How to Hit the Curvy Clothing Jackpot At Consignment or Thrift Stores.

I live in a neighborhood full of resale shops. We have the quirky vintage place, the awful one that keeps rotating owners and names and the fancier resale shop where I got my favorite five year old pair of Kate Spade shoes brand new for $22. Living here has convinced me that thrift stores are one of the best places to shop if you’re curvy, full-busted or just like to like nice while keeping your bank balance high.

Here’s a quick list of some of my favorite thrift store treasures, all under $25:

  • Two vintage purses (one leather, one wicker) in perfect condition.
  • A red and white striped pair of Kate Spade shoes that go with everything.
  • Two Ann Taylor 100% silk button up blouses. They go with everything.
  • Several miniskirts and crazy graphic t-shirts for casual days.
  • Pencil skirts in all colors of the rainbow, many from Banana Republic.
  • A red fake leather jacket that looks just like the one that Jennifer Morrison wears on Once Upon A Time. Again, goes with everything.
  • A slinky little black dress.

So, ready to hit the thrift stores? Here are some tips to find things that look great, stay on a budget and not end up with a wardrobe full of things that you will never wear.

1. Set your standards.

There is no point in buying something just because it’s cheap. Maybe it’s me, but I’m not a fan of closet clutter and still want a lot of wear out of my second-hand clothes. Make sure that everything you buy is something that has a place in your wardrobe and will work with everything else that you own. That said, thrift stores can also allow you to buy a crazy one time thing and not feel guilty about it. If you find something really fabulous and crazy, it can be worth picking it up. I saw a woman yesterday try on a bright silver and purple minidress in a store that everyone else had avoided. She rocked it, and I hope she bought it even though it wasn’t an every day item.

2. Stick to what you already like.

Thrift stores can be really intimidating. They’re full of stuff and nothing is really displayed well enough to have hanger appeal. If you’re having trouble getting started, stick to items you know you’ll love. For me this is classic blouses, sheath dresses and pencil skirts, which are relatively easy to come across. I also always make a beeline for the shoe section first to check for cute flats, as I rarely wear heels.

3. Be willing to experiment and go with a friend.

I personally think that thrift store shopping is way more fun with a second person. A shopping buddy can also grab things that would be perfect for you that you’ve missed and vice versa.

However you do it, be willing to go out on a limb and try some new stuff. The fact that everything is cheaper means that you can buy that flattering shirt with the insane print that you’d normally never even try on.

4. Be nice, make friends and shop early.

Thrift store owners are usually great about remembering regular clients and will learn your size and style. If you’re extra friendly to them, they may even put stuff aside for you that they think you’d like.

Lots of thrift stores also stock items seasonally, so if you’re a curvy/full-busted woman it’s worth it to check out the new inventory early. There’s a huge demand for plus size and curve friendly items so you’ll have competition!

5. Learn to love both vintage and thrift stores.

My neighborhood contains a mix of these, but I’m a fan of one vintage store in particular. However, I also know that going there generally means paying more than hitting up the thrift store next door. When I’m buying items I know I’ll use for a long time (housewares, leather purses, furniture) I’m more likely to go vintage than thrift.

Are you a fan of thrift stores or vintage stores? What tips do you have for successful shopping?

Full Busted Designer Preview: Love and Dream Branches Out Into Full Busted Pieces!

I first met Darcy of Love and Dream last year at Curve NY where I instantly fell in love with her simple, luxurious and chic collection of loungewear. I also had one of the most surreal professional moments I’ve ever had, as we struggled to figure out how we knew each other. After finally figuring out it must have been through Twitter, a light dawned and Darcy figured it out. “You’re Didy’s mom!”, she exclaimed. This is the perfect example of social media making connections and working in all the ways you never expected it to: when you get famous, it’s for your dog.

Anyway, I was thrilled when Darcy sent over a quick preview from her newest collection. Love and Dream is branching out into some full bust friendly loungewear pieces, which I am really excited about.

Here is what Darcy has to say about it: “It has an extra wide lace bust so on a busty girl it actually fits, and on a non busty girl it looks like a super stylish long line.  It flatters both due to the shaping at the side seam that avoids that “monoboob” look.  Also, the straps adjust.”

Love and Dream is one of those brands that sells based on material and texture and their luxury fabrics are impossibly soft. If you’re a loungewear junkie, they’re definitely worth checking out.

Exclusive Designer Preview: Interview With New Full Bust Brand Curveturiere Intimates

Sometimes great new discoveries are as easy as keeping up with your email inbox. I first heard of Curveturiere Intimates when their press event invite showed up in my email and was immediately intrigued by the pictures.

