28 May 2013

Adoring ASOS Africa

I noticed recently that ASOS sizes are starting to run big, which basically meant Christmas could come early for me this year.  I'm right in that tweenie stage, fluctuating between a U.S. 14-18.  This used to mean I could only shop ASOS curve, but now that their sizing has changed some, I can fit right into a 14 and shop ALL the styles.  You see, it's like Christmas.

This couldn't have happened at a better time, because ASOS launched their Africa collection just a couple of weeks ago.  They're collaborating with SOKO Kenya to encourage and enable local craftsmanship, in this case, gorgeous ensembles.  In all honesty, I never used to be a fan of the maxi dress, though everyone encouraged me to feel otherwise because of my height.  But this Africa maxi has changed things around for me.  I love the tightness at the top, the just-right flowy-ness of the bottom half, that thigh-high slit up the leg.  It's sexy, it's lovely and it's perfect for a curvy gal in springtime looking to show a classy amount of skin.

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Get the look:


27 May 2013

Dolling It Up In Domino Dollhouse

Some time ago, I did a post on Domino Dollhouse after discovering the quirkiness and rockabilly-ness of this e-commerce site.  It was unique, it was sassy and the women modeling the clothes were actually PLUS-SIZE.  I was obsessed immediately, BUT it took me some time to decide what outfit I'd want to personally feature.  In the end, it was no competition.  This lipsticky skirt had to be it.  I love the sailor look, and I love anything that highlights curves and silhouettes.  Thus, this outfit and I now have an intimate relationship.  I also had the chance to do a Q&A with fatshion genius and Domino Dollhouse's owner and designer, Tracy Broxterman.  Check it out below the photos :D

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For a similar look:

Lipsticky Skirt in Red, Domino Dollhouse, $32.95

Bow-Fronte Ponte Longline Bra, Charlotte Russe, $16.99

Calvin Klein Ashley Pumps, Macy's, $99.00

Tracy Broxterman took some time to talk plus-size life, blogging, fashion and inspiration!  This 31-year-old, size 24/26 gal has been in the fashion industry in one way or another for some time, majoring in marketing with a minor in fashion merchandising at the University of Cincinnati.  Domino Dollhouse is her full-time occupation, and she handles everything from customer service to design to product sourcing.  She's also an avid online shopper herself!  Tracy is married to a man she's dated for 12 years, spends time watching ridiculous television, belly dancing and drag queens, and has two kitties and an old Pomeranian named Popple:

Q: What are your own experiences as a plus-size woman?

A: I have been sized out of the "straight" size world since I was in high school, so I have been dealing with plus-size fashion personally for most of my life.  Being denied fashion was actually always my main issue with my body and I always knew that if I could express myself fully through clothing I'd feel more secure about myself.

Q: What inspired you to start your blog Chubble Bubble in 2009?

A: I started to realize that there was a place for plus-size bloggers and fashion beginning to form.  Blogs like Musings of a Fatshionista (now Fatshion Wasteland) and Pocket Rocket Fashion inspired me to share my own experiences.
Q: What inspired you to start Domino Dollhouse?

A: I had always wanted to have my own clothing boutique and when I was laid off from my job, I knew that it was time.  Plus-size clothing was obviously my passion, but finding other brands to carry was a huge issue…nothing had the size range and styling I wanted for my aesthetic.  I eventually started producing my own garments and the Domino Dollhouse clothing label started in June 2011.
Q: What has been some of the greatest feedback you've received from either the media or women who contact you independently?

A: When people comment that they finally feel like they can fully express themselves with my clothes, that's the best.  When someone just gets your clothes, that's the best feeling.
Q: Do you think that designers and brands are slowly adapting to plus-size women are carrying larger sizes; or do you think there is still a long way to go before plus-size women have the options of straight size ones?

A: I think there's still a REALLY long way to go!  The vastness of what is available for sizes S-L is so massive I sometimes cannot comprehend how people choose!  So many companies that offer plus-size right now have scaled back or are online only because they claim they haven't had the response they needed in store. There's still so much that needs to change before we even have 1/1000 of what is available in "straight" sizing.
Q: What are some of your favorite plus-size stores?

