Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Shoe Review: American Eagle Sweetpea Canvas Wedges

The Shoe: American Eagle Sweetpea Canvas Wedge, White Sz. 9W
The Store: Payless
The Price: $14 USD

This week's reviews are all about rehashes. Favorite store had the most amazing fitting shoe or dress, but sold out before you could buy it? Never fear! Stores often use the same design, but update the pattern each season to match whatever the trend happens to be in style at the time. This is especially handy if you found something that fits amazingly, or, if you happened to have loved that article so much you wore it out and now need a replacement.

Pros: Versatile with many outfits, Available in wide-width, Mid-height wedge.
These are probably my favorite summer shoes, simply because they go with almost everything. Last summer's (or maybe the summer before that?)'s version had a kind of bow on the top, this summer has a little flower. Aside from those differences, let me assure you, they are the exact same shoe, same fit and all. The Sweetpea Wedge is available in 5 colors, and wide- and regular-width. Its 3.5" wedge heel with slight platform is neither so high, nor so heavy that it makes the wedge feel "clunky", and is a great choice for girls like myself who like heels, but are a bit unsteady in them.

Cons: ?
Honestly, I sat here for a good while and I couldnt think of anything I don't like about these wedges. I can't sing it's praises enough. The peep toe opening doesn't squash your toes, the sling back doesn't rub your heel raw. And there's enough cute colors to satisfy almost every taste.

The Verdict:
If the shoe fits, but it in every color. Or so a wise woman once said. I may have to pick up another pair of these simply because my other wedges are starting to wear out. I think I may want to pick up the berry color ones as well!!

Buy Online or In-store at Payless

Monday, March 28, 2011

Makeup Monday: Maybelline Falsies Mascara

The Makeup: Maybelline Volum' Express The Falsies (Washable), in Very Black
The Store: Walmart (available in most beauty stores)
The Price: $8 CAD

(Without, and with Falsies mascara)

False lash glam, instantly!
• Patented Spoon Brush fans out lashes from corner-to-corner, while our Pro-Keratin formula instantly builds volume without clumping
• Unique flexible wand helps to lift and separate lashes to provide the look of 300% more visible, fuller lashes, no gaps from any angle
• Contact lens safe and ophthalmologist-tested
• Washable, also available in Waterproof formula

Pros: Coats individual lashes, Washable.
As a general rule, the smaller the mascara brush, the easier it is to get even the smallest lashes, but for some reason the large curved brush that Volum' Express Falsies provided worked just as well. Immediately after putting this mascara on, I have to say I was really pleased with the look. It evenly coated even my thin bottom lashes, and even lightly curled and coated my decidedly straight upper lashes. What I liked most is that although it added volume, it didnt make my lashes look really clumpy (we've all seen those women who look like they have 6 lashes), which is definitely a bonus.

Cons: Starts flaking after a few hours, Irritating to eyes, Doesn't come close to false lash look..
The Falsies mascara is unfortunately pretty flaky, and I might go so far as saying its the flakiest I've ever bought. I dont think it survived 5 hours, which left me a bit disappointed. Also, although Maybelline says its contact lens safe and ophthalmologist-tested - its *really* irritating if you happen to rub your eyes. Although the mascara coats your lashes really well, it doesn't come remotely close to looking like you're wearing false lashes. I didnt really expect it would, but I hate when companies make really unrealistic claims.

The Verdict:
I'm coming to the conclusion that washable mascara's are a waste of money. I do like this mascara, and what it does for my lashes, but in my experience you should always go for the waterproof version of a mascara if its available.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fa(t)shion Friday: Ricki's Asymmetrical Dress

The Clothes: Ricki's Asymmetrical Azure Dress, XL
The Store: Ricki's (Canada)
The Price: $15 CAD (Originally $90)

Pros: 80's throwback style, Cute included belt, Sturdy construction.
This dress immediately caught my attention because it was so different from everything else I have seen recently - although there is an 80's style revival going on, its mainly been things such as leggings, flats, and certain colors - so seeing a retro styled dress was a pretty big treat for me. The fabric is a middle-weight knit, and is also lined, which is a nice touch as I dont think many women own nice slips anymore. The dress also comes with a nice stretch belt to accent the waist (I used this belt for many, many different outfits).

