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How to Go Shopping With Your Straight-Size Friends

Posted by on December 12, 2013

I really have a love/hate relationship with shopping. I absolutely love hanging out at the mall and scrounging the clearance racks for great deals, but on the flipside, when you are a plus-size shopper, it can be rough finding cute, affordable clothing options at your local stores.

Tips on shopping

Sometimes local boutiques can have more variation in sizes than the mall. Credit: Steve Snodgrass

That does not mean that plus-size shoppers should or can only shop online, it just makes it that much harder for plus-size women to have the same fruitful, enjoyable shopping experience as straight-size women.

Speaking as someone who has relatively few friends who are in the US size 16 range and above, it can be a little disheartening to go shopping with people who can essentially walk into any store they want and buy an outfit off of a mannequin (and I don’t mean the amazing mannequins at Debenhams).

In honor of that struggle, I have made a list of my top six shopping tips to help you shop with your straight-size friends at stores that might not stock your sizes.

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Talking Body Positivity And Petticoats With Blogger Cara Hill Of ‘I Like Pretty Clothes’

Posted by on December 11, 2013

Cara Hill, 36, lives in Wellington, New Zealand and works as the marketing and audience development manager of a live theatre. Cara believes that life is short, so you have to make it count with no regrets.  She loves to travel, have adventures, have fun, meet new people, try new things, and challenge herself – all while wearing fabulous frocks, of course! Cara is also the blogger behind “I Like Pretty Clothes,” where she showcases her eclectic feminine style.

Cara first really got interested in fashion when she discovered the body positivity movement and began to follow more plus-size fashion bloggers. Cara says that it made her realize that she could wear anything that she wanted and she didn’t have to be left out of fashion anymore because of her size.

Cara took the time to chat with IGIGI and talk about shopping, rocking some great petticoats, and dressing up everyday.

Cara describes her fashion as a little bit retro-inspired, femme, and colorful. Credit: Cara Hill

Cara describes her fashion as a little bit retro-inspired, femme, and colorful. Credit: Cara Hill

Jane: What is your process when you go shopping?

Cara:  I’ve always loved to shop, but I think I’ve only become good at it since I discovered fatshion blogs. Before, I would just buy clothes at random without thoughts of what I would feel particularly good in, or an overall style or aesthetic, and without thinking about what was already in my closet. Now, I go for shapes and styles that I know I’ll feel good in, and I buy things that will work with what is already in my closet.

Cara always wears dresses or skirts ("no pants, no way!"), unless absolutely necessary. Credit: Cara Hill

Cara always wears dresses or skirts (“no pants, no way!”), unless absolutely necessary. Credit: Cara Hill

Jane: Where do you get most of your fashion inspiration from?

Cara: There are so many people across the internet and around the world that I really admire for the way they dress and carry themselves: Tanesha from Girl with Curves, Georgina from Fuller Figure Fuller Bust, Tess Munster, Jerilinn (who spoke with us recently), Gabi Gregg, Brittany from Style So Far … just to name a few.

Jane: Do you have a favorite piece in your wardrobe or a favorite outfit?

Cara: That is a tough one; can I only choose one? Well, too bad, I can’t, so here are my favorite things: I have 11 petticoats and I love them, I wear one nearly every day; I have two winter coats – a fabulous bright green with faux leopard fur collar and cuffs, and a fabulous swing coat in all over faux leopard fur – they are both amazing; and finally, my swing dresses – no matter how bad of a day I might be having, as soon as I put on one of those dresses, I feel like a million bucks!

Cara is a fan of feminine, retro-style dresses. Credit: Cara Hill

Cara is a fan of feminine, retro-style dresses. Credit: Cara Hill

Jane: What advice would you give to women who are struggling to find clothes that inspire them?

Cara: Sometimes you have to take risks on things – you know that dress that you love but your first reaction is to say, “Oh no, I could never wear that!” Well, why not? Give it a try. You can’t write things off until you try them, and you might be surprised. You should be good to yourself, and part of that is allowing yourself to feel like you deserve beautiful clothes. Treat yourself to that dress you love, even if you don’t know where you would wear it, and then find some place to wear it – even if it’s just to the mall or out for dinner or something normal like that. You don’t need a special occasion to dress up. I wear a fabulous dress or skirt and a petticoat almost everyday, and I really believe that it helps to improve my mood, outlook. and self-esteem when I wear fabulous clothes.

