Jane Janeczko on
October 11, 2013
It’s okay to want to be sexy. There. I said it.
No matter what your size or your age, it’s okay to want to be sexy, and it is definitely achievable, too. However, as a plus-size woman, when I put on a slinky dress or a short skirt, I feel that I am consistently put in a box – a BBW box – or at least that’s what commenters seem to tell me.
Now, for those of you who don’t know, BBW means “Big Beautiful Woman.” Well, that is true, I suppose: I am big, I am beautiful, and I am a woman. It should seem like a compliment, right? The problem where the title BBW is concerned, is that this unfortunate acronym tends to lump all plus-size women together in the same category, thereby turning all plus-size women and their bodies into a fetish, which I absolutely abhor. It is not a fetish to appreciate my body, nor is it a fetish to love me.
When a woman who is a size four dresses up for a night-out and snaps a picture of her outfit to post on Instagram, she does not receive any demeaning nicknames online, or messages from guys with usernames like “proudchubbychaser16.” Plus-size bodies, on the other hand, are either overtly sexualized or completely ignored. There is no in between, which makes it incredibly challenging for plus-size women to put together a sexy look without wondering about what type of attention it will attract.
For a night look I paired the Kaori Infinity Dress with black heels and pink and orange statement earrings.
My body is beautiful because it is my body. I would feel the same about it whether I was a size 2 or a size 32 (for reference, I am a size 14). All women are different and some women embrace the title of BBW (and they are well within their rights to do so), but at the same time, the women who hate the title of BBW also need to be respected. I hate to say it, but anything that could also be equated with a category on an adult website is not a moniker that I personally want to be associated with.
Now, with all that commentary out in front of me, I have to admit the IGIGI Kaori Infinity Dress makes me feel both beautiful and sexy.
The boat neckline is flattering and chic.
When I first saw the dress on IGIGI’s website, I had a feeling that it could be a great going-out dress. It looked comfortable, it is clearly convertible, since you can alter both the sleeves and the hemline with ease, and it’s black – it’s basically my ideal garment.
I styled the dress two different ways to transition it from day to night. For my night look (above) I chose to keep it somewhat simple and kept my hair up to show off my pink and orange statement earrings and threw on a high heel. My favorite part of this dress is that you can adjust the length for knee-length to a more tunic style by simply scooching the hemline up a little bit. As you can see, I went with more of a tunic length.
For my day look I wore the belt that comes with the dress, a great wide faux leather belt that adds great structure and knee length boots. It is brutal finding stylish, high-quality, wide calf boots. The pair that I am wearing has a hidden stretch panel with elastic that allows the boots to comfortably bend around my calf. However, it took many visits to the mall and returned mail orders to find this pair. Wide calf for some designers simply means an inch or two wider than their straight size boots, which as anyone with thicker calves can attest, will not actually fit a customer with wide calves. Unfortunately, the designers that offer wide calf boots rarely have multiple options available.
I firmly believe that a good pair of riding boots is necessary for any closet and these wide calf boots fit the bill.
One of my friends told me that she felt self-conscious boot shopping for wide calf boots because there would consistently be only one or two options at the various department stores she tried. Plus, she thought that the elastic bands that stretch the boots made it look even more obvious that she was wearing a wide calf boot. If you don’t want to wear a wide calf boot there are other options. Try ankle boots, a suede boot with slouch or a mid-calf boot for a similar effect. It doesn’t matter what you wear as long as you feel good wearing it.
What do you wear when you want to feel sexy and confident? Do you have a go-to dress or outfit? Share in the comments!
Jane Janeczko on
October 9, 2013
I really, really dislike the whole concept of “professional attire.” I feel like it’s an excuse for people to wear their most tired gray polyester pants and worn-out white collared shirts. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with a white collared shirt (I have about seven), but they do require an extra bit of work to make them special, and those dishwater gray pants are not cutting it.
I feel like a great dress is the antithesis of a boring work uniform, and every once in while you’ll find a dress that you can wear straight from work to after-work cocktails. A sheath dress, or in this case, a modified sheath dress, took the place of my metaphorical polyester pants and gave me some swagger when I rolled into work Monday morning.
