It’s time to pay attention

My dearest readers,

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This is a water supply. I love clothing, I love expressing myself visually, but when I think of the long term implications my consumption has, I know we have to change the way we think about it. Bored Panda released a visual photo essay about the pollution in china and it’s horrifying! Quite frankly this isn’t just about the physical toll our consumption takes on the environment, it’s also about the impact it has on the people who work and live in these conditions.

My good friend send me this article Bloggers sent to work in Cambodian Sweatshops, that links to the videos so you can watch the online reality show that is attached to the break down of this 17 year old blogger. There is a concept that my students and I discuss when we talk about the ethics of outsourcing that I think many of us overlook. The notion that because we are advanced as a culture that we have tied up all the loose ends of the highlighted issues of children in sweatshops, or the deaths of hundreds of women in the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. The reality is these atrocities are happening today, they happen everywhere. Even with the green movement there is not enough  being done to make our clothes more ethical or sustainable. I feel the only way we change this is by knowledge and discussion.

I,  just like you, love new clothing, I love to buy new stuff to put in my closet, I love to look my best and I have an unnatural obsession for looking my best. However, there is no handbag in the world that is worth the loss of human life or the degradation of others or the places they live. I think of it this way. I love clothing and I love new designs and the innovation and creativity that is associated with the fashion industry, but if we don’t make severe cuts and changes in the selections and mass productions associated with this industry we may not get to look forward to many more Mercedes Benz Fashion weeks. Why? Because we are going to eventually run out or ruin farmable land for all of that cotton for all of those t-shirts and jeans we love so much. It already depletes soil nutrients that could be used for growing food. And not to be too dramatic, but when we’re all dying of cancer from the amount of caustic chemicals we have put in to our water supply from pesticide run off for those crops and the chemical dyes we use to give them colors, I wonder if we’ll regret the damage we have done.

I’m not saying that first thing tomorrow you should throw out all of your unethically sourced clothes or that we all have deep pockets that allow us to buy 100% organic 100% sustainable 100% ethically sourced clothing. However, we all can start in acknowledging the problems and start facilitating discussions on how to make a difference. It’s time to start paying attention.

My partner and I have started this journey in baby steps by shopping the majority of our clothing through second hand clothing stores. While these present their own challenges and are dependent on a primary market to create the clothing that supply these stores, they do allow us to keep a large quantity of textiles out of landfills and keep those garments worn until the end of their intended life cycles. I think of it as starting in a place of waste not want not. I am also saying it is time to be more choosy in your wardrobe decisions and start finding your own answers about your consumables. Companies want you to buy their product, they don’t want you to know hundreds of 15 year old girls were killed in a factory fire that made those goods.

I also give this piece of advice, support your local economies, buy local and buy less. For those of you interested I’ve been reading this fantastic book Wear No EvilShe has some pretty hard hitting facts about our clothing and so far some pretty sound advice on how she changed her own consumption.

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I don’t think that any one person has all of the answers, or that any one person is 100% unbiased and accurate when it comes to discussing how we use, waste or manufacture. However, it starts with educating yourself and researching the things that important to you. For me, I would like to see us continue to have fashion weeks, and have new an innovative fashion ideas. In order to do this in the long term, we have to change. It’s lovely to look good, it’s awesome to accept yourself for who you are, but it’s amazing to be aware enough to take care of your surroundings.

Some food for thought my lovely fashionistas!

Yours,

❤ Evelynlouise

Being a more effortless dresser

When I was in college I had this ugly long sleeve grey converse t-shirt that had 5 navy blue stars down one of the sleeves and a giant navy blue star on the front. It was oversized, the sleeves were too long and generally I wore it on days when I had spent the night before crying and I woke up feeling bloated and ugly. The biggest problem with this shirt? It made me look bloated and ugly.

We all have days where confidence, piece of mind, or ample time are at our disposal. On those days you don’t have time to stand in front of a mirror and grab hold of any roll you can to jiggle it and berate yourself. Quite frankly, if I could get rid of this in any woman’s daily ritual I would.

