Monday, February 28, 2011

Getting Intimate

Nope, we're not talking about that kind of intimacy. I mean intimate apparel - bras and panties. Is there anything more personal than what's in a woman's underwear drawer?

I'm not one to force hard and fast rules on anyone in fashion, and that extends to panty preferences. Whether you buy a 5 pack at Target and pick up a bra from the clearance rack, or if you go to a specialty bra shop to stock up on the finest lingerie- there's no right or wrong. I can tell you my own approach to getting it right for myself when it comes to my bra and panty wardrobe.

It's important to me that I feel comfortable in my undies, first and foremost. That means soft cotton or satin panties & nylon/lycra bras. I like a little cleavage on myself, so most of my bras are push-ups. And for everyday wear, I choose shades of nude or black - they blend in under most of my clothes. When it comes to price point, I'm middle-of-the-road. My underwear are the items in my wardrobe that I wear most often, so it makes sense to me to spend a little money on them.

In addition to everyday underwear, I like to keep a couple sexy bra-and-panty sets on hand. Something to wear on those days when I need a little extra kick under a business suit, or to wear under a date-night outfit. Something pretty and frivolous just because. Here are the pieces I consider a must-have for myself.



*Back-smoothing bra - features a wide back band made of spandex, perfect under tight tops

*Smooth cup push up bra- smooth, seamless cups work well under lots of fabric types

*Lacy, sexy, pretty bra and panty set

*Supportive sports bra

*Cotton or satin panties cut high on the leg

*Seamless panties - I don't like thongs, so seamless panties are a must under sheer fabrics

All of my intimates are from the Cacique line at Lane Bryant. When I was a college student, working part time at my local Lane Bryant, I spent countless hours folding and refolding the panty tables. It was there that I found pieces that fit me, and I've never really felt the need to look elsewhere. But there are lots of places to find functional & pretty underwear for Bombshells.

* Department stores like Nordstrom, Macy's or Dillards
* Plus size stores like Lane Bryant & Torrid
* Find brands like Playtex, Just My Size & Bali at your local Target or Wal-Mart
* Online stores like Her Room, Frederick's of Hollywood, or Just My Size

If you're not sure what your bra size is, or if you haven't checked in a long time, here's a great link that will help you figure out what size you should be wearing. Bra fit experts recommend that you recheck your size every 6 months; I do mine at least once a year or if my weight fluctuates up or down by 10 pounds. Buy your bras in a size that you can latch it on the tightest hook - bras will stretch out a bit so you want to allow for that. Replace bras once they stretch out so much that they're loose when latched on the loosest hook.

What's your approach to an intimate wardrobe? Where do you shop?

Everyday Bombshell

Today's pictures were taken at a new, glamourous location - my office. I didn't have time to take pictures at home in the morning, so I decided to have a photo shoot at work.



I wanted to wear something cute, but a little interesting, because I met fellow blogger Becky of MinnChic today. We discovered that we work for the same company, albeit in different buildings. We had a nice chat over coffee and realized that we not only went to the same college at the same time, but we lived two floors apart in the same dorm our freshman year. What a small world!

The Outfit:
Blue striped side-zip sweater - Lane Bryant
Butterfly printed tunic (under dress) - LucieLu
Black Alfani dress- Macy's
Leggings- Lane Bryant
Ballet flats- DesignerShoes.com
Necklace- Lia Sophia

Friday, February 25, 2011

Lane Bryant Las Vegas Fashion Finale Weekend


Today marks one week since I flew out to Las Vegas to join Lane Bryant in celebrating their first live runway fashion show in almost 10 years. The weekend was full of fun, fashion and fabulous women celebrating exactly what it means to be Bombshells.

I joined fellow Lane Bryant-sponsored bloggers Madeline Jones (editor in chief of Plus Model Magazine), Aimee Cheshire (co-owner of Madison Plus)and Esther Brandon (Ms. Plus America 2010)to cover a weekend packed full of activities that led up to the fashion show. We were joined by several other fabulous women like Reah Norman (plus fashion stylist for Plus Model Magazine, City Chic & Sealed with a Kiss Designs), Fluvia Lacerda (face of Igigi and Eliza Parker, among others) and Curves & Chaos blogger, Monique.

