Search Results for: label/Jag Jeans

What I Wore: Shades of Blue

Wardrobe Oxygen featuring a Talbots floral sweater Jag Jeans and a Dagne Dover tote Wardrobe Featuring the New Dagne Dover 13 Inch Tote Wardrobe Oxygen featuring the Jag Jeans Foster Bootcut - Back View Wardrobe Oxygen featuring the Jag Jeans Foster Bootcut with a Talbots sweaterSweater: c/o Talbots (X) | Jeans: Foster Bootcut c/o Jag Jeans (14 regular) | Bracelet: Gorjana | Necklace: c/o Talbots | Shoes: VANELi c/o Marmi Shoes | Bag: 13″ Tote c/o Dagne Dover

Oh my gawwwd don’t you hate it when bloggers have outfits that are all c/o? The whole outfit is a gift, there’s no way they can have any personal style. Ugh, might as well read a catalog with everything given from the brand, there’s no personality. Amirite?

Oh. This whole outfit is c/o. Wow.

I didn’t even realize this until I was crafting the text for this post. That’s because while this outfit is 99% gifted merchandise, it’s all merchandise that I really love, wear regularly, and chose on my own. I specifically picked out each piece, the color, the style, the everything to not be worn for an outfit post, but to be worn for a life. You can see I wore this very outfit to work the other week for Casual Friday.

I like Talbots – they have a broad range of sizes, good quality, reasonable prices, and this season I have found a ton of things I really really like.  It’s clear from what links are clicked and what items are purchased from this blog that you too like Talbots.  Earlier this month I hosted an event at the Tyson’s Corner Talbots; they recently renovated the store and welcomed back the Womens and Womens Plus department (didn’t exist when in their smaller space during the reno). I spent a couple hours at the store helping customers at the fitting room and really became familiar with their current collection.  Talbots was kind enough to gift me some of the line including this gorgeous sweater (I found the X fits my curves far better than the XL) and coordinating necklace.

Jag Jeans is my JAM.  The prices are great and the jeans really fit my body.  The Foster Bootcut is the perfect length for me in regular – I often hover between regular and petite, I have my Paleys from JAG in petite but the regular on these is great with heels.  Not only that… this is like the fifth time I have worn these jeans without washing.  I had to share a backview because so many jeans get all saggy in the bum after a wear… not JAG!

Dagne Dover… I think it’s clear I’ve had a crush on this brand since reader Missy introduced us.  The people behind the brand are awesome, the quality is awesome, and I’ve never before experienced such a SMART bag.  I now own every single style of bag they carry and love them all.  The full size tote I carry to work any time I need to have my laptop; I love that it’s still a gorgeous bag without the computer inside and I love how it organizes everything for easy access.  This new 13″ size is a new favorite for when I don’t need to bring my laptop but still want to tote my lunch and other office essentials.  A few asked if the straps fit over my shoulder and you can see from this photo they can (inside was a wallet, cell phone, two glasses cases, a pouch with makeup and such, a paper planner, and a composition notebook).

Marmi Shoes‘ goal is to, “Provide women with quality footwear that looks great, feels great and fits great-and put customer satisfaction above all else.” They have a really extensive size and width range and a good variety of styles. I didn’t know about Marmi Shoes before they reached out but it seemed like a smart fit for the blog since so many of you ask me for recommendations of stylish brands that come in extended sizes, a variety of widths, or help with foot problems. They’ve been a pleasure to work with and I’ve been wearing the heck out of these booties with jeans as well as dress pants to the office.

So yes, some bloggers out there will accept any free clothing, whether or not it fits their personal style and wear it on their blog.  But just because a piece is gifted or noted as c/o doesn’t mean it’s not chosen with thought, love, and consideration of the rest of her closet.  I work hard on Wardrobe Oxygen and quite often payment comes in the form of clothing or gift cards instead of dollars.  When it comes to items like the ones I am wearing here, I feel good about such payment because any way you look at it, these items would end up in my closet!

