Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: Skirts, Pants & Jeans

There were some great skirts at the NAS this year, which my clients and I welcomed with open arms. There were finally options with some length, and silhouettes beyond the basic pencil skirt. Fabrics were lovely, and colours aplenty.

There were many pairs of skinny jeans and cropped styles, and some shone brighter than others. There wasn’t a great selection of pants and dressy trousers, but some cherries nonetheless.

IMPORTANT: Check whether the items are available in petite and plus because I’ve only provided the description in regular sizes. In some cases regular sizes can work on petites, and regular sizes ranges extend into larger sizes.

Skirts

Here’s the collection page if you would like to see the items alongside my descriptions.

Pants & Jeans

Here’s the collection page if you would like to see the items alongside my descriptions.

NAS Top Picks by Category

This post is number 5 in a 6 part series:

Also check out my introduction to the series, and the items I brought home from the sale. Be sure to also browse wardrobe basics like underwear, socks, loungewear, sleepwear, or workout wear if you like to use the sale to replenish those types of items at this time of year. Also lots of fun stuff in homeware. Good hunting and happy NAS!

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Two Pressing Fab Finds

And now for something that isn’t style, but is somewhat style related. I don’t enjoy ironing, but I do it because I like the polished appearance of well-pressed clothing. I will absolutely re-iron an item before wearing it so that it looks perfect. We recently had to get a new iron and ironing board and I’m very happy with the choices we made. 

An extremely good iron and ironing board make the world of difference and, dare I say it, can make ironing a more enjoyable chore.

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Outfit Formula: Shorts and Pretty Tops

Mid-thigh shorts are popular with my clients, but most of my clients don’t feel pulled together when wearing them with basic tees. My suggestion is to style the shorts with a pretty top and casual flat footwear that’s dressier than flip-flops. The visual effect is relaxed and casual, but more grown-up and polished. 

Here are four outfit ideas to get you started. Choose any colour palette across solids and patterns. Pick short lengths that make you feel fab.

1. Elaborate Knitted Top, Denim Shorts & Slip-Ons

Choose a knitted top made of jersey with some kind of detailing, like a peplum, hem frill, or exuberant sleeve. This example has ruched sleeves with ties that create an interesting effect with a pair of denim cut-offs and slip-ons like sneakers, espadrilles, or d’Orsay flats. Wear the top semi-tucked or untucked.

Eloquii Cuffed Jean Shorts

2. Dressy Shorts & Blouse with Slides

Choose dressy shorts, like a high-waisted style or a paper bag silhouette, and pair them with a dressy blouse made of eyelet, lace, or something silky. Tuck or semi-tuck the top to showcase the waistband of the shorts. Add flat slides to dress down the look. A straw bag adds a trendy yet classic and beachy touch.

Topshop Polka Dot Shorts

3. Shorts & Boho Blouse

This is the easiest version to pull together. Combine a pair of simple shorts with a breezy boho-lite blouse. Wear the top untucked and not semi-tucked like the model. Finish off the outfit with flat sandals or espadrilles, and a casual bag.

Athropologie Utility Stretch Shorts

4. Patterned Shorts, Knotted Top & Sneakers

Combine a pair of patterned shorts with an elaborate knitted top that you can knot at the hem to create some structure. That way you don’t need to tuck or semi-tuck the top, or let it hang and look tent-y. Finish off the outfit with sneakers. Here, the white top and sneakers match, pulling the look together. The silky shorts add textural interest and the sneaks throw in the athletic touch. A fun juxtaposition.

Eloquii Floral Print Drawstring Shorts

I don’t wear shorts of any description since I’d much rather wear a casual dress with casual footwear. That said, if a fabulous pair of knee-length shorts came my way I’d give them a whirl with a boho-lite blouse.


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Modern Graphic Meets Flashdance

A new outfit from E of District of Chic, whom we introduced to YLF in November 2016.

This amazing Summer dress outfit is all about combining complementary and contrasting shapes. The asymmetrical hemline on the sleeveless Summer frock creates movement. So do the swirly strokes of the graphic black and white print. These soft swirls juxtapose nicely with the straight geometric lines of the square perforations in E’s fun bucket bag, and the eye-catching rectangular cut-outs on her white mules. The pointy toe nose of the on-trend mules and pointy frame of the retro cat eye sunnies add more sharp lines to the mix. Large resin hoop earrings and a silver bangle add curvy lines. Popping a knotted grey T-shirt over the dress gives the outfit a playful Athleisure meets ‘80s Flashdance touch. A dramatic dark red lip finishes off the look.

