29 September 2013

The Tartan Check

Plus Size Model

Can I just say YIPPEE?! Tartan check is trending. I've been waiting for this since 1999. I still remember wearing my babydoll, red and green checkered dungarees every day from age 8 to 10. Well, maybe that's an exaggeration, but the point is, I wore them a lot.

Now, I know "plus-size do's and don'ts" flip flop between telling us that semi-baggy swing dresses are either a do because they essentially hide our fat, or a don't because they don't highlight our figures in the least. But because I never subscribe to these hideous rules, my "do" is ALWAYS as follows: wear what you what, when you want, how you want. I know this ASOS swing dress doesn't necessarily frame my curves. Some would say wearing it without a waist belt is blasphemous. But I love it just as is. I love tartan, it's super comfy, and hey, if I look chunkier, I couldn't care less. Though it's technically not in the Curve department, I normally wear a size 16, but am wearing a 14 here, and I think it could fit an 18/20 nicely as it was pretty loose on me.

As for these shoes, I just couldn't resist. Hologram also seems to be in these days. I'm not sure whether that's because dub step and raving are becoming things again, or whether it's because we all secretly seem to miss the 80s (or long to have experienced them if we weren't yet born), but I love these "mix tape", buckle flats, and kind of feel like Michael Jackson wearing them. So all is well.

Because I am me, I also had to add in a dash of polka dots, in this case, in tight form. Always a fan of pattern mixing, the quintessentially banished combo of checks and dots needed to happen.

Plus Size Model
Plus Size Model

Plus Size Model

Plus Size Model

Get the look:

Skater Dress in Plaid, ASOS, $37

Mix Tape Monk Shoes, ASOS, $76

Sheer Polka Dot Tights, Lane Bryant, $19

Addition Elle's "Great Genes" Model Contest

Courtesy of gabifresh.com
Courtesy of gabifresh.com
 I'm calling on you beautiful people for help once again. As I'm sure most of you who love plus-size fashion and acceptance have heard, Addition Elle is holding a "Great Genes" Model Contest. I LOVE Addition Elle for constantly featuring and collaborating with real women -- for showing the beauty in the big, as I always like to say.

It would be phenomenal to have the opportunity to work with this brand. If I were to win, the prizes include a shopping spree, a photo shoot for the Summer 2014 lookbook and even a chance to sign with JAG. Voting begins on October 10th, so please visit Addition Elle's Facebook app dedicated to the contest, click on "view candidates," type in "Marie Southard" and vote away: three easy steps and you'll be helping me a ton. And if you know anyone who you think would vote, please share, share, share!

For more on how epic this contest is, check out the video below, in which the brand collaborated with Gabifresh, Karyn Johnson and Nadia Aboulhosen. Looky looky, epic epic:


23 September 2013

WTF Jillian Michaels

Courtesy of XOJane
 Courtesy of XOJane

About an hour ago, Executive Editor of XO Jane Emily McComb posted the story "I Worked Out With Jillian Michaels And She Made Me Feel Bad About My Body." At first I wasn't remotely surprised. I mean, in what world would the celebrity fitness trainer known for her role in Biggest Loser, a show founded on intimidation and aggression, not make any normal person feel bad about their bodies? Essentially, it is Jillian Michaels' job to make other people feel like crap.

But I read on, and the piece was about way more than Michaels' prototypical fat bashing. Like SO many people in the world, Michaels was bullied as a kid for being big. So she lost the weight and now gets paid to bully others for being big. Ironic? I think so. But I knew this about her. All it takes is to watch Biggest Loser for 60 seconds while she is on, and you know right away that this woman is close-minded and a deeply rooted enemy of the size acceptance movement. But like I said, I knew this.

What I didn't know is that not only is Jillian Michaels a standard bully, she's actually intrinsically, painfully, naive. At a round-table interview, conducted before the fitness class that Emily McComb would be attending, she asked Jillian the following:

"A lot of our readers are really into size acceptance and Health at Every Size. Your brand is so aligned with weight loss, I just wonder how you feel about exercise for fitness vs. exercise for weight loss."

Check out Michaels' response:



There are some pretty low points surrounding this whole answer. She doesn't even have the ability to comprehend the question, for starters. You'd think a fitness professional would be able to understand the difference between being healthy and losing weight. But then again, she is in the majority of health "professionals" who look at a larger person and assume they are unhealthy because of their size alone. She goes on to presume that she has never met a fat, healthy person. But to me, the worst part of this whole rant is:

"I don't believe that even though you might be 100 pounds overweight, you're going, 'Oh I'm good the way that I am.' BULLSHIT. I don't believe that you don't wake up in the morning and feel uncomfortable in your skin. I don't believe that you don't feel insecure when you pick your kid up from school. I don't believe that you don't feel uncomfortable when you're naked in front of your husband or your wife for that matter. I don't believe you."

