Body Party

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First, can I just say that whenever you see something in all capital letters you know it’s going to be some ignorance. But this hit one of my sore spots and I felt the need to address it.

Growing up I was called fat, and to be honest it scarred me for life. Looking back, I realize that while I was what qualifies as medically overweight, it was just baby fat that I would grow out of it. And in high school, I finally did. But having spent my formative years being teased, and a doctor who lectured my mom about watching my portions at every yearly checkup, the damage was done. I was a perfectly normal size, and in decent shape thanks to that godawful Presidential fitness test we had to do in PE every year. But looking in the mirror all I ever saw was fat.

It took me until I was an adult, and legitimately plus-sized, to realize how wrong my thinking was and do something about it. It’s only now, at 28 years old that I can look at myself and say, “yeah, you’re bigger than you would like to be- but you’re still beautiful and have nothing to be ashamed of.” I was embarrassed by my body for so long that I never wanted to do anything that would call attention to it. So I shied away from sports, and even though I would have loved to take dance classes, the thought of squeezing my (roly-poly, I thought) body into a leotard was TERRIFYING.

It may seem like one of those hippy-dippy, touchy-feely, politically correct things but the plus-size and HAES (health at every size)  movements against body shaming have roots in the type of ignorance displayed above. You can’t change your body overnight. And even with living the ideal lifestyle of 100% clean eating and a tailored exercise routine, there are limits to how much you can realistically change your size and shape. For example, I’m never going to have one of those perch a tray on it booties. I can definitely build it up, but  absent a commitment to  surgical intervention, it’s just not going to be a bubble butt. But to take it even further, the demands of our careers, significant others, and family prevent us from being able to live that ideal lifestyle.

The judgment from others is unnecessary. Overweight people know they’re overweight. They can’t forget because we idolize certain body types and mock those who don’t meet the standard. For example, the Playboy model who filmed a woman changing in the gym locker room.  For all we know that woman has already lost 25 lbs. But she was made a mockery of because she didn’t have the “perfect” body.

I love myself, rolls and all. I’m strong enough now not to let anyone discourage me. I haven’t met my goals yet, but I have more energy. I look forward to moving my body. I’m getting more flexible and discovering muscles I didn’t know I had. I’m saving money by cooking more and eating out less. I’m craving more fresh foods and less sugar. Whether or not anyone else can see the changes on my body, I’m happier with myself. I’d like to lose 50lbs, but even if I only lose half that, at least now I know that I’ve done everything I can for my body to perform optimally.  I’ll end up wherever I end up and have fun doing it.

 

Dear Target

Dear Target,

Despite being a retailer that prides itself on stylishly being all things to all people, your plus size market has been grossly ignored. The plus size section is relegated to 2 or 3 racks at the far end of women’s apparel, and is often mixed in with maternity. While the emergence of the Ava & Viv line, designed in collaboration with several notable fashion bloggers, was supposed to provide a fresh face, nothing changed. The most fashionable items (which were little more than colorful basics) were offered in that initial launch, and everything since then has been absolutely pitiful. At my local Target, the plus line is updated with 5-7 new pieces per season. Invariably, half of them are black or white.

Meanwhile, a quick perusal of Target.com shows a substantial collection of plus items in Target’s proprietary Merona and Mossimo lines, many of which are equivalent to the plus size lines…and none of which make it to my local Target stores, with the exception of solid color tees, cardigans, and basic slacks. The demand for fashionable plus size clothing clearly exists, as evidenced by the fact that the Lilly Pulitzer collection sold out in mere hours.

So, you’ve tried it again in a collection with Who What Wear and you’re finally doing some things right. The collaboration is a long term one and includes plus sizes. Perhaps most importantly, almost every item in the straight size line was provided in plus, in at least 2 color/pattern options.  Aesthetically, the offerings are a HUGE leap forward from Ava & Viv.

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This dress was the one thing I knew I had to have!

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I’m not a leather jacket kind of girl, but I love having the option to become one.

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Polka dots are always in style for me.

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Finally, modern styling for plus sizes. I bought the boyfriend jeans.

However, there’s still room for improvement. The Who What Wear line was only available in a limited selection of stores, and only a few of those stores carried the plus line. As stated above, some of the items were not available plus.  For example, a longline blazer in blush pink and an olive green  sweater dress that I would have purchased if I had the option. Additionally, the logistics were off. The collection was stated to go live on January 31, but I couldn’t add anything to my cart until about 12:30 pm CST (and I only got to the plus size items by searching the Target website, because they weren’t up on the splash page). But the Target twitter account said the plus size items wouldn’t be available until February 1–with the likely result that some shoppers missed out entirely. Last but not least, Who What Wear is dissociating itself from the plus items. They link to the Target collection on their website, but only provide links for the straight size items. It’s kind of hard to send  a message that all your customers matter when your collaborator doesn’t acknowledge half of them.

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Love this dress, but couldn’t buy it.

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This would go great with some of my dresses if it were available in my size.

Target didn’t knock it out of the park, but it finally has a plus size collection that is comparable to Forever 21, H&M, ASOS, and others. It remains to be seen whether the progress will continue, or if this is just another means of placating the masses without really solving the problem.

 

 

Dear Eloquii, Again

Eloquii is back, and I think it’s here to stay.

From the time they launched, there hasn’t been a month that I haven’t seen one of their pieces featured in a fashion magazine or on a fashion blog. The styling is gorgeous and I drool over every new lookbook that drops. But I don’t have unlimited shopping funds, and lawyers don’t get to wear jeans to work. It seemed like Eloquii was going to focus on casual and cocktail attire. But recently, the workwear section of the site has exploded. While there are only a couple of options for coordinated suiting so far, there are lots of good mix & match options. One of the things I dislike about my profession is the conservative dress code- I like to be comfortable and cute, and suits tend to be neither. But I’ve finally found pants that fit properly, blazers without shoulder pads that accommodate a larger bust, and pretty, stylish blouses. So in addition to being my first stop for special occasion dresses and trendy casual clothes, Eloquii has rounded things out with workwear that’s both fun and appropriate.

And FINALLY, someone has done plus-size blazers in a variety of cuts and styles– traditional, open, collarless, notched collar, the list goes on. And their signature pant is available in short, regular and long inseams, saving you a trip to the tailor. Eloquii isn’t perfect, but it is improving. While still plagued by  polyester (is it just because scuba fabric is the new hot thing and it’s always a polyester/spandex blend?), I’m seeing cotton, rayon and silk pop up in the new items. This is excellent because in Houston it doesn’t get below 75 degrees for 8 months of the year. (Wearing polyester on top of polyester in dark colors is not what you want here. Ever.)

In the past month, I’ve purchased some version of all the items below and have my eye on several others. I love all my new pieces and feel great wearing them! The color blocking, fit and seaming details really make all the difference in elevating these from your plain old boring work clothes. I hope that Eloquii continues to put out great quality fashion at affordable prices.

Eloquii workwear

Dress
eloquii.com

Blazer
eloquii.com

Eloquii
$69 – nordstrom.com