I Made It Through To The Other Side!

Hey everyone! Ack! I’ve been gone so long and have missed you all! Those two weeks have turned into what? 6 weeks? Gosh, I’ve lost track. What a tunnel I went through. Honestly, I look back on the last six weeks and I just feel exhaustion!

New Haircut! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

To catch you up, I haven’t actually moved yet. We did get the house in Michigan packed up (mostly) and all the  projects that we’ve put off for 15 years or did halfway or just learned to live with, have been finished. I live in a perfect house with no “honey-do” list. Can you imagine that? It’s blowing my mind! I know everyone says this, but why didn’t we do these things earlier so we could enjoy how beautiful this house really is? Well, thinking of my family, we actually wouldn’t have been able to maintain living in a perfect house anyhow, so that’s probably why!

New Haircut! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

So, now that the house is perfect, and on the market, we’re now in the phase of having to keep the house (and barns and land!) show-ready. At the same time, I’ve come down to North Carolina to get the ball rolling here. As you know, my husband has been in NC since the end of April, which has been hard on all of us (though I’ve become very familiar with power tools during that time!). He’s living in a sad bachelor apartment (only one fork, spoon and knife — his choice!) and definitely needs his wife and family. Someone over 4th of July asked him if it felt weird coming back to Michigan to visit and he said no, it actually feels weird living in North Carolina away from home. So, that was my signal that I needed to get down here and start making things happen. At least this is a lot more fun!

New Haircut! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Right now, I’m in Charlotte, but we took these photos over 4th of July in my super-photogenic studio. How come we’ve never photographed here before? Because it had turned into a storage area. Many years ago, before our kids activities took over our life, I had a hobby. Like many people, that hobby (fiber art) took a backseat and my cute little garage-turned-studio became quite un-photogenic. Now that every part of our place is clean, organized and perfect, I’ve discovered a great place to photograph!

New Haircut! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I’m wearing a really pretty but classic black tunic. It reminds me of a ballet teacher with the dip in the back and sides. It’s the perfect example of when I say “make sure it skims, not clings”. The fabric is a knit and it has some weight so it falls straight without blowing around. It’s also available in several other pretty colors like gray and olive.

I paired it with my J Jill jeans from many years ago and my Sam Edelman sandals from many years ago (these are similar). You can see I was playing around with the necklace length to see which I liked best. I also made a conscious decision to not wear my black sandals. They would have looked fine, but I didn’t want to be too matchy-matchy, a look that is a bit out-dated.

New Haircut! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

And finally, I got my hair cut! I’ve been wanting to do it for awhile, but just couldn’t make the time. The day after we listed the house, I treated myself and my daughter to a haircut, facial and pedicure. We deserved it! Both of my daughters were so integral in getting the house ready and I couldn’t have done it without them. My eldest had to leave immediately to be a working-student with a professional horseback rider and missed the day of pampering. I will be making it up to her, though she would have chosen what she’s doing now (riding horses and cleaning stalls) over a spa day any old day!

I’ve loved reading your comments during this time and will be responding soon as things (sort of) settle down here. Thanks for hanging on and being patient while I got through this. I have no plans to stop writing and photographing any time in the future, so I think you’re stuck with me!

This post contains affiliate links which give me a few cents for each purchase and each click which I funnel right back into this blog! Thanks!

 

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Scarf Dilemma Re-Run!

[A Re-Run from last Spring! I’m cleaning the basement today instead — yay for me!]

Hey everyone! Today I want to talk about scarves. You know, the one single accessory every expert recommends adding to an outfit for instant panache. However, with a large bust scarves don’t work like they do for others. Many times I feel strangled by the scarf or it’s billowing up adding lots of volume already on top of lots of volume of a big bust or it’s perched on my shelf drowning me in fabric. And I love scarves. I love the colors and patterns and they do add instant panache to an outfit. Here are three different scarves with the same outfit so you can see what works best for my body and outfit and perhaps for yours.

The first scarf is a thin, silky,  infinity scarf that I knotted so it wouldn’t lasso a boob and the knot weighs it down and pulls it away from my chin. This way it shows some neck and some of the neckline of my dress.