In learning how to better dress myself and not go for the long sleeve shirt that was easy for wiping tears off my face, it took me years to find pieces that made me feel comfortable and beautiful (and were flattering on my body. My ultimate Ah-ha moment came when I was watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Have you seen the scene where Paul and she are talking and she is getting ready to go visit her friend in jail? The effortless ease in which she slips in to her little black dress, puts in some earrings, slips on some kitten heels, adds a hat and leaves the house looking marvelous! I mean common! She didn’t even do her hair! But, to me dressing for your everyday should be this effortless!

I was asked to elaborate on what my stress pieces were, what I go to now when I’m in a pinch or on the go, and I feel that before I even get into my go to’s it is important to talk about how to simplify your wardrobe so that being a nicely dressed individual is over all a less stressful task. So this week I’m focusing in on effortless dressing.

Evelynlouise’s Steps to being a more effortless dresser:

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1. Get a haircut you love and love to do. Have you seen the new Aussie hair product commercial? the motto is “ditch the hair drama.” It’s a truth though. If you hate standing in front of the mirror with a straightener, then stop doing it! There is no reason to spend as much time on your hair as the girls from Jersey Shore, every time you leave the house. Go to a real stylist have them help you find a haircut that is right for you, that frames your face well, that you love and has a level of maintenance that you are comfortable to upkeep.

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2. Think ahead to the event you are dressing for. Last minute stress over whether or not you can find that one pair of shoes for that job interview the next day can be avoided by laying out your outfit the night before. Think through your whole look for a special event, especially if it’s one where appearance is important.

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3. Stop buying clothes that you’re never going to wear. I don’t care if you are standing in Goodwill and it’s only $3. If you don’t fall in love with it on your body the minute you put it on. PUT IT BACK! It lessens the clutter in your closet. That mountain of stuff you have to wade through to find the clothes you actually want to wear.

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4. You don’t need an apothecary’s equivalent to skin care. Sunscreen, lotion, foundation, mascara, 2 good pallets of eye shadow (one for evening, one for day), and chapstick. When I wear make-up this is about it. I own 2 shades of lipstick that I wear about 3 times a year. Again, it goes back to my advice with the hair. If you love a high maintenance routine, then power to you, but you have a face under there, it is beautiful stop filling it with crap. It takes me 10 minutes from beginning to end to put on make-up. Unless you’re headed for a photo-shoot or a wedding, I don’t see why it should ever take more time than this.

Tune in Next week for my personal go-to’s for a more comfortable and simplified wardrobe.

In the meant time keep building yourself up!

❤ Evelynlouise

 

 

Great Plus Vintage Buys

You don’t think I would leave you with that intellectual entry with no redemption did you? At the heart of it all I still do love fashion, I just want to see more of us take care of our earth as much as we take care of ourselves.  To be honest it doesn’t matter how cute you look if you’re dead because there is no more oxygen. As you start adding must haves to your wardrobes I always love getting back to vintage fashions to keep up classic looks. However, sometimes finding vintage fashions that fit is a difficult task, so I’ve linked some of my top picks of vintage plus sized garments and the stores where you can purchase them.

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Hello, Joan Holloway just called and said anyone with a lots of curves should wear this dress. Can you imagine this with the array of colorful cardigans in your wardrobe? I can, especially since Pantone has been using this blue and it’s like shades as a neutral color for several years now. The dress needs a little TLC, possibly a new buckle but for $44, why not!Vintage Etsy dealer Size is Just a Number, has a large assortment of vintage fashions all sorted by bust size so you can find a better fit. From what I’ve seen on this dealer, her clothes go all the way up to a modern size 24.

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This totally gorgeous number comes in a size 18 for $28, the measurements the seller sites are across only one side of the garment. It is a knit and judging on the color, closure and skirt length this bad boy is from the 1970’s It is also a knit. Can’t beat that! This store called the Babery Underground, totes a cute tagline, and affordable prices! You could change this up with mismatched tights, belts, and some great jewelry.

