Plus-sized clothing: Why isn’t it like VISA?

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now, especially after reading this Huffington Post article featuring Tim Gunn. He is someone I truly admire who has a positive voice in the world of style and fashion. In the article, he said: “When I’m working in the real world with real women and we’re shopping, we find that fashion seems to end when you get any larger than a size 12.  How ridiculous is that?” Ummm… totally ridiculous actually. Unfortunately, it’s true. As a style consultant, I too work with real women.  Women who are tall, petite and plus-size.  I work with those who have short torsos, long torsos, big hips, small hips large chests, no chests… you get the point.  We are all different. When it comes to plus-size people, I can appreciate the challenges faced when it comes to finding garments that fit properly.  I have to say, I’m extremely disappointed when I walk into a plus-size store or plus-size section of a department store to see what’s available for my clients.  I’d equate my sentiment to what Tim Gunn said in the article: “Go to Lord & Taylor on Fifth Avenue, I think it’s the eighth floor, and it’s just a department called ‘Woman.’ It’s rather devastating. You’ve never seen such hideous clothes in your entire life. I mean, it’s simply appalling. Thank God there are no windows on that floor, because if I were a size 18, I’d throw myself right out the window [after seeing those clothes]. It’s insulting what these designers do to these women.” When I was worked full time as a management consultant, I worked on a project for the Canadian Obesity Network (CON). I was so interested in this organization that I subscribed to their magazine.  In the first issue that I received, I found this article (you’ll have to go to pg. 12 to read it). Even though this article is from 2009, many of the points mentioned, about why retailers and designers don’t cater to plus size people, seem to remain true.  Disappointing huh? Along the same vein, I saw this video a few months ago from Jimmy Kimmel Live.  For those that haven’t seen it as yet, you must watch it.  Though I bring up this video, I don’t think that all brands have to cater to all markets – that would be absurd.  Abercrombie and Fitch has a marketing strategy for who they target and that’s perfectly fine. What is not fine though, were the comments made by the company’s CEO about the type of customer they wish to attract – and detract – from their retail locations (I believe these comments were made in 2006 but they went viral earlier this year).  They were disappointing and extremely discriminatory.  Look em up if you’re interested because I’m not posting that crap on my blog. My understanding is that sales aren’t so hot and the company’s shares are down… The Good News The good news, as I see it, is that the market for plus-size clothing is growing.  People are demanding better quaility and more stylish, fashion forward options.

Plus-Size Dress Options for those Summer Days at the Office

During those long summer days in the office, you might feel that the dress code (if there is one) doesn’t really indicate how to remain summer-appropriate.  You know what I mean – “business casual” just isn’t specific enough on days when it’s hot out and you’re a bit sticky from going down to the local coffee shop to grab your morning fix. Listening to the experiences from some of my plus-size female clients, I decided that it’s time to outline a few amazing summer work options for all you fabulous, fashion-forward, plus-size ladies. Here are three favourite picks for those middle of the summer- wish I was at a resort/cabin but have to work kind of days! (Short Sleeve Faux Wrap Dress, Who says you shouldn’t wear black in the summer?  This faux wrap dress looks chic, professional and put-together.  I love how the dress hits the waist at the smallest part and then flows away from the body.  The flowy sleeve is really pretty, delicate AND isn’t tight under the arms (AKA – no sweat stains)!  My gut tells me to pair this with faux, snakeskin sandals (heels are always great), a chunky, gun-metal coloured bracelet and chandelier earrings.  I suggest staying away from a necklace as this V-neck shape will open up the neck and help to create length in your overall shape. (Suzi Chin Maggy Boutique Pleated Cap Sleeve Dress, I am just crazy about this dress!  It is perfect for summer days in the office or even a night out (you’ll have to glam it up a bit for an evening on the town).  I love how your eye is drawn to the waist because of the layering in the pattern.  I’d opt for a textured stone-grey belt, a black or grey peep-toe heel and a simple diamond earring.  You don’t want to add too much to this look because of the pattern so really focus on keeping the rest of your accessories toned down.  Lastly, I love the cap sleeve on this dress, it is VERY flattering! (Donna Ricco Jewelled Silk Dress, This is the perfect dress to take you from the office to an evening event or drinks out!  I love that the neckline has some classy bling on it (which makes it ok for the office).  I would normally suggest that you define the waist a bit more with an accent-colour belt but the waistline is a little high on this dress.  Instead, I’d focus on adding colour to this look by using other accessories – think cherry-red pumps or a chunky emerald green/bright purple bracelet.  I’d stay away from an earring that is too heavy because of all the jewels at the neckline but feel free to play with colour! Remember to think about how to get the most out of an outfit.  You CAN be stylish and still pay your mortgage ladies.  How can you make your beautiful summer frocks go the distance?  If you have a question,

You are beautiful just the way you are!

Too often we hear and see messages that tell us that we need to lose some pounds to look fantastic.  Honestly, I can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard of people getting all “down in the dumps” about their fabulous-selves because they saw images of thin, attractive people looking amazing.  First of all, some people have the resources to make themselves look perfect every day and second of all, YOU can look fabulous just the way you are! Guess what?  Whether you have an extra roll or two (or not), how you dress for your shape can do wonders to make you look amazing, regardless of how you look today (and not in 5 months when you think you’re going to lose 20, 40, 60 pounds – or more).  Here are a few key things that you can do TODAY to make you look and feel amazing: It’s all about balance You’ll need to really consider your body’s proportions to follow this tip.  For example, if you are broad in the shoulders, wearing a really skinny or tapers pant will only make you look like an ice cream cone on the bottom.  Instead, consider wearing a pant that falls from the widest part of your hip straight down to the ground (just grazing above the ground).  I’d also suggest wearing a jacket or blazer with very structured shoulders- to balance your proportions.  You can top this look off with some killer heels and 1-2 fun accessories (now don’t go crazy accessorizing). Not everyone has supermodel long legs… but we can pretend So some of us (me included) don’t have ridiculously long legs but it IS possible for us to create the illusion that we have long legs.  How you ask?  There are 2 really easy, quick things you can do right away. Wear heels with a pointed toe-box (and obviously look for shoes that are comfortable and don’t crush your toes… ouch!).  This creates the illusion of a longer, leaner leg.  To really emphasize this look, opt for heels that are nude or skin colour. In addition to wearing heels with more of a point, opt for skirts and dresses that end at the narrowest part of your leg (and we’re not talking the ankle here).  Rather than have your hemline end at your mid-thigh or mid-calf – which will make your legs look THICKER – wear skirts or dresses that end at/just above/just below the knee. Define your waist Most of us have some “chubba chubb” around our midsections that we wish wasn’t there- but it is there so deal with it!  One way to create the illusion of a thinner waistline is to define the smallest part of your waist.  Your natural waistline is somewhere between your bustline and your belly button – I like to call it your sweet spot!  You can define your sweet spot by: Adding a trendy or feminine belt: add either a colour that complements your outfit (not one that is too