Month: March 2012

Real-Life Curvy CEO: Tionna Smalls

Tionna Smalls in DC

Last month I had the pleasure of sitting down to interview relationship expert, author and entrepreneur Tionna Smalls, best known from Vh1's hit reality show What Chilli Wants. Ms. Smalls is, indeed, a BOSS and I was delighted to have the opportunity to chat with her about relationships, fashion and her latest business ventures. Be forewarned, Tionna keeps it 101%!

How did you become a relationship expert? I started out as a regular girl in Brooklyn. But after ending a six year relationship, I went back into the dating scene and I thought I knew everything there was to know about guys. But things had changed since I was younger. The guys were a HOT MESS! I said to myself, “You know what? There out to be a book about this!” So, I quit my job and became an advice columnist [on Gawker.com] and wrote the book Girl, Get Your Mind Right!: The Tell-It-Like-It-Is Advice Your Love Life Has Been Missing. I was everywhere and just making it happen!

How did you become an “authority” on relationships? People gave me the title of an authority. I took some sociology classes, but my relationship coaching just came naturally. I am a coach for women in general – whether their issues relate to dating, self-esteem or what have you. Right now I’m going back to school to become a therapist.

How did you develop your confidence? I get it from my family. There were four daughters in our family plus my mother. She was always very confident and my father was very confident. And actually, I wasn’t always chubby. The weight came as I got older. But I have more confidence now than when I was a toothpick growing up. It just happened to me. The day I started 9th grade I looked in the mirror and said, “Yo, I’m a bad b!tch” and ever since then my confidence has been through the roof.

So often in the dating arena women – plus-size or otherwise – are made to feel like they’re “lucky” to have a man.... That is some bullcrap. Men are lucky to have YOU! That is why I write these books. The confidence level of women is terrible!

How do men react to your books? Some hate it . . . and some let me know on the low, “Yeah, you right – we love abuse. I ain’t gonna lie.”

[caption id="attachment_3201" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Visit www.majestyscloset.com"][/caption]

So what can we expect from you next? TS: My sister and I are opening an online plus size boutique called Majesty’s Closet. We want to change the whole idea of plus size clothing. Why you can’t dress better than your size 4 friend? Why everything gotta look "plus size"? I want a skinny chick to walk up to our majestic divas and say, “Excuse me, where did you get that from?” Our motto is “We dress better than our size 4 friends.” People can take that any way they want. We’re going for fierce, fun, and fabulous. And it will be very affordable – but very fierce, because I dress fierce!

When will your shop open up? The website launch is March 31, 2012. It will be an online shop but we will have showrooms where women can come, try on and buy the clothes. Our first show room in the DC area will open up around June. We’re going to bring it to Charlotte and everyplace where our plus size divas are!

To close out our interview, what are your top three pieces of advice for women in business, love, and life? Well, in business, never be intimidated by anyone. Don’t ever feel you can’t achieve a certain success level because you’re not the right size. In dating, don’t feel like you have to settle. Weight doesn’t matter. It’s how you carry yourself. In terms of friendship, if anybody tries to act like they’re better than you because of your weight, you don’t need them in your life. Everybody’s beautiful – fat or skinny. If you a bad b!tch, you a bad b!tch.

Well, there you have it. I personally cannot wait to check out Majesty's Closet. If you don't already do so, be sure to follow Tionna (@TionnaSmalls) and Majesty's Closet (@MajestysCloset) on Twitter!

Plus-Size Shopping Across the Globe!

international plus-size shops
Today's guest Post comes from Jodi Lawler from Cafe La Moda, the UK-based social space for beauty and fashion! Given their international status, I thought they would be the perfect contributors to present . . . .

