Search Results for: label/Vince Camuto

Recent Purchases: Hits and Misses

I’m slowly filling in holes in my wardrobe. Though I lost some weight from Whole30 I am still not the same shape and size I was last winter so I need to do a bit of purchasing. I’m also noticing how some of my “classic” items aren’t all that classic. For example, Monday morning I was wearing a cream sweater (see below) with cream trousers and thought brown shoes would be perfect. I went up on a shelf in my closet to pull out my “classic” brown suede booties and realized they have a hidden platform, a weird chunky toe that points up a bit, and the brown is very reddish (these are the booties I’m describing). Yep, they’ll be on eBay before the month is through! Anyway, below are items I have recently tried, some I have loved and kept and others that didn’t make the cut:

Halogen Zip Detail Leather Moto Jacket

Halogen Zip Detail Leather Moto Jacket

I have a green leather jacket, a blue leather jacket, and a fake leather jacket but I really want a black leather one that is a classic fit, classic cut, and can be something I wear for a long time. In high school I had a black biker jacket, I wore it all four years and into college. I still have it, but it’s a very dated silhouette and I’d like a simpler version. This jacket from Halogen appealed to me because there weren’t any funky details, it’s under $300 for real leather, and it comes in petite. A big issue with previously purchased jackets is the sleeves are too long (or with the faux leather, it has bracelet sleeves which makes it hard to wear with long sleeved clothes, and well, faux leather isn’t very warm).

The jacket is well made, and like all the other Halogen leather pieces I own, very soft. This isn’t a classic biker jacket with the notched collar, but with a moto snap collar and then the wide placket to be able to zip up the jacket. The details are subtle so it’s a piece that will stand the test of time. A petite large fit me nicely, and I am usually a generous 12 or slim 14 in coats and need bust space. The sleeves weren’t too tight with a lightweight sweater, and the lining was soft against bare skin.

But I returned it. I didn’t LOVE it, and honestly, it looks so similar to my green leather jacket. It’s a little too polished for what I want; right now I want something that can wear a bit, dress up maybe with a midi skirt, but mainly be what I throw on with a tee shirt and jeans. While this is a great price for a high quality leather jacket, I am still looking for the right one for me.

Halogen Varsity Pleat Skirt

Halogen ‘Varsity’ Pleat Skirt

During the Nordstrom Anniversary I purchased this skirt to replace this skirt from Hinge that I wore to DEATH last winter. Yeah, no. The skirt emphasized everything I’d like not emphasized and I realized it’s because the flare is right from the waist. So I returned it and decided to try this skirt from Halogen; the pleats start lower and are better managed (no belly pleating).

This skirt runs small. I purchased a 12 (my normal size in Halogen) and regular (more length for work) and I could hardly pull it over my rear and I couldn’t zip it more than an inch. Oh, and the description doesn’t mention that it’s textured, like a mini waffle weave.

The Vince Camuto Notch Collar Cape is so odd I had to share multiple photos

Vince Camuto Notch Collar Cape

I briefly mentioned this cape in this post, but think it deserves a proper review, especially since I wrote a review over a week ago on Nordstrom and it has yet to be published, and because other Wardrobe Oxygen readers mentioned the same issue with it.

While I own a lot of Vince Camuto and think they’re a great choice to wear runway-inspired trends without spending a ton, they sometimes go too cheap or get a trend completely wrong. This is one of those times. The cape is made out of a suiting-like material (and a cheap scratchy suit at that) and lined only in acetate; this isn’t outerwear but more like a weirdly shaped blazer. And it is weirdly shaped; I ordered a Large and it was huge on me, I looked as though I was in the Talking Heads. On the models the button seems to be near their navels, on me it was closer to my crotch; buttoned the collar gaped and looked cheap and unbuttoned it tented out. The armholes were very low down, I couldn’t get my hands out unless my arms were bent, and then only the first half of my forearms. No way could I reach the pockets. Mega fail.

