Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Where I Shop + FREE Style Guide

Hello, friends! So glad you're here. I'm excited to bring you not only this post, but a little something extra to go with it! Be sure to read to the end and download my FREE Style Guide. In it, you'll find:
  • 5 closet staples you should always have on hand
  • Where to shop them
  • How to turn the staples into fail-proof outfits 
  • On-trend pieces to mix and match them with 
  • Bonus outfit ideas
If you have ever asked me anything about where I shop, building outfits, or anything style related, this is the post for you. Want even more style guidance? Check out this post and this post - keep in mind items in these posts may no longer be available, but they will give you some great tips and visual examples! *Please note that I did not link the clothing items in the guide. These are just included to give you some inspiration and ideas because eventually all of the items will sell out and become unavailable, even though the post will continue to float around on my blog, Pinterest, etc.*

When it comes to shopping, I am an equal opportunity kind of gal. I've shopped everywhere from my local dollar store to street vendor carts on Canal Street in New York. I love designer goods, but honestly, labels don't matter as long as what you're wearing makes you happy. So just know, when you ask me where I shop, it's a mixed bag!

Places I shop when I'm in bed, scrolling.....

Even though many more retailers have started carrying plus sizes, they don't all offer the option to shop it in store. Or they offer it in a limited number of locations, usually major cities. I live near Oklahoma City so guess what? I never get to shop in store at those retailers! *sad face* The good news is, after shopping with them a few times, I can get a pretty good feel for what will work and what won't. Always check to see if they offer a free shipping option for in-store pickup, get on email lists for coupons, and note their return policies.
  • Old Navy. Girlfriends, this is my go-to place for dresses! They offer so many different shapes and lengths, and when you catch a sale, you cannot beat their prices. I also enjoy some of their athlesiure and layering pieces but when I'm looking for a cute dress, one of my first stops is the Old Navy website. 
  • LOFT. I don't think I've ever paid full price at LOFT. You know how Hobby Lobby always has a sale going on? Same thing. What I really love from LOFT are sweaters and ponchos. They do great ones every single year and the sizing is always on point, along with the quality. Their return policy can be tricky though, so make sure you read all the fine print!
  • Nordstrom. I love Nordstrom, but sometimes the price point doesn't love me back. But did you know they carry a brand called BP that is super afforadable? True story. I love the BP brand and it's the first thing I check when Nordstrom does their huge anniversary sale in the summer. But if you're in the mood to treat yourself, check out Barefoot Dreams during the sale! It's as if angels floating on marshmallow clouds came down from heaven and gave you a hug. But like, in the form of a cardigan.
  • Jessica London. Over on Instagram (be sure to follow me HERE) you've probably seen me talk about Jessica London. I work with them on monthly style campaigns and I have to tell you, they don't get enough love! They are such a great option for extended sizing in work wear and things like pajamas and lounge wear. It sounds silly, but a cute pair of PJs that fit well are not always easy to come by when you're plus size. Theirs are awesome!
***Bonus tip - if you're pregnant, Old Navy goes up to 4X online (and in select stores) and saved my life when I was mega pregnant and couldn't find what I wanted in maternity. I also lived in LOFT ponchos! 