District of Chic - 1

District of Chic - 2

District of Chic - 3


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Outfit Formula Toffee and Light Blue

Today’s look is about combining light blue with a toffee shade of brown. Think gorgeous blue skies and salted caramels, or the Caribbean sea with stroopwafels. This might be a combination you prefer to sport in Autumn and Winter, which is probably how I’ll wear it. Maybe throw in some chocolate brown and cream for good measure. But there’s no time like the present, so give the combination a go in Summer if you have the pieces.

Pretty much any combination of a shade of light blue with a shade of toffee will do. Faded denim and chambray count as light blue, and cognac or tan counts as toffee. Throw in a light blue and toffee pattern, or use amber jewellery as the toffee component. Here are some renditions to get you started.

1. Light Blue Top & Toffee Bottoms

Combine a toffee skirt, pair of pants, culottes or shorts with a light blue top that works with the bottoms. Finish off the outfit with white, red, tan or cognac footwear. Feel free to make the look casual or dressy. This outfit is dressy, but wear the same top with toffee chinos and white sneakers and you’re good to go.

MIU MIU Intarsia Stretch-knit Sweater

2. Toffee Top, White Bottoms & Light Blue Accessories

Combine a toffee top with white pants, skirt or shorts and finish off the look with light blue footwear and bag. You could sub the white bottoms for light blue jeans and throw in white or cognac footwear and bag instead.

CULT GAIA Poppy Lattice-trimmed Linen and Silk-blend Pouch

3. Light Blue Dress & Toffee Footwear

Choose a light blue dress in a pattern, light denim or chambray and complete the outfit with toffee footwear and bag. Or wear toffee footwear and throw in any colour bag. A blue and white striped dress is an easy way to wear a light blue pattern.

Adrianna Papell Plus Size Short Wrap Dress Long Sleeves

4. Light Blue Top, White Jeans & Toffee Bits

This is the simplest way to wear the combination. Combine white jeans with a light blue or chambray top, and complete the look with toffee tidbits like a cognac or tan bag, belt and shoes. Or throw in metallic footwear and wear amber jewellery.

ELIZABETH AND JAMES Francois Striped Voile Shirt


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When Comfort Trumps Aesthetics

I commit to only one pair of sandals for the season because I prefer to wear closed-toe shoes in the Summer. I like the protection, and my feet get cold at the drop of a hat, especially in air conditioning. I wore my last pair of flat white Naturalizer sandals into the ground so they were on my list to replace this year. 

My feet are very hard to fit for sandals because they are extremely low volume. I need a US6.5 in a narrow width, and even then, they can be too wide. I started looking in February, and after lots of online ordering because they do not sell narrow widths in stores, I committed to Bella Vita’s Luc Sandal. They are what I call a no-nonsense Euro sandal with their simple broad straps, baby wedge, and statement hardware. The leather was quite soft and so was the footbed. They are made in Italy and fit fairly well in US6.5N. I tested them at home, and they were fine. I loved the way they looked. Modern, crisp and simple. I put them away until the weather warmed up.

I was set to take the Bella Vitas on their first outing a few weeks ago. When I put them on my feet started complaining immediately. Out of the blue, they seemed less comfortable than I remembered. Not as stable on the foot, not as soft, and a little wide. This concerned me because I often walk more than 18,000 steps a day in the city. So I went straight back to view Naturalizer sandals online because, bless them, they stock narrow widths.

The Naturalizer Wendy Sandal was one of the styles I ordered, and they fit like a glove. They fit better than the Bella Vitas and were more comfortable too. Softer leather, a more cushioning footbed, and a secure fit on the foot. My oh-so-fussy pinky toes felt good too. But I wasn’t in love with the way they looked. The huarache vibe is not one I am drawn to, and since aesthetics matter a great deal to me, I was torn.

