Curvily’s Fall Workwear Report

IMG_4414.JPG Autumn has been a season of shopping since we were kids, and growing up and getting a job doesn’t change that.  For too long, however, finding sharp, fashionable plus size workwear to shop was a daunting task.  Just in the last year, I’ve seen the quality and quantity of the options improve tremendously, and if anything, you might end up spoiled by choice.  This is the best type of problem to have, but I’ve narrowed it down a bit for my busy professional readers who don’t have the time to scour the internet for a wardrobe update.

Suits: Many of my favorite plus contemporary brands have upped their workwear game seriously this year, adding suiting and structured pieces that are totally office ready, without being boring. The gorgeous navy suit from Mynt 1792 (above right) is a snap to style for the office: With a classic white button down and matte leather pumps, it is boardroom ready. The black faux leather accents make it a no-brainer for mixing with your existing black suiting: Think how amazing the jacket would look with a perfectly fitted pencil skirt; or how hot the tuxedo-esque pants would look with a sharp shouldered long line blazer. This suit has boundless potential outside of work, too.  For a night out, you can wear it with the Chromat Curve caged bustier and heeled booties for epic Beyonce-levels of sexy menswear style.

IMG_4409.JPGEven some of the more fashion forward, non-traditional styles can work for a corporate setting if styled correctly. Take this deep teal suit from edgy Danish label Carmakoma (above in the Hey Gorgeous! fall lookbook). The sharp blazer is unimpeachably professional, but the tailored jogger pants require a bit of thought for a law firm or an investment bank, for example. The key is covering the sportswear inspired waistband – I’d either tuck in a matte silk shell and blouse it gently, if you plan on wearing the jacket closed, or wear a straight hem chiffon blouse untucked if you want to leave it open. A d’orsay pump and a deliberately severe high bun would complete the look. For the weekend, I’d wear the joggers with a structured crop top and a grey moto jacket.

Rue 107 Red Suit

Bold primary colors are not off limits in a corporate setting either – you just have to pare down the rest of the look. All this striking red suit from independent label Rue 107 needs is a minimal cashmere shell and pointed toe pumps.

 

IMG_4411.JPGIf you are looking for something a bit less trendy, Eloquii‘s new main line of suiting is classic, with a contemporary fit. Available in navy and black, it is great if you are trying to build up your workwear wardrobe and don’t want the dowdy silhouettes that have too long been the norm in plus. Eloquii also offer coordinating pencil skirts, if you prefer skirt suits. As temps cool, I like to pair rich color opaque tights (like oxblood or deep plum) with my skirt suits to add some personality to the look.  Suits free of embellishments also function like a blank canvas for adding a pop of color or print with tops.

Boucle Dress and Jacket 1

Classic suiting should be pretty much seasonless, but something about colder temperatures just begs for a richly textured suit. As part of her first-of-its-kind collaboration with Lane Bryant, designer Isabel Toledo interpreted the iconic boucle set.  Of all the suits here, this one requires the least thought in the morning: The top is built right in, because it is actually a dress.  Just add sleek pointed toe booties to keep the look from being too prim.  Outside of work, the jacket can be easily styled down for the weekend, with skinny coated jeans and a sheer flowy top.

Sheath Dresses: Another classic silhouette that always works for work is the sheath dress.   The tailored, close-fitting skirt gives the same effect as a pencil skirt, and looks effortlessly put together with or without a blazer.

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This Anna Scholz number is bold and strong, a perfect combination for taking charge of a presentation.

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Igigi is a contemporary plus brand known for its curve-conscious fit, and the perfect cut on its “Elle” sheath dress attests to it.  I have and love the lace panel version (pictured top center), but I am also loving this graphic twist on the classic LBD.

Elvi Print SheathThe print on this ruched sheath from British label Elvi is visually interesting, but not over the top for a more conservative setting, especially when topped with a black blazer.  Even better, it is currently on sale for $20!

I’ve rounded up some of my other favorite sheath dresses below:

Do you have a suit or sheath dress you swear by for work?  Tell me in the comments.  Next up in my workwear series: separates and office-ready a-line looks for days when form fitting is not an option (we all have them!)

OOTD: Abstract Animal Print

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[I'll be posting older OOTDs this week as I find the memory cards while unpacking.  Don't worry, I still have purple hair!]

