Month: May 2013

What to Wear to a White Party

Well, it is now the day after Memorial Day. You know what that means - time to wear WHITE! It seems like white is emerging as a popular trend as retailers like Ashley Stewart and Monif C. dedicating entire collections to this hue (or non-hue, if you want to get all technical about it). I'm hoping against hope that one of my friends or colleagues will throw a white party this summer so I will have an excuse to wear one of the pieces below...paired with metallic accessories, this would be WHITE HOT!!!
What to Wear to a White Party

Monday Morning Memo – How to Be a Phenomenal Woman

monday morning memoRecently I found myself ruminating on the idea of the "phenomenal woman" - one who "[isn't] cute or built to suit a fashion model's size" but yet finds herself with suitors to spare. It's been said over and over again that the most powerful aphrodisiac is confidence. But in this weight-obsessed society, it can be difficult to feel that true, innate, unflappable sense of esteem. But I'm determined to do so. While I'm figuring it out, let's enjoy the poem. Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size But when I start to tell them, They think I'm telling lies. I say, It's in the reach of my arms The span of my hips, The stride of my step, The curl of my lips. I'm a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me. I walk into a room Just as cool as you please, And to a man, The fellows stand or Fall down on their knees. Then they swarm around me, A hive of honey bees. I say, It's the fire in my eyes, And the flash of my teeth, The swing in my waist, And the joy in my feet. I'm a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me. Men themselves have wondered What they see in me. They try so much But they can't touch My inner mystery. When I try to show them They say they still can't see. I say, It's in the arch of my back, The sun of my smile, The ride of my breasts, The grace of my style. I'm a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me. Now you understand Just why my head's not bowed. I don't shout or jump about Or have to talk real loud. When you see me passing It ought to make you proud. I say, It's in the click of my heels, The bend of my hair, the palm of my hand, The need of my care, 'Cause I'm a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me. Maya Angelou

“All Size 18 of Me” – A Guest Post About Size Discrimination

[caption id="attachment_6229" align="alignleft" width="336"]Sheila Arkee of Sheila Arkee of[/caption] A frequent topic of discussion here on Curvy CEO is size discrimination - particularly as it relates to employment. Recently, I engaged in a great offline conversation with one of my blogging idols, Sheila Arkee of When she shared her experience of discrimination in the beauty industry with me, I asked her if she would be willing to write a guest post. She was and she did. Check it out below! It was a picture perfect interview for a job that would have made my life as a single mother infinitely easier. Having been underemployed and then unemployed for a while, I was excited about an opportunity to work in retail for a luxury fragrance brand that had come via a recommendation. Although I had been working in an office environment for the past few years, I also have experience working in a luxury retail environment and was ready and willing to sell perfume and make a good commission. For a woman who is raising a child alone, a job in retail would have been more accommodating to my child care arrangements with family members than a typical office job.   Somewhat nervous about the interview, I made sure that my personal presentation was on point. My outfit choices had been approved by my technically-former-but-in-reality-forever mother-in-law who has been working in the clothing industry for nearly 30 years. The woman knows her stuff, and I walked confidently into the meeting with the sales manager.   To say the interview went smoothly is the understatement of the year. The manager and I had excellent rapport and I couldn’t imagine that I wouldn’t be presented with a job offer. The interview ended with a trip to the sales floor to meet the other member of the team, topped with glowing compliments from the sales manager and a promise that I would be called in at least three days.   After day 4 passed with no word, I ventured to contact my interviewer only to be met with a negative reaction and harsh comments. "Let's face it, you were not wearing your best attire and were not presented well.” He then continued to prattle on negatively about my appearance for the next several minutes. These were completely shocking statements from a man who had complimented me up and down over my accomplishments in front of his star salesperson. I ended the conversation, knowing that entertaining a second more of this would be pointless. If you’re going to walk away, walk away with your head held high!   Although I firmly believe that when one door closes another one opens (and it did), I was really disappointed by losing out on this job. Thinking back on my experience in retail, I remembered a statement from a friend who had worked with me in the past and also in the same store as the failed interview – “They just don't like big girls.” [pullquote]I remembered a statement from a friend who had worked with me in the past and also in the same store as the failed interview – “They just don't like big girls.”[/pullquote]   Ah, yes. Beautiful people only for jobs in the beauty retail industry. How could I have forgotten? In my experience, I can firmly say that size discrimination exists and rampantly so, especially if you’re in a position to be presented to the public on a regular basis. My size has fluctuated through the years. I was a size 22 when I started working for a brand that embraced diversity in a luxury retail store. Went down to an 8, then to pregnancy, and for the past several years my weight has settled at a determined 18. Is this a size I want to be at forever? Truthfully, no, but I am content to be here.   As I've gotten older, I've grown into acceptance of who I am and what I look like. Yes, I still take side glances at the gym - Has my belly finally started to shrink after months of dedicated workouts? Is it the proverbial mid-30's metabolism slowdown, or is it the fact that I can't keep myself away from carbs and have no willpower or desire to do so in the near future?   But what does that matter when I am healthy and my body is functional? I can write a successful blog and indulge in my lifelong passion for the beauty industry. I can run after my Autistic son. I can carry him when he has a meltdown or just needs some extra love. I can move. I am a size 18, I exist, and I am functional.   It's not surprising but still sad that the "beauty" industry can be so "ugly." It actually brings to mind times that I've gone up to a makeup counter or wandered into a prestige cosmetics store and felt the subtle judgment from the sales staff. It's like, "Yes, big girls like to wear makeup and feel pretty, too!" *sigh* So, what about you, dear readers? Have you ever had this sort of experience - in an employment situation or otherwise?

