Peplum Novice: Making Any Trend Work For You

Posted by 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.

The IGIGI Florence Peplum Top comes in cobalt with a green tank or in black with a purple tank.

The IGIGI Florence Peplum Top comes in cobalt with a green tank or in black with a purple tank.

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.

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.

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Getting That Goddess Look: Maxi Dresses For Plus-size Women

Posted by on September 16, 2013

There is nothing quite as dramatic or flattering as a good maxi dress. There is a small part of me that really wants to believe in the whole lost princess fantasy and that I will eventually be ferried away to rule my own small kingdom à la Mia Thermopolis of The Princess Diaries. Until then, I will wear my princess-esque maxi dresses and keep my plans for castle renovation to myself. Luckily, I found the IGIGI Jordan Maxi Dress to help me live out my fantasy a little bit.

I wore this dress to a dinner out with my family and I paired it with wedge sandals and a cropped denim jacket since it finally seems that Fall weather is starting up a bit.

I wore this dress to a dinner out with my family and I paired it with wedge sandals and a cropped denim jacket since it finally seems that Fall weather is starting up a bit.

I cannot get over the fluidity of this dress. The fabric, a chiffon overlay with a full jersey lining, is absolutely divine. The geometric, chevron pattern on the skirt is current and elongates the legs while creating a lot more visual interest than simple stripes and the hem cuts up in the front giving a soft, petal-like look while eradicating any fears of accidentally stepping on the hem. The chiffon sleeves are also customizable and the drawstrings can be pulled tight and tied for a tank look or loosened (like I wore them) to create true short sleeve. The chiffon is still semi-sheer so you get a touch more coverage while still looking sexy. The wide neckline cut across my shoulders and showed a decent amount of skin so I added a chunky, vintage gold necklace to balance it out while still emphasizing the sweetheart cut of the neckline. The thick band hits me right under the bust for an empire waist that is flattering on every body type.

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When wearing a maxi dress, it can be fine line between looking like a Greek goddess or looking short and dumpy, so cut and structure is incredibly important when picking out your maxi. Look to the five tips below when finding your perfect maxi:

1. Look for a thick strap or a sleeve. If you have a larger bust, wearing a good bra with straps, is a necessity so strapless maxis are usually not an option for most plus-sized women and spaghetti straps can just make your top half look larger.

2. Find an empire silhouette. Sack or swing maxis are out if you are looking for a strictly flattering cut since they will fall directly down and make you look a little larger and shorter than normal. Granted, they can always be belted, but if you’re looking for a completely effortless look stick to empire.

3. Stick to a sweetheart of v-neck neckline. Since your legs are covered the deeper neckline will show some skin and add balance to the maxi dress while elongating your neck and making your entire figure look leaner.

4. Don’t size down. When you’re wearing a maxi dress, part of the appeal is the flow of the skirt and the swing of the fabric around your legs. If you’re wearing a tight tube dress you lose this goddess effect and it takes away from the majesty of a good maxi look. A loose, flowing dress with a cinched waist is the most flattering for a plus-size figure.

5. Pay attention to prints. A large, oversized print on a maxi can be really overwhelming and take away from the dress. On the Jordan Maxi Dress, the exaggerated chevron works so well because the vertical print starts at the skirt allowing for a more flattering look, instead of completely covering the dress from neckline to hemline. If you are interested in a completely patterned maxi dress, a plain belt around the smallest part of your waist will cut the pattern and make you look slimmer.

Some people believe floor-length dresses are inherently formal, but if you have the right accessories a maxi can be perfect either for a daytime or nighttime look. What is your favorite style maxi dress? Tell me in the comments.

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The LBD From Coco To You: How To Find and Rock The Perfect Little Black Dress

Posted by on September 16, 2013

If I had to pinpoint one dominant color in my wardrobe it would undeniably be black. There was a time when essentially the only colors I ever wore were black, onyx or obsidian, with the occasional silver or gold accent. I even had a mild goth phase in high school complete with the necessary Doc Martens and obsessively applied matte, black lipstick.  Thankfully, I grew out of my color-phobia and now my closet is a veritable treasure trove of patterned, rainbow delights. But, I still find nothing more effortless or chic than the famous little black dress. The IGIGI Veronica Dress has all of the classic elements of a well made LBD with a certain added elegance thanks to thoughtful detailing like a dramatic keyhole neckline and a hidden, mid-skirt slit for an extra injection of glamour.

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When shopping for an LBD, it is important to remember to steer clear of anything too trendy. A little black dress should be timeless, elegant and therefore free from the limits of trends, after all, the little black dress in it’s modern incarnation is attributed to Coco Chanel herself. In fact, the first published fashion image of a little black dress was an illustration of a Chanel dress in an October 1926 issue of Vogue. Vogue called the dress “Chanel’s Ford,” in reference to the reliable and omnipresent Model-T’s that Ford was turning out in the 1920′s:

The Chanel “Ford” the frock that all the world will wear is model 817 of black crepe de chine. The bodice blouses slightly at the front and sides and has a tight bolero at the back. Especially chic is the arrangement of tiny tucks which cross in front. Imported by Saks.”