What I Wore: Weekend Denim

jagjeans1 shoebuy naturalizer jagjeans2
Jeans: Erin Cuffed Ankle Jean c/o Jag Jeans | Shirt: Banana Republic | Shoes Naturalizer ‘Dania’ c/o Shoebuy | Bag: Vintage Coach via eBay (similar) | Bracelets: Lifetherapy, had forever (similar) | Sunglasses: Ray-Ba

I’ve been really feeling dark denim this spring, paired with more denim, with white, with unexpected items like a leather pencil skirt or brightly-printed midi.  I found this denim shirt on mega clearance at Banana Republic and love that it’s richly colored but as soft as a well-worn stonewashed version.  Jag Jeans sent me these cuffed skinny ankles and I am IN LOVE.  They are made from their Freedom Knit Denim, which looks like traditional jeans, but the inside looks more like loop terry and the denim stretches and moves with you for comfort and shape all day.  This is the third time I wore these without washing, which is a testament to the bounceback-ability of this stretchy denim.  They’re perfect for dashing about weekends running errands, which is what I did in this look.

Shoebuy is one of my favorite destinations for shoes; their selection is insane and their prices regularly beat those of department stores and mega-retailers.  I actually ordered these very Naturalizer sandals from another company and then found them for much less and with a larger size selection on Shoebuy.  Right now they’re having a great promo where you can get $20 off an order of $100, plus free shipping and returns with the code MAY100.  Along with Naturalizer, they have many other popular brands and great on-trend styles for the season! Free Shipping on all orders! Shop Jag Jeans now!

What I Wore: Pretty in Pink

vince camuto taffy pink blazer alison gary wardrobe oxygen vince camuto taffy pink jacket

Blazer: Vince Camuto (same color, same style) | Tee: Old Navy | Jeans: Paley Bootcut c/o Jag Jeans | Shoes: Aerosoles c/o Shoebuy | Bracelet: c/o RocksBox | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

I’m not a cotton candy pink kind of gal… that is until this spring.  For some reason the color has really grown on me so when I saw this blazer at Nordstrom I had to get it.  If you get my newsletter (and you should, only once a month and completely different content from here at the blog), you’ll know I’ve been wearing it a lot.  I wore this combination last week to the office on Casual Friday.  These jeans from Jag are pretty fabulous.  In a world of skinny jeans and extreme flares, the bootcut leg of these are a refreshing and figure flattering change.  Like a previous pair of Jag Jeans that I featured, these have the pull-on waistband that keeps things nice and smooth under fitted knits (and no muffin top!) and are thick and opaque.

What I Wore: Samey Samey

Wardrobe Oxygen wearing a Vince Camuto Blazer, Jag Paley Bootcut Jeans and a Rebecca Minkoff Mini MAC Wardrobe Oxygen wearing JAG Jeans Paley Bootcut with a Vince Camuto blazer and Nine West pumps Wardrobe Oxygen wearing a black boyfriend blazer, gray v-neck tee, and white jeans with a leopard bag Jacket: Vince Camuto (plus version) | Tee: Old Navy | Jeans: Paley Bootcut c/o JAG Jeans (plus version) | Shoes: Nine West | Bag: Rebecca Minkoff (similar, similar) | Bracelets: Had forever (similar), c/o Lifetherapy | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

My high school geometry teacher used to use the phrase, “Samey Samey” quite often and to this day I often use it for things that are similar. Thursday morning I pulled this look together, the stars (or should I say schedules) were aligned and we were able to hop outside for a couple quick photographs before I had to leave for the office. I liked this look, I felt it was very me. Well yeah it IS me because I wore the same darn thing on the blog in May! Not only that…

Wardrobe Oxygen UniformOutfit 1Outfit 2 | Outfit 3 | Outfit 4

Two of the outfits above are from 2013.  Two years ago I was sporting the same bag, the same silver pumps, the same sunglasses, the same bracelet and necklace, even the same Old Navy Vintage V-neck tee shirt!  Not only that, the Gap Sexy Boyfriend jeans in those two 2013 pictures were still in my wardrobe until a month ago when the crotch blew out and I just got in the mail a replacement pair.  To say I have a certain look would be an understatement; this is a uniform and honestly, that’s not a bad thing.

