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Recently I've been asking my subscribers to fill in the blank to the following statement:
Dressing well as a mom would be easier if _________________.
The response has been overwhelming! I've loved getting some insight into the real frustrations moms are facing as they try to dress well. The struggle is real! And I want to address them head on.
I will be sharing my reader’s statements/questions in a regular series so that my research/answers can benefit everyone. While I was originally planning to tackle all the questions from the week in a weekly post, the reality is I wouldn't be giving a very complete or helpful answer. So I will be spending a little more time on each question (or bundle of questions as they relate to each other). If you sent me a response, thanks in advance for your patience as I work through them! I WILL get to yours! I hope this broader approach will insure I am fully addressing the question and not just providing a pat answer.
Would you like your question or frustration addressed? Use the contact form at the end of the post to fill in this blank! Don’t worry, I will keep it anonymous (unless you’d like me to feature your name and/or website).
"Dressing well as a mom would be easier if clothes were made to fit short, stout women (5'1" 158 lbs.)"
"Dressing well as a mom would be easier if I had time to go shopping and designers made clothes to flatter grown women that aren't built like stick figures!"
The bottom line:
So in a world of skinny, tall models, where do you find inspiration and where do you find clothes that fit every other body type?
I will address the portion about finding time to shop in a future post, but let's tackle the issue of clothing sizes and fit for the average woman.
It's true. Fashion models tend to always be skinny, tall people. Sometimes the selection of clothes in stores follows this trend and leaves the rest of us frustrated with the lack of options. Anyone who is bigger than a size 4 (that’s me!) and shorter than 6’ (definitely also me!) has probably run into this problem. Throw in all the variations of body shapes God has created and it can be pretty hard to relate to the images flooding our screens.
But here’s the thing: just because tall and skinny is popular in the fashion industry doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t look just as put together. I've come across countless women online and in real life in all shapes an sizes who are killin' it with the expression of their personal style. You can too! It just means you need to follow the rules for YOUR own body and find inspiration in the right places. You also need to identify what stores carry the kind of clothes that suit you. Did you catch that? The two step process for every woman wanting to dress well is to:
1) find inspiration in the right places and
2) identify the stores that carry the kinds of clothes that suit them.
Today I’m providing some options for this (simplified) two-pronged answer to get you started. There is so much variation in body shapes, sizes, ages, colors, etc, that each woman needs to carve out her own custom-made world of inspiration and go-to resources that she can resource again and again. I want to provide some ways to do that. This list is by no means comprehensive, but it will get your headed in the right direction—toward real-life, relatable answers.
#1 FINDING SOURCES OF INFORMATION AND INSPIRATION: Blogs, Youtube Channels and Pinterest Accounts
Because real people come in all shapes and sizes, the real people behind blogs, Youtube channels and Pinterest profiles are also going to offer greater variety than big fashion magazines and websites.
Thanks to the proliferation of blogs out there, you can practically find a personal “body shape doppelganger” who has a fashion blog. An easy way to find lots of new blogs in one place is through link ups. This is basically a blog post by one blogger that provides a place for any other blogger to add a link to their own post. A thumbnail image is usually provided. (See one that I co-hosted at the very bottom of this post.) You can check out some blog link ups and click through to women with your similar body shape and fashion style. Bookmark blogs that speak to you as you find them. Follow them on your preferred social media channels to stay inspired.
Here are a few fashion blog link ups to get you started. With this list, you will have hours of inspiration! Be sure to check out the first link if you are plus sized. Rachel from Garay Treasures is adorable and has a great sense of style!
(Scroll to the bottom of these posts to find the link ups):
You can also use Bloglovin’ (www.bloglovin.com) to discover new blogs as well as keep track of the latest posts on your favorite ones. Start with one that you love and then look at which blogs they follow or click on the "Similar" tab to find more blogs like it (see screenshot below). Click "Follow" to start adding blogs to your Bloglovin' feed and easily see the latest all in one place.
