I don’t know about the rest of you, but growing up as a plus size teen in the 90’s wasn’t easy for me. I was easily 5’10” and growing, as I recall, I was a size 12/14 by the age of 10. My Mother openly dreaded going clothes shopping with me because it always ended with me in tears. “Mom why can’t I shop in the juniors section with everyone else?”
There weren’t plus size fashion designers then, especially not for teens, so I had to shop in the “old lady section” where I could find something that would fit my frame. That meant straight-leg jeans when all my friends were wearing flared! The audacity! You might as well throw my Lisa Frank sticker book, Spice World VHS, and gel pens into the garbage along with my self-confidence!
Those tearful experiences are partially what drove me to being a tomboy for most of my life. It wasn’t until my 20’s that I began to explore the world of fashion. And boy was I missing out! Growing up, clothes were simply something I put on to cover my body. But now, an outfit can be an expression, a feeling, a memory, and so much more.
As a newly engaged woman (squeeeeeeee!) I understand this most in a two word phrase: wedding gown. We spend so much money on what, a dress? Some fabric, sequins, lace, and tulle? No! We are buying the feeling you had when it suddenly hit you-I am getting married…in this dress! We are buying the memories we will make in the dress. We are buying an experience. Now a wedding dress is an extreme example but this same experience (on a smaller scale) is how I feel every time I put on a flattering outfit. Every time someone smiles and compliments me. Every time I check myself out in the mirror and think “Yeah girl!”.
I recently joined Gwynnie Bee, a site where you can rent designer plus-size clothing. I won’t go into much detail now because I am writing a post specifically about GB, but I can tell you it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. My absolute favorite rental so far was the Karen Kane Dot Scuba Dress.
I was unsure at first about the striking pattern. I didn’t typically like to wear outfits that made me stand out. However, I loved this dress so much that I purchased the rental ($125 retail, GB price $72) and wore it to the Kansas City Fashion Week Runway Show we were attending.
I tell you Karen Kane really knows her stuff! The fabric was thick which made me feel comfortable that no skin or undergarments were showing through, which is an issue with a lot of cheap clothing these days. Another benefit of the thicker fabric is the ability of it to show your curves without clinging uncomfortably to every roll and bulge. The high neckline really accentuated my bust and flowed perfectly into a half sleeve. The half sleeve was great for the slightly chilly March evening. I didn’t realize until I wore this dress how much I love the scuba cut! It is the perfect combination of flare and fit. I have to resist the urge to twirl around like a bored toddler and feel the skirt swing from side to side.
I was so inspired by the dress that I even had my nails done to match! Makeup credit: Mary Kay from Maureen Crawford
I paired the dress with a pair of black Old Navy leggings since it was a little short for my comfort level, and the temperature. I accessorized with a triangle chunk necklace from Maurices and some tan cork wedges. And yes, I’m 6’0″ tall and I absolutely LOVE to wear heels and wedges. NEVER let someone else’s “short” comings keep you from accessorizing how you want! Get it? SHORT comings? Haha! Anyways…
Keep on keeping on Karen, I’m looking forward to seeing some more of your plus size designs in the future!