Life is short, it’s a waste of time to constantly reinvent the wheel or reinvent your style if you know what works.  The black blazer in this outfit post I just bought this summer; I own this blazer in ivory crepe and pale pink (and used to have in neon yellow and regret selling it).  I was looking in my closet and realized while I have black blazers, none of them are classic cuts.  The pink jacket has done me well, it survived NYC, buttons comfortably, is a fabric that works with office trousers or a pair of jeans… why waste time trying to find something different?  I care about style, I love fashion, and I think how you look is important, but being – existing – living – enjoying life trumps it all.  Get out of your closet and get out into the world!

What I Wore: Weekend Style

jag jeans review 3 alison gary jag jeans review 2 jag jeans review
Top: lamixx via Etsy | Jeans: c/o Jag | Shoes: Nine West | Bag: c/o Handbag Heaven | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban | Bracelets: Coin Collection (gift), c/o Lifetherapy, c/o LiveTheLook | Necklaces: Etsy (similar), personal charms on a chain

I’ve been really digging off the shoulder tees and sweatshirts lately but the prices I’ve seen are crazy, or else they don’t come in large enough sizes. Etsy to the rescue! I searched off the shoulder and found this sweatshirt from lamixx. It’s as comfy as a sweatshirt but a bit more glam and has become a weekend favorite.  As for this bag, Handbag Heaven sent it to me at the end of 2014 and I’ve been wearing the heck out of it yet never showed it on the blog until now. It’s an amazing price, looks like real leather, comes in three colors, and is the perfect size for concerts and day trips.

Jag Jeans reached out to me recently and asked if I’d like to try some of their collection. I was thrilled as I have been a fan of Jag Jeans for a while. I love the reasonable prices, the classic yet stylish cuts, and that they offer regular, petite, and plus sizes.  I wore these jeans last Thursday and received a ton of compliments, two women asking where I got them.  When they saw the waistband and heard the price they were as psyched as I was about Jag Jeans.  These jeans are so comfortable and flattering to curves; the pull-on waistband gives a smooth line under knit tops and prevents muffin top.  I mentioned on Instagram that I needed to shorten the jeans, but I washed them on hot and dried them and they’re now a better length and size.  Stay tuned as I’ll be featuring other Jag Jeans on the blog in the future!

Free Shipping on all orders! Shop Jag Jeans now!

My Wardrobe Today – Thursday

Olive cargo jacket – Caslon (no longer available – similar) | Navy and white stripe knit tank – H&M (similar) | Dark stretch jeansJag Jeans | Black and cork heeled sandals – Payless (no longer available online) | Black leather studded bracelet – picked up in a boutique in Rehoboth Beach | Pumpkin Leather Purse Hobo International “Libby”

Just as I had my stride with getting my personal style back after having a baby… a hurricane tackles my closet. While most clothes are salvageable, they still need to be cleaned and most need a professional to handle it. So I am working with a shrunken closet and I feel that the result isn’t the consistency I like. Ah well, a challenge for me to overcome! So for now, I look as though I am going to a wedding one day, and game night at a friend’s house the next!

The biggest reason why I went casual today is because tonight my husband and I are going to see The Hold Steady at the 9:30 Club. I haven’t seen them before, so when they came to town I had to get tickets!  I needed something that would work for a quiet day at work, dinner, and then a general-admission show.  How awesome to find comfortable enough heels for this day from Payless!  And this bag from Hobo International is one of my best buys in a long time – it can fit my phone, my smallest point-and-shoot camera, lip gloss, ID and cash with no problem – the perfect concert bag!

