3 MORE Simple Ways to Make Your 4TH of July Celebration Out of This World

Okay, so if you read my last post but you’re still struggling in terms of decorations for this last minute shindig, I’ve got you covered. In this post I’m going to cover three MORE ways you can turn your last minute party planning into the celebration of your dreams; home decor style! Amaze your parents, in-laws and the general population with your mad skills, while keeping to an extremely small budget. Let’s get started. Round two!

1: Let’s start big and work our way down, shall we?

If you’re like anyone else in this country, you’re probably throwing your party in the backyard, or at least at your local public park. Besides the sweets, everyone knows decorations are what’s going to separate you from the rest and may just save you from the unyielding stink eye of your evil mother in law.

Things to try: Painting or sifting stars into the grass.

What you’ll need:

  • Cardboard
  • Box cutter or X-Acto knife (or a pair of scissors if you’re a klutz like me)
  • Flour or non-toxic spray paint
  • A wee bit of patience

Grab one of your old moving or grocery boxes, break out the box cutter or an x-acto knife and get to work. Cut out one or two different size five point stars (or six if you’re in the Halloween spirit already) and lay them at random points across the yard. Shop72 Cardboard and Box CutterNow, here’s where personal preference comes into play. You can either use cake flour and simply sift the stars into the cutouts but, this provides a bit of a mess to clean up later on because you’ll eventually have to sweep the flour up. (Or you can simply let it blow away, although I don’t know how your neighbors are going to feel about that.) Or you can go my personal favorite route and use non-toxic spray paint from your local hardware store. It’s a bit of a quicker job too, and you won’t have to worry about a mucky, flour-y mess if it decides to rain. Just make sure to remind the pets and the kids that eating spray painted grass isn’t a good idea. Once the stars are all painted (or sifted) into the grass, stand back and admire your Shop72.com spray painted yard stars.work. The best part about this decorating tip is, you can pretty much leave it there all season long, or at least until the yard needs another trim. Every day is a Shop72.com Kids love Painted Lawn Starswonderful time to be patriotic. And, not to mention, the kids will absolutely love the look and feel of their starry new backyard. Just remember, this decorating tip is best used on freshly cut or low cut grass so, break out the mower before you start painting. And, non-toxic paint is an absolute MUST if you plan on having the kiddies and the pets on the lawn while the stars are there. We wouldn’t want anyone having an allergic reaction or needing a trip to the vet or the emergency room. This holiday is already packed with ER visits!

2. Place settings, place settings, dear lord you have to sit next to your aunt Fran who drools, don’t you?

Okay, so the 4th of July is technically a family holiday, wouldn’t you agree? You grab all of your relatives and force them into the back of a van, travel down to your nearest river front or city monument and watch thousands of dollars worth of fire works literally go up into smoke. But, before that, you have to feed them! Kill two birds with one stone and make your place settings brighter with this little tip.

Things to try: Including boxes of sparklers with each set of silver wear at the table.

What you’ll need:

  • Paper plates or dining utensils of your choice
  • Silver or plasticware
  • Boxes of sparklers
  • Red, white and blue ribbons
  • Place mats of your choice

Grab your place mats and spread them evenly on your table. Make sure your table cloth and place mats coordinate. Grab something in the patriotic red, white and blue, Shop72.com Sparklers place settingand use your best plasticware if you’re not a fan of taking grandma’s fine China into the backyard. Then, simply apply a ribbon to your napkin, sparklers and utensils to add to the center of the plate. Add streamers to the places for an extra touch of festiveness. This simplistic idea will be great for yourShop72 sparklers 4th of July Belleville guests of any age. After they’ve finished dinner and they’re looking to have a little fun, just provide a lighter (to the adults) or hand out the matches to those old enough to operate them for a glittery good time. Just don’t forget to properly dispose of those little burnt ends so that the pets don’t get ahold of them. I can’t stress this enough!