This blogger believes dressing up each day can help improve your mood! Credit: Cara Hill

This blogger believes dressing up each day can help improve your mood! Credit: Cara Hill

If you want to dress like Cara, she recommends checking out the IGIGI Neve Wrap Dress in Jade. The color is beautiful and the wrap style is perfect to wear to work or for a client function. She says to pair it with black kitten heels, a great statement necklace, black stud earrings, and a great handbag.

In the immediate future, Cara is going on a 3 week trip to Tanzania, so she can go on a safari in the Serengeti, spend some time lounging on a beach in Zanzibar, and explore the big city of Dar es Salaam. Otherwise, she is going to continue to live and work in the lovely city of Wellington, and travel whenever she can!

To keep up with Cara you can reach out to her via her blog and, as always, comment.

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What Makes A Plus-Size Model Plus-Size?

Posted by on December 10, 2013

There are a lot of really amazing plus-size models. Everyone can now officially accept and acknowledge that, especially now that they’re evening landing cover shoots for major fashion magazines. However, there is some debate about what makes a plus-size model a plus-size model, and for good reason.

Many of the plus-size fashion models that we see do not appear to look plus-size even though many of them have measurements that allow them to fall in and around a US size 12. After all, models are tall, and 220 lbs. on a 6’2” woman is going to look a lot different from 220 lbs. on a 5’2” woman and there’s nothing wrong with that. Everyone’s body is different and while that can be frustrating, it’s also pretty great because bodies, all bodies, are awesome and deserve to be celebrated.

Leah Kelley

Leah Kelley really burst on the plus-size modeling scene when she modeled some of pal and fellow plus-size model Robyn Lawley’s swimwear line. Credit: Instagram @leahkelley

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A Letter To Myself As A 13-Year-Old Fat Girl

Posted by on December 9, 2013

I recently celebrated a pretty big birthday. It was one of those milestones where everyone has to finally, grudgingly accept that they are finally an “official” adult.

I mean, I pay taxes. Come on, now.

A little background: I am in my last year of college in Chicago getting a dual degree in journalism and art, but this semester I’ve been in New York City pursuing an internship at a pretty big media mecca and living it up as much as a 20-something (making just slightly above minimum wage) in a major city can. Life is good. I’m working in a industry that I adore, I have wonderful friends around me, I don’t have to start paying off my student loans yet, and I get to write about issues that are so important to me.

It’s easy to look at my life now and forget all of the struggle and all of the trauma that I went through as a young girl. It’s not always easy being the token fat girl in a group of skinny friends. It’s not easy finding homecoming and prom dresses in a US size 16. It’s not easy going through puberty and growing into your body. It’s not easy for anyone and it’s a really long road.

In honor of my birthday, I took some time to think about the advice that I would give my 13-year-old self on the cusp of high school. Before I had any comprehension of what body positivity was and before I realized how wonderful and beautiful my body really is.

Me at age 13.

Me at age 13.

Dear Angsty, Emotional, Perfect 13-Year-Old Fat Girl,

You are beautiful. For real. Your buck-teeth, frizzy hair, acne, and total lack of makeup are perfectly acceptable, and no one will ever judge you for this awkward stage because it builds character. Eventually you will discover braces, hair products, Proactiv, and the Clinique counter at the mall, and everything will change. Maybe for the better, but maybe not, because all of that stuff is really only skin-deep and makeup will never be a substitute for confidence, although dear god it can help.

Stop wearing giant oversized t-shirts and baggy jeans. You deserve way more than that. You deserve beautiful printed swing dresses, chiffon skirts, luxe sweaters, skinny jeans, crop tops, form-fitting leather jackets, bikinis, and every other clothing item that you’ve secretly lusted after. You don’t need to have the “right” body to wear those clothes because there is no “right” body. There is only your body and it is perfect.

That boy is bad news, none of your friends like him, you deserve better, and you should stay away from him.

You can break up with friends the same way that you break up with lovers and it can happen just as frequently. Don’t buy into all of the BFF-hype and never feel bad for cutting toxic people out of your life.

Never regret having dessert and coffee and taking the time to linger after a meal. Those are the times that you will remember and laugh about when all of your best friends live in different time zones and you’re feeling lonely because you just moved to a brand new city.

Some of the best people I'll ever meet.

Some of the best people I’ll ever meet.

You don’t need a credit card in college. There is literally nothing in your life right now that you need badly enough to pay interest on it. Also, you have to pay credit cards back.

There will never be a time when tequila shots are a good idea and ultra-sugary cocktails, while they are delicious, are not worth the hangover.

Moments will always be superior to things. Don’t blow a paycheck on an expensive handbag when you’re trying to save up for a fun vacation with your family. That is something that you are still trying to work on, but you’re getting there. I promise.