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This second scarf is another infinity scarf with lots of fabric. I love the pattern and I think the size of it fits my body size. However, I don’t wear it often unless it’s cold outside because I really do drown in it and it sits up high on my shelf.

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Gosh, I’m a glutton for punishment. I love this scarf and love the color and pattern and how the bright color shocks an outfit. It’s not an infinity scarf, rather a long rectangular traditional scarf. I’ve tried many ways of knotting it to get it down and away from my face so there looks like there is a gap between my chin and my bust though it still adds volume.

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So, for me, adding a scarf is a trade-off. Yes, you do add color and pattern to an outfit and it can really pull an outfit together. And, yes, you do add volume to an already voluminous torso. Sometimes that matters and sometimes it doesn’t, so just keep it in mind and recognize that this is one of those exceptions to the rule for us exceptional big-busted women!

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Why I Haven’t Cut My Hair!

Hey everyone! So, you’ve probably noticed that my hair has gotten pretty long. It’s started reaching my shoulders and flipping up, something I hate. You may have also noticed that my posts have been shorter and I’ve been doing a couple of re-runs. You may even have noticed that all my photos lately have been at my house and photographed by my youngest daughter. You’re now saying to yourself: No I didn’t notice, but why should I care?

Photo-bombed by my animials! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Well, I haven’t had time to cut my hair or write longer posts or go anywhere interesting for the photographs because we are moving. No. Not the blog. Not my Instagram feed. Not my Facebook page. We’re moving in real life. My husband was offered a job too good to pass up in North Carolina. So, we are moving from Michigan to the south. It has taken us all by surprise!

Photo-bombed by my animials! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

To make matters even more complicated, my husband is already down there (hence my new photographer!). So, I’m here trying to pack up a 10 acre farm by myself. Yes, my two daughters are helping, but they have very full lives of their own. Besides packing, I have to put my beloved house on the market. All of those little inconveniences you put up with have to be fixed. The paint has to be fresh. The house sparkling.

Photo-bombed by my animials! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

So, this is just a long way of saying, I have to take a break from this blog for the next two weeks. I’ll be posting re-runs from when I started this blog and very few people were reading, so it will probably be new to you. I’ve been trying to keep up with the blog (hence the photos taken at my home), but we’re planning on putting the house on the market in less than two weeks and there is just so much that needs to be done.

Photo-bombed by my animials! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

This is exciting but also very sad. We knew we would move when our daughters were out of the house, in maybe a few years or so, but this came very quickly and unexpectedly. As you can probably all imagine, this is emotionally, mentally and physically exhausting. There are lots of decisions that have to be made that are not easy decisions. We’ve lived in this house for 15 years and in Michigan for the last 20. We have several very old horses this will disrupt and have given away one already. We just adopted 4 barn kittens last fall (bringing our total to 8!) we have to consider. We’re leaving behind family and good friends and great neighbors.

Photo-bombed by my animials! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

So, as I post these re-runs, remember that I’m cleaning a basement (yuck!), lugging heavy boxes (ugh!), painting every surface and mentally preparing to say goodbye to a very full life here while imagining a new future and send me your good vibes. I’ll be trying to answer your comments, because that is one of my favorite things to do each day (seriously!). Enjoy these photos of our little photo-bombers. The hazards of photographing on our little farm!

See you in two weeks!

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Trying Out Two LuLaRoe Items!

Hey everyone! I was contacted by Bronwyn Wright, who is a distributor for LuLaRoe, who asked me to review an outfit. Have you heard of them before? They are a clothing company that sells their products through individuals instead of through retail stores. This way women (and I believe it’s mostly women) can have some income while having flexibility to raise a family.

LuLaRoe for Apple-Shaped Women! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I remember when I was younger, lots of my friends were selling Pampered Chef or Longaberger Baskets or toys or something else to try to bring in some income and still stay home with their children. These home-based businesses were a good option for many women then, so I’m happy to support them. This time, the product is clothing, something I can get behind!