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I couldn’t help but post this gorgeous 1960’s size 16 jacket from Etsy seller Roly Poly Vintage. Her garments may have a higher price tag, but from the images I’ve seen, you are getting garments that are still in amazing shape! I can’t help but think with the new trend of mixed patterns being forecasted for the spring, this jacket would go amazing paired with a fantastic stripe or subtle plaid.

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And I have to leave you on this gorgeous note, because Audri Hepburn called and said, beautiful curvaceous lady wear my dress! Please wear it with a large hat! This dress is so versatile I could go on for months, but instead I’ll leave you with the link to Thrift Store Mafia, so you can shop their plus sized vintage finds.

I hope some of you find a gorgeous piece to add to your wardrobe, a sense of confidence, the feel good feeling from supporting a small business, and the appreciation for how well these garments were made. Don’t expect to find anything from H&M or Forever 21 in a vintage store in 40 years, looking this good!

Have a wonderful week curvaceous fashionistas!

❤ 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

Trend Watch: Kimono wonder!

So I know that most of you are probably already aware that Kimonos are hitting the fashion scene hard this season, but I have to say I have been taking note of them since early this summer. A royal blue silk chiffon and lace kimono at Urban Outfitters crossed my path, and though I couldn’t wear anything from that store if I tried. I am in love with these gorgeous and comfortable garments.  I had the pleasure of trying on this number at Torrid this weekend.

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I know, I know, I’ve been on kind of a Torrid kick lately, but it’s been the one store I’ve successfully walked in to and found everything I wanted for the latest trends in my size in a flattering cut. But don’t let me get in to a rant about their sale racks. That said this gorgeous burnout velvet number is light weight, moves beautifully and is completed with some 1960’s flair fringe. The picture doesn’t do the fabric justice. It is so rich and dimensional with elements of sheer in between the velvet flowers. My only beef is the high low front and back, which for those of us who are shorter this in an open style garment rather than a dress has a tendency to dwarf.

Top 3 Tips for finding a Kimono that is right for you:

1. If you have rounded shoulders keep in mind that kimono and dolman sleeves are not going to help define those bad boys. Sometimes this can have a negative affect turning your upper torso into a body with no definition. Try kimonos like the one on the right that have pattern in specific locations instead of an ALL over affect, try for Kimonos with shoulder defining detail like the one on the left, or choose a kimono that actually has separate sewn in sleeves. These will all help to give your shoulders some say in your style. kimono2 Collage

 

2. If you are like me and you have very wide hips look in to finding a kimono that is shorter and ends above the hip or just below it as garments that end at the hip, especially garments like a Kimono that have lots of volume will only help to add emphasis to the width of your hips. OR for those of you with no hips, look to Kimonos that focus fullness in this area as it will  emphasize and make your hips look wider balancing out wider shoulders.

3. Find a pattern and color that suits you. There are so many different patterns out right now, find one that makes you feel as elegant as these beautiful garments are. My personal Favorite is this purple number from Nordstroms.

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And just to leave you with some fun, if you are like me and you enjoy making things. Here is a great compilation of some easy DIY Kimonos! I think I will be making a few of these myself! To be honest I may lengthen a few of these and turn them in to beautiful lounging robes for some christmas gifts. I just made my first one. Here’s a poorly taken picture of me modeling it!

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Keep looking beautiful curvy ladies of the world!

❤ Evelynlouise

 

Lovely Lady Leggings…

I live in the mid-west, and for those of you who live around here, or for that matter lived anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere for the last winter knows how insanely cold it gets. The biggest bummer about the colder winter months is that you have to say goodbye to summer dresses and wonderfully full and colorful summer skirts! To add an extra bummer to ushering in the colder months, the ads for late fall and winter wear start coming in masse because the holiday seasons are on their way and stores want you to buy buy buy! I always see these adorable Christmas time spreads of unbelievably thin women rocking out their tube sweater dress and some leggings, with a big comfy fuzzy scarf and they look so warm and happy! You know what I’m talking about see this amazing walking Land’s End/ Loft/ Macy’s look below!
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The underlying tones of what you have to have and who you have to be are all there! So, I’m getting a touch off point. Last year I decided I would not give up wearing my dresses. I am a dress wearer, I prefer dresses or skirts almost 9 times out of 10 over pants. So I went in search of some leggings and what a disaster!

