Summer’s Death Throes

Summer was trying to hold on deep into October this year and I wore this on the what appears to have been last beautiful summer-like day we’re going to get this year.  I happened to be wearing this outfit to go shoe shopping with my mother so I spent the whole day indoors away from the nice weather.

[Top – NY&Co ($15ish); Jeans – Old Navy ($25); Cardigan – Torrid ($25); Flats – BCBG via DSW ($40); Necklace – Gift from Bot]

To be honest, I’m not very excited about this outfit.  It was extremely comfortable for shoe shopping but its just not that interesting.  I was trying to play with different textures, the sweater, the sheer back of this tank and the denim, but I didn’t take any pictures of the back, and the whole outfit ended as a bit of a flop. Maybe I’m just a bit bummed to be “dressing down” instead of getting all dolled up for weddings.  None the less, I figured that I should post an “every day” look.  Here’s hoping I’m more creative next time.


Finding Wedding Dress Bliss

To wrap up the last few weeks of wedding posts, I promised a post about Bot and I’s wedding two years ago.  Let me start by saying that our wedding was not how I pictured it, yet it was still absolutely perfect.  For most girls, myself included, the biggest part of a wedding (after you’ve found your groom) is finding the dress.

Like so many plus sized brides, I had some terrible experiences finding a dress.  My first experience was at a small wedding boutique who’s largest dress sample was a size 18.  I couldn’t close the back, I couldn’t imagine how the dress would look and I was completely devastated. I felt terrible about myself and my size and I left the boutique practically in tears.  This scene was repeated two more times in other stores, including the introduction of a “helpful” sales associate who told me the styles that I liked, “just wouldn’t work for bigger girls like us.”  Finally, a friend told me about Silver Lining Plus, an all plus size bridal boutique in Atlanta, which sadly no longer exists.  I cannot express how wonderful it felt to enter a bridal store where I could fully fit into all of the dresses.  The staff were amazingly helpful and friendly and it wasn’t long before I found my perfect dress.

Our photographers was Kyle Bergner, who I completely recommend! She was so wonderful and professional and our photos are simply amazing!

In the end my dress was absolutely perfect, exactly what I wanted, streamline with a bit of sparkles and accenting my curvy figure.  The one thing I would recommend when having your dress altered, which I did not do, is try the dress on in various position.  For example, make sure you can sit down.  I did not think to make sure the dress could expand enough to allow me to sit and sitting for dinner and photos was nearly impossible.  In the end it was fine, as Bot and I didn’t get to eat much anyway, we were too busy floating around and generally walking on clouds.  Two years later and we are still as happy as can be.  Aren’t weddings just the best?

A Modest, Designer Look for a Fall Wedding

A month ago, one of Bot’s best friends, a groomsman at our wedding, got married to his long time girlfriend in Charlottesville.  Their wedding was held in a Catholic church and their reception was on the top of Carter Mountain so I knew I would need a modest dress that could transition from the church ceremony to the party in the apple orchard.

[Dress – Calvin Klein via Syms ($50); Instant Sleeves Lucie Lu ($22); Belt – Lane Bryant ($30 for 2); Flats – BCBG via DSW ($40)]

I found the dress earlier this year and I bought it immediately, even though, at that time, I had no event to wear it to.  This dress has a great weight and drape and it’s fully lined with pockets.  It hangs wonderfully down from the pleated bust line and has a lot of movement (or “wiggle” as I prefer to call it.)  I knew right away that it would be a great dress to dance in.  The higher neckline made the dress appropriate for a church wedding but I knew that I would need something to cover my shoulders.

I decided to try Lucie Lu’s Instant Sleeves which Jessica from Surely Sonsy raves about.  Overall, my review is very positive.  These sleeves worked wonderfully, keeping my shoulders covered and church appropriate during the ceremony and keeping me a bit warmer at the top of Carter Mountain.  Best of all, the Instant Sleeves did not interfere with the line of the dress at all and I could dance in them.  My only issue with the Instant Sleeves was the scary stitch popping noise I heard when I first tried them on although none of the seems appear to be unraveling yet.  Also one of the ribbon loops created to keep the sleeves on a hanger broke immediately (maybe that was the popping noise?)  Still, I’ve treated these Sleeves rather harshly over the past wedding month; I’ve worn them, bunched them up in my purse and thrown them in the bottom of my closet, only to pull them out again a week or two later, and they’ve had no other wear and tear than those initial issues.

A photo from the actual day, Bot and I dancing.  The happy couple was nice enough to let me use one of their photos by their wedding photographer, Susan Kalergis, here. You’ll note that I’m wearing different shoes in this photo.  I actually destroyed these flats wandering through the apple orchard and dancing the night away.

How to Dress for a Georgia Farm Wedding

It took me a few tries to come up with the perfect outfit for a fall, farm wedding in Georgia.  In the end, I went with this…

Please excuse the lighting, we were having so much fun we forgot about pictures.