LuLaRoe for Apple-Shaped Women! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Anyway, Bronwyn contacted me and asked me if we could collaborate on an outfit which she sent to me at no cost in exchange for writing a review (100% my words and opinions. I’d have it no other way!). I had heard of LuLaRoe but hadn’t seen anything in person yet, so I was curious and said yes. She had me fill out a styling questionnaire and then sent me what she thought I would like.

LuLaRoe for Apple-Shaped Women! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I love the skirt! It has a wide waistband that isn’t tight at all (I’m wearing XL) and doesn’t roll down. It’s a stretchy fabric, so even though it’s a pencil shape, my movement is not constrained in any way. The pattern is very pretty and the weight of the fabric is perfect for spring and summer, so I’ll be wearing it a lot!

Since I have such a large bust, t-shirts are one of the hardest items for me. They’re either too tight or too loose and to get them to fit my bust they have to have a lot of fabric. This shirt does have a lot of fabric, but it’s meant to be a flowy top. It definitely covers my midsection well and has the round neckline that I find to be the most flattering. And purple! I don’t wear a lot of purple, but I do think it’s a flattering color for me.

LuLaRoe for Apple-Shaped Women! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Since there are many LuLaRoe distributors out there, I thought I’d ask Bronwyn about herself, and how she got into this business so we could get to know her so she’s not just an anonymous name on Instagram!

Why and when did you start selling Lula Roe? I started selling LuLaRoe after I had my first daughter, who was born 10 weeks early. I had finished my degree three weeks before she started trying to be born at 26 weeks. We spent a month on hospital bed rest 6 hours from home, and then 5 weeks in the NICU. I felt like I had lost a lot of my identity from concentrating on school and then focusing on her, so when LuLaRoe presented itself when she was 6 months old (and still not allowed out of the house because of fragile lungs) I jumped at the chance! I also live in a small town, and saw the need for shopping outlets. When the nearest shopping mall is 2 hours away… how could I say no to being that mall?!

LuLaRoe for Apple-Shaped Women! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Why are the clothes different from just going to a retailer? Well, if you are buying clothes from me personally, you are literally putting food in my kids’ bellies. This isn’t supporting a giant company. LuLaRoe is growing, but since this is a low overhead clothing store, you are not paying for infrastructure, store fronts, or some franchise owner’s second home. You are paying for doctor’s appointments, retirement funds, and Cheerio’s. Another thing is that LuLaRoe only cuts 5,000 pieces in every pattern, and there are 70,000 consultants. That means that in a small town like the one I live in, you are not wearing the same pattern as 15 other people in town. Also, the prints span the ranges of every women’s preferences. I have seen pieces so ugly I could cry, but someone else finds it beautiful! So there is something for everyone, rather than being a specialized store for one style, age, or body type. I personally carry clothing for women who wear sizes 2T-3XL.

Why did you ask me to collaborate? I was looking up pictures of women on Instagram for a styling seminar I was doing for my team, about how to dress different women’s body shapes. I loved how confident and classy you looked, and couldn’t find any evidence of LuLaRoe on your page. I am all about empowering women of every color, shape, size, and age, and your Instagram handle also stuck out to me. Girls do, and will continue to, rule.

LuLaRoe for Apple-Shaped Women! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

What items would you recommend to women with apple shapes? The items I picked out for you were ones that were a similar shape to the ones I saw you wearing on your feed. The Perfect tee is my personal favorite, it is fitted around the bust, and flowy around the midsection. This works at camouflaging the area that almost anyone with more than one kid feels a little less than stellar about. The patterned Cassie skirt draws attention down to your legs also. I also thought about sending you a Julia dress sized up a size, and a Joy vest. The Julia is a fitted dress, but when you size up, it keeps it’s shape without clinging to everything. The Joy vest over it adds some visual interest. The Carly dress is another favorite, it is a very flowy t-shirt dress.

How would you suggest women order the correct size? I ask this since I told you my sizes but also my measurements since apple shapes usually don’t fit into the size categories very well. This is one of the challenges of online shopping, but one of the perks of LuLaRoe. I have dressed enough women that I can confidently recommend sizing based off of what sizes you normally wear, and your body type. LuLaRoe makes almost everything stretchy, so most people can go up or down in any style at any time, and be fine. There’s a little wiggle room. And the retailers are there to provide that customer support to give their best suggestion on how something will fit. (When is the last time you got to message Macy’s and ask them how much stretch a certain fabric had, or if something fits true to size).