LOFT Custom Stretch Trouser Pants Marisa Fit

LOFT Custom Stretch Trouser Pants – Marisa Fit

I now own two pairs of these pants. I wore them here in black, and now I also own navy. These pants are the perfect work pant. You can machine wash them (I line dry, I hang by the legs, making a crease and a clean look by matching the seams to one another and using the weight of the pant to make the legs taut), they’re stretchy, yet hold their shape all day and through multiple wears, look professional/pair nicely with blazers, and the lack of lining does make them not as polished but more comfortable for business casual offices. Though they have belt loops, the waistband is very flat so it doesn’t look bulky under fitted knits. The pockets are ridiculous, I can’t even fit a credit card in them but again, no bulk. I purchased the 14 petite and they are a comfortable fit and comfortable length with mid-height heels. The Marisa Fit is best for me because while I have a booty, I don’t have a very hourglass shape. The Julie Fit of these pants is better for curvy frames, and the Zoe Fit is great for straight shapes with smaller booties; they all come in Regular, Petite, and Tall. All this and under $80 (and then LOFT is always having some sort of promotion!).

lands end lofty sweater

Lands’ End 3/4-sleeve Lofty Blend Cable Pullover Sweater

I thought I ordered a Large, I ordered a Medium. It fit, but it fit too well to the point of looking dated.  I think if I exchanged it for Large Petite I’d like it better.  This sweater is very soft, perfect for those who can’t deal with wool and scratchier fabrics. The knit is tight so no need for an under layer for modesty. It looks expensive and elegant, a classic. This sweater would look nice with jeans, but I think can dress up and look quite lovely with a button-front shirt underneath, or paired with a pencil skirt or work trousers. However, I mentioned this sweater in my post where I was looking for a fisherman sweater and this sweater is NOT that. This is a tailored, ladylike sweater. A great sweater, but you won’t be mistaken for Ernest Hemingway in it for sure!

lands end drifter sweater

Lands’ End 3/4-sleeve Button-back Cable Boatneck Drifter Sweater

Gotta love it when the sale item is the one you like best! I cheated a bit with this sweater, I had borrowed the lavender version of it from Gwynnie Bee this summer. From Gwynnie Bee, I ordered a Large and it was a bit too heavy and boxy for me. However, in cream I thought a Large would be quite Hemingway-esque. But like the other Lands’ End sweater I seemed to flake out and ordered a Medium (what I wear in Lands’ End for most knits and dresses). When it first came I thought it was too fitted to accomplish my goal, but I tried it with different items in my wardrobe and decided this size is more flattering and versatile. I wore it this weekend sightseeing with my Gap Real Straights rolled like boyfriend jeans and my Converse Shorelines and as mentioned above, wore it to work with cream tropical wool trousers and booties. I’ve styled this sweater at home with my pleated leather skirt and also like it over a denim shirt. It has a boatneck and gold buttons in back which makes it look a bit more expensive and special than a traditional cable, but may limit your styling. At the time of writing this, there were still lots of sizes available in Petite, Regular, and Plus.

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MICHAEL Michael Kors Faux Wrap Maxi Dress

This is not something I needed, but per my post Wednesday, something I bought to hopefully wear to a wedding.  I really wanted this in blue but it was out of stock so I ordered it in black, 12 Petite. I ordered for the wedding, but thought the fabric and style would make it year-round wearable and versatile enough to dress up and down.  Glad I ordered petite because this dress is LONG! Like even in petite I’d need to wear heels to not have a train long. And that’s not where the fail ended for me. The sleeves are a weird length (longer on me than in the photo) that look too casual for the rest of the dress (and tight too), the neckline was so low I’d have to pin to hide my bra, and the wrapping in the middle added bulk instead of flattering my curves.  A plus is that it fit nicely in the torso and over my hips and rear; the fabric is opaque and heavy enough to not cling.  I’m glad I didn’t get the blue because I may have fallen in love so much with the color I would ignore the faults in the dress.  I think this dress would look far better on someone who is taller, and I think it’s made for a woman with her curves below the waist; some hips would really make the skirt flow nicely.

So now I want to hear from you, have you purchased anything lately that is phenomenal? Anything so awful fellow readers should get a warning? I learn so much from all of you, I’d love to know what’s on your radar!

Color Me Impressed – Vince Camuto

You all know I am a HUGE Nordstrom fan. Stellar customer service, brilliant buyers who select a broad range of styles and pricepoints, free shipping and perks with my Nordstrom card. Lately I keep seeing these pieces on their site – cute blouses, fun leggings, fabulous shoes. At first glance I assume they must be from a high-end designer. No stupid extra buckle, no cheap finish, no ridiculous embellishments. Styles that are on-trend, fun, funky but completely stylish.

Then I see the pricepoint. Reasonable! And the brand? Vince Camuto.

Vince Camuto. I know that name. I have known that name for a while… but why is he suddenly popping up all over Nordstrom… and every fashion magazine I subscribe to.  

Who is Vince Camuto, and how is it that he seems to be the only one these days who knows how to make stylish clothing and accessories at realistic prices?