A: I shop at ASOS, Chubby Cartwheels, Cult of California, Rachel Pally, and SWAK clothing…I think they all really understand and treat their plus-size customers with respect. They don't water things down and they know how to fit a plus-size body!  I literally shop exclusively online.
Q: Would you like to see the delineation between plus-sizes and straight sizes end?

A: I think it would be amazing to one day be able to walk into any shop and be serviced no matter your size.  I think the separation right now is necessary because SO MANY women don't even think their size is offered.  Until it becomes common place to offer plus-sizes, it's needs to be clearly divided or women simply won't shop (this is coming from a retail point of view).
Q: Who are some people that inspire you, be it in the plus-size world or otherwise?

A: I think the plus-size women that inspire me the most are the activists who mix fashion with politics. I love Virgie Tovar and Marianne Kirby (the Rotund).  I also love searching through tumblr and seeing individual street style…runway looks are fun and lovely, but how someone expresses themselves through their dressing is my favorite thing to see.
Q: Where do you find inspiration for your designs; do you design everything on your own?

A: I use a mixture of street style, the general DD aesthetic, and fabric sourcing to lead the design process. I currently design everything myself, but work with a factory for fit and sewing.
Q: Do you see your business expanding in the future?  if you don't mind me asking, how is it doing thus far?

A: I would LOVE to have a showroom for dolls to come and shop in LA, but it's a ways off.  We are super small and grass roots…I do everything out of my house with one employee.  Business is growing at a steady and promising pace, but the great thing about being small is that I can take more risks without ordering 1,000 pieces of something that may not sell.  I love the benefits of being a small business in this aspect.
Q: How would you define your personal style, and who are some of your style icons?

A: My personal style is very yin and yang.  I have a side that is 100 percent DD: retro girl with a tough edge.  On the opposite end, I love dark, flowy clothing with hard accessories, very witchy and earthy.  I am inspired by Beth Ditto, tribal belly dance culture, drag queens, and music.

You can follow Domino Dollhouse here!

20 May 2013

Hips And Curves Galore

What I love about Hips and Curves is that everything they sell lets you beautifully showcase your...well, hips and curves!  About a month ago I began collaborating with this fabulous e-commerce site, and the final product was a feature on the site's blogger spotlight and my very first lingerie shoot.  And I'm pleased to say it isn't the last.

This is the next installment of my H&C photo shoots.  I have to say, I was overwhelmed with the positive feedback I received from the last shoot, so I hope you'll all love this one as well.  I adore the femininity and classiness of all of H&C's lingerie and apparel, so it was no surprise I had a blast shooting these.  I'm obsessed with the balconette shelf bra's bow strap décor, the Bettina lace and mesh boyshort's comfy sexiness, the waist-high leggings and the fact that I can wear them as pants or active wear.  Not to mention camisoles are always lovely, and backseam stockings make the vintage aficionado in me ecstatic.

One of my main goals with this blog is to show that big is beautiful (notice that the "is" is bolded, italicized and underlined!) -- to show that you need not be skeletal to have a beautiful body -- that curvy women have as much a right as any other women to feel confident and demonstrate that through the clothes they wear and the attitude they carry.  The fact is, I love seeing plus-size women modeling lingerie and swimwear, and I'm delighted to be a part of their efforts.

P.S. Unfortunately, I am an epic clutz and broke my thumb, thus the neon green cast.  Hopefully this does not detract from the gorgeous Hips and Curves pieces!
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Plus Size ModelGet the looks

Outfit 1:
Lace Trim Camisole, $14.95, H&C
Backseam Stockings, $16.95 for 2-pair, H&C

Outfit 2:

Extras:
Keds in Teal, Journey's, $39.99

18 May 2013

The Madness Of Baby Pageants

Baby Pageant
I’ve never been a beauty pageant kind of girl.  I realize this is strange to say considering I will be participating in Miss Plus-Size International 2013 (MPSI).  But the reason I was attracted to this pageant is precisely because it seemed like the antithesis of what normal pageants are all about.  MPSI isn’t about dictating what beauty should look like.  It isn’t about striving to be thin and/or encouraging others to do so.  It’s about body love.  It’s about showing that big and beautiful aren’t antonyms – but that they are symbiotic, cohesive, one and the same.  It seemed real – like it encompassed all my opinions about being a larger woman.