Anything else you’d like my readers to know about you or the clothes? My name is Bronwyn. I’m a business major, mother of two, skatepark wife, and I am always looking for ways to make women feel more powerful and confident. Women who know their strength and what they’re capable of are world changers. LuLaRoe believes that also.

How can my readers contact you? My Facebook shopping group is here on Facebook and my Instagram is @LuLaRoeBronwynWright.

Thanks Bronwyn for the outfit and for this fun collaboration! Have a great weekend everyone!

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A Little Bit Sexy For Date Night!

Hey everyone! I hope you enjoyed your long Memorial Day weekend. It was beautiful here in Michigan, so I spent a lot of time outside.

A Little Bit Sexy For Date Night! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

You’ve seen the skirt before (especially last summer) and the shoes (my in-between hot and cold sandals) before. The shirt is new and I think is a little bit risque! It sort of reminds me of a nightie with the lace on the top and the sheer fabric for the sleeves. I am wearing a black bra underneath so it blends in, but you could wear a black camisole covering your bra instead.

A Little Bit Sexy For Date Night! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I could easily slip my black long vest over the top and then it would be very work appropriate. It’s from Christopher and Banks, and I can’t find it on their website but maybe you’ll have better luck at your local store. I’m wearing a petite XL for reference.

A Little Bit Sexy For Date Night! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I hesitated writing this title because it might bring the creeps to this site. Even using “big bust”, the most innocuous description having more to do with sewing than anything else, brings them to my Instagram.  In fact, when I first started here, the title of my blog brought up a few creep sites before it finally brought up rules for girls lacrosse! I found it a bit disheartening that anything dealing with “girls” and “rule” was sex-related instead of governing. Well, I’m determined to reclaim those descriptions!

A Little Bit Sexy For Date Night! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Another quick post but I’ll see you all on Friday! Until then, keep reclaiming those descriptions of women that start out bland and innocent and then get usurped by the creeps — because girls rule!

This post contains affiliate links for every link you click on or even purchase, I receive a small commission which goes immediately back into this blog. Thank you!

 

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Another “Classic” That Doesn’t Work For My Shape!

Hey everyone! I didn’t have time to take any pictures for today, so I thought I’d do a re-run from my early blogging days when I had only my mom and sister reading my posts (and even then, I don’t think they were that consistent!). Have a great Memorial Day everyone!

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[This is a post about some of the fashion “rules” that don’t work for all body types. Even though I know the dress does not look good on me I still posed and styled the dress so you could see it objectively. The images are my sacrifice to knowledge.]

So, if you’ve done any research on what is a no-fail, universally perfect dress for any shape or age you’ve discovered the wrap dress. This is a dress that drapes the fabric to one side of your torso so you get the illusion of a smaller waist and it accentuates your bust, alluding to your femininity. Unfortunately, for those of us with a big bust this dress completely backfires. Oh, and you apple shapes? Be prepared to be asked “when are you due?” when wearing this.

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This was the first dress I bought when I was going back to work. I believed the hype. Even though in the dressing room I could see something would have to be done about the dip in the neckline since the fabric was pulled downward and outward revealing a great bit of my bra. But, I bought it, brought it home, tried it on with a black camisole underneath. Now the whole vertical look of the neckline was completely changed. No longer was it a long vertical triangle starting at my neck and moving down. Now it stopped in a horizontal line above my cleavage. It looked like I was overly modest.

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Then I decided I needed to have that v-neck to get the desired look so I stitched up about 5 inches of the neckline and tried it on again. Something still didn’t look right. I put it away for a few months then brought it out again. Maybe I was wearing it wrong? I put it on and my teenager told me it looked “matronly”. Death knell.

