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Purchasing the