All that said, I still have my qualms with the world of pageantry.  Often I find them painfully misogynistic and sickeningly kitschy.  But grown women have the choice of whether or not to participate in such events.  Children on the other hand – that’s another story.  I can’t tell you how repulsive I find the fact that something like Toddlers and Tiaras could be a global success.  I doubt Honey Boo Boo started off as the demon child she is now – but rather, her mother and the pageant world are probably to blame.  And yet, still… I understand these pageant moms.  I get that they are living vicariously through their children.  As wrong as it is, these mothers think turning their five-year-olds into painted princesses will fulfill their own lifelong goals of wearing a plastic crown.  As far as I can tell, these moms were either unfortunately unattractive through their own lives, and thus use their kids to make up for that.  Or they were the pageant types themselves, and want to carry on the twisted cycle.  It’s wrong; it makes me want to puke up my guts; but I get it.

A few days ago, though, I found out child beauty pageants aren’t just for toddlers.  They exist for babies too.  There are actually pageants for infants – usually beginning at the sixth month mark.  These babies compete just as those toddlers in damn tiaras do: they’re decked out in casual wear, swimwear and evening wear for some creepy ass judges to decide which infant looks best in a tiny bikini.  There is more wrong with this concept than I can possibly express.  It isn’t just that there is something intensely perverse and almost pedo-like about it.  It isn’t just that I don’t understand what kind of parent would put their baby in a position to be judged and scrutinized in public.  As though these things weren’t bad enough, the babies aren’t even allowed to look like normal babies.  They are photo shopped intensely.  Chubby cheeks are slenderized.  Blemishes (you know, the miniature bumps babies get on their skin from people kissing their cheeks) are brushed away.  And makeup is either actually applied on the skin or artificially applied on the web (my guess is this varies depending on just how screwed up the parents are).  It’s the kind of thing you expect to see in teen and adult pageants.  The kind of thing we see in toddler pageants, but let slide because the kids are at least old enough to speak and complain and walk down the runway themselves.  But on babies…

Babies are supposed to be chunky, people.  I can’t help but wonder – is our culture so obsessed with thinness and aesthetic perfection that even infants cannot escape it?  I realize the percentage of babies in pageants is small compared to the percentage of babies not in pageants.  Yet, this seems like little consolation.  Are all these babies fated for a Honey Boo Boo lifestyle?  It seems to me that most girls begin doubting their bodies and striving to be skinny right around the 12 year mark.  When puberty starts setting in, when they begin observing what the average celebrity or model looks like, when their peers tease them for the baby fat that is practically unnoticeable, because those peers are also probably in a downward spiral of body hatred and looking for someone to take it out on.  But if you condition your child to believe it’s ok to tweak their weight since infancy, what hope is there that that child will have any kind of open-minded, normal perception on weight and beauty?  What chance is there that that child, if heavy in later life, will love her body?

If not even an infant is allowed to simply look like an infant, chunky cheeks included, what hope is there for an older child – for a teenager – for a young woman?  I like to think social perceptions on weight are changing.  Something like Gabifresh’s swimwear shoot for Swimsuits4All wouldn’t have been possible a few years ago.  God forbid a normal-sized women model a bikini… Yet, now we see it often, on countless blogs and even in professional campaigns.  I like to think that slowly it’s becoming acceptable to be bigger.  But then I think of things like baby pageants, and I wonder, how far can we go in terms of fat pride and acceptance when not even babies are allowed to look like babies?  How far can we go if we convince our children that they must be thin to be beautiful?