If I could have this color palette take over every aspect of my life I would be okay with that. In retrospect, this dress may have been slightly too alluring for work, but I felt so great in it I decided to ignore that fact.
As I have said before, when it comes to a perfect palette for every woman, jewel tones absolutely knock it out of the park. So when I saw the Sapphira Plus Size Dress in Larkspur Combo the purples, blues, and dark reds were calling to me. I have found myself being drawn to sheath dresses lately since I’ve been spending my days working in a professional office in Manhattan, and I just love the inherent power and structure to sheath dresses. They are just perfect for an office setting: feminine, yet totally in charge. However, I’ve had very little success when it comes to fit because all of the dresses that I’ve tried recently have been boxy to the extreme, and I have no desire to look like Spongebob Squarepants.
So when I clicked order on this beauty, I was more than a little nervous as to how the fit would turn out. I’d been feeling kind of like a one-trick pony lately when it came to dress styles, since I’d been wearing only empire-waisted, skater-length dresses. While that style is supremely flattering on me (and on all-women who have hourglass figures), there is definitely something to the phrase, “Too much of a good thing,” and I hadn’t been having fun while getting dressed. Instead, it was getting kind of monotonous.
Basically, I needed an IGIGI injection into my wardrobe stat, and this sheath dress was too pretty to turn down. However, when I ripped open my IGIGI box, I quickly realized that this dress is not a true sheath, but rather a modified one, with an extremely flattering draping detail at my waist to nip in my figure a little bit and get rid of the ultra-boxy profile that I had been struggling with. Plus, the material, a Poly/Elastane blend fabric, glides over my curves like butter and feels absolutely amazing on. It really could not be more comfortable.
I originally styled this dress with a short, cropped black blazer in addition to my classic black pumps, but the weather has been so warm lately that I threw off the blazer before leaving the house.
Since the pattern on this dress is so elaborate, I knew that too many accessories would be a bit obnoxious, so I kept it simple with silver studs and black pumps. As much as I love accessories (the statement necklaces, they call to me), there’s something really wonderful in just not having to worry about them every now and then and allowing your clothes to speak for themselves without any added adornments. It really is the mark of a well made garment.
I kept it simple with the Sapphira Dress, but how would you style it? Tell me in the comments and, as ever, if you ever have any fashion inquiries, style musings, or just questions about life, you can hit me up on Instagram or Twitter. Fair warning, there will be lots of selfies.
Jane Janeczko on
October 7, 2013
It takes some guts to pull off a great maxi dress. When you’re wearing a floor length dress ,or even a midi dress (meaning a dress that hits you at mid-calf), you are automatically making a statement. You’re saying, “Hey, what’s up. The queen is here.” Now, for some women that’s not a problem at all. Attention, especially positive attention, can be great and welcome, but for some women (myself included), wearing a dress that is quite honestly a showstopper, like the Samantha Maxi Dress, takes some courage, because you will absolutely be the center of attention in it.
I added boots to make this sweet dress a little more edgy.
I’m a sucker for all floral prints, so naturally I was drawn to the vintage-inspired Italian floral mix on the Samantha Maxi Dress. The sheer sleeves and hem with the sweetheart neckline add a modern touch to the floral print, and the asymmetrical high-low hem is current and stylish. I chose to pair the dress with a low pair of brown leather cowboy boots to capitalize on the “high-fashion Laura Ingalls Wilder” thing that I was feeling in this dress. The dress is fully lined, which I absolutely love, and it is a Nylon/Elastane material, making the floral pattern look and feel like a lace overlay, which adds even more drama to this dress.
When you’re plus-size, people love to make rules for what you can and cannot wear, or what is the most flattering look for your shape. For example, I refused to wear horizontal stripes for years because I was told that it would make me look wider. However, your size really does not dictate what will and won’t look good on you at all – it’s your attitude.
I feel that patterns, especially bold patterns, tend to scare most women, whether or not they are plus-size. It’s more of a risk because people will notice you, and it’s much less of a challenge to throw on jeans and a white t-shirt and call it a day. However, you really can make any pattern work for you. The key is to pay attention to where the pattern falls on your body, and to consider which layers and accessories you pair with it. If you love floral prints like I do, you’re in luck, because I’ve put together a list of the most common floral patterns that you find while shopping, with tips on what pieces to look for and how to wear them.
