EnTRENCHed in Chicago

Do you have a trench coat? I never owned one until I moved to Chicago and realized that you need about 15 different types of coats to survive the weather and seasons here. lol. The trench coat is a staple of my wardrobe in the fall and spring…it’s classic, practical, and most of the time it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing underneath (hmm, get your mind outta the gutter!).

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind lately, but I did get a chance to run around during my lunch break last week, sporting my favorite (old, so old!) trench coat from Old Navy. I swear, I’ve had this coat for about 5 years, and even though the color is starting to fade, I can’t get rid of it!

One reason I can’t get rid of this trench is because is has 3/4 length sleeves. I love 3/4 sleeves! 

Don’t JUMP! lol

This is what I was wearing under the trench coat. πŸ™‚ I was going to the Ballet that night, so I was a little fancy. 

This is what we do in Chicago…we hang out by vacant lots and look tough…
…and who can resist climbing on the back of an unattended FedEx vehicle??? Not this girl. lol

The Joffrey Ballet’s Don Quixote was wonderful, by the way! I love that most people still get dressed up for it…although we saw a couple of prom-like dresses that should have been retired in the 90s. lol. (That’s mean, I know!)

Here’s the outfit rundown:
Black Trench Coat: Old Navy
Amazing Ombre Flowered Party Dress (with a petticoat included!): Eliza J (by way of Nordstrom Rack)
Sheer Butterfly-sleeved Cardigan: Forever 21
Shoes: Vince Camuto

OK…This week is Fashion Focus Chicago!!! I’ll be attending shows and events every single night…so tons of posts are in works! Also…a week from today is my BIRTHDAY!!!!! I can’t believe how time is flying!

The Party’s Over…

What do you do when you need some fabulous sixties-style makeup for a photoshoot, and don’t know where to start? Well, I went running to Alyson, a makeup artist for Mac, and begged her to help me! (I’ll be telling you all about this mysterious photoshoot in a week or two, so don’t fret yet!) After the photoshoot, I went home and snapped these pics just for fun. I was completely channeling a Doris Day “The Party’s Over” vibe… πŸ™‚

The leather jacket and cage shoes toughen this look up a bit. Without those elements, this would be too  sugary sweet. 
LOOK…Bare arms!!! I have totally been against baring my arms for so long…but in a dress like this…no one is really looking at your arms…they are most likely distracted by your cleavage. lol
The halter neck tie and sweetheart neckline actually are actually pretty flattering to those of us with larger upper bodies.
My favorite part of the night….REMOVING my shoes!!!
And of course, I had to give you a close up of the makeup and false eyelashes! Thanks, Alyson!
Here’s the pile of my accessories…and my toes!

Outfit Rundown:
Dress: Donna Ricco (TJ Maxx, maybe)
Shoes: Nine West via TJ Maxx
Faux Leather Jacket: Giacca via Nordstrom Rack
Pearls: Gift from my Granma on my 18th birthday πŸ™‚
Earrings: Gift from a friend (Thanks Michelle!)
Purse: Chinese Laundry via Savvy Seconds

There’s just something sad and poignant about coming home after a party…taking off all of your finery…and resuming your normal life. *sigh. But…it’s always fun while it lasts, right?

Enough nostalgia! What’s your favorite party dress? Do you try to toughen it up…or do you go totally girly and glam?

OOTD: Skinny Jeans and Kimono Cardi

I’ve been waiting for the perfect day to wear this Kimono jacket from H&M! First of all…it’s from H&M! And it’s a size 12! I can’t imagine that this would look right on an actual size 12 woman…but I thought it looked super cute when I tried it on. The design reminds me of a watercolor painting…with blush, pink, mint green and dark green brushstrokes. lol. Anyway, here I am wearing it for casual Friday at work.

Kimono Cardi: H&M, Skinny Jeans: Forever 21+, Belt: Macy’s, Boots: Fergie by way of Nordstrom Rack, Jewelry: Ravensgoods, Forever 21, and beach vendor

I paired the kimono cardi with a cream tank, gold braided belt, skinny jeans, and my favorite fall boots! My jewelry is kind of jumbled, but I think it all works together…

I need some other outfit ideas for this kimono/caftan/cardigan. What would you wear this with?