I fear that this new generation of pageant babies and toddlers will grow into the same kind of generation of teens and young adults obsessed with looking perfect – as though such a word even existed (with the exception of Ryan Gosling).  I fear it will be just another generation of self-deprecating, thin-obsessed teenyboppers like the girls I grew up with.  It’s hard to have hope for any positive changes when there are still so many people who fail to see anything wrong in photo-shopping a six month old baby’s face to make her look like an emaciated doll.  But I have to hold on to hope – I have to keep in mind that pageants like the one I’m participating in exist now, and are trying to combat the image those other pageants want to convey.  I have to keep in mind that I’ve met many people since starting this blog who feel how I feel and see the beauty in the big just as I truly do.  And I have to keep in mind that those baby pageant moms are probably deranged.

The Business Of Curves

Nicolette-MasonIt's official: I'm done with New York University.  But I couldn't leave without writing about some curves, obviously.  Check out my final story, also posted on Fameology:

There were curves everywhere.

Hoards of plus-size women sipped cocktails while complimenting each other’s outfits, taking turns in the retro photo booth and grabbing “America’s Next Top Model’s” beloved Jay Manuel for brief meet and greets.  If it was any other night, Jay and his perfectly gelled, bleached white locks would’ve been the stars.  But this late February night was a celebration of curves, and Jay might be all kinds of fabulous, but the man is not curvy.  This evening’s main celebrities were Marcy Guevara, Ashley Falcon and Candice Huffine – celebrities in the world of plus-size fashion, blogging and YouTube-ing.

The unveiling of Lane Bryant’s new collection, a metamorphosis from its traditional, middle-aged soccer mom apparel to trendy, 20-something in New York threads, provided the ideal setting for plus-size ladies to talk fashion, shapewear and blogging while munching on canapés and sipping Lane-tinis.  Katie Conrad, a 22-year-old, size 22, culinary student from Virginia who won her place at the event through a raffle, hid behind a rack of purple, paisley dresses, trying to sneak a close look at Guevara, former “Big Girl in a Skinny World” columnist at Marie Claire and now plus-size guru on Rachael Ray’s TV show.  “How gorgeous is she?  And talented.  I totally watched her on YouTube way before she was famous,” she said peeking out from behind the racks.

Until a few years ago, fashion blogging and vlogging had revolved around thin women – women embodying Kate Moss and flaunting their size 0-2 frames and “edgy” styles.  But recently the blogosphere has become more welcoming to a new kind of icon – the plus-size fashionista.  As with most bloggers, few have made it to the point where their sites have brought them fame or fortune, but that doesn’t stop hundreds from trying.  Fame in the form of a talk show host, fashion magazine columnist or professional blogger is a possibility, albeit an unlikely one.  Some have hopes that they will be the next “Big Girl in a Skinny World.”  And others don’t want fame at all, but rather a big enough following for them to feel they are doing something to help other women.

Only a few weeks before the event at Lane Bryant, The Daily Beast reporter Judy McGuire wrote “The Plus-Size Blogging Craze.”  Pointing out the growing number of plus-size women on the blogosphere, she noted, “Sick of being ignored by fashion magazines and relegated to sack dresses with screeching prints, a growing number of women—unapologetically plump and tired of being treated like third-class citizens—are taking their musings online.”

Yes they are, and at growing numbers.  More than 400 plus-size blogs and vlogs have sprouted up in cyberspace, reigning in the U.S. and U.K.  For bloggers wanting to break out, there are only a handful of possible fame-launching career opportunities for them: Marie Claire’s “Big Girl in a Skinny World” column; People’s plus-size column; inStyle’s brand new plus-size column; Redbook Magazine’s monthly plus column, and Style Blazer, which in late April hired Marie Denee of The Curvy Fashionista as their new plus-size columnist.

Back in 2009, the competition – and high profile media outlets – in this new plus-size internet world was almost nonexistent.  Guevara started her YouTube channel, “The Marcy Minute,” because a: she’s always loved fashion, b: she’d been aspiring to be a television host since age 11, and c: there wasn’t a lot out there at the time for bigger gals.  By luck, plus-size fashion magazine Skorch stumbled upon her channel and asked her to produce videos for their site.  It wasn’t long before Marie Claire needed a new “Big Girl in a Skinny World” and picked her up.  And before she knew it, Rachael Ray came calling.  Four years down the line, she’s plus-size royalty to the many hopefuls.

