with her date’s reactions to her clothing, and man did she have some stories to tell. So here are some definite red flags.

JBlondie’s Top 3 things your date should NEVER say about your clothes on a FIRST date:

  1. “Why are you so dressed up?”
If a guy/gal says this they’re an ass-hat. Even if you ARE overdressed for the occasion, the first time you meet someone they should only be complimenting your outfit-not questioning it.
  2. “What made you pick _____ out for tonight?” 
AKA…they really don’t like it (even if they say they do) and they also don’t have a filter from their brain to their mouth.
  3. “You’re better looking than I thought you’d be.” 
Yep. That actually happened. I suppose I could’ve taken it as a compliment…but I didn’t. Never say this. Just don’t.

 

Lastly, in keeping with our top threes, here are JBlondie’s and Evelynlouise’s top 3 fashion “Dos” for a first date:

1. Cute shoes: Flats or heels make it work for you girl! Just make sure you can walk. And guys? Don’t wear tennis shoes… a “no-no” for the first date.

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2. Something to accentuate those soul-windows! You know, those things approximately a foot above your fun bags? For ladies, we recommend special attention to your make-up. For you gentleman callers, choose a shirt color that really makes your eyes pop!

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3. An appropriate handbag/wallet. Girls, don’t be a bag lady! Keep your purse on the smaller side. Guys, …justmake sure your wallet isn’t made of duck-tape and does not have Velcro. Yes, we notice those things and no, you’re not 16 y/o anymore.

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Side Note: It’s not just important for you to look your best, but your date should also be feeling those first date jitters. If you LIKE what your date is wearing. Tell them! I’ve often found that men I’ve dated for a while will only tell me their first impression of me after some time has passed. And sometimes, you need to open your mouth sooner. For example…

“when I first walked up to you I couldn’t help but think how cute you looked.”

Ummmm …why didn’t you just say that then? I found myself wondering later on. I probably would’ve liked him better honestly. No reason to fawn over your date, but if you like their shirt tell them! If they’re looking fine as hell…say it! I usually always try to find one thing on my date to compliment. I like to see his response (very telling of his ego usually).

 

I hope you enjoyed this weeks collaboration, and found it enjoyable!

See you next time!

❤ JBlondie & Evelynlouise