Among the weekend's events, standouts included a bra fitting with the development team behind Lane Bryant's lingerie brand, Cacique. You can check out my experience here:



On Sunday, I was part of a media panel pulled together to ask questions of Lane Bryant's Sr. VP of Marketing, Jay Dunn. I met Jay last June at the Lane Bryant Blogger's Conference, so knew him to be an engaging speaker. He talked about the excitement and energy that the Cacique line has infused into the core Lane Bryant brand, as evidenced by all the swirl around last year's TV ad featuring plus supermodel Ashley Graham in a red panty set.

I asked him how Lane Bryant plans to transfer the excitement and sexiness of the Cacique brand over to their sportswear collection. He said dresses will play a big role in that translation (yay!)and so too do trends like leggings and jeggings. We can also expect to see a quicker turnover of merchandise in the stores as their design teams send new styles into stores every few weeks instead of on a monthly rhythm. Jay ended by saying Lane Bryant's future is going to be built on three promises that they're making to their customer: better fit, better quality and being on time with trends.

Sunday night was the big fashion show. I have to say that from a fashion point of view, I've never been part of anything more exciting, more dynamic, or more emotional than Lane Bryant's fashion show. The clothes were gorgeous - they were styled in a way that was trendy but attainable, glamourous but completely wearable. And the best part? Ninety-nine percent of what we saw on the runway is part of the spring/summer collections available in stores.

There were several "scenes" that were staged, ranging from a saucy cowgirl theme (complete with very hot, scantily clad cowboys dancing around the models) to an oooh la la chic Paris scene (in which the models walked pink poodles down the runway). Every detail, from the music to the way the models strutted down the runway was electric. And let's talk about those models for a second.

One, it was incredibly surreal to see live, in-person the very same girls peering up at me from the pages of my Lane Bryant magalogs. And two, they all owned their bodies - jiggly butts, thick thighs and cellulite, tummy rolls and bouncing breasts. I could actually identify with the women I saw strutting around in adorable panty sets & casually chic day outfits.

By the end of the show, when Ashley Graham struck one final pose in a very sexy lingerie set just as the entire crowd was showered in colorful paper confetti, the air was electric with the energy of hundreds of women who felt truly represented in the fashion world. Here, listen to what Maddy had to say about the experience:



In line for cocktails at the fashion show's after party, I caught up with Cacique's lead designer Gill Heer. I congratulated her on creating such beautiful clothes and presenting them to us in such an inspiring, sexy way. Gill responded, "As a lingerie designer, a plus size woman is who I want to create for. That's what beautiful lingerie is supposed to look like -on curves!" And that pretty much summed up the entire weekend.

Here's a slide show of the outfits I wore over the course of the weekend.




You can view more videos, including portions of the show and backstage footage beforehand, on the LaneBryantCurves youtube channel.

You guys know I am definitely not a photographer, but I have scoped out a fellow blogger with fantastic images from the fashion show. Check out Netta P's post to see her pictures.


*Lane Bryant paid for my airfare and VIP access to the weekend's events.


**I'd like to thank LucieLu for sending me to Vegas with the gorgeous Estelle dress and a very cute butterfly-printed tunic (no longer available)which made me feel stylish and comfortable while flying to and from Vegas.

Winner of IGIGI by Yulia Raquel $50 Gift Certificate

Thank you for all the fantastic entries. I loved not only seeing which dress each of you would choose, but also why and how it spoke it to you.

The winner of the prize is Brooke, from Austin Texas. She chose the Cybelle Cocktail Dress in orchid because it told her, "Let's go on a fancy date with your husband!"