Places I shop at the mall.....
  • Lane Bryant. It's just the OG of plus size fashion, y'all. If you need it, you can probably find it at Lane Bryant. The price point can be a bit higher than other places, but the quality is awesome and the clothes are true to size. If you aren't utilizing coupons and rewards from Lane Bryant, you should be. They also have huge sales, sometimes with a BOGO Free option on clearance. So if you like their clothes but it's not in your budget, just remember to get on the email list to know when the best deals are going on. 
  • .JCPenney. I feel like JCP often tends to fly under the radar but listen.....there are hidden gems all over the place. I particularly love the brands a.n.a. and Boutique. A lot of the pieces I buy at JCP are trendy and of the moment, and I do that because they are almost always on sale and I have a coupon. Another thing you might not know is that JCP also offers extended sizing online, so if you see it in the store but it doesn't fit, hop online and check for larger sizes than 3X. 
  • Forever 21. I know it probably seems ridiculous to shop at Forever 21 when I'm absolutely 36, but you just never know what kinds of fun things you'll find there. I'll be the first to admit sometimes their sizing is off, but when it's on - it's great. I don't ever go into F21 expecting anything, which means when I do score something awesome, it's that much more satisfying! Aside from clothing, I love F21 for accessories. Some of my favorite bags and sunglasses have come from there. My advice when shopping there is to know you may not find anything, but it's worth stopping in because that may be the trip when you snag something you can't live without!
Other favorites I'm obsessed with.....
  • Walmart.I make no secret about my love for Walmart. I have shopped there for years and I know people think they just recently stepped up their game, but I have been finding hidden gems there for a long time. I actually have an entire blog post about shopping Walmart like a pro - you can read it HERE. The main plus size brand at Walmart is Terra and Sky. Sometimes they make items in the Time and Tru brand that go up to a 22, but they run smaller. I wish they would just make it all the same because I know women of all sizes who see things in one brand or the other that they wish fit them. The thing I love about Walmart is that they carry a great mix of basics and on-trend pieces. If you are on a really tight budget, you can truly outfit yourself and your family in great pieces at Walmart. 
  • Cato Fashions. They are a regional retailer, but if you have one near you, you have to check them out. They carry all sizes and their price point is fantastic. You can find everything from work wear, to denim, to shape wear, and lots of cute styles that reflect whatever is currently hot in fashion. They get new shipments weekly, and that means they move things out often, which means their clearance racks are always full of good deals. I do buy things at regular price from Cato, and I'll tell you why - things sell fast there. If you see it in your size and you love it, you better grab it, because odds are, it will be gone quickly. 
  • Torrid. Remember when Torrid was just plus size Hot Topic? It is so, so much more than that nowadays and I am a huge fan. It can also be a bit more expensive than other places, but again, coupons and email lists are your friend! I love that they carry an amazing selection of wide width shoes and I love that they cater to so many different styles. Whether you're very classic or preppy or boho or goth, they have something for you, and I think that's awesome. They truly are an inclusive brand and we need more of that in all fashion, but especially plus size fashion. 
  • Boutiques. I've said it before and I'll say it again - support your local boutiques and online boutiques. Especially if they carry plus sizes! Larger sizes cost more. They just do. So when a boutique owner decides to carry plus, they automatically pay more for those pieces. When you shop with them, it helps them continue to run their business and continue serving the plus size shopper. 
  • Places I love but don't get to shop all the time. Belk and ELOQUII are absolutely it. I don't have a Belk super close to me, but when I'm visiting a city with a huge Belk store, I always go. The Belk in the Dallas Galleria is my fave. I also love ELOQUII but there are zero stores in OK and the price point is more of a splurge for me. However, their clothes are stunning and the pieces I do have, I love. 
  • The place I want to try but haven't yet. Hands down, Anthropologie! They now carry plus sizes and everything looks so beautiful online. Unfortunately the price point is beyond a splurge for me. I'm sure at some point I will buy myself something there, but for right now I just scroll the website and dream.....
Recent favorite outfits.....

Hat available HERE, bag HERE, cardigan HERE. Affiliate links.
Hat available HERE, skirt HERE, shoes HERE. Affiliate links. Dolly tee is from local boutique. 
Cardigan available HERE, hat HERE, earrings HERE. Affiliate links.

If you've enjoyed this post, I think you'll enjoy this even more - a little something from me to you! Click the link to download my FREE Style Guide It's packed with ideas, tips, and visuals for creating a closet you love. I hope you enjoy!

In the meantime, where are your favorite places to shop? Let me know where I should be doing some retail therapy! Thanks so much for reading, and remember - the time to live your best life is RIGHT NOW!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Fall Fashion: One Dress 3 Ways With Chic Soul

Hello, friends! 

I'm so excited to bring you this post, because it includes one of my very favorite boutiques, Chic Soul! If you haven't heard of Chic Soul (seriously, how is that possible?) then you're in for a treat because they carry a HUGE selection of the cutest clothes for curvy gals. I am so excited to have an opportunity to work with them this month, and I love that they have allowed me to be creative in how I share content with you.
*This dress was provided by Chic Soul but all thoughts and opinions are my own. Links in this post are not affiliate links. 

