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We’ve all been there and we all know the struggle; shopping around in our neighborhoods and beyond for clothing that will not only fit us, but won’t look like they belong to our grandmothers. And with Plus Size clothing stores like Simply Fashion and Dots going out of business left and right, our struggle is becoming even more difficult. Although popular brands such as Forever21 and ASOS have recently jumped aboard the plus size fashion train, not everyone can afford the mall price tag and, not to mention, not everything you buy at the mall is as well made as one would believe. You would think that shopping online was the plus size lady’s holy grail, but with no standard guideline for clothing sizes and sizes differing so greatly between brands, shopping online for quality clothing can be a daunting task. With this guide, I hope to give my readers at least some insight into the terrifying adventure of clothes shopping online. Lets get started.
1: The importance of knowing your measurements. Your REAL measurements, not your Walmart pants size.
Knowing your measurements aren’t just for ordering corsets offline in your Goth days anymore. Having your measurements on hand makes it super simple to identify brand size inconsistencies and make sure the clothing you buy is going to fit you the way it should. Some websites don’t offer size charts or measurement information at all, but those who do are usually extremely helpful when you present them with your plight: you want to buy clothes but you’re shaped like a person and not a photoshop monstrosity! Taking your measurements yourself might be a bit of a headache the first time around, but once you have the formula down, you’ll never need help again. When taking measurements, remember the four measurement formula: Bust, Waist, Hips, Length. Measure around the fullest part of your bust, the slimmest part of your waist above your navel but below your ribcage, then measure around the widest part of your hips. For length, pull out your favorite dress, long t-shirt, shorts or whatever clothing item that’s the appropriate length for what you’re trying to buy and measure it from top to bottom. For a dress, measure from the highest point of the back of the dress to the hem. For pants, shorts or skirts, measure from the waistband to the hem. If you can’t take your measurements yourself, head to a tailors shop or even a bridal boutique. If you can, make a ay out of it. Take your girlfriends to a bridal shop, tell them you’re getting married and let the fun ensue. I won’t tell them you’re not actually getting married, and you’ll actually have the time of your life trying on overpriced dresses and high heels. It’s a win-win situation!
2: Shop around! Don’t settle for less, EVER.
A big problem with plus size clothing is the lack of variety. Shopping in your local store and knowing that, other than Walmart, there isn’t a single retailer within fifty miles that sells clothing in your size is heart breaking enough to make you drop your hard earned cash on items that may not fit well, just so you’ll walk away with something. Well, no more, I say! I can’t tell you how much money I’ve spent on clothes (even from plus sized specialty stores such as Torrid who are known to run small on items, even though they have up to 6X in sizes) that I talked myself into buying just so I could have something new, only to go home disappointed with my selection. I’ve recently committed to shopping around for clothing in my size. MY actual size. Not what fits when I buy it but turns into a hassle the moment I leave the store. Why waste money on crap you’re going to either throw away, bestow on someone else or heaven forbid, wear even though it doesn’t fit, when you can compare not only sizes and styles, but prices as well! The problem here, in reality, is that there are absolutely no sizing standards for plus size clothing in the US. Brands and clothing makers have a general idea, but plus sized people come in so many different shapes and sizes that it would be all but impossible to have a set measurement for everyone. Not to mention, brands and retailers only seem to see plus size people as the so called plus sized ‘models’ that have made recent headlines. Run a google search for “Plus Sized” and I can guarantee you you’re not going to see people who look like you. And if you do, you’re extremely lucky! Most plus sized women aren’t 5’’11 to six feet tall. Most plus sized women have bumps and rolls and dimples, not thighs and a stomach so smooth and taut you can bounce quarters off of them. And that’s what makes our shopping so difficult.
3: Don’t be afraid to shop from smaller online stores. Seriously, you’ll find some really great stuff at super low prices.
You know that site that sold fatkini’s in your size that you over looked last week because they looked like they were crappy and probably didn’t take US currency? Well…maybe don’t spend a thousand dollars with them, but, once you know your measurements, buying one or two items from them at first can’t hurt. Just be sure they accept Paypal, never pay with western union or any of those other quick cash payment options and always ALWAYS review and adhere to their return policy. Once you’ve paid and it’s shipped to your address, try it on, if it doesn’t fit, never be afraid to send it back and ask for an exchange, if it’s within their policy. And if they don’t have some sort of returns policy, they’re not worth spending your money with. Small commerce companies are the perfect place get great clothes at super low prices. I’ve found so many cute tops and shorts that fit surprisingly well by shopping online and I know, if you adhere to at least a portion of this guide, you will too.
Fashion Favorites for the Spring Season!