Brooke, please email me at BombshellBeautyBlog@gmail.com with your full name and mailing address by midnight on Tuesday to claim your prize. If I don't hear from you by then, the prize will be awarded to another entrant.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Everyday Bombshell

You know how the first day back at work after vacation goes...endless emails, voicemails, general re-acclimation to being in a cube and not being able to nap or eat when the desire strikes. As such, a really peppy, upbeat outfit was a must:



I built the outfit around, of all things, the black enamel earrings. And when I came home, I found that I'd lost one of them. Good thing they were only $2.95 from Forever 21!

The Outfit:
Sweatshirt blazer- Gap
Printed tunic - Merona, via Kimberly
Red rose pin- Lily Star
Enamel earrings- Forever 21
Leggings - Lane Bryant
Red patent heels- BCBGirls, via DSW

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bombshell Review - IGIGI by Yulia Raquel

One of the most exciting movements I've seen in the plus size market is the recent availability of high quality, fashion-forward clothing in sizes 14+. We have lots of options for casual clothes and work-wear, but formal-wear is one area in which I think we've been under-served. IGIGI by Yulia Raquel is filling that void for quality cocktail dresses & formal dresses.

Yulia Raquel comments on her website that, when designing her clothes, she envisions her customer then "tries to determine if the clothes will make her more excited about where she is going." This resonates with me because Ive had lots of events to go to in my life (weddings, cocktail parties) where I've been excited about the evening ahead right up until I slipped into my outfit. And then suddenly I'm less excited because all I can focus on is the way a dress pulls or clings or hangs in a way that makes me self concious. If a designer is thinking about this before she creates a piece, I'm definitely interested in what that final product will be!



IGIGI by Yulia Raquel sent me the Audrey Cocktail Dress; and opening up the package was the first indication that the company is focused on detail and quality. The dress arrived on a hanger, with a cloth zippered garment bag.



The dress is lined, and made of a viscose/nylon/elastane blend that is heavy enough to drape the body without clinging. I love the notched detail at the bodice - it feels sexy, but ladylike.



And the cutout back is worth putting up my hair to show off. The dress is designed with a plus size woman in mind, from the roomy bust to the fact that the back ends above a standard bra line (no peek-a-boo bras here!). I ordered true to size and the dress fits me perfectly through the waist and hips. It's a little big in the bust, so if you're a C cup or smaller expect to alter it to fit your chest. If you're a D cup or larger, I think you'll find it fits just fine.

So the big question: Would I pay my own money for an IGIGI by Yulia Raquel dress? Yep, I would. The price point is higher than most of the clothes I usually buy, but the quality justifies the cost. I know I'll have this cocktail dress for many years to come, and I think I'll always feel excited about wearing it.

If you're excited about buying something from IGIGI by Yulia Raquel, let me help you out with making that purchase. IGIGI by Yulia Raquel wants to give one Bombshell Beauty reader a $50 gift certificate!

Enter for a chance to win by telling me which dress from the collection speaks to you - and tell me what it's saying. The Audrey said to me, "Oh, honey, I am exactly who you feel like on the inside. Let's make the outside match!"

One Bombshell will be chosen to win the prize on Feb 25th - so get your entries in!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Everyday Bombshell

This has to be a personal record - jeans, twice in one week:



How cool are those earrings? I don't think I've ever worn them before; they were my great grandma Midge's and I've had them for years. I think I've struggled a bit with their flash-factor. They're kinda flashy. But my hair covered them just enough for me to feel like I was giving little flashes of flash all day, rather than...oh you know. Rather than being over the top.

The Outfit:
Gray sweatshirt blazer- Gap
Teal ruffle tank- gift from Sealed with a Kiss Designs
Pink flower pin - Lilly Rose
Flashy earrings- G.G. Midge
Jeans- Gap
Kitten heels- Payless

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Girl Crush

Adele officially joins the ransk of Mandy Moore as one of my girl crushes. I love everything about this - her hair, makeup, clothes, accessories, the song and that voice! I saw Adele sing Someone Like You during a mini concert here at work...gave me shivers then, gives me shivers now seeing her performing it at the Brit Awards.