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Friday: Working for the Weekend

Shirt: Lands’ End Canvas
Jeans: Jag (similar)
Bracelets: Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, Lauren Ralph Lauren, c/o Soft Surroundings
Shoes: Halogen (similar)
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban
Bag: Banana Republic (similar)

I really should have had my husband get a shot of my travel mug – it’s for Saturn of Bowie.  My dad got it when he bought his 1994 Saturn, which I inherited when he passed in 1998 and drove into the ground until 2002 or so when I took over the loan on my mom’s ’99 Saturn, which I drove into the ground and replaced this past Easter with my Kia Soul.  The more I have the Kia, the more I like it.  I no longer feel like a hamster in a track suit – it’s great for carrying a ton of stuff, is good on gas (went to SC, KY, and DE with us this summer), and is roomy and comfortable.  And it’s my first non-inherited car!

This week has been busy. So busy, I haven’t done laundry in quite a while. I started trying to pull together fancy-shmancy outfits, thought maybe I’d go all kitchen sink today… but then realized I just want to get through today so I can enjoy the weekend. So I went to closet basics.

Last night I went back to Weight Watchers… for the first time in three months! Ack! We’re doing a wellness challenge at work so I figured it was time to get back on the Weight Watchers bandwagon. I was surprised I only gained 1.6 pounds in the past three months but no gain is a good gain. We’re moving offices soon and I am excited because the new one has a gym in it – a few of my coworkers and I have already decided to make good use of it, coming in early a couple days or using our lunch hours when we don’t have client meetings later in the afternoon.

Tomorrow we’re going to see Band of Horses and My Morning Jacket at Merriweather and I couldn’t be more psyched. Favorite band, and also get to spend time with some of my favorite people! What are your weekend plans?

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Friday: Real Housewife

Tee: Armorlux (gift from reader)
Vest: c/o Karen Kane
Jeans: Jag
Boots: DUO Boots (similar)
Necklace: LOFT chain and pendant from eBay
Earrings: Vince Camuto
Bracelets: Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, Ralph Lauren, misc.
Bag: Sabina (similar)

My husband saw me in this outfit and said I looked like a Bravo TV housewife. I guess with the gold, the fur, the boots, it is a bit Real Housewives! When I left the house, I had straight hair, straight bangs, and felt I was channeling a bit of Patti Smith. Though the rain had stopped, it was still so wet and humid outside that by time I got to the sidewalk my hair had all curled up. By time I was at the Metro, I felt like Veronica Lake – my bangs had become part of the rest of my hair and I had deep waves. Lovely, but with a walk from the station to my job those waves just became a hot mess and now I am typing with a topknot. Oh well, it’s Friday!

Isn’t this vest fun? I want to sip cocoa at a ski lodge, wearing it with a cram turtleneck. Karen Kane always amazes me with their fashion – it’s a ton of fun yet translates well for real life. Their fall collection is pretty fantastic – sequins, leopard print, jewel tones, and more!

And I have to share the beauty which is these jeans. I have other pairs of Jag jeans and I really like how they fit, hold up, reasonably priced, and are pretty classic looking (no bling, logos, etc.). These have a smooth waistband – sort of reminiscent of maternity jeans but they curve to fit a woman’s body and give a smooth line under fitted knits. Comfortable and brilliant!

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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!

Saturday – Casual Nautical

Blazer – Caslon (similar)
Tank – H&M (similar)
Jeans – JAG (similar)
ShoesSofft “Pavia”
Bag – Forever 21 (similar)
Bracelets -Nordstrom (this, and this), c/o Soft Surroundings

Saturday morning I went to the Westfield Montgomery Mall to learn more about their Style Lounge.  My sister hung out with Emerson so my husband could go with me, capture a few pictures, and then we could get lunch at California Pizza Kitchen (one of our fave places).  Since he had his camera on him, he snapped these pictures of what I was wearing.  Very simple, a lot of my wardrobe staples all pulled into one ensemble!

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My Wardrobe Today – Friday

Tuxedo jacket (sleeves rolled) – Ann Taylor (no longer available – similar)
White tee – Ann Taylor LOFT
Pearls – Nordstrom (this size and this size)
Gold and crystal necklace – Ann Taylor (no longer available)
Gold bracelet – Ann Taylor (no longer available)

Last night I stopped in my local Ann Taylor because they had 50% off sale. The selection was huge and not just in the sale department. They also had 40% off tanks, tees, shorts, and more. I grabbed two tops and a sweater… and then left them in my mom’s car last night after Weight Watchers. She said she would give them to my husband tomorrow at his yoga class – can’t wait as I didn’t have time to try on at the store and don’t even know if any of these items will work!

