5 Thrifting Tips for Plus-Size Women

Posted by on October 25, 2013

There are actually some really great shopping options for plus-size women, especially online. It’s not too challenging to find great dresses, tops, skirts, and pants that are designed to fit and flatter curvy women. However, sometimes you just need a fashion fix, and the wait time post-shipping does not always make online shopping the “funnest” way to get your fashion fix.

If you have a few hundred dollars a season to revamp your wardrobe and a saintlike patience with your UPS service, then online shopping can serve you very well as a plus-size woman. However, for those of us who don’t have unlimited means and patience for week-long waits, thrifting is a great alternative.

Unless you’re going to a thrift store that specifically caters to plus-sizes, of which there are unfortunately very few (one of the most well-known is the formerly NYC-based, now Cleveland-based, Re/Dress), it isn’t going to be easy to find a lot of options that work for you if you’re a US size 12+.

Re/Dress

The Re/Dress CLE is located at 2678 W.14th street in Cleveland and I definitely recommend checking it out if you’re in the area. Credit: Zero Style Blog

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Learning How To Become Your Own Plus-size Role Model

Posted by on October 24, 2013

As a plus-size woman who is completely comfortable with her size – I tend to attract a lot of haters. Body image issues are ingrained in our collective psyche at a very young age and as a result, people generally tend to have very opinionated views on what an ideal form should look like. My figure is not praised by the mainstream to be ideal, so I have to fight for the respect and courtesy that straight-size women can take for granted. Now, I’m not saying that every thin women has it easy. That is certainly not the case. Women are criticized for their heights, for their noses, for their posture, for their hair color, and for so much more. However, it is so important for thin women to recognize that they have a certain privilege for being thin.

Plus-size women are far too often made the butt of jokes or treated like novelty items in the media. While there are a few plus-size women in the public eye who are successful and popular, it is important to remember that there are only a few and for every fat Hollywood actress there are at least 50 thin starlets. Melissa McCarthy, Gabourey Sidibe, Rebel Wilson, and Adele can only do so much.

So, as a plus-size woman, it really falls on you to be your own role model, since there are so few celebrity models to aspire to, which is no easy feat since we are all prone to self-doubt. In order to combat feelings of inadequacy or insecurity, it’s important to practice radical self-love. Here is my personal list for taking care of my mental health by loving my body.

1. Take Some Selfies

Selfies

Taking selfies is a form of self-care. It really is. Credit: @Jane_czko

As I’ve said before, taking selfies is one of the best forms of therapy. It makes you feel good about yourself, you get to control the image of yourself that you are projecting, and you get to enjoy positive feedback from friends and family about the results. What’s not to love? A little vanity is good sometimes.

2. Put Together Your Ideal Outfit

On Polyvore you can curate everything from your favorite outfit to your favorite bedroom decor. Credit: fashionduchess

On Polyvore you can curate everything from your favorite outfit to your favorite bedroom decor. Credit: fashionduchess

Now, not everyone can necessarily afford their “dream outfit,” but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get close! Spend some time online window shopping and search for your perfect ensemble. If you can’t afford it right away, put it on the back-burner and spend a few months saving up for it (that’s what I do). It’s important to spend both time and money on yourself every now and then. Because you absolutely deserve it. I recommend trying out Lookbook or Polyvore for outfit inspo.

3. Spend The Day Doing Beauty Treatments

Home manicure

I call these my Pepsi Cola nails. Credit: @Jane_czko

Personally, I prefer an at home spa day to one at the salon so I treat myself to clay facemasks, Moroccanoil treatments for my hair, moisturizing every inch of my skin, and attempting really detailed manicures, all from the comfort of my own bathroom so I can binge watch episodes of 30 Rock on my laptop while I beautify myself.

4. Get A Haircut

Haircut

I always try to make my good hair days from my blowouts last as long as possible by dousing my locks with anti-humidity hairspray in the morning. Credit: @Jane_czko

There really isn’t a bigger ego-boost than a good, new haircut. It basically is a tailor-made excuse to take car selfies. Plus, for some reason I can never blow out my hair as well as my hairdresser can. Not only do you get to feel incredibly confident, but it’s nice to be pampered.

5. Take Some Time Away From Media

Unplug

I LOVE my laptop, but that doesn’t mean that I need to be on it 24/7. Credit: @Jane_czko

And by media, I mean both social media and the actual media. As much as I love Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and the Internet in general, I never regret turning off my phone for a few hours so I can just enjoy interacting with the physical people who are around me. There’s really never anything so important that you need to check Facebook while you’re out to dinner with a friend, nor will anyone care if you’re a little late responding to a text message. Unplug, relax, and unwind.

