Month: January 2012

A Word About Fit

a word about fit

After this excellent guest post by veteran recruiter Natasha Thomas of Archetype Style, I received a few inquiries about how this guidance can and should be applied by the full-figured job applicant. Sure, you have to wear a suit (or do you? ;)), but are there any other guidelines to follow?

As not only someone who wear plus-size suits in my professional life, but also as someone who has been across-the-table as the interviewer of curvy gals in business attire, THE most important thing you can do is wear something that fits properly. If I'm trying to find out about your experience and credentials, I don't want to be distracted by the bits of flesh bulging out of your shirt. (I don't think you want that either!)

Also, you definitely don't want to get caught wearing something that you will be tugging at every time you move. (So yeah, no short skirts or peek-a-boo tops.)

I am sure there are other pieces of advice - wear dark, conservative colors; dress one step - not two - above the dress code of your prospective place of employment - but honestly, anything I could say is trumped by two simple words: PROPER FIT.

Dear readers, what are your thoughts on this topic?

My Blog Is On Fire!

Blog on Fire Award[caption id="attachment_2421" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Blog on Fire Award"][/caption] Wow. I'm really part of the blogosphere now as I've been awarded/tagged with the Blog on Fire Award by May over at I Choose the Sun. Woot! The duties that come with the award, and I do choose to accept them, are: 1.You must post 11 random things about yourself. 2.Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post. 3.Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer. 4.Go to their blog and tell them that you've tagged them. Wow. This is kind of a lot. Let's see how we do . . . . Random Things About Me. . . 1. I am a leftie. 2. I am a cat person. (Although I could probably tolerate a small dog.) 3. I am obsessed with reality television. 4. I have three favorite colors - purple, pink and turquoise. (Yep, turquoise - I get that specific with it.) 5. Growing up, I wanted to be a singer and actress on Broadway. I became a lawyer instead. 6. I played piano for 15 years while growing up but don't play at all anymore. 7. I will eat almost any combination of chocolate and peanut butter. 8. I competed in pageants as a kid. (I think this has something to do with why I love Toddlers & Tiaras so much.) 9. I don't like alcohol. It tastes gross to me. 10. I didn't learn how to drive until I was 26. 11. Someday, I would like to adopt a child. Questions to Answer . . . 1.What is your dream job? Hmmm...I'm actually already doing my dream job. But my "fantasy" job? A plus-size fashion stylist, wardrobe consultant, and designer. 2.Why do you blog? I felt like there was a real void in the world of plus-size blogging . . . plus I have, as my friends have described it, an "encyclopedic knowledge" of beauty, fashion, and style :)  3.Are you most like Pooh, Tigger or Piglet? Where is Eeyore? That would probably be the most accurate - lol! 4.What would you tell your 18 yo self? Live a little. You have the rest of your life to be serious. 5.What vacation destination are you most looking forward to? The Motherland. Someday I *will* go to Africa! 6.How often do you wear make-up? Five to seven days per week. 7.At what time of the day were you born? Morning? Afternoon? Don't remember - but it was daylight outside (or so I was told). 8.Do you commute to work? If so, do you carpool, drive, walk or use transit? Some days I drive, some days I metro. 9.Would you rather be hot or cold? Cold - at least you can put on a sweater and drink something warm! 10.How do you feel about being “tagged”? I am so humbled and thrilled. Thanks for including me! Bloggers I Award/Tag . . . Capital Style Chic and Curvy The Cupcake Critic Happy Black Woman Heart, Print & Style Jazz Virtuosa No Guilt Fashion SoExtraDC Stylish Curves Travelinga Trips Questions for Them to Answer . . . 1. Name a dessert you don't like. 2. How far back can you remember? Age 5? Age 3? 3. What is your favorite city in the world? 4. Do you feel like the best is yet to come? 5. Be honest: An eye for an eye or turn the other cheek? 6. How many brothers and/or sisters do you have? 7. What is your favorite blog post you've done so far? 8. What are you most looking forward to in 2012? 9. You have an unexpected hour of free time. What do you do? 10. What is your favorite place to shop? 11. Do you like to cook?

