Updated Classic

Happy Tuesday blogger fam, I hope you are having a great week.  Its going to be a busy week for me as the March 31st corporate tax filing deadline approaches but after working 20 busy seasons, I’ve got this!

Today is a great day on the blog because I get to introduce you to a new brand – Kari Lyn.  They are based out of LA and I happened upon their page while I was scrolling through my Instagram feed one day.  What immediately grabbed my attention is that their size range was 10 to 32!  I will often see new brands or online boutiques pop up on Instagram and I have learned to be cautiously optimistic as most of the time they don’t carry my size or it is junior plus sizing.

When I see a new brand my next step is always to check out their website and see what they are all about and whether I like the styles they have to offer and I get a sense of their character.  I believe in dealing with brands that have integrity and there is a lot to be said for someone with strong character.

I personally love their motto:

                 “Size doesn’t matter and beauty doesn’t have a weight limit.”

The brand strives to offer affordable luxury clothing for women sizes 10-32, that are constructed from high-quality fabric in the colours and prints of the season. Each figure-flattering piece features an impressive fit and fashion’s hottest trends. When you wear KARI LYN,  they believe you will look as fabulous as you feel.

Kari Lyn herself has the experience and knowledge to make this a reality with 15 years of experience working behind the scenes as a manufacturer, whole seller, and private label company for other well-know companies.  She decided to start her own label to fill a void in the industry.

Kari believes a woman’s size does not change what she desires – to look her best and feel beautiful. This statement particularly resonates with me as I have always said that we all deserve this no matter our size and we can achieve it.  With more brands stepping up to the plate, making it reality will be that much easier.

This is the Carmen Cold Shoulder Dress.  While I don’t wear black dresses very often, they are a practical piece to have in your wardrobe and the cold shoulder detail is on trend so I decided to put this one to the test.

I like the fact that the website provides very detailed information about their products including things like where the sleeve of the dress will hit you, is it lined, where will the length of the dress fall, the fabric it is made out of, suggestions for how to accessorize it and washing instructions.  I think that this information is super important when you are buying clothes online and very helpful to the customer.

I am wearing the 4x in this dress and I was happy with the fit.  At 5’6 it hit me right at the knee and the sleeves have elastic but its not too tight.  And it doesn’t cut you off at the elbow.  I also really appreciated that the matching sash that comes with it is long enough to allow ample room for me to tie it.  The price point on this dress is $80 US which I feel is reasonable for the quality.

And I love the cold shoulder detail!  The design on this dress is very smart compared to other cold shoulders I have tried as it has structure.  You can wear a normal bra with it, the neckline stays in place and the cut out is strategically placed on your arm without adding unnecessary bulk.  It provides a very streamlined look.

I love a dress that provides great versatility and this certainly does.  If you work in an office that has a more liberal dress code than I think it is perfect.  If you need to cover up the arms, then you could add a cute jacket or sweater.  And then you could take the layer off and be ready for dinner and drinks after work.  It would also be a great piece for date night – I think this would look fantastic on the dance floor.

I chose to keep the accessories pretty simple for this look, I just added my favourite black patent heels from JD Williams, a statement clutch from ALDO for a pop of colour and a statement necklace that worked great with the high neckline.

The great thing about a well fitting little black dress is that you can reinvent with different accessories to totally change up your look and keep it feeling fresh and new.

I want to say a special thanks to Kari Lyn herself for taking the time to directly respond to my questions and assisting me in selecting the right sizes.  Its little touches like this that speak volumes.  Stay tuned to my Instagram feed in the next week as I share another look and a video!

Thanks to Rob of Robert Skuja Photography for the stunning images of this look.

Dress by KARI LYN | Shoes by JD WILLIAMS USA | Bag by ALDO (sold out but alternative here) | Necklace from my collection (alternative here) |

Golden

Happy Thursday everyone, I hope you are having a fantastic week!  Sorry for the delay in a post for this week but with my little road trip to Montreal this past weekend, things have been a bit hectic.  Plus we are right in the thick of tax season!

Well the official start of spring happened this week and unfortunately the weather has been a little uncooperative but thankfully when we shot this look it was a beautiful sunny day and its the perfect look to get you in the mood for spring.

White is one of the “IT” colours of the season and we are seeing more white options be offered in plus sizes than ever before.

Its great to see the old traditional rules being broken and not only are we wearing white despite our size but we are wearing it all year long.  I personally am loving the options that I am seeing out there and I have to admit that I have bought not one white dress but several lol.

When I saw this Studio collection sheer detail gown from Eloquii it immediately grabbed my attention.  It’s a simple silhouette but true to Eloquii’s brand, it has unique and unexpected details.