6. Go To Lunch or Dinner With Your Besties And Refuse To Count Calories

Break your diet

Like these scallops with cheese grits and pesto aioli. Credit: @Jane_czko

There’s nothing more freeing or satisfying than going out with your friends and having a good time with no strings attached. Your diet will still be there tomorrow. Try something new and delicious, and don’t let anything stop you from enjoying time with people you love.

7. Send Someone You Love A Card

Send a card

This card made me laugh out loud. Credit: @Jane_czko

Everyone loves getting mail. So pay it forward and drop a card in the mail for a friend or family member that you haven’t spoken to in a while. Worst case scenario – you’ll be out $0.46.

8. Read Some Body-Positive Prose

Body positive

Darling Magazine is always a great option. Credit: @Jane_czko

Again, as I have said before, reading magazines that are put together without photoshop and seek to empower women can be such a wonderful outlet. Surround yourself with love and positivity.

What do you do when you’re feeling down? How do make yourself feel beautiful and valued? Let me know in the comments.

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ELLE, Melissa McCarthy, and Plus-size Cover Girls

Posted by on October 23, 2013

I’m assuming by this point that everyone has seen Melissa McCarthy’s upcoming November Elle cover. The cover was released last week as part of Elle’sWomen in Hollywood” cover series. Other November cover girls include Penelope Cruz, Reese Witherspoon, and Shailene Woodley. While it’s wonderful that McCarthy is being recognized for her work and she is certainly a beautiful women, many critics felt that the styling choices on McCarthy’s cover fell flat.

Melissa McCarthy

McCarthy’s cover was shot by well-known photographer Thomas Whiteside, and the Mike and Molly star was dressed in a beautiful, dramatic Maria Rinaldi coat. Credit: ELLE Magazine via Huffington Post

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10 Simple, DIY Plus-size Halloween Costumes

Posted by on October 22, 2013

So you want a cute Halloween costume (duh), but you don’t necessarily want to go-out wearing some variation of lingerie, nor do you want to spend a lot of money on something you’re only going to wear once. Trust me, I know the struggle is real, but look no further, for here is my top 10 list of cute, (mostly) DIY, plus-size Halloween costumes.

1. Sock Hop Sweetie

Sock hop costume

Credit: Custom Made

Is there anything cuter than a poodle skirt? If you want to emulate Sandy in Grease, try picking up a poodle skirt from a vintage or thrift shop. Some of them may be a little on the expensive side, especially if you opt for vintage, but this is a skirt that you could wear outside of Halloween as well. If you don’t want to drop the cash, try buying or making a poodle patch and sewing it onto a black skirt that you already have. Pair it with a white collared shirt, a baby pink cardigan, and a preppy pair of oxfords. (Going as “Bad Sandy” is pretty easy, too, since all it takes is some black jeans, a leather jacket, red lipstick, and some big, blonde, curls.)

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Politicizing Plus-Size Fashion with Blogger Brooklyn Boobala

Posted by on October 21, 2013

Walk into almost any department store and head to the plus-size section. What do you find? Nine times out of ten you’re going to be looking at some dumpy, shapeless sweaters and sad, tapered pants with elastic waistbands. Essentially, you’re going to find a lot of frumpy, poor-fitting clothes that vaguely remind you of your great grandmother. Plus-size clothes are so matronly for one simple reason: designers believe that plus-size women should be invisible. Society sends a similar message to the elderly, as well, that if you’re above a certain age, you do not deserve to be noticed and you do not deserve interesting and innovative fashion. Retailers consistently tell plus-size women that they are not as good as their thin customers. And it needs to stop.

Katy M., 34, a resident of Brooklyn, refuses to let society shame her figure, and she will not allow her body to be ignored. In fact, Katy tries to push the fashion envelope as much as she can to combat this sick trend of fat-shaming that permeates our society. “I wear dresses like most people wear jeans,” says Katy. “They’re fancy, effortless, and comfortable. People wonder why I’m always dressed up, but considering the stereotype of fat people wearing dumpy dresses and matronly attire, I think I’m part of a really great push for fashion to fit any figure.”

Katy, the owner of a Brooklyn-based business, blogs about her life, fashion, feminism, and cats at Brooklyn Boobala, which she created as a safe space for her to learn her true self-worth and how to love herself.