I refit both the Bella Vitas and the Naturalizers over and over again at home with dresses, pants, skirts and jeans to compare aesthetics and comfort. The Bella Vitas won the style prize, but the Naturalizers won the fit and comfort prize. The huarache-esque detailing on the Naturalizers looks a little like lace, which I adore, so I made peace with the fact that they are just pretty enough. The Naturalizers earned a place in my wardrobe.

I don’t often choose comfort over aesthetics because I’m sufficiently patient to continue searching for the item that ticks off all the boxes. But since I find sandals extremely hard to fit, don’t want to change my walking lifestyle, need sandals for upcoming hot Summer trips, and will absolutely not compromise on foot comfort — I now bat for Team Huarache.

I put the huaraches through their paces last week walking the streets of Salt Lake City flat, and they are AMAZING. Extremely comfortable, lightweight and supportive, and not one blister in the blazing heat. My like for them grew into love, so much so that I’ve duplicated them for next year.

Over to you. How often do you choose comfort over aesthetics?

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Outfit Formula: Easy Summer Skinnies

Skinnies continue to rule the world because they fit every body type as long as there is a stretch component in the fabric. They are also the easiest and most practical silhouette to pair with comfortable shoes, like casual flats, boots or sneakers. 

Wearing cropped skinny jeans in Summer makes perfect sense when the weather is mild, when temperatures cool down at night, when you work in air conditioning, or when you run cold. That’s why I’ve collected four easy casual looks without heels. It’s been hard to find examples of outfits without tucked or semi-tucked tops, but feel free to keep tops untucked if that’s more your thing.

1. Smart Casual

Combine skinnies with a dressy sleeveless blouse and layer a fluid cardigan over the top. Finish off the look with dressy loafers, mules, ballet flats, baby wedges or sandals, and a structured bag like a satchel, tote or clutch. Choose any colour palette. Here, I love how the black loafer bookends the model’s hair and picks up the colour of the blouse. The high neckline and bow work on a larger bust because of the model’s long neck. Smashing look.

Eloquii Peach Lift Jean

2. Romantic Comfort

This vibe is dead simple and very comfy. Combine a soft, billowing blouse with a pair of skinnies in any colour palette. It’s important that the blouse is fluid or oversized to contrast with the skinnies. The skinnies add structure to the outfit, as does showing bits of forearm and part of the foot. Wear the blouse semi-tucked or untucked. Add flat slides, mules, sandals, d’Orsay flats, loafers, espadrilles, or ankle strap flats.

Madewell High Rise Skinny Jeans

3. Trendy Classic

Apart from the trendy slides, all of the items in this outfit are a trendier version of a classic. Combine skinnies with a tee and blazer in any colour palette. Semi-tuck or untuck the top. Here the tucked top lengthens the leg line from the hips upward, which tempers the length of the long blazer that shortens the leg line. Add trendy slides if you like, or any other comfy flat. Personally, I like how the white tee, shoes and bag lighten the outfit, add a crisp touch, and make it pop.

FRAME Le Skinny De Jeanne-Raw-Stagger Mid-rise Skinny Jeans

4. Moody Graphic

Combine cropped skinnies with an oversized knitted top like a sweatshirt or the like. Finish off the look with sneakers and a statement bag. Stick to black and grey if you want to keep the vibe moody. I like the addition of the white sneakers but you might prefer grey, silver or black. Add jewellery, watch and eyewear as desired.

Closed Skinny Cropped Jeans


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Travel Capsule: Two Weeks at the Amalfi Coast

We’re off to Italy where we’ll spend two weeks at the gorgeous Amalfi coast. We’re splitting our time between a hotel in Positano, and sharing a villa with friends in Sorrento. Sam will hold the fort back home with our pet-sitter, and we will miss him terribly. 

Including travel, it’s a two-week trip and this is what I’ve packed. A few things upfront before I delve into the details.

  • We’ll be doing a lot of relaxing, strolling and slowing things down. We’re looking forward to spending quality time together, hanging out with friends, sightseeing, savouring gastronomic delights, and lounging on a beach that’s a hundred steps from the villa.
  • It’s going to be gloriously warm and sunny. Daytime highs of about 25 to 28 degrees Celsius (78 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit), and a little cooler in the mornings and evenings. Apparently, it will be humid, but that doesn’t worry me at all. I love the heat, and quite like the humidity.
  • I’ll be putting a suitcase in the hold because I like to have more dressing options than a carry-on can accommodate. I’ll also be doing a little shopping on my trip which requires extra space on the way home.
  • I will not be doing laundry on the trip.