Luckily, owners Kelly Moore and Mary Pifko were nice enough to spend an hour on the phone with me and were very generous with details about the soon to be launched line. First, the basics: Band sizes will range from 32 to 50, cups sizes will range from D-K and other pieces will range from XS to 3X. Kelly and Mary have already gotten requests for 28 bands and are hoping to rapidly incorporate them into the new line.

Curveturiere Intimates will offer a variety of bra and underwear styles, along with supportive sleepwear options. A large portion of their bras will be wire-free and the line will also include some more unusual offerings like the cami-bra shown above. Customers will be able to mix different bras and underwear offerings to make complete matching sets that work with their personal style. The line will be focused on creating lingerie that is both functional and that takes cues from the fashion world.

Mary and Kelly decided to collaborate on a lingerie line after working a series of jobs in the fashion and lingerie world. Like many women who start great lingerie lines, they didn’t feel like there was anything out there that reflected their style in their size range. The pair met while they were originally buyers for HSN. After that, they moved onto jobs that focused on the manufacturing size of the industry. Eventually they felt ready to fill a hole that they saw in the market.

Price points will run along the same lines as brands like Parfait by Affinitas, which means that the line will be both pretty and affordable. This will be great news for those of us that love the look of the more affordable D through G lines but can’t fit into them! Mary and Kelly emphasized to me that they don’t believe that women shouldn’t have to pay huge amounts of money for pretty lingerie that fits properly. They also acknowledge that full busted women frequently do pay more for lingerie as a result of falling into a non-standard size range.

The official launch happens in August and pieces will be available in boutiques sometime in December. Make sure to like the Curveturiere Intimates page on Facebook to keep up with all the news! If you’re going to Curve NV, they’ll be showcasing there as well.

As a lingerie reviewer, consumer and columnist, I’m really excited about this line. Lots of the new lines that have been released lately have a similar look and Curveturiere Intimates is going for something genuinely different. As much as I love Curvy Kate and the lines that imitate that look, it’s nice to see someone presenting a new look with innovative options. I’m also excited about having a variety of wire-free options. More and more women are looking for wireless lounge and sleep bras and so far the market hasn’t measured up. I’m hoping that Curveturiere will be the solution that some of us have been desperately searching for. Add in the reasonable price points and I’m sold! I’ll definitely be reviewing several pieces of this line as soon as I can get my hands on them.

What do you think of Curveturiere Intimates so far? Do you like the look? Are you excited about wire-free bras and cami-bras?

Pick Of The Week: Not Photo Shopped!

I’ve seen these shirts popping up on various fashion blogger sites recently, but I hadn’t realized until last week that it was part of a whole campaign on the part of FeelMoreBetter. There’s been a ton of discussion around photo shopping fashion pictures lately, but I think this campaign has done the best job of combating photoshop standards. FeelMoreBetter provided a bunch of bloggers with these shirts and had them style them with some incredible results. Even better, they donate a new book to an underprivileged girl for each t-shirt sold.

Full busted women bump up against this issue a lot, so I’m thrilled that people are making figure flattering t-shirts that also make a smart point. From people assuming your breasts are fake to to people harassing you on the subway, full busted women deal with a whole host of issues based on the assumption that their body type isn’t found in nature.

Independent of the message, this is the kind of shirt that looks great on full busted women. The scoop neck is flattering and will highlight your curves and the 3/4 length sleeves will help you look taller and leaner. Think of this as the badass ballet girl look. This would look great with an elegant black skirt or with jeans and a cherry red leather jacket and some flats. However you wear it, do it with attitude!

Full Bust Friday Roundup: Lingerie History and A New Full Bust Company!

If your answer to the question in the title was around 100 years old, you’ll be interested to know that an Austrian Castle may have proven us all wrong. A garment that resembles the modern day bra has been discovered and dates back to the 15th century! As a history and lingerie nerd this brings joy to my heart.

There is a new full bust brand coming out in August! Curveturiere Intimates will start with band sizes 32 through 50 and cup sizes D through K. I was lucky enough to talk with the founders of the brand earlier this week and I will post the full interview next week. In the meantime, here are some preview pictures to whet your appetite. The bra in the second pictures is actually a camisole bra! To get updates on this brand new line, check out their Facebook page here.

Speaking of bras, are women really this desperate to get rid of theirs at the end of the day? I’m tempted to say that if you feel like that you must be wearing the wrong size, but I also realize that not every woman gets as excited about lingerie as I do. Where do you fall on the bra loving/hating scale?

