Search Results for: label/Dobbin Clothing

Showing the Love: Dobbin Clothing

dobbin clothing review

One of the greatest parts of blogging is learning about new brands. Brands will reach out by email and social media to share their business baby and some of these companies have become some of my favorites. I remember when I was pregnant I wished some company would make a line of dresses in ponte knit that could dress up or down with a change of accessories. I doodled in my work notebook a few different styles – simple but with little details that flattered and added interest. In October 2012, Jessica from Dobbin Clothing reached out to me by email and I found a company that made those very dresses I doodled in my notebook!

Since then a good quarter of my wardrobe is Dobbin Clothing. While I adore their ponte dresses (this one is my ultimate fave; I wear it all the time and it looks as great now as it did when I got it in ’12), I also have dresses from them in lace and stretch wool, silk blouses and tunics, trousers, skirts, and jackets (I have this one but haven’t yet featured on the blog though it’s lovely). The fit is excellent straight out of the box, the quality is stellar, the style is elegant and chic without being too trendy, and it’s all from a brand who cares about their customer and how their clothes are sourced and made.

When you purchase clothing at a department store or boutique, there’s always a markup so the retailer can make a profit. When you shop directly from the brand as you do with Dobbin Clothing, you can get incredible quality for far less. Dobbin sources high-end fabrics from the same European mills as luxury fashion brands, and produces its clothes side by side with those brands in the same top-tier New York factories. But since Dobbin Clothing is only available online, they can keep their entire line under $300 while pieces that may be of the same fabric sewn in the same factory sell at department stores for hundreds more.

And as mentioned, all of Dobbin Clothing is made in the USA. They use primarily washable fabrics to reduce the impact of dry cleaning on the environment, and they specifically create wardrobe basics that can look chic season after season requiring fewer pieces in your wardrobe. Oh, and they are utterly wonderful human beings behind the brand – since that original email in 2012 Jess has become a friend as well as one of the greatest companies to partner with in all my years of blogging. I proud to wear Dobbin Clothing, feature Dobbin Clothing on this blog, and am so thrilled when you readers comment and email me and share how much you also love the brand.

When Dobbin Clothing heard about Wardrobe Oxygen’s ten-year anniversary, they were generous enough to provide one Wardrobe Oxygen reader with a $200 shopping spree! What a great way to experience a quality brand that offers great style and fit with great ethics.

Wardrobe Oxygen + Dobbin Clothing Giveaway

What I Wore: Party Time, Excellent

What I Wore: Party Time, Excellent featuring a Dobbin Clothing lace dress, Dagne Dover clutch, and Talbots leopard coat What I Wore: Party Time, Excellent featuring a Dobbin Clothing lace dress, Dagne Dover clutch, and Talbots leopard coat What I Wore: Party Time, Excellent featuring a Dobbin Clothing lace dress, Dagne Dover clutch, and Talbots leopard coat

Dress: c/o Dobbin Clothing | Coat: c/o Talbots (similar) | Shoes: Nine West | Bag: c/o Dagne Dover | Bracelet: Nordstrom | Lipstick: Revlon ‘Really Red’

I took a break from the blog over the winter holidays and ended up not capturing some of the great outfits I wore for holiday parties. I wore this dress Christmas Eve and love how it looks so dressy but is so easy and comfortable to wear. Like everything else I have from Dobbin Clothing, this dress fits and flatters my curves so nicely straight out of the box. This is the kind of dress that can be worn all four seasons of the year and all levels of formality with a quick change of accessories.

Review of the Dagne Dover Clutch

I featured this clutch from Dagne Dover in a previous outfit post; this time I added one of the two straps available for the bag. The included short strap makes it easy to slip on the wrist to hold a cocktail or plate of hors d’ourves; there’s also a longer strap available to turn it into a shoulder bag. I had to show the interior of this little clutch, it holds so much! Inside the pockets I have more cards, change for the meter, blotting papers, key, and a couple pieces of gum; everything you need for a night out on the town. Plus, the portion with the cards is held on with a magnet so you can easily remove it, use it like a wallet and switch it to a different bag. Brilliant!

What I Wore: Date Night

wardrobe oxygen what I wore leopard talbots dobbin dress wide calf boots wardrobe oxygen what I wore dobbin clothing ponte dress wide calf boots wardrobe oxygen wide calf boot fashion blog wardrobe oxygen what I wore dobbin clothing ponte dress
Dress: Belle Stretch Ponte Twist Dress c/o Dobbin Clothing | Jacket: c/o Talbots (similar) | Bag: Rebecca Minkoff (similar) | Boots: Ros Hommerson ‘Maryland’ | Lipstick: Revlon ColorBurst Balm Stain in Romantic

This outfit makes me realize my closet is really heading in the right direction for my lifestyle, my personal style, and my desire to have more style with fewer pieces.  Dobbin Clothing sent me this dress in 2012 (see it on me in January 2013) and it remains the most versatile dress in my closet.  Worn to a wedding, a funeral, many times to work, and several date nights I love how I can dress it up or down with a switch of accessories.  The boots I purchased almost a decade ago; while some winters I don’t wear them as much and some years I adore them.  This is one of those love years; I’ve been wearing them weekly with skirts and dresses but also over skinny jeans (as seen here).   This bag was super trendy when I purchased it in 2013 (first seen here) and while many bloggers have moved on from the Mini M.A.C. to other bags, I continue to love it because it encompasses everything I love (leather, leopard, calfhair, tough silver hardware) with a perfect size and great craftmanship.  I’ve removed the strap to carry it like a clutch, and the length makes it a good shoulder or crossbody bag.  The coat only joined the wardrobe this past fall, but I wear so often.  Back in my sorority days it was considered a faux pas to “double letter” and wear your Greek letters on more than one garment at a time; I guess I “double leoparded” with this look but I don’t care.  I love me some leopard, it’s who I am.

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Saturday night Karl took me to Republic for my birthday.  Karl is the master of getting somewhere at the right time; we only had one quarter in the car and that’s all we needed for the meter until meters weren’t needed any longer.  We decided to sit at the bar and arrived just as another couple got up to leave.  We had an amazing bartender who totally geeked out on mixology and we learned so much from here about cocktails and oysters.  Soon after settling in the place got packed so we’re glad we got there when we did.  We felt like we were on vacation; we usually find a place that has oysters when we travel so we continued the vaca-feel by getting two burgers to go, heading home, putting on bathrobes and watching a movie and enjoying our favorite “room service” dinner.  Couldn’t think of a better way to ring in my 40th!

The Best of 2014, Swag Edition

I have often written about the difficult parts of blogging, but there’s some pretty sweet parts too. The friends that have been made with fellow bloggers, readers, and even some brands. The ability to get paid for a hobby or passion. And yeah… swag. We bloggers can get a lot of free stuff. Granted, that free stuff isn’t without strings – we get with the expectation that we will share with you folks (with stipulations on number of photos, links, social media touts, first born…). Because of this, I have become pickier with what swag I’ll actually accept. In the past I’ve been stuck trying to be tactful in a mention of a subpar something and I don’t want to have to do that again.

