Plus Sized Fashion Crisis

So I’m having a bit of a fashion identity crisis lately. I’ve spent the last 7 1/2 years home with the kids and have been pretty much living in Old Navy jeans and shirts, which I do love because of their price and versatility. Problem is, I don’t seem to have any ‘grown up’ clothes anymore.

I have been trying very hard to be good about anything new that I am buying. Does it look nice and make me feel great? Is it not black or grey? But here’s where I am finding the dilemma. I am a plus sized woman but I am also 5’8″ tall, so I can get away with a lot of styles and shapes. If I could find them. I am not getting down on the amazing plus sized stores here in Toronto at all. They do have some fantastic clothes and when I find something that I love, I scoop it up (thank you Addition Elle fall line!). I just happen to be a bit hard to fit. Apparently, according to most plus sized clothing, my boobs are too small for my shoulders and my hips are too big for my top half. Oh, and my legs are too skinny for plus sized pants and  jeans.

Now, I happen to think that I have a perfectly lovely, curvy body which is well proportioned but clothing manufacturers would beg to disagree. Which drastically narrows down the number of clothes available to me. I have had one business suit in my life where the jacket and skirt both fit. It was like some kind of shopping miracle.

I think the solution would be to have my own personal designer and dresser. How expensive could that be? Anybody out there feel up to the task. All I’m asking for are clothes that fit me properly, are suitable for work and a night out, are not black or grey, do not make me look like a teenager or a matron, and are affordable. Shouldn’t be too difficult, should it?

Hello Fall. It’s About Time

Ahhh, I woke up this morning to a dismal and rainy day but am I sad. Nooooo. I cracked open the living window, made myself a cup of tea, sparked up the computer…. and had to find myself a SWEATER. Hooray!

It’s not that I am opposed to summer. Not at all. We all had a great summer camping and swimming and hanging out with friends and family. I was a bit sad to see the kids go back to school, mainly because I realize that they are getting older and time has been passing way too quickly. Mini Me has these broad shoulders now and wants to hang out with his buddies after school. Monkey has moved up to the second floor of our hulking old school building, which means I am now permanently relegated to picking him up outside in the school yard instead of occasionally popping in to the classroom and keeping up a rapport with the teacher.

But I digress.  The reason I am thrilled to finally get a taste of good old Canadian fall weather is because I am freakin’ tired of sweating! I know it’s petty but there you have it. This was the kind of summer in Toronto where some days you just stood outside and dripped. The air conditioning was running way more than I would have liked and the days with a nice breeze and a perfect 25 degrees were few and far between. I come from Scottish and English stock. I don’t handle this weather well. I am also creeping towards my mid 40s and I suspect that perimenopause has been rearing its ugly head for a couple of years now. I suppose I will have my answer about that little issue when it’s -15 outside and I am still sweating in a few months.

Another totally ridiculous reason for loving fall? The clothes. It’s difficult to look put together when you’re sweating buckets and just want to walk around naked with a fan blowing on you at all times. In the fall, you can wear stuff like this…

From the Addition Elle fall line

Oh yeah, I went and bought this skirt last weekend. Red pencil skirt with a cheeky black zipper that runs down the entire length of the back seam. I have plans for this skirt.

I can’t wait to dig out my jeans, my boots, my scarves. Oh, how I love my scarves. And my sleek leather jacket. Sigh. I’m looking forward to getting myself put together and staying that way instead of becoming a drippy, shiny mess 5 minutes after leaving the house.

It’s not all about the clothes though. Craft fairs, farmer’s markets, Thanksgiving, Halloween, hay rides, pumpkin patches, apple pies and cider, hikes to see the leaves turning colour. And if I get to look fabulous while doing all of these things, then that’s just an added bonus.

What’s your favourite season?

Must Own Addition Elle Fall 2012 Collection!!