So without further ado, here are the top five most popular floral patterns and some gorgeous women showing how to pull them off:
1. Abstract: Abstract florals are one of the easiest to pull off, and to pull off well, because of their graphic nature. An abstract floral will always look clean and current, and it’s easy to mix and match with other colors, or even other patterns. The blogger “Grown and Curvy Woman” paired her abstract floral top with lime green bermuda shorts and a lemon yellow blazer for a bright and tropical statement, and she looks fantastic and fresh.
2. Modern: “Modern florals” usually means that the pattern has brighter, more modern coloring, like the turquoise, pink, and teal pants that the blogger “Hems for Her” is wearing, or that they are a completely revamped graphic floral like many of Orla Kiely’s awesome designs. Wearing a floral in a slightly unconventional way, such as a great pair of floral print jeans, is also a way to make any floral pattern seem automatically more modern.
3. Oversized: Oversized patterns are the type that I am most often told to stay away from, because of my size; however, an oversized pattern like the one below is incredibly flattering. The pattern circles around her figure and complements the wrap dress perfectly. Oversized patterns can be tough because it can make you look like your garment is wearing you instead of the other way around. A way to combat that is to pay careful attention to where the pattern is falling on your body. On the dress below, for example, the pattern is curving perfectly around the model’s figure, giving her a perfect hourglass.
4. Vintage: Vintage florals can basically do no wrong, in my opinion. There’s nothing softer or more feminine than a great vintage floral. However, scale can be an important factor: let us all remember poor, pregnant Kim K. at the Met Gala this year. Vintage florals, especially when they’re on a small scale, like the dress that blogger “Rosie Vintage” is wearing below, give extra dimension to clothes without looking overpowering.
5. Realistic: Realistic florals are not usually my thing, but this awesome blazer being worn by blogger “Style Chic 360″ is making me reconsider that. When wearing a really realistic floral pattern, keep it is going to be a statement piece, so an item like a blazer or a top is perfect for this type of pattern.
Regardless of which floral pattern is your favorite, remember: never let any so-called “fashion rules” keep you from wearing clothes that you like or clothes that make you happy. If you feel good and confident, everyone else will take notice of that too, and you’ll be the best-dressed person in the room.
Jane Janeczko on
September 19, 2013
Every once in a while you slip into a dress and immediately feel awesome. That happened today when I put on the IGIGI Mara dress in Imperial Blue. Whenever I’m at home online shopping, there are a few specific key words that I constantly search for: dresses with pockets, oversized crop tops (child of the 90′s) and dolman sleeves. So I was too excited when I found this gorgeous dress with dolman sleeves on IGIGI’s site and it was *gasp* on sale. The dress is fully lined so it slides perfectly over the body and it has a really interesting knotted drape detail on the side which I had not been expecting, but it is incredibly helpful in hiding my tummy. The draping pulls across the waist and made my body look long and statuesque, which at 5’6” it is decidedly not. I did not feel like this dress needed a wealth of accessories, so I just threw on a layered pewter necklace and a pair of black suede heels.
I wore the Mara dress to a lunch meeting at a friend’s country club and I felt perfectly dressed. The heels might have been a bit much, but high heels always give me a huge burst of confidence.
Part of what makes this dress so great is its versatility. I wore this dress with a blazer and flats for work and got a lot of compliments on it at the office. The bateau neckline runs right across my collarbone and it makes the dress even more elegant since it adds that whole Audrey Hepburn look to any dress.
The length of this dress is truly knee-length, but the skirt of the dress closes in the front which serves as a slit and adds a little bit of sexiness.
When looking for a dress that can easily transition from work to day to night I have five details that I always look for:
1. Fabric: Unfortunately, there are very few fabrics that can transition easily for any situation or event. Jersey is one of the only fabrics that is appropriate for both day and night. It’s also wrinkle-free which is a huge bonus for me. Cotton is ideal for day only and materials like rayon and spandex tend to be better for evening looks.