The Top 5 Plus-Sized Emporiums you don’t know about

So you’ve got the 411 on the US’ hottest plus-sized sartorial haunts - Lane Bryant? Torrid? Fashion Bug? Check, check and check! – but what about those hidden gems you’re yet to discover across the pond and over the border? The UK, Canada and Australia have some of the best shops for the curvy fashionista; forget black, black and more black, these style emporiums specialize in trend-led pieces, sexy silhouettes and statement colors. Name drop these babies and you’ll get major cool points, plus, by hitting those shops that none of your friends know about you’ll side step any awkward ohmigod-she’s-got-the-same-dress-on-as-me-help! moments. So plastic at the ready ladies; here’s our definitive guide to the international plus-sized shops that should be in your fashion vocab, right now:

1. ASOS (UK)

British fashion giant ASOS has been on our radar for a couple of years now, and since the launch of their plus-sized diffusion line, ASOS Curve, in 2009, we’ve given the site a big gold star for their directional and of-the-moment offerings. Nailing that typically British style, ASOS Curve should be your go-to for eclectic and edgy but wearable dresses and separates in US sizes 16-24. Trend-led pieces sit alongside practical work wear and Saturday night staples and items are tailored to fit and flatter your body perfectly. This season look out for the totally on-trend candybox denim, tropical print pencil skirt and peplums.

2. Addition Elle (Can)

Canadian-based Addition Elle gets our award for the biggest range of plus-sized clothing under one roof. From gymwear to workwear and everything in between, they’ve got it covered. The collection hints at the catwalks whilst keeping pieces easy to wear and flattering. What’s more, they’ve raised the fashion stakes seriously high with boutique brands such as MXM and Love & Legend and their underwear, ladies, is to die for! For spring and summer their top picks include tailored neutral pants, statement color blouses and retro references. Bookmark Addition Elle as your one-stop-shop for a total closet overhaul.

3. City Chic (Aus)

The buzzwords bold, sexy, chic and glam summarize this Aussie online fashion treasure trove. Having featured in Cosmo and on the runways at Melbourne fashion week, City chic has major style credentials. Pieces are cut to flatter the plus-size figure in gorgeous fabrics and stunning silhouettes and trends are sexy but practical. Look out for their midi skirts and perfect tailored jackets for investment pieces that’ll last you through seasons to come. With weekly drops of the latest must-have buys, we guarantee City chic will seriously damage your credit card!

4. Style369 (UK)

From the people behind Britain’s high street priestess, Topshop, Style369 is a seriously sassy site mixing online shopping and editorial-type moodboards, blogging and inspirations. The site has all the fashion you could ever dream of and features a lust-worthy collection of shoes and accessories (just don’t blame us if your budget goes out the window – you have been warned!) Boutique brands such as Lovedrobe, Ice Blossom and Ava Loves are playful, directional and glam whilst the mainline collection has a delectable selection of chunky knits, tailored pieces and cute dresses.

5. Dream Diva (Aus)

Dream diva packs a sartorial punch as the brainchild of a team of industry heavyweights borne out of the desire to cater to the curvier lady. They understand that the plus-sized shopper is just as fashion-conscious as her thinner friends and wants to express her style know-how through her clothes, too. The words ‘shapeless’ and ‘cover up’ are banned at Dream Diva, replaced instead by ‘sexy’, ‘stylish’ and ‘seriously chic’. Get some fashspiration with their lookbook before bagging some gorgeous numbers that’ll have your friends suffering from a serious case of closet envy. Our standout piece is the sunray pleated short skirt. Team with a statement belt, a tailored blazer and some killer heels for the perfect cocktails with the girls ensemble.

With the exception of ASOS, all of these shops are new to me - can't wait to check them out!!! Be sure to keep up with Cafe La Moda via Twitter and Facebook.

Curvy Girl’s Guide to Thrifting!

courtesy of heartprintandstyle.com

Today I am so pleased to feature a guest post from my girl Vivi over at Heart, Print & Style on a topic that is near and dear to her heart: thrifting! This was partially inspired by all of the wisdom she shared on the subject at the Curvy Clothing Swap. I've made her promise to take me out thrifting soon! But in the meantime, here is her guest post. Take it away, Vivi!

In a way, I've always thrifted. Well, in my early years (elementary school), I was forced to thrift because my Dad was (and still is!) a frugal person. We lived about a 7-10min walk from a thrift store (Georgia Avenue Thrift Store...which is still there!). So every weekend, my Dad would give my older cousin money and then she'd walk me, my younger brother and younger sister to the thrift store to shop. Walking home with a large black plastic bag filled with second-hand clothing, my friends would see me and always ask what am I carrying home. And each time, I would ignore them. Hugely embarrassed, I made a vow to myself that when I got older, I'd never shop in a thrift store again!

Yeah, right.