In the hotel room, trying to figure out if boots would be appropriate.

A detail shot

[Dress – Torrid (~$60); Cardigan – Target (?); Boots – Torrid (~$35 on sale); Earrings – Sailor Studios; Necklace – Lia Sophia ($50); Bracelet – Gift from In-Laws]

I found this cardigan in the midst of packing and unpacking my closet last month.  It was one of my favorites in high school because of the color, short length and the adorable stitched bird.  Since finding it, I’ve been wearing it non-stop.  (I’m sure you’ll see this in another post soon.)  I got this seersucker dress last summer from Torrid but never actually wore it because the puffed sleeves sit awkwardly on my shoulders.  I intended to have the shoulders taken in a bit so it would work better but that never became a priority so it just sat in my closet until I uncovered my summer clothes this year.

Ordinary, I would not suggest wearing a seersucker dress and boots to a fall wedding but I knew it would work for this wedding for a few reasons.

  1. I knew the wedding was on a farm and they suggested in the invitation that we wear low heels for a processional over grassy farm land – This meant that we were going to be hiking around a bit (which we did) so the outfit could be more casual.
  2. I was lucky enough to get a peek at the bride’s dress and it was a short cotton number (so beautiful and breezy) so I knew that a darker, fancier dress would be out of place. (She even wore a pair of Tom’s Ivory wedges, too cool!)
  3. One of my fellow attendees practically lives in her cowboy boots so I knew I wouldn’t be on my own.  (Actually, quite a few people, on seeing my boots, bemoaned not wearing their own.)

My biggest tip for deciding what to wear to your next wedding is to consider the personality of the bride and groom.  If they are more casual, laid back people (like my friends) then an outfit like mine will work.  If however, you know that they are going for a more formal affair, or if their parents are insisting on one, steer away from seersucker.

Fall Wedding – A Morning in Athens

This weekend Bot and I headed to Athens, GA for a wedding.  The wedding was on a farm where the weather was predicted to be in the 80s so my concern was finding a dress that would look nice and be cool enough without being too revealing for dancing comfort. (It all comes back to dancing you see.) This Modcloth dress made the first level of cuts.

How scary is it that these are the two pictures where I'm making the least stupid faces?

[Dress – Modcloth (Birthday gift from my parents); Cardigan – Cherokee from Target (? I’ve had it for years); Heels – Merona from Target ($30); Fascinator – Hive and Honey; Necklace – Grandmother Costume Jewelry]

This dress made the first level of outfit cuts because it looks so darn good. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it on Modcloth but at the time it was sold out.  Luckily for me, Modcloth sent me a “its back in stock” email right around my birthday which I forwarded to my mom who loved the dress too and bought it right away as my birthday present.  The dress is by Mai Tai and for the most part it is everything I wanted. The fabric is a bit thin which makes it feel a bit cheep and you have to be careful about undergarments.  Also, it has these annoying plastic straps that are meant to keep the dress on a hanger when its in your closet but for some reason they are always poking out at the most improbable angles at the most inappropriate times.  I think that I will remove them soon. I am however, so extremely happy that Modcloth has started to carry more plus size options. You can bet that I’ll be buying more as soon as I save up enough coffee tips to do so.

I eventually decided not to wear this to the wedding because the neckline has a tendency to scrunch lower than is strictly appropriate and I didn’t want to have to worry about such things while dancing.  The cardigan helps balance that, but who wants to wear a sweater while dancing right? Instead, I wore this around Athens the morning of the wedding when Bot and I went out for brunch.  We ate at the 5 Star Day Cafe, which was really well rated on Google so we decided to give it a shot. I have to say that it was absolutely amazing.  I had the vegetarian Eggs Benedict, which has fried green tomatoes instead of ham.  I cannot impress enough how very delicious it was.  Perhaps a picture will help.

I’m a southern girl, born and raised in Virginia and until January of 1998, when I became a vegetarian, I had a passionate love affair with sausage gravy. My Mawmaw made some amazing sausage gravy, let me tell you.  So its been about thirteen years since I’ve had any white pepper gravy over anything and this place did NOT disappoint. Next time you’re in the Athens area, give them a try, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

Stay tuned later this week for dress I wore to party at the farm in GA. Here’s a hint, it’s seersucker.

Fall Weddings – Dinner in RVA

I wore this outfit to the second rehearsal dinner I attended this fall.  After a day of frolicking around Richmond, Bot and I headed to our hotel (Crowne Plaza) to relax and change before the rehearsal and dinner.  Bot was a groomsman so he, of course, participated in the rehearsal while I got to sit back and relax. I must say that I was rather proud of him.  The wedding planner commented on how well he had the “walking down the aisle slowly while smiling” thing down.  I guess he learned a thing or two at our wedding.

Showing off the sequined back of the dress.