This piece on quirky style basics really spoke to me. How do you show your personality with your clothing? I realize that I mostly use accessories, although they aren’t as flashy as some of the ones featured in this article. Also, if anyone wants to send me that typeface inspired Kate Spade bag they should feel free to do so. It’s amazing.

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I’m kind of tea obsessed. I love this super sophisticated travel thermos from DavidsTea. My only concern is that the largest size it comes in is 16 ounces, which seems small when I think about the giant soup mug of tea I drink in the morning.

 

5 Questions to Ask Before You Hire A Copywriter

We’re going to be talking about marketing every Thursday leading up to Fall/Winter 2013. I get lots of questions about lingerie marketing and mostly answer them by email, but if there’s a specific question you would like answered as part of these Thursday posts feel free to leave it in the comments!

However, I felt like to be a responsible advertising professional I had to start with the basics. The internet is a huge place and anyone can put up a great looking website and claim to have “advertising experience”. I don’t want to burst your bubble, but before you go out and hire anyone to help you with your business you need to ask them some simple questions to protect yourself. I’ve had so many clients come to me after having had bad experiences and it just breaks my heart. This applies to copywriters, but it also applies more generally to programmers, graphic designers or anyone else you are contemplating hiring to help with your lingerie business.

Today I’m providing of questions that you should always ask someone before you hire them, along with the reasons why. 

1. What experience do you have in this industry?
Lots of copywriters are willing to talk about generic “years of experience” but a real copywriter should be willing to give you the specifics. Frequently, they’ll be able to give you outside proof via awards, praise by industry insiders or just examples of past campaigns that they have worked on. They won’t be able to tell you everything due to non-disclosure agreements, but you should be able to get a sense of a real work history rather than a made up one. Professional copywriters also record their metrics for various clients and can show those to you even with all of the identifying information taken out.

2. Can I talk with some references?
Testimonials are a staple of any service provider’s website but they aren’t always true. Some copywriters write testimonials for clients and have them sign off on them and some less scrupulous people just make them up wholesale. This is one of the reasons I have my clients write their own and always use their real name and website. However, you shouldn’t hire anyone without asking to talk to some current or past clients. Again, due to non-disclosure agreements they may not be able to reveal everyone, but you’ll be able to talk to enough real people to get a sense of things. I always offer to put new clients in touch with past clients without any interference on my part.

3. What’s your contract process like?
Experienced service providers don’t work without contracts. Everyone has a long list of the ways they’ve been burned and no one wants to repeat the experience. Contracts aren’t punitive, but they do spell out things like non-disclosure agreements, payment dates, legal ways for both parties to end the contract, number of revisions, job schedule, etc. All of these things are incredibly important. Copywriters should be open and upfront about their contract and payment processes and what services they use to complete the process.

4. How do you accept payment?
Most services providers offer multiple methods of payment and some may be picker than others. For instance, I now only take checks or wire transfers, while other people are comfortable with Paypal or other online billing services. Make sure you know how the payment system is set up so you aren’t surprised later on in the process.

5. What’s the next step?
Many copywriters have a standard form they will have you fill out to get to know you and your business. Many (myself included) will also want to have a phone call or a Skype session with you to get to know you better. Again, if someone says that you’ll hear back from them in two weeks and it will magically be done, you may want to be a little suspicious.

Next week we’ll cover a more fun topic, I promise. However, I do think an educated client is the best client, so I hope this list helps you in the future. In the meantime, leave all your lingerie copywriting questions in the comments for me!

Full Busted Bra Pick of the Week: The Perfect White Bra

My lone white bra died last week. Between weight loss, months of serious wear and a slight accident with blue dye it is definitely beyond resurrection. This means I have to find a new white bra, because it’s hard to live without at least one.

I generally stock my lingerie drawers with colorful pieces, so I have trouble finding white or nude bras that I love. Luckily, the Panache Eliza looks a lot like the Panache confetti bodysuit I have and love! It goes up to a K cup, which is great. My only issue is my normal one: will the Panache wires work for me? I get along great with Cleo bras, but regular Panache wires tend to be hit or miss in terms of length for me. I’m tempted to order one and give it a try.

What white bra can you not live without?

Full Bust Clothing Rules: Who Made Them And Why Do We Care?