I opened my mailbox today and lo and behold, what awaited me made my heart go all aflutter. It was the fall 2012 Lookbook from Addition Elle and it would seem that almost every piece in there was tailor made to make me one happy happy girl. I don’t know about you, but I find that there are some seasons that I just don’t want to buy a stitch of clothing because the prevalent styles or colours just aren’t ‘me.’ The whole empire waist, tie behind the back blouse and dress phenomenon was a good example of that. No woman who wears a size 16, is over 40 and has given birth (twice) needs a shirt or dress that makes her look pregnant. What could be less flattering than a blouse that ties right under your boobs and puffs out over your stomach? Seriously?

So, when I opened the Lookbook and saw this…

I mean WOW. I can totally rock this look. I have been looking for several years for a pencil skirt of any description and then this year, it’s like my wardrobe prayers have been answered.

Then I flip a couple of pages and find another!

I wonder if I can find out which day these items will be delivered to the store nearest me so that I can camp out and beat off other shoppers with a stick if need be. Hmmm.

 

Confessions of an ’80s fashion fan

Almost two years ago now I celebrated my 40th birthday surrounded by a bunch of wonderful women who all bit the fashion bullet and trawled their local thrift shops, accessory stores and (some sheepishly confessed) their own closets, to dress like they had in the ‘70s, ‘80s or ‘90s. As we bopped all night to the karaoke machine that could be heard for blocks in my downtown Toronto neighbourhood (I was later told by the disgruntled husbands who were left at home while their wives partied) I couldn’t help but notice that, given the choice, almost all of us had on some form of ‘80s fashion. Oh sure, we were decked out in neon and really bad hairdos but fundamentally, we all looked pretty hot for a bunch of almost-middle-aged chicks.

Then a couple of weeks ago I was slipping on a new little ensemble that I had put together and I thought to myself, ‘Oh my god, I think I wore this outfit in 1985!’ And yet, it looked great. So this got me thinking about what had changed between then and now to get me into the kind of outfit I had sworn I would never ever revisit outside of wild, drunken, themed karaoke parties, and to convince some of you ladies out there that you can do it too.

First off, it’s a matter of cut. Back in the day, we were buying men’s shirts and sweaters, throwing a slouchy belt on it or maybe a pair of tights under it and voila.  Today, we have beautiful knits made to come down to mid-thigh. They fit in the shoulder and the sleeve. There’s room for a bust and not as much bulk at the waist. Try on a long sweater with a pair of leggings. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Second, I have to sing the praises of undergarments. How many of us owned a thong in 1985 (okay, never mind, I don’t want to know).  But really, get rid of the panty lines with some good undergarments either of the skimpy or of the substantially elasticized, holding it all in place variety, and you’ve got a lovely silhouette.

Third, is the wide elastic belt. This little accessory is enough to make a doubter into a believer.  There’s nothing better for concealing a muffin top, and they’re comfortable to boot. I would take a nice stretchy elastic around my waist any day over those horrible faux leather wide belts of the ‘80s that cut into your side every time you moved. My biggest tip would be go get a belt that fits generously though. Don’t try to use it to suck anything in because the belt will double up and fold on you. Not a good look.

Next, we must sing the praises of leggings and fitted skirts. The fabrics and styles we have to choose from now are staggering.  The leggings are thicker, the elasticization is not as extreme, the skirts are cut properly to come just above your knee instead of the ‘80s ‘just covering your bum’ style. Skinny jeans are infinitely forgiving as well. They give you a slimming silhouette while the denim smooths lumps and bumps and doesn’t cling as much as a legging would.

And lastly, the boots. Oh, the boots. They’re everywhere this year and they’re gorgeous. Modernize the look with a knee high black boot with a bit of heel. Face it, pixie boots and skirts are for those sweet young things we see at the mall. But pixie boots and a hot pair of leggings? Why not?

I think what I learned by looking at myself in the mirror is that I can take a look that I rolled my eyes at even a month ago and make it my own. Even something ‘80s inspired can be so very flattering when it’s done right, with a modern twist, and with all the knowledge of fashion and our bodies that we have gained since back-in-the-day. So give the ‘80s a bit of a whirl. But please, ditch the neon. That was never right!