PicMonkey Collage

But not all swag is wack, and through blogging I have learned of some awesome companies and many pieces I have received for free have become some of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe. Since it can be hard to tell in posts which C/Os are truly adored, I’m going to share the best items I have received this year and why.

DUO ‘Santana’ Boots

I did a little squeal of joy when DUO finally contacted me. I’ve been writing about this high quality footwear brand for almost a decade and have purchased two pairs of their custom width calf boots with my own money. So this fall when they asked me to pick a pair of boots to feature on the blog, it wasn’t hard to say yes. I chose the ‘Santana’ boot in brown leather and they have become a weekly wear. In fact, I am wearing them right now as I type this post! The quality of leather is fantastic, and it’s nice to get stylish yet classic boots that fit my very large (44cm) calves and thick shins. These are especially flattering because they’re a bit shorter than knee-high, hitting at a better place on my petite frame. The color and subtle distressing rival Frye boots and I find them to be comfortable enough to walk and stand in them all day. A bit of a backstory – since I tore my left calf muscle last year my calf is even BIGGER than before so when I ordered my normal size in DUO they were too tight. DUO was amazing about the exchange, I spoke to them on the phone, we discussed how it fit to determine the correct replacement size, and they were so super nice and helpful. It’s so great to work with a company that you can feel cares about their customers.

Adora Bags Leather Tote

Guess this one is a bit unfair because it hasn’t yet been featured on the blog (yet!), but it’s darn awesome. I’ve loved the looks of the unfinished edge simple leather totes that have been in style, but couldn’t justify buying once since I already own totes that work as well (even if they don’t look as nice). So when Adora Bags contacted me and offered to send me a tote I was psyched. They come in black, a gorgeous blue, and a rusty orangey natural color; I chose black thinking it would be the most practical and timeless. The leather is insanely delicious – tumbled but soft. The straps sturdy and fit over my shoulder while wearing my parka yet short enough to carry in my hand. The shape isn’t too structured, but not a lumpy sack. It comes with a removable pouch on a strap so it can be an easy-access pocket for essentials, or pulled out to be a clutch. Mine also came with a little empty book/agenda in the same leather which was a lovely touch. This is a true tote, it wouldn’t really make for a great handbag, but it’s a good size for an overnight trip, a carryon bag, or for running errands. It’s handmade in Italy, smells divine, feels luxurious, and makes me carting 250 flyers for the Girl Scouts or returns to Ann Taylor feel a bit more posh. And speaking of customer service, they followed up with me to ensure the bag came in perfect condition and have been so lovely to work with. A super nice company.

Karen Kane Jersey Pants

Before my arm broke, Karen Kane contacted me and asked if I’d like some pieces from their Spring collection. I got a pair of wide-leg drapey pants from them they year prior and wore the heck out of them so when I saw their blue paisley jersey pants I knew I had to have them. I envisioned them with a drapey jersey top in white, lots of silver jewelry, flat sandals and a hint of a tan come Summer, but I ended up wearing them quite a lot while convalescing. They were one of the few bottoms I owned that weren’t pilled and faded yoga pants that I could get on and off with my left hand, were comfortable enough to rest in them, but felt sassy enough in them if a friend came to see how I was doing. Even better, since I lived in them they went in the washer and dryer dozens of times yet are still as rich in color, no pills, no shrinkage, and looked cute enough that when I was healed I did pair them with a drapey top and silver jewelry! Obviously the pants they sent me are no longer available, but these look to be the same pants in a different print. And we all know I love Karen Kane, in fact it was hard to pick one item from them to feature. I love the black drapey jersey dress they sent me and the lace overlay dress from them was not only a fave of mine, but I loaned it to a friend to wear to a wedding! Karen Kane continues to have my heart and a place in my closet.

SOREL Joan of Artic Wedge Boot

In my sponsored post I stated I was a fan of SOREL boots and I have been, but I’ll be honest – they never fit over my calves. So when they asked me to do a sponsored post with their boots I was excited… and terrified. Last year I did a footwear post with a brand and the boots they sent did NOT fit my legs and I had to cobble together a wonky outfit to make it work. But after last winter and my broken arm, I couldn’t pass on a pair of quality boots that are made to handle inclement weather. So I chose this style of boot, figuring it laced up and was softer leather higher up so it could possibly flex over my ankles and shins. I also ordered a half size bigger than usual to give a bit more space. And well, I’m glad I took the risk. In the post I wore the boots folded down because they did look a bit goofy laced up on my legs, but I have been wearing them both ways. I wear them folded down, cuff my jeans, and have rag socks slouched between the two for warmth and a bit of a ‘90s vibe. But I also wear them laced up which may look weird but feels comfortable and wear my pants over them to hide the tops. However when it snowed the other week, I laced them up over a pair of jeggings and had my wool socks peek out over the tops of them and while no one would give me an award for figure flattery, it looked casual cute. The boots are super grippy, super comfortable, waterproof, and warmer than my other boots. They stay at the front door because I wear them so often now that the temps have dropped and I know once it gets icy they may not leave my feet.

Dobbin Clothing Sophie Silk Crepe de Chine Blouse in Leopard Print

We all know I love me some Dobbin Clothing, but I’ve mainly stuck to their dresses. This year I tried their tops and I am a mega fan. While the green silk tunic they sent is lovely, this leopard blouse has become a closet favorite and I wear it almost weekly. I tuck it in and wear it with black or ivory trousers, I wear it untucked with skinny jeans or black ponte skinny pants and boots. It’s a top that works when I’ve gained a bit, but also looks lovely when I’ve lost a bit. It says dry clean only, but I have put it in a lingerie bag on the gentle cycle and it has come out quite nicely. I like the gold buttons, the mate crepe finish, and how the leopard is elegant, not cheesy. As with all the other Dobbin Clothing I own, the quality is stellar and it’s a piece that’s stylish now and likely will be stylish for many years to come. And from a blogger standpoint, they are one of my favorite companies to work with!

Talbots Leopard Coat

Talbots sent me their fall look book and it impressed me so much I shared it on the blog with all of you. You all reacted so positively (and I’ll be honest, clicked those affiliate links in the post and bought a lot of Talbots merchandise) that I let Talbots know how successful a post it was. And they asked me what size I wore and sent me this coat in thanks. I wore it in this post, but if you follow me on Instagram you know I wear it quite often. It looks great with jeans, is chic with workwear, and has become one of the coats I wear with dresses for evenings out. I got a 12 Petite and it fits as though it was tailored to my frame; the fuzzy texture gives an almost vintage feel but is a classic piece.