Real-Life Curvy CEO! Jade Greer of K Staton Boutique

Jade Usher of K Staton Boutique

A few weeks ago, I was searching for plus-size boutiques in the area and stumbled upon a wonderful establishment called K Staton Boutique in Baltimore, MD. I was hesitant to drive all the way to Baltimore just to go shopping until I noticed that the shop was hosting a workshop called "Fit 101" - that was enough to convince me to fill up my gas tank and make the drive down to the Charm City. I'm so glad I did - not only did I pick up this amazing blazer but I also had the privilege of meeting boutique owner, Jade Greer. Jade was kind enough to take out some time for an interview . . . check it out!

When and why did you launch K Staton Boutique?

K Staton Boutique was first a vision and desire of mine in December 2007 but I did not actually open the doors until August 2009. During the 18 months in between, I planned, researched the plus size industry, took business classes, and asked lots of questions of other business owners!

I opened K Staton Boutique for a few reasons. First, it was because I was and still am a "kurvy" girl and I loved fashion but could never go in a trendy, urban area where boutiques were and find clothing to fit ME! I could always get amazing jewelry, handbags, or shoes but never clothing! Second, there was no place for me to be celebrated as far as fashion goes. I love to see “kurvy” girls express themselves in different ways with their clothing and we just did not have that place representing us. Lastly, I was not always happy or should I say confident in my body (all size 18/20 of it) and I knew there were women that feel that same way about themselves. I wanted to create a place of encouragement, style, and comfort for the "kurvy" women to love who they are!

What has been your biggest surprise as an entrepreneur?

I would have to say that the biggest surprise of being an entrepreneur is the fact that I am an entrepreneur! If you would have told me four years ago that I would have my own business, I would have given you the "You must be crazy" look. I have come to understand that life can take a turn in a blink of an eye and you could totally be doing something different than you expected. Well, not too much different because I always wanted to work in downtown Baltimore and be the CEO of a company. I wanted to wear my business suits and have a corner office. When dreaming that I just didn't know that it would be my own company!

[pullquote]Be sure to stop by K Staton Boutique for its Winter Wonderland Clearance Sale, happening now through January 29! Major discounts offered on Fall/Winter clothing to make way for the Spring/Summer apparel![/pullquote] When I came to “Fit 101” I didn’t realize that it was part of your First Friday Series. (Sidebar: K Staton hosts events the First Friday of every month.) Tell me more about these events and what people can expect.

First Fridays are really fun! K Staton Boutique has kind of made First Fridays a girls’ night out! We stay open late until about 9pm, offer sweet treats and champagne, and best of all there is a sale on the ENTIRE boutique! It changes from month to month but it is generally 20% OFF the ENTIRE Boutique. So ladies will come with some girlfriends or meet up at the boutique to shop, laugh, try on things, sip a glass of bubbly, and have a good relaxing time! Some First Fridays might be geared to a specific topic like make-up, plus-size belly dancing, or even hair!

[caption id="attachment_2397" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Jade Greer of K Staton Boutique"][/caption] What advice do you have for plus-size ladies looking to maximize their style?

Wow, I could go all day with this one but I would say the best way to maximize your style is to know who you are and what works for your body type and shape. This way you will avoid buying and trashing pieces that you should have never bought in the first place. I think that so many women get caught up in what this person is wearing and what that person had on and not truly being honest with themselves. Not everything is for every "body". Also, women need to keep in mind that in the case of Quality vs. Quantity, Quality should win every time. I do believe in a great bargain, but I tell my girls that your staple/classic pieces like blazers, jackets, denim, little black dresses, or a great winter coat should be quality pieces! They will last you from season to season and still look just as good! By doing this you maximize your wardrobe and wallet because you will not have to keep buying the same pieces for your closet over and over again.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Thank you so much for taking the time out and sharing K Staton Boutique with your readers! We love what we do. This is about so much more than just selling clothes for us. We want women to love who they are and know that if there is something that you are not happy with YOU have the power to change it! But in the meantime, between-time we are here to offer the best in sophisticated clothing for the "kurvy" woman, size 12 and up! We know and understand that you do not have to compromise STYLE for SIZE!!!!