Guevara credits her success to blogging about her life.  “If you’re blogging about anything, plus-size fashion, food, travel, live it and be passionate,” she said.  “I’ve heard that it’s from nine to five that pays your bills, but it’s from five to nine that really matters.”

Before being discovered, Guevara scoured brands and shops for her readers and shared her findings in a voice that could be characterized as part “I’m sexy and I know it” and part high-end magazine classiness.  As for her niche, well, as noted, she’d practiced being a television host while still in a trainer bra and graduated from college with a degree in broadcast journalism – she knew how to talk to a camera.

Achieving that level of blogging success is extremely difficult.  Bob Lotich, author of “How to Make Money Blogging: How I Replaced my Day-Job with My Blog” says, “It is a really unique case for a blog to turn into a full-time job.”

For Lotich, who runs the Christian Personal Finance blog, success stemmed from, “eagerness to learn, hard work and commitment.”  Never from the desire to be famous.  “Personally, I have no desire for a bunch of people to know my name,” he said.  “I just love that the site has gotten enough eye-balls that it pays the bills.  But if there was ever a time to have a chance at fame, today is the day.  With the internet we are in the age of the micro-celebrity, and almost every niche has celebrities.”

Niche or not, even the fact that there are a half dozen plus-size celebrity blogs is a considerable achievement.  Marie Denee, who has just been hired as the plus-size columnist at Style Blazer, attributes this entirely to social media.  “There may have been a few plus-size bloggers out there before social media became big, but once women could connect, share style tips and bond over being curvy, the market had to change,” she said.

Though Denee is optimistic that plus-size fashion will continue to get attention online, glossy magazine paper is another story.  Plus writers tend to get one little column on one little page – separate from the straight size trends.  But Denee doesn’t think this is a bad thing.  “You need to have the distinction,” she said.  “Only a plus-size woman can write about plus-size fashion.  She can relate to the readers.  It may be separate, but being included in a magazine is still such an amazing feat and proof of the change in the industry.”

This apparent change in the industry may also be attributed to designers and brands wishing to expand the range and sales of clientele.  According to Cynthia Nellis, fashion guide on About.com, the size of the average U.S. woman has changed drastically.  In 1941 the average woman was 5’2”, 129 pounds.  Today she is 5’4” and weighs 144 pounds, wearing between a 12 and 14.  For the fashion industry, incorporating plus-size divisions may simply be a way of customizing itself to fit the majority of women, who are no longer a size four but a 14.

So if the average U.S. woman is a size 14, there’s no surprise that plus-size fashion gurus are in demand.  After gaining a following via Facebook, 30-year-old Tiffany Crawford launched the plus-size YouTube channel and accompanying blog “Lace N’ Leopard.”  Though very important to her, blogging and YouTube-ing don’t pay the bills.  Crawford works in commercial finance and photography, and someday hopes to own a successful clothing boutique and design her own pieces.

Without false expectations or skyrocketed aspirations toward fame, then, why spend so much time and energy on her channel and blog?

“It’s not about being well known for being a plus-size fashion blogger,” she said.  “It’s about having a common love for fashion, being happy in your own skin and encouraging others to do the same.”

Crawford may not aspire to fame, necessarily, but her Instagram, Facebook, YouTube channel and blog attract 2500 to 4000 followers on each.  She’s not writing for inStyle, but these numbers are much higher that many plus-size fashion bloggers ever achieve.

Some, however, do hope to climb the ladder of curve guru hierarchy.  Twenty-six-year-old Mary Demetra started her YouTube channel “Glitter Odyssey” one year ago, and hopes to become a well-known plus-size fashionista.

“It would be amazing to have more exposure whether it be through television, print or any other medium,” she said.  “I receive e-mails on a daily basis, telling me how I’ve helped girls and women of all sizes and all over the world, which tells me that I am on the way to my main goal.  But the more exposure the better!”