I did a little digging on the Internet and realized why I knew Mr. Camuto’s name:

Vince Camuto co-founded Nine West Group, Inc. back in 1978. Yes, that same Nine West who makes stylish, on-trend shoes for reasonable prices. Come 1993, Camuto became CEO of this company and Nine West went public. In 1999 as some of you remember, Nine West was sold to Jones Apparel Group (Jones New York, etc.).

Camuto came back in 2001 with Camuto Group – a company that provides design, sourcing, marketing, and production services for 5,000 department and independent retailers. Camuto added to his company a year later, creating four shoe brands exclusively for Dillards (later he added three more brands to his collection). He also acquired the footwear licenses for BCBG (another brand known for great style and reasonable pricepoints).

By 2005, Vince Camuto came out with a namesake footwear line. The next year he partnered with Tory Burch and helped create her famous “Reva” flat.

Since then, The Camuto Group has partnered with more well-known brands such as Lucky Brand, Banana Republic, Kensie Girl, Sanctuary, and Jessica Simpson.

I’m passionate about creating a product that women really want… infusing great style, comfort, and unparalled value for every stage of her life.

                                                    – Vince Camuto

Now it all makes sense. I now realize that I pretty much have to attribute my footwear choices over the past decade to Mr. Camuto. Jessica Simpson, BCBG, Banana Republic, Nine West… all brands I have worn, currently wear, and love for their ability to marry style, trend, quality, and wallet-friendly prices!

And now Vince Camuto is taking over the apparel world. From the Vince Camuto site:

Strong, Edgy, Timeless, Feminine, Confident, Effortless.

                                            – The Camuto Woman

Here’s some gems from the Vince Camuto apparel line I have recently seen and adore:


Love love LOVE a simple LBD with just the hint of a current trend.  Leather is HOT this season, and this dress has the leather detail without verging toward S&M.  This dress would look appropriate at work with black tights and boots, or on a night on the town with platform booties.  As with other Vince Camuto pieces I have seen, this is on-trend this fall/winter but would still look stylish a year from now.

Wait, it also comes in regular and petite?  Mr. Camuto, I adore you!  This blouse reminds me of my dotted one from White House Black Market – a piece that can work under a power suit for the boardroom, or with dark jeans and high heels for happy hour.  Would also be adorable under a cardigan with pants or a pencil skirt.  And again… a piece that takes a hot current trend (animal prints, bow blouses) but creates it in a  manner that is not only wallet-friendly, but will still be stylish for seasons to come.


I am over black for winter coats, but am not sure if I want to drop money on a show-stopping color that I may tire of after a season.  I have been thinking of how navy, a dark purple or green would be a fresh alternative – just as versatile but a touch unique.  I hop over the Vince Camuto site, and see this very coat!  I have always loved a military-inspired winter coat, but find they often are too bulky with flaps, epaulets, and double breasting.  This one would flatter a woman’s figure nicely while still embracing the military trend!

While the Vince Camuto site doesn’t feature their plus size line, retailers such as Nordstrom carry it and it is fabulous.  Many retailers have a weird variation of their apparel for plus sizes – less shape, less style, more matronly.  The Vince Camuto line maintains all the style and substance.  This blouse (available in black and camel) is extremely versatile (tie the bow and tuck it in for a prim look, wear untucked with jeans and just casually knot the ties for a casual rocker look) and the details (keyhole neckline, long ties, the awesome cuffs) make it look far more expensive than its price.  While this blouse is a bit more trendy than the pieces above, I still feel it can be a classic if you are like me and wish the studded trend was available in stores every year!

***

I have tried a few pieces from the Vince Camuto apparel line (none of the pieces above – a chiffon midi skirt and pair of leggings with leather patches) and while none were quite right for my figure or personal style, I was impressed with the quality and style of the pieces in real life.

Have you checked out the Vince Camuto apparel line?  What do you think?

Note: Vince Camuto and his company have no clue I am writing this post.  I am not being compensated in any way for this post.  Information about Vince Camuto and his company via Camuto Group Site and Wikipedia.

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All About the Summer Shoes

A bit ago, a reader asked me about a pair of shoes I wore in an Instagram photo (I share far more outfits over there than here so come on over and follow!) and I realized I haven’t shared bits of my closet lately, or recent purchases.

This summer has been atypical thanks to this arm situation. A huge portion of my wardrobe is unwearable thanks to the bulk of the cast or my reduced dexterity, and that has affected my choice of footwear (some shoes just DON’T go with everything!). This has caused me to really examine what I buy and more importantly, WHY. I recently shared this post from Momastary on my Facebook page (another place you should follow me because the content there is different from here on the blog) and it really resonated with me, especially this quote:

“I will not be a slave to the Tyranny of Trend any longer. I am almost 40 years old and no catalog is the Boss of Me anymore. I am free. I am not bound to spend my precious days on Earth trying to keep up with the Joneses- because the Joneses are really just a bunch of folks in conference rooms changing “trends” rapidly to create fake monthly emergencies for us.”