Bag-check fees are a total ripoff. Try to travel light in the future.

It’s not bad to like things or even to be “obsessed” with things, as long as it’s not hurting anyone. Don’t be ashamed of being a fan, even if the object of your obsession is nerdy or embarrassing. Fangirling can be wonderful and you will meet some of your best friends that way.

Your mom is a legit genius. She made it through all of the same, crappy stuff that you are going through/will go through, and her advice is invaluable. She will drive you crazy sometimes, but never go to bed angry, because you’re really going to miss seeing her everyday when you move away. And be nicer to your younger brother because he’s going to get really cool.

My mother (right) and myself on a trip.

My mother (right) and myself on a trip.

You don’t need to prove anything to anyone. No one expects you to be perfect and messing up is good (and you will a lot) so you might as well lean into it and appreciate the lessons that you will learn.

It’s okay to be fat and that word is okay, too. You don’t need to use any thinly-veiled euphemisms like “curvy,” “plus-size” or “full-figured.” Fat is a descriptive word and that is it. The same as skinny. You are not any less valuable, important or beautiful as a fat person. You are valuable, important, beautiful, and fat. Don’t you dare let anyone tell you anything different.




If you could go back in time, what would you say to your younger self? Share your pearls of wisdom in the comments.

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Dressing Outside My Comfort Zone With The Denise Dress In Ivory

Posted by on December 6, 2013

There are certain clothing items that plus-size women are told that they should not wear, like tight white dresses, shorts, crop tops and body-conscious (body-con) skirts and dresses, but there are always ways to make clothing work for your body regardless of your weight.

If there’s a really cute pair of shorts that you want to rock, a flippy miniskirt that you’ve been dying to try out,  or a tight white dress that you’re curious about wearing – go for it. The most important thing in your wardrobe is your confidence – so as long as you feel good, you’ll look good.

The dress is fully lined, so you don't worry about any unwanted lines from your undergarments peeking through and ruining the beautiful line of the dress.

The dress is fully lined, so you don’t worry about any unwanted lines from your undergarments peeking through and ruining the beautiful line of the dress.

For a long, long time, I shied away from wearing white altogether, since I was told time and time again how white makes you look wider, bigger, and emphasizes every bump and line. However, when I saw the Denise Dress in Ivory, I decided to throw caution to the wind and try something completely new and outside of my comfort zone.

When I got the dress in the mail, I immediately slipped it on and it fit like a second skin. I paired the Denise Dress in Ivory with a fitted black blazer and high black heels to balance out the skintight winter white dress for a night out in New York City and it looked amazing. Plus, I got quite a few compliments (even from a few strangers), which is always a sign of a great outfit.

The material is poly/viscose/elastane and it feels somewhat like a really nice formal shirt with a decent amount of stretch.

The material is poly/viscose/elastane and it feels somewhat like a really nice formal shirt with a decent amount of stretch.

I’m a big fan of white dresses (even after Labor Day) and right now, all white outfits are incredibly popular, albeit impractical. The black trim on the Denise Dress in Ivory makes it a little more versatile. A couple tips to remember when wearing a white dress: nude-colored undergarments are the way to go when wearing a white dress, even if your dress is fully lined like the Denise Dress in Ivory. When applying your makeup. it’s better to put on your dress first and then throw a button up on over it, so you can keep your ensemble pristine. And my final, most important white-wearing tip is to select a shade of white that flatters your skin tone. The Denise Dress in Ivory works for me because it’s not as harsh against my pale skin as a true white.

I wore my hair up in a crown braid, which is quickly becoming a favorite 'do of mine and with a strong red lip to contrast the black and white ensemble and set it off nicely.

I wore my hair up in a crown braid, which is quickly becoming a favorite ‘do of mine and with a strong red lip to contrast the black and white ensemble and set it off nicely.

The lace detailing around the neckline and the beautiful sleeves trimmed with scalloped eyelash edges provide a nice juxtaposition with the more severe black princess seams that run along the front and back of the dress.

There’s always a way to make any article of clothing work for you, regardless of your body type. I was a little nervous about giving so much emphasis to my midsection, so I selected a black, one-button blazer to cover up my tummy. There are tricks and tips for every tricky, taboo style item.

If you want to wear a crop top, try pairing it with a high-waisted skirt or jeans. Body-con skirts look amazing with dolman sleeve tops, and body-con dresses with leather jackets make me swoon. Don’t be afraid to wear tight-fitted clothing and take fashion chances. The magic always happens outside your comfort zone.

Life is way too short to worry about following fashion rules. What do you wear when you venture out of your comfort zone? Tell me what you think, readers!

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