I love a dress that is sexy but leaves something to the imagination.  I also love a piece that plays on the idea of combining conservative with edge.  And to me this dress is both.  The fact that it is white and actually a gorgeous shade of winter white makes it a statement piece all on its own.

But its the full cut of the skirt combined with the elbow length sleeves and high round neckline offset by the sheer panels across the neckline, sleeves and back and the one in the front of the skirt that really make it special.

This dress is a perfect dress to bring on vacation because it is made of a great stretch fabric that is easy to pack and has a comfy elastic waist for when you overindulge lol.  It’s also very light weight.

With a white dress it is very important to me that the fabric is a good quality so that you can’t see through it in spots where you don’t want it to and this one definitely meets Eloquii’s high standards for quality.  It also has a full lining that is very stretchy which gets a two thumbs up from me as well.

I will say that the cut on this dress is very generous.  I am wearing the size 28 and I did consider sizing down.  If you are not very large in the bust or an apple I would definitely recommend sizing down.

My inspiration for my styling of this dress was my latest custom clutch from my gal Cameo de Bore.  This one is called the East and Main and I love the white and gold printed leather combined with this beautiful statement brooch for the right amount of bling.  This piece totally pops against the dress.  And you ladies are in luck as this clutch is currently on sale for a steal.

To keep the black and gold accents going, I added my flatforms from Eloquii that I got last spring.  They added a boho vibe to the look but because of the gold flatform base they are also dressy.  I also added a gold belt that I had in my closet for an extra touch.

Then I added a really special piece to me and that is this tribal inspired necklace that I received as a gift from Lane Bryant.  Tribal elements are also a huge trend for spring and I was honoured to receive this limited edition piece.  I have given you a link for a great alternative from their current collection.

Finally I thought these pearl and metal bracelets were a great finishing touch because they continued to play off of my colour palette and were a great mix of hard and soft materials.

And last but not least, Rob found me the perfect yellow wall to shoot this look against.  I was definitely glowing and basking in the sun light.

This look is super versatile and screams I am ready for warmer weather and sunny blue skies.  So ladies get out there and don’t be afraid to rock a white dress!

Thanks to Rob of Robert Skuja Photography for the stunning images of this look.

Dress by ELOQUII | Sandals by ELOQUII (alternative here) | Clutch by CAMEO DE BORE | Necklace by LANE BRYANT (alternative here) | Bracelets by LANE BRYANT (alternative here) | Belt is my own (alternative here) |

A Reflection of You

Happy Wednesday everyone, I hope you are having a fantastic week and yeah it’s hump day!  I certainly have not been happy with this snowy weather we have been having but I figure if I bring you some spring posts then that should move things along, right?

Today on the blog I get to feature a new brand and one that is right here in Canada which makes me especially happy.  I had the opportunity to meet some of the amazing team from Henkaa this past summer at the Fuller Woman Expo where they provided the dresses for all the amazing contestants.  I was really impressed with the quality of the dresses and the things they have done to set their convertible dresses apart from others.

And as always I am a sucker for a good back story.  The word Henkaa means change or transformation in Japanese.  The founder of Henkaa, Joanna Duong Chang (or simply Jo) saw herself as:

“just another woman trying to navigate her way through this little thing called life. Like the rest of us, she’s spent hours in front of her closet never knowing what to wear, how to pack light, how to transition from pregnancy to motherhood, and what the heck to do with her stash of bridesmaid dresses that she paid way too much for but never got to wear again.”

From that, the concept for the brand was born and everything they do revolves around the concept of change  – “Your style changes, your waistline changes, your life changes.  But if everything is always changing, shouldn’t your fashion change with you? Each and every garment we create is convertible and can be worn in multiple ways.  The sum of one product is infinite and is only bound by creativity.”

Their showroom is located right here in Toronto so I finally got the opportunity to go and visit in December and play a little dress up and let me tell you it was so much fun!  The showroom is beautiful with many dresses on display showing many of the numerous ways you can style this dress.

I am wearing probably what is their most popular style, the Sakura Maxi dress.  Their dresses are one size fits all so they have one which fits sizes 0 to 14 and a plus version which fits 14 to 24.  So yes you may be wondering as a size 26/28 why I bothered to try them.  But what do I always say?  You never know until you try and I was pleasantly surprised with the generous fit.

This dress currently comes in 27 different colours and can be worn over 60 different ways.  I am wearing the teal which is no longer available but it also comes in a gorgeous dark teal.  And not to worry they have very helpful video tutorials to walk you through how to achieve your desired look.