3. Star spangled tea light candle holders!

After the fireworks display is over and you’ve shuffled the kids off to bed, it’s about time for the grown-up fun to begin. The 4th of July is a great occasion to get together with your special someone and cuddle underneath the moonlight. Break out the drinks of your choice and the finger-foods and kick back with your sweetheart, bathed in the glow of this next little tip.

Things to try: Tape a some cut out stars on an old mason jar and pop a tea light candle inside.

What you’ll need:

  • Mason jars (it’s okay if they don’t have lids
  • Masking tape (or star shaped stickers)
  • Scissors or X-Acto knife
  • Spray paint in your patriotic color of choice
  • Candles
  • Patience

Grab your masking or painters tape (or a kiddy star shaped sticker book if you’re particularly strapped for time) and carefully cut out a bunch of tiny star shapes. Or, if you’re feeling particularly flirty, cut out little hearts. Add them to your mason jars, cover the tops with the lids or a piece of cardboard, and hit them with a couple Shop72.com Star spangled tea light candle holdercoats of red, blue or even white spray paint. Try to keep it between three and four coats because you want the glow of the candle to illuminate the area. Let the jar dry between coats then, if you Shop72.com star spangled mason jar tea light candle holderscan, clean up any paint drips or streaking with a small paint brush. This step is optional and purely for the perfectionists out there. Once it’s completely dry, peel off the star shaped tape or stickers to reveal the perfectly star shaped empty spaces left behind. Pop a tea light candle inside and give it a light. Or, if you’re worried about the candle going out and having to relight it, pick up a pack of cheap, battery operated candles from the dollar store, turn them on and let them glow all night long. The ending result is more than worth it. For a stronger effect, make sure you place them away from brighter light sources such as porch or spot lights. If you go the battery operated fought, they make a great night light for the kids after the adults are done having all the fun with them. The great part about this little tip is that it’s a project that can be used again and again with different outcomes. Try hearts or little dinosaurs next time, or, use a sparkly glitter spray paint so it sparkles in the daylight, even when the candle’s not lit or turned on!

Don’t forget to show your patriotism by flying an authentic American Flag at your party! The American flag is the ultimate symbol of freedom and is a testament to all those we celebrate and remember on this day. Happy Independence Day from all of us here at Shop72.com!

Shop72 American Flag

3 Simple Ways to Make Your 4TH of July Celebration Out of This World!

Okay, so, the family is flying in Wednesday, the kids are confirmed to be out of school on the third, and your boss is breathing down your neck about getting those reports in before the weekend. It’s officially last minute party planning time if you’re going to have anything at all ready for the 4th of July holiday. What do you do? Well, you start by reading blog posts like this one about last minute party planning of course! I’ve collected three last minute Fourth of July food decorating tips that will take what you’re throwing together to the next level. Let’s dive in.

1: Desert is literally EVERYTHING

If you don’t have plans for at least a great desert, you’re way behind. The sweets, popsicles, candies and food coloring filled cake is the centerpiece to any 4th of July shindig. If you’re doing this as a last minute, day before the in-laws arrive type thing, you’re going to need all the help you can get, on the cheap, with minimal time and effort spent doing it.

Things to try: Dip waffle or sugar cones in candy melts or cake frosting then dip them in red, white and blue sprinkles.

What you’ll need:

  • Waffle cones or Sugar cones
  • Candy melts or cake icing
  • Sprinkles in patriotic colors

Fix enough of them and you’re on your way to having a great centerpiece for the sweets and desert bar no one knows you thought Shop72 fourth of July sugar conesof the night before! Serve them with the ice cream of your choice, but make sure you don’t set out the sweet stuff before the guests arrive. The only thing worse than a hot, sticky, day is melted, runny ice cream. Think of the little ones! You spent major dollars on her first patriotic tutu, don’t let her ruin it with watery ice cream!