So what exactly constitutes fame in the world of plus-size fashion blogging and vlogging?  Demetra believes there are two levels of fame.  The first is being well-known in the community of plus-size bloggers, while the second is being well-known beyond YouTube and blog circles.  So does anyone not into plus-size fashion actually know those “famous” fashionistas?  Apparently yes.  Plus-size or not, body image is a controversial issue among young women.

Take Rose Feiner, a senior at Syracuse University about to graduate with a double major in history and anthropology.  She has no apparent fashion knowledge at all and isn’t remotely plus-size.  Yet she knows all about the fashion stars.  “If you’re a 20-something living anywhere with internet access, you know who Marcy Guevara and Nicolette Mason are,” she said.  “Women love real role models.  So when people like Marcy and Nicolette stand up for their bodies proudly, you hear about it.”

Feiner was wearing sweats and Ugg boots.  She really couldn’t care less about the latest Vogue curvy spread.  But she’s proof that anyone who makes a difference will garner a type of celebrity outside their chosen niche.

Then there’s Yossi Loloi, an Italian photographer who has spent much of his career doing portraits.  Though Loloi has always been fascinated with larger women on a personal level, it wasn’t until 2006 that he started his Full Beauty Project and showcased nude SSBBW (Super-Sized, Big Beautiful Women), all 450 pounds and larger.  In 2006, plus-size blogging and fashion were minimal.  His Full Beauty shoots were something completely new in the mainstream.  Seven years later, Yossi sees what he calls an “explosion in plus-size blogging and modeling.”

“Slowly what began as a subculture or a community became popular thanks to individuals that promoted beauty of all different sizes,” he said.  Though Loloi thinks there is much to be accomplished in terms of size acceptance, he does believe that plus-size bloggers/vloggers are helping the cause in their own way.  His hope, however, is that these women don’t attempt to simply emulate the straight size world, but instead preserve their own uniqueness.

As for Mary Demetra, the plus-size blogger hoping to receive more exposure, it’s easy to see she’s on the right track to curve celebrity – after 12 months she’s racked up 2500 YouTube followers, way more than average.  Her goal: “one million trillion!”

One-million-trillion followers may be over-reaching a bit, but with the change in the plus-size fashion industry, tens of thousands of followers for a blog isn’t that unlikely.  Jeni Starr, author of “The Plus-Size Girl’s Guide to Plus-Size Confidence,” has researched and written on the changes in public perceptions of being plus-size.  Because of the reactions she’s received for her writing, she is optimistic that in time, more plus-size bloggers will get their chance at the spotlight.  “So far I’ve only gotten support and I’ve been touched by women who feel they were really helped by the message of my book,” she said.

Still there is no less focus on dieting or perceptions to be thin despite stores like Forever 21, Nordstrom, ASOS and ModCloth adding plus-size styles.  “I think that it’s still swimming against the current when there’s a multi-billion dollar diet and beauty industry that wants to convince us we’re not okay as we are,” said Starr.

That doesn’t deter Nicolette Mason, the current plus-size columnist for Marie Claire.  During a recent chat, she radiated optimism for the future of the plus-size fashion world, though she does admit that she’s “just a positive person.”  Blogging in one form another since she was 14, Mason has always had an internet presence.  But her goal was never to brand herself a plus-size blogger.  “It’s more an identity that people have put onto me than I’ve put onto myself – probably because I’m a fashion writer and happen to be fat,” she said.  But with a design background from Parson’s and a slick, well designed blog, she caught the eye of some big names – first Vogue Italia and then Marie Claire.  A few years down the line, she’s topped 10,000 Twitter followers and related to a ton of girls through “Big Girl in a Skinny World.”

“The cool thing about plus blogging is that there isn’t one type of blogger,” she said.  “In the plus world, the major players have such different styles and aesthetics.  There’s a lot more diversity, a lot more representations of race and economic status, and that’s not really seen in the straight size world, where the top tier bloggers are white and somewhat affluent.”