Spring is the season of endless wildflowers, terrifying monsoons, balmy nights and colorful fashion! No one really needs an excuse to add some color to their wardrobe, but if you were waiting for a sign, this is it. Today, I’ll cover some of the best ways to sneak color into your outfits, play with different fabrics and prints that’ll be sure to take your wardrobe to the next level.
We all know that style and confidence go hand in hand. You can throw any outfit together and rock it like your on a catwalk if you have the confidence to pull it off.
First Point: Wear something you’re comfortable in.
If you’re not the type of girl who digs short skirts and high heels, that’s perfectly fine, and if you are, that’s fine too! Looking your best starts with feeling your best, especially in the Spring season when mother nature’s throwing epic tantrums and having mood swings all over the place. Combat the weather’s unpredictability by wearing clothes that are versatile and you won’t mind getting drenched in because, lets face it, accidents happen and we all forget an umbrella from time to time! Denim is one of those fabrics thats always in style. Pairing a pair of white jeans, a brightly colored, loose fitting top and a denim jacket will help fight off the slight chill in the air and keep you looking chic. strappy heels or wedges also fit into the casual to business casual range, and can be easily paired with just about anything. Try out a pair of cork wedges in a bright yellow or red with simple jeans or jeggings for a more laid back look that’s perfect for occasions as simple as running to the grocery store or hanging out with your friends on a Saturday night.
Second Point: Don’t be afraid to experiment with patterns!
The myth about mixing prints and patterns is officially dead. Never be afraid to pair a cute printed top with patterned pants or leggings. Mismatched styles are defiantly in this season. Animal prints, chevron, floral; just about everyone’s wearing them! Fabrics and cuts that were left in the past are making a strong comeback in recent years too. Such as the infamous palazzo pants. A throwback fit from the seventies, palazzo pants come in solid colors, wild patterns and prints, making them a versatile pant that can be worn to the office, on a promising first date or even at the gym if you’re so inclined. They’re comfortable, easy to wear and definitely easy to pair with your other seasonal favorites. Remember your wedges? The palazzo pant is ideal for wear with high heels, wedges or even flats depending on the look you’re trying to pull off. Dress them up or down for a wide range of stylized looks that are great for just about any occasion. Can’t find a skirt you want to wear? Sick of wearing pants? Well that’s the great thing about the palazzo, they take the style and cut of both and roll them up into one big ball of fashion.
Third Point: Fabrics, fabrics, fabrics!
Thin, breezy fabrics such as chiffon and cotton are an excellent way to keep cool as Spring transitions into the Summer month’s. For a classically stylish look, try pairing a chiffon blouse with a pair of khaki’s or light denim. Dressing a chiffon blouse up for work or special occasions is as simple as pairing it with a pencil skirt and your favorite heels. Tuck the blouse into the waistband and give it a little pull to loosen it and toss on a blazer to adopt an office look I’m sure your boss will adore.
Don’t forget your undergarments either! An extra layer of fabric, when done right, never hurt anybody! Toss on a light, cotton camisole with a little added lace to flair up a boring top or keep more finicky fabrics from clinging to your skin. Cami’s are also great to wear on their own. Pair them under a cardigan or an oversized dolman tee for a casual look that works just as well for lazy afternoons on the couch as it does for quick runs to the grocery store. They’re usually super soft and super stretchy too so, go on, have that extra scoop of ice cream, these things have lots of give! Even better, they come in a million styles, colors, materials and cuts and they’re usually really cheap. Finding them on internet sites like Amazon and eBay is simple and can be bought in bulk if you’re so inclined. Don’t be afraid to experiment with wearing them beneath blouses and other shirts or even by themselves. Seriously, I don’t know a woman yet who hasn’t experienced the magic of camisoles, but if you don’t know, now you know!
Fourth Point: Swatches? We don’t need no stinkin’ swatches.
Okay, so we may need swatches. But it’d be better if we didn’t need them. I personally find color restriction by season to be asinine and find them as archaic as the “no white after labor day” rule, but most fashionista’s swear by them. They make it easy to color coordinate outfits and ensure everything you has matches in an orderly fashion. But forget order this season, mix and match your colors and find what personally works best for you. If you want to wear those green tea leggings and that dark rust tank top in the middle of spring–go right ahead. This season is the season of experimentation. Feel free to try out whatever you like and kick whatever you don’t to the curb.
Fifth Point: Be the best you!
What’s probably the most important point of all is to remember to be you. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should or shouldn’t wear and take all my suggestions here as just that; suggestions. Fashion and style start with feeling comfortable in your own skin. It merely accentuates who you are and what you represent. So, put your best foot forward and watch everything–and everyone–else fall in line. Every woman is beautiful, never let anyone tell you otherwise.