How to Look “Girly” in a Pant Suit

janellemonaeAsk anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I'm the girliest girl they know. No, really. I am just a few million short of being a black Robin Kassner. (I actually had a friend call me that once when I was contemplating buying a Hello Kitty iPhone case.) But, there are just some days - a high-power meeting with your investors or perhaps a pitch before a potential new client - that require a suit. But not just any suit - a PANT suit. Now, because I am such a girly girl, I usually wear a skirt suit. But even I must admit that at times a pant suit is just the most appropriate way to go. (Those situations can even include a rainy day when you will be out and about and don't want to get your legs wet.) So, how can you wear a pant suit and still feel "girly"? Especially when most plus-size suits are cut to make us look like perfectly curve-less boxes??? In my opinion, you basically have two options that are actually not all that different from what is needed to incorporate trends into your business wardrobe. The main difference here, however, is that you want to really take a mild approach, relying on only ONE element to girlify your look. Because the situation calls for a more formal suit, you want to make sure that your bag and shoes are fully appropriate. Let's walk through the options.... OPTION 1 - Wear a frilly blouse! Instead of choosing a boring blouse in a basic color, why not opt for something with a little more flair, like one with a bold color or print and some very-much-on-trend ruffles! If you choose this option, you should make your blouse the "centerpiece" of your girly look. Everything else - including your jewelry - should be understated and professional. I suggest some pearl studs.
How to Look Girly in a Pants Suit - OPTION 1
OPTION 2 - Pair a bold cami with appropriate statement jewelry. With this option, you want to start off with a colorful camisole. You can really have fun here by wearing some of the trendy colors like emerald or mint green. Because the camisole will only peek out from beneath your jacket, you can go a little bolder with your accessories. I would recommend adding some tasteful statement jewelry that is more or less neutral in color. Remember, it's still a more formal look so you don't want to get too wild. Check out this sample look...
How to Look Girly in a Pants Suit - OPTION 2
And, as Cover Girl Janelle Monae reminds us, don't forget your makeup!! Those are just a few of my ideas. Perhaps you have others...please share in the comments section!

Curvy CEO Presents: Books and Brunch! June 8 in Washington, DC

As you know, I talk a lot on this blog about work/life balance - a crucial subject for ALL women, curvy or otherwise. So, with all the hoopla surrounding Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's new book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, I was itching to weigh in on what I thought of her theories. However, I didn't feel it was appropriate to do so without at least reading the book. Very glad that I made that decision...because now I can tell that many folks who have spouted off about her and the concept of "leaning in" failed to at least read the book first. I'm still in the middle of the book. But as I'm reading it, I find myself eager to discuss some of the complexities surrounding her arguments, especially for populations and situations not readily addressed in the book, like women of color, women of size, women of lesser education, etc. Because, as we've discussed before, the problem is not always simply a matter of women failing to lean in; sometimes, they lean ALL the way in, yet find themselves obstructed by institutions that just aren't ready to embrace them. Also, there's also the opposite side of the question - what happens to the rest of your life if you lean in too far? Clearly, this is not a yea-or-nay, up-or-down, black-or-white issue as some commentators would make it seem. Therefore, I'm so proud to present...