She’s got a point.  In the plus world, Guevara is the classic, Cali girl.  Mason dons designer threads.  Gabi Gregg is edgy – a little punk rock even.  Ashley Falcon is the prototype girly girl.  And Marie Denee is boho-luxe.  Each of these ladies has their own identity, and because of it, they’ve stood out.  They weren’t all trying to be a plus-size imitation of Kate Moss’s grunge look.

Mason thinks the popularity of plus-size fashion will continue and that magazines will cater to it as a “matter of survival.”  She does, however, think it’s the mainstream magazines that’ll do this as opposed to those like U.S. Vogue.  But then again, Redbook features considerable fashion coverage and has not one, but three contributing plus-size columnists spearheaded by Tanesha Awasthi, who started as a personal blogger for “Girl with Curves.”  She’s got about 7000 Twitter followers and is helping the high-fashion world embrace curvaceousness.  With women like Awasthi and Mason, who spend thousands to don designer threads and show that plus-size ladies can wear the expensive, high-end outfits that’ll make them look like an Upper East Side Gossip Girl, there’s the possibility that Vogue or other top tier magazines will accommodate them as well.

“The bottom line is hard work, good taste, having good writing skills and curating those skills,” she said.  Mason also thinks blogging can lead to many more opportunities than magazine writing.  “People can become buyers, personal stylists, personal shoppers – if you want to get your name out there with plus-size fashion, it’s not just about the print world anymore.”

It seems the business of curves can take on a lot of forms, and aspiring fatshion icons (the term plus-size Twitter and Tumblr lovers have turned trend) just have to find one that works for them and pays the bills.  Even Guevara and Falcon are personal and professional stylists as well as bloggers and hosts.

Guevara echoed this belief that plus-size fashion fame doesn’t have to be limited to a career in print or television hosting – a common misconception amongst bloggers and vloggers.   As well as being buyers, stylists or shoppers, she said, “We need women in the design field who are plus-size and have a passion for constructing amazing garments that are affordable and wearable.”

This is happening as well, but just as with bloggers becoming pro’s, it’s happening one girl at a time.  Domino Dollhouse, an e-commerce site for quirky, fun fatshions, was founded by plus-size blogger Tracy Broxterman of “Chubble Bubble.”  Her personal style blog led to the shop’s founding – and these days she’s cited by top tier bloggers like Guevara as a unique and trendy place to shop.

As Lane Bryant’s festivity started coming to a close, Katie Conrad, the culinary student who was there by the luck of a raffle ticket, stared solemnly as Guevara and Falcon left the store.  “I wish I’d talked to them,” she sighed.

Conrad isn’t a blogger.  She doesn’t want to be a blogger.  She doesn’t want to make YouTube videos.  But she’s plus-size, and admires the plus-size women whose claims to fame have been their larger body types and ability to spread a love of curves.

“I can’t help feeling plus-size bloggers seems genuine – like they really care about what they’re writing and fame isn’t important,” she said.

She stopped, downed the rest of her Lane-tini, and picked up a hat reminescent of the kind Ashley Falcon constantly wears for photo shoots on her blog.

“Or then again, maybe everyone in their 20’s wants to be famous in one way or another.”

   Advice from the pros on turning your blog into your job:
  • Be more creative: do it!  Buy a point and shoot and take pictures, shoot videos on your laptop, but never underestimate the power of preparation, training, dedication and hard-work – Marcy Guevara

  • Going to school, studying journalism and rising through the ranks in a magazine is still going to be very valued in          the print world.  The bottom line is hard work, good taste, having good writing skills and curating skills – Nicolette Mason

  • The ones who make it aren’t afraid to be themselves.  In my case, this commitment means that I show my bubbly-ness.  For others, it may be their awesome style (VintageOrTacky comes to mind) or craziness (Fafinette comes to mind) – Mary Demetra

GabifreshxSwimsuits4All

I was pretty bummed when I ordered Gabifresh's new galaxy fatkini and a few days later received that dreaded e-mail that my order had been cancelled. Then I realized...how flippin' awesome is it that half of Gabi Gregg's new plus-size swimsuit line for Swimsuits4All sold out within hours? Her collection included two statement pieces, the galaxy print two-piece and the one-piece meshed paint splatter beauty, along with two neon bikinis and a galaxy cover-up. Luckily, I still managed to get my orders in for the one-piece, the lime fatkini and the cover-up. Stay tuned for photo shoots in these gorgeous suits!  Probably in Majorca, summer break 2013.

