Archive for April, 2009

Q&A: How to Build a Plus Size Professional Wardrobe on a Budget

Q: I’m trying to start dressing more fashionably and put together, but I am still a poor, broke, college student. I’m finishing my teaching degree and I would like to look professional all of the time. In addition to being broke, I am also plus sized.

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Pictured (clockwise from left): Black Tie-Front Short Sleeved Jacket | $54 at Torrid, Stretch Poplin Button Down Blouse | $68 at Kiyonna, Classic Rise Wide Leg Trousers | $29.50 at Old Navy.

A: In order to build a professional wardrobe on a budget, we recommend investing in versatile, structured pieces that can seamlessly mix and match.  Structured pieces will help you look professional, while also flattering your figure.  Plus, your existing college-appropriate wardrobe will be instantly elevated when paired with these professional pieces.

Because fit is so key with these pieces - your tailored pants, blazers, and button-down shirts - it’s okay to stretch your budget in order to get the Right pieces.  After all, you’ll get so much wear out of them that the cost per wear will be manageable.  With a tight budget, take your time to find and purchase the right pieces.  You don’t need to buy all of them at once, and being picky will help you understand what brands and styles fit and flatter you best.  Plus, waiting to buy also helps you take advantage of sales and coupons that will reduce the price further.  Here’s three specific pieces to look for:

The Perfect Button Down Shirt in a stretch cotton poplin style.  A straight, body skimming cut with vertical seams will flatter your figure best.  You’ll be able to wear this shirt by itself - or unbutton it to midchest and layer a camisole or tank underneath.

The Classic with a Twist Blazer, which will pair with tailored pants, jeans, and skirts.  Pick a youthful take on this classic - try details like half sleeves,

Flat Front Pants
with a medium to medium-high waistline.  The higher the waistline, the longer your legs will look (and the taller you will appear). Pants with a slight flare at the leg will help visually balance your figure.

Have a great tip about how to build a professional plus-size wardrobe on a budget? Share it with us in the comments!

6 comments April 9th, 2009

Short Cut Out Rose Necklace

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The best way to add a bit of spice to a plain dress (or blouse) is a statement necklace. Here’s one that somehow manages to be elegantly delicate and attention-grabbing, all at once.

$6.25  (sale) at ASOS.

1 comment April 9th, 2009

Mens Spring Summer Fashion Formula #2: Pull an Outfit Together with a Dominant Color

Mens Spring Summer Fashion Formula #3: Pull an Outfit Together with a Dominant Color
Feeling the love for this set?  Here’s more information about it.


One of the secrets of looking pulled together is to sport an outfit with a dominant theme.  This theme can be anything from a color or pattern to an era in time.  Here, we’ve constructed a breezily sophisticated menswear outfit, sewn together with blue as a dominant color and brown as the secondary accent color.

1.  Start with a pair of dark rinse blue jeans and a blue button-down shirt.  The gingham print on the blue shirt adds a bit of visual texture without being overly distracting.
2.  Toss on a light blue pullover sweater.  Note how the light blue color contrasts nicely with the dark blue jeans - and is visually distinct from the gingham blue shirt.  The three blues work in harmony with one another.
3.  Finish off the look by adding shades of brown - in the form of a khaki trench and a rich brown oxford shoe.  Brown provides a rich counterpoint to the cool blues and rounds out the outfit visually.

Guys, what’s your favorite color to build a look around?  Share your style with us in the comments!

2 comments April 8th, 2009

Long Sleeve Pleated Crewneck Sweater

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Spruce up your work wardrobe with bright colors on versatile shapes. don’t you love this lovely turquoise color?

$34.99  (sale) at Banana Republic.

Add comment April 8th, 2009

Spring Summer Fashion Formula #3: Accessorize with Vintage Inspired Details

Spring Summer Fashion Formula #3: Accessorize with Vintage Inspired Details
Feeling the love for this set?  Here’s more information about it.


Vintage inspired details - such as a feathered hair comb or a bow-adorned pair of booties - can really set the mood of an outfit.  Case in point: we built a sophisticated, feminine look on the base of a somewhat masculine structured foundation of clothes.  Here’s how to get the vintage-inspired look:

1. Start with a set of structured basics: a white button-down shirt and a pair of tailored trousers.
2. Add a well-cut jacket over the button-down shirt.  Note the half sleeves on the black and white checkered jacket - and how the three pieces work together to create a look that’s at once easy and buttoned-up.
3. Give the look a feminine touch with a hair comb adorned with feathers and netting - and a pretty pair of boots featuring tailored bows.

How would you incorporate vintage-inspired details into an outfit?  Share your style with us in the comments!

1 comment April 7th, 2009

Silk Habotai Placket Polo

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We’re digging the touch of silk–and the extra-long placket–on this classic polo shirt.

$24.50  (sale) at J Crew.

Add comment April 7th, 2009

You Said: Yes to Purple

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secret-wash-button-down-gingham_040509We asked: Would you wear Purple?

You said:  Yes to Purple (overwhelmingly so!), with a 90% to 10% vote.

Style tip? One of our favorite color combinations is a rich royal purple paired with a light grey.  It’s absolutely beautiful, and it works as well for guys as it does for women.  If you want to take it one step further, try pattern with purple.  A simple stripe or gingham (as pictured) really adds an extra zing.

Next question: White denim is perfectly Springlike - but difficult to wear, both for figure flattery and for keeping it clean!  But what do you think?  Would you wear White Denim?  Cast your vote on the sidebar!

Pictured: Secret Wash Button Down Gingham Shirt | $59.50 at J Crew

4 comments April 6th, 2009

Melie Bianco Piping Chain Satchel

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Between the rich brown faux leather, the contrast color piping, and the gold chain hardware, this bag gives you hundreds of dollars of style for a fraction of the price.

$84  at Piperlime.

1 comment April 6th, 2009

Spring Summer Fashion Formula #2: Bridge Winter and Spring with Layers

Spring Summer Fashion Formula #2
Feeling the love for this set?  Here’s more information about it.


How do you dress when the mornings are cool and wintrish, but afternoons feel like Spring?  We have the answer: layering, layering, layering.  Here’s a lightly layered outfit that’s just a bit coquettish:

1.  Start with a floaty dress, layered over a pair of jeans for warmth.
2.  Layer on a cardigan sweater.  If you want to mix things up, you can try a patterned sweater - or a sweater in a bright color.  And for really cool mornings, try a thicker, chunkier knit and/or toss on a jacket.
3.  Accessorize with a rich handbag, a brightly colored hat, and a pair of bow-adorned flats.  We love how the yellow hat makes the outfit instantly playful - and how the rich royal blue of the shoes really pops against the yellow.

How do you dress for weather that’s half Winter and half Spring?  Share your style with us in the comments!

6 comments April 3rd, 2009

Unisa Catherine Sandal

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How can you pull off casual and glamourous, all at once? Slip on Unisa’s Catherine sandal.

$59  at Piperlime.

Add comment April 3rd, 2009

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