Start a search on Pinterest with some parameters, such as “plus size fall fashion” or “fall fashion for short women” to narrow down the results. You can also do a search for boards that are labeled based on your parameters. As you find models similar to your size and style, pin them to a Style board. Then from those pins, navigate to the board on which it was pinned last to find more potential inspiration. To start seeing more of this content on your daily feed, follow the original creator of the pin on Pinterest. Or click through to the source by clicking the “Visit” button.
This pin takes me to the model’s Instagram account… a potential new inspiration to follow on Instagram as well!
If you prefer videos try finding a few channels that are truly helpful to you. One youtuber I recently came across has some pretty helpful videos about plus size fashion: Vintage or Tacky. Check out this video and this video. Her style is quiet eclectic, but maybe that's you! Either way, some of her general tips apply regardless of your style.
Simply do a search that addresses your question, such as "fashion for short women" or "plus size style," and start taking in all the information available. You might want to jot some of the ideas down to make them easier to review and put together into a cohesive plan of action and subscribe to their channels.
#2 Finding Places to Shop
So after some browsing, pinning, saving, and watching you have some great ideas for clothing pieces to try for your body proportions. Now where do you find these clothes?
Here is a beginner list of stores that sell clothes for short and/or plus sized women. Starting with the most affordable to a bit more expensive/quality.
Full Beauty (Plus Size)
Rainbow (Plus Size)
Forever 21 (Plus Size)
H&M (Plus Size)
Nordstrom Rack (Plus Size)
JCPenney (Petite-Short AND Plus Size)
Catherines by Lane Bryant (Petite-Short AND Plus Size)
ModCloth (Plus Size)
Boot Band (Plus Size Boots)
Here are some styling services that could help you past any style ruts and get you on the right path to shopping with confidence.
Stitch Fix. You have probably heard about this service by now… it’s become quite popular. Trying it out for a few months may help you identify the best clothes for you because a personal stylist is assigned to YOU. You provide you size by height/weight and your stylist will find items that fit your body shape (and budget). Currently style sizes 0-14 (XS-XL). But plus sizing is coming Spring 2017! They also offer maternity styling. Find out more about Stitch Fix here. I can't wait to personally try them out in the new year!
Gwynnie Bee. This service is kind of like Netflix for plus size clothes (sizes 10-32). You rent clothes, wear them as long as you'd like, buy them if you'd like, and send anything back anything you don't want to keep. First month free. Find out more on their website.
Bonus tip: If you’re thinking of trying out Gwynnie Bee, make sure to sign up with Ebates if you haven’t already and open a shopping trip before enrolling with Gwynnie Bee! You get $37.50 Cash Back from Ebates for signing up. (Pretty sweet… Ebates usually works on a % cashback. $37.50 is a chunk of cash!)
An important P.S.: The role of Hair and Makeup
Perhaps only 50% of the equation to looking great is what you wear. I don't have that percentage down to a science, but it's close. Your hair and makeup are hugely important factors in your appearance. While you're finding your style, lock down tips for easy mom hair styles and makeup routines that would work for YOUR hair and YOUR face. Thankfully, this kind of inspiration is usually amply available on any fashion blog you visit (I have a hair/makeup category on this blog for example). Don't be shy about trying a new hair cut! Just make sure it's easy to maintain on a daily basis as a mom!
For a stunning example of what styled hair and makeup can do, see this "Curvy Girl Makeover" on the Brittany Herself blog.
Finding inspiration and how-to for dressing your personal body shape is possible! It just may take a little more digging. I hope the resources I provided above help you get started. I know that before long you can have a wonderful list of sites and stores to make it easier to dress well! Frumpy doesn't have to bring you down just because you don't have one particular body type. You can look exceptionally cute and stylish regardless of your body proportions!
Now THAT you can do, Mama!
What frustrates you most about dressing well as a mom?
It's your turn to fill in the blank and get your question answered in a future blog post!