This revolutionary garment only earned 51 words in Vogue, but it laid the groundwork for a stunning overhaul of the fashion industry. The color black, until the 1920′s, was most commonly associated with nuns, widows and, of course, witches. Now black is thought as much more of a seductive and alluring color thanks to associations with pop culture icons like Betty Boop and the great Edith Piaf. Actually, the true explosion of LBD lust hit in 1961 when Audrey Hepburn sashayed across the screen as Ms. Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. For an extensive record of the LBD check out Amy Holman Edelman’s book “The Little Black Dress” which traces the black dress from John Singer Sargent’s painting, Portrait of Madame X, to the music video of  Robert Palmer’s song “Addicted to Love.”

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Ideally, the perfect little black dress should last from five to ten years. I know, that seems like a long time, but the very nature of the dress means that you should be seeking an economical, practical garment with structure. My ideal little black dress has a simple formula: the dress is made from a comfortable and worry free material like jersey, it has two to three interesting, but not overly trendy details, a thick strap or sleeve so I can easily wear a bra and a knee-length hem so I can go from flats to heels with no worries. Happily, the Veronica Dress hits all of these targets for me perfectly. Obviously fit is an incredibly important issue so make sure that your LBD fits you like a glove. It is definitely worth a trip to the tailor if you are intending for your dress to be a true wardrobe staple.

For more LBD inspo check out IGIGI’s Brooke Dress, the Virginia Dress, the Paola Dress and another personal favorite of mine, the ultra sultry Francesca Dress. Remember that simplicity and versatility are key when choosing your LBD because a good dress of any kind is designed to bring out your true beauty.

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Plus-size Style: Confident, Curvy and Finding the Perfect Night Look

Posted by on September 12, 2013

When putting together an outfit for a fun night out, whether that is a date night, a club night or just time out with the girls it can be really challenging to find an outfit that fits and flatters while showing the right amount of skin. I recently headed out for a fun night of drinks and dancing for a friend’s birthday and I had some minor anxiety when it came to picking out the perfect outfit. I am probably the heaviest person in my close group of friends and the only plus-size woman, which occasionally makes me a little self-conscious when we are out together in a group. I always feel some pressure to look and dress more like them instead of keeping up with my own rad style aesthetic. While none of my friends have never been anything but supportive of me, there is always a little voice in my head that tells me that I should be more covered up and conservative even when I’m trying to be more adventurous with my nighttime or club looks. But last Friday, I decided to throw caution to the wind and I pulled out my shortest skirt and highest heels.

This sequined collar necklace adds the right amount of sparkle to this top without distracting from the great pattern.

This sequined collar necklace adds the right amount of sparkle to this top without distracting from the great pattern.

A long-sleeve, high-necked top balances out a short skirt and a simple black heel draws the outfit together. When I tried the IGIGI Greenwich top, I knew that it was going to become one of my staple going out pieces. The jewel-tone pattern in the top is perfect for a fun night out and the different blues, reds and purples in the pattern are great for any skin tone. Plus, the front of the top is lined which camouflages any troublesome bra lines or bumps.

Built in lining on clothing is a huge selling point for me. I can’t stand wearing too many layers underneath my outfit because I end up feeling constricted and a good lined top  gives you the same clean, bump free look as a a tight fitting cami. I wore my top tucked into my leather skirt for an edgy look and my sequin collar and medium-height black pumps juxtapose the severity of the leather skirt nicely.

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A short leather skirt can be a bold choice, especially in the winter because it’s a lot of skin, but a good pair of tights can be your best friend. When the weather changes, I will be wearing this same outfit with tights for both warmth and some additional coverage.

In my experience, however, most women do not shy away from short skirts because they are insecure about showing too much of their legs, but because they worry about their skirts flying up when they’re out walking about. There are a few ways to preserve modesty when baring those gams that I have have found incredibly successful. Check out my five top tips below!

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1. Seek out heavier fabric for skirts. This leather skirt (pictured above) is heavy and stiff enough that I am not in any fear of having a “Marilyn moment.” Wool, tweed and suede all have comparable thickness and can keep a short skirt grounded.

2. If you’re not into heavy fabrics a pencil skirt is a good alternative since it is naturally cut closer to your body and will not have the same flippy effect that an a-line skirt or a skater skirt will have.

3. Sew weights into the hems of your skirts. It requires a little DIY magic (I recommend using large, heavy buttons as weights), but it is super effective.