As you know from some of my recent more personal posts, I’ve made a concerted effort to see the positive in my arm re-breaking and using this time to craft a more positive and healthy life. While that has included walking, Whole30, and some other new habits, it has also affected my shopping. Am I shopping to try to fill a void? Am I buying to keep up with the Joneses (or bloggers) or to make more compelling blog posts or because there’s something else in my life I need to focus on but am afraid or don’t want to do so? Anyhoo, lots of existential mumbo jumbo when this is supposed to be about SHUZ! But point is, this summer my shoe purchases were made with more thought and care.

I broke my summer/early fall shoe collection into two categories: pretty, and practical:

fall shioe must have collection

My pretty shoes. These are shoes for work, for nights out, and when I want to feel fancy with my simple knit dresses or jeans. Clockwise from top left we have the Halogen ‘Marlie,’ Rockport Seven to 7 Peep Toe Wedge (c/o), Nine West ‘Ugogirl,’ and Nine West ‘Flax.’

halogen marlie calfhair leopard gray pump

I said in my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale post that I wouldn’t buy these shoes because I already have a ton of leopard shoes, but this summer I saw that my leopard semi-flats and leopard pumps got more wear that any other work shoe. All my other leopard calfhair shoes were warm tones and I often wished I had a slightly different version so while they were still on sale I grabbed these. They’re not my first pair of Halogen shoes (or first pair of leopard Halogen shoes) and like my others, I find them comfortable and well-made especially for the reasonable pricepoint. These shoes have been worn with black, blue, denim, white, skirts and pants and jeans.

rockport aqua wedge peep toe seven

It’s so nice when a brand sends me something and it ends up being in regular rotation. These pretty snakeskin wedges from Rockport are just that. I’ve written before about Rockport’s comfort, and I love how they are able to have sneaker-comfy shoes with great style. I love this color with denim, and they look great peeking out from work trousers. While some may rock wedges with skirts, I think they look a bit wonky on me and keep them for pants. But these are my go-to for a day after a pair of painful heels or when I’m wearing a boring outfit and want a punch without a lot of effort. And by the way they look great with a red nail (my summer tootsie color has been OPI’s Big Apple Red).

nine west ugogirl calfhair leopard

My Ivanka Trump Indicon leopard calfhair pumps are comfy but they’re looking a tad worn after two+ years of city life. My cobbler does his best to cover heel nicks but I was looking for a replacement. While I have had a watch on eBay for a year and regularly check places like 6pm for the exact shoe, I was okay with finding a completely different shoe. The ‘Ugogirl’ immediately appealed to me because while it had the pointed toe that I adore, it had a modern thicker heel. They fit like other Nine West shoes, which is good for my chubby in front/skinny in back feet and the wider heel makes them wearable for a longer period of time.

nine west flax

Oh Nine West ‘Flax,’ how I adore you. I have this very shoe in red and black pony hair (an impulse buy I still adore but hardly wear), peacock print (not worn often but SOOO worth it, my absolute favorite statement shoe), silver (haven’t worn recently but get a lot of wear in fall and spring), black, and nude. After several summers, I finally found a nude that matches my skintone and of COURSE it’s in this style! ‘Flax’ can often be found for super cheap on sites like 6pm and Amazon, occasionally on sale at Macy’s and Lord and Taylor but they’re getting harder to find.  I went to a Nine West outlet while at Rehoboth on the hunt for more ‘Flax’ (hopefully a backup pair in nude or black) to no avail. But a non-shiny, single sole pointed nude pump is more of a workhorse in my wardrobe than the same shoe in black. It’s a great way to summarize black and darker outfits, and elongates the leg.

popular summer shoes

And now my practical shoes. These are the true workhorses, and honestly, they look it so no close-up shots of these babies. Clockwise from upper left we have the Vince Camuto ‘Effel,’ Sanuk Yoga Mat Flip Flops (c/o), Softspots ‘Ventura’ (now discontinued so linked to only retailer I could find that still has them), Converse ‘Shoreline,’ Born ‘Myndy,’ Birkenstock ‘Arizona.’

