Happy Tuesday everyone, I hope your week is off to a great start! And Happy October, I can’t believe it is October already, time keeps on flying by that is for sure. I had a busy weekend of photo shoots and then I took a little bit of a rest on Sunday. I am happy to say I am starting to finally feel a little more settled and my routine is starting to take shape again.
For today’s post I am going to introduce you to a new designer, Jeff Cafone who specializes in making luxury leather jackets exclusively in plus size. For those of you who just did a double take when you read that, you are not seeing things! Jeff reached out to me this summer for some feedback on the line and fit and we ended up having some great discussions. I could tell that he really did have a genuine interest in offering the plus size market something that is currently lacking. Then when I was in NYC we had the chance to meet in person and we just hit it off, I feel like it was a definite meeting of the minds.
One of the things that was shocking to Jeff when he embarked on this journey was that there were very very limited options if any available in high end luxury plus size clothing compared to the straight size market where basically the choices are endless. And it wasn’t that he was meeting women through his initial custom only business that were plus size and didn’t want to spend their money, its that they had no where to do it! And this is how Jeff’s first ready to wear collection in sizes 12 to 28+ was born.
Jeff and I did talk about one thing that I think holds the plus size market and plus size women in general back from buying luxury items – self worth. Women are inherently less likely to spend money on themselves because they are often too busy looking after everyone else and making sure they have what they need than worrying about themselves. And then for many women there is also the notion of self love and being comfortable with your body and loving yourself as you are. So many of us wouldn’t invest in expensive pieces because we want to be thinner so we will often say oh I will wait to buy this when I am smaller. We have this idea in our head that we don’t deserve it unless we are thin.
But I also realized that as a plus size consumer it is also the way we have been conditioned to think. When you only have fast fashion options available to you then you develop a mind set where you no longer recognize quality and the cost associated with having high quality pieces to choose from. Fast fashion equals a cheaper price point but the quality is also not there. If you had the opportunity to build some high end staples into your wardrobe that would last from season to season and year to year then would you? I know I certainly would. And the accountant in me cannot help but think of the cost per wear. You all know what I am talking about – who has bought something, worn it once or twice, washed it and had it not hold up? I know I have!
I also remembered my 20’s when I would go shopping with my straight size friends to Danier leather and they would buy leather jackets for the fall and winter. Not a single one of them would think anything of paying $500 and up for their jackets. I know I would have never did the same even if they had my size because I was obsessed with being thin and didn’t think I deserved it. And its not that I couldn’t afford it, I had gotten my CPA and was working hard and making good money.
Part of my self love journey has been recognizing that I do want the opportunity to buy luxury items in my size if I choose. And I believe that as more and more women are embracing who they are now and going through a similar journey that a market exists and will flourish. And a leather jacket is one of those pieces that is a perfect investment piece. The right style will be timeless and last you a lifetime. You will want to wear it because it makes you feel and look great. And even if you loose some weight and go down one size, a slightly oversized jacket would still look great and be perfect for layering.
Jeff’s initial collection is made up of a black leather moto jacket and a tan suede moto jacket that I am wearing here. Both jackets are also now available in vegan options. The vegan options provide a much lower price point but still the great same style and quality. Sizing is offered from a 12/14 to a 28/30. I am wearing the 28/30 and my bust measurement is 58 for your reference. When I had the opportunity to go and try on the first sample jacket in my size I have to admit I was excited but also a little apprehensive. I was completely nervous that it wouldn’t fit. I have tried many times in the past to buy a leather jacket, even a faux one and nothing has ever worked, even if I have sized up like 3 sizes from my normal size. It was very disheartening and always a disappointment. I was ready to spend my hard earned money but it was like I wasn’t good enough because I was a size 28. And no matter how confident you are, that will take its toll on you.
But as you can see from the pics, this jacket fits amazing! I love how it has thoughtful design choices that take into account the plus size women’s body. It allows for a fuller bust and bigger biceps. And the best part for this pear shaped gal was seeing the artful design of the arched lower back that gently curves above bigger hips and higher booties so that you can still comfortably zip the jacket up. Finally I had a jacket that would work with my hips and not make me feel like a line backer in the shoulders!
Jeff has also spared nothing when it comes to the details. I am obsessed with the rich royal purple lining. Every zipper is thoughtfully placed, the pockets are functional and practical. And this suede is buttery soft, you can tell the quality a mile away. He also chose to manufacture the jackets in Porto Portugal where many other luxury brands are produced. You can see it in the craftsmanship of the jacket, the seaming, the quality and accuracy of the top stitching and overall in the fit.
I decided to pair the jacket with a classic dark wash skinny jean. This particular pair is part of “The New Skinny” collection from Lane Bryant. Lane Bryant totally revamped their denim with the launch of this style. It has been at least 3 years since I have been able to wear a pair of jeans from Lane Bryant because the size 28 just didn’t fit me properly. So when these came out I knew I had to give them a try. I will admit I expected to be disappointed when I tried them on, especially because they are skinnies but I have to say I ate my words because these are friggin fantastic! A huge shout out to the new SVP of Design, Eyan Allen and LB’s fit model, my gal Ashley Max-Dixon for working tirelessly to get the perfect fit on these, you rock!
I then added this white lace body suit from Ashley Stewart for a more romantic boho vibe. I usually don’t love a high neck but this one was surprisingly comfortable. I am wearing the size 32, I do find that I have to size up in Ashley Stewart pieces. I loved the cool vibe that these gold studded mules from Full Beauty gave to the look. They are unfortunately sold out but I did give you a link to a really cute bootie option for fall. And if you are wondering about these earrings then you are in luck because they just became available today! They are from a new Canadian brand, Meri Peti that I had the opportunity to work with on their initial campaign. Stay tuned for more details coming soon!
My final thoughts are simple…we are all deserving of many things but we don’t allow ourselves to think we are because of what we see in the media and the stigmas associated with being fat. I am here to say it is important to continue to challenge the status quo and demand change. We deserve respect and we deserve access to the same fashion options that a size 2 does!
If you are interested in purchasing a jacket please use the code MUSTANG75 for $75 off!