Ask Alexis: Full-Figured and Fabulous

A fabulous reader and former co-worker recently asked me for options for plus size figures. 

My advice? No matter what size you are, buy items that fit your body and your lifestyle.  Clothes that are too tight or too loose are unflattering, no matter where you fall on the scale.  Play up the features you love: a tiny waist, to-die-for legs, and elegant neck or lovely shoulders.  If you need shapewear to help smooth your silhouette, by all means go for it.  And be sure your bra fits!  Take advantage of the complimentary fittings offered at Victoria’s Secret and buy underpinnings that support your curves. 

Draped and flowy maxi dresses are fine but don’t be afraid to show your curves! Try belting them to emphasize your waist.  If you have a classic coke-bottle shape, work a pencil skirt, or look for classic sheath dresses (also known as wiggle dresses) a la Mad Men’s Joan Holloway or Marilyn Monroe.  These dresses celebrate a fuller figure; check out Monif C’s Whitley” dress.  I advise against box pleats, bows or bulky pockets at the hip; sometimes they can add more visual weight to your look.  I suggest opting for softer pleats and gathering, as well as ruching.  Ruching is great because it camouflages problem areas and can create an hourglass figure.

When buying denim, make sure the hem falls long enough to cover about half of your shoes’ heel, and try fabrics with a touch of stretch.  Looking for a pair made to flatter curves? Check out Cj by Cookie Johnson (founded by Magic Johnsons’ wife and Hunstville native Cookie Johnson), which “offers more room in the thighs and derriere and comes up a bit higher in the back than most lines.”  Watch for waistbands that gap on pants; if something fits perfectly  in the rear and leg, have the waist taken in by a tailor.  Looking for flattering leggings? Try  ReDress NYC’s “teggings”: the hybrid tights+leggings boast a “stretchy, wearable fit” and “can be worn all day without slipping or sliding.”  And they’d be super cute under the retailer’s Cozumel Chevron tunic.  Want to emphasize your neckline?  Look for v-necks; they play up your decolletage beautifully. 

Check the length of your blouses; they should fall at your hip line.  Blazers continue to be chic for Spring, but make sure you aren’t selecting jackets that are boxy or shapeless; they add pounds!  Check the darts and seaming and be sure the jackets have more of a fitted shape.  Or try an open draped cardigan over a tank: with a necklace and jeans, you’re ready to go.

If you feel unsure about a stiletto heel, try a platform or wedge, like this one from Torrid (they also have cute clothes!).  Shoes should fit comfortably;  your feet shouldn’t bulge or strain against any straps.  No matter what size you are, you should be able to stride or sashay with confidence.  I also suggest opting for belts; they can create the illusion of a waist if you’re “straight up and down” like me, or to accentuate a small one.  And don’t skimp on jewelry: draw the eye to a bold statement necklace, cuff bracelet or earrings (but not all of the above simultaneously). 

Hands down some of the cutest pieces I’ve seen thus far are Monif C.’s convertible dresses.  They don’t compromise fabric choice or silhouette and although they range from $195 to $235, the designer promises “infinite possibilities” in terms of styling the dress.  Monif C. also invites you to sign up for their monthly $100 gift certificate giveaway!  The figure-flaunting dresses come in a rainbow of colors and are in a word, glamorous.    I also love ASOS Curve, which offers  well-tailored, trend-conscious pieces. 

Finally, check out fab designer Isaac Mizrahi’s tips HERE.  No matter what your size or price point, you shouldn’t have to settle for subpar style.

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Straight from the A: Spring Fashion Haute List

The weather is heating up and so is spring fashion! Make sure you read these tips so you don’t become fashion roadkill! And special thanks to the Roy Wood Jr. Morning Show!

DO: Wear trends the second time they pop up, but be sure to update the look. You can’t wear it the same way the second time. Make sure your footwear and accessories read fresh and modern, not “blast from the past”. (ex: friendship bracelets, colored denim)

DO: Upgrade your jewelry into something bright and big. DON’T wear a million pieces though; have one main conversation piece.  And if you are still wearing pink ice, contact me immediately for support.

DO: Try a crop top, but don’t expose your belly button!  Show a hint of skin by wearing it with a high waist skirt or short.

DO:  Try wearing a high-low or mullet hem skirt or dress.  That’s right—it’s short in the front and long in the back! Make sure your shoes aren’t clunky!  Keep them delicate.

DO: Wear something neon.  But don’t blind us!  Try a pop! of color with your belt, shoes or handbag.

DO: Go for bohemian chic with airy fabrics and crochet.  But keep in mind that there should be an opaque layer underneath see-through fabrics so your “business” isn’t exposed.  Please consider a slip (or cut off a pair of fleshtone pantyhose to wear underneath.)

DO: Fellas, it’s almost summer, summer, summertime!  But you won’t impress anyone in a color-coordinated shorts set with gators.  Go for yachting or boating chic in linen shorts, seersucker and boating shoes or casual loafers.

DO: Reassess your makeup and fragrance.  If you tan, you may need to adjust your foundation shade.  And if you wear cologne or perfume, adjust the amout you apply, as the rising temps and changing body chemistry may affect its potency.  No one wants to smell you all the way around the block!