I bought the Vince Camutos back in February in black and this color. Tan was backordered, black arrived, I wore once and found them stiff and they cut my ankles. Returned. The tan arrived and I was ready to return them right away but decided to try on. Completely different experience! The leather is soft, the fit different, and the color far more flattering. I wear these shoes weekly, with dresses (seen here) and jeans (seen here) and pants (seen here) and skirts (seen here). The heel is a wearable height and I don’t hesitate to choose these for long workdays or general admission concerts.

I wear flops far less than I used to, and I think it’s because with this arm I haven’t spent much time at a swimming pool. These hang out at the front door to wear to the mailbox, to take Cindy for a quick walk or Emerson for a quick trip to the playground. They also slip into my bag for pedicures. I don’t condone flip flops as actual shoes, but these are uber comfy and the fabric strap more refined than plastic making them a great choice for the pool, beach, and bumming around.

The Softspots Ventura sandal is my JAM. Almost the same color as my legs, a mini wedge which is more comfortable than completely flat. This is my second pair (found them on eBay unworn in box) because the first pair was destroyed after a few summers of music festivals, concerts, and weekend events. Worn them here, here, and here.

Converse Shorelines are amazing. Far more comfortable than the All Stars, but with the same style. I’ve worn them here, here, and here and wrote about them here and here. Love.

The ‘Myndy’ by Born, I bought these on clearance and immediately regretted it. What the hell Alison, I don’t wear yellow! There’s not a single yellow thing in my wardrobe! They ended up sitting unworn in a box for several months. Then I pulled them out and realized what I was missing. These babies are COMFORTABLE and CUTE and yellow, when this shade and with a cork wedge heel ends up being a neutral! I’ve worn them on the blog here, here, and here. I wear them with jeans, with dresses, and even with shorts. They’re so comfy, I wear them days when I know I’ll be doing a lot of walking but flats won’t look right. Even though I bought these a few years ago, they’re still available each summer in different colors (love the pink) and often found on discount sites.

And my silver Birks. Sorry not sorry, I wear the HECK out of these babies. I can walk miles in them, I can stand on my feet for hours on concrete in a crowded concert pit, I wear them with casual dresses and cutoffs, maxis and boyfriend jeans. I love that they go with my beloved silver cuff, and I don’t care that they’re clunky and overly trendy and played out. I love my Arizonas, and likely will be wearing long after the trend dies.

There you go, the most worn shoes in my wardrobe this summer! What are you favorite shoes in your wardrobe, and what are your must-have footwear workhorses?

My Wardrobe Today – Monday

Sweater – Vince Camuto (similar)
Skirt – Ann Taylor (similar)
Tights – Nordstrom
Cuff – Gap (similar)
Shoes – Miss Sixty (similar)
Bag – Hobo International “Jude”

Feeling so much better today than I did on Friday, however still not 100%. Getting there!

This weekend was really nice – Saturday evening we went to a neighbor’s house where we adults had dinner and our kids had a blast together. Yesterday, I went to the mall with my sister – I didn’t plan on buying anything, but ended up getting a bangle bracelet, a bag, and a skirt. I find some of the best accessories at the cheapest places – the bangle is big and green and fun and I found it at The Icing; the bag is a small emerald green patent “Kelly” inspired bag with a crossbody strap that was less than $20 at Forever21 – not something I would wear every day, but great for concerts and events when I need a smaller bag (and the color is phenomenal!)

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My Wardrobe Today – Tuesday

Shirt - c/o CAbi
SkirtAnn Taylor
TightsNordstrom
ShoesVince Camuto
Bracelets – swap event, Ann Taylor, Lauren Ralph Lauren
Necklace – boutique in Rehoboth Beach

I wrote this post before ever owning anything from Vince Camuto. When I saw these booties on sale I felt it was fate – since the hurricane destroyed my only pair of brown shoes I decided to get these babies. While they are a bit tight on the top of my foot (I have especially chubby feet), the suede is very soft and supple and I can feel them easing to the shape of me as the day progresses. As for standing in them… they are more comfortable than my Cole Haan booties with Nike Air technology! They seem really high but there is a hidden platform that helps greatly. Very sturdy on my feet, a really great shoe that if they go on sale even further I may pick up another pair in a different color or material!

Trench - DKNY
Faux fur collar - H&M

While yesterday was near 70, today is quite chilly.  Good for me, another chance to wear my H&M fur collar!