Cons: Not a "fat-friendly" line, Cut feels lopsided.

I love Ricki's, it is by far my favorite clothing store, but they aren't really all that fat friendly. They carry sizes 0-18 (plus size being an XL/Size 16), so plus sizes are very underrepresented here. If they were to expand their line, I am sure they'd have plus sized ladies lining up around the block, because they have good looking, well made clothes. More often than not, they have very well cut clothing, that they subtly tailor for each size up - however, this is not the case with this dress. It has no darts, or tucks around the bust, and the only stitching was at the shoulder, which made for some...strange pleating that makes the dress feel lopsided.

The Verdict:
The more I've worn this dress, the less I like it, but inversely, I love the belt that came with it, which I would have paid $15 for on its own. I switch it up with most of my outfits - so it was a good buy for me. I guess I just consider the dress a bonus, and I may keep it around for a retro night.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Measuring Guide

First and foremost, one of the things a person should never be without (regardless of their size) is a measuring tape. The reason for this being that most brands have what we call "vanity sizing" (a ploy from stores to make customers feel better, and therefore shop at their stores more than their competitors) - So even though you may truly be a size 16, in some stores you may be a 14, or even a 12 in vanity sizes.

DO NOT FALL FOR THIS TRICK. Learn your true size that way you aren't crushed when you find out your size is a lot larger than you may have thought it was. Its just a number, and it isn't changing your actual size. Rather than trying to squeeze yourself in to a smaller outfit and end up looking terrible, know your true measurement and avoid this problem all together.

The second reason for knowing your measurements is for ease of buying - More often than not, brands carry what they call "Extended sizes" (ie. plus sizes) online only. Without being able to try these things on, the only thing you have to go on is measuring charts.

For ease of measurement, have someone help measure you (boyfriend/husband, mom/sister), because trying to self-measure is difficult. If you do try and measure your self, I recommend adding an extra inch to the measurement. To begin, wear a comfortable every-day bra and panties. No shapewear, no minimizing bra, and definitely no push-up bras! All of those things will give you incorrect measurements. To measure, keep the tape level, and taut, but not so tight that you're "squeezing" anything.

Place the tape measure just under your armpits and measure across the fullest part of your breasts (usually level with your nipples).

This measurement is important if you're trying to fit for a bra. Measure just under your breasts (on your ribcage).

Doing a write up on bra's would be a completely separate entry, so I will link a guide I found to be quite accurate and informative, since they have all of the bases covered.
007 Bras

Traditionally, this is measured at your "narrowest point", but for plus sized ladies, your narrowest point is often your ribcage. So, for the waist measurement, I recommend measuring across your belly button.

Measure the widest part of your lower half. For me, this fell across the lower part of my stomach (just above my butt); but for others the widest part may be across your butt and thighs.

This is important to know for measuring pants. Starting at your crotch, measure all the way to the floor.
If you wear heels with your pants, measure with your heels on, to just above the floor. You want your pants to hit just above the heel, so you wont tread on the fabric.

**Addendum from my mother, the seamstress: "Also measure for pants by the outseam. Just in case the crotch is longer or shorter, the outside seam is a good measurement." (Referring to the RISE of the pants).**

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Shoe Review: Aldo Gold Twist Flats

The Shoe: Aldo "Twist" flat in Gold, Sz 9
The Store: Value Village
The Price: $8 CAD

Pros: Cheap price, Gorgeous shoe, Good brand.
Buying from a thrift store occasionally yields incredible results - and this was one of those times. The regular retail of these shoes is around $50-70, and finding these in fantastic condition for $8 is a steal. These particular ones stood out like a beacon of light beckoning me to them, and after seeing the size, I immediately put them in my cart (I should have tried them on, but thats a different story). The shoe itself, although it has a cloth-type upper, is very solidly constructed, with a thick sole, and tiny kitten heel.