Everyday Bombshell

I felt so great in this outfit, as though I was channeling Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face. Which is quite a stretch because she's very gamine and I'm very not. But still...it's how I felt.



The outfit couldn't have been simpler; in fact, I didn't even accessorize at all. Just the black dress, leggings and striped tee. Oh, and a juicy pink lip gloss. It's even called Bright Pink (by Bobbi Brown):

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Everyday Bombshell

Most of my outfits this week are going to be pretty casual. I don't have a lot of meetings at work, and I'm only working until Wednesday before heading to Vegas. So focus and productivity may be hard to come by.



This was my Valentine's Day outfit. I wanted to strike a balance between casual and polished, so paired my fancy-ish tuxedo jacket with a tee shirt from Target and Z. Cavaricci jeans. I felt festive all day and got a laugh when I came home after work. Dan was wearing, essentially, the same thing as I: jeans, a red tee shirt & a black motorcycle jacket. Guess we're at that "dressing alike" stage in our marriage.

The Outfit
Sapphire earrings - Grandma Kappy
Pinecone necklace- Grandma Ruth
Flashy cocktail ring- Macy's
Red boyfriend tee - Merona, from Target
Ponte' tuxedo jacket- Gap
Ballet flats- Designershoes.com
Z. Cavaricci jeans- Torrid

Monday, February 14, 2011

Pack My Suitcase- Makeup & Skincare Essentials

Whatwith all the pesky guidelines that govern what one can carry onto an airplane these days, packing can get tricky when it comes to skincare and makeup. Here are the essentials that will be part of my boarding pass when I fly to Las Vegas this Friday for the Curvy Revolution with Lane Bryant.



My Smashbox complexion kit is a new obsession, thanks to the powerful products that conceal and perfect my skin. The trial kit is packed with foundation, primer, concealer and powder - all in FDA-approved travel sizes.

I'm also bringing two eye shadow trios (in Shutterspeed & Day to Date) because I can create several different looks with these little pots. Blush Rush in Paradise, Stila mascara and eyeliner, and 2 tubes of Bare Minerals lipstick round out the makeup bag.



My skin is a little demanding, so it's really important to maintain skincare consistency while on the road. Especially when it includes a trip to a completely new climate. I'll pack all the same Mario Badescu products that I use at home into portable containers from Bobbi Brown. Love the little funnel that comes with the set of five empties.

Be Mine- Torrid Give-Away Winner

You all came up with such sweet (and funny) conversation hearts; I swear, the candy makers could get some great ideas here. Randomly chosen, the winner is...Ms. Pink! Her conversation heart would say: "Take me" (away from the kids!).

Ms. Pink, please email me at BombshellBeautyBlog@gmail.com to claim your prize.
Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dear Bombshell..

I have been reading your blog for a while and I LOVE your style. We are very similar, and I find so much inspiration from your OOTD's!

I have recently been headhunted out of our mom & pop shop, and am going back to work to a business casual setting. Everyone wears dark wash jeans, with business shirts. I'm the only girl in the setting, and I likely won't be in the office much, but will be meeting with clients that range from completely casual to full business formal.

I need a couple of outfit inspirations, but more importantly I NEED A PURSE! My budget is around $50...Can you 'what not to wear' me some style rules for some outfits that can go from casual to business casual to business formal in just a layer or two?

Thanks so much!
Sarah


Congratulations on the new job, Sarah! Switching from one office environment to another can take a toll on your wardrobe. So I've come up with a couple outfits that transition from various levels of formality with just a quick change of layers and accessories. But let's start with the most urgent thing...a great purse!

Work Purse - I like to choose work bags that have something distinct about them, whether it be a great color, print or unusual details. I prefer a bag that can handle some wear and tear, since it's something I'll carry every day. And I'm all about affordability! I've always had great luck finding well-priced bags at DSW. Here are a couple options that are equal parts functional and stylish.



Poppie Jones Mara Croc Tote
, $29.94.


Nine West Sahara Shopper, $39.95.


Mondani Graham Messenger Bag, $39.95.