I love the fact that the dresses are made in North America, they are made from their signature Lenaa fabric which is 92% polyester and 8% spandex, they are wrinkle resistant and machine washable in their super handy mesh laundry bag and the skirt has a raw edged hem.  This style retails for $168 CDN which is a great price point for a bridesmaid or special occasion dress.

While Henkaa is clearly well known in the bridal market and many might only think of them for bridesmaid dresses but I think they are perfect for any special occasion and could easily be dressed down with a flat sandal and a jean jacket if you wanted.  And because they travel so well I would definitely take this on a cruise for formal night.

For me what sets them apart is the extras that they offer to make your dress your own and add that extra bit of glam.  They offer a variety of brooches and necklaces that you can wear with your dress.  As a lover of all things bling, I was thrilled when they brought me this beauty to try out.  And once it was on I had to have it.

But maybe you want something more subtle and they have options for that too.  They also have fabric flower rosettes that you can use to style your dress, wear in your hair or add to your shoes.  And if you want some arm coverage they have many different shawls and scarves to choose from.

And probably my other favourite add on is the chiffon overlay skirts.  These are made to order so you will need to make sure you plan ahead if you want one but they add that extra flowy layer that will allow you to do some colour blocking or just elevate your look.  They even have some in floral patterns which would allow you to have some fun with your look.

I appreciate a brand that caters to all sizes, especially when it comes to being a bridesmaid.  It allows everyone to feel comfortable and enjoy the process.  Being plus size it can often be overwhelming to be asked to be in a bridal party because of the insecurities of being able to find a dress in your size and the unfortunate comparisons we often make to the thin girls in the group.  If you are looking to dress your bridal party, the recommended ordering time is a minimum of 12 weeks in advance.

To make this dress my own I added my sparkly heels from Eloquii and a statement clutch from Cameo de Bore.  I loved how all the sparkle played against the statement brooch.  I then added just a simple stack of bangles.

Overall,  I  love that the way you style your dress ends up being a reflection of you and your personality.  Our differences are what make us special and unique and they should be celebrated.

Thanks to Rob of Robert Skuja Photography for the stunning images of this look.

Dress by HENKAA | Brooch by HENKAA | Shoes by ELOQUII | Clutch by CAMEO DE BORE | Bangles by PENNINGTONS |

 

Spring Fever

Happy Friday my loyal blog peeps, I hope you have had a great week.  I don’t know about you but I sure am ready for the weekend.  The other thing I am dying for is for spring to finally arrive. Spring is my favourite season and I can’t wait to trade in my shoes for sandals, loose my tights and see some more sunshine.

Over the next few weeks I am going to share some new looks from JD Williams USA that definitely added a spring to my step.  We are going to start things off with this cute casual look in a classic black and grey colour palette.

A great spring look needs some cute outer wear because the weather can always be a bit unpredictable and I like to be prepared.  I have to admit I wouldn’t normally choose a jacket in a soft grey like this one but I loved the lace and other details.

This lightweight parka style jacket is from the “Together” line.  I like this particular line because they offer classic pieces that are high quality and they pay attention to the details.  The dove grey colour is a perfect neutral and will easily coordinate with just about any look.

In addition to the beautiful lace details it also has  a detachable hood that is hidden in the collar, adjustable sleeves and a drawstring waist.  I am a huge fan of the drawstring waist because I was able to instantly tailor the jacket to my shape.  Often jackets end up looking bulky on me and this one fits perfectly.

It is also lined and has a covered zipper placket for a clean crisp look.  This jacket comes in sizes 6 to 28 and retails for $129.99 US.  I feel the price point is fair for the quality of the piece.  I am wearing the size 28.

Swing dresses and ruffles are all the rage this spring and when I saw this cute little jersey one I was immediately smitten.  It’s the perfect casual comfy piece that I love to wear on the weekends.  I chose to go with the basic black but it also comes in navy and a couple of cute prints.

This is shown as a dress on the website but if you are taller or have a booty and hips like I do you might find it to be a little on the short side at 36 inches.  So I would technically say it is more of a tunic.  With that I paired it with a simple pair of black capri leggings from my closet.

I am wearing the size 28 and I wished it had a little more volume to it but I would say it is true to size.  And perhaps more importantly it had enough room in the arm.  And the one thing you really can’t beat about this is the price – it is only $32.49 US!

Although I was sticking to a monochromatic colour palette I couldn’t resist adding a touch of my signature floral with these adorable sneakers by Gola.  I am not much of a sneaker gal but they have been coming out with some really cool ones and more options in a wide width so I am expanding my horizons.

I am wearing a 9D in these and they are so comfortable with a supportive foot bed and slip on style.  And they have a purple quilted lining which just made me smile.  Unfortunately these have sold out but I provided links for some other cute options.