Don’t worry if you can’t find those pesky candy melts in your local grocer. If you don’t have a Michael’s or Hobby Lobby nearby, I’m told they’re selling them at Walmart now. And, if even Walmart is out of the bag, you can always use regular cake icing. It’s a tad bit more fattening, but isn’t that what holiday’s are for?

Experiment with different types of sprinkles (and maybe even other types of candies or decorations) and see what effect you like best!

2: Gett’n fruity with it!

If you’re trying for a healthier desert, don’t panic, I’ve got you covered. Fruit can be just as sweet, sugary and fun, without all the added calories.

Things to try: Use star shaped cookie cutters in watermelon.

What you’ll need:

  • Cookie cutters (preferably the metal kind)
  • Watermelon
  • Blueberries or other summer fruit

This is one of those last minute food crafts that even the (older) kids can help out with. Slice your watermelon in half or whole Shop72.com Watermelon starscircles and hand out the cookie cutters. Try to get as many little stars cut out of your slice as possible, while trying to leave them at least a quarter of an inch thick. The thicker they are, the better they’ll hold up if you plan on sticking them on toothpicks and serving them as garnish.

Try serving them up as part of a fruit salad. Arrange them in a bowl with blueberries,Shop72.com patriotic fruit salad strawberries, cherries and other summer fruit. If you can swing it, go tropical! Add
chunks of mango, honeydew, pineapple, peaches, banana and lemon for a little twist and pucker.

Set it out for your guests to enjoy and add a little whipped topping if you’re in need of a little extra sweetness. The fruit can also be served up as skewers! Skewer up a few peach slices alongside your starry watermelon, spread them evenly on the grill and let them cook for seven to eight seconds on either side, depending on the heat of your grill. Once they’ve got grill marks, take them off and serve them alongside whatever your meal choice. They make great sides to ribs, pork steaks, burgers and just about anything else you’re grilling up.

3: Strawberries and stripes!

Here’s another fruity quickie that’ll leave your guests wondering if you’re somehow related to Martha Stewart!

Things to try: Dip strawberries in white candy melts then dip them again in sugar sprinkles.

What you’ll need:

  • Fresh strawberries (leave the stems!)
  • Candy melts (or white icing)
  • Blue sugar sprinkles

This not-so-seductive take on the chocolate dipped strawberry is the perfect way to work those patriotic colors into your table. Shop72.com patriotic strawberriesGrab those strawberries you’ve been planning to use for a …special night, and break out those candy melts again. After the
candy melts have reached optimal melting temperature and easy to work with, use tongs, a fork, or even a toothpick to dip and swirl your strawberries in the chocolate. You’ll have to move fast because that chocolate dries quick! Before it can cool and harden, dip the strawberry in a little bowl of blue sugar sprinkles. Allow them to cool and you’ve got a great snack or desert for your party goers!

If you want to add a little of the fireworks festivities to your patriotic strawberry, try dipping them in blue pop rocks instead of the sugar sprinkles. They’ll add a little snap, crackle and pop to the snack that your guests will love but won’t be expecting.

Pop these adorable little berries next to your fruit salad and your patriotic ice cream cones and you’ve got a full set that’s the perfect centerpiece to your last minute shindig.

Don’t forget to show your patriotism by flying an authentic American Flag at your party! The American flag is the ultimate symbol of freedom and is a testament to all those we celebrate and remember on this day. Happy Independence Day from all of us here at Shop72.com!

Shop72 American Flag

 Our First Warehouse Sale is a Success! You won’t believe what happened!

Dane Wilkerson Shop72.com Warehouse Sale
That’s Dane from eCommerce

Our warehouse sale has been a long discussed affair that we originally thought wouldn’t even happen. But, with a little luck, a little ingenuity, and a bunch of extraordinary people, we  got it done! From memorial day onwards, shop72.com has catered to the area, offering discounts, free gifts and more, all to better serve our loyal customers and make connections with the people in our community. And it’s not over yet, our sale is still going on, so come on down to our warehouse if you’re in the Belleville area for blowout sales and killer smiles.