Dagne Dover

I don’t usually reach out to brands, call me a “Rules Girl” but I like to be approached by brands instead of cold pitching (I mentioned this before). But when you guys ask me about a brand unknown to me, I do my homework. And I did my homework with Dagne Dover, reading reviews online and being bold enough to email them. They were awesome, replied in less than a day with a super sweet email and the offer to choose the bag of my choice. We’ve stayed in communication and I look forward to sharing more from the brand in the future. They’re a small brand, but one with heart and one that makes well-made and cleverly designed bags. I’ve had really demoralizing experiences reaching out to brands, but my experience with Dagne Dover has given me confidence to keep doing it with companies that seem like a good fit for this blog.

CastCoverz!

I spent about 25 weeks this year in a cast. If you’ve ever worn a cast, you know how utterly disgusting they can be. While my second doctor replaced them bi-weekly for me, they still got sweaty and dirty and stinky and grubby. My sister told me about CastCoverz! and I bought two long-arm covers to make my broken arm a bit more stylish – I got leopard print (naturally), and a sparkly disco gold one. I featured them in a post , CastCoverz! saw it and offered to send me covers for when I graduated to a short arm cast. That short arm cast came in the middle of the summer when there was no way to keep my cast looking halfway decent after a day or two. The cast covers didn’t make the cast any hotter, but they covered the grubbiness with fun patterns and color while keeping my cast from scratching me and wearing against my knit tops. When Karl broke his foot at the end of the summer, CastCoverz! was sweet enough to send him two boot covers. While their cast covers (and other supplies for those in casts or wearing crutches) are awesome and high quality, what won me over was CastCoverz! customer service and kindness. Everyone I interacted with, from the person on the phone to Annette the owner were so genuinely kind and cared for me be it when I was any old customer, or when I was a blogger promoting their products. Amazing company run by amazing people.

Boden Ravello Silk Top

I had a partnership where I was provided a specific amount of money to spend at Boden and I was PSYCHED. However it was when I had my cast and when I had gained a lot of weight and I worried I wouldn’t be able to find anything to fit properly. But it’s Boden, and Boden is awesome. I had to call them to place my order and chatted with the sweetest person on the phone. We discussed everything from my arm to my bust size to my weight gain and she helped me pick this top (and a basic striped tank because I love stripes and I couldn’t afford at the time to spend more than the store credit). And well, I freaking LOVE THIS TOP. I wear it ALL THE TIME. And every time I wear it someone raves about it. The colors are amazing, the fit is great, and it’s one of those tops that looks cute tucked in or left out, that shows I go in under the chest, and doesn’t make my arms look like hamhocks. The post where I featured it doesn’t do it justice; I had JUST gotten off my cast a day or two prior and was feeling pretty darn awful and was just glad to fulfil an obligation. But if you follow me on Instagram you know how often I’ve worn this top and I likely will wear it to death again this coming spring.

Reebok Skyscape Sneakers

This is another post that took place right after my cast came off and I was in a very dark place emotionally and uncomfortable place physically. But I signed contracts and had to comply. So Karl rolled out his white backdrop, took pauses between my cryfests and makeup reapplications, and we got it done. Another behind the scenes being a blogger – one ad network contacted me the year prior about partnering with “an athletic footwear company” and had me fill out a form to be considered. Then a couple months later, a different ad network contacted me and asked if I’d like to be considered for a campaign with Reebok. Well I said yes to both, and come to find out both were for Reebok Skyscape and set to take place the same week. So the second company who contacted me to confirm my participation, I declined explaining the situation. They’re a great company and understood, and told me to let them know when the shoes arrived so they could mail me a return shipping label. They arrived, I contacted them, two weeks later they finally got back and said don’t worry about it, I could keep them. Well what the heck am I going to do with two pairs of black Reebok Skyscapes with pink soles? At the time, I didn’t know if I’d even wear the pair I wore in the post. And now it’s December and you couldn’t pry BOTH pairs of Skyscapes from my dead cold hands. These things weight nothing and fold easily making them the best commuter shoes. They are uber cushy and cozy, flexible, but have grip on slick sidewalks. One pair I keep at home, one pair is at the office, and these are the sneakers I take with me when I travel because of size and weight and comfort level. I’ll admit I don’t love the pink details; both pairs came with pink and black laces so I switched them to black. Not only that, one pair I took a Sharpie to the pink grommets and exposed sole. I did this so I could wear them with my outfit for Halloween, but it does make them less athletic-shoe looking and have become the ones I slip in my bag (like I did last night) to put on after a long day in heels. They are utterly awesome shoes and while I didn’t get the hype when I wrote my post, I totally get it now.

 

Please don’t think that because I didn’t mention an item or brand here I think it’s bunk. Far from it. I think I’ve gotten better and better over the years in picking the appropriate brands to partner with so I can provide completely honest and positive reviews. I feel truly honored to partner with such amazing companies, and proud that I can introduce them to you. The older I get, the more I experience ageism and sizeism as a blogger when connecting with brands. When I feature a brand, it’s usually after establishing a relationship with them and making sure they understand you all, Wardrobe Oxygen’s audience. While swag is pretty cool, what’s cooler is the relationship I have built with all of you. I want to maintain your trust, I want to continue our honesty, and I want to be able to continue to introduce you to the companies who respect the Wardrobe Oxygen reader and deserve your attention.

Wardrobe Staple: The Not So Little Black Dress

I believe in the power of the not so little black dress. While the LBD is famous, the NSLBD is one that can get far more wear and is far more versatile. From the boardroom to the ballroom, a black dress in a versatile fabric and cut can work for most anything life throws your way, and is a smart wardrobe staple for any woman.

Dobbin Clothing recently sent me their Simone Dress and as soon as I put it on I realized what a perfect NSLBD it is. The stretch wool fabric has a subtle sheen and a refined finish that looks elegant and classic. The asymmetrical neckline provides allure and interest without being so unique people would think, “Oh there she is in that black dress again.” The seaming and waistband flatter curves and also add interest without stealing the spotlight.

Dress: c/o Dobbin Clothing | Bracelet: Ann Taylor (similar) | Watch: Citizen c/o WatchCo | Bag: c/o Fossil | Shoes: Ivanka Trump

For this look I styled the Dobbin Clothing Simone Dress for work. The dress is classic, and doesn’t require a bunch of accessories to look polished. I added a wrist of bracelets and a watch for a bit of shine and my own personality, but otherwise let the dress do the talking. This dress looks great on its own; the interesting neckline would also look quite lovely under a blazer.

Dress: c/o Dobbin Clothing | Tights: Spanx | Boots: Ros Hommerson | Bag: Rebecca Minkoff (similar) | Scarf: c/o Nepali by TDM | Watch: c/o Fossil | Bracelet: c/o Lulu Avenue

The Simone Dress would also be perfect for an afternoon with friends, having lunch and going shopping. The stretch wool resists wrinkles so it would hold up through a long day or business travel.  The length is perfect for boots as well as pumps; I added a scarf for color and to show how you can hide the neckline of the dress and give it a different life. Using accessories like scarves are great when on travel to make a small wardrobe look larger and more varied.