Katy says that she is endlessly inspired by the world around her and that she tries to stay creative no matter what is happening in her life. Credit: Brooklyn Boobala

Katy says that she is endlessly inspired by the world around her and that she tries to stay creative no matter what is happening in her life. Credit: Brooklyn Boobala

Like so many of the other plus-size fashion bloggers that we have featured, Katy finds her biggest fashion inspirations from other plus-size women who take the time to share their “Outfit of the Day” (OotD) images online, usually via Tumblr. Katy also admires high fashion and couture from afar, and she loves to see punk fashion icon Beth Ditto rock a great designer dress.

Since plus-size options are few and far between, Katy says it's important to be crafty and to think outside the box. Credit: Brooklyn Boobala

Since plus-size options are few and far between, Katy says it’s important to be crafty and to think outside the box. Credit: Brooklyn Boobala

Jane: What advice would you give to plus-size women who are struggling to find clothes that inspire them while shopping?

Katy: It’s really hard to find clothing in size fat. Especially within a budget. I’m so blessed that at this point in my life I can blow a wad on clothes and really feel out my options. I suggest visiting the Tumblr tags for fatshion to see what strikes your fancy. You might find a brand that has a style that speaks to you – whether it’s pin-up or super casual or gothic Lolita. Experimenting is key, but I know that takes money. If you get online and start poking around, you may find some plus size swaps or thrift shops with plus size selections. Strength in numbers, y’all. Make fat friends, even if it’s just online. You’ll start to see more of yourself being represented, and you’ll start noticing styles and outfits that really speak to you.

Jane: What’s the best shopping experience that you’ve ever had?

Katy: I remember my first time walking into Lee Lee’s Valise in Brooklyn. Lisa, the owner, told me why she wanted to create a boutique for plus size women. It had everything to do with her experiences as a plus size woman shopping. We shared horror stories, and then I went and bought up a bunch of her pretty dresses! Same goes for Re/Dress, a vintage/thrift plus size shop in Brooklyn that has since closed down [ed note: Re/Dress now has a new location in Cleveland].

Jane: Do you feel that these plus-size-centric shops tend to provide a more positive shopping experience overall?

Katy: The opening of these shops seemed in direct correlation to the lack of representation these women felt in the retail industry, and a need to create a safe space for fat women to shop. Because it’s true, it’s really hard to be a fat woman shopping. When I go shopping with my skinny friends, I get a lot of looks. I’ve even gotten an, “Oh, no, we don’t go up to your size,” or “Hmm, no, you won’t fit into that,” to which I’ve always shrugged and gone on to look at earrings or purses. I’ve learned to not let it get to me, but I must say…for years, shopping was torture. Pure torture. The looks, the comments, the fitting room girl’s unwanted critiques, the constant suggestion that I buy Spanx…I mean, I’m trying to spend my money. Why won’t someone make things for me so I can spend my money? Gah!

Being fat and visible means you’re out there, exposed to opinions, harassment, and critiques. Katy says that her fatshion is political. She glams it up and hams it up, all in the name of equal representation. Credit: Brooklyn Boobala

Being fat and visible means you’re out there, exposed to opinions, harassment, and critiques. Katy says that her fatshion is political. She glams it up and hams it up, all in the name of equal representation. Credit: Brooklyn Boobala

Jane: What’s your favorite piece in your wardrobe?

Katy: It’s very hard to choose a favorite piece, because I’ve so painstakingly built my wardrobe from such limited options. I have a lace dress that is so cute I want to cry. One of my go-to formal dresses is a vintage IGIGI from eons ago. It’s a silky fabric with a silhouette floral pattern and when I wear it, I feel like a goddess.

Jane: Would you say that that is a goal of fashion? To feel empowered?

Katy: I’d say that is the ultimate goal of fashion – feeling personally and bodily empowered to the point of bursting at the seams with joy in your own appearance, no matter what you look like, and no matter what society labels you.

If you want to dress like Katy, she recommends trying out the IGIGI Keira Beaded Dress, with which she would wear all of her favorite gold jewelry – particularly, her deer antler and fox rings and her gaudy Victorian-esque earrings. Katy says that she would then top off the ensemble with some cute gold shoes and a clutch, and get ready to hit the town – sparkling!

As far as Katy’s future, she plans to continue being fat, fatshionable, and unapologetic, all while fighting for visibility and representation by talking about these topics. “Fat is not a dirty word,” says Katy. “I’m tired of being treated as though this is my temporary form – that I’m trying to lose weight or get surgery. Nope. This is me. I am me. Take it or leave it. I’m quite happy, living a full life, with a thriving business, good friends, good lookin’ fellas, and nothing in my way but society and its stupid ideals!”

If you want to contact Katy or see some more of her awesome ensembles, check in with her on her blog – Brooklyn Boobala.

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