Warehouse sale in Belleville
Our warehouse is looking spiffy!

The much anticipated sale kicked off officially on the first of June after months of painstaking planning and setting up our humble warehouse to look its best. It’s a handsome gentleman that we had to transform in order to appeal to the masses and, after worrying about it til we were all stressed out and above the legal blood/coffee limit, we whipped it into shape. Dane, our resident eCommerce manager and Linda, our Customer Service rep, took care to arrange everything, stocking racks and shelves with products and making sure everything was price tagged and ready to go. It was a hassle for them, working all day in the hot warehouse, but never once did they complain.

The first of June rolled around a lot sooner than we anticipated though, but we were

Warehouse sale in Belleville
Things are still selling quickly.

finally able to open our doors to the masses. We posted on Facebook and Twitter, handed out flyers and discount codes in expectation for our customers arrival but, to our complete and utter surprise, people started showing up early! We couldn’t stand to turn them away, so our sale actually started a few days ahead of schedule. Customer after customer came pouring in until we really didn’t know how to accommodate them. We were so surprised—and still are! People love our housewares, chocolate fountains and shammy’s, but more than anything they’ve been all over our clothing items like our dresses, camisoles, leggings, shoes, cardigans and more. Except, instead of ordering online and waiting for it to be delivered, they took it home straight away. One woman even decided to wear a pair of our heels home, straight out of the box. This has been more than a success, we’re so excited to have our loyal customers–and friends!–showing up to hangout with us.This sale has been an extraordinary success and we can’t wait to promote bigger and better events for our customers in the future.

Summer Fashion Trends You Won’t Wanna Miss Out On!

Summer is no longer a far off, distant dream, it’s actually right around the corner for most of us here in the US. And, as the fashionista’s we know we are, if we’re not prepared we’ll find ourselves up a very specific creek without a paddle to get us home again. Summer fashion items are already trending on the the runway and even right here in our own neck of the woods. Let’s take a look at some of the most desirable, sought after trends for the upcoming season, from flirty, far-out bikini covers to rich cummerbunds for your beau; I’ll tip you off to some of the latest trends and how you can get them on the cheap. Your Summer holiday on the beach is about to get a whole lot more stylish.

Remember 2012, when the galaxy theme exploded onto the scene? Mostly thanks to tumblr, galaxy themed clothing items were all the rage and are recently coming back into circulation with the surplus of Pinterest DIY techniques. Anything with swirls and smatterings of color, bold, bright prints and neon are what the kids are asking for. And by kids, I mean the twenty somethings that can’t really afford to pay attention but somehow find the time to fill your inbox with requests for galaxy themed blog design. This season, bikini covers are especially on the rise expense wise. Even if you can afford the designer price tag, there are plenty of low cost, online options that mimic the pricer items even without meaning to. Let’s have a little comparison.

Shop72 Galaxy Bikini Cover
Lord and Taylor are killing me with their radio ads right now. Who can honestly afford their crap? I’d rather look cute and not go broke.

The bikini cover on the left is from Lord and Taylor and is a basic, boring black. It costs a whopping $54 dollars. While the cover on the right is a new item from shop72.com. It falls in line with current trends and is only $22 dollars. Half the price, double the fashion. Some people just prefer to pay for expensive, over-priced brand names, but when it comes to a flimsy piece of cloth you’re probably only going to use two or three times each  year, I say skip the name brand, no one’s going to notice if you don’t tell them. And I, for that matter, most certainly won’t. If you really want to get your bang for your buck this season, think deeply about how often you’re going to actually use an item and whether or not it’ll still be of use next year. Certain fabrics, cuts and styles don’t stand the test of time, so be extra certain that cute, $200 dollar chevron print swimsuit you’ve been eyeing is going to look just as good on you next Summer as it will in the next two months.