I also added this great black & white bag by Joanna Hope, one of the staple brands that they carry.  I am pretty fussy about my handbags but I was impressed with the quality of this bag.  It has a shoulder strap and it fulfills my love of patent leather.

For my bling I decided to add some rose gold pieces all from Lane Bryant.  I loved how this rich metal poppped against the all black look, it added a bit of a luxe feel.

The cool thing about this necklace is that you can wear it long like I did or you can double it up and wear as a shorter version.  And it is a fully functional locket.  The grey beads in the bracelets were perfect to tie in with the jacket.

I am definitely a pony tail girl on the weekends so I am totally in love with my new hair band from The Shopping Bag, the online shopping resource that I featured in a recent post.  The bling of course is totally Lisa and I love that it is a snag free band meaning my hair doesn’t get caught in it.  A little bit of sparkle dresses up my simple ponytail.

This is my first casual look from JD Williams USA and I am really impressed with the variety of options they offer and I can’t wait to show you what else I tried out so stay tuned.

This look was provided care of JD Williams USA but all opinions are my own.

Thanks to Rob of Robert Skuja Photography for capturing this look.

Jacket by JD WILLIAMS USA | Dress/Tunic by JD WILLIAMS USA | Sneakers by JD WILLIAMS USA (sold out, alternative here) | Sneaker alternative #2 | Sneaker alternative #3 | Bag by JD WILLIAMS USA | Necklace by LANE BRYANT | Bracelets by LANE BRYANT | Ring by LANE BRYANT | Hair band by THE SHOPPING BAG |

Baby Its Cold Outside

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend.  It certainly was a cold one here but I made the most of it hanging out with the girls and shooting some new looks yesterday.


Since it’s been so cold outside I thought I would share one more look with some faux fur before I hit you with spring related posts – I have some great things coming up.  And we are going to venture into something you don’t see me do very often, the bodycon!


This look is one of those unexpected ones that came together when I get different pieces that I have purchased in the same room together and inspiration hits me.  I absolutely love when this happens because it is often when I create some pretty cool and unexpected looks.


I was obsessed with this cape from JD Williams USA the moment I saw it on their website.  I loved the creamy rich taupe colour and the combination of the soft knit with the faux fur.  I know some of you will be mad at me but this piece sold out in a flash so it is no longer available.  But I did provide you with a link to a great faux leather motto jacket in a beautiful warm taupe colour that will be perfect for transitioning this dress into spring.


This piece is a one size fits all deal so as always I was a little nervous but the fit was generous.  It has a sturdy hook and eye closure at the neck and slits to put your hands through if you want which makes it a more practical piece.  It is totally something I would wear regularly instead of a jacket, especially if you are just going in the car.


I haven’t featured Rebdolls on the blog for awhile but I placed a big order early in the year when they had a great sale on.  I really like the fact that their pieces come in size 0 to 32 and their motto that Sexy Is For All.  So while I don’t wear a bodycon very often I decided to venture out of my comfort zone and give this floral one a try.


I am not one to dress overtly sexy which a lot of their pieces are so I liked the fact that this dress had this pretty floral print in my fave colour, purple.  I feel like the floral gives it a more feminine feel.


I also like that it has long sleeves, a high neck and a midi length.  It provides coverage but the form fitting silhouette brings the sexy.  I am wearing the 5x in this dress which is my standard Rebdolls size for bodycon pieces.  It definitely has a lot of stretch to it.


I kept the accessorizing on this look pretty simple as I wanted the combination of the dress and the cape to stand on its own.  So I put my hair up to show off the neckline of the dress and the hood on the cape and just added a simple gold statement earring.


Finally I added this great suede purple heels from Simply Be USA.  I got these a while back but I gave you a link to a cute wedge option that is the exact same colour.  I think these would look great with it too.

Overall I love how sexy yet classy I felt in this look.  In my mind this is definitely date night attire, I think it would be sure to get their attention.

 

Thanks to Stef of SexyPlus Clothing for capturing this look.

Cape by JD WILLIAMS USA (alternative here) | Dress by REBDOLLS | Earrings by H&M (alternative here) | Shoes by SIMPLY BE USA (alternative here) |

#XOQ This Blazer!

Happy hump day my loyal blogger fam, I hope you are having a great week!


Its been awhile since I featured any Eloquii on the blog and I thought it was time we gave one of my favourite brands some love.  Expecially since I finally got my hands on “The Blazer”.


For any of my fellow Eloquii obsessed ladies this peplum blazer came out in December and literally sold out in one day!  It has since been restocked like 3 times and sells out every time.  Thanks to my social media boo Alex, I finally managed to get my hands on it this time around.