Chicago Fashion Connect October Mixer

The Chicago Fashion Connect October Mixer was held at Frontier over in the Wicker Park area. It was a great space…although walking up the steep back staircase was extremely treacherous in heels! I arrived a little late, and things were hoppin’ by then.

The first thing I noticed when I walked in was an amazing black and white dress with an asymmetrical hemline…I knew immediately that it had to be one of the Crystal B Designs! I pounced on the model (I think her name was Emily) and got a picture.

The multiple layers and lines of this dress make it visually interesting…it’s a dress you want to keep looking at–marveling at the details. Also, the form and the color-blocking are extremely slimming and can be flattering to a number of different body types. And don’t you love the cobalt blue shoes?

This is another design that is deceptively simple. The unique square sleeves and the boxy neckline draw attention up toward the face…and the neckline is the perfect depth to show cleavage, but not too provocative.

I really enjoyed speaking with this model, Sujey. She pointed out that Crystal’s designs help balance out the female body. If you have a smaller bust line and bigger hips, a dress like this one works to balance them out.

Here’s all of the models with Crystal…don’t they look gorgeous??

And of course, I had to jump in there too. πŸ™‚

And here is Raven, the organizer of the event, with the designer and the models. 

Not the best picture, but here I am as the event winds down.

Dress: Dots, Shoes: Me Too (by way of Nordstrom Rack), Jewelry: Forever 21

This event is about the designs, but it’s also about networking with other fashion-minded people in Chicago. I met two super interesting people. First, there was Tatiana…

Tatiana is a photographer who is just getting her feet wet in the industry. She was totally charming, and I plan on searching for her on Facebook at TB Photography 21.
And here was another interesting character. πŸ™‚ Beth from Smoky Joe’s Clothing designs and makes these gorgeous smoking jackets that are all silk and velvet. They are custom made so they can be appropriate for women and men of any size! The website is still getting set up, but check out www.smokyjoesclothing.com in  a few weeks to find out more about her designs.
I enjoyed meeting so many different industry professionals…and the dresses from Crystal B Designs were a great addition to the night! I hope I’ll get a chance to interview her in the future, because I’m sure her career is going to take off!
What do you think of Crystal’s Designs? Do tell!

Frumpy to Fab with One Quick Change

Ok, I have a confession to make. I bought this leopard print top at Nordstorm Rack (or was it TJ Maxx? I can’t remember!) last year without really trying it on. When I got home, I realized that it had a lot of fabric, a weird sort of elastic waistband with a ruffle…and was really too big for me. But, I wore it anyway because I felt like it hid some of my trouble spots and camouflaged the right parts of my body. The result? Comfortable, but extremely unflattering.

So…this is how I used to wear this shirt:

Two words: FRUMP CITY!!! Although I love the print and the sequin detail, there is just too much fabric.

See how unbalanced this outfit looks? Too much on top…which overwhelms the slim bottom. There’s NO silhouette here. I just look like a giant leopard print bubble.

But…with only ONE CHANGE, this outfit goes from FRUMPY to FAB! Can you guess what that change is? Yep, I tucked in the shirt and let the pencil skirt work its magic.

Magically, I have a figure! And I feel 1000x sexier!

Instead of one big blob on top of a black stick, I have a modest, yet sexy bust line, a waist…and  hips!

Oh, and did you notice my nails? I LOVE this orange color! It’s OPI “A Good Man-darin is Hard To Find”

Shirt: Nordstrom Rack (Or TJ Maxx)
Skirt: Lane Bryant
Jewelry: Forever 21 and H&M
Shoes: Vince Camuto (are you tired of seeing these yet??)

I couldn’t believe what a big difference this made! In fact, all three skirt outfits I’ve posted lately have included me tucking in my shirt. I am a total convert. Even if you’re scared, just try it!

Oh, and here’s a tip: the key to tucking shirts into skirts if you have an apple shape like mine, is to pull the waistband up higher than your natural waist, but not far enough to reach your girls. Having it sit a little higher lets the fabric hang a little out from your body–so that it doesn’t cling to any rolls that you’d rather keep hidden.

What do you think? Do you tuck your shirts into your pants/skirts? Any tips?

Have a fantastically fierce day, my lovelies!

Amber from Style Plus Curves

30-Something Plus Size Fashion Blogger Living In Chicago
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