  Be on the lookout for information for a Twitter chat with Jade in the near future!

My Journey to “Going Natural”

For years, I never understood why an African-American woman would want to wear her hair "natural." That is, without any chemicals to permanently straighten the hair.

I never understood why an African-American woman would want to wear her hair in a way that might cause others to question her professionalism or even cost her a relationship. (Yes, for some shallow, small-minded men, it is THAT serious).

[pullquote]If you are reading this post and have NO idea what I'm talking about, I highly recommend you read this article from TheRoot.com. You should also check out Chris Rock's hilarious documentary Good Hair, which, while not an academic study, definitely gives you a stark view into hair politics in African-American communities.[/pullquote] In fact, I'm embarassed to say that I've said or thought A LOT of what is contained in this video. *hangs head in shame* But, somehow, over the course of the last year, I began to understand.

I think this new enlightenment resulted in part due to my discovery that I had developed traction alopecia. There's nothing like having your hair dresser point out your "bald spot" to make you rethink your hair styling choices.

Also, I just generally began to grow tired of trying . . . everyday . . . to get my hair to lay a certain way or achieve a certain look. And in my attempts to try and look like this . . .

[caption id="attachment_2176" align="aligncenter" width="189" caption="Source: essence.com"][/caption] . . . I was only increasing my risk of ending up like this . . . [caption id="attachment_2177" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Source: fashionbombdaily.com"][/caption] Yeah. So, on December 31, 2011, I made the decision to cut my hair!!!

I would be lying if I didn't admit that I was concerned about how my colleagues would react to my hair. (In fact, one of the first questions my mom asked me when I told her I cut my hair was, "What about your job???" Um, I just cut my hair. It's not like I got a rapper's name tattoed across my forehead. That would be wrong.) But, I have been pleasantly surprised to receive nothing but positive feedback from my co-workers.[pullquote]While the issue of straight or curly hair takes on a much different dimension when viewed through a racial lens, it is worth nothing that the question of curly hair in a professional environment has been an issue for non-African-American women as well. I mean, who can forget when Rep. Alan West (R-FL) criticized DNC Chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), and, somehow, her curly hair got tangled up in the debate. Thankfully, she came out on top, emerging as a “hair hero” for all of the curly-haired girls of the world.[/pullquote]  It actually reminded me of what Chris-Tia Donaldson wrote about in Thank God I'm Natural--The Ultimate Guide to Caring for and Maintaining Natural Hair. Once she let go of the wigs and went natural, her legal career actually accelerated in part because she abandoned the self-conciousness of trying to conform to what she thought others wanted her to be. Ultimately, though, I agree with Melissa W. who said, as part of the Naturally Professional Series by CurlyNikki.com and Afrobella.com: "I think people do not really care what we look like as long as we are producing quality results . . . . Regardless if you are in twists, locks, braids, braid-outs, twists outs, keep it neat and make sure you stay within the confines of your company’s corporate policies."

At any rate, now that I've done the BC (or "big chop" for those not in the know), I feel absolutely liberated and free! Not that I was so "oppressed" but more like I'm free to discover and appreciate what my natural, unchemically-treated hair can do. More importantly, I've stopped trying to make my hair do something it wasn't created to do. By the way, I'm not one of those "born-again naturals" who decide to throw shade at every relaxed head she sees. Quite the contrary, I'm with Solange Knowles - it's all about finding what works for you and your lifestyle. Ultimately, "good hair" is healthy hair. And in the hands of the right beautician, relaxed hair can be quite healthy. I am just excited about no longer limiting my activities so as not to "mess up" my hair. (So, I will basically have to find a new excuse not to work out.)

Who knows? Maybe I'm just succombing to the latest fad in black hair styling. At any rate, these days I'm more like this, this and this. [caption id="attachment_2225" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Me after the Big Chop"][/caption] Cue the India.Arie . . . .