Cons: Narrow pointed toe, D'orsay style.
Being as I didn't try these on before I bought them, I didnt have a chance to find out that the pad of this shoe is a bit on the narrow side, which caused my toes to be squished like sardines. Also, the fact that these are flats with a D'orsay style (side cut out) is not a plus to me. I like the style just fine, but living in the land of the frozen North, you tend to want shoes that cover your feet well, lest you get snow in your shoe!!

The Verdict:
Although these are very pretty flats, I made a snap decision to buy them, and think I will be weeding them out of my closet soon. I know I'll end up repeating this a few times, but always try things on!! (I let shoes be my exception usually since the size range doesn't vary dramatically).

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Makeup: Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Liner, in Blackest Black
The Store: Walmart (available in most beauty stores)
The Price: $10 CAD

Maybelline Lasting Drama is:
Oil-free formula holds highly concentrated pigments in a clear gel base
• Smudge-proof and waterproof for 24 hours
• Most intense line for lasting drama
• Safe for sensitive eyes and ophthalmologist-tested
• Contact lens safe

Pro's: *Very* long lasting wear, Highly pigmented color, Included brush, Non-irritating.
When they say this product lasts 24 hours...thats a bit of an understatement - for me it was closer to 48 hours. It does come off with makeup wipes, but during the process your eyes end up looking like an emo kid with non-waterproof mascara. So, for personal preference, I like to take a q-tip to it on day 2 (to remove the excess smudged liner), and it leaves a nice filled in look on your lash line. The best part about this liner is if you rub your eyes and some of the liner gets in them, it won't irritate the hell out of them (I have extremely sensitive eyes, so this is a HUGE bonus).

The gel liner comes with a handy little liner brush, which compared to most "included" applicators actually works pretty well. The Lasting drama liner glides on really smoothly, and the color is incredibly dark and pigmented, which is perfect for pictures where you want your makeup to actually show up.

Cons: Hard to get off, Limited color range.
I really wish this liner came in more than 4 colors (Black, brown, charcoal, and eggplant), but that being said, they have the basic colors covered at the very least. In the future, I'm hoping they make a lighter shade of black, because as much as I love Blackest Black, it isn't meant to be "everyday wear" makeup. And as stated before, this stuff isn't easy to take off, but that can also be a positive, depending on how you look at it.

Most people wont need a product like this, but its one of my absolute favorites, so I would definitely recommend it if you have a need for it, or even just like playing with makeup. Kudo's to Maybelline for living up to the product claims as well.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Fa(t)shion Friday: Going Out

*Puts on blindfold and waits for gunfire* I've only had this blog two weeks, and I've already managed to have a late post - so go ahead and shoot me. I got so caught up being busy the last two days (I've literally not been home at all) that I completely forgot to set up my Friday post ahead of time. The good news is I'll post about what I wore last night, since I think I was going to post about it soon anyway - and since its late I'll do two articles of clothing (and they go together anyway....).

Jon and me being dorks at a Royksopp concert last night (AMAZING, btw).

The Clothes: Canyon Blues Cowl-neck Sweater Dress, B.L.E.U. Leggings
The Store: Sears
The Price: $12 USD (or $8 and $4, respectively)

Pro's: Stretchy leggings, *Very* cheap, Easy to mix and match, Dress was true to size.
Although the leggings only go to size XL, I'd say you could easily fit up to a petite 2X (seriously, the waist touches the band on my bra...built in tummy tucker...yay?). At full price the leggings were only $10, and they go with pretty much everything, so thats a purchase I can get behind! The dress was a true XL (careful, the arms might be a bit tight), but being so short, I can sometimes get away with wearing that size.