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Tuesday: My Go-To

Blazer: Vince Camuto | Tee: Old Navy | Necklace: eBay | Pants: Two by Vince Camuto (similar) | Booties: Nine West

Last night in my head I envisioned this outfit with a fab ivory and red dotted peplum top I got from Gwynnie Bee (see here on Brittany). I thought of the last time I wore a peplum with a blazer and felt it would be cute and temper the polka dots. Put it on, and while it WAS cute, it just didn’t feel like me. So shocker of all shockers, I grabbed an Old Navy Vintage V-neck. I have three in this charcoal color, two white, one blue, one pink, and one black because these tees are just perfection for me. I wear them at least once a week if not more often. As for the peplum top… I’m already thinking of an outfit mixing it with some leopard!

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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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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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Thursday: Polka Dotty

Blouse: Ann Taylor
Skirt: Ann Taylor (similar)
Shoes: Vince Camuto
Bag: Hobo (similar)
Bracelet: Nordstrom
Lipstick: Combo of Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butters in Cherry Tart and Pink Truffle

Yesterday I went into Ann Taylor to return a piece I ordered online and left with this blouse (size 12 Regular). I didn’t want to spend, but this top was just too cute. The bow detail is so sweet and would look great peeking out of a cardigan once the temperature drops. And then once I got home, these shoes were waiting for me from a recent Nordstrom purchase. I already own Vince Camuto shoes and know they are well-crafted and comfortable and these aren’t any different. I love the details – the haircalf exterior, visible stitching on the leather sole, leather insole – these shoes in person look far more expensive than their pricetag. While they aren’t a true black and white print (more like off-white with brown-black) when right on top of the shoe, from this distance (and even when I cross my legs) it is a good match with the blouse.

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What I Wore: Bandana Badass

Tee: Leith | Jacket: ASOS (similar) | Bandana: Vision Street Wear (similar) | Jeans: Gap | Shoes: Vince Camuto

The bandana is back this season, and it gives me an opportunity to pull out some oldies but goodies like this one from Vision Street Wear. It’s always fun to take something old from the wardrobe and give it a new life with new trends.

Though my cast is off, my arm is still healing and my hand isn’t strong enough to perform many daily tasks.  Clothing is still best when it’s a bit loose, but I’m liking jackets because they cover the still healing scar and provide some protection.  Adding the jacket and the bandana make me feel less like an invalid and more like a badass!

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Friday: Sensing a Trend

Dress: Vince Camuto
Necklace: eBay (similar)
Shoes: Franco Sarto (similar)
Bracelets: Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, Lauren Ralph Lauren, JewelMint, c/o Soft Surroundings

I guess this is the week of the leopard shoe! Other than yesterday, I wore a good portion of my animal-print collection. All that’s left are my Mary Janes and flats!

Any exciting plans for the weekend? Tomorrow my husband is shooting a wedding and I’m going as assistant. No other plans are concrete and I couldn’t be happier. I need to return a jacket to Old Navy and I know a few friends are having parties and cookouts, but really all is left up in the air and I would be perfectly content spending a lot just relaxing at home with the family.

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My Wardrobe Today – Thursday

Cashmere sweater - Only Mine
Skirt – Ann Taylor (similar)
TightsNordstrom
BootiesVince Camuto
Tortoiseshell necklace - Shop in Rehoboth Beach (similar)
Gold chain – J. Crew (similar)
Bracelet - Lauren Ralph Lauren
Trench - DKNY (similar)
Fur collar – H&M (similar)

Thank you all for your sweet words and positive thoughts for Ruckus. He seems to be doing okay – moving around, able to get down the deck stairs again, eating a bit, but he seems to have aged years in just 24 hours. However, he’s probably now acting like a typical 13-year old Boxer when he has been going at a puppy’s pace for so long. We plan to keep him as comfortable as possible and just see what the future holds.

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My Wardrobe Today – Thursday

Sweater – Vince Camuto (similar)
Skirt – Banana Republic (similar)
BraceletsLauren Ralph Lauren
Shoes – Jessica Simpson (similar)
Lipstick - NARS “Heatwave”
Smoothie – My talented husband!

My sister is out of the hospital! How insane to have brain surgery less than a week ago and be able to sleep in your own bed? She will need outpatient physical therapy, but is doing so incredibly well!

I am dragging a bit today – yesterday was an early day at work and then with releasing my sister I didn’t end up home until around midnight. I figured some super-bright colors would perk me once the caffeine stopped working! :)

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Out and About: St. Vincent and Queens of the Stone Age at Merriweather Post Pavilion

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Josh Homme of QOTSA, photo by Brandon Hirsch

When I heard Queens of the Stone Age and St. Vincent were going to be at MPP, I was psyched. To many, these artists may not seem like a perfect match, but to me and Karl is was heaven, two of our favorites. And well, I gotta say Josh Homme is definitely lovely to look at (Karl knows my “List” is Josh Homme,  Matthew McConaughey, Lenny Kravitz, and Father John Misty). With my arm situation I didn’t think pit seemed like a good idea, so we got seats in the pavilion. And I’m so glad we did!