The capsule does not include the outfit that I will wear on both sets of flights. It’s the same outfit, and I’ve shown the components at the end of this post.

This capsule came together extremely easily because I’d decided back in February that I would wear dresses, skirts, pretty tops and cropped white jeans on this trip, which is exactly what I’ve packed. I had all the dresses because it’s been the BEST dress season ever.

The Palette

The colours, fabrics and patterns reflect my sartorial preferences. I’ve stuck to my usual Summer palette of optical white, dark and mid-tone blues, denim blue, sour brights like watermelon and citron, and a smattering of black. I LOVE lace and eyelet so there’s a lot of that. I prefer classic patterns so it’s stripes, polka dots and checks all the way. I can wear head to toe neutral outfits, or throw in the brights. I happily wear watermelon with citron and white, and find it harmonious and soothing. All outfits are grounded with white, which calms the eye and adds that crisp and pretty integrity I’m after in my outfits.

No Formula

There is no one outfit formula because I’ll be wearing dresses, a skirt, and cropped jeans with tops. The only constant is flat white footwear, pearls, and my eyewear. Most of the tops can be worn with either the jeans or skirt, which is handy. That way I can pander to my mood when selecting what to wear for the day.

The mix of items is true to my style since it combines classics with trendier items, wardrobe essentials with statement pieces, solids with patterns, neutrals with colours, and old items with newbies. There is plenty of variety but with a good amount of discipline. There are ten fresh outfits which means I’ll wear a few items more than once.

Important: I took the time to try on all outfit combinations with various accessories and footwear options to make sure I liked them. Do not go with what you think will work in your head. TRY ON outfits before you pack to avoid disaster.

Here’s more detail on each part of the capsule. Note that wardrobe basics like undies, camisoles, sleepwear, loungewear and footies are not represented here, but of course I’ll pack them too. For the rest, these are the exact wardrobe items that I packed and will be wearing en route.

Footwear

I built a travel capsule around my shoes because it’s extremely important to have happy feet when you’re walking around a city and using public transport. Once I knew which ultra comfortable shoes I was taking, I planned the rest of the outfits to work with them.

All footwear has been tried and tested, and goes the distance. All footwear is white and FLAT because that’s signature to my style and bookends my hair. No heels at all. I chose mules to inject trendy newness into my outfits. I chose classic loafers because they work with everything and are my most worn Summer shoes. I threw in a pair of sandals for heat and humidity, and the beach. And streamlined white fashion sneakers for extra long walks and plane travel. All footwear options work across the range of outfits, although I prefer some combinations to others.

Dresses

I feel a lot more pulled together and comfortable in a dress, so I don’t bother with shorts. I’ve packed five frocks across a range of of colours, patterns and fabrics for maximum versatility. They’re all midi length apart from one, which doubles as a tunic over white crops. Silhouettes are roomy, or tailored on the torso because I’m off fitted sheaths on this leg on my style journey. I want comfort, swish and romance, and nothing constricting on the lower body. All dresses are sleeved because I don’t wear sleeveless. Silhouettes are casual and smart casual, and quite dramatic. I’ll be wearing them with casual flats, which effectively dresses them down.

Bottoms

I chose three bottoms for days when I don’t wear dresses. White jeans are favourites, so I packed those and two pairs for good measure. Who needs blue jeans when you love white jeans! I’m thrilled with my new lace skirt and threw that in to change things up. It’s a pencil style, but very breezy and comfy nonetheless.

Tops

I’ve packed a range of blue and white tops because they look best with the bottoms and are robust for travel. No bright tops this time round, but there’s variety in silhouette, pattern and fabric to prevent me from getting bored. All tops can be worn with the three bottoms so I can mix and match till the cows come home. I’ll pattern mix, so there are many possibilities.

Toppers

Denim jackets are a wardrobe essential for my Summer style and suitably robust for travel. I chose a light-washed embroidered style with a fluid fit, and a dark collarless tailored peplum silhouette to change things up. Both jackets work over any of the dresses and tops, although I like some combinations more than others.