Dress: c/o Dobbin Clothing | Bracelets: Ann Taylor (similar) | Bag: Aldo (similar) | Earrings: vintage (similar) | Shoes: Nine West

I did say boardroom to ballroom, didn’t I? This dress is elegant enough to dress up perfectly for a gala. Adding sparkly accessories, the Simone Dress becomes black tie. I also can’t resist an opportunity to pull out the wedding jewelry; the tiara made me feel very Holly Golightly and doesn’t look too insane paired with such an elegant dress.

With a dress like this from Dobbin Clothing, you can get a great dress now for the holidays, but know you can wear it later too. Pair with a cardigan or blazer this winter, with nude peeptoes and pearls for a spring wedding, with tan sandals and a wood necklace for a summer Date Night.

Dobbin Clothing on Wardrobe Oxygen
Top row:  1 | 2 | 3 | 4       Bottom row: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

I’ve been a fan of Dobbin Clothing for over a year; while there’s posts above with me wearing Dobbin Clothing, I also wear this line on a regular basis off the blog. Sophisticated silhouettes, wardrobe staples that dress up and down with ease, high quality fabrics and construction, and made in the USA. While my other Dobbin dresses are made from ponte knit (and you know how much I love ponte), the Simone in wool is just as comfortable and figure flattering and I am impressed by the cotton used for their trousers. Dresses I got from Dobbin a year ago and have washed a dozen times still look brand new. Not just that, Jess and Catherine are awesome people who care about their product, and their customers.

Dobbin Clothing is offering 30% off their entire shop until Midnight tonight with the code THANKS30. They’d like to thank us for being customers, and I’d like to thank them for great clothes and this great discount!


While this post was sponsored by Dobbin Clothing, they left the text, images, what item/s I featured, and even the topic completely up to me.  I chose to feature this dress because I really do believe in it, and I chose to partner with Dobbin Clothing because I really do believe in them.

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#WO2turns10: Celebrating Wardrobe Oxygen’s 10th Anniversary

blog22Yeah, this pretty much sums up how I felt last Thursday evening.

I was famous for being a quitter. When the going gets tough, I was known to cave. The main reason I got mediocre grades in school wasn’t because I didn’t understand but because I’d get overwhelmed by assignments and just not turn them in. I’ve had great ideas but never put them into action because I quit before I can even start. To have a blog reach its 10th birthday is a big deal, but when it’s me who is writing that blog, it’s huge.

wo2turns10 wardrobe oxygenLast Thursday, DC Style Factory, a personal styling company, hosted a party to celebrate Wardrobe Oxygen’s 10th anniversary. A private event took place at DC Noodles; reusable tote bags provided gifts for attendees from Dagne Dover, Jag Jeans, Karen Kane, RestoPresto, and South Moon Under. That night there was food, there was drink, there was fashion, there was fun, and there was plenty of laughter and plenty of tears.

wo2turns10As the guests entered the private room that held the party, the tears began to fall. Bloggers who I have admired over the years, friends who I always am glad to see at fashion and blogger events, friends from high school and college, Twitter and Instagram buds I was meeting in the flesh, neighbors, ex-coworkers, relatives, and blog readers.

wo2turns10 partyIt meant so much to have all these great people from so many different parts of my life come together to celebrate. Even cooler was to see a blogger friend deep in conversation with my high school friend, a blog reader laughing with my sister, a fellow ex-Washington Post columnist and Twitter bud bonding with Karl, and how there weren’t any cliques – everyone was having fun with everyone.

wo2turns10 dc noodlesDC Noodles was amazing; owner Sak Pollert is the sweetest person with the most amazing energy. They set the private room so beautifully, staff walked around offering Thai-fusion bites and bringing guests their drinks. They provided proceeds from the party’s signature cocktail to Dress for Success and ensured the evening was perfect.

wo2turns10 wardrobe oxygen partyThe event couldn’t happen if it weren’t for the amazing sponsors. One of the coolest things about blogging is getting to know the people behind brands I love. Again, tears fell when I heard what wonderful companies wished to be a part. Thank you so much to Anthropologie, Betsy Fisher, Dobbin Clothing, GoodWood, Jag Jeans, Karen Kane, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, Lifetherapy, Nora Gardner, Proper Topper, RestoPresto, Scratch DC, Social Shop Media, South Moon Under, Talbots, and Zophia. I am honored to have partnered with you, and honored you were part of this celebration.

wo2turns10 dcstylefactoryA big thank you to DC Style Factory. The owner Rosana and I met through mutual friends a few years ago, and we became friends. I respect her business ethics and her thoughts on style and fashion are in line with mine. For years when readers have reached out to me looking for a personal stylist I have recommended DC Style Factory and every time a reader has used them they have come back and told me what a wonderful experience it was. To have not just a friend but a businesswoman I respect offer to host this event was tremendous and it tears me up just thinking about it.

The pictures above are of a few of the women Rosana and I am in a group with – women who are smart, business-savvy, creative, and support one another in reaching our dreams while still staying wholehearted.  One of the biggest lessons I have learned during this decade with Wardrobe Oxygen is the power of female friends. When I was younger I practically prided myself on not getting along with fellow women; through this blog I met so many different women and saw how important it is to support one another, help each other rise.  Allie of a decade ago would have never had such a great group of women friends, and Allie of a decade ago wouldn’t write the blog that Wardrobe Oxygen is today.

So my last but biggest thank you is to all of you. YOU are the reason why Wardrobe Oxygen can celebrate its 10th anniversary. You are why I never wanted to be a quitter when it came to this blog and what helped me stop being a quitter in other aspects of life as well. Over the years blogging has changed a lot, but what has stayed consistent is the community built here. The relationships I have made with you, how much I have learned from you, and how much you have enriched my life and inspired me. You are amazing people, and I look forward to many more years with you here at Wardrobe Oxygen!

Photos by the amazing Emma McAlary who truly captured the spirit of the event. You rock!

Tuesday: Perfect Ponte

Dress: c/o Dobbin Clothing | Necklace: c/o Lydell NYC | Shoes: Boutique 9 

I can’t believe this is the first time I have worn this fabulous dress on the blog. I have shared it on Instagram and worn it several times, but just not on here. I even wore it to speak on a panel of journalists because it looks so great, so sophisticated, and still so comfortable. Well this dress totally deserves a moment in the sun, even though it was photographed on a drizzly day. The dress is the “Belle” from Dobbin Clothing, and it’s one piece from their amazing collection of well-crafted wardrobe workhorses. Dobbin Clothing specializes in clothing that works as hard as you do – flattering fits, primarily washable clothing, and designer quality. This dress is from ponte knit and has seaming that makes my body look phenomenal. This is a size 12 and it fits great. Right now this dress is on sale, Dobbin Clothing offers free shipping both ways, and right now if you use the code FIRSTTIMEVISITOR you get 20% off your entire order! Oh, did I mention that Dobbin Clothing is made in the USA right in New York’s Garment District?