One of the items I received is a pleated maxi dress called Miss You Already. Now, if you have been following along for any length of time, then you already know I love a good maxi dress. They're always comfortable, they work year round, and no one ever has to know if I shaved my legs. (I probably didn't. Because I'm wearing a maxi dress. Get with the program.)

I'm often asked about how I create outfits and put things together, so I thought I would show you how easy it is to get a ton of wear out of one dress just by styling it in different ways. The Miss You Already Dress is perfect because the colors are neutral, the fit is flexible, and it's so good all by itself - which means it's the perfect dress to experiment and have fun with!

Look 1

This is how you embrace the desperation of longing for it to be fall without sweating to death, friends. My heart says pumpkin spice, but the humidity still says pina coladas. By adding accessories in a fall color, you can still get your "It's fall, y'all!" fix without feeling like you're at the Lil' Jon level of sweat dropping down certain places. Know what I'm sayin'? I went with yellow here, but you could definitely do olive green, burgundy, burnt orange, or if you're feeling extra sassy - leopard! This dress comes with a thin fabric tie for around the waist that you can easily remove,so adding a belt is the perfect option for a pop of color or pattern, and it creates a really nice shape. I love that this look is so easy to do. All you need are two accessories in a fun fall color and you're done! 

Look 2

To me, this is perfect for when it's finally September and you can pretty much scream "It's just a bunch of Hocus Pocus!" from the rooftops, even though temps are probably still pretty warm. A utility vest is something everyone should have because they just go with every.darn.thing. I think we tend to incorporate them into fall fashion the most, but I consider them an all-seasons kind of item. So if you don't have one, you need one! Now, what really makes this look get me in my fall feelings is the hat. I'm a fashion blogger so it's pretty much like, a requirement for me to have one (insert the crying laughing emoji here). A felt hat is such an easy thing to throw on - and it instantly makes you look like you're ready to grab your Starbucks cup and just casually wander into a pumpkin patch. Haha! You'll also notice that I just used the tie belt that comes with the dress for this look and I let my statement earrings do all the talking. Everything is neutral here, but that's why it works! This look is all about shapes, textures, and patterns. 

Look 3

Now we're really getting into the fall spirit because honestly, who doesn't love a jean jacket this time of year? Sure, you can wear them year round, but don't you think harvest season might as well be called jean jacket season? Me too. I would also add that if you don't do denim, or if you just wanted this look to be a bit more dressy, you could swap the jean jacket for a leather jacket or blazer and it would still work beautifully. Gucci and Gucci-inspired belts are everywhere and such a fun way to elevate the look of a maxi dress. I just added a hat and simple gold hoops to match the belt buckle. If you're wondering, this is a straw hat, but because it's black and brown, it totally works as a transition piece from summer to fall. Another note - yes I do have the jacket draped across my shoulders in the first picture and yes, we love a super extra, fall-goddess-in-denim moment!

So there you have it - three very easy ways to change up your look, with a lot of things you probably already have in your closet. I love being able to wear things I love year round just by getting creative with color palettes, layers, and accessories. 

I think anyone and everyone would look gorgeous in the Miss You Already dress, but if it's not your style, don't worry - I gotcha covered! Here's a round up of some other things I am loving that are currently available on the Chic Soul website! I'd love to know, are you already a Chic Soul shopper? Tell me your favorite things to get from them - I love their dresses, tunics, and cardis!

I hope this post helped you think about ways you can stretch your wardrobe and introduced you to a brand you'll love. Are you dreaming of fall or holding on to the last bit of summer? Let me know in the comments! 

Don't forget, I post other content on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. I'd love to have you join me on all my platforms in the Taylors and Tiaras community! Until next time, thanks so much for reading and remember the time to live your best life is RIGHT NOW.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Why I Stopped Living for Someday

Hello, everyone! 

I hope this post finds you doing well and feeling fabulous. 

Although a lot of my content is focused on fashion, style, and finding good deals, that's certainly not the only reason I'm here. The mission is so much more than clothes. Friends, I am here to make sure you understand the worth and the value YOU bring to the table. Even though I write and post through a plus size lens, I think we can agree most women find themselves feeling insecure at one time or another. We all struggle with something. Let me say that again. WE ALL STRUGGLE WITH SOMETHING.