Accessories

I’ll be we wearing my specs and sunnies along with gold watch, pearl bracelet and pearl wedding ring daily. I’ll throw in the pearl necklace most days too. To change things up, I’ve brought along two handbags instead of one. I MUST travel with a satchel and chose my citron Furla because it converts to a crossbody and adds a bright component to my outfit. The straw bag is a trendy classic and screams beachy-Summer so I packed that too. These bags add polish to my outfits, and are also practical. I chose a cotton citron scarf to complement the bag. I wear Summer scarves in the heat to keep the sun and sea breeze off my neck.

I will also be travelling with an umbrella and a cashmere wrap. I’ve left the wrap out of the capsule because it will not be styled into these outfits. It’s a cosy blanket for plane travel only.

Swimwear

I created my swimwear capsule from scratch back in February and am thrilled with it. I won’t do much swimming, and will spend most of the time in the shade under an umbrella. I can wear the packable straw hat with any of my day outfits.

Travel Outfit

This is the exact outfit that I will wear tomorrow on the flights out to Paris and Naples, and the flights back to Seattle in a fortnight. It follows my strategy for what to wear on long flights. Layers, fabrics with stretch that don’t crease, and soft fabrics are cosy and insulating for plane travel. A jacket, scarf and dressy bag also make my casual outfit look pulled together and polished. Comfortable shoes are essential for comfort when traipsing through airports and cities with luggage.

You can visit the collection page to see my travel capsule in its entirety. The picture below shows the items just before I started packing. Mini in-house fashion stylist Sam gave his nod of approval.

Travel Capsule: Amalfi Coast

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Link Love: Sunnies for Summer 2018

Almost anything goes in fashion these days, but just like with clothes, there are sunglasses trends that stand out each year. Tiny sunnies are making a comeback, for example, and according to Glamour, we’ll also be seeing lots of “cat eyes gone extreme.”

StyleCaster predicts we’ll also be welcoming back colourful sunnies and embellished frames.

If you’d love to sport a pair of tiny sunglasses, The Cut has some tips on which pair might work best for your face shape.

Looking for a budget-friendly option? Then have a look at this Harper’s Bazaar roundup.

If you need prescription sunnies, then be sure to read this Racked article with in-depth info before you go shopping.

Fab Links from Our Members

Like the Season enjoyed last week’s “TED Radio Hour” on “The Person You Become.” She says: “It included a lovely segment about the role fashion plays in exploring and expressing identity and how what you choose to wear is a ‘celebration of self’.” 

Citygirldc’s feet have been changing the past few years, and found this article on shoe size and fit quite interesting. When was the last time you measured your feet?


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New Proportions: Wide Crops, Voluminous Top & Flats

The intuitive way to create flattering outfit proportions with wide crops or culottes is to wear them with a cropped top or fitted top that defines the waist, and a low-vamped heel to lengthen the leg line. The outfit below throws those styling strategies out the window with a roomy longer top and high-vamped flats, but to my eye the proportions work well.

MM6 MAISON MARGIELA Wide Cropped Jeans

Here’s why.

The wide crops are shorter than two inches above the ankle bone, which lengthens the leg line from the calves upwards and tempers their volume. The voluminous top has a structured shoulder line and is sleeveless (remember that showcasing skin creates structure because you’re highlighting the natural contour of the body.) The length of the top hides the waist, but the handkerchief hem draws subtle attention to it because it’s shorter in front. The shorter hem also lifts the eye upward, which shortens the torso and thereby lengthens the leg line. Flat pointy toed footwear further elongates the lower leg line without wearing heels. The low contrast between the wide crops, model’s skin tone, and footwear add further vertical integrity.

Granted, the top is muumuu on the midsection and makes your body look wider than it is from any angle. The wideness is accentuated by the high-contrast colour-blocked pattern. Things would look more streamlined if the pattern were a dark colour too. Either way, you have to be good with surrendering the waist.

It’s fun to create outfit proportions that are just flattering enough because they don’t limit your creativity or restrict your comfort. They also make the items in your wardrobe a lot more wearable. As long as you adhere to your personal figure flattering priorities, you’re good to go because YOU have to feel fab in your outfit.

Over to you. What do you think of these outfit proportions?


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Outfit Formula: Summer Column of White

Last week’s outfit formula was a Summer column of black, which was more popular than I expected it to be. This week I’m talking about its polar opposite — a column of white. 