ASOS is one of my favorite places for prints.  From whimsical woodland creatures to abstracted plaid to Clover Canyon-esque mixed graphics, they always have something that catches my eye.  I unfortunately cannot afford to buy every print I love, however, which is why Gwynnie Bee is so awesome for me.  I get to wear the pieces I have been wanting since they launched, and then send it back for something new when I am done.  This is perfect for a pattern hound like me.  This abstracted animal print dress that I pinned months ago is sold out on ASOS, but I can still get it from GB.

I am also a fan of the ASOS Curve skater dress silhouette, which can feel very 90′s (in a good way) when I size down.  To play up the babydoll dress effect, I added wool bowler hat and ankle strap flats.  For fall temps, I’d wear this dress with tall Chelsea boots, opaque black tights, a wide brim hat, and a grey leopard coat for a twist on print mixing.

Have you tried a skater dress from ASOS?  They offer the style in solids, too, if you are more of a LBD person.

Disclosure: Links may be affiliate or referral. All opinions are my own.

New Favorite: Chic British Plus Size Store Elvi

Elvi Navy Textured Coat

To say I am an avid shopper is a sizable understatement.  I am constantly scouring stores and the internet for the most stylish clothes out there.  So it is a surprise when I find a store that has been out there for a while that I had no idea about, which is what happened with UK plus fashion site Elvi.  When they contacted me, I found myself wondering how I had been missing out on this Dorothy Perkins-esque gem.  They have a mix of well cut basics and on-trend statement pieces, all at a very affordable price point.  The gorgeous navy textured coat I have on above is one of the priciest things in their AW14 collection at $85 – MUCH cheaper than the Isabel Marant version.  This piece will be a go-to now that the temperatures are dropping fast in NYC.  All I need now is the perfect pair of long black leather gloves to accentuate the rich navy.

Have you shopped Elvi before?  They are based in London, but they also ship to the US, Canada, and Australia, along with other EU countries.  Check out some of my top picks from their latest arrivals below:

Elvi Cropped JacketMustard Tweed Jacket, $40

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NYC Shopping Event: Stylish Curves Pop Up Shop

Stylish Curves Pop Up

 

I love a good shopping event, so I have to share this awesome pop up shop featuring some of my favorite plus size sites.  There is nothing like being able to try things on, so come out to shop Hey Gorgeous, Fashion to Figure, Rebdolls, Eloquii, Evans, and more.  It will be a fun way to spend an afternoon – I’ll be there, so say hi if you see me :)

Check out this cute video from organizer Alissa Wilson of Stylish Curves for more info, and buy tickets here.

OOTD: Hair Goals

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On Friday, I did something I’ve wanted to do for over a decade: I dyed my hair purple.

IMG_4517.JPGBright, bold, definitely not naturally occurring purple.  Colorist Allison Rappel at Antonio Prieto salon in Chelsea got the color exactly right – full of dimensions and super shiny, even after the multiple processes required for this shade.

IMG_4518.JPGI’ve dreamt of this hair color since I was a teenager, and life never worked out to make it possible until now, so fulfilling this hair goal now when I am 30 and totally happy with my life and career makes it even sweeter.

IMG_4523.JPGThis awesome hooded dress from Brooklyn brand Line & Label, which is making plus sizes exclusively for Madison Plus’ new online contemporary boutique Hey Gorgeous, felt like just the thing to rock with my new hue.

IMG_4528.PNGThe trim and skirt are made of real leather, something that is increasingly hard to find.  The fit is great – it has a relaxed shift silhouette, without being overly boxy.

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I went for a monochrome look, both because it just felt right and to let my hair shine :) With my trusty moto boots and tights, I was ready for some CMJ shows.

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Leather trim hoodie dress: Line & Label

Opaque black tights: Hue

Moto boots: LOFT (old; identical pair from Rag & Bone here)

OOTD: Apple Picking Style

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Last weekend we went upstate with a group of friends for a favorite fall tradition: Apple picking.  I love getting out of the city every once in a while, and even the drive up was scenic with the changing fall foliage.  The day started out with less than ideal weather, but by the time we got to the orchard, there was just a low mist hanging over the hills in the distance. [Read more...]

OOTD: Weekend Casual

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This is my new go-to look for a laid back weekend: Boyfriend jeans, a tank, and a flowy kimono cardi.  It was perfect for a casual lunch date in the West Village. Summer may be officially over, but the temps in NYC have not gotten the memo (it was actually hot this week), so I don’t think I’ll be retiring this combo any time soon.  When it cools down more, I’ll sub out the kimono for a cozy longline cardigan and the flats for ankle boots

Kimono cardigan: Bobeau (via Gwynnie Bee)

Cami tank: Forever 21+

Boyfriend jeans: H&M+ (size up on these)

Cat flats: Urban Outfitters (old, similar here, or here for an adorable shoe version of this amazing Kate Spade cat clutch)

Cobalt handbag: Botkier (gorgeous snake embossed update here)

Disclosure: Links may be affiliate or referral links.  