Do You Worry About Being a Stereotype?

mammy Do you ever worry about being viewed as a stereotype? Maybe you worry about being the lonely fat girl in the corner or the mean fat girl who bullies other people to keep them from bullying her. For me, it's the mammy figure. And, if you think about it, I have good reason to worry. I'm black. I'm fat. I'm religious. Did I mention I like to sing? Also, I'm generally a nice, sweet, helpful person. Truth be told, there have been situations where others have tried to take advantage of this . . . mostly trying to get me to put in all the work so that they can take all of the credit. I guess they figure that I'd be glad just to be included. Naw, son. That's why I always do my best to try and come correct. Because you have to remember, while Hattie McDaniels was made to wear a headwrap and a smile, off-camera she was quite the diva. All of this was the inspiration behind my guest post over at No Guilt Fashion answering the question, Why I Wear Clothes. Enjoy!

Today is the Day! QFD Debuts in Lane Bryant!

Source: http://insidecurve.lanebryant.com[caption id="attachment_2161" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="Source: http://insidecurve.lanebryant.com"][/caption]

'Memba back in November when I interviewed Qristyl Frazier of Qristyl Frazier Designs? Well, her collection debuts TODAY in Lane Bryant stores across the nation! Her collection will also be available on lanebryant.com.

I don't know about you, but I am going to scoop up that red kimono top first thing! Looks like she has some great suiting options, too!

Congrats to Qristyl!!! Please go support our girl at your local Lane Bryant today!

P.S. - You can check out another great interview with Qristyl in the latest issue of Skorch Magazine!

Reminder – Curvy CEO Twitter Chat Tonight at 8pm EST!

curvy_ceo twitter screen capture Don't forget! Tonight we are hosting our first Curvy CEO Twitter Chat at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern) and our guest will be Anne Kelly, Founder and Chair of Junonia, an affiliate of Curvy CEO.  

Come with your questions and comments from everything about fashion to business to reality tv! Join us at www.twitter.com/curvy_ceo and use the hashtag #curvy_ceo (don't forget the underscore!) . . . look forward to tweeting with all of you tonight!

Monday Morning Memo – All They Did Was Change My Look

monday morning memo "I got rid of my glasses and they changed my hair. That's really all they did. They went shopping for me, so the clothes are different too. It wasn't like Extreme Makeover where I got a nose job or anything." - Clay Aiken Well, lovelies, the new and improved Curvy CEO is up and running! What do you think? I love it!

Announcing the 1st Curvy Clothing Swap – February 18 in Bethesda, MD!

[caption id="attachment_2355" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="My closet"][/caption]   Remember when I told you to mark February 18 on your calendar? Well, here's the deal. I was sorting through my closet to make way for all of the new goodies I picked up during the holiday season. While doing this, I came across a number of items that, while decent, just weren't my cup of tea anymore. In fact, some I'd never even wore! (We're talking tags still on the clothes, ladies.) At the same time, another curvy friend said to me, "Hey, why don't we do a plus-size clothing swap?" Ding-ding-ding-ding-ding! Little bells and whistles went off in my head. With the gracious support of my friends over at branding and marketing company Sisarina, I am pleased to announce the first-ever (at least first-ever hosted by me) Curvy Clothing Swap on Saturday, February 18!

*fanfare*

Here's the deal: You bring at least five items to swap. They can be articles of clothing, accessories, handbags, etc. (Just no undergarments, bathing suits or other things that you wouldn't want to wear if someone else had already worn it first.) The items should be in good, ready-to-wear shape - no stains, rips or tears. Ideally, these would be items you would re-gift to your hippie, eco- yet fashion-concious plus-size friend.  Earthy or not, I'm sure she wouldn't wear something with pit stains.

For each item you bring, you will receive a raffle ticket for some small prizes. Anything that isn't swapped will be donated to Goodwill of Greater Washington.

The event is taking place at the beautiful loft-style offices of Sisarina, located at 4925 St. Elmo Avenue in Bethesda, Md - just a few short blocks from the Bethesda Metro Station (redline), one metro stop outside of DC.

Admission is free, but please register at eventbrite so we can plan accordingly.

I'll be bugging you lots You'll be seeing several reminders about this event between now and the 18th - hope you can make it!  Here's a flyer to share with your friends and neighbors!