For men, cummerbunds and bow ties are back in season, and not only because thousands of females are shoveling them to the alter whether they like it or not. Prom season recently passed and men of all generations are still in the spirit of the roaring twenties when class was

David Oyelowo Shop72
HOLLYWOOD, CA – FEBRUARY 22: Actor David Oyelowo attends the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
Moda Di Raza Burgundy Cummerbund and Bow Tie Set
Cummerbunds from Shop72.com at a steal for $9.99

still something to be coveted. Deep, rich colors like burgundy, red, wine and royal blue are being favored  over the normal black, while monochromatic and tame colors are shunned. David Oyelowo tore up the Oscar’s red carpet in a Dolce & Gabbana one button suit with matching bow tie and cummerbund. The color really stood out on him and, despite wearing red on the red carpet being a fashion faux pas, he looked dashing among the  other actors and boozed up starlets.  While Dolce & Gabbana may be out of everyone’s price range, you or that special someone in your life can luckily rock the cummerbund and bow tie look for under twenty dollars. I found this gorgeous set online and on SALE for $9.99. A freaking steal for superb style.

In shoe world, it’s still all about the platform heel. Popularized in the last couple years by Christian Louboutin, especially his Daffodile pump that has every woman foaming at the mouth, the platform heel is back this year with a vengeance. And, I can’t even kid myself, if I could swing  a grand for a heel from Louboutin, there’s no substitute in the world I would

Shop72 Blue Suede Pump
There’s somewhat of a difference but you can’t beat it for the price. $1070 VS $29.99.

settle for. But if you’re like me and tuition is more of a problem than footwear, you may be searching for alternatives. I found a beautiful blue suede heel that’s pretty darn close to Louboutin’s “Victoria”. And for a fraction of the original cost, how can you go wrong?

The chunky heel is another trend for this season that simply wont die. I’m not personally a fan of this one, but there are plenty of trendier fashionista’s who just can’t get enough of a fat heel. Fashion week was full of thick heels with fanciful patterns and mixtures of fabrics but suede came out on top like always. I found this lovely pair online for super cheap.  They would go great with a knee length skirt and blouse or even a pants-suit.

Chunky Heel Shop72
Not for this type of heel but it’s still business chic!

This heel is the fashionable business-woman’s wildest dream. The dark purple color is near black, making it super easy to wear with just about anything. Heels will always be ultra feminine, despite where they got their start. In a nutshell, fashion’s latest trends are all over the place this year. If you can swing the pricier items, totally go for them! But for those of us who can’t, we’ll just have to fake it until we make it. But, as they always say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And imitate we shall, while keeping our hard earned cash where it belongs; firmly in out pockets.

Are You Wearing Leggings the Right or Wrong Way?

In other words, when fashion and comfort collide!

Leggings. Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the ocean for the past two or three years you’re well aware of leggings as a trend, and the timeless debate of “are they pants or not?”. Needless to say, it’s not my place or anyone else’s to tell you how to wear your clothes. If you like them beneath dresses, that’s cool, if you prefer them on their own with a T-shirt or baggy sweater, that’s cool too! The point is, your comfortable and you’re stylish, and with those key points down, nothing else matters! I’m coming to you today from the midst of the debate, hoping to sway both sides to a differing point of view by talking about–yep, you guessed it–the versatility of leggings!

The Long History of Leggings and How They Came to Be

Leggings are typically ankle-length, and some are stirrupped or encase the feet. Some are shorter. Leggings are worn to keep a person’s legs warm, as protection from chafing during an activity such as exercise, or as a decorative or fashion garment. Leggings are worn by both men and women during exercise but usually only by women at other times. In contemporary usage, leggings refers to tight, form-fitting trousers that extend from the waist to the ankles. In the United States, they are sometimes referred to as tights. However, the two words are not synonymous as the word tights refers to opaque pantyhose.