4. Throw on a pair of bike shorts or tights underneath. Depending on my activities for the evening, a pair of Spanx can be all the coverage I need. However, if you want a cute peekaboo length, the shop Allihalla on Etsy makes cute bike shorts in all sizes with adorable lace trim.

5. Throw caution to the wind (literally). There is nothing wrong with strutting your stuff minus the safety net of any shorts. If you’re comfortable, just remember not to worry about it and have a good time. Although, it doesn’t hurt to have one of your friends be on booty patrol!

When you’re rocking a short skirt or venturing outside of your comfort zone for a more revealing nighttime look, it is important to remember to surround yourself with people who are supportive and will make you feel comfortable even when you’re feeling self-conscious.

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Achieve a Vintage-Inspired Look with IGIGI Plus-size Dresses

Posted by on September 10, 2013

I am an absolute sucker for any and all vintage inspired pieces. Ideally, I would like to have a closet full of vintage pieces, but it is rough finding any actual vintage pieces above a US size 4. There is the occasional Etsy shop that specializes in plus-size vintage wear, but overall if you are looking for a genuine thrifting experience as a plus-size woman you are simply out of luck, unless you are visiting a thrift store that specializes in plus-size garments and there are unfortunately so few of those. When I put on the IGIGI Makenna dress for a brunch date with a few of my friends, I knew that I had finally found the perfect 1940s pin-up dress that I had been searching for. When you are plus-sized sometimes vintage-inspired pieces can be the best alternative to actual vintage.

The gorgeous plum color of the dress is absolutely stunning on and the small red polka dots add dimension. I threw on a long strand of pearls and added classic black pumps to finish the ensemble with a subtle cat-eye for the full vintage look.

The gorgeous plum color of the dress is absolutely stunning on and the small red polka dots add dimension. I threw on a long strand of pearls and added classic black pumps to finish the ensemble with a subtle cat-eye for the full vintage look.

This dress is fully-lined and the poly/elastane fabric literally glides over the curves in your body, emphasizing the waist while floating away from the stomach. When you’re a plus-size woman, it is sometimes a crutch to shy away from form-fitting garments and look for more boxy, shapeless tops and dresses that hide your figure.

While, there is nothing wrong with wearing a comfy oversized top from time to time, it is important to remember that a structured dress will always be more flattering than a tented top. Many women, plus-size or not, keep a certain number in their head that they have to reach before they’ll splurge on that special dress. For example, “when I lose my 15 lbs. I will buy that red dress I’ve had my eye on.” This is so infuriating to me. Dress the body you have, not the body you want. Your body, with all of it’s imperfections, is perfect exactly the way it is.

The dress has elastic around the neckline which I almost never see, but it is an absolute godsend for busty girls since it makes sure that there will be no accidental slippage.

The dress has elastic around the neckline which I almost never see, but it is an absolute godsend for busty girls since it makes sure that there will be no accidental slippage.

The hardest part about rocking a cute dress is actually forcing yourself to try it on. When I am getting dressed, I almost always check my outfit by taking a quick mirror selfie to see how my outfit looks on. Honestly, it is almost always exactly how I envisioned it and it usually gives me a reference for when I’m trying to find shoes and accessories to match. It also never hurts to have a good friend or a significant other’s opinion when you’re trying something new.

A common fashion misconception is that black is always slimming. While, I am a huge fan of all things black (I would wear a darker color if one existed) and one of my friends once told me that I could be considered a fashion nun for my all black ensembles, it is important to remember that a black sack dress is not going to be universally flattering. This plum dress is an updated version of a LBD. A cute, form-hugging patterned dress is always going to be more flattering than wearing the fashion equivalent of a black garbage bag. Show off your figure a bit and don’t be afraid to be the center of attention. Wearing a form fitting garment can be the biggest boost of body confidence, especially when you’re used to wearing oversized, baggy clothes.

The ties on the sleeves are a great customization tool since you can tighten or loosen them depending on your personal comfort level.

The ties on the sleeves are a great customization tool since you can tighten or loosen them depending on your personal comfort level.

When trying to get yourself excited about a new outfit, here’s a little check list of questions to ask yourself to get you inspired when getting dressed:

1. Is this something that I would normally wear? More often than not, fashion risks can really pay off! Stepping outside of your comfort zone, whether it’s with a crazy pattern or an open back top, can yield the highest rewards.

2. Am I comfortable? If you’re uncomfortable in your new outfit, you do not have to wear it. Confidence is your best accessory and if you’re going to spend your entire day adjusting your outfit and longing for a hoodie it is not worth it.

3. Do I feel beautiful? When I feel beautiful, I do not care about what anyone else thinks. Be brave, be courageous and you will be beautiful.

Vintage-inspired looks can be utterly feminine and thoroughly flattering, be on the lookout for dresses like the IGIGI Makenna dress to add to your wardrobe. What’s your favorite vintage style? Tell me in the comments.

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