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Annie Clark of St. Vincent sitting on a bouncer’s head; photo by Brandon Hirsch

We ended up having four other friends go to the show, though their seats were in different locations. We arrived right after Brody Dalle’s set (sad to miss her but it was a workday and well, work pays for the concerts) and decided to hang as a group on the lawn. Then St. Vincent started and I just couldn’t enjoy her from the jumbotrons. While Karl and our peeps stayed up on the hill, I went down into the pavilion. It was still pretty empty, and I had a great view of the stage as well as a jumbotron for close-ups. Annie did not disappoint; it was my first time seeing her live and it surely will not be my last. Her voice was just as beautiful as it is on her albums, but she performed with all her might at the same time. Seeing her live, I could tell what a professional she is by how she communicated with her band and the folks offstage to ensure everything sounded great. However, I don’t think she was a good pairing for Queens of the Stone Age as the crowd was restless, talking to one another and getting up mid-song to head out to the field.

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Josh Homme, photo by Brandon Hirsch

After St. Vincent I went back up to the lawn where my friends were still at. Two went off to their seats, and four of us headed to the VIP area, thanks to 9:30 Club’s Friends with Benefits (we both got the upgrade). No bathroom lines, better food options, and a deck with a bar (Pro Tip: get your beer outside of VIP, while there’s a bar in VIP it takes FOR-EVVVV-ERRRR to get a drink. It’s quicker to leave, buy beer and return). We then headed to our respective seats for QOTSA.

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Troy Van Leeuwen, photo by Brandon Hirsch

Omigod omigod omigod they were amazing! They came right out kicking ass and didn’t stop. It doesn’t hurt that Josh Homme is utterly delicious and even sexier when performing!  Karl and I stayed at our seats for the first three songs, but then stepped away to use the facilities and refill our water bottles. We decided to check out the show from the lawn; the weather was perfect, the sky was clear, and the lawn was full of happy people rocking out. We found a spot in the center and enjoyed a good portion of the show from there, and then went back to our seats for the last few songs and the encore. Queens of the Stone Age put on one of the best shows I have seen; as Jon Pacella at The Vinyl District said, “…the band exited the stage, and people were left looking at one another in a post-orgasm afterglow.” I left the show knowing that QOTSA will be one of those bands like My Morning Jacket and Clutch that I will try to see every time they’re in town.

Images by Brandon Hirsch for DCist, I was too busy having my face melted off to take pictures and anyway, it’s better to leave it to the pros!

Thursday – Neon

BlazerVince Camuto
Tank – Caslon (similar)
BeltAnn Taylor
Pants - Tahari “Hazel”
Bracelet - JewelMint
ShoesCole Haan “Air Talia Bootie”
Clutch - HOBO (similar)
Lipstick - Revlon Lip Butter in “Lollipop”

I don’t jump on every trend bandwagon, and when neons came back last year I positively absolutely refused to wear them. Come on, I’m 37 years old, I wore neons back when Frankie was telling us all to relax, I can’t do it again.

And then I saw this blazer from Vince Camuto and it changed my mind. The color is so pretty, and is tempered with the wood button and tan and white ticking stripe lining on the sleeves. In March, I can see it with black or dark denim, come summer I think it will look so fresh with tan and white. The blazer changed my mind so much that I recently grabbed up this belt from Ann Taylor – imagine it with Kelly green, orange, hot pink… or even with denim and chambray!

Neon?  Acid washed denim?  Crop tops?  Been there… done that…

So yes, Alison Gary is a neon convert… though I don’t think you’ll see me wearing pastel denim jackets, cropped tops, or acid washed denim again!

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What I Wore: Taking a Chance

wardrobe oxygen 1 wardrobe oxygen 0 wardrobe oxygen 4Dress: Southern Raised via Etsy and Big Cartel | Shoes: Vince Camuto | Cuff: Had forever (similar) | Cast Cover: c/o CastCoverz!

As a curvy woman, it’s pretty hard to shop online from a retailer that isn’t well established and doesn’t have a generous exchange and return policy. Will it fit the girls? Will it suffocate my arms? Will my belly button/butt crack/etc etc etc be on display? This is why I usually shy from dresses and tops on Etsy. However, I have been CRAVING a wrap maxi in a statement print, and when looking for one at regular retailers I have been underwhelmed by poor construction, poor fit, and poor selection.