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DSC_0295What I realized is the reason this doesn’t look good on a big-busted woman is because it plays up the bust too much. The low v-neck is the focal point and divides the bust into two. Now, you have two gigantic breasts, completely outlined by the dress structure. Then the affect of the ruching creating the waist hits right below the breasts. If I had smaller breasts the ruching would be lower, closer to my natural waist. But, with the uptake of fabric by the bust and the inevitable low-hanging quality of larger breasts, the fabric is gathered almost underneath the breasts further silhouetting every bit of them. The resemblance to a maternity top is too much for me.

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Now, it is helped a lot by the “3rd piece” jacket. It reins in the width of the bust and hides the side silhouette of the waist, but I think the dress still just doesn’t look as good as a dress should look. But, if you’re ever in this situation, keep in mind the power of the jacket to, at least, make it acceptable.

I cringe when I look at these images but I wanted you to know that if you are built like me you will have to take the “rules” lightly and actually try everything on, view it critically and if it doesn’t look right in the dressing room, it is not going to look right at home.

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Lots Of Denim Today!

Hey everyone! Back with another outfit that will be nice for the outdoor events coming up this spring and summer.

Great Denim Shirt for Apple-Shaped Women! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

This shirt is another fun top I allowed myself to purchase even though the sleeves are not that practical. This is a fun trend at the moment and will be out in a year or two but I figure I can wear this to barbecues and outdoor events all summer and get my money’s worth. As you know, I usually buy items that are practical and classic, but occasionally I think it’s fine to just buy something a little bit frivolous!

Great Denim Shirt for Apple-Shaped Women! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

The top is made of a light fabric so will be cool to wear all summer and its hangs lower in the back in case you want some coverage.

Great Denim Shirt for Apple-Shaped Women! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Now, I know some of you are hesitant about my new “control top” pants, so I thought I’d keep looking for more traditional jeans that work for our shape. These jeans have the traditional waist that fits (I’m wearing a size 16) but I’m noticing now some inconveniences with traditional jeans that I hadn’t thought about before I tried the control top jeans. For one, I’m never going to be tucking in my shirt, so there is no need for all the detailed sewing and hardware at the waist. The zipper and belt loops create bumps under a lighter fabric shirt. The thick denim fabric that covers the zipper also creates more mass right at the spot where I don’t need it!

Great Denim Shirt for Apple-Shaped Women! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Then the other issue I’ve always had to work with is how the extra fabric for the midsection meets the more narrow hips and legs at the crotch. Many cuts of pants, if they fit in the waist, do some weird wrinkling and gathering at the crotch (see bad picture below!). The only way it looks nice is if the shirt is covering that intersection and then you just can see the smooth fabric falling nicely over the legs.

Great Denim Shirt for Apple-Shaped Women! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

The other difference with these jeans is they are a looser fit, more the “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” style, where you have more room in the legs. You usually see me in slimmer-fitting jeans like the last post or here. But sometimes I just don’t want something tight. The cuffed look is in style now as well as the embroidery look so these will work for a year or two, so I’ll be sure to wear the heck out of them this summer!

Great Denim Shirt for Apple-Shaped Women! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I also wanted to show you how an accessory can change a look. I have the really eye-catching necklace in the picture below which dresses up this outfit quickly. It also makes it look more feminine, kind of balancing out all the denim.

Great Denim Shirt for Apple-Shaped Women! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Here is the outfit without the necklace. It looks casual and perfect for a backyard barbecue. No heavy necklace to get in the way of sunblock or bug spray! I could see going from one more formal event to another more casual event in the same day and just changing the necklace in the car ride and looking put together for both events!

So, wow, I didn’t think this would be such a long post with so many pictures! I wanted to share some fit issues I confronted when I was wearing this outfit. As you know, I don’t want to just show you the perfect pictures but want to keep it real so you can learn with me and put together an outfit with confidence!

This post contains affiliate links to items that I receive a small commission for if you click on the link or purchase an item. It all goes back into keeping this blog chugging along!

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Second Graduation Open House Outfit!

Hey everyone! I showed my first option for dressing for a graduation open house in my last post and this outfit is my second outfit.

Graduation Open House Outfit Number Two! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

This top from White House Black Market is so pretty with this flattering print and light fabric. It’s actually supposed to be “off the shoulder” but really, who can wear a top like that? Ok, I guess I should ask, who can wear a strapless bra if they have over a C cup? I like it just fine this way.