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My Wardrobe Today – Friday

Striped tee – J. Crew (no longer available)
Dark ankle jeans Jag Jeans “Mia”
Turquoise suede pumps – Jessica Simpson (no longer available – similar)
Turquoise necklace – J. Crew (no longer available – similar)
Gold bangle Ralph Lauren

I had a completely different outfit in my head – same jeans and shoes, but a white button-down shirt tucked in and a bright orange skinny belt.  Yeah, not cute IRL.  The orange skinny belt is still there, just underneath hiking up these jeans.  And speaking of these jeans – not my fave but a more summery look than my NYDJ pairs; I had to roll an extra cuff on top of what came with these jeans to make them slightly cropped.  This Sunday I wore them with my Lands End Canvas gray and navy striped boatneck tee and tan flat sandals and it was a cute look for the farmers market and running errands.  I’d also like to try them with my leopard pumps from yesterday with a slouchy black top.

Happy early Memorial Day!  Do you have any exciting plans for the long weekend?  We are going to a cookout on Sunday and tomorrow will do a mock set-up of our tents etc. for Bonnaroo to ensure all is working properly.  I also hope to have some time to clean up and organize my room; I have been so busy with long work hours that my room looks like my room from high school, clothes strewn everywhere, the floor of my closet nonexistent… it’s driving me bonkers!

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Blogging Behind the Scenes: How I Make Money Blogging

Blogging Behind the Scenes - How I Make Money Blogging by Wardrobe OxygenBlogging is this weird secret society where everyone likes to show how well they hustle and show how successful they’ve become, but rarely admit what extent of success they’ve achieved or how they’re achieving that success. A monetized blog is a business; businesses are audited, often public, and should be ready to open their ledgers to show how they are running an honest business. While I don’t find it proper to talk specifics in regard to money, since you readers are the reason why I make any money off Wardrobe Oxygen, I think you should know how it happens.

I know some of you aren’t interested in the business behind blogging and this will be a long post so I am going to have a jump so it won’t fill the whole front page.

[Read more…]

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

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 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 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 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.

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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My Wardrobe Today – Monday

Tux jacket – Ann Taylor (no longer available – similar)
White tankCaslon
JeansJag Jeans
Black pumps – Nine West (no longer available – similar)
WatchOrient (via giveaway on Christina’s Favorite Things)
Thread braceletseBay seller (who told me she will be stocking a new color soon!)
Silver necklaces – Two from LOFT (no longer available), one from the Renaissance Festival
Bag – Banana Republic “Sandhurst Hobo” (no longer available)

It’s raining, it’s pouring… I never understood that nursery rhyme; is it about a man who has a concussion and dies? Anyway my hair isn’t happy, I couldn’t wear a lot of my shoes, and I didn’t want to get out of bed today. This is what I was able to wrangle together and this is all the photos my husband could get without us getting completely soaked.

How was your weekend?  Saturday my husband was hired to photograph a wedding and went along as his assistant.  He had two cameras, I had one to capture a different angle/effect and hand him batteries and such when needed.  It was a gorgeous wedding at River Farm – the couple was lovely and they had a really elegant yet totally fun event.  Yesterday was Father’s Day – we didn’t do much for it (other than me teaching Emerson how to yell “Happy Fathers Day Daddy!” and buy him a Misto which he has wanted for a long time).  We headed to the farmers market and then the local cafe for brunch.  Emerson went down for a nap and we watched Oscar and Lucinda, and then we made pork loin and collard greens for dinner.  Pretty low-key but we wouldn’t have wanted anything different!

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In the morning, I ran to get my hair cut and colored in the nearby town, and then run a few errands. Olive ribbed tank from J. Crew, white ribbed tank from Old Navy, Joe’s Jeans in “Provacateur,” brown stacked flops from J. Crew, silver hoops from The Icing, silver cuff.

Hair was brushed out but on the second day; blew the bangs straight.