Anyway, cyberspace has been buzzing since the release of the Gabifresh line last Wednesday. Outraged ladies have sent countless complaints about their canceled orders (can't blame them there since I too was a mixture of pissed off and borderline depressive). Fashion bloggers have re-posted the below photos (again, can't blame them because we're FINALLY seeing actual plus-size women modeling swimwear). And tons of women everywhere embraced this line and in turn, their curves. But one of the best pieces of coverage I've seen thus far is this interview with Gabi herself by Teen Vogue. A friend of mine from NYU, and formed Teen Vogue intern sent along this article and I had to pass it along. So check it out, NOW: Gabifresh talking directly about her "Totally On-Trend Plus-Size Swimwear Collection," by Claire Knebl. And while you're at it, definitely check out my aforementioned friend's blog, Carrie Wintour.

P.S. Some pieces are still available on Swimsuits4All, but my guess is not for long, so jump on that!

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08 May 2013

Wobbles And Wine

I must admit this shoot was done last fall.  I visited the Renault Winery in New Jersey with a dear friend -- this winery being one of my favorite places in the country, although granted, I've never been to the wineries in Napa Valley, even though I have yearned to go ever since watching The Parent Trap (yes, the Lindsay Lohan version) as a kid.  The gourmet restaurant offers a super-sized buffet where I tend to over-indulge in dozens of different seafoods, pastas and desserts, while obviously taking the utmost advantage of the wine tasting.  But the scenery, considering this is New Jersey we are talking about, is gorgeous as well -- unexpected and all the better for it.  I love strolling through the grape vines (literally) and the mini ponds and wicker garden sets, and naturally wanted my picture taken on this last visit -- or, several of my pictures taken.

Normally I wouldn't post photos from a few months ago, BUT the weather is slowly getting better, I'm in the mood for some spring-spiration and I'm waiting anxiously for it to be nice enough so that I can wear this dress again, purchased at ModCloth, obviously.  The 60's housewife meets pin-up girl feel of it made me press that "add to cart" button immidiately.  And it was actually after wearing this dress and feeling beautiful and glamorous and sexy that I was inspired to start this blog.  In fact, one of these photos is on my very first post ever!  So in a way, this dress has brought me the best gift -- this blog and the incredibe responses and support I've received from you lovely people.  So, I give a toast to vintage dresses and plus-size lovers.

Note: Please forgive that the photo quality isn't as great as my recent shoots, BUT this was before I blogged and worried about such things :p

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Hips And Curves Photo Shoot

Confession: I was somewhat reluctant to do a lingerie shoot.  Not because there's anything wrong with posing in lingerie.  And not because I was uncomfortable wearing a sexy, lacy, burlesque-y outfit that showcases my jiggly bits.  Ashamedly, it just seemed a bit taboo at first.  Though I am completely against the opinion that plus-size women shouldn't post in swimsuits or panties because of their size, I knew I was going to be putting myself at risk for backlash and negative commentary. But then I realized that that in and of itself was reason to go for it.  If more larger women confidently strut their stuff, maybe that taboo thing will slowly diminish.  Maybe seeing normal women will actually become normal!

As usual, I drew inspiration from Gabi Gregg, who collaborated with Hips and Curves on a Valentine's Day photo shoot.   Of course, I thought, "I can do this," and proceeded to e-mail the lovely folks at Hips and Curves immediately.  I was delighted when they suggested featuring me on their blogger spotlight, and even more ecstatic when I was told we could continue collaborating for future photo shoots (so stay tuned!). I consider this first shoot an ode to both Gabifresh and Hips and Curves, one of the most gorgeous plus-size lingerie shops out there.  So here you go...me and my undies...classy ones, of course.
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The look:

Sheer Stay-Up Stockings, $21.95 for two
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