Cons: Small size range, wears out quickly.
XL was the the largest size I found for both brands. The dress didn't have a ton of stretch to it, whereas the leggings were the complete opposite. Both articles were cheap quality, and are starting to pill after 3 wearings now.

The Verdict:

Sometimes when you buy cheap, you get cheap, which is what both of these pieces are, but for the price and the soon to be changing clothing season, thats something I'm willing to sacrifice $12 to. Neither are still available online, but may be found in store still at Sears (in the discount racks).

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Shoe Review: Bongo Femy Mary Jane Pumps

The Shoe: Bongo Femy Mary Jane Pumps, Red (also comes in black), 9.5.
The Store: K-Mart
The Price: $10 USD

I bought these shoes a month or two ago and settled in to a happy little pinup-shoe loving relationship, until recently. I've just discovered they come in BLACK! Now, I already have about 15 pairs of black pumps, but......I need these! Nothing like a cute pair of heels to make me want to cheat on my other shoes ;)

Pro's: Comfortable round toe, Thicker heel, Mid-range height.
I love heels, love, love, love them, but I cant really walk in them to save my soul. Or so I thought. And then, one day...I discovered heels with thicker, lower heels. It was like day and night. Mind you, I still cant wear heels all day, but a half day is a big step up from not at all!

These heels feature a thicker 2.5" heel, for all day wear that wont completely kill your arches; as well as a rounded toe for those of us that dont like pinched toes! Although these weren't wide width, they were accommodating enough to my feet that I dont mind.

Cons: Upturned toe, Difficult buckle.

One of the very few things I disliked about these shoes was the fact that the pad of the foot was slightly upturned, I am assuming for ease of walking. All they did for me is throw off my walking ability until I got used to the feel. The other downside is that the heart buckle, although really cute is really difficult to work with. I quite literally can't do the buckle up while these are actually on my feet. Luckily, the strap sits low enough on the foot that you can just do the buckle up, and then put on the shoe without too much difficulty.

Difficult buckle or no, I love these shoes so much that I want to buy one in each color. The price had me sold from the first time I saw them (they were $20, buy one get one half off), and now that they're even cheaper, thats even more reason for me to buy another pair.

Buy at K-Mart

Monday, March 14, 2011

Makeup Monday: Sally Hansen Diamond Strength No Chip Nail Color

The Makeup: Sally Hansen Diamond Strength No-Chip Nail Color
The Store: Walmart (available in most beauty stores)
The Price: $8 CAD

Sally Hansen Diamond Strength No-Chip NailCcolor comes in a hefty 36 shades, with nail perfection achievable after only two coats. The premise of this nail polish is that its chip resistant, fade resistant, and helps stop your nails from breaking. I put on two coats of "Pink Proposal" and decided to test out these claims.

Pros: Chip Resistant, Helps harden soft nails, Many shades to choose from.
Putting it simply, I am really rough on my nails. Most nail polishes dont last a day without chipping, due to the fact that I've got soft nails that bend/break easily, so when I heard about the claims this polish makes, I knew I had to give it a try. I have to say, I am really impressed with the wearability. It was a solid 3 days before the polish was chipped enough to be noticeable. It even survived me trimming my nails without chipping. My nails did seem not to be as soft as before while I had this polish on, and the effects still seem to last a little after I took the polish off as well. The large range of colors for this brand is definitely enticing.

Cons: Price, 2 coats didn't live up to expectations.
One bottle of this stuff (.45 fl oz) will set you back $8 a pop, which can get pretty pricey really quick if you decide you want more than one color. Looking at the color itself, if I chose any other than "Pink Proposal" (looks a bit like a French Manicure), I might be a bit disappointed. I am a tad on the impatient side, so putting more than 2 coats of color on is a stretch for me, but this color was pretty....transparent looking. I'd hesitate to buy any of the darker colors for fear that they might be a bit on the transparent side as well.

Proceed with caution. The price was a definite negative to me, but many women won't consider $8 a large investment seeing as the nail polish lasts so long. The product claims are right on the money, and it did feel like the polish did help my nails. Also, a word of warning...don't try and wear this polish on your toes. Lets just say the greenish undertone *isn't* flattering.