Now Good news! For those of you who wear up to a size 18 you will be able to find an array of cute leggings and tights at your local Target! But for those of us in the larger half of the plus size spectrum, unless you want to wear only black leggings always and forever, you’re kind of screwed when it comes to selection. I finally found a pair of wide calf boots I actually like in a price range I could afford at Payless shoes this year, and I came home to look at my pitiful two pair collection of tights in burgundy and black. I knew shopping in stores was going to lead to tears, but the places I’ve found great tights, such as Mod Cloth are kind of disappointing this season. So I am raising my pumpkin spice latte in a toast this year to Torrid for having the most amazing selection of plus sized leggings on their website that I have ever seen. I own a pair of their black tights and I have to say, I absolutely love them! They are true to the sizing on the package and the cool thing about Torrid is that they have lots of online exclusives!

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After also Looking through the Leggings, I remembered many of my peeves with these pant like garments. So with this I am going to throw in my 2 cents in the form of a top 3 things larger women should remember when wearing tights.

3. Just because they make it in your size doesn’t mean you should wear it. Plaid, horizontal stripes, and horizontal pattern tights are tights anyone should be wary of wearing. I love that plus size tights mean that you aren’t just stuck with solid colors, but it would be nice if they designed some patterns for larger ladies.

2. Always make sure you get the proper size. Leggings are supposed to be form fitting, but people shouldn’t be able to tell whether or not you’ve had a hysterectomy. Ladies, we are all guilty of it, but seriously I would rather have a properly fitting pair of tights that allow me to be comfortable and move freely, than a pair that are so tight that I have to constantly pull them out of my butt crack.

1. Leggings, especially in a professional setting can not be confused with pants. There are awesome new comfortable pants that are yoga pant fabric that have the cuts and shape as dress pants. They are made to be pants, but leggings were made to go under things. If you want to wear leggings as pants when you go hit the club, this is your prerogative and kudos to you for having such a positive body image, but please don’t do this to your co-workers. It looks sloppy and unprofessional, pretty wherever you work.  At least Jeggings have pockets so they just look like skinny jeans, keep this in mind as you dress for your job!

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Boots, boots, boots

Oh that fall weather is coming and  for some of us it is already here. With it comes the excitement of buying new shoes. Well, unless you’re like me and you look forward to not having to wear socks, and the thought of cramming you feet in actual shoes makes you sad inside, but I digress. Usually the biggest excitement in the fall fashion world for shoes is boot season. For this reason I have this blog entry on request from a friend of mine from college. For larger ladies this can sometimes be very frustrating as it’s not just an issue of what color boots to choose, but whether the zippers will make it past your ankles.

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A few tips on boot searches and buying:

  • If you’re like me you have wider calves than almost any boot in a normal store. When searching use the term “wide calf” boots. – DSW has some amazing boots and they sell both wide widths and wide calf boots on their website.
  • Search online at stores like DSW and have the boots shipped to a location nearest you – this or ask someone in the store to order a few pair, so you can try them on and not have to worry about the shipping costs.
  • Measure before you buy – the great thing about perusing store websites is that it will tell you the circumference of the calf in it’s wide calf boots. If You’ve ever tried on taller boots you know that the widths can vary amongst the normal sizes. Use a tape measurer and measure around the widest part of the calf. The description should give you the  calf measurement.
  • If you don’t order from a store, make sure the website has a generous and speedy return policy. Buying boots is expensive, add 3 rounds of shipping for trying on, returning and having new boots sent, it gets ridiculous. Make sure you verify the website you are using has a generous return policy like zappos, who will accept your return up to one year after a purchase for free.
  • Go in to a shoe store and have your foot measured. Places like Shoe Carnival still do accurate measurements on the foot, so you know what you’re ordering is correct.
  • Keep in mind if you are shorter in stature, boots that hit at the knee tend to shorten your stature, look for an awesome ankle boot to elongate your legs.