Makeup was Body Shop bronzing powder in Light as face color, Max Factor Lash Perfection mascara on curled lashes, Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Pink Afterglow.

Kathleen did her magic – all I told her is that I wanted to go darker and that I wanted heavier bangs. I trust her, and was not disappointed. Choppy layers that can work straight, wavy or curly, fun sideswept bangs, and a very rich multi-tonal color of dark brown that looks closer to what I was born with.

Got home and had to dash to get dressed. Friday night I had a friend over so I didn’t have time to play dress-up and figure out my theater outfit. Thank you soooo much to everyone who wrote in suggestions, you guys are awesome and have good ideas! For the one who suggested my Old Navy dress… I completely forgot about it. I had set to wear my black cashmere tank from Banana Republic and my orange-red shantung full skirt also from Banana (seen here), but when I saw how spiffy and sleek my husband looked (flat front gray tropical wool trousers from J. Crew, white tailored shirt from some brand sold at Mens Wearhouse, black blazer from… J. crew? Not sure…, black slip-on sleek shoes from Ecco) I decided my outfit may look a bit like a costume. I tried a few different skirts, but settled on the black matte jersey dress from Old Navy, my red stone necklace, my leopard peep-toe heels from BCBgirls,silver hoops from The Icing, and silver cuff natch. :-)

Didn’t have to do my hair since it was done by Kathleen my talented stylist. She used the Pureology line on me, and swears by it for protecting color. I bought the shampoo and conditioner and once I can wash my hair (was told to go as long as humanely possible without washing) I will be using it and let you k now how it is.

Same makeup as earlier, just a re-touch of the bronzing powder, a bit of Smashbox Soft Lights in Tint on my cheekbones, a medium line of Maybelline Ultra Liner in black on the top lash line, a quick swipe of Maybelline Great Lash waterproof mascara in black over existing mascara, Body Shop Lip and Cheek Tint with Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Pink Afterglow over it.

We took the Metro and it was not even a block to the little restaurant (I don’t know if there are even 20 tables in the place). The menu seemed different from the one online and the only entrees that were vegetarian were spaghetti with tomato sauce (yawn) and a risotto with corn and truffle shavings. My husband and I chose the risotto, we shared a bottle of Pinot Grigio (not sure the label, our friend chose the wine) and had a nice, yet not inspiring or overwhelmingly unique meal. We then walked not even three blacks to the Kennedy Center where my friend and I sidestepped grates in our heels (she too wore a black sheath and heels) while the men tromped over everything and got there in time to marvel at the acre-sized curtains in the lobby and get a cocktail in the Terrace Bar prior to the performance.

The performance was great! As I said, I had never seen The Phantom of the Opera other than the movie. Back story – 1992, for Christmas I got my first boom box with a CD player in it, and with it two CDs – Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera. For several months until I got my high school arsenal of REM, Depeche Mode, Pearl Jam and Nirvana, I listened solely to these two soundtracks. Come 2007, I am silently singing along to this performance and even a tear came down my cheek at finally seeing live what I had in my head 15 years ago. I think also seeing Shakespeare in Love the night prior made the theater experience that more intense.

Our friends live in Virginia and parked at the theater; it was a gorgeous night and declined their offer to drive us to the Metro and decided to hoof it. All in all a lovely evening!

Wednesday – Teal Suede Pumps and a Paisley Scarf

Shirt – c/o Foxcroft
Cardigan – LOFT (has a detachable fur collar – similar)
Jeans – JAG (similar)
Pumps – Jessica Simpson (similar)
Scarf – Vintage via eBay (similar)
Silver cuff (similar)
LipstickRevlon Lip Butter in Lollipop

I am so glad Wednesday is over, what a day! I had insomnia the night prior, which gave me time to finish the hat post I promised reader Stephanie, but left me feeling even more miserable than I already felt with this allergy/cold issue.  So when it was time to get ready for work, I had enough energy and brain cells for a shower.  The day at work didn’t improve much, but I came home to an awesome family and a husband who made a healthy version of Chipotle for dinner! 