Convertible Business Basics-
For a job that requires you to flex between casual, business casual, and even a step above, you need to have a few basics that make up the foundation of your work wardrobe. Here are my picks.











All of these pieces can be mixed and matched together to create the perfect outfit for any business situation. You can dress up the trouser jeans by pairing them with the blazer and heels, or dress down the A-line skirt with a tee shirt and flats. Belt the cardigan over the dress, or let it hang open over the cami and trouser jeans. So many options!

The clothes

Trouser jeans, Lane Bryant

Pinstripe Trouser, Lane Bryant

A-line Skirt, Macy's

Hip-length blazer, Old Navy

Shawl collar cardigan, Old Navy

Crochet trim top, Old Navy

Jersey dress, Old Navy

Striped tee, Old Navy

All shoes from DSW; all jewelry from Ann Taylor Loft; belt from Torrid.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Pack My Suitcase- Curvy Revolution Day 3

The last night of the Curvy Revolution is what I'm most excited about. That's when the big Fashion Finale occurs! Lane Bryant is sending plus size supermodels Lizzie Miller and Ashley Graham down the runway in their latest styles and the hottest lingerie from their Cacique collection. Cannot wait!

Tonight's outfit has to be one in which I'll feel stylish and saucy; understated chic. (At least, that's what I'm going for in my mind) Of these two dresses, which one do you think is fashion-show worthy?



On the left is the sorta sweet, sorta edgy strapless denim dress from Lane Bryant. And on the right is the silky, satiny printed Ines Collection dress. Equally stylish, but which is the right choice? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks again for weighing in each day on what I should wear in Las Vegas. I'll be snapping pictures each day so you can see which outfit was the winner!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

T Minus, T Plus Bonus Video

I've loved watching Tina of T Minus, T Plus open all the packages she's ordered recently as part of an online shopping spree. She shares her initial reactions on everything (including her thoughts on companies who mail bags of air along with her clothes), and then tries each piece on so we can see how it all fits. If you've missed any of these videos, click here to access her full library.

A few weeks ago, Tina sent me a nice big box of clothes which, seriously, practically doubled my wardrobe! I reciprocated by sending her an envelope (hey, I don't have as much stuff to hand out!) of goodies, some to keep and some to borrow. Here's a video Tina made of herself opening up my package.



I can't wait to see how Tina wears what I sent her - I know she'll make each piece her own.

Everyday Bombshell



I felt very cool in my outfit today. It's not a new outfit, aside from the necklace which I borrowed from Fab Kimberly. But it's one of my least-worn favorites. I know that doesn't make sense. You should wear your favorite clothes as often as possible. But for some reason, this outfit is even more beloved for it's ease and comfort by the simple fact that I just don't wear it often. Go figure.





I don't know about you guys, but I carry a very substantial bag around with me all day at the office. I love it, there are lots of pockets and it has three straps so I can wear it over my shoulder or across the torso. But it's black. Which can be kind of blah. So I've started tying scarves to the handle (certainly not a fashion revolution or anything) and find it to be a versatile way to perk up my black bag.

The Outfit
Purple top- gift from Kiyonna
Black long sleeved tee- Target
Black dress pants- Gap
Silver hoop earrings- Lia Sophia
Multi-color necklace- Fab Kimberly
Purse- Franco Sarto
Scarf on purse- H&M, borrowed from Fab Kimberly

Pack My Suitcase- Curvy Revolution Day 2

Day 2 of the Lane Bryant-sponsored Curvy Revolution brings back to back workshops, an exhibition of vendors with clothes, accessories and services relevant to plus size women, and a roaving fashion show. The daytime activities are all very casual, which means I need an outfit that is laid back but pulled together. Here are the two options I'm debating between.



On the left, we have a gray cotton military-inspired dress from the DKNY collection at Lane Bryant. I'd style it without the leggings shown in the picture. On the right, I have my Z. Cavaricci skinny jeans and a navy Breton-inspired striped tee shirt.

Which look do you prefer? Vote in the comments - and thanks for your help!