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
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 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.
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.”
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.