[Dress – Torrid (?); Cardigan – Kmart ($5)*; Belt – Lane Bryant ($30 for 2); Flats – BCBG via DSW ($40); Pearls – Gift from my Bridesmaids; Earrings – Made by Me]

I bought this dress from Torrid over a year ago and never wore it until this rehearsal dinner.  That is unfortunately, one of my bad habits, I buy things just knowing that I’ll wear them all the time, only to find them in my closet with the tags still on over a year later.  I bought this dress in one of my rough patches.  I had put on weight and none of my clothes fit like they used too and graduate school was devastating me.  I was desperate to have a pretty dress to wear that fit me well.  I remember running up the three flights of stairs to my Atlanta apartment and changing into this dress in the middle of the living before dashing to bathroom to check it on in a mirror.  It was a cold glass of lemonade on a hot day, a warm blanket in winter, it was exactly what I needed – a dress that was shiny and fit me without being too tight and showing off everything I was insecure about.  I didn’t even have to wear the dress, it was enough to know that it was there in my closet if I needed it.

Perhaps I held off wearing this dress for so long because of those associations,  I didn’t want to remember my desperate need for the dress or the dark days that led to my impulse purchase of it.  The thing is, I don’t feel that way anymore.  Sure, my closet is full of pretty dresses that fit me well, but they are no longer my security blanket.  When I was reaching into my closet to frantically pack (because, like always, I left packing until the last possible moment), I stumbled on this dress.  I thought the sequins would add a little bit of pizazz without being too overpowering; it wasn’t, after all, my rehearsal dinner.  I’m pretty pleased with how the outfit turned out, although I like it best with the cardigan’s pop of color and the sweater completely covers the sequins, but c’est la vie.  And in the end, I don’t even like this dress too much, the sequins are itchy and I’m not a big fan of the puffed shoulders.  I will probably end up donating it to Goodwill in my next closet clean out but I’m happy to have made some good memories in it.

*I actually bought this cardigan at a Kmart in Farmville, VA right before  a wedding last summer when I realized that I didn’t bring anything to cover my would be bare shoulders during the church wedding. Its become one of my favorite sweaters, what a steal for just $5!

Fall Weddings

This fall has been full of weddings for Bot and I.  Two of his best friends have tied the knot and this weekend two of our favorite Atlantans are getting hitched.  In honor of these happy events, I thought I’d do a spread of wedding outfit posts*, culminating in a recap of what Bot and I wore on our big day two years ago.

Let me start by saying that I love weddings! I love the excuse to wear one of my pretty dresses, or even to buy a new one. I love getting together with friends, basking in the happy glow of the newlyweds and dancing.  To be honest, I am a terrible dancer. I have approximately two moves but like everyone else on a wedding dance floor, I don’t really care.  Its all about having fun, right?

The wedding a few weekends ago took us to Richmond, Va which is one of my favorite cities.  Its hard to explain to people who have never been to the Virginia capital but its just great.  Full of monuments, history, tons of row houses turned into apartments, hipster coffee houses**, great diners, and the ever fabulous Sticky Rice. (I know, I know, there is a Sticky Rice DC now but I just like the original better.)  We hit the city early so we could wander around before the rehearsal dinner.

[Shirt – Target ($25); Jacket – Torrid (gift from in-laws); Trouser Jeans – Talbots ($25 on super sale!); Heels – Target; Purse – Marc by Marc Jacobs (Birthday gift from Bot); Necklace – Made by Me]

I’m surprised that some version of this outfit has not already made it onto this blog.  It has become my go to outfit for going out.  I picked up this shirt at Target last year at full price and have not regretted the price at all. The shirt has held up well in spite of its constant washing, since I wear it at least once a week.  This jacket is great as well because it has a tailored fit but the ruched arms and stretch jersey material help it bridge the gap between casual and dressy.  My only complaint with the jacket is that it is not lined, which makes it look a bit junky if I am carrying it around or taking it off in public.

My bag was a surprise birthday present from Bot.  Its a Marc by Marc Jacobs Totally Turnlock Lucy (this bag but in Spinach.)  I didn’t think I was going to get it, even though I had been asking (begging) for it since I first found it online earlier this year. (“I love it so much! I’ll never ask for anything ever again! I’ll feed it and water it and take it on walks and everything.”) I had been looking for a leather handbag for a while and knew that I wanted both a longer shoulder strap and shorter one.  I fell in love with the shape and deep green color of this purse.  The price was well beyond our normal budget but I’ve justified it as a one time purchase since it is my first designer handbag.  Now I just have to keep from spilling coffee all over it like everything else I own.

* I’ve had to recreate some of my outfits due to the poor lighting of restaurants and receptions but I promise all of the outfits and accessories will be the same.

** We went to Black Hand Coffee Company where I had the best cappuccino that I’ve seen in a long time, which is saying something since I make over 20 cappuccini a day.

I’ve sorry I’ve been the most absent of bloggers. Thanks for sticking with me.