With such a great dress, I kept things pretty simple. This is a favorite necklace of mine that hasn’t gotten much play lately; I decided to amp it up with bold lips and high heels but keep everything else simple. Oh yeah, and a lovely addition of rain beads on my hair and dress!  Rain drops keep falling on my head… during photo shoots!

I love when a great company also makes a great product, and that’s what I experience with Dobbin Clothing. I know this sounds like a hard sell, do know they sent me the dress without any expectations. All that I wrote here is because I honestly feel it and didn’t get paid to state it, I just really dig this dress and the company.

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Go Ahead Put Your Red Dress On

Dress: c/o Dobbin Clothing | Necklace: Leona Pendant c/o Kristin Biggs, Stella and Dot | Watch: c/o WatchCo | Bracelets: Nordstrom (similar), Nordstrom (similar), had forever | Glasses: Derek Cardigan 7003 c/o Coastal.com | Shoes: Ivanka Trump

One thing bloggers get flack for is wearing too many c/o (courtesy of) items. How can a reader tell your true personal style or find you inspiring when you have a completely gifted outfit? I guess it depends on the blogger, but over the years I have learned to not accept every free thing that is offered to me. It does water down your personal style, it makes you seem less credible… and between you and me it is a pain to them take these gifted items that aren’t really your style and try to style them in a good way for the blog. I have had mornings when I have cried over not knowing how to make a garment or accessory look decent, and I feel guilty to my readers and to the brand that was kind enough to send it my way.

I don’t feel guilty wearing gifted items. One, it’s a lovely perk for working hard on this blog, but two it’s such a great chance to showcase lesser-known amazing brands. I for one may never have known about Dobbin Clothing if they hadn’t contacted me and sent me a dress. Dobbin Clothing has now become such a fave of mine – high quality garments made with fine fabrics from European mills but created here in the US of A.  They pride themselves in making tasteful stylish workhorses for your wardrobe.  The women behind Dobbin Clothing are just as lovely as their creations too!

So yeah, there’s a lot of c/o above… but every c/o up there is one you have likely seen before or will likely see many times again because I love the pieces and I find they fit my personal style. Each piece above I would purchase with my own money if I was able.  I think with blogs, it’s less about how one gets a garment or accessory and more about how they style it and whether it fits their style and message.

UPDATE: Like this dress?  This is the “Nora” by Dobbin Clothing, and they are offering all Wardrobe Oxygen readers 20% off it, in black or red.  Use the code WARDOX20 at checkout to get 20% off the Nora Dress in black or red.  No expiration date, but this code cannot be used in conjunction with the first-time buyer code.

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What I Wore: Thank You Berry Much

Dress: “Eva” c/o Dobbin Clothing | Shoes: Vince Camuto (similar) | Necklace: Rings from Etsy, chain c/o Stella and Dot | Lipstick: Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Smitten

How gorgeous is this color?  As soon as I saw it on Dobbin Clothing I was in love.  Seriously, check out their new Fall line, great colors, silhouettes, and separates.  Dobbin Clothing isn’t just fab ponte dresses, they have a great-fitting line of pants (stay tuned, I’ll be sharing a pair), and lovely blouses (one I wore this weekend and featured it on Instagram).  As for this dress, it’s perfect for this time of year with pumps, and come colder weather I will be pairing with tights and booties.

UPDATE: The fine folks at Dobbin Clothing are offering Wardrobe Oxygen readers 25% off their order!  Use code wardox25 at checkout.  Code cannot be combined with any other offers or discounts taking place.  Happy (made in the USA) shopping!

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What I Wore: Spring Green

I am such a fan of green and this blouse from Dobbin Clothing is the perfect Kelly green for spring.  This is a tunic length blouse, so it also looks adorable untucked with some slim pants.  With wearable heels (seriously these shoes are uber comfortable all day) and a hat to sheild myself from the sun, I’m ready for outside brunch with my girl friends!

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What I Wore: Real Red

Dress: Belle c/o Dobbin Clothing | Bag: “Erin” Satchel c/o Fossil | Tights: Nordstrom | Boots: Ros Hommerson  | Bracelets: had forever, Nordstrom (similar) | Watch: Citizen c/o WatchCo | Coat: Via Spiga

Fossil was kind enough to send me this bag and I immediately fell in love with the color. It’s not cherry, it’s not tomato, it’s not ruby or oxblood or any other fancy terms. It’s as clear and true of a red as a crayon. I checked the bag’s label and it’s called Real Red. I like that, no crazy made-up name, just what is exactly is. This bag is pretty phenomenal, and perfect for a commuter like me. Two side zipper pockets to hold things like farecards and lip balm, and inside there is a zipper pocket on one side, and the other side five different pockets to hold anything from a Smartphone or your keys to business cards and a pack of gum. And in this bag I have my wallet, Kindle (did you enter my Kindle giveaway?), makeup bag, myAgenda, sunglasses, gloves, journal, and two reusable containers to hold my lunch. Impressive! The crossbody strap is adjustable to become a shoulderbag, or it can be removed. I know this bag is going to be used quite a lot this season!

I never understand why street style models and bloggers wear their coats on their shoulders like a cape.  How can they move their arms?  Why not just put on the coat?  Then I realized on cold days I do this very thing – I wear the coat like a cape from the house and over my shoulders until Karl gets ready to take pictures.  This way my outfit doesn’t get as rumpled and I’m less likely to mess up my hair.  Karl got this picture of me in the coat at the beginning of the shoot and it showcases the coat I bought last winter on a whim and still adore a year later (and it’s still available at Nordstrom and now on sale!).

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What I Wore: Summer Sheath

Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore Navy Dobbin Clothing Dress Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore Talbots Purse Snakeskin wardrobe oxygen what I wore Dobbin Clothing
Dress: c/o Dobbin Clothing | Necklace: Tasha | Shoes: c/o Sole Society | Bracelet: Nordstrom | Watch: Citizen | Bag: Talbots | Cast Cover: c/o CastCoverz!

I’ve been wearing the heck out of this dress this year, but I realize this is the first time it’s on the blog (though you can see me wearing it on the Dobbin Clothing blog!). When it’s hot out, there’s nothing better than one-piece dressing to keep your cool! I love how the skirt of this dress is pleated so it sticks away from the body to be even more comfortable in the heat and humidity. While I’ve paired this dress with almost every pair of shoes in my wardrobe, today I kept it simple with same color heels so the accessories could shine. I bought this bag on clearance at Talbots and adore it as a shoulder bag or crossbody, and my peacock-print cast cover is by far my favorite!

Lifesaving Lilac

Dress: “Sabrina” Sheath c/o Dobbin Clothing | Shoes: Joan & David (similar) | Jacket: ASOS | Watch: c/o WatchCo | Large Bracelet: J. Crew (similar)

You all know I adore my Dobbin Clothing dress; I was excited to see their new Spring collection – fun new colors and silhouettes. Jessica at Dobbin Clothing was kind enough to send me the Sabrina Sheath in this perfectly springy shade of purple. It was just the ticket – I had a majorly stressful day at work yesterday and a long evening at a blog event (if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you know what it was, the rest of you a post will be coming soon!). So to be able to have one-piece dressing this morning was so very needed, and it’s nice to have it so easy yet look quite professional and be comfortable in high quality ponte knit. I thought it was going to be chilly and added the jacket, but it’s actually colder in the office than outdoors!

