Plus Size Project: Be Voluptuous

Let’s face it, it’s tough out there for a curvy fashionista!

Until recently plus size gals have been banished to such sad shopping sources at Wal-Mart and Lane Bryant. They were, by default, forced to wear things that aren’t exactly fashion forward or necessarily flattering.

Hip and trendy fashion brands seem to operate with the notion that no one over a size 10 follows fashion.

Why is this when more than 62 percent of women in America wear a size 14 or larger, as District Chronicles reports, and the “average” woman in America actually wears a size 14 and weighs 165 pounds, according to the New York Times?

One of the biggest challenges that many designers state is that it’s harder to create clothes for larger women. The biggest difficulty is that the dimensions to the body change in women who wear sizes greater than 16 because they gain different amounts of weight on different areas of their body — some become top heavy, some fill out around the stomach — making it harder to create patterns that will work for many women.

Ladies, this year the fashion industry is finally taking notice of the plus size fashion dilemma and making some major changes.

For the first time ever, New York Fashion Week had a plus size fashion show. Gabourey Sidibe and Nikki Blonksy were among the celebrity faces present as hosted this groundbreaking move forward for plus size ladies everywhere.

Lizzie Miller on the runway at the fashion show.
Back stage at the fashion show.

Italian Vogue launched a new Web site, Vogue Curvy, with fashion, news, tips, how to’s and daily suggestions for curvy gals.

Saks Fifth Avenue has become the first major U.S. retailer to stock plus size clothing from high-end designers such as Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi and YSL.

Being a fashion stylist, I normally deal with models who average in size from 2-4. Believe it or not dressing them has challenges of its own,  but I wanted to do something different this month.

I decided to do a plus size project.

Grabbing a gorgeous curvy pal of mine, Jamie, we set out to find her four fab fashion forward outfits at a price she could afford.

We headed off to Voluptuous, a new plus size boutique from Patty of Patty’s Closet. Patty’s Closet has been dosing out affordable fashion to Vegas since 2007. Seeing the need for a plus size boutique, Patty noticed that plus size pretties were being under-served and underestimated as far as their choices in fashion and she wanted to change that. Voluptuous opened  in September to a line out the door of curvy gals who wanted to get their fashion on!

The concept at both Patty’s Closet and Voluptuous: they only receive six of each item, which seriously eliminates the uncomfortable showing up somewhere wearing the same thing as someone else situation.  hey get shipments every week so there are always new things to choose from.

My goal was to provide Jamie with four affordable and fashion forward fall/winter looks for different occasions.

Here’s how we did:

LOOK 1 CASUAL (shopping, lunch, coffee, movies)
Rock and roll chic. High boots, skinny jeans and distressed T-shirt.

Skinny jeans, $26.50; T-shirt, $22.80; light cardigan, $21.80; boots, $40.80; handbag, $39.40; flower ring, $15.80. Head to toe look total = $167.10.

LOOK 2 (hitting happy hour then off on a date)

TREND: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. ’80s inspired florals, leggings and high-waist belting.

Floral dress, $26.50; belt, $13.80; shoes, $27.80; bracelet, $22.80; leggings, $8.80. Head to toe look total = $99.70.

LOOK 3 Evening (see a show, concert or night on the town)

TREND: Shine on. Metallics, leggings, statement jewelry.

Silver dress, $27.80; belt and leggings repeated from look 2; necklace, $17.80; bracelet,$16.80; shoes, $26.80. Head to toe look total = $89.20.

LOOK 4 Cocktail (Holiday party, wedding or special event)

TREND: Mad Men. Lady-like retro inspired silhouette, jewel tones, glamour.

Dress, $38.80; necklace, $18.80; earrings, $15.80; shoes, $26.80. Head to toe look total = $100.20

Jamie told me that her experience at Voluptuous was a turning point in shopping for her. “As a plus size shopper, a typical shopping trip with your friends means hitting the mall and browsing the accessory and shoe sections while your non-plus size friends try clothing on as you watch. It makes you feel really uncomfortable and sad. At Voluptuous, I went in and saw all this amazing clothing and knew I COULD try it on and it would fit! My non-plus sized friends could conveniently hop next door to Patty’s Closet. Voluptuous made me feel pretty and hip again. I actually enjoy shopping now, rather than dreading it!”

PLUS SIZE FASHION TIPS: It’s super important to keep your body balanced. Make sure your clothing isn’t too big or too small and NEVER underestimate the power of belting.  A belt can pull your whole look together and give you shape!
Curvy gals you HAVE to check out Voluptuous. The selection was hip, trendy and on point with current fashion. The prices were totally affordable and the sales staff extremely helpful.

Voluptuous Fashion Plus Size Boutique, 10271 S. Eastern Ave., Suite 114, 702.982.2049.

This week’s giveaway is for my curvy readers. Voluptuous is giving away a $50 gift certificate to Voluptuous plus a surprise gift. Las Vegas residents ONLY please.

If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog (you can subscribe at the top left of the sidebar) AND leave a comment on this post between Nov. 7 and Nov. 13 naming two curvy celebrities whose fashion style you admire and why.