DO: try color-blocked accessories, peplum waists and hyperflorals! But not all at once.

DON’T: Those large black-framed eyeglasses without an Rx…why?!

DON’T: Weard hite shoes and pumps.  They aren’t flattering to ANYONE.  Need I say more?

DON’T: Wear denim on denim; try monochromatic COLORS instead!  Pastels are a definite DO; mint green, blush, orange sherbet and baby blue are haute on both ladies and gents.

DON’T: black lipstick or lipliner…why?!

DON’T: Rock finger waves or French rolls.  Soft hair is in.

DON’T: Please retire your jeggings.  They just look weird with no zipper and those faux pockets.

DON’T: Feather earrings and hair extensions are over. Just let them go.

DON’T: High-heeled sneakers during any season or Timberlands when it’s warm outside. Please and thank you.

DON’T: Insist on showing “VPL” and exposed bra straps (during any season).  Buy something seamless and/or strapless to wear underneath clingy fabrics.  Likewise, sagging pants and leggings without a top that covers your hind end…no one wants to see your butt. Trust me.

DON’T: Bieber hair, mohawks on males over the age of 6, and half shaved heads on women. What works for Rihanna and Cassie may not work for you. Please.

DON’T: Long, pedicured toe nails…WHY?! And: please don’t just polish your big toes and stop; do all ten!  If you have missing toenail, most salons can add a fake.

DON’T: Over-coordinate (i.e. red hair, red purse, red necklace, red belt, red shoes, red nailpolish and lipstick) You’re welcome.

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Pink Ladies

Tyra channels Marilyn at the recent Time Inc. 100 Gala  Or is it just me? Minus the bodacious butt bow and gloves, of course.

I think I like Marilyn’s haute pink version better.

And speaking of  thinking pink…what do you think of Lauren Conrad’s fuchsia ponytail? I kinda love it!   Check out the lovely deeper shade with ombré effect on Ashanti (and how Nelly coordinated!).  The hues each lady chose flatter their complexions, and their makeup is flawless! There’s a major difference between what these ladies are working and the clown colors others are rocking (names are withheld to protect the guilty!).  Note how complementary shades are used to pull off such a risky look, and also note: these ladies are in the entertainment and fashion/beauty industries.  A more subtle use of hair color is highly recommended for those of us in more conventional occupations.

Images via AP, Jon Kopaloff/Film Magic (by way of People) and YB&F

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Give Rainy Weather the Boot!

April showers may bring May flowers, but they can also ruin your flats, booties and stilettos!  So why not invest in a super cute pair of rubber rain boots (also known as wellies, because they were named after the Duke of Wellington)?  Whether you opt for a solid color in a neutral or bright shade (I’m loving Hunter’s bright pink pair), grab a patterned pair in polka dot or houndstooth, or let your inner fierce kitty roar in leopard, these boots will keep your feet dry.  If you don’t like flats, there are even wedge versions available.  And they’re suited for jumping into a puddle, if you get the urge. 

Find your own pair at local retailers like Belk and Macy’s, big box stores like Target or online at Zappos.com.  How to wear them?  I love to keep it casual; I wear my Coach pair with leggings or denim. And to be honest, I wear them even when it isn’t raining, because they’re extremely comfortable and IMO, a little more pulled together than Uggs.  How to keep them nice and shiny? Well, to remove the film that often appears on rain boots after they’ve gotten wet, spray with Armor All  Original Protectant (yes, the same kind used to clean your dashboard) and wipe off with a clean, soft towel.

If rain boots are just not for you, be sure to waterproof your shoes.  Fab Sugar offers a quick tutorial here.

Image via Zappos

A Word to the Wise

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again gentlemen: leave the candy-colored zoot suits and Kool-Aid gators at home.  Break out a seersucker, grey or tan suit this weekend instead.  Play it understated, or have fun with a checked shirt and coordinating tie, a la Steve Harvey (no, I can’t believe I’m using him as an example either) at the Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man premiere this past week. (Click on the photos to enlarge them.)

You’ll thank me later.  And check out The Sartorialist’s take on how a suit should fit (this won’t apply to those of you who like a fuller cut).

A note on footwear: classic lace-ups or wingtips look great with a suit in a solid fabric.  And by all means, wear bucks with your seersucker.

Images via KRC Apparel and G. Paras Photography

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

Okay, the ’80s weren’t so bad after all.  As seen on People.com, chokers, bared midriffs, cropped denim vests and waist-tied blouses are back.  The ’90s were a bad decade for me: Bongo denim outfits, Guess jumpers and column dresses, berry lipstick and (*shudder*) bangs.  I’m not enthused about seeing the era remixed.

Absolutely not.

I don’t care if Salma’s choker does have a “YSL” embellishment; please stop trying to make them happen. 

Really?!

Waist-tied shirts and “grunge chic” have also been spotted.   But somehow it looks just as sloppy as it did in the last century.  Leave it there.

Side note (and proof that the ’90s weren’t a total fashion disaster):  Guess? turns 30 this year!  And to celebrate, they featured Claudia Schiffer in a remix of their iconic ads.  Be sure to check out the photos!  Our favorite?

 

Images via People.com and Huffington Post

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