Graduation Open House Outfit Number Two! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

These cuffs are not very practical, more romantic and frilly, so this is a top that’s just going to be for fun events. I’m wearing it with my very old white jeans from J. Jill. Yes, they’re a little tight in the waist and give me that waistband dent but this top covers that with the print and the flowy fabric.

Graduation Open House Outfit Number Two! | www.whenthegirlsrule.comAnd even though I’m not wearing it off the shoulder, it still fits fine and doesn’t hang low when I bend over.

Graduation Open House Outfit Number Two! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

As you know, I’m always on the look out for a summer top that gives me the coverage I want without having to wear a “third piece” over it to look good. This print, cut and light fabric fits that bill and still has some fun, trendy details. So, if you’re looking for a pretty top for those summer social occasions, I recommend this one. Linking up with the ladies at Not Dead Yet Style! Have a great week ladies!

This post contains affiliate links where I receive a few cents for each click and purchase. Thank you so much for helping me keep this blog going!

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Back In Business!

Hey everyone! Yikes! Sorry I fell off the planet last week. My computer decided to inconveniently die. After trying to get it fixed for several days, I ended up having to purchase a new one. Now, I’m on a shiny new computer and figuring it all out again. So, let’s get back to this shall we?

Perfect dress for a graduation open house for apple-shaped women! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I have a bunch of graduation open houses to go to this year, and I always feel at a loss for what to wear. Yes, I usually wait until the last minute to decide what to wear, but it is a hard event to dress for even if you were more organized than me.

Perfect dress for a graduation open house for apple-shaped women! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

The event is usually outside, so you have to think about the weather and temperature. It’s usually on grass, so you have to think about shoes. Some open houses are full of activities or lots of standing so you have to think about comfort.

Perfect dress for a graduation open house for apple-shaped women! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

This year I decided to plan early. This dress is the first outfit I’ll be showing you that I will be wearing. It’s casual but still stylish (look at those fun sleeves!). It’s a comfortable fit and a medium weight cotton. It’s also a very neutral stripe so can be dressed up or down depending on jewelry and shoes. You could also wear a sleeveless vest over the top to give a little more coverage or if it’s a little chilly. For reference, I’m wearing a size 16 and I like how it fits without being too tight or too baggy. It looks like black and white but it’s actually a deep navy color.

Perfect dress for a graduation open house for apple-shaped women! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I’m also venturing out into new stores. This dress is from Talbot’s, which is a place I haven’t been to in many years. It was suggested by a reader to check them out and I found some cute items. I’d love to hear your suggestions on stores and I’ll do what I can to check them out.

Gosh, I’ve missed doing this and I’m so glad to be back! Have a great weekend everyone!

This post contains affiliate links where I receive a small commission for each click and purchase. Thanks for supporting this blog!

 

 

 

 

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How (and why) This Blog Got Started!

Hey everyone! I know I sometimes mention this as an aside, but I really want to make sure you all know the reason I’m doing this blog. It’s important to me that you know my motivation and how I started. Since I have many new followers, I thought I’d re-post this article from last year that explains the genesis. Enjoy!

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[These photos are how I used to dress before I figured out this fashion thing. I know they look bad. They are my sacrifice to knowledge.]

This post is different from the others because it’s not an outfit post. I wanted to take a moment to explain why I’m doing this blog. I was a stay-at-home mom for almost 20 years. Over those 20 years, I didn’t know what was in style or how to dress my body shape, especially since it was a very different shape from when I was younger. Usually, I looked at what the mannequins were wearing (I am not kidding) to see how outfits were being put together. As you can imagine, it wasn’t a good strategy. Usually I left the store with whatever happened to fit. I did not feel joy when shopping and usually came out of the store feeling pretty bad about my midlife body. It was very discouraging and I never felt good about my outfits. No wonder I hated having my picture taken.

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At least I have a jacket on, but, ooooh that necklace looks bad…..