So I decided to take a tour around Etsy for inspiration. Maybe I could find a seller who would create a custom dress from my measurements. I first checked with the seller Nuichan, who made my gray and red maxi skirt. Nothing was quite right. So I searched Wrap Maxi Dress and found this one! The seller said it was available in S, M, and L. I messaged the seller asking what this meant, she got back to me right away and said a L would fit a 12/14. As a curvy woman, I know that when items claim to be 12/14, they are often more like a 10 with an A chest… but I took a chance since it was stretchy.

Yes, there’s a safety pin to keep my breasts from spilling out, and yes I add another one when I want less cleavage, but otherwise this dress is a fab fit! I wore it a couple weeks ago to a party and felt festive yet as comfy as if I was wearing loungewear.  Even the length is stellar, I’m just wearing my Vince Camuto booties with it, no need for a crazy high heel like most maxis, and no need for flats like petite maxis.

Ladies, don’t think because you have curves or a double-digit dress size that you’re stuck to shopping at the standard retailers. Go to your local dry cleaner or ask a friend to take your measurements and consider branching out to smaller businesses and ask questions and take a chance. The more we ask for quality, fun, and unique fashion the more likely people will realize the value in catering to our figures. Power is not in your dress size, but in your wallet. Change is happening in apparel every day and it’s exciting and needs to continue, so speak up and get what you want and what you deserve!

What I Wore: Pleats Please

Shirt: c/o InStyle Essentials | Belt: Vintage – Belonged to my Mom | Skirt: J. Crew Factory | Bracelet: Rebecca Minkoff | Shoes: Vince Camuto

I gotta say, style rules be damned, I love me a pleated chiffon maxi skirt.  I’m short, I’m overweight, and I don’t care.  I saw this one at J. Crew Factory and felt it was a perfect replacement for my beloved Ann Taylor maxi skirt, which now has a broken zipper, stretched to twice its original size and hasn’t held up well with time.  This new skirt is a 14, and I didn’t have to have the length altered.  I wore this skirt with the brilliant InStyle Essentials shirt (hello shirts sized by bra size!) for a more work-friendly look, but found it also looked fab with a simple gray Old Navy Vintage v-neck tee (see here on Instagram).  I love how skirts like this can dress up and down with ease and are nice and breezy for the upcoming warmer weather.

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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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Gap Skimmers: Versatile Style for Now and Spring

I recently visited Gap and felt like a kid in a candy store. Adorable jackets, tons of stripes (we all know how I adore stripes), and fun jeans including their new Women’s Skimmer. Named because they skim the ankles as well as the body from waist to hem. I’m pleasantly surprised by how flattering the Skimmers are on my curvy frame. I tried on several variations and fell for the 1969 Dot Always Skinny Skimmer. I immediately thought of the outfit possibilities!

Jacket: Gap | Scarf: Ann Taylor (similar) | Shoes: Nine West (similar)

Sweatshirt: Alo | Shoes: Lands’ End (similar)

Jacket: Vince Camuto | Tee: Canvas Lands’ End (similar) | Necklaces: eBay | Shoes: Target (similar)

Sweater: Lands’ End via Gwynnie Bee | Shoes: Jessica Simpson (similar) | Cuff: Gap (similar)


The Skimmers are adorable with a sweatshirt and flats for weekends, or a slouchy sweater and platform heels for a night with the girls. For work I paired with Gap’s Striped Twill Zip Jacket, and for play the Skimmers are fab with an ivory blazer and bold gold necklaces. I can’t wait to style them for spring!


While I did receive compensation for this post, all opinions and text are my own.

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Tuesday: Luxe Leopard

Dress: MICHAEL Michael Kors
Necklace: Lillith” c/o Kristin Biggs, Stella and Dot
Tights: Nordstrom
Bracelet: Nordstrom
Shoes: VC Signature “Priscilla”
Lipstick: Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Romance

Some days it’s fun to luxe it up. Silky dress, gold-capped shoes, statement necklace and red lipstick as the cherry on top! It doesn’t hurt that after work I am headed to a DC Wine Week event – Red, Burgundy & Plum. A Night of Fashion & Wine at Lost Society. Tickets are still available if you’re available to attend – open wine bar, yummy food, fashion, and fun!

Okay, these shoes are a complete and total splurge. This was my treat to me after surviving the past couple of months. Crazy work, photo shoots almost every weekend, the blog has been busy, the kid has been awesome but intense, stuff with the house and family and… well I used some of my photography income and bought crazy fabulous shoes. Since they are from Vince Camuto, they are well-crafted and relatively comfortable for the height.

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