And because I don’t want to completely re-invent the wheel, this blogger had a similar entry almost a year ago about wide calf boots. She has compiled a great list of stores that either carry these styles of boots, or have them available for order!

The Style Supreme: Where to Shop for Wide Calf Boots

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I may have to try on some boots this season. Buckles and sectioned style lines seem to be a super important part of this years styles for boots, no matter what height you end up with. Happy Fall Boot Shopping!

❤ Evelynlouise

Some of my plus picks for Fall

 

Fall is coming and with it all the comforts and cuddles of warmer clothing. However, as I embark on this year I would like to see myself break my black cardigan rut and find beautiful fashions that remind me I am not only a beautiful plus sized woman, but I’m also not dead yet. With this also comes concerns of how much money I am spending on clothing and so I have compiled a few cost effective looks below.  I hope you enjoy a few of the budget friendly fall looks I’ve put together for all of you plus fall fashionistas out there! As always you can find these looks or pieces by clicking on the pictures and following the links through Polyvore.

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Curve the Line – Look comes in at $153

For this look I was going for something business casual that could be worn out or to the office.  The two tone chevron sweater breaks up the lines of the body and adds emphasis on the natural curve of the waist. Black flared leg dress slacks slim the thigh and add length to the leg. Cute Knotted heather jersey ballet flats to bring a touch of interest to the feet and this super pretty mermaid scale watch and hands clutch. This look screams for some additional colorful accessories and because all of the pieces utilize neutrals each piece could easily be matched with other pieces in your wardrobe.

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High Contrast Casual – Look comes in at $157

I have always been a fan of White house Black Market but I have never been able to shop there. That said I am a huge fan of the contrasts of their clothing. In this look I have paired a distressed pair of Maurices boot cut jeans with a black and white floral silhouette tank from Torrid. Overtop I have added this super sexy and sleek military style jacket with flattering princess seams. To finished this polished casual look/ night on the town look I have added patent leather mary jane flats and this awesome geometrical cut white bag with black Finnish. I think this look could be changed up with colorful camisole, different hand bags and colorful earrings and necklaces.

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Fall Boho – Look comes in at $159.00

I tend to dress in muted tones. I think its a rut that many plus size women happen upon. We are told that black is slimming so we never stop wearing it. Maybe some of us are more brave when it comes to color. Bright, bold and rich colors is something many people love about fall, so embrace the beautiful hues that fall has to offer with something comfortable and colorful I have chosen this pink, taupe and teal plaid chiffon top to pair with a golden yellow cardigan, a soft jersey dark teal skirt and golden brown sued slouch boots. In keeping with the very bold colors of the the outfit I have chosen this buttery brown faux leather purse and bracelet set all with silver and brass embellishment.

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These Boots are Made for Walking– Look comes in at $99

Fall is the time of year that I embrace my ability to wear a midi-skirt or lighter weight dress. The great thing about fall dresses is that you can change up your looks with new tights, shoes, scarves and accessories. I chose this rich purple lace dress because it is nipped at the natural waist and has a skirt that ends right at the knee. Paired with some vertical lined tights to slenderize the lines of your legs and topped off with a bold fall ankle boot. Make this look complete with matching accessories or pop it with colored accessories, either way this is a look that can transition from fall day to fall night.

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Little Black POP! – Look comes in at $258

This look was more of an “I want all of these things, more than i care how expensive they are” kind of get together for me. However, this said the Dress and tights come in at only $86. Torrid has some amazing little black dresses out this season and I still sweat by the infinite versatility of an LBD. Fall means that the colors of spring are on their way out, but no reason you can’t give them one last hurrah by mixing them with very fall colors such as mustard yellows or bold orange or red.

I hope you all enjoyed, and if you want any of these items, like I said click the pictures, go to Polyvore and follow the links, all of these items are sold in plus sizes and can be obtained while supplies last!

Thanks readers,

❤ Evelynlouise

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.
  • LAUNDRY1

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.

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.

Plus-Size-Juniors-Clothing1

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!

best-plus-size-clothing

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!