Sally Hansen Official Site

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fa(t)shion Friday!

The Clothes: The Diva Skinny Jean (embellished), Size 18R (available in petite, regular, long)
The Store: Old Navy
The Price: $7 CAD

Pro's: True to size, solid construction, infinite options.
As a quick brief: most brands have what we call "vanity sizing" (a ploy from stores to make customers feel better, and therefore shop at their stores more than their competitors) - So even though you may truly be a size 16, in some stores you may be a 14, or even a 12.

Old Navy is fairly true to size when it comes to their clothing, which is something you really learn to appreciate when shopping. I bought a pair of size 18 Diva jeans (Diva = low rise), regular length, and I'd give these jeans a 9/10 for their effort.
-Standing around 5'4.5'' I am just a smidge too tall to be in the "petite" clothing category (reserved for 5'4'' and under, usually), so these jeans are just slightly bunched near the ankle, but that isn't enough to bother me, especially with the cute gold button embellishments at the side.
-I chose the Diva style, which translate to a lower rise in the crotch, and straight fit through the hips and thighs. Similar styles of these jeans come in "The Rockstar": low rise, slim fit in the legs; "The Sweetheart": medium rise, straight in the leg; and "The Flirt": medium rise, slim fit in the leg.
-These particular jeans are in a medium wash, but are also available in dark washes, and I believe, grey.

Cons: No give to the fabric.
When I say there's no give to the fabric, I do mean there's no give. Its made from a heavy weight denim that has absolutely no stretch to it, so you darn well better try these jeans on IN STORE. There-in lies the problem for some women - Old Navy carries up to an 18 in Canada, and up to a 20 in the US in store, but thats not exactly helpful for most plus-gals. To be fair, atleast O.N. gives the option of being able to shop sizes 16-30 online in the US. So for those ladies, I'm sorry I cant help you there, but the bright side is that Old Navy does have size charts that do include measurements for up to size 30.

The Verdict:
For the sale price I got - Buy 'em. Even for the current sale price, well constructed plus-sized jeans are a steal.

Shop Old Navy's US Store
Shop Old Navy's Canadian Store

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Shoe Review

The Shoe: Riding Boots, Size 9.5W
The Store: Fashion Bug
The Price: $15 USD

If you, or anyone reading this with you, goes in to a laughing fit when hearing the words "long" "wide" and "shaft" said in the same sentence, you should probably stop reading now.

Moving along now...
Simply put - I LOVE these boots. They are honestly one of the best purchases I've ever made. I've been in the market for calf high boots for as long as I can remember, but because I have Amazonian calves, I couldn't ever find boots that fit unless they laced up (and even then, the tongues are often too slim and you end up seeing flesh on either side!). Oh, sure, if I wanted to pay $300 or so, I could easily find boots that would fit me in the calf-region, but lets just say I have better things to spend my money on. So, not too long ago I was surfing on Fashion Bug's website, and I saw these beauties - I knew immediately that I had to have them!

Pro's: Wide and normal shaft sizes.
The elastic shaft on these boots hugs the legs tightly, but they're made to be worn with skinny jeans or leggings, so if you're wearing them with bare legs they are going to feel loose. The boots have adjustable straps on the calf and ankle that aren't just for show - they can actually be tightened or loosened to suit your needs.

Cons: Fake Leather?
This could go either way - I knew for the price I wasn't getting real leather boots, and even though it looks just fine, I would have liked the shaft to be sturdier feeling. That being said, these boots are Vegan-friendly, which is a plus, so take the non-leather construction as you will. That was truly the only downside.

The Verdict:
Buy, Buy, BUY. Things like this are going to go quick, but luckily Fashion Bug carries around four styles very similar to this boot (no longer online, can still be found in limited selection in-store). If you cant find these particular ones, don't despair! Start checking other stores this time of year, and keep your ears peeled for sales. Or if you have the patience and don't have the need just yet...wait for next year's end of season sale.

