Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Jean Pool

Love 'em or hate 'em, jeans are as much a part of our American culture as homemade apple pie! We wear them when we do our grocery shopping, run our kids to school, or dress for a date. They are versatile and durable; but not always comfortable. Women of any size are challenged by finding perfect fit in jeans. It is even more frustrating when you are a plus size. So, I've done a little "leg work" for you (pun intended) to help you narrow your choices down to the best styles for your figure type.

First, do you know what type of figure you have? You may find that you are either a Pear, Apple or Athletic shaped figure.
If you are significantly wider through the hips and thighs than you are at your middle, (a difference of 9 inches or more between these two measurements) you a true a pear shape. The difficulty with fitting this shape is, to find pants that fit your hip curves, you are often left with huge gaps in the waistline.

This is my figure type, and I have been on a hunt my entire life for jeans that will fit me in both my hips and waist, without spending a fortune. This past weekend, I found jeans that my frugal wallet can be excited about! They are Lee Perfect Fit No-Gap jeans. I bought them at Wal-Mart for twenty bucks and I am so excited to be wearing them today. To start, the jeans are deep dyed dark blue, which is an added slimming strategy. The side seams have been moved forward to allow more room through the hips and also create a leaner silhouette from the sides. The fabric is stretchy so it hugs close to the body, and the waist has been contoured and has stretch so that it also fits snugly. (shown here in a capri style) Best of all, there is no muffin top!!!!

Now, if you have muscular legs, broad shoulders and you carry your weight evenly throughout your body, you are considered an Athletic shape. There's not likely to be a big gap in inches between your waist and hips, so a straight cut jean will work well. What you will need to look for is a boot cut, flare or straight leg jean. These will allow your more muscular calves to feel less constricted. Avoid any type of skinny leg jean as this will cling to your calves, making them appear larger. A great jean to consider is the wide leg trouser jean from Old Navy. They come out stright from the hip and give a nice slim silhouette to your figure. Best news is that they are under $40!

If neither of these body types describe you, it may be that you are an Apple shape. Apples tend to be widest at the middle with smaller measurement s through the hips and upper body. This body shape struggles to find jeans that fit comfortably through the waist (no muffin tops!) yet, hug their bottom to give them a curvier rear. Often Apple shapes can be heard lamenting over their "flat butt". ( Oh to have your problems, LOL!)

The ideal jean for the Apple is one that has a high rise waist. This type of jean will help to tame your middle, and prevent bulges, but will also allow you to get the fit you are seeking through the hips and thighs. Old Navy offers a great pair called the Goddess jean for around $20

Also try Lee Natural Fit Straight Leg Jeans. They fit just below the waist and have a tummy control panel concealed inside the jean. Approx. $29.99

Finally, if you want a truly customized fit, and you have the money to spend, try having a custom pair of jeans made just for you! Here are a few links to try out:




Friday, April 17, 2009

She's So "Put Together"

We all know her. She's that woman who always seems to have every hair in place, every fingernail polished (and chip-free), and is classicly chic and trendy. We find ourselves describing her as "put together". So what does it take to get this polished look? How can we Cur-V-Girls use what we have in our wardrobes and put it all together? Well, by adding some gorgeous accessories of course!

I've contacted a Cur-V-Girl-friend, Renee, from http://www.rquick.etsy.com/ and asked her to write an article on what accessories are must-haves to get the "put together" look we all want this Spring. Here is what she has written:

" I know most articles start by stating that plus size girls=plus size accessories. This simply isn’t true anymore; the plus size woman has far more choices now than ever before. And accessories are too much fun to ignore. For the plus size woman, accessorizing shouldn’t be about hiding under big bulky items! We should not be limited by our size, only by our imaginations!

We’ll start simple. We all have a favorite outfit, be it a fabulous LBD (little black dress), or your fave jeans and tee. You probably wear it the same way each time, same shoes, same hairstyle etc. Why not switch it up? For instance why not dress up your tee and jeans with an adorable cropped vest and loose necklaces? Always wear your hair straight and parted down the middle? Try scrunching it into a fab updo to show off your beautiful face.