So I say, what the actual f**k Jillian Michaels? Perhaps the reason you don't believe that a human being can be fat and happy, fat and self-loving, fat and sexual, is because you work for a show that revolves around purely unhappy people wanting to change their bodies. And those people happen to be fat (though I bet if you polled a few dozen thin people and asked them whether or not they were happy, many would say NO -- causes for unhappiness are not limited to being big, after all). Perhaps it's because when you were overweight, you wanted to change your body. But how can you presume to know what every overweight man or woman in the world feels or thinks? And how could you be so naive as to assume that any fat person who is happy must be a liar?

I may not be 100 pounds overweight, but if you ask my doctor, he'll probably tell you I'm somewhere around 60-70 pounds overweight. And even though I may not be 100 pounds overweight, I certainly know people who are. I won't speak for others, like Jillian Michaels tries to do, but in terms of myself, I don't think I have ever been more confident, more comfortable in my skin, more comfortable being naked, than right now. This moment in time. I was far more insecure weighing 130 pounds at 5'10" and fitting into a size 4 than I am today at a size 16/18. I loathed myself at that lower weight. Today, Jillian Michaels, I love myself, and that is not a lie.

It is astounding to me that Michaels refuses to believe that confidence can coexist with fatness. Has she even heard of BBW modeling? Not plus-size modeling, per say, but BBW modeling. The massive community, based predominantly online, of men and women who love their big, beautiful bodies, and in some cases, gain weight because they want to -- because they feel more attractive at a higher weight -- because they feel healthier emotionally/mentally/and yes, physically, when they're fat (and on that note, have we forgotten that emotional and mental health is just as if not more important than fitness). Can she not believe that there are men and women attracted to fat -- either in themselves, or in a partner, or both? Is she not aware of the favoritism of fatness through history -- of the centuries and centuries of time in which the heavier you were, the more beautiful you were considered? Does she know nothing of fat pride and self-love? Well, guess not. I guess these days you can get away with this level of naivete even when you're in the public eye.

It frightens me to know that someone with this mindset is in a position to influence so many people. People look up to Jillian Michaels. People buy her DVDs and go to her classes and soak up the BS that comes out of her mouth. People believe what she says about health and weight and fitness because she is a "professional." But she isn't, really. A professional would base their information on facts, not on presumptions. A professional would know that fat people can be fit and active and happy and sexy and confident just as much as thin people. A professional would know that people are people, no matter their size -- that bullying is only a feeble attempt at feeling better about your own self, and wouldn't base a career around it. A professional, to me, keeps an open mind and is willing to accept that their mindset is not the mindset of the rest of the world. A professional would know that aesthetic preferences come down to the individual.

Jillian Michaels is one of many who believe that health is directly correlated to weight. She is one of the many who refuse to believe that a fat person can outrun a thin one. But I've seen it happen. Even in myself. Back when I did weigh in at 130 pounds, I couldn't be on an elliptical machine for more than 10 minutes. I couldn't run to save my life. Today, I can be on that elliptical for over an hour if I wanted. I know I can run to save my life because I played a city-wide zombie game in Liverpool and found out that if the zombie apocalypse does happen, I can in fact run my ass off. I know that I am beautiful and sexy and I happen to enjoy being naked. And I know I'm not alone in that.

A Lil Rock N' Roll

Plus Size ModelEvery so often, I get the urge to ditch my uber girly dresses and skirts and go for something edgier. I love experimenting with different styles and categories of clothing, and definitely don't believe that we should all be forced to fit into one fashion genre just because it's easier to classify. I'm not a lover of man-made boxes. Whenever anyone asks me how I would define my style, I revert to saying something like "vintage with a modern twist" but in actuality, it would be impossible to assign one label to everything in my wardrobe. Nor would I want to be one of those people who refuses to buy anything that doesn't come from one particular section of one particular shop. Meh pfft.