Again, glad to have wardrobe staples which are easy to throw together without much thought.  When I went to pull out these pumps (had to have some sort of color in the ensemble), this scarf fell out of the box (yeah, not super organized in my closet right now) and I thought… how could I incorporate it into my ensemble? I think I’ll be doing ankle scarves pretty regularly come the warmer months!

And thank goodness for Foxcroft, who sent me this awesome shirt.  While it looks like a crisp button-front, it actually has knit panels in the side and has knit arms which makes it as comfy and curve-friendly as a tee shirt.  If you like this shirt stay tuned… I will be having a giveaway where you could win one of your very own!

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Monday – Pop of Pink

Jeans – JAG (similar)
Heels – Nine West (similar)
Coat – LOFT (similar)
Sunglasses Marc by Marc Jacobs
Bag – Banana Republic (similar)
Necklace – Ann Taylor (similar)

I am always on the search for a white button-front shirt that isn’t transparent, fits at the bust and the shoulders, and doesn’t cost 50 kazillion dollars. When I saw this shirt from Foxcroft on sale for less than $30 at Nordstrom I grabbed it, and glad I did. The front is a tad unexpected – little tucks along the placket which keeps it from looking like a uniform shirt. Wrinkle-resistant too!  Was a perfect choice this morning when I was short on time and wanted a very simple low-fuss look.  Looking forward to pairing it with pencil skirts in the coming weeks!

How was your weekend? Mine was pretty fantastic. Friday night was pretty low-key – my husband had plans with friends so I hung out at home watching AbFab; Saturday got some errands and home chores done, indulged in a pedi (Essie Ole Caliente will be my signature color this spring – gorgeous!), and had friends over for dinner.

Sunday went on a long walk around town with the family, checking out all that has sprung with this mega-early spring; last night met with two fellow bloggers for some bubbly and girl time.

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Contest: Tolani Scarf from

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, 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 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 Sorry international readers, but the contest is only open to those in the United States.

Get to know
Facebook (friend “shop chickdowntown” and/or become a fan of the chickdowntown page)
Twitter (
YouTube ( or

Good luck!

Blogging Love – Interview!

I was honored to be interviewed by Elle of the new blog Label Ho. Elle’s discusses fashion and her personal style on this site. I love supporting fellow fashion and style bloggers so I jumped at this chance to have us get to know one another better!

You can check out the interview here.

I loved the questions she asked (and if you go back in her archives, you can see her answers to the very same questions!). The name of her blog cracks me up. It reminds me of when I was Editor of my high school yearbook. I had such the fight with the sponsor over the proper spelling of this word. “If you add an ‘e’ it’s suddenly a garden tool!” (Let’s not even get into why this word was in my yearbook – let me just state that my high school was a fabulous one where I learned Japanese and was in International Baccalaureate courses, but it wasn’t in the most chi chi of neighborhoods.)

Since she interviewed me, I decided to ask her a few questions as well. Get to know Elle!

Name: “Elle,” author of Label Ho, a fashion and personal style blog

Why did you start blogging? What could be better than writing and posting about something you love? I thought it would be a fun hobby and a great way to connect with other fashion-minded people.

Favorite item in your closet: An authentic vintage Gucci handbag circa the 70s. I love that its suede and doesn’t have the GG logo plastered all over it. I found the bag at a thrift shop and its in immaculate condition. Best of all, I got it for an excellent price!

Favorite Web site to visit: They have pretty comprehensive coverage of what’s going on in the fashion world, delivered in quick, short posts. I also like that they post great outfits that members of their community put together. I’m fascinated with seeing what people put together.

Top five items on your style wish list for this season: I can only think of three since I think I pretty much have most of my key pieces already:

1. Another pair of dark bootleg jeans. I’ve pretty much worn my favorite pair so much (Joe’s Jeans in the Honey fit) that the color’s faded significantly.

2. More dresses. I’ve purchased a few already, but I just can’t get enough. They’re so easy to pull on in summer.

3. A pair of wide-leg jeans. I’ve tried on a ton of different ones, but still haven’t found a flattering fit.