This week is a bit of a killer for me at work, and this weekend is going to be busy. This past weekend I had some serious writing mojo and have a couple posts in the queue for the rest of this week and next. I’m trying to blog less often, but work smart not hard on what I do write. While I seem to be putting out just as much content, it’s not stressing me out as much and feels more authentic… more old school Allie. The wardrobe change, the blog change, the season change… it’s a lot of change but it all feels very good!

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Contest: Tolani Scarf from chickdowntown.com

jessica alba tolani scarfTo celebrate me coming back to work and to blogging, I have a great contest for you readers!

One of you can win a Tolani scarf that has been seen on the likes of Jessica Alba (pictured), Sienna Miller, Vanessa Minnillo (pictured), Halle Berry and Mary-Kate Olsen.

The Tolani scarf is courtesy of chickdowntown.com, an awesome site that sells hip women’s designer clothing from the likes of Black Halo, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Diane Von Fürstenberg and Vera Wang Lavender Label.

I am so excited, because you KNOW I love scarves, and these beauts from Tolani are fabulous!

vanessa minnillo tolani scarfHow to enter:
Send an email to mywardrobetoday@gmail.com with the word “TOLANI” in the subject.
In the body of the email, please provide your name and mailing address (I promise these addresses will only go to me – except for the winner, and will be deleted once the contest is over). Winner will be chosen by random.

Contest ends Friday, March 20th, 2009 at midnight ET. Winner will be contacted by email. Scarf will be mailed out from chickdowntown.com. Sorry international readers, but the contest is only open to those in the United States.

Get to know chickdowntown.com:
Facebook (friend “shop chickdowntown” and/or become a fan of the chickdowntown page)
Twitter (twitter.com/chickdowntown)
YouTube (chickdowntownTV.com or youtube.com/chickdowntowntv)

Good luck!

What I Wore: Smart Slacks

Blazer: Vince Camuto (similar) | Top: Ann Taylor (similar) | Belt: Ann Taylor (similar) | Pants: Cameron” c/o Dobbin Clothing | Shoes: MICHAEL Michael Kors “Flex” | Bracelet: Nordstrom (similar) | Watch: Citizen c/o WatchCo

One of the biggest questions I receive from readers is what to do with waist gap. It seems that few retailers cater to a woman with a pear shape, round rear, or just a small waist in comparison to her hips. I often looked at Emerson’s toddler jeans with the elastic adjusters and wished they made pants like that for us adult women. Well, they DO! And not only that, the pants are well crafted, made in the USA, and from Dobbin Clothing!

Dobbin said I just HAD to try their Cameron pant. I already had black pants in my wardrobe so didn’t see the need, but they felt I would really like them. When I pulled them out of the box and saw the elastic adjusters in the waistband I cheered. In a heavyweight Italian stretch cotton (that does NOT get all linty), these pants keep their shape and are thick enough to hide VPL and other lumps and bumps. The waistband is free of belt loops so it stays smooth under fitted tops; there’s no front pockets to gape and add bulk, and the rise is a bit higher to hold everything in and prevent muffin top. I find the pants run large, these are a size 10 and they are quite comfortable; at 5’3″ I didn’t have to hem these to wear with heels, and think they’d be a very chic ankle length for taller women. And yes, inside are elastic strips and buttons to create a custom fit at the waist. You were right Dobbin, even though I had black pants I NEEDED these in my wardrobe!

It’s funny how I bought this silky tee from Ann Taylor eons ago on a whim and was ready to return it and lost the receipt.  Good thing, since I seem to wear it all the time, year round!   This belt I bought on clearance and don’t know if it has ever been on the blog, even though I have owned it for… two years now?  The Ann Taylor clearance racks can be quite the goldmine!

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What I Wore: Jewel Tones

Dress: Eva Dress c/o Dobbin Clothing | Tights: DKNY | Boots: Ros Hommerson | Bag: Erin Satchel c/o Fossil | Jacket: Halogen (similar) | Cuff: Had forever (similar)

This outfit features two items I received free from blogging, but two things I utterly adore and wear regularly with much joy. I love Dobbin Clothing – their ethics, their style, their quality, and service. This dress has gotten a lot of wear this year, and I wear it often with tights and boots now that it has gotten so cold. I wore it once with this jacket and loved the color combination and decided to repeat it for the blog.

And this bag… oh how I love this bag. it’s the Erin Satchel from Fossil and it’s my new favorite. While I often wear it with the long strap to make it a crossbody, I sometimes remove the long strap and carry it like a doctor’s bag. The shorter straps are still long enough to tuck it into the crook of my elbow and it’s easier in the season of heavy coats with hoods and laptop bags and too much going on around the neck. But this bag is really well made, holds everything, has really intelligent pockets and always brings me compliments. I like bags that look luxe but aren’t covered with logos; Fossil keeps branding subtle and lets the style shine.

I think this would have looked better with wavy/curly hair but it’s a lot faster to do my hair straight in the morning.  A good clue to what type of morning I have had is how curly my hair is.  If it’s curly and looks great, I had a good night’s sleep, thought ahead to shower the night prior, had time for breakfast and am feeling fine.  When it’s like this, I am running late but at least had time for a shower.  When it’s in a messy updo… watch out because mama hasn’t had her coffee and probably forgot her phone at home!

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What I Wore: Professional Plum

Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore Dobbin Clothing Dress Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore J. Crew Black Leather Structured Tote Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore Dobbin Clothing Ponte Knit Dress
Dress: Carmen‘ c/o Dobbin Clothing | Bag: J. Crew (similar) | Shoes: Ivanka Trump (same brand, similar style) | Watch: Citizen | Bracelets: Nordstrom, Rebecca Minkoff (similar) | Lipstick: Revlon Matte in Wine Not

I purchased this black tote in 2001. I made a career change and after my first day at the new job, I went to J. Crew.  I had been eyeing this tote for months, and saw one left in the sale department for the discounted, yet still crazy high to me price of $199.  I felt I deserved it, it would be an example of my new professional life, and I swore it would be a classic. As with most pieces deemed classic it didn’t feel quite as classic after a couple of years. In 2001, it was fine for carrying files and a notebook for business meetings, but once laptops became a necessity, this bag seemed too small for work and too uptight for most anything else. But as laptops shrank and tablets commonplace, this bag has come back into rotation. It was damaged when a tree came through our roof, but my cobbler was able to restore it to a wearable condition. Glad that my classic has become a classic once more!

