16 June 2013

Bernie And Vince

Whoever said you can't mix the old with the new didn't know Bernie and Vince.

Bernie Dexter = 1950's inspired pinup fashion.  Vince Camuto = modern glam.  Together, they work.  It's as simple as that.

I adore the silhouette created by Bernie's dresses.  This is my second round of photos in a BD dress, the first being the amazing cottage print getup, but I have to say, I love this dress even more than the last.  It tightens my upper body and flows with my lower body, framing that hourglass figure many of us plus-size ladies possess.  Not to mention the print makes me feel like I've finally taken that holiday to Paris I've been meaning to take for years.  And Vince, well, you just can't go wrong with Vince Camuto heels, especially when they have a bow on them and complement your retro-wear this nicely.  Add some denim to the mix, and you're good to go.  Ready for that summer picnic now, please.

Plus Size Model Plus Size Model Plus Size Model Plus Size Model
 Get the look:

Picnic Dress in Parisian Café, $156, Bernie Dexter


Denim Vest (similar), $59, ASOS Curve

Hat, H&M

15 June 2013

When Plus-Size And Skinny Mix

It's finally here!  Six months later, the plus-size meets skinny shoot has arrived.

Back in December, I posted a sneak peak to this photo shoot -- a photo shoot that means a lot to me.  Not only was it a chance to show that thin ladies and plus-size ladies can coexist and work together, but it was a chance to pose with one of my dearest friends -- a friend who has loved me through my ups and downs, highs and lows (and definitely highs and lows of weight).  As I said before, part of the reason I think these photos worked so well is because there was an emotional bond between its subjects.  But had there not been -- had I been posing with a size four gal who I'd never met before in my life, I'd still love the idea.  I'd still want to show that companies and brands and people need to open their eyes (and markets) to the fact that women of all sizes are beautiful -- that women of all sizes can model -- and that women of all sizes want to express their personalities through the apparel they wear...and that someday it'd be great if everything from Walmart to couture catered to that seemingly simple fact.

My thanks to Julia of Jay Photographics and her beautiful partner Emily for working with us and taking these gorgeous shots.  And my thanks to Courtney, for being one of the most important people in my life, for putting up with my bi-polar personality and epic mood swings, for being my friend.

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11 June 2013

Overall Overalls

Ever since I was a little kid, I loved overalls.  This was an easy preference to maintain as a child in the 90's, but as soon as the millennium came about, people started ditching the denim.  It was tragic.  But as with all trends, everything makes a comeback at some point, and luckily I'm around to see the return of the denim overall dress still in my youth -- not that I'd have any qualms with wearing such a thing come middle age.  So at the moment, this ASOS pinafore paired with a crop top (fat croppin' all the way!) and my gladiator ankle boots has the 90's baby in me in the mood for some Nirvana and Cranberries.
Marie Southard Marie Southard Marie Southard Marie Southard Marie Southard  Get the look:



The Thing About Food…

Nancy Upton

…is that I like it.  No, I love it.  I’m a foodie, through and through.

You may be wondering why this is important – why it’s worth mentioning.  I tell you I love food because it’s almost taboo for a plus-size woman to admit such a thing.  We’re supposed to say things like “we’re naturally big boned” or “I would be skinny if I could but my metabolism is slow,” or “I have a fat gene.”  Granted, bone structure and metabolism certainly have a lot to do with genetics.  Chances are if both your parents are tall and broad shouldered, you will be tall and broad shouldered.  But a fat gene?  No no.

I don’t have a fat gene.  The term “fat gene” isn’t even a scientifically proven thing.  My father’s side of the family is tall and big-boned.  My mother’s side is Colombian and stereotypically short and thin, albeit that curvy type of thin Sofia Vergara and Shakira have going on. I have a cousin with a body just like Shakira’s and for the majority of my adolescence I wanted to pull one of those “Freaky Friday” switches, only instead of turning into my mother like Lindsay Lohan (pre-psychotic-break) did, I would turn into my cousin.  Point is, I have my dad’s side’s height and bones and my mom’s side’s curves.  But if genes were solely responsible for my body, I wouldn’t be pudgy; I’d simply be tall and curvaceous.  Not skinny but not big.  But they aren’t solely responsible for my body.

Like I said, I love food.

It’s funny that people are ashamed of saying that – sometimes because they don’t want to admit that they’re heavy because of their own doing, due to the fact that we are conditioned to think being heavy is wrong, and sometimes perhaps because over-eating is considered a sin (i.e. gluttony).  We’re told it’s immoral; we’re told to think of the thousands, if not millions, of suffering, starving human beings out there.  But I find that an utter contradiction: “people are starving, so instead of enjoying the food we are lucky to have, let’s turn our noses up and crash diet; let’s be totally ungrateful for what we have because other’s don’t have it; let’s throw out enough food on a daily basis to probably feed an entire African country," and I am sure if you add up the amount of food American households and businesses alone dispose of unnecessarily, that’d solve a chunk, no pun intended, of the world’s famine.  Does any of that make sense to you – because to me, it’s repulsive?

If you want to help the world’s impoverished, famine-stricken men, women and children, the way to do it is not by starving yourself.  It’s not by throwing out food.  By all means, donate, give, join a charity.  But don’t be ungrateful for what you have – and the truth as I see it is that disposing of perfectly good food or refusing to eat or being pretentious about what you do eat is churlish.

I was brought up in a Catholic household, and we had to memorize the seven deadly sins at CCD, or Sunday school.  There were many things wrong with CCD.  For instance, I remember being told that all Jews were destined to hell, and when a classmate pointed out that Jesus was Jewish, the instructor threw the kid out of the class.  I remember the day we learned the seven deadly sins, and I asked that same instructor whether she ever over-ate.  She said no.  I then asked, “What about on Thanksgiving or Christmas?” because what person with the means or a big family really doesn’t over-eat on those holidays?  She also threw me out of the class, which made me think she probably did over-eat on Thanksgiving and Christmas but wouldn’t admit it because obviously eating too much is a big terrible awful.