I probably sound like a broken record but you know how much I hate blazers because it is so hard to find one that fits.  But I still like to be able to rock one every now and then, particularly for important meetings or presentations.


And it was just the icing on the cake when I saw they were offering it in a size 28.  I tell you the day Eloquii makes everything in a size 26/28 I think I might cry and my credit card will feel the burn!


This blazer is one of those pieces that will always have a special place in your closet.  It is modern and on trend but also classic and sophisticated and in classic black it goes with everything.


It is made of a stretch woven fabric and is fitted to accentuate your curves with a peplum hem, metallic button accents and that showstopper tie at the neck.  I also love that the button placket is covered for a clean line.  I am wearing the size 28 and given how tailored and fitted it is I am very happy with the fit.  My blogger mishap that day was forgetting to open the back vent when we shot it…oops!!


I wanted to play up the drama of this piece so I chose pieces that gave me that total boss girl vibe with feminine details.  This scuba pencil skirt with its intricate pattern that was specifically designed to flatter the body was a perfect contrast.


I love the mix of black and white with pale pink and lavender.  The skirt is super stretchy and comfortable to wear with a thick elastic waist band.  I am wearing the size 28.


Then in keeping with the high neck on the jacket I added this white 70’s inspired bibbed blouse with this beautiful daisy embroidery in black.  I like that it has slight flare to it and stretch to accommodate my hips and a slit in the back with a button closure.  I am also wearing the size 28 in the blouse.


Given the high neckline I knew I was going to wear my hair up so I grabbed a statement earring in a pale pink and a coordinating bracelet to pull the look together but keep it office appropriate.


Finally I added my fave sling back patent heels with their retro inspired buckle accent from JD Williams USA and this gorgeous lavender Kate Spade bag with this amazing cut out detailing.


I love a look like this for the office because it is professional but stays true to who I am and reflects my personality.  Even if you work in an environment that has stricter dress code policies, it doesn’t mean your clothes have to be boring or basic.  I would also totally rock this blazer on the weekend with a great fitting pair of jeans.


So now me and my badass self are going to tackle the work day in style!


Thanks to Rob of Robert Skuja Photography for capturing this look.

Blazer by ELOQUII (currently sold out) | Alternative blazer by ELOQUII | Blouse by ELOQUII | Skirt by ELOQUII | Earrings by ALDO (alternative here) | Bracelet by LANE BRYANT (alternative here) | Shoes by JD WILLIAMS USABag by Kate Spade (alternative here)|

 

 

 

Oscar Moment

Happy Sunday everyone, I hope you enjoyed your weekend so far.  Today is Oscar day and I thought I would mark the occasion with a red carpet themed post.


There has been a lot of discussions and opinions this red carpet season about the lack of plus size options and that designers are not willing to work with plus size actors as well as the stylists they are working with.  And no one has taken more heat than break out star Chrissy Metz from the new NBC show This is Us.


Not only is Metz plus size, she is visibly plus and larger than a size 24.  So that creates a whole other host of challenges as there are less options above a size 22 particularly for formal wear.  So I applaud brands like Torrid and Eloquii who have been working with the star and making custom pieces.  And while she chose something to wear something else, I give a huge two thumbs up to Christian Siriano for stepping up to the plate and designing two options for her for the Golden Globes.  I am not going to debate anything in this post but instead I wanted to inspire women who are above a size 24 to know that there are formal wear options out there for you!  It may take a little extra effort, a leap of faith by shopping online and a good seamstress but you can dazzle like any star.

I first saw this dress on Kelly Augustine and I immediately was in awe of it.  I didn’t have any special occasions coming up but when I went to check it out I saw that it was on sale for 40% off but I still kept telling myself no, Lisa you don’t need it. Then my beautiful blogger boo Meshel of The Muffin Queen’s Closet wore it for her wedding on January 1st and that was it, I bought it.  I figure I’ll have something to wear it to down the road.  Good excuse right? 😉

So this beauty of a dress is from ASOS, specifically their red carpet collection.  And before anyone goes and gets mad at me I know their sizing for the most part only goes up to a size 24US.  I have always been hesitant to shop ASOS because of this as sometimes a 24 works and often it doesn’t.  But when I was at the Curvy Con in June, they had a booth and you could try samples on.  I tried several on and got a sense for what fabrics and styles would work for me.  It also helped that in Kelly’s post she said she felt the dress ran on the larger size.  I am wearing the size 24 and I actually found it a little big in the bodice, I would have considered sizing down.


This dress is made of a beautiful mid weight velvet so it allows for the drama and drape that a velvet dress should have but it’s not too heavy where it weighs you down and is also really hot.  The colour is this amazing shade of gold with a green undertone.