First, I’d like to debunk a few myths about wearing white:

  1. ANY size and height can wear white. The fit and the fabric of an item play a bigger role in making an item flattering than its colour. My size US16/18 clients rock white jeans, pants and tops. So does my 4ft 9” size US000 friend.
  2. Everyone looks good in a shade of white. It’s a question of choosing YOUR white. Bright optical white, off-white, ivory, cream, champagne, oatmeal, bone or a very light tan can be your white. Sometimes an extremely pale pearl grey can be your version of white.
  3. No need to match your whites exactly. Mismatching them looks better than you might think.
  4. White is not that impractical. Black and dark colours can show as many stains as white, depending on the cause of the stain.
  5. Pale-skinned people can successfully wear white, and so can blondes. Wear a little more eye make-up, add some blush, and define your lips because it’s that easy to look bright in white.

Here are four ways to create a column of white to get you started.

1. White Separates & Cognac

A chic and dressy combination with cream pants and blouse, and cognac belt and bag. The shoes are white, but feel free to throw in cognac footwear. White tops can be see-through, which means wearing a white, cream or tan camisole and nude-for-you bra. Ankle-strapped footwear is perfect with cropped pants, and they don’t need to be heeled.

MAX MARA Ponte Slim-leg Pants

2. White Jeans & Oatmeal

This is the easiest combination. Pair white jeans with a white top and layer a tan, oatmeal, bone or cream cardi over the top. Feel free to layer an optical white cardi for a full-on column of white. Add cognac, tan, white or metallic footwear and bag. A belt to match is optional.

Old Navy Open Front Plus Size Long Line Sweater

3. White Dress & High-Contrast Support Act

A casual and pretty white dress is beautiful. I love how this one has been combined with casually elegant flat sandals, and a bag to match which pulls together the look and amps up the polish. Here, a black bag and shoes create a high contrast with the white. It’s especially effective bookending with black hair.

THREE GRACES LONDON Mable Ruffled Linen Midi Dress

4. Avant-Garde Cream

Create avant-garde, fluid and somewhat oversized layers with lots of drape in shades of white. Here, the shorter length of the culottes and shorter asymmetrical hem make the silhouettes just flattering enough by providing structure. Black shoes effectively bookend the outfit. Metallic, pearl grey, white, tan or cream footwear will work too.

Eileen Fisher Cozy Organic Cotton Wrap Vest

White is my favourite neutral, and I can wear warm and cool tones of it. I therefore have lots of white in my wardrobe and will wear a column of white before a column of black. I don’t have a white dress yet, but can pull together many combinations with white jeans. How about you?


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Link Love: Sun Protection in 2018

The Environmental Working Group has released its sunscreen guide for 2018. Here is a rundown of the most notable category 1 products in three categories.

If you want to protect your skin and Mother Nature at the same time, these are the 21 sunscreens to look into according to Fashionista.

StyleCaster shares a roundup of 10 hair products that protect against UV rays.

If you spend a lot of time at the beach or on the water, a swimsuit made of UPF fabric might be worth considering.

SPF-infused setting sprays and powders can be a last-minute resort if you forgot to apply sunscreen to your face.

Fab Links from Our Members

Shevia hasn’t watched The Americans (yet) but thought the transformations in this article are amazing. She adds: “If you doubt style has a tangible effect in the world, take a look. Or just for fun.”

She also found this article about Diane von Furstenberg uplifting.

As a short-waisted person with a short torso and a large bust, Virago thought these two articles by Darlene from Hourglassy might be helpful for other readers too: Big Busts and Sleeve Length Choice, and Neckline Boobs vs. Waistline Boobs.

Aquamarine just came across this comprehensive, eye-opening article about the plus-sized women’s clothing industry.

In the same vein, Vildy thinks this article is a must-read: “It explains just how companies who profit from amping up insecurities are going to be able to sell just as much via creating a new insecurity: now you’re supposed to add a thick layer of guilt and shame exactly for not feeling positive ‘enough’ about your non-‘standard’ body. “

L’Abeille is reeling with everyone else, and wanted to share this lovely article about the early days of Kate Spade.

MsMaven directs us to two views on what women in Paris are wearing right now: from Janice at the Vivienne Files, and Susan at une femme d’un certain âge.

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