About 4-5 years ago, my sister became a stan of thrifting. She proclaimed her love everywhere she went. I mean, I could understand why she would love it - the clothing and accessories she would find were absolutely gorgeous and unique. Deep down, I was a bit curious. But also, being a bigger person, I kind of assumed that these thrift store would not have anything in my size. My sister kept reassuring me that I was wrong - that there were lots of dresses and tops and jackets in my size. She saw them every time she visited a thrift store! I still was not convinced. So, one day I went along with her to see for myself. Once I entered, I saw she was right - there were items in my size! In fact, some items that were put in the (M)edium or (L)arge section could also fit me due to the material/fabric.

But...I still was not fully sold on the idea of shopping at a thrift store. Then I decided to build my way up to loving it. Here is how I did it:

1) Start with jewelry. I'm a big accessories fan, anyway, so this wasn't hard for me. I can say that 99.5% of my earrings are from thrift stores. You can find a some great vintage earrings (clip-ons and non), rings, and necklaces from your local thrift stores.

My vintage earrings. [caption id="attachment_3164" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="courtesy of heartprintandstyle.com"][/caption]               2) Move over to the purses. From shoulder bags to totes to briefcases to clutches, you can find them all at a thrift store! At one point, I was really into finding vintage Dooney & Bourke bags. I've given most of them away but I still kept two that I love. They could be found in the purses section for as much as $7.99. I kid you not. These days, due to the popularity of thrifting and vintage D&B bags, a lot of thrift stores keep them behind the counter and hiked up the prices. I've seen one priced at $49.99, which is quite expensive for a thrift store yet still is affordable. [caption id="attachment_3165" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="courtesy of heartprintandstyle.com"][/caption]                       3) Time for clothes! Once I was done with that, then I figured it was time to approach the clothing section. Some thrift stores make it easy and separate their clothing by size. Yay! Some do not and you have to take your time to sift through each item to find the right size/fit. Booo! Then, there are some stores that put their clothing items by color, which I think is pretty cool. I started off with blazers/jackets: [caption id="attachment_3166" align="alignleft" width="237" caption="courtesy of heartprintandstyle.com"][/caption]                       To dresses: [caption id="attachment_3167" align="alignleft" width="164" caption="courtesy of heartprintandstyle.com"][/caption]                       Those are my favorite sections to visit. There are also the following sections: blouses, tops (some stores call it 'polo tops'), vests (this is usually sleeveless tops but there are some true vests in there, too), sweaters, shorts, coats, sleeping attire, skirt suits, pant suits, jeans, pants and skirts. For us plus size girls, always look out for XL/XXL. But like I said mentioned earlier, you can definitely look into the (M)edium and (L)arge sections, too, because there will be clothing that will fit you because of the material or fabric. The point of thrifting is to save money on purchasing items. But there are always deals and savings going on. For instance, at any Unique or Value Village thrift store, Mondays it's 25% for everyone, Thursdays is 25% off for VIP members (ask a cashier at any one of these stores for more information on VIP card or click here) and on holidays it's 50% off. Also, there are usually deals happening on any given day (ex. 25% off on long sleeved blouses, 15% off on shoes, etc.) Once you start thrifting, it is hard to stop. I find myself going to thrift stores to look out for a more affordable take on the hottest trends - midi skirts, neon, florals, etc. Don't forget to donate your unwanted clothing! In return, you will be handed a tax receipt to be used when filing your taxes. My favorite thrift store to go to is Value Village Thrift Store in Adelphi, MD. I have not been disappointed yet. *fingers crossed* To locate a thrift store around your area please check out the following links: Unique Thrift Store/Value Village Goodwill Salvation Army Thrift Store Family

And the Winner Is . . . .For Real This Time!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered my first giveaway!!! I'm already cooking up the next one. In the meantime, the winner of the $50 gift certificate to Uncommongoods is . . .   The sixth commenter, which was The Cupcake Critic!   (Click here to see the printout of the randomly generated number!)   Congrats! Be on the lookout for an email from me and the folks at Uncommongoods!

Monday Morning Memo – Edison on Being Busy

monday morning memo "Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing." - Thomas Edison Are you busy being productive? Or just busy being busy? Here's hoping that all of your hard work is yielding real results! Have a great week, everyone!