When you make getting dressed, and shopping for new clothes and accessories fun, you show others that 'yeah I’m plus size, but so so what?' If you're uncomfortable with your size, and normally dress to hide, this would be a great way to come out of your shell a little. Don’t limit yourself based on your size!

Accessories are some of the easiest and least expensive ways to update your look. Neon is a really hot trend right now, so try adding an amazingly fluorescent pair of hoops, sandles, or a clutch. Stackable bangles are perfect for Spring and Summer fashions. Look for a Statement necklace- one that really gives a pop of color or says something about your personal style. Also, look for embellished headbands, exotic earrings and try a vintage perfectly beat up denim jacket!

For accessories that will transform your wardrobe, but protect your wallet, try shopping at: The Icing, Etsy.com (for new and vintage items), flea markets (for OOAK items), and Target."

Thank you so much Renee for taking the time to share your fashion insights with us!

This beautiful Kaleidoscope Heart Necklace is handcrafted by Z cat Studio Creations and would be perfect to add to your new accessories collection. You can find this and many other of her handmade designs at http://www.zcatstudiocreation.etsy.com/

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Take Time to Grieve- Then Get On With It!

I wanted to take some time today to address the issue of accepting ourselves just as we are. Not some version of ourselves from highschool, or an idea of ourselves as we "could be" in the future. Instead, to find a way to love the image we see daily in the mirror - I mean truly LOVE it, not just tolerate it.

I talk alot about "celebrating our curves" . Do you "celebrate" your curves? Are you one of the lucky few who has learned to find bliss within a bodacious body? Not quite there yet, but would like to be? Read on my Cur-V- Sisters!

I was talking to someone a while ago, on a topic completely unrelated to my body. Ok, I'll be honest, I was talking to my counselor- yes, I have one of those- don't you? Well, I've been stressing because my husband is losing his job soon due to lay-offs. Somehow one thing led to another and I started talking about what I "used to" look like in highschool. How my figure looked, my hair, my skin. Suddenly I felt very sad. I felt my lip quiver. I fought it off. I tried to be brave. "This is silly", I thought to myself. "I am beyond this", "I am a curvalicious woman". And then my counselor said such a simple sentence "It sounds like you have a feeeling of loss there".That was it. One sentence. Then my floodgates opened and I sobbed. All the while feeling absolutely ridiculous. When the tears stopped flowing and I left my session, I felt a huge sense of relief. A "letting go" if you will.

In the days that followed, I had an inner peace and acceptance of myself that I had never experienced before. I felt compassion for myself. More than that, I felt a renewed sense of spirit. I thought of all the things I had been putting off or denying myself because I thought a "fat girl" would look silly doing- like riding a bike (they'll see my big butt), or eating dessert in public (people may judge). Then, with a new sense of purpose, I put on my spring clothes, took my 5 year old Ethan to the park and played football. It was exhilarating.

What I've learned, and what I want to share with you is this. We simply cannot begin to accept all that we are, right now, today, in THIS body, until we allow ourselves a moment to grieve for what we are not. Don't push it off as being silly, superficial, or vain. Try not to criticize yourself for feeling a sense of loss. We live in a society that places such a high value on physical appearance, that anyone with a less than model-perfect body is bound to feel, well, less than perfect! (And we all know that even those women feel the same pressures, and right now are wishing they had your donut!)

Once you have taken your moment to be sad, to grieve- simply, let it go. Don't stay in that place of grief. Just release it. When you do, you may find that you truly love yourself- ALL of yourself. That you can look in the mirror and say "Hey, gorgeous, wanna go ride a bike?". And then, DO IT! Get out there. Ride a bike. Wear a swimsuit. Go on a carnival ride. ENJOY your life! Stop waiting to become someone else, or to return to something you once were. Embrace yourself, hug yourself, love yourself.