2. Color or pattern: If I’m truly looking for a transitional dress, I rarely choose a patterned dress because I want total variability. However, certain basic patterns like polka-dots and stripes are simple and uniform enough that they are essentially solids and therefore easier to adapt. The simple, but rich royal blue of the Mara dress is good for both day and night and the rich color gives a real vibrancy to my look instead of another little black dress. Solid hued dresses can be just as slimming as an LBD.
3. Neckline: For night, I tend to look for deeper necklines, but a bateau, or boat neckline, is incredibly elegant and creates a frame around the face to draw attention. For day, I would wear my hair down with a bateau and allow my hair to close the frame, but for night I would put my hair up and add a little extra eyeliner to make my eyes the center of attention.
4. Length: Length can be tricky when seeking versatile pieces, but it never hurts to play it safe with a knee-length dress. The layered skirt of the Mara dress gives the visual effect of a slit which will be even more apparent and allow me to show a little extra skin when dancing at night.
5. Comfort: In my mind, if I’m not comfortable in an outfit – it’s not worth it. The jersey fabric, with the dolman sleeves and the flattering draping makes this dress supremely comfortable and I would be able to wear it all day and well into the night.
Edith Head once said, “Your dresses should be tight enough to show you’re a woman and loose enough to show you’re a lady.” I think that the careful draping, but slinky jersey of this dress fits the bill. Where did you find your first “perfect” plus-size dress? Tell me in the comments.
Jane Janeczko on
September 18, 2013
When they made their comeback about a year ago, I did not understand the appeal of peplums. The peplum was first seen in Ancient Greece on both male and female togas, but the trend as we know it with the more sculptural aesthetic, appeared in the 1930′s when women’s suits started to become very popular, as seen on celebrities like Joan Crawford. After fading away in the 1960′s and 1970′s when loose, draped silhouettes returned, the peplum came back with a vengeance in the 1980′s complete with the obligatory shoulder pads to create a “balanced look.” (See: Sue Ellen Ewing of Dallas). Last spring, the peplum once again made a reappearance and I simply decided to sit back and watch it die out, just like I did with the velour sweatsuit craze of the early 2000′s. Lately, however, I have started to notice some more subdued peplums in tops and jackets that piqued my interest and I thought that it might be worth a try so I picked up the IGIGI Florence Peplum Top.
Don’t miss out on peplum style
As soon as I tried it on, I knew that I had been missing out. Initially, I was not overly enthused with peplums because I knew that the style is designed to make your hips look larger and add a bit of volume and my hips are large enough as it is. However, I completely underestimated how small the peplum would make my waist look. A peplum, even a relaxed peplum, can give you a perfect hourglass figure and the Florence Top did not disappoint. I paired it with a pair of jeggings and black heels to balance out the vibrant cobalt and green. I wore this outfit for a movie date with some friends. Ironically, I decided to go with a pair of skintight jeggings instead of some wide-leg jeans or trousers because I liked the super curvy affect that the Florence top gave my hips.
I would also wear this top with a pencil or a body conscious (body con) skirt to play up the shape even more. If you wear a peplum skirt try it with a fitted top for a similar silhouette.
Part of my initial issue with peplums was their tendency to fly up and therefore look shorter than they are intended to. However, the Florence Peplum Top comes with a detached, layering tank which erases that problem completely.
All peplums are not made equal
After I had such a success with this top, I thought that I would give a more structural jersey, peplum dress a try. I did not even make it out of the dressing room. The peplum started too low on my waist and the jersey bunched oddly, looking almost like a napkin. For a peplum to be truly successful on a plus-size frame, it is vital for the cut above the peplum to hit you at your natural waist (i.e. the smallest part of your body) allowing the flare to float away from your midsection. Otherwise, the peplum can make you look twice your size, which is a look that no one is interested in. The peplum creates an utterly feminine silhouette so feminine fabrics, like lace, or floral prints really play up that femininity and can be demure while still be sexy especially since lace and florals can make your bust look larger. For an edgier look, try a leather peplum skirt or a studded peplum belt to vamp it up and add a biker chic look to your wardrobe.
How do you like to wear peplums? Tell me in the comments.