I was talking with my aunt recently, who I treasure and love dearly, and we were discussing the blog, Instagram, etc. and where it was all going. I told her, as I'm telling you now, fashion is the vehicle that moves the underlying message I want to share. And in fact, I intend to expand the blogger/influencer gig into taking the stage as a speaker. Whether that's a large or small group, a keynote address or a workshop session - I want to serve where I am needed and spread this message: The time to live your best life is NOW. Not 20 pounds from now. Not when you get in better shape. Not when you look a certain way.  

For most of my life, I lived on the "someday" plan. Someday when I lose weight, I'll do all the things. Someday, when I lose weight, I'll be at peace. Someday, when I lose weight, I'll be good enough, and then when I'm good enough, I'll like myself. I waged war on myself daily. I was obsessed. Some days I was obsessed with counting every calorie or carb and running up stairs until my legs felt like they would give out. Other days I was so over the misery I put myself through I would eat everything I could find and not stop until I was sick. No matter which version of that scenario played out, the tape in my head said I sucked at life, I was disgusting, and despite every other good thing I had going on, none of it mattered because I wasn't skinny. Can I just tell you that was not a fun way to live? 

Here's a perfect example of how I used to operate. 

The other day I came across an email with pictures of me in my original wedding dress. Yes, I had two. I really did like the first dress, but part of why I liked it was because it felt like the most acceptable dress I could hope for if I was doomed to be a plus size bride. I looked least offensive in that one. But I vowed to lose weight. I swore I would need to get it altered because it would be too big.

That's exactly what happened. So much so, I had to get a new dress. It was too much to alter. I'm not even going to get into all the ways I lost that weight, and it certainly didn't stay off. As I looked at those pictures and relived that moment, my heart sank. There was nothing wrong with me in that first dress. Nothing. I wasn't disgusting. It broke my heart to think about how much I hated myself in that dress back then. Most people have never seen the original dress, but I'm going to show you now.

I really can't believe how awful I felt about myself. I liked the dress, I just didn't like me. When I see the picture now I think, "Oh look how cute and young I am!" My weight and size don't even cross my mind. But at the time, I was obsessed with those things and in the end, I wore the dress below (and I did truly love that second dress). I probably still had doubts about how I looked either way.

Image may contain: 1 person

So what does this story have to do with living for someday? 

Here's the deal. When we grow up dreaming about our wedding, it's a someday moment. Someday I'll get married and wear a beautiful dress it will be perfect. And if you're me, you think, "Someday before I'm married, I'll also lose a bunch of weight before my wedding because I can't get married looking like this." Someday snuck up on me really fast and when it was time, I wasn't ready. So I panicked and did the only thing I knew how to do, which was engage in extreme behavior to get fast results. 

What I know now at 36, is life is full of somedays. And we will never be perfect. So if you're living on that same plan and you're constantly disappointed, I know how it feels. I was, too. I was always thinking about losing weight, gaining weight, eating food, not eating food, what people thought about the way I looked, and those thoughts were always framed by a general self-loathing that never went away. I struggled to live in the moment, because I always felt like I wasn't good enough and someday, I would fix it. And so it was with my wedding. The tale of two wedding dresses is really just a metaphor for how I lived life. And I'm here to tell you, there's a much better way to live.

Change doesn't happen overnight. How many times have you heard that? A million, right? Because it's true. But if you want to live differently, you have to think and act differently. Different can be uncomfortable. It can also be liberating. Different is where you'll find freedom. Different is where you will release the negative things you've told yourself and start rewriting a new ending to your story. 

Give yourself permission to be good enough, no matter what you look like. No matter where you are in life. No matter what you've done in the past. There is actually so much joy in knowing none of us is getting it right 100% of the time. Have you ever beat yourself up because you didn't look like someone else? I used to do it all the time. Here's what I know for sure - that person has something they don't like about themselves. That person is battling something we don't know about. There are things about me that person wishes they had. Size isn't everything. It does not define the life you live, unless you choose that. 

Today? I'm not the girl in either of those pictures. I'm a veteran in the wife and mom game. I'm pushing 40. I have deeply rooted beliefs but constantly look for opportunities to learn. I am not thin. But I am okay. In fact, I'm more than okay. I know I am surrounded by people who love me, just the way I am. I know my size is not what controls my happiness. ME. I do that. And you can, too. Start today. Someday is NOW.