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What I Wore: Faking Fall

wardrobe oxygen handbag heaven waverley barrel wardrobe oxygen what i wore handbag heaven wardrobe oxygen waverley barrel satchel handbag heavenBlouse: c/o Dobbin Clothing (on sale!) | Pants: LOFT | Shoes: Nine West ‘Flax’ | Watch: Citizen | Bracelets: Nordstrom, Rebecca Minkoff (similar) | Bag: Waverley Barrel Satchel c/o Handbag Heaven | Lipstick: MaryKay in Mystic Plum

While it may be September and the fall fashions are in the stores, it’s still hot as heck outside! I’m craving the season’s looks so I’m making it work with the weather. Silk blouse and unlined trousers to stay cool, and accessories like my lipstick and bag to give the fall feel.

handbag heaven waverley barrel satchel bag

Speaking of the bag, Handbag Heaven sent me over their Waverley Barrel Satchel and if you follow me on Instagram you know I’ve been carrying it quite a lot. It’s big enough to carry everything to the office, but is structured so it doesn’t look lumpy or lose its shape. I have a few bags from Handbag Heaven and am impressed with the quality of the bags and how well they’re designed. This bag (and the Molly Structured Tote I featured in this post) have removable crossbody straps that can be adjusted and swivel and a minimum of three pockets inside for easy access to every purse essential.  Handbag Heaven is a great resource for vegan bags, they look great and the prices are fantastic.

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Plus Sized Work Attire Options

Dear Allie:
I am getting back into the workforce after five years as a SAHM. I’m really excited, but am having a hard time finding nice work clothes. I am a size 18, 5’5” and an apple and all I seem to find are lowcut dresses and polyester pants. Do you know where I can find suits and work clothes like dresses and blouses for my size?
 
Why are all plus sized suits made out of polyester? Where can I find a suit that is equal in quality and price to J. Crew but goes above a size 16?
 
I was recently promoted and my new position requires me to travel on business several times a month. For such trips, I will need to wear a suit while at the office I can usually get away with casual pants or even nice jeans. While I have a great wardrobe of business casual pieces, it is proving difficult to find more corporate of attire for my size (I vary between a 20 and 22). Do you know of any retailers who specialize in suiting and corporate attire for plus-sized women?
 
Hi Allie, I need to improve my look at work. We’re allowed to wear anything we want but I don’t want to look like a slob any more and think if I look good I may be more likely to get a raise or promotion. I’m 5’7”, a size 20 with a large bust and don’t even know where to start looking for nicer work clothes. HELP!

I am not sure why the world thinks women over a size 12 don’t hold professional jobs. They must think that with the poor selection of career wear for plus-sized women. While quality suits and stylish business casual clothing does exist, it’s hard to find. Below I feature some brands who realize that just because you wear a larger size doesn’t mean you wish to sacrifice style, quality, or professionalism.

If you’re plus sized, I’m sure you already know about Lane Bryant, Avenue, Ashley Stewart, One Stop Plus/Woman Within/Roamans/Jessica London, and other retailers who specialize in plus size fashion. Below are some suggestions on brands I know who aren’t the typical shops, and who provide quality, well-crafted and stylish career wear in plus sizes

Nordstrom
I know, I know, Nordstrom again? Thing is, they offer a great selection of quality brands and style for plus sizes. MICHAEL Michael Kors, Rachel Palley, Calvin Klein, Karen Kane, Eileen Fisher, Tahari Woman, Vince Camuto, Kenneth Cole… all these brands and more are offered in plus sizes at Nordstrom stores and online.

Unlike many other department stores who think a woman in a size 22 dress wants a muumuu or a flowing polyester pantsuit, Nordstrom buyers find brands and pieces that are in the same vein of style as the rest of the store. Great colors, fun silhouettes, lots of options. Nordstrom has free shipping and free returns, will perform alterations onsite, and have personal shoppers that can help you secure a professional wardrobe for your job.

Macy’s
Macy’s is another department store who offers a fantastic selection of brands and styles for plus sizes. Alfani, Calvin Klein, Lauren by Ralph Lauren, Jones New York, and then their in-house brand INC International Concepts are great resources for great plus size office wear. Like Nordstrom, Macy’s provides a good amount of real estate in most of their stores for plus-sized fashion.

Macy’s always has promotions for discounts and shipping deals. Macy’s has a great return and exchange policy, where you can return by mail or at any nearby store.

Talbots
Talbots Woman comes in sizes 12-24 regular and 12-22 petite. Each season they offer several styles of suit separates so you can mix and match for the perfect career look. Talbots also specializes in business casual looks, with tailored trousers, well-crafted skirts, polished knits and sweaters and even shoes and accessories.

While many retailers hide their plus size department in a dusty corner or keep it only online, Talbots often has separate stores just for their Woman line, or else it gets plenty of real estate in their mixed-size store. Talbots is phenomenal with customer service, seeking out sizes at other locations, taking returns in-store, and giving you honest feedback and offering suggestions at the fitting room. When I was a size 18, Talbots was my go-to store, where I knew I would find quality, style, and a supportive staff.

Jones New York
While Jones New York is a department store staple, they also have their own online boutique that has a large selection of career wear in extended sizes. Since you have to return by mail (they offer a pre-paid shipping label), it’s good to try out JNY in a store to know how it fits, and then go online to find a larger selection.

Kiyonna
Kiyonna knows how to dress a woman. They make well-made pieces that are stylish and flattering to a plus-sized figure. No muumuus and garish prints here, Kiyonna offers beautiful dresses, and also a beautiful selection of separates. While their bottoms are very basic, they are well-made and classic. Some of their tops can run on the sexy side, but many are great pieces for business casual environments or fabulous shells under suits. Their return policy is pretty standard but I hear their sizing is quite consistent so once you know how you fit in Kiyonna you won’t have to make as many returns and exchanges.

Ann Taylor
If you enter an Ann Taylor store, you may think they don’t care about anyone over a size 12. However online they go up to size 18 and XXL on the majority of their pieces. I also find Ann Taylor runs a bit large and many of my readers have agreed that their size 18 can often fit a size 20 woman.

Ann Taylor regularly has promotions for free shipping and percentages off select items – it’s smart to sign up for their emails or follow them on Facebook or Twitter so you stay updated. Their online selection can sell out pretty quickly when they have such sales, so shop early. While Ann Taylor doesn’t offer free returns, they do accept returns even of larger sizes in any store. And if you have to do a return, check out their sale rack where I have regularly seen larger sizes from other women who have made returns.

Lands’ End
Lands’ End may not be the retailer you would think for career wear, but they do have a pretty great selection of workwear staples. While their summer selection is more geared towards shorts and dresses, they always have a good selection of blazers and coordinating bottoms and come the cooler months have an even greater selection of suiting and work-appropriate pieces.

Lands’ End often has promotions for discounts and free shipping so sign up for their emails to get the latest news. Lands’ End also accepts returns at Sears stores which makes shopping with them even more convenient.

Eddie Bauer
Like Lands’ End, Eddie Bauer mainly focuses on casual weekend fashion. However, like Lands’ End they have a few stand-out pieces each season for career wear. Eddie Bauer often focuses on easy-care pieces, and you’re likely to find wrinkle-free suiting, no-iron button-front shirts, and machine washable trousers and dresses. Eddie Bauer offers free exchanges and accepts returns by mail (they will provide a pre-paid shipping label or you can send by your own method) or in store.