I really loved this outfit because it wasn't necessarily my "standard" go-to ensemble, but it was comfortable and different and had an ounce of bedazzle at the toes. H&M Jersey dresses are a wonderful thing. Though it's rare to find any actual plus-sizes, I find their mediums and larges to stretch quite substantially. The size I am wearing here is actually a medium, but it fits like a glove and provides that body-hugging, curve revealing quality that I adore. Yay fuller figures! I will warn you, though, that zippers on such dresses work just like any other zipper. I found this out back in high school when my dear friend decided to unzip a dress I was wearing thinking there would be fabric underneath (in front of my whole AP English class need I add). There wasn't fabric underneath.

As for this jacket, I got an amazing deal on it at Forever21 Plus earlier this summer. Unfortunately, it's sold out, but you can find something similar in blue here. I felt after putting on the dress and jacket that I needed something extra to lighten up the mood. So I went for these glitterified marble flats by Steve Madden. If you recall, I have a theory that having bedazzled socks (or shoes in this case) will provide some extra brightness and cheer if you're feeling a little murky.

This is my final shoot with Isaiah Johnson, photographer and fashion/lifestyle blogger. He tried so hard to get me to look angry and grungy, but alas, I couldn't be serious. Once again, thanks for taking the time to shoot me in NYC amidst a crazy fashion week frenzy!
Plus Size Model Plus Size Model Plus Size Model Plus Size ModelGet the look:

Zipper Jersey Dress, H&M, similar (this pattern is sold out), $18

Jacket, Forever21, another similar, $35

12 September 2013

Ka-Pow!

I must admit that the current geek chic trend is sweet and sour for me. On the one hand, I'm glad the fashion world is embracing Marvel, Star Wars, Star Trek and all things comic book-y because quite frankly I love all these things and have always felt they were somewhat mocked by most retailers. On the other hand, my skin crawls when I see all the bleached blonde, spray tanned teeny boppers of the world wearing tight-fitted, bold and capitalized NERD and GEEK tees because they find it ironic. Or worse...when someone who couldn't even tell you who Luke and Leia are wears a Star Wars sweater from Forever21. But alas, the latter needs to be overlooked because finally I can find fabulous nerd-wear on every corner. Even if it's only a temporary trend, which is probably, most likely is.

So, as you all know, I really enjoy mixing patterns and combining pieces of totally different fashion genres. In this case, I had a lot of fun introducing the more upscale Cache to H&M knits. I love a good pencil skirt's ability to really show off your curves and highlight a bigger gal's waist to hip ratio...mine, for one, is quite prominent. This particular skirt was a must -- it was just so me. As for Cache, I love splurging on their printed dresses or black and white pieces every once in a while. I hadn't found anything to combine this Spring 2013 top with until now, though. And my main accessory: the sparkly sock. I don't know, but something about looking down and seeing a little glitter on my feet always makes me smile even when I'm down. Lame...perhaps. But oh well.

Photos by photographer and fashion/lifestyle blogger, Isaiah Johnson.

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Get the Look:

Skirt, H&M, $13

Shirt, Cache, Spring 2013 Collection

Shoes, ASOS, $42

Glitter Socks, American Apparel, $9

Necklace, Forever21, $13

08 September 2013

A Weekend In ModCloth: Part 2

As promised yesterday, here is part two of my "Weekend in ModCloth." This "Spin There, Done That" dress honestly makes me want to play hop scotch or break out the hula hoop (not that I was every very good at either -- lack of coordination and balance and all that).

I've been getting very into checkered print (a side effect of my month in New Jersey no doubt) so I love this pattern. The side pockets are probably my favorite detail, though. They add just a bit of whimsy to an otherwise picnic-perfect dress. Other details include bows on each strap, a waist belt of the same pattern and chunky buttons -- you can never go wrong with chunky buttons. The only accessory I felt was necessary was this emerald green varsity jacket, courtesy of Forever21. Kinda feeling like Sandy Olsen right now -- pre leather hot pants.

My thanks once again to Isaiah Johnson, photographer and fashion/lifestyle blogger of A Collected Gentleman for shooting these and even getting a good Marilyn-esque shot!

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Get the Look:

Dress, ModCloth, $75

Jacket, Forever21 (only available in royal blue now), $15

Shoes, Thrifted

07 September 2013

A Weekend In ModCloth: Part 1

Y'all know I am a sucker for vintage dresses. As a kid, I would watch I Love Lucy hours on end, envying Lucille Ball's humor, hair, husband and dresses. But as an adult, finding authentic vintage clothing in anything over a size 10 is difficult. Honestly, if it weren't for women like Marilyn Monroe or Sofia Loren, I would probably think no one between 1940 to 1960 had boobs or butts.