Note: This incredibly beautiful hand-carved bead can be found at http://www.serena29.etsy.com/. She has 13 hand carved images of women's bodies to select from. As soon as I saw this one, I knew it was me! I just love it! Visit her shop and see if you find "yourself" there too!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Slimming Silhouettes

So often, as Cur-V-Girls, we avoid buying new clothing like the plague! The idea of trying on outfit after outfit, only to become frustrated and disappointed with clothes that don't fit or flatter, makes many of us give up before even heading out the door. But, if you arm your self with information about what silhouettes are most flattering for full-figured women, you can create a more satisfying and rewarding shopping experience.

Each woman has her own unique shape, and its important to be able to recognize yours when choosing clothing. Every woman wants to whittle away her waistline, but there are other things to consider. If you have shorter legs, you may want to look for waist bands that are high rise, sitting 3 inches above your natural waistline. This creates a lengthening effect on your lower body. Choose a waistband that is wider to give you tummy control and keep the band from folding over when sitting. Look for an A-Line skirt for a hip minimizing silhouette. This skirt will float away from the body instead of hugging your curves. It gives the illusion of slimmer hips. Look at this skirt from http://www.torrid.com/. It has all these elements.

If you're a long-legged beauty (I envy you!) you will likely do best with a dropped waist skirt or pants. This type of silhouette sits just atop your hipbones and will elongate your torso, creating the look of a narrower waist. This pair of Bermuda shorts can be found at http://www.lanebryant.com/.

Finally, if you're an average height Cur-V-Girl, you can wear any of these styles, plus you can add a natural waistline skirt or bottoms to your wardrobe. These usually have narrow waistbands that sit right at your natural waist where you are likely to be thinnest. This gives you the optimum in slimming silhouettes!

Knowing your body shape, and the silhouettes that will flatter it, will help you narrow down your choices when you go shopping. That way, you can focus on the things that really matter, like finding the perfect accessories to match your new clothes!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spring Fashion for The Cur-V-Girl

Spring has finally sprung! The leaves are budding, flowers are blooming, and here in Austin, TX we are already dreading the coming heat. Spring is a time for renewal of energy, creativity and sprituality. It's a time to connect to our inner beauty, and shed the winter clothes that hide us from the world.

This transformation can inspire both excitement and fear as we Cur-V-Girls relinquish our snuggly winter sweaters and look in our wardrobes for body revealing T's and skirts. I know that I personally have a favorite black sweater that my sister has nick-named "the Lamb" because of its woolly nature. I am remiss to part with it, as it has given me a sense of comfort and security all winter long; hiding that extra donut- or three- that I ate in the past weeks.
Now it is time to put woolly away. Yet, I find I have not taken the time to look for clothing that will make me look great and feel confident in my curva-licious body. So, I have begun searching through my favorite on line site Etsy.com, and have found some amazing items that will be sure to encourage even the most reluctant Cur-V-Girl to give up her "lamb".

From Plus size designer JaneBonBon at http://www.janebonbon.etsy.com/ I found this adorable sundress. It is a bra-less dress that can custom ordered in any size! Doesn't it just inspire you to throw off your sweats and do a twirl around the park?

Not ready to bear your arms? Try this amazing hand-crocheted capelet available from TickledPinkKnits at http://www.tickledpinkknits.etsy.com/ . It comes in 14 different colors- just perfect to wear over your favorite summer dress or blouse!

Want to get your dull winter skin super smooth and ready for that spring wardrobe? Try this "Day At The Beach Exfoliating Shea Butter Soap" with a "Summery Fragrant Blend of Sand, Sun-Kissed Sea Spray, Suntan Lotion, and Mandarin" from Etsy seller http://www.cozymoments.etsy.com/ . Can't you just picture the ocean breezes from that description!

Join me tomorrow for my next post on "Creating a Slimmer Silhouette"