I was trawling the internet for dresses this weekend stumbled across some dresses that I really loved. Here’s the first one:

And this was the second one:

The full bust fashion faux pas of the first dress is pretty obvious: the giant ruffle on the chest is a traditional no go. The second dress was full of women telling other women not to buy it if they weren’t tall and skinny; they were concerned that it didn’t hide the fact that they had more fat on their stomach than some women.

All of this got me thinking about fashion rules for full busted women and why we care so much about them. The ruffle thing is obvious. It comes from the more general rule that you shouldn’t wear anything that draws attention to your bust line, which when you think about it seems truly ridiculous. If you’re a full busted woman, your breasts are going to be front and center in pretty much anything you wear. You can’t camouflage them by avoiding ruffles and chest detailing for the rest of your life.

The second dress touches on a larger issue. Full busted and plus size women are encouraged to wear baggier clothes to hide any “figure flaws”. Again, this seems totally silly. Putting on a shirt that imitates a tent won’t make anyone think you’re a 90 pound woman. Instead, it will just make people think that you’re even larger than you are!

Fashion has rules for women of every shape and size and we all spend lots of time eliminating clothing based on them. It also helps us mentally divide ourselves into judgmental categories. Plus size women eliminate all dresses with horizontal stripes while smaller busted women load up on ruffles and avoid dresses that show cleavage. Are we missing out on some great clothes by following the accepted fashion rules?

As I thought about it, I realized that some of my favorite pieces do break those rules. One of my favorite and most flattering work shirts is bright teal and has ruffles all down the front. When I tuck it into a plain colored pencil skirt I look 5 pounds slimmer. Almost all of my clothes hug my figure. I always dress appropriately for the situation but I also avoid baggy clothes at all costs. I once saw myself in a picture wearing a baggy sweatshirt and jeans and I literally looked about 250 pounds. Since then, I’ve never gone back. I’ve also come to terms with my figure. Even if I lose weight, my breasts aren’t going anywhere. Since you’d have to be blind to not notice them, I’ve never bothered to try and hide them or make them look smaller.  

Today I’d love it if you’d comment and tell me what fashion rules you break on a regular basis and why. And maybe I’ll get brave and try out that dress with the ruffle on it.

Full Bust Friday Roundup: Disney Princesses and Lingerie Sales

Did this feel like an extra long week to anyone else? July is like the Tuesday of the calendar year for me. As a result, this week’s roundup may be skewed towards the fun and frivolous rather than more practical topics.

Nerve has ranked the Disney Princesses from least to most feminist. I’m a little upset that all of my favorites don’t rank very highly. Despite their unfeminist actions, Cinderella and Ariel will always reign supreme.

StackDD+ featured this exercise top this week. I really like it! The only problem is the price tag. It’s hard to find athletic wear for full busted women and when you do find pieces they tend to be higher priced. Has anyone had any luck with more mainstream stuff at lower price points?

I found this great interview this week with a woman who worked in Playboy’s advertising department in the 1960′s. It’s a fascinating read. Fans of Mad Men should check it out.

In more literary news, I found this great set of texts from Scarlet O’Hara. I’ve been boning up on my Southern literature this year and just finished Gone With the Wind, so these cracked me up.

The Lingerie Journal and BralaMode have announced that they’re starting a new site called The Lingerie Alliance. The site will help lingerie professionals connect and learn more about other facets of the industry. What I’m really excited about is that they’re specifically including bloggers as a legitimate part of the industry, which is a pretty progressive move.

Figleaves is having a huge sale this week and has lots of full bust bras in larger cup sizes left! If you want to pick up some end of season bargins, this is definitely the time to do it.

Happy Friday everyone! Who is your favorite Disney princess and why?

Pick of the Week: Full Busted Fancy Dresses!

I really never go to anything formal and I already own an Ava cocktail dress from this same company, which is pretty much the only reason I haven’t snapped this dress up. If you do go to formal things or have an occasion coming up, this Deadly Dames dress is a great choice. Even better, it’s on sale this week for a seriously reduced price.

I’m a huge fan of Pinup Girl Clothing’s dresses in general and they’re my go to dress company for cocktail dress occasions. Their stuff is a little pricer than some places but they make up for it with great quality and fit. They also provide amazingly detailed size charts so you don’t have to guess about fit at all. Most of their offerings are really full bust friendly, which is partly due to their vintage cuts and partly due to their gorgeous stretch fabrics. I also appreciate that lots of their dresses are designed with real backs and sleeves so you can wear a regular bra under them. If you’re in a the larger end of large cup sizes, finding a strapless bra that works can be virtually impossible.

Are you a fan of Pinup Girl Clothing? What are your best dress up tips for full busted women?