I love all the details in the bodice including the deep surplice neckline, the gathered edges at the shoulders and across the waist in the back and of course the covered buttons across the back with a drop v.  The skirt is cut on the bias with an amazing fullness and sweep and I mean what’s more red carpet worthy then this fantastic train?


To accessorize this look I kept mostly to mixed metallics to add some sparkle and shine against the rich velvet.  These gold strappy block heels from JD Williams USA were the perfect choice with their sparkle heel and 3 inch heel.  I love the fact that they make a stylish shoe like this in an extra wide width.  I then added this stunning statement necklace from Torrid that sold out in a flash before Christmas.  The branch like texture makes for a perfect conversation piece.


I then added a few pieces from my collection, being this bracelet and for a pop of colour this turquoise clutch.  I found this clutch years ago in the Halifax airport.  I love the detail in the embroidery and the burnished handle.  Definitely that statement worthy piece you want on the red carpet.


Whether you watch the Oscars and love the red carpet or you could care less I hope you enjoy my take on red carpet glam.  I personally can’t wait to see what everyone is wearing.  And maybe just maybe just maybe you can see that style including red carpet style has no size and is for every body.
 


Special thanks to Katie of Katiuska Idrovo Photography for bringing my vision to life so that we captured these stunning images but also for the beautiful hair and make up styling.

Dress by ASOS CURVENecklace by TORRID (sold out but alternative here) | Shoes by JD Williams USA | Bracelet vintage from my collection (alternative here) | Clutch vintage from my collection (alternative here) |

The Art of Accessorizing

Happy Friday my blogger fam, I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!  For today’s post we are going to do things a little differently and focus on one of my favourite things – accessories.  And I get to introduce you to a new brand I have discovered!  Sharing my new finds is one of my favourite things about blogging.

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Those who know me know how much I love accessories.  And I certainly don’t discriminate – shoes, bags, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings, scarves, hats, belts etc.  And if you let me loose around home decor, well that is a whole other story.  And while I do have my standard spots that I get a lot of my accessories from, I am always on the hunt for new options.  I like finding pieces that are unique and that not everyone is going to have.

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So when I was contacted by The Shopping Bag, an online shopper like myself’ dream website, I immediately spent over an hour perusing their website and finding one too many things to put in my shopping cart.  I really love working with brands that have a story and a purpose and are looking to provide their customer with an exceptional shopping experience.  And I feel that they certainly meet this expectation.

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The Shopping Bag was started with a vision of providing a one-stop, convenient source where shopping is always in style.  Their handpicked collections offer a unique selection of clothing (straight and plus sizes), accessories, shoes, home décor, beauty products, and much more. They carry thousands of affordable pieces at many different price points and they add new arrivals every week.

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And if that’s not enough, I think what really resonated with me was the story on their website from the company’s founder:

“Growing up, my grandmother always had a special deep closet that she called her gift closet. This was always filled with unique and hard to find items that when wrapped up and given, overjoyed her family and friends on their special occasions. She always seemed to have just the right item and found her treasures at just the right price point. Though my grandmother never lived to see her own boutique, I have a team now that carries on this passion for finding just the right items at just the right pricing and passing them on to bring joy to others.”

My grandmother and my mother are both the same way and I know that is where my love of accessories and giving gifts comes from.

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One of the questions I get asked a lot is how do I put a look together, what inspires me? Sometimes it is the clothing that inspires the choices I make for my accessories and sometimes it is the other way around.  It is hard to explain but it is like I hold this catalogue of everything I own in my head and when I am planning a look I start to pull things out in my head and put the puzzle pieces together.

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So what was fun for this post was I gave them a list of many different items that I liked and they chose what they sent me and the challenge was to style a look around them.  I was pretty excited when I got my package in the mail and it was a beautifully packaged box with everything wrapped in tissue and items sealed in nice storage bags.  It was just like opening a present.

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This baby blue pebble leather vegan bag is certainly going to be one of my new faves for spring.  It is a combination of slouch and structure.  The leather is very soft and the pebble effect helps prevent scratches and ages well.  It has fun details like a lock charm on the front along with gold toned hardware, and a zipper closure.

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And like any quality handbag, no detail is overlooked.  There is numerous compartments inside to help keep you organized, a zipper pouch on the back to keep your keys or phone easy to access and an optional change purse that easily lets you pay for your morning coffee.  But let’s not forget the added bonus of an adjustable shoulder strap that is perfect for those times where you need your hands free.  This bag retails for $65 US which I thought was an affordable price point for this size and quality of bag.  It also comes in beige.