An in-depth discussion of the best-selling book Lean In and a catered brunch by DC-area chef and author Tiffany Griffin of (Y'all remember Tiffany - she catered the very first Work Your Curves event. Now, sistergirl is making big moves with her new cookbook! You can read more about Tiffany and her food/cooking philosophy here.)

The event will take place on Saturday, June 8, 2013 beginning at 11:00 AM at the Archstone at M Street (1160 First Street, NE, Washington, DC - just steps from the NoMa-Gallaudet metro station on the redline!) Now, for those of you who fear a vegi-centric cuisine (yes, Vivi, I'm lookin' at you ;)), fear not! The menu includes pancakes, grits, and - yes! - mimosas!

Good food. Good conversation. What could be better than that? Tickets (because you know, we gotta pay for the catering!) costs $35 and may be purchased online at Even if you're not able to read the book, we invite you to come out and indulge in what is sure to be an awesome event. Hope to see you there!!!

Drive-By Event Alerts!

Hey Everyone -   I'm getting ready to head out of town for Mother's Day weekend, but I wanted to let you know about some great events coming up in the next few weeks in the DC area...also, one event - sponsored by yours truly - has yet to be unveiled. Keep your eyes on the blog for more details next week! Anyhoo, here are some great fashion events you may want to check out! fashionista flea market purplesofapopupshop kurvykonsignment

Summer is Almost Here! Are You Ready?

You've read about it. You've thought about it. The summer is coming...time to BE about it! Registration is now open for the FIRST plus-size bootcamp in Washington, DC designed exclusively for plus-size women!!! Work Your Curves Summer Cycle 3 Here's what Work Your Curves participants have to say: "I am so glad that I had the chance to attend a 6 week cycle of 'Work Your Curves.' I started my journey to a healthier lifestyle change in January. Along with eating right, I had to reprogram myself to love working out again. Yes, the gym can be helpful from time to time but that can get pretty boring, pretty fast. When Curvy CEO came up with this awesome idea to bring a bootcamp atmosphere to the curvy/plus size ladies, I immediately jumped on the idea. And I am so glad that I did. It has truly helped me appreciate working out and knowing which exercise works for my type of body. I am truly grateful for Work Your Curves!" - Vivi N. "There’s so much positive to say about Work Your Curves Bootcamp – the women, the trainers, the sweat (yes, the sweat) – but to sum it up? I feel so much stronger and suddenly I can do a sit-up! I had no idea that one hour, once a week, could bring about so much positive change! Work your Curves has not just made me stronger, but also more confident and more comfortable in my skin." - Sara K. So...are YOU ready to Work Your Curves? Just visit the Project Fitness website - and click on “EVENTS” – this will take you to a web portal where you can sign up. Just scroll down and select “Curvy Bootcamp.” (Or you can also just click here.)

The Power of a Waistline

So, if you follow me on Twitter - which I know you all do ;) - you know that last week, I went to Spark & Hustle - a dynamic conference on women's entrepreneurship. While the conference was amazing, this post isn't about what I learned or all the awesome people I met (waves across the blogosphere to Elegant Granny, Spoons & Smiles, ShopFullLoad, and NextBrides). Nope. It's about a fashion triumph that I just had to share with you! When deciding what to wear to the conference, I knew I wanted to look polished and professional. But hey, I'm a fashion blogger - I had to add some flare, right? So, I whipped out a hot pink blazer and paired it with a black shift dress, pointy-toe flats, and double strand of pearls. When I first buttoned up, I felt...well, a little frump-tastic. I mean, the color of the jacket was amazing and I loved the accessories. But something just felt off. Then I realized the problem: I had absolutely no waistline. Yep. This jacket was a hold over to the days before I'd seen the light and banished boxy jackets from my wardrobe. (I think it was it's color that saved it from the Goodwill pile.) I knew I was on the right track with my just needed something....Suddenly I remembered an impulse eBay purchase that changed everything: a belt! Yep, that's right. I had a hot pink, wide belt that matched my blazer perfectly. With one simple accessory I was able to go from this... no belt this! with belt

I knew I had made the right choice when I found myself getting compliments all day long! Here's to going from ho-hum to hawt!!!