I met a girl this past weekend though that gave me hope.  She was plus-size and if you asked a doctor or tested her BMI, she’d probably be on the obese to morbidly obese spectrum.  And she was one of the most confident, beautiful and lovely people I’ve ever met.  She proudly said she loved food; she proudly admitted that in actuality she does over-eat; she proudly demonstrated love for herself and her body.  Like I said, she gave me hope.  We had this conversation about over-eating, about the hypocrisy of not eating when so many out there can’t.  She understood.  She’s one of the few people I’ve met who has understood.  So to her I say thanks, and that I hope someday more people will open their eyes to these truths that she is lucky enough to see.

P.S. The photo featured here is of Nancy Upton.  You may remember her as the clever plus-size gal who entered American Apparel’s plus-size model search back in 2011 to make ironic commentary.  AA’s search, which called for “full-sized fannies” and “bootyful models” was highly sexist and derogatory, so Nancy entered photos of herself chowing down high-calorie foods, with the headline, “I’m a size 12.  I just can’t stop eating.”  She actually won the contest, but the retailer stripped her of first place.  Her photos were meant to protest this idea that all fat women are piggish over-eaters.  And she was right.  I fully recognize that not all women of my size or larger are big because they over-eat.  However, my messages from above stand.  Loving food, letting yourself enjoy food, should be givens when so many people can’t.

But to see more of Nancy’s photos, which I do think are aesthetically amazing and bad ass, click here.

10 June 2013

NERD, Exhibit A

I am a nerd, and proud of it.  I love sci-fi.  I'm a Trekkie (and delighted to say I will be receiving a custom made, 60's inspired Star Trek dress from Polka Dot Polly).  My recent immersion into the world of Doctor Who is a blessing.  I spend more time reading than socializing and wouldn't have it any different.  So you see.

Thus, because I am into fantasy fiction and comics and outer space and superheros, the fact that galaxy prints are exploding all over the e-commerce world has left me positively exuberant. ModCloth's Rebel Without a Cosmos leggings have become a staple of my life.  Gabifresh's galaxy fatkini and t-shirt are a staple of my life.  And my adorable ASOS skater skirt in galaxy is a staple of my life.  So you see.

Don't be fooled by my numerous attempts at appearing otherwise from time to time.  Glamor is not an inherent part of my persona.  And elegance is difficult when my balance lies at subzero levels.  I am a nerd, and proud of it.

Of course, this doesn't mean I don't cave every time I find a pair of retro heels at ModCloth.
Marie Southard Marie Southard Marie SouthardGet the look:


90's Crop Top, $11.88, ASOS

Happenin' Home Heel in Blue, $72.99, ModCloth

06 June 2013

What's This Elephant Business?

When the weather turns warm after all those months of north-eastern chills, nothing feels better than slapping on that first tank of the season and pairing it with a light denim skirt and some cute, cushioned sandals.  Or at least I think so anyway.  I'm all about comfort in the summer -- wearing things that my body can breathe in, that I'm not constricted and confined in (like one would be in a bodycon dress more appropriate for the autumn or winter), and that look adorable on top of all that.

I think this elephant mosaic tank is probably one of my favorite articles of clothing I've ever owned.  Though this can mainly be attributed to my obsession with elephants (I blame my mother) it's also the artsy trippiness of the pattern and the lightweight feel of the material, perfect for the 90+ degree weather.  And the skirt, well, it's not the most curve-showing piece of clothing I've ever worn, but there's something sort of 90's grunge meets 60's hippy about it that I really love, and that I think has enlightened me to the amazing combination of two epic decades of fashion and culture that I will undoubtedly look for in future ensembles.
Marie Southard Marie Southard Marie SouthardGet the look:


Mosaic Elephant Tank (only left in black), $12.80, Forever21

Bare Traps sandals, $39.99, Famous Footwear

Necklace (similar), $29.90, Zara

Sunglasses (similar), $17.99, Kohl's

03 June 2013

Etsy Enamorment

My name is Marie and I am an Etsy slut.

It's a problem.  I have an obsession.  Every time I type in that URL my heart starts racing.  Like an addict, I tell myself that this time will be different.  That this time I will not purchase that antique steampunk pocket watch or handmade 1920s wedding crown (for a future wedding that I'm not even sure will ever be reality outside of my head).  I promise myself that I won't buy the velvet vintage gown or the hemp hangers that I know will be the perfect addition to my wardrobe.  Every time I fail, I cave, I give in to the DYO gurus selling their crafts and clothes and clay concoctions.

When I found the shop MellySueMade, I knew I was a goner.  The upcycled dresses and tunics caught my eye and I simply had to click the add to cart button.  Unlike most of my Etsy purchases, this one did not come with the pangs of guilt caused by my overindulgence.  This purchase was perfect.  Like all the shop's apparel, the dress fits about a 1-2XL.  I'm in love.

This dress also inspired me to introduce Cookie, my Yorkshire terrier who has been with me since I was six years old.  At almost 17, he's an old fellow, and a loyal one.  He doesn't notice my ever-fluctuating weight.  He doesn't care if I'm a size 8 or 18.  He may be yappy and a tiny nuisance every so often, but he's my friend.  And he complements this patchwork dress very nicely if you ask me.

Marie Southard Marie Southard Marie Southard Marie Southard Marie Southard Marie Southard
For a similar look:

Dress, MellySueMade on Etsy, about $40-60

Heels, ModCloth $179.99

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