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The other item I pulled out of my box was this really cute leather bejewelled wrap bracelet.  Being plus size, I like wrap bracelets because they will accommodate a larger wrist and they have certainly been a big trend for the last year.  I loved the combination of the metallic pewter leather and the stones in shades of blue and green.

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This bracelet retails for $25US which again is a good price point for what you are getting.  It is a versatile piece as it can be dressed up or down and I appreciate the fact that it does up like a traditional belt buckle allowing you tailor it your wrist.

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So when I put the two pieces side by side I love how the bag picked up on the colours of the stones and from that I knew I wanted to stick to a palette of blues.  I then remembered that I had recently purchased this super cute crochet cold shoulder shift dress from Your Big Sister’s Closet in one of spring’s hottest colours, navy.  And there you have it, I was inspired.

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The dress has a high neckline so a bracelet and earrings was the way to go.  I wanted the bracelet to make the statement so I stuck to a simple silver hoop.  I then wanted to keep my shoe neutral so I added these grey wedges from JD Williams USA that played off the leather in the bracelet.

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Keeping the dress and shoe neutral allowed the bag to be the piece that really popped in this look.  For me personally if I purchase a bag in a statement colour or fun print that’s exactly what I want it to do.  I really love this look overall, it has a boho chic vibe perfect for exploring the City, brunch or vacation.  I guess I need to find somewhere to go now!

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I got one other surprise in my box but you will have to stay tuned for a future post where I include it as part of my look.  If you are looking for a unique shopping experience, I recommend you take a look at The Shopping Bag.

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Thanks to Rob of Robert Skuja Photography for capturing this look.

Bag by THE SHOPPING BAG | Bracelet by THE SHOPPING BAG | Dress by YOUR BIG SISTER’S CLOSET | Shoes by JD WILLIAMS USA (sold out but alternative here) | Earrings from my collection (THE SHOPPING BAG alternative here) |

Perfectly Layered

Happy Tuesday everyone, I hope your week is off to a great start!  I don’t know about you but the weather was absolutely gorgeous here in Toronto this weekend and unseasonably warm.  While I enjoyed it to the fullest I can’t help but think that Mother Nature will undoubtedly still bless us with some cold temperatures and dare I say the “S” word…

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So this next look is perfect for tackling unpredictable weather as it is full of layers.  Layers are perfect for adding visual interest to a look and texture but they are also very practical for dealing with everyday temperature changes, especially for us busy women on the go.

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This A-line fleece jacket from Woman Within is a favourite piece of mine because it is the perfect mix of warmth and weight.  I don’t like jackets that are too heavy because I feel like they really weigh me down but I also don’t want to freeze  my butt off.  I found that the fleece is just right.

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And I love the shape of it.  Finding a jacket or coat that fits my pear shape is really a challenge so when I saw that this one was A-line (which is very hard to come by in extended sizes) I was ecstatic.  It was also nice that there were different colours to choose from and I wasn’t stuck with just basic black.  I chose this rich hunter green.

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I am wearing the size 4x in this jacket and I found the fit to be excellent.  I can easily wear a blazer  sweater underneath.  This jacket goes up to a size 6x which is a fantastic size range.

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I also wanted to show that this jacket could be dressed up or down.  Just because it is fleece doesn’t mean it is isn’t office appropriate.

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Underneath I decided to pair it with this black and nude lace maxi dress from Roaman’s.  This dress is a great style with its v-neckline, straps that are wide enough to wear a bra and a fitted waist with a full pleated skirt.  And to finish it off it has a cute high low hem.

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Based on the shape of the dress I decided to order what I would consider my standard size – a 28.  I was a little nervous because most items I have ordered have been larger because sizing has been small but I was pleasantly surprised when this fit just as I had expected.

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I decided for this look that I didn’t want to do what I would normally do which would be add a shrug or cardigan, instead I put a crisp white button up underneath.

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Button up shirts are definitely a challenge for me but when I saw that Jessica London had this one which is a peplum cut, I gave it a try.

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I am wearing this shirt in the 28 and although it fits pretty good I do wish they made it in larger sizes, not just for a little more breathing room in the hips but also in the bust.  But for a layering piece it does the trick.

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To accessorize this look I wanted to add some pieces that tied the dress and jacket together.  My inspiration started with my Gucci scarf and its classic green and red colour palette.  Now you don’t have to wear a name brand piece like this (mine was a gift) but instead focus on colours or prints that you love.  The texture on the dress is very tight in its pattern so you can pretty much pair it with anything.

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Then I added my simple black flats from Vionic Orthaheel that have a cute bow and my Celine colour blocked bag.  Again this bag was a gift so of course I choose it when I can but that doesn’t mean that a budget friendly option won’t look just as great.