When I discovered ModCloth my sophomore year of college, I thought I'd literally created an alternate reality within my head. I couldn't believe the variety of vintage they sold, AND IN MY SIZE! ModCloth's plus range usually reaches a 3X, but this summer they announced the expansion of their plus line, so maybe we'll see more soon. From the get-go, ModCloth has catered to women of all shapes and sizes, which is evident in their models as well as the clothes they sell, and that in and of itself is the best reason to shop with them.

This Floral Field Day Dress caught my eye in an instant. The light green color, the teeny tiny flower detail, the orange contrasts, the big buttons; it all yelled -- or screamed -- my name. Though I'm not the 1940's house wife prototype, per say, I find nothing wrong with dressing as though I were from time to time. And the beauty of this ensemble is that it can be dressed up, down or in between, for any kind of occasion or season.

My truest thanks to Isaiah Johnson, photographer and fashion/lifestyle blogger of A Collected Gentleman, for flying all the way from Indiana to NYC to shoot me. I had a blast! Be sure to check out his work, recently including two shoots for Gabifresh: "Shifty" and "Black and Blue."

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Get the look:

Dress, ModCloth, $90

Heels (similar), ASOS, on sale for $40

Bracelet set, Forever21

05 September 2013

We Are Young, Heartache To Heartache We Stand

I was feeling very 80s today. I don't know if it's because I watched 13 Going on 30 at 11pm and proceeded to dream of Pat Benetar and Michael Jackson all night (they were DJ-ing my wedding, which was sort of epic), or if it's simply because sunny days are running out and I wanted to have as much color on as possible before the chill sets in. Regardless, I had a lot of fun dressing myself.

This top, which I am absolutely in love with as it encompasses everything about the 80s I actually like (and there isn't much, really), is from Standout Vintage Store on Etsy.  They have a lot of authentic 80s apparel that's equally kitchy and brilliant, like this hot pink, button town top. And of course, what would the 80s have been without ripped denim on every corner? Literally. These shorts are custom made by DentzDenim, another Etsy shop that crafts its clothes catered to your measurements. Here you'll find no short supply of ripped, tattered denim for any body type.

The shop owner, Ms. Carolyn Dentz, was sweet enough to supply a 10% promo code for any purchase, so do take advantage of it! Just enter BIGBEAUTIFULBOLDXO at checkout :)

And to accessorize the ensemble, what better than hot pink wedges, hot pink earrings, hot pink lipstick...and a neon yellow belt?

80s Plus Size Fashion
Get the Look:


Shorts, Dentz Denim, $22

Belt, ASOS Curve, $13

Anne Klein Sport Wedges, Macys, on sale for $48

01 September 2013

Leopard&Nerd

As I said yesterday, I have fallen in love with leopard print (see leopard fatkini shoot). So this amazing Torrid blazer needed to happen. Blazers are something I generally have qualms with. They always feel far too businessy for the kind of work I do, let alone for wearing out on a normal day. But when leopard print enters the equation, all of a sudden it's a piece that can be worn casually, on a night out or in the office (for those rare moments I am in an office now-a-days).

Speaking of Torrid, though I've spent years hearing about how epic their denim is (and told personally by Marcy Guevara that she lives in Torrid denim and I should jump on the bandwagon), I've only just now experienced the real thing. As a lover of skirts and dresses, I very rarely find a pair of jeans or jeggings that I get that "I never want to take these off" feeling from. These denim pixie pants are literally the only jeans I have worn in years that I can see myself putting to good, constant use. They provide just enough stretch that I can remain comfy all day, but not so much that I think I should be wearing them on an elliptical. Soft, stretchy and stylish: three S win!

And because it's me, I had to add in the nerd. I LOVE Big Bang Theory. Firstly, I would be Mrs. Sheldon Cooper in a heart beat (sorry Paddy if you're reading this), and secondly, most of the science in the show is actually accurate. So thanks to Hot Topic for always being home to nerdwear :D

Marie Southard Plus Size Model Marie Southard Plus Size Model Marie Southard Plus Size Model Marie Southard Plus Size Model Marie Southard Plus Size Model Marie Southard Plus Size Model Marie Southard Plus Size Model Marie Southard Plus Size Model Marie Southard Plus Size Model
Shop the look:

Leopard Blazer, Torrid, $64.50

Dark Wash Pixie Pants, Torrid, $58.50

Big Bang Theory Tee, Hot Topic, on sale for $10

Out West Bib Necklace, Forever21, $10.80

Vintage Tomato Red Heel, similar on Etsy, $35 or if you have money to spend, Manolo's, Barneys, $645
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