Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Practical Lady According to Candybar: Plus size shopping edition.

How nice would it be to flip through this month’s issue of Vogue and, along with all things fashion
and beauty related - find a sewing pattern, a recipe, financial advice? From what I understand, women’s magazines aren’t what they used to be. Not that I haven’t bought my fair share of Vogues, Elle, and Cosmos, but to be honest with you I don’t think I bothered with 99% of the articles there. I guess the point of these types of publications is to communicate runway fashion and trends to the masses, and that’s all well and good, but for most of us it’s a “use once and discard” situation - look at the pictures and throw it away, save for a few inspiring photos to scrapbook or to cover your wall with if you’re 14. Some are catching on with blogger articles and such, as far as the fashion stuff goes, but there really isn’t as much practical advice as their used to be. Women’s magazines of the olden days valued practicality and thriftiness. What happened?

So I’ve decided to start a new regular feature, The Practical Lady According to Candybar. I hope you get at least a little something out of these “articles!” I’ve already sort of done something like this without realizing it when I posted about thrifting tips awhile back. So this time we’ll be talking about plus size shopping.

1. My first, and I figure my most important tip, is: do not settle. I struggle with this problem very often myself! I think it’s easy to get frustrated when things don’t fit and to just buy “the next best thing” because the piece you fell in love with didn’t fit/cost too much/etc. Save your money! It will be worth it when that thing you almost bought isn’t hanging in the back of your closet with the tags still attached.

2. KNOW YOUR SIZE. Even thin ladies do this :P If something is too small…it’s too freakin’ small. Don’t buy it for “when you get back to suchandsuch weight” or altering it to try and make it fit (unless you’re letting out a seam). I’m sure you are a creative goddess, but unless you are a skilled tailor and know what you’re doing, I say move on. When you try something on and it seems snug, or is the fabric is pulling or that last button doesn’t button…don’t you dare try to talk yourself into saying it fits. It’s okay to try things on that are a smaller size that look like they may fit (some brands run large, may have an elastic waist or any other number of forgiving features), but for goodness sake don’t keep picking up a 12 when a 16 would be much more flattering. You are not a number.

3. That being said, understand your body. My best friend and I agree that we’ve come to understand our shapes and what works for them. Not that there’s a uniform style you need to stick to, but certainly an idea of what is unflattering is helpful. In my case this means no low rise jeans (muffin top, ahoy!), strapless things (instant uni-boob), anything too high-waisted (darn my short torso!), and narrow shoes (wide feet, blame my mother :P!). You should also know your measurements and don’t be afraid to try things on that you think usually don’t work for you. No harm in trying!

4. Broaden your shopping horizons. Get creative with where you shop - if you keep heading to the same local shops, it only limits you. Don’t be snobby and ignore the plus shops, either! You never know what you’ll find. Try out maternity clothes, too. Get over any mental stigmas you have about clothes and where to get them. And by God - shop online! The whole world is your shopping mall. To start off…


5. Something I learned the hard way…Consider how the garment will fit after its been washed. Do you really want to hand wash and line dry that t-shirt every time? Will it still fit as well as it does now once its been washed and dried? Dry cleaning your thing?

6. Be thrifty. I get seriously annoyed when a plus vintage dress is marked up on Etsy or Ebay and I see the words “Rare large size!!” Glare! I hate to be a drag, but even if they are rare, it just doesn’t seem right. I find larger size vintage in thrift stores fairly often. I think the price should depend on other factors, like quality, age, style, etc. Also, some modern stores like to charge a few dollars extra on larger sizes. For what…a few more inches? I don’t think that’s very good customer service, if you ask me! (Yes, I’m talking to you, Alloy folks.)

7. I’m sure I could have easily grouped this one in with number 3, but I thought it deserved a proper mention on its own. Try to avoid “easy fashion.” It seems big retailers want to confine us to certain styles. Not that one wrap dress, weird flowy boho top, or some form of stretch geometric print will kill you, but let’s not get carried away like our friends at Faith21. You deserve choice, I tell you!

I have loads of ideas for future topics, but is there anything in particular you might like to see? Not that I'm an expert on all matters, but maybe someone will benefit from my two cents!

P.S. Come back for a really awesome giveaway tomorrow :)!!


  1. Ooh, so many good tips!! It's so true, we all try to cram ourselves into too tight of clothes hoping they'll magically fit!! It's hard not to look at the size label and get down, but it will make you so much happier to buy the bigger size that actually fits and looks flattering.

    Can't wait for your giveaway!

  2. This is such a wonderful post! I couldn't agree with you more about #7. I'm so glad that I discovered estate sales and thrift stores and got away from the "easy fashion", it used to be all I wore! I wish we could go back to the day when women sewed a lot of there own clothes and things looked somewhat unique.

  3. yeah i agree, it would be so lovely if magazines did patterns and thing, and great tips btw and woo i can't wait for the givaway!!

  4. I love your blog. Just love it. You have the best ideas for posts. I totally agree with what you said. I think these are all things that are hard-learned through experience...at least I know they have been for me.

    Thanks for agreeing to answer some of my questions about your etsy shop (and for that nice comment about my future shop:)! I'll be e-mailing you soon:)

  5. Yes it really is a shame that magazines aren't like that anymore. I came across a great reproduction of a 1940s book full of advice like that in a bookstore the other day but I can't for the life of me remember what it was called..

  6. Wonderful tips for all!

    Re: #5
    One of the great things about thrifting is that chances are it has already been washed!