Your Perfect Fall Crop Top: Found

CandyStrike Crop Top

It’s official.  I’ve found the perfect crop top for fall.  And no, “fall crop top” is not an oxymoron.  Designer Elizabeth Denneau, the mind behind indie brand CandyStrike, has made the cool weather basic I’ve been waiting for.  This top is made of medium weight stretch ponte knit, giving it more structure and warmth than the typical thin jersey of crop tops.  I love the high neckline and cuffed half sleeves, and I am already plotting all the ways I am going to wear this.  With comfy harem pants and a serious statement necklace? With my favorite leopard and leather skirt from Mynt 1792?  With boyfriend jeans, an animal print coat, and ankle booties?  Yes, yes, and yes!  And that’s just the beginning.

CandyStrike Crop Top 2

In addition to the myriad styling ideas I have for this, I love that CandyStrike is available in sizes Small to 4X.  I love the price too – Denneau produces everything locally to her in Arizona, and it is only $34!  Also, how great are these lookbook shots?  Check out the rest of the pieces from the latest “Ghost Girl” collection, and let me know your favorite.

MBFW Runway Report: Carrie Hammer

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I started my busiest day of NYFW at the Fashion Law Institute show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.  I have a fond place in my heart for the Fashion Law Institute, as my first ever MBFW show was their designer showcase last fall, featuring a larger scale first: The first plus size designer to show a collection at an official Mercedes Benz Fashion Week show, the stunning Cabiria – something I am still grateful to have been a part of.  The Fashion Law Institute continued their streak of firsts with the FW 2014 show, where designer Carrie Hammer included a model in a wheelchair, something never before done in the tents.

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For this September’s SS 2015 show, the FLI had Carrie Hammer return, and continue to redefine what types of models to expect at NYFW.  Instead of a traditional casting of professional models to showcase her chic workwear, Ms. Hammer decided to present her Spring/Summer collection on women she considers role models.  This included a diverse range of innovators, leaders, and professionals.  Geena Rocero, founder of transgender advocacy organization Gender Proud, and lawyer Uduak Oduok were both models in the more traditional sense as well as being role models for their work.  Oduok opened the show in a fun newspaper print dress, and Rocero encapsulated the celebratory atmosphere of the show with her animated strut.

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The collection itself was full of sharp, professional styles, including many perfectly tailored dresses and structured jackets.  Whereas much of the fashion shown at NYFW is purposefully over the top, Hammer’s designs were eminently wearable.  Nearly every piece could go straight from the runway to the most demanding corporate office, while retaining some personality – something so often absent in workwear.  Indeed, Carrie Hammer launched her line after struggling to find “fashionable, professional women’s clothing, with a contemporary fit.” Her designs fill that gap, for all types of professional women.

IMG_4316.JPGExcitingly, Hammer’s philosophy of embracing diversity continues off the runway:  She offers clothing in sizes 0-36, and each piece is bespoke, tailored to your individual measurements.

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I am no longer working in a corporate office environment, but there were things in Hammer’s SS15 collection that would work for every life and style.  My hands down favorite was the perfect tan trench coat with a sweet bow detail in the back.

photo (3)Hammer closed the show with Karen Crespo, a bacterial meningitis survivor and quadruple amputee – another NYFW first. Aside from just being a fabulous red dress, this was an important reminder that fashion is for everyone, and that representation matters (two tenets that I live by when it comes to what I do).

You can watch the full runway show here, and shop the designs of Carrie Hammer here.

Fashion Law Institute Founder, Professor Susan Scafidi; Role Model Karen Crespo, and Designer Carrie Hammer with Ms. Crespo

Fashion Law Institute Founder, Professor Susan Scafidi; Role Model Karen Crespo, and Designer Carrie Hammer with Ms. Crespo

Sale Alert: Major Markdowns at Bloomingdale’s

Bloomingdale’s, one of my favorite department stores for plus contemporary, has just marked down their sale items in a major way!  Tons of items I’ve worn and featured are on sale, like the perfect DKNYC print dress below.  Both current and past season pieces are on sale, but sizes move fast, so check it out ASAP!

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