Now, cut to 2014. I had just graduated from a grueling program at a prestigious school. I was excited to begin a new career! Nothing was holding me back! My girlfriend who had been in the working world told me she always wore black pants, black jacket and a colored shell underneath. Ok, I can do that. I went to JCPenney and found an all white blazer (it must be in style because it’s in the store, right?) and I even had the arm length hemmed to fit. I had a pair of decent looking black pants (how can you go wrong with black pants, right?) and I bought a pair of functional black pumps. Bare feet with pumps? Probably not for an interview, so I’ll wear black nylons. Gray print blouse that had a seam that was supposed to go under your bust but, of course, on me it cut right through, but who would notice since it’s a print and I couldn’t find any other blouse that would fit and I didn’t have time to go look for anything else.

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V-necks are supposed to be flattering right? Nothing left to the imagination with that shirt….Oh God, those heavy black shoes….Cringe…..

I walked into the interview and the woman interviewing me looked me up and down (yep, like it was high school) and I knew I was not going to get this job. Needless to say the interview did not go well and they had me out of there quickly. I realized I was going to be “interviewed” when I walked in, before they even looked at my portfolio or listened to my intelligent conversation. I had to figure out this fashion thing.

I started looking at fashion blogs to figure out what was in style. I started going to stores and trying on lots and lots and lots of items, though not buying anything. I went into stores like JJill and White House Black Market where the employees are so helpful and have stylist training. I did a smart thing and invested in a personal fit guide from My Private Stylist (no affiliation, no commission, no kickback) since I realized I needed professional help. It did cost money, but I knew I had already spent 10 times that amount buying bad items of clothing. It helped tremendously! I was reading everything I could find about what’s in style, what my personal style was, age-appropriate advice, professional dressing, most flattering colors…..Ack! There was so much to learn!

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Needless to say, I never wore this shirt again after I saw this picture and typical “ashamed of my body” pose

Through all this research, I still wasn’t finding advice about clothes that worked for my body, specifically a big bust and a wide torso. The plus size blogs didn’t work for me because, even though I’m not thin (size 16 top and size 12/14 bottom) the plus size clothing is too big. Plus, many of the plus-size models are hourglass shapes and I am definitely not an hourglass, nor could I fake it. I was looking up advice for apple shapes and they all say “this is the hardest shape to dress”. Great. Most of the sites have drawings of a woman with the apple shape (instead of showing a real human being) because there aren’t any models or celebrities who have that shape (one place even used Catherine Zeta Jones as an example of an apple shape, PUH-LEEZE). Plus, lots of the advice was confusing (emphasize your waist, don’t emphasize your waist, play up your bust, cover up your bust, etc.). Now, throw in the fact that I’m over 40 and it was a perfect storm of confusion, no real life images, conflicting advice and feeling invisible.

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Too many bad things about this outfit to even try to list

I knew if I felt this confusion there had to be others out there just like me. I see women all the time who have a body shape like me so I know we’re here. Since the internet covers everything, I was surprised that this demographic was not being represented. I took a deep breath and just started writing about what I had learned and I ignored the critical internal voice and just started taking pictures. I knew I had figured this out (and am still figuring this out) and I had to let others know what I had learned. Let me say, it’s still hard for me to look at my pictures because I remember I once was thinner, younger, and less tired, but now I feel I look good for my age and size. I like what I see in the mirror. I get compliments all the time. I think my clothes fit me and flatter me and I really love them. I have actually felt that uplifting feeling you get when you put on an outfit and you feel good in it. I have had an outfit change my mood from bad to good. It’s fun shopping again! I actually love getting dressed in the morning! It had been decades since I had felt a bit of confidence from my outward appearance, especially my clothing.

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This was the first outfit I felt good in in decades! Horizontal stripes? Wasn’t that supposed to be unflattering? Black moto jacket fit my style perfectly. Tall boots? This was my first pair ever.

So, stay with me on this journey as we continue to be seen and heard and have our needs addressed. I would like to start featuring other apple-shaped, big-busted women on this blog. If you are interested, pop over to the contact page and email me. How many years have we been trying to change our bodies to fit into their clothes when they really should have been changing their clothes to fit our bodies? I’m done with that. They need to change for us because GIRLS RULE!

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