What Would YOU Do with $50 from Uncommongoods?

contest giveaway logo What would YOU do with $50 from Uncommongoods? Get some new office supplies? Maybe pick up a little gift for your co-workers? (Click this page and tell me you are not drooling over these little wonders?) Don't forget - the deadline to enter the Curvy CEO Uncommongoods Giveaway is THIS SUNDAY at 5pm (Eastern)! To enter, you must take one option from each of A, B, and C: A-1. Add UncommonGoods to your circles on Google Plus or . . . A-2. Tweet a link to a family page (e.g., gifts for women, which is here; gifts for men, which is here, or any other links on the left side of their home page) or . . . A-3. Follow Uncommon Goods on Pinterest AND B-1. "Like" Curvy CEO on Facebook and post "I just entered the Uncommongoods Giveaway at CurvyCEO.com!" or B-2. "Follow" Curvy CEO on Twitter and tweet "I just entered the @Uncommongoods Giveaway by @Curvy_CEO" AND C. Post in the comments section OF THE ORIGINAL POST which options you followed. The winner will be announced on Monday, March 26! Good luck!!!

One More Week til NJ FFF Week!

bally1 I am soooo excited! New Jersey Full Figured Fashion Week is just one week away!!! You all have NO idea how much I need this getaway . . . not only for the shopping, celeb-hobnobbing, casino slots and whatnot, but I recently learned that Musiq Soulchild will be performing as well! You can find the full schedule of events here. I am TOO excited! Will you be there???? (Coverage of NJ Full Figure Fashion Week provided for consideration.)

Eco Styles for the Full-Figured Woman

greenisthenewblack

This one is for all my green fashionistas! Today's guest post comes from Katherine Limon, wardrobe consultant, personal shopper and owner of styling company, My Signature Look. As an self-proclaimed "eco-stylist," Katherine specializes in helping clients identify ethically-made, eco-friendly garments. Here, she helps us full-figured gals zone in one brands and shops that cater to us while also providing ethical, socially-responsible goods. Enjoy!

As a fashion stylist, I have had the pleasure of dressing women of all shapes and sizes over the past five years. Many of them seek my services because shopping conjures feelings of frustration and anxiety over fit. Others simply don’t have the time or stamina to search for those quality pieces. I step in by providing a roadmap to finding styles that complement their figure and lifestyle.

Katherine Limon of My Signature LookHowever, what tends to present the greatest challenge is the client, male or female, who wants to invest in an eco-friendly wardrobe. I actually get quite giddy when I receive such inquiries because conscious fashion is at the heart of my styling business. I embarked on this journey with the intent of educating consumers on the source of their garments, to present eco-styles that are equally innovative, chic, and modern without compromising the planet and the garment worker who produce them.

Despite my intentions, I am disheartened by the limited options for sizes greater than a 10 and found in a store near you. With the exception of Eileen Fisher (and I am fully aware that not every woman is an Eileen Fisher woman), the Internet holds the best chance for scoring a custom-made and/or full range of sizes. Green blogger, Green Gretchen, offers a comprehensive list of online designers. Search eco-fashions for plus size women and Etsy delivers a plethora of options.

Just for sake of clarification, “eco-fashion” can mean the type of material (reclaimed, organic cotton, tencel, soy, bamboo, hemp, and milk, yes, even milk!) to vintage (preferably custom-made rather than a mass-produced item 20 years ago) to custom-made using high quality fabrics by an independent designer who applies a no-waste policy.

Another point of clarification is that eco-fashion caters solely to loose-fitting, yoga-inspired, loungewear. There is definitely a place for such styles such as actually doing yoga but pioneers in eco-design such as , Stewart + Brown, Stella McCartney and Organic by John Patrick prove otherwise. Their vision opens the market for a breadth of styles that speak to your personality.

For the woman who seeks comfort in a loungewear-inspired style, go no further than Indigenous Designs. The fair trade, all organic collection puts the comfort in ready-to-wear. On their Website they have a helpful size chart to take the guesswork out of it.

For the professional woman who needs a bit more structure in her wear, check out collections by Canadian designers Diane Kennedy and Chloe Angus, and Rawganique. Their attention to detail combined with eco-luxe materials yield a message of self-empowerment and sophistication.