Overstock
I’m quick to head to Overstock to find a toaster oven or an area rug, but I have now learned to go to this site for fashion. Popular brands like Tahari, Kasper, Calvin Klein, and Ann Klein are featured by Overstock, and at nicer prices than at the department store. While some of the styles offered on Overstock are a bit strange, you can also find some gems – often pieces being sold right now at your nearby Belk or Macy’s. Overstock has customer reviews, ridiculously cheap shipping, and a reasonable return policy.

TJ Maxx
While most of my local discount big box retailers will have some plus size fashion, it’s usually a small section, messy, and full of strange pieces I wouldn’t be caught dead in. Not so for TJ Maxx, who usually carries higher-end brands than similar stores, and they usually have a larger and better organized plus size department.


Where do you find stylish and well-made plus size career wear? I’d love to know your suggestions!

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How You Doin’?

Hey folks, long time no chat! I gotta say, blogging isn’t easy with a cast. While I have gotten the hang of typing with both hands (I’m glad Dragon exists comma but by time I have a sentence written out comma I have lost track of what I was trying to say period next line), it’s not as quick, editing photos is near impossible, and creating links literally cramped up my hand when using my laptop trackpad.

I miss writing, be it for the blog, or in my journals. This weekend watching Sunday Morning, they had a piece about the benefits of doodling. I Alison Gary, am a mega doodler. Doodling helps me clear my mind, focus on a presentation, craft a blog post, think of blog posts, and remember facts from a lecture or in a book. I realize the inability to doodle may be contributing to my lack of focus and mild ditziness that is driving me bonkers. I have half-written posts all over the place, in my Notes on my phone, my laptop, my work computer, on a flash drive… but when I go back to them I can’t remember what I was trying to say or else I don’t have the same opinion or voice. The lingerie post I shared Monday? Yeah, I started that post in May.

Friday, I went to the orthopedist knowing there was a chance my cast would come off. My previous appointment was just with the PA since my doctor was out of town and the PA told me the 20th the cast may be removed, and if not, July 7th. I was called back to the examination rooms and a tech told me he was going to help me “be free from prison.” He led me to the cast room and cut off my cast; I couldn’t stop smiling, even through the X-rays. My face hurt, I was so happy. They had a new computer system and a few glitches caused the schedule to be off, they let me know I may have to wait a bit to see the doctor. I sat in the examination room with my naked arm, so excited that I Instagrammed a photo of it, giving the thumbs up. The doctor came in and let me know that though the healing is going well, due to the damage the broken plate caused in my arm and the severity of the situation, I needed to go back into another long arm cast for 4-6 more weeks. Oh well, freedom was awesome while I had it! And really, this is worth it to have a functioning arm for the rest of my life. I again went with a pink cast, though I have a few CastCoverz! Armz! to switch up my look!

emerson kelis 930

This time is so different from the last time. No pain, and no fear. I’m living life as much as I can. Last weekend Emerson had her dance recital and I went to see Kelis at 9:30 with my friend Nicole.  This weekend I took Emerson to a birthday party at Pump It Up, and even picked crabs at a neighborhood cookout (not a drop of Old Bay on the cast!)! Karl and I have a Date Night this Wednesday and a couple more concerts on the docket later this summer and the annual Girls Weekend at Rehoboth come August. Sleeping is hard, little of my wardrobe works with the cast; and my hair is a ridiculous mess; but I’m healing correctly and all of this will be a blip in the grand scheme of life.

Speaking of which, after ten weeks so far of cast living I have learned some amazing hacks to be semi-independent and functioning:

  • Put a silicone or rubber mat on the floor, a peanut butter or mayo jar on it, and grip the jar with bare feet; now you can open the jar with your non-dominant hand.
  • Take one of those rubber bands that comes around broccoli or asparagus; clamp down a hand-crank can opener, put the band around the handles and you can use your cast hand to hold it upright and crank with the left hand and successfully open a can!
  • Though I’ve tried all the gadgets out there to protect a cast while showering, none seem to work with a soft fleshy short arm. Reader Amy told me to try Glad Press’n Seal and it is amazing. While I still can’t take a traditional shower or go swimming, this product sticks to the cast, the cloth part of the cast, and even my arm making the whole thing resistant to splashes while I take a bath or fake shower (use a shower head on a hose). I still need someone to wrap my arm for me (Karl is a saint), but it’s far easier than a trash bag and electrical tape!
  • Flossing picks.  A broken arm isn’t an excuse to shirk your dental responsibility!
  • I now wear a wide knit headband when I wash my face and put on makeup. I think many people wear some sort of headband or clip to hold back their hair, but it never seemed necessary to me until now where I am constantly getting foundation or facewash in my hair. The wide stretchy band is nice because it covers from the forehead back, not a single bit of hair is exposed, and I can throw it in the wash with my reusable cotton rounds.  And to put on one-handed… well it does involve teeth…
  • My left hand is getting far more work than ever before, and having acrylic nails has helped greatly. My hand is more like a tool, and I’m not breaking or splitting nails. A coat of gel polish keeps me chip free for weeks.
  • Kindle.  Even the phone app will do.  Impossible to hold a book and flip pages and keep your place without muttering a few swear words; a Kindle will maintain your sanity.
  • Surf spray makes unbrushed untamed frizzy hair look more purposeful.  Spray hair products are a must, don’t try to be a hero and use a mousse or cream, you’ll only end up with a gooey mass at the very back of your head that you can’t fully reach when bathing.
  • If you end up wearing a cast you MUST get a CastCooler. It attaches to the hose on your vacuum and the suction pulls cool drying air into your cast. Great if you do get your cast wet, great when it gets all sweaty from being in plastic while bathing or swimming, and just great when it’s been a hot summer day and you wish you could scratch that darn itch.
  • They now have contacts that you can leave in for 30 days and nights. I got a box before my May surgery, and with my allergy eyes I can’t go longer than two weeks with them in, but it’s two sweet weeks of not having to wear glasses sliding down my nose and getting filthy from being pushed up by my awkward left hand. Another situation where I can praise Saint Karl, who pries my eyes open so I can put in the contacts (and I use these tweezers to get the contacts out).

outfit photos

Life may be awkward, but it’s pretty darn wonderful. Emerson is growing like a weed (how can she already be starting kindergarten this fall????), the garden is flourishing (already enjoying spinach and lettuce, the tomato and pepper plants grow a foot every day), Karl is swell (we celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary earlier this month!), and I feel pretty darn blessed. I have some phenomenal fashion from brands like Kika, Dobbin Clothing, love,cortnie, Sanuk, and Karen Kane I can’t wait to feature in outfit posts (until then follow me on Instagram for near-daily outfit photos) and look forward to arm freedom and truly getting back to all aspects of this blog. Thanks for being on this journey with me!