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Planning Stage

Last night I was mulling over the format for my blog, and I think I came up with something that will work out very well in the grand spectrum of things. Things are going to go a little like this:

Makeup Mondays - Reviews of new products I've tried, recommendations for older products I love, and a picture or two of it actually being worn.

The Shoe Review (Wednesdays) - Because who doesn't love shoes? Its kind of a safety net for women after a day of frustrating (clothing) shopping, because the size variance in shoes is pretty small compared to clothing.

Fa(t)shion Fridays - This is going to be a personal favorite - I'll let you know the brand, size, how it fits (loose, tight, true to size), where I found the item, and for how much.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Makeup Monday: Maybelline Super-Stay 24 Hour Color

Here and there I'll do a makeup Monday post, seeing as makeup can be an essential part of your look. I'll tell you what I love, don't love, and what I think is worth buying. In keeping with my cut-rate fashion theme, I'm not going to be reviewing expensive, hard to find products - only normal products you could find at your local drug-store.

Maybelline Super Stay 24 Hour Color
Endless Ruby, #30

Pros: Long lasting color, very pigmented.
To begin, since I know "long lasting color" lipsticks are pretty drying to your lip, I put on some lip conditioner (my personal preference is Blistex Lip Conditioner, but you can use whatever you have on hand). After that soaked in a bit, I lined and filled in my lips with Rimmel's Exaggerate in Red Diva, #24. Using the liquid color end of the Super Stay lipstick, I filled in the lips with the lovely deep red color. Now comes the tough part: waiting. You have to wait till the lip color has completely dried on your lips before you can use the included color-renewing balm.

Cons: Dry lips, slow drying.
I mentioned in the last section that long lasting color is very drying to your lips - because it truly is. Luckily for us, Maybelline thought this out and included a color-renewing balm with the product. That being said, you HAVE to keep applying the balm if you want to keep your lips from drying out. The other downside is how long the lip color takes to dry. It took around 2 minutes to dry before I could put on the balm, which to someone trying to quick apply some makeup before running out the door, does not work at all. But, if you give yourself some time, its well worth the effort.

Why this is in the blog:
Simple. Its a pretty inexpensive product to begin with, but I managed to snag one of these for free. I always keep my eyes peeled for deals, coupons, and contests - and it just so happened Maybelline wanted to give away about 1,000 of these bad boys for free. So, I signed up , and lucky as I am, managed to win one. Even if you have to go and buy some though, its less than $10 in Canada, and even cheaper in the US. They give you a fair amount of product for the price, and even though I wouldnt say the lipstick lasts a full 24 hours (its still there, but its not something you want to wear in public), it still lasts throughout a work day or an evening out.

The Verdict:
Buy it. I am going to get another color soon. The color they sent is lovely, but slightly brighter than I could pull off normally.

Living Life On The Cheap

For those who know me, I need no introduction; but, I am going to assume atleast a few of you have randomly stumbled across my blog and are wondering who in the heck I am and why you should care. I am a 23 year old plus-sized model living in Canada. You may call me Liz if you'd like.

So, now that you know who I am, you're probably wondering why I started this blog? It's pretty simple - Being plus sized makes it pretty difficult to find good bargains when it comes to clothes, and as a model, I constantly get women asking "Where did you find that? I'd love to have one!". I am the kind of person who doesn't horde secrets about my finds, because even if any of you by chance happened to get the last pair of size 18 jeans in the store, there is still an entire world of size 18 jeans in other stores.

Now that I've got that out - lets get on to the goods: I wont strictly be posting plus-sized only fashions, since a lot of brands are now carrying straight and plus sized versions of the same clothes, and because I like to throw in the occasional shoe post or makeup review. Seeing as both of those are essentials to a fantastic outfit ;)

This blog, as many things are, is a work in progress. I'm constantly updating and adding new things - so check back often!