Of course, clothes account for part of an ensemble. Vegan shoe designer Olsen Haus and Neuaura include up a size 12. Accessories and handbags add panache to any outfit. My favorites: Jewelry designers - Calamarie, Monique Pean (Website to be relaunched soon!), AK Vintage and handbags by Matt and Nat, Gunas, and Susan Nichole.

Thanks so much to Katherine for these tips! Be sure to keep up with Katherine via her website, www.mysignaturelook.com, Facebook, and Twitter! Also, if you're looking for even more guidance on how to "go green" and look fab at the same time, check out Green Is the New Black: How to Change the World with Style by Tamsin Blanchard or The Eco Chick Guide to Life: How to Be Fabulously Green by Starre Vantan.

So, What Color ARE You?

color-wheel-interior-design-2
I am delighted to present a guest post from my blogging sister, Emily Kate Hargrove of Capital Style, about a question that has come up time and again - "What color are you?" That is, are you "warm" or "cool"? A "Winter" or a "Summer"? While there are resources to help you figure this out, I've never really mastered this. So I am thrilled that Emily Kate has tackled this for us . . . enjoy!
I'm so glad Curvy asked me to guest blog on this topic. I don't pretend to be an expert on color analysis [yes, there are color experts], but I do know a little somethin' somethin' and I hope by sharing what I know, you can find the colors that best compliment you. Why does it matter? Well, because wearing the right hue can help us look healthier, younger, well-rested and who doesn't want that? The wrong colors can dull your skin, drain you of color and over power you. There are quite a few aspects of color analysis, but I thought today, I'd focus on two frequently referenced - your base and your brightness. Base: Your base is your undertone. When people talk about being "warm" or "cool" they are referring to their base. Warm colors have a yellow base; cool colors have a blue base; and true have equal amounts of yellow and blue.

"Emily Kate Hargrove""Emily Kate Hargrove"Emily Kate Hargrove"

Warm Red, Red, Cool Red (Photos courtesy of art-paints.com)

Pure Green

Warm Green, Green, Cool Green (Photos courtesy of art-paints.com)

The colors in your skin, hair & eyes have undertones of yellow or blue or equal parts of both and make up your base. Of course the "identifiers" will vary based on your ethnic background, but here are some general characteristics: Warm - warm people might be described as mahogany, sunkissed, golden, terra cotta, porcelain or ivory. She'll have evidence of gold or red in her hair (blonde, auburn, chestnut brown). She likely has warm brown, green, or hazel eyes and may have freckles. Cool - Cool folks' skin might have a blue-grey or ash tint. They might be described with words like ebony, rosy, grey, ashen, alabaster. Her eyes are likely blue, grey, grey-brown, black, soft-brown and her hair might be an ashy-brown, black, salt and pepper or blue-black. FYI - A good place to look for skin undertones is at the palm of your hand. Brightness or Intensity: Bright colors are clear, saturated they pop off the page. Muted colors are dusty, milky, foggy. See what I mean?

"Capital Style"Luca Luca Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear Chanel Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear

(Photos courtesy of Style.com)

Brightness is important so you don't get lost in your clothes. What do I mean? Well, if you are "bright" you might fade away in muted colors. Likewise, if you are more muted, bright colors might overwhelm you and again, you disappear. It is difficult to put into words what makes someone bright or muted, but here are a few thoughts: Bright - She has a clarity and crispness to her features. She likely has great contrast between her hair/eyes and skin color. Muted - There is a softness about her features without being delicate. She has a powdery quality and words like rose-bronze, cocoa, caramel, beige, ivory or olive might apply. Seasons: The combination of base and brightness gives you your season. Winter and summer are cool seasons while spring and autumn are warm. Winter and spring pallets include bright colors and summer and autumn tend more muted.

(Photo courtesy of TheChicFashionista.com)

Is your head spinning yet? One way to be safe is to give "universal" colors a try. Universal colors are not too warm or too cool, too bright or too muted. They include colors like teal, turquoise, coral, watermelon red, periwinkle blue & buff. Just remember, these are not hard and fast rules. I'm warm, but I love blue and blue-based colors. I haven't eliminated them from my wardrobe. I fall smack dab in the middle when it comes to brightness, so it's a lot of trial and error when it comes to my color intensity choices. I hope this has been helpful. Of course, if you have questions or want to do a more in-depth individualized color analysis feel free to contact me!