Leggings were originally called hose, and were first found in the Renaissance era.  They were worn by bothfcf119a723180e79866e78a0c8b1f93d men and women, and were actually one-legged, using different colors and prints for each leg.  They were used to show status: most were made from wool, while others were made from silk for the noblemen/noblewomen. Men also wore trunkhose, which were the puffy garments that were worn from their waist to their knees. From the blog Encouraged Life, I found even more insightful information on the history of leggings: Leggings hit their height in the 1980s during the time of cheesy pop, exercise videos, and crazy fashion.  I not only did some research on how leggings were worn, but talked to my mom about this trend in the 80s.  She said leggings in 80s were nothing like they are today. She said they were really thick, and were always paired with a skirt, dress, or oversized top that covered the rear end. She said they wore leggings “as pants” when they were doing exercise videos. Throughout my research, I found the same information. I thought I would share this photo of the 80s queen, Madonna, performing at a concert. The 90s started the era of wearing leggings as pants, which were generally  patterned or part of an outfit. I thought I would share a picture from the fashionable diva group, The Spice Girls (great blast from the past, right?).  Leggings were still worn a lot for exercise as well. Leggings have made a huge comeback recently, and are a trend of today.  Many pair up sweatshirts and tops with leggings and wear them as pants.  They range anywhere from black to patterned and colorful. 

In a nutshell, leggings have come a long way from their humble beginnings as just undergarments of the wealthy and the fashionable in the Victoria era. Women of all shapes, sizes and social-economic backgrounds wear the versatile garment, whether they consider them pants or not.

Types of Leggings – Yes, There Are Different Types You Legging Nazis

Leggings come in may different styles, patterns, colors, fabrics and lengths. From ankle length leggings (depicted above), to leggings with stirrups, capri or “calf length” and even footed leggings, they truly take the cake for how you can wear them. I believe the biggest factor in the pants debate is the common misconception that regular, nylon, semi see through tights and leggings are one in the same. Tights commonly have feet, but have variations that don’t them. They’re meant to be worn beneath dresses as hosiery, not on their own as leggings typically are. True leggings that are meant for on their own wear are  typically made from cotton, wool, and thicker blends. The best leggings, in my opinion, are made from cotton and are fleece lined, making them extra heavy, durable, and perfect for wearing during trendy-100-nylon-sheer-rib-tights-blk-216057the winter months. Rule of thumb: if you can see through them or make out skin tone through the fabric, then they’re obviously meant to be worn beneath something. It’s common sense. If they’re 90% Nylon…pass on them unless you specifically want to wear them underneath your favorite dress.

Pro tip: Black, footless tights make a bold statement underneath sweater dresses and oversized tops, especially when worn with chunky belts, chunky heels and sexy stilettos of the same color.

Leggings, Cute Trend or Fashion Faux Pas? 

As with every post, the choice is ultimately up to you, but in my opinion, I genuinely believe leggings are the way to go if you want to dabble in high fashion and still be comfortable. Denim and other fabrics are nice, wearing skirts are easy and breezy, but nothing beats the simplicity of leggings or how stylish one feels when you step out the door in them. Shop72.com has a wide range of leggings in both regular and plus sizes. From crazy, wacky patterns to solid colors, and even the infamous footless tights, we have it all. And, the best part about our leggings is that they’re inexpensive! I recently saw a pair of black, cotton leggings on Polyvore.com from some obscure French fashion label that were on SALE for four hundred dollars. This was a SALE item! That’s completely and utterly ridiculous! But, I guess if you have money to blow, four hundred dollars is most definitely the way to go. What else would you spend it on? Charity? Hooplah.

Are You Shopping For Your Plus Size Clothing The Right Way?

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. 

stock-photo-yellow-tape-measure-on-rolled-up-on-white-background-77201539Knowing 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, measurement_guideshorts 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 Becca-ETC-Plus-Size-Aztec-Print-Flounce-Bikini-Top-Hipster-Bottom_Fotor_Collagedisappointed 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 Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 12.42.54 PMitems 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 adju-yd-786-blk-1xhere 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.