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Finally I added a skinny red belt to really make the dress on its own pop and a set of mixed metal and pearl bracelets.

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Overall this look is perfect for a long day at the office.  It’s polished and professional but with style and flare.  And with the long couple of months I have ahead of tax season, I need some outfits like this in my roster!  Let the count down to April 30th begin!

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Thanks to Rob of Robert Skuja Photography for capturing this look.

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Jacket by WOMAN WITHIN via FULL BEAUTY  | Dress by ROAMAN’S via FULL BEAUTY Blouse by JESSICA LONDON via FULL BEAUTY Shoes by VIONIC ORTHAHEEL (alternative here) | Scarf by GUCCI (similar here) | Bag by CELINE | Bracelets by LANE BRYANT (alternative here) |

Worthy of Love

Happy Monday to my loyal blog fam, I hope you had a fantastic weekend and here’s to an amazing week ahead.  Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and to celebrate here is my 2nd post featuring my favourite pajamas from Lane Bryant.  I am just going to start things off with the honest truth – I hate Valentine’s Day.  Having said that if you are someone who loves this holiday I am certainly not going to rain on your parade so please go ahead and enjoy, you deserve it!

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And having said that I must admit I do love all the pretty things that come out for the occasion, from the lingerie, to the panties with cute sayings, to the chocolates, the flowers, the romance and the passion.  I love hearing what my friends are doing with their significant others and I love spending time with my girlfriends who are single.

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But I also find that it is a time for self reflection.  Having spent most of my life hating myself and particularly my body, it has always been a hard holiday to get through.  Telling yourself that if you are thin that all your problems would be solved is very hard on your self esteem.  Having guy friends tell you that if you were thin you would be the hottest girl in our circle is sad.  Being seen as only a fetish to a man and not a person is demoralizing.  Having been single every Valentine’s Day except for 2 that I can recall at the age of 41 is lonely.

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The one thing that I have learned through my self love journey is that I was my own worst enemy.  If I couldn’t love myself, then how was I going to let anyone else love me?  If I accepted this bad behaviour from men in my life then why would they act any differently?  If I let the stereotypes that society places on us dictate my thoughts and my actions then I was going to be miserable for the rest of my life.

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What I  can tell you now is that I am not perfect, I still have my moments of doubt and insecurity but I have come so far in my journey that above all I value what I think of myself first.  I know that I am deserving of love regardless of my size because I don’t let it define me.  I deserve someone in my life that sees all of me, not just this vessel that carries me but the person I am underneath and deep down in my soul.  And when I allowed myself that, I learned what true love was and felt loved like I had never felt in my entire life.  Unfortunately circumstances have ended that relationship and while I continue to heal I know that what I was searching for was not unrealistic, it just wasn’t my time.  And I am confident that because I let myself be vulnerable and be loved that in time it will happen again.

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So with that I also truly believe that as woman we should wear things that make us feel beautiful no matter what.  And this pj set is my all time favourite style from Lane Bryant, I must have it in half a dozen prints/colours.

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I really like the shorts because they are like a female version of the boxer and made to compliment our curves.  The material is also always super soft and they usually have cute details like contrast piping and a bow at the waist.  They show off your legs but still let you lounge in comfort.

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The matching tank is the perfect feminine touch with the lace on the cups and its deep v neckline.  It has adjustable straps so I find it perfect for giving the girls some support or you can wear a cute bra underneath if you like which I did here.  I am wearing the size 26/28 in this set which is my go to LB size.

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I am a girl who likes to have a robe for my pj’s, I can cover up if I am cold or in this case I can add a little bit of sexy to an otherwise comfy cotton set of pj’s.  This robe is from the Valentine’s Day collection and I love the dramatic kimono sleeves with the lace accents.  It was the perfect touch to a look that I felt fabulous in.  I am wearing the size 26/28 and I can do the robe up but as always I wish that Lane Bryant was just a little more generous in the sizing of pieces like this, I mean this girl has some serious hips to cover!

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I look at these pictures and I see a woman who has come full circle, a woman that is confident, happy and knows her worth.  I wish my twenty year old self could see these pictures because I think the reaction would be amazing.  To all the women and girls out there who are struggling, who are still on their journey or have yet to start it, I am here for you and I want you to know you are SO WORTH IT.  With love, Lisa xoxo

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This look was provided care of Lane Bryant but all opinions expressed are my own.

Special thanks to Katie of Katiuska Idrovo Photography for not pushing me outside of my comfort zone so that we captured these stunning images but also for the beautiful hair and make up styling.

Robe by LANE BRYANT | PJ Set by LANE BRYANT | Heart Hipster Panties by LANE BRYANT |