Sequin Geek Chic

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Ahh.. Just your everyday New Year’s Eve dilemma–to sequin or not to sequin??

New Year’s Eve is by far the sparkliest holiday of the year, and I was super stoked when I found this tres chic Calvin Klein black sequinned sheath for 23 dollars in late December (side note, not to gloat, but isn’t that the most awesome bargain?!). But, alas, two major problems interferred with my glorious bedazzled outfit:

1: Sequins hurt. Holy moley, my inner arms are on fire, Batman!

2: My plans were dinner with the bf. An eight o clock ressie at a casual restaurant doesnt exactly scream sequin and sparkles. I am all about overdressing, but this would have been ridiculous.

Determined to go into 2013 in style, I compromised by geek chic-ing up my super fancy dress. Add one whimsically patterned sweater (several seasons old and no more than twenty bucks), black tights, and my go to knee high boots, and suddenly my cocktail party attire had a casual dinner feel. I added a stretchy black belt over the whole thing to tie it together and pulled my hair up in a high bun. I loved the way it looked and I felt extra fancy without looking out of place. Not to mention the sweater protected my arms from a bloody sequin massacre. Win, win, win!

M

Clothes: Dress, Calvin Klein via TJ Maxx; Sweater, Forever 21; Boots, Steve Madden; Tights, Target; Blingy J. Crew Inspired Bracelet, Groop Dealz; Belt, Old

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The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far…

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I’m shopping in Loehmann’s with my friend, A, the other day and stumbled upon some Wacoal bras that were 1/2 off the original price. Tried one on, loved it, then went through a major internal debate about how many to buy. There were four in my size in the store. Buying four of the exact same bra seemed a little excessive though. A thought I should buy two. Sounded reasonable, but I still wasn’t sure exactly what to do. So obviously, I had to text The Mamma. (Yes, I am a grown up who text messages her mother when she doesn’t know what to do. She has way more shopping wisdom than I do. Where do you think most of my Shopping Commandments came from? Years and years worth of shopping trips with The Mamma.)

Here is how the conversation went:

Elle: What is a reasonable number of the same bra to buy? Wacoal half off. Keep in mind it is unlined.
Elle’s Mamma: If the fit and price is right I would say at least 4… If they are really cheap and fit well maybe 6. Nordstrom sells them for $80 to $100.
Elle: Alright, alright… I’ll go with three or four.

Several things happened during this interaction. I’ll tick them off for you, one by one.

First, “Hey Big Spender” started playing in my head while reading The Mamma’s response.

Then I got distracted by floor length formal gowns I have no use for.

Then I suddenly realized why I shop so much and have such an exact method for it. Not sure if this is a nature thing or a nurture thing, but it’s definitely something. The Mamma’s mamma was also a serious shopper in her day. Serious enough that she would cook dinner early in the morning then jet off to Herald Square to hit Macy’s, shop, and get back in enough time to heat up said dinner before my grandfather arrived home from work.

Was this behavior learned by The Mamma from her mother and in turn learned by me from both of them? Or is there some illicit recessive shopping gene that has been passed on through the maternal DNA in my family? If so, it must be female specific, because my brother is the world’s worst shopper (and illicits no pleasure from the act at all). I don’t have the answers here. If any major universities are reading this, maybe you should conduct a long term study to answer these burning questions I’ve presented. I’m sure you’ve got nothing better to do.

If you’re wondering how many of the bras I bought that day…. All four. Plus a floppy wool hat. And a bracelet. And a pair of black leather wedges. And the day before I may have gone to Macy’s myself and bought four pairs of jeans I didn’t need.

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Ugh, I blame my mother.

xo,
Elle

Elle’s Favorite Places To Shop Part Two: Internet Edition

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As promised, here are my favorite virtual stores to shop in, in no particular order.

Regular Websites:

eloquii.com – eloquii is The Limited’s plus sized brand. Only available online at the moment, but will be seen in some of The Limited’s test stores starting this summer and hopefully more stores shortly after that. I love, love, LOVE eloquii’s pants. Most styles have two fits available, Classic and Curvy, so tailoring doesn’t even have to enter the pants equation anymore. Also: skinny dress pants! Hallelujah! Sign up for their emails and you’ll always have a coupon to use.

oldnavy.com– I’m still annoyed that Old Navy pulled plus sizes out of their stores, so I don’t buy much from them. However, I will order leggings, pajamas, or other random things from them from time to time. They’re super cheap and the quality isn’t bad. They’d get a lot more business from me if I could walk into their stores to buy though.

americanapparel.net – Yes, they have real stores too, but they’re tiny and kind of few and far
between. In this case, I choose online shopping. Awesome basics and multitasking items. Tees and tanks that will last you forever. Pricey for these types of items but completely worth it because the quality is so much better than anywhere else. And you can feel good about your clothes being made in the U.S. by grown ups with a benefits package and decent working conditions. Your closet and your social conscience both approve.

Members Only Sites:

RueLaLa.com – Fab sample sale website with a wide range of brands from the already affordable (Havaianas and American Apparel) to the stuff you can only dream about (Hermes and trips to Bali).

HauteLook.com – Ditto above, without the super high end stuff. They also have decent beauty brands from time to time.

MyHabit.com – Great designer stuff at low prices. They always have plus size sales going. Owned by Amazon, so what’s not to like?

gilt.com – A bit pricier than other sites in the same category, and never a plus size in sight, but worth checking regularly for good quality accessories.

Those are all my regulars. Am I missing something great? Let me know!

xo,
Elle

Elle’s Favorite Places To Shop Part One (Brick and Mortar Edition)

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Hello Lovelies!

Just wanted to share some of my favorite places to shop with all of you! I like to shop like it is a competitive sport and I feel that I always win. I am by no means cheap, but I love, love, love to save (because in my mind, the more I save, the more I get to buy). My favorite receipts always have that little “You’ve saved $XX.XX,” on the bottom. Saving more than I’ve spent makes me feel like I’ve pulled off an amazing feat of shopperdom.

Here are my favorite places to shop, in no particular order:

Nordstrom Rack– M is certainly not alone in her love for this oft hidden gem. Nordstrom Rack has an amazing plus sized selection. You can find everything here from outer and evening wear to casual cardis, pants, and blouses. And the shoe department is AMAZING. While the Rack does lack the fabulous Ladies’ Lounge and Cafe that regular Nordy’s has, it is definitely the most well laid out discount store in existence. (Tip: You’re allowed 15 items in the dressing room at once! Take advantage of that!)

Nordstrom– If in need of an evening gown or underthings, do not pass go, do not collect $200, just go directly to Nordstrom. The lovely ladies in the Intimates department will give you a fabulous fitting and suggestions. The clothing departments all house a great variety of sale stuff. And you will (guaranteed) find at least a half dozen cocktail dresses you’ll love. Heavenly shoe department and great cosmetics too. Head to the Cafe for lunch on your way out. Order the tomato soup and the salad with the pears. Swoon over your love for Nordy’s.

TJ Maxx– Great finds, but you have to really dig. TJ Maxx is not easy “pull it off the rack, things are in order” shopping. You must sort through racks and racks of clothing to unearth the greatness within. It is completely worth it though. My TJ Maxx even has a Runway Department, which regularly has Gucci, Pour La Victoire, Badgley Mishka, Halston, and the like.

Marshall’s– Just like TJ Maxx, just without the luxury brands. You’ll find Cynthia Rowley and Sam Edleman, but not a Prada in sight. Don’t forget to check out the housewares departments in both Marshall’s and TJ Maxx.

Forever 21– Great plus size department. Clothes are super cheap, so you can stock up here on trendier items that you’ll only wear once or twice. Cheap accessories galore. Word to the wise: try everything on in F21. Some things (like woven tops) tend to run a bit small. And don’t forget to stock up on the $3 and $5 camis.

H&M– I can spend hours in H&M (and I have). They don’t technically sell plus sized clothing, but their sizing is completely irregular and I own some items from them in an XL and some in a Medium (all of which fit perfectly). The secret to shopping at H&M is to not rule anything out and to try everything on. I’m talking multiple fitting room trips here, girls. This is sport shopping at its best. Don’t leave without some of their super comfy flats and ├╝ber cheap accessories.

Annie Sez– Again, here’s a store with no plus size department, but loads of things that you can make work for you. My first two Shopping Commandments: Know Thy Body and Try On, Try On, Try On! Follow those in Annie Sez and you’ll find some great pieces. I have.

The Avenue– The best plus sized jeans. In fact, I think jeans are the only thing I go there for. They’re worth the trip because the fit is so good. Their skinny and straight legged jeans are my two go-to styles. I have a stack of each in the darkest wash and just alternate.

In all honesty, I’m sure that 85% of my wardrobe is from the stores I’ve listed above. The other fifteen percent comes from various websites I hit while shopping on my sofa. I’ll post up my favorite shopping sites for you tomorrow.

Are there any great stores I’m missing out on? Let me know!

xo,
Elle