A Curvy Girl’s Guide to Swimsuits

Curvy girls rejoice!  We don’t have to be afraid of the pool anymore; use these easy tips to find your most flattering swimsuit!

(See widget below for links to the red & white striped suit and the floral suit; the black is no longer available but I linked similar ones!)

If you’ve got curves, then chances are that the only thing more painful than shopping for jeans, is shopping for swimsuits! Just the thought of a rack full of teeny tiny lycra in yellowy fitting room lighting is enough to induce tears.  I get it, it ain’t fun!But for most moms, the summer involves swimming and we all need something we can feel great in.  I’m sick of feeling apologetic that I’m not living up to some crazy, unrealistic body image when I walk out to a pool with my kids.  I’m working hard to improve my diet and get my muscles back to where they should be after this last baby but let’s face it: this is what my body looks like at this point in life and I’m gonna stop stressing. I’m stretched out and squishy and paler than a vampire but who the heck cares?!There are a few things that I look for in a swimsuit to help support and flatter my curves; I wanted to share them with any other mom out there who just wants to swim with her kids without feeling like she has to wear a muumuu on top of it all. I’ve broken it down according to body type so you can take what you need, depending on what you’re looking to flatter.

Bust: There was a time in my life I thought it’d be nice to have a little extra on top…but now is not that time!  Most days I’m trying to strategically minimize my bust and keep the “girls”  strapped down.  One option to look for is molded cups, like the floral suit I’m wearing here.  It’s basically like wearing a bra so it’s great for support.  The downside to these is that they often show off a bit too much for most women’s comfort level (if you look closely you can see that I added a strip of fabric to the top of my suit here because my cups literally overfloweth ;). They can also be hard to find big enough at most stores.  This suit is from Old Navy and, as you can see, the large barely covers my assets, but the XL would’ve been too big in the bum.  Look for suits that are sized like bras: 34C, etc to remedy that problem.Another option is to look for molded bandeaus like the black suit above.  These are super flattering, have a decent amount of support and tend to be easier to fit big bosoms into.  Just be sure to size up because some bandeau tops (especially two pieces) are sized very small!Lastly, try a suit that has some distraction up top, like the one-shoulder tie on the striped suit above.  Now in the interest of full disclosure, the support on this suit is definitely sub-par.  I have to tie that thing tight and I don’t expect to do any diving in it, but for a lounging suit, it’s super cute! I’ve included some other one-shoulder and ruffly versions above.

Waist: My two favorite tricks for belly camoflauge are ruching and patterns.  Ruching is basically when the fabric is all gathered together, thereby hiding any imperfections (and who doesn’t have those??).  The wilder the pattern on the fabric, the better for visually smoothing lumps and bumps!  I’ve included quite a few waist-whittlers in the widget above as well as some super cute prints.

Bottom Half: There are significantly fewer options when it comes to flattering hips, thighs and bottom in a swimsuit, simply because there’s less fabric down there!  I used to be so insecure about my thighs that I wore shorts all the time…but I was never comfortable in them and they were just a pain so I ditched them years ago. Nowadays I mostly just look for swimsuits that have good rear coverage, with a slightly higher leg cut. Now let me explain this one: I’m often tempted to get boy cut bottoms to try to get as much coverage as I can, but when your hips or thighs are the widest part of your body, the last thing you want is a horizontal line running right across that!  Now that I know that a higher cut leg opening is actually more flattering for my short legs, I’ve stayed away from the boy short style ever since.Swimsuits don’t have to be terrifying!  Find the best suit for your body and then forget about it.  Let’s show our kids that having fun with them is more important than our insecurities!

 

 

A Curvy Girl’s Guide to Jeans

There’s no reason to settle for gappy, ill-fitting jeans anymore. Find the best denim to fit your curves!

Top: J. Crew Factory (on sale!) || Jeans: Joe’s (similar) || Heels: J. Crew Factory (on sale!) || Sunglasses: Amazon || Watch: Michael Kors

If you’re a woman, and you wear jeans, then at one point or another, you’ve probably found yourself in a poorly lit dressing room, amid a giant pile of discarded denim, feeling really really crappy about yourself.

You’re not alone! And it’s not you, it’s the jeans.  Like I talked about in this post about premium denim, most “affordable” jeans are designed and manufactured quickly and cheaply, with little thought to fitting the myriad of different feminine bodies out there. But I believe there’s a great pair of jeans for every woman, no matter the size or curviness!

And by the way, I know the term “curvy” has basically just become a euphemism for “fat” but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about those of us with thighs and/or a chest and possibly a booty that won’t quit. There’s a reason runway models are all super skinny: because then designers don’t have to worry about fit! It’s much harder to design clothes that fit curves.

The following 3 tips will help us all find that magic pair of pants that we never want to take off:

1. Figure out what usually bugs you about jeans.  Do they always gap at the waist? Give muffin top? Slide down? Show bum crack? Tight in the calves? Too short? Too long? Not enough stretch? Make a list of what features your dream pair of jeans would have!

2. Do some research! One of my favorite way to find good contenders is by reading reviews. Amazon and Nordstrom are good places to start because they almost always have a plethora of reviews.  Despite what the media would have you think, MOST women have a hard time finding good fitting jeans, so if a pair gets consistently great reviews, they’ll probably be worth a try.

Another great way to find the perfect pair is to see what fashion bloggers are wearing and loving. A quick little warning here though- find a fashion blogger who’s built like you before you take her recommendations! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run out to try on an amazing pair of jeans I saw on some cute girl, only to pull them on and realize that we’re not built at all alike!  Don’t torture yourself by trying to make some other person’s perfect pair work for you.  If you’re in need of some amazing, curvy bloggers to follow, check out these ladies!
(There are a vast array of very thin bloggers as well as plus-sized fashionistas out there…but for this list, I’ve included mostly curvy or athletic women who fall in the upper ranges of Misses sizes: i.e. 8-14).
Kyrzayda || Girl with Curves || Color Me Courtney || Style Me Curvy || Putting Me Together || Alicia Fashionista || Kendi Everyday

3.  Set aside a decent chunk of change and several hours to shop and head to a nice quality mall or shopping center.  Or, better yet, order a few pairs online!  Nothing beats being able to try on jeans in the comfort (and nice lighting) of your own home, without the pressure of time or salespeople.  I like to try on the same pair a few different times, at various times of day, to make sure that I really do love them.  Although I’ve found that with my best finds, I know pretty much right away that they’re winners.  The perfect pair of jeans should make you smile, admire yourself from every angle and feel like taking on the world!

Lastly, it’s better to spend $150 on 1 pair of jeans that you’ll wear for 5 years, than $30 on a pair of jeans that will have to be replaced in 6-12 months.  It’s just too hard to get a perfect fit with cheap jeans, so don’t give yourself a hard time about investing; just think about the cost per wear (and wait for a great sale!). You’ll reach for a perfect pair of jeans over and over again, probably more than any other item in your closet.

Remember, the jeans were made to fit the girl, not vice versa.  You deserve to look and feel amazing!

Statement Earring Roundup

Statement earrings take any boring outfit up a notch; in other words, they’re a lazy mom’s best friend!

1 || 2 || 3 || 4 || 5 || 6

Statement earrings are BIG right now (haha! Get it??) and they’re the best way to dress up a super simple outfit like a graphic T and joggers or an all denim look like this one.  Go big and bold or go home, that’s my motto!  Check out these amazing pairs, some as affordable as $23!

Which are your favorite??

 

 

Bright and White

A white denim skirt is a fun fresh take on denim for Spring.  Versatile, easy to wear and super comfy!

White denim skirt – similar under $25! and in a fun blue jean wash || Button-down top – J. Crew on sale || Lace-up flats: solid colors, similar and love these colorful ones! || crossbody bag – cute affordable one and love this higher end version || Earrings – Nickel & Suede || Sunglasses – Amazon || Watch – Michael Kors || Cuff –  similar under $20! and love this one ||My fave lip color combo: liner – L’Oreal Color Riche in Au Naturale, lip color – Jouer in Cassis, Lip gloss – Revlon lip lacquer in Rose Quartz

While balancing out silhouettes in an outfit is always a good idea (blousy on top, streamlined on bottom and vice versa) it’s especially important if you’re dressing strategically after some weight gain.  Since I’m not planning on wearing skinny jeans through an Arizona summer (ugh), I was thrilled to find a stretchy pencil skirt in a fresh white denim to make hot weather dressing bearable and fun!

A pencil skirt is perfect paired with a loose button down like I did here, as well as a boxy pullover top, or a flowy tee or kimono/sweater.  So many options!  And stretch is key when it comes to comfort with pencil skirts.  If you can’t find a stretchy denim skirt, knit pencil skirts are suprisingly versatile as well.  After all, moms need to move!

Throw on some fun jewelry and/or cute shoes and you’ve got a home run of a simple outfit.

(Photos by Let Me See You Sparkle)

Denim on Denim

Wondering if you can pull off wearing denim on denim?  You can!  Here are some fun tips to try…

Chambray top – Loft similar || Denim – Joe’s || Sandals – Sole Society ||
Earrings – J. Crew (my color sold out but I really want this one too!) || Clutch – Similar here and here

One 90’s throwback trend it took me a little while to hop on is pairing denim with more denim.  Something about memories of those awkward junior high outfits  had me hesitating.  But I’m over it now!

The trick for this trend is to keep it simple and change up the denim tones.  I love the idea of layering white and black denim or just two shades of blue like I did here.  And when your outfit is all neutrals, you get to have lots of fun with accessories.  These gigantic embroidered earrings are my latest obsession.  I wear them with everything!

So, what do you think about mixing and matching denim??

(Photos by Let Me See You Sparkle)

Summer Uniform

Get warm weather ready with a T-shirt dress and pops of color!

Dress – Anthropologie (I sized up to a large for length)||
Wedges – sold out but I also love these and these || Earrings: J.Crew similar and here

The weather’s heating up over here already and I’m on the hunt for great, cool dresses I can throw on and go (bonus if they’re easy to nurse a baby in!) This dress from Anthropologie is SO soft, comfy and flattering plus stretchy enough to pull the neckline down. I almost bought every color.  It’s on sale now but going super quick!

And if I’m headed out the door in a neutral outfit, you can believe I’m throwing on a pop (or two) of color to liven things up.  I’ve been looking for bright yellow wedges forever for this very reason…they make any outfit so happy!  I linked to a couple other pairs above.

What’s your favorite warm-weather momiform??

(Photos by Let Me See You Sparkle)

Stepping Out

Mommy & me matching plus the case for buying quality kids’ shoes…

I officially have too many kids to all dress up cute every day (or even more than once a year!) but every now and again I put some effort into one or two of the little stinkers, and today we got to match!  Marilyn’s chubby thighs looked so cute in this romper that I just couldn’t pass it up…and I won the nursing-mom lottery by finding a shirt dress that is actually long enough!

These rose gold moccs from Freshly Picked just kill me though.  Rose gold is everywhere right now and I can’t get enough!  The stripes on my sneaks are the same color and seriously the most comfortable shoes I own.

Similar shirtdress – here and here on sale! || My jacket – Old Navy || My sneakers – Anthropologie || Earrings – Nickel & Suede
Mimi’s jacket – BabyGap || Mimi’s romper – Similar || Mimi’s moccs – c/o Freshly Picked  || Hairbow – Little Poppy Co

You guys know I’ve recently learned how important it is to invest in a few quality wardrobe pieces (like great fitting jeans and swimsuits) but kids’ shoes are just as important.  It’s tempting to buy them cheap because they grow out of them so fast (and let’s be honest, my 11 year old just wears flip flops all year round) but for the little ones quality really does matter!

These moccasins fit both long, skinny feet and short chubby ones (I’ll give you one guess as to what type Mimi has) and they DO NOT come off!  I got this pair a tad big for her to grow into and she can’t even pull them off herself.  Which means no more lost shoes in the grocery store!  I anticipate them lasting a lot longer than her other shoes and I’m in love.  I also anticipate more embarrassing matching with this munchkin in the future.  Maybe until she’s 12…

DON’T MISS Freshly Picked’s Customer Appreciate Sale going on TODAY!

Just 24 hours: 10am MST March 30- March 31st.  Get 25% off specific styles!

Photography by Chrissy of Let Me See You Sparkle

Pajama-like street style

Similar Joggers – nicer option: here and here; casual options: here and here || T-shirt – Topshop ||
Slip on sneakers – SO MANY cute options!|| Baseball cap – Collection XIIX || Watch – Arvo || Sunglasses – Diamond Candy

Whether or not you enjoy getting dressed up for work or pleasure, we pretty much all enjoy spending some time in our lounge wear (i.e. pj’s).  I’m convinced that this “active wear” trend we keep seeing is simply women’s excuse to hang out in really comfy leggings and sneakers all day.  I dig it!

It’s nice to have a couple pieces that feel like you’re wearing pajamas, but wouldn’t make you feel embarrassed if you ran into a friend (or an old boyfriend – eeek!) out in public.  This is one of my favorite combos for running errands and leaving the house without the fear of ridicule that comes with wearing actual pajamas and no bra to the grocery store.  Not like I’ve ever done THAT…

What’s your default momiform style??

The 4th Trimester: Leaving the House

Similar jeans – Gap and Kut from the Kloth (on sale!) || Top – Lush (my favorite and on sale!) || Similar Vest – Levi’s and Max Studio
|| Slip-ons – Caslon (so comfy!!) || Watch – Michael Kors || Sunglasses – Amazon || Similar Tote – Sole Society || Earrings – Nickel & Suede

Our little Miss Alice is 2.5 weeks old now, which means that while my body is still nowhere near normal-looking yet, I’ve had to start leaving the house and wearing something other than pajamas – boo!!  I told Luke this last week that I’ve been feeling so great this recovery, every day I’m torn between getting up and scrubbing my dirty house or just taking one more day to lounge around in sweats and snuggle my babe.  It’s a struggle!

It’s hard to be both patient and forgiving with your postpartum body, especially while trying to look decent.  I’ve collected a few tricks over the years for embracing this fourth trimester, while still feeling confident enough to be seen in public.  Here are a few of my favorite items for flattering those extra lumps and bumps; and remember, a lot of the clothes that worked during the first (and early second) trimester, will work again after baby!

  1.  Mid-rise jeans and high-rise leggings: that soft and squishy post-baby belly is gonna feel much more comfortable tucked into some high-rise pants, rather than spilling over a waistband that stops at your hips.  Leggings are stretchy and forgiving so I like to go with the highest waistband I can find, but with jeans I prefer mid-rise since your waist and hips are kind of disproprotionate right after having a baby.  For example, right now I have about 5-6 inches to lose around my waist but only 2-3 around my hips.  That makes it difficult to find super high rise jeans that fit right. The boyfriend-style I’m wearing in these pics have been a favorite of mine for after the past 2-3 pregnancies (they’re about 2 sizes bigger than what I usually wear).
  2. Long, flowy polyester-blend tops: luckily for us new mamas, loose tops are in right now!  But beware of boxy and cropped varieties which don’t do round tummies and ample bosoms any favors.  And 100% cotton tees, while comfy, tend to cling to belly squish which is less flattering.  The top I’m wearing in these pics has been the BEST for most of pregnancy and now the post-partum period.  I have it in 4 colors!
  3. Vests, cardigans and jackets: these types of outerwear are key for adding an extra element of style, while camoflauging weight around the middle.  If I had more of them, I’d wear a vest every single day!  It helps dress up even the most boring of jean/tee momiforms and helps break up the wide expanse that is a post-partum nursing chest. You all know what I’m talking about.
  4. Good-fitting bra & underwear: do yourself a huge favor and buy new lingerie for this period of life! There’s nothing quite so awful as trying to squeeze a newly post-partum booty into old bikini briefs that you wore 30 pounds ago.  Don’t do that to yourself!  Buy some nice, high-waisted granny panties in an ample size and enjoy life 🙂 Ditto for a good nursing bra.  Nobody will know if you’re wearing panties 4 sizes bigger than you usually do…and the comfort factor is more than worth it!

In the end, just try to enjoy this newborn phase of life as much as possible!  Sure, you’ve got lumps and stretch marks and rolls in places you never did before…but you also have a perfect new baby to feed and cuddle and love on.  So put on your stretchy pants, eat a couple of cookies and relax.  You’ve earned it!!

Black and White and Red

Dress – H&M old (similar herehere; maternity version here) || Bag – J. Crew (other cute color-blocked option!) ||
Heels – Payless (similar here)

There’s no way around it  – it’s hard to feel cute at the tail end of pregnancy.  But if anything will help, it’s a fun pair of red high heels! Fitted dresses are also about the only thing I wear anymore and I give any comfy, knit version two thumbs up.  If you’re dressing a bump like me, then knit tunics and dresses are the one thing you can almost always get away with buying non-maternity because they’re so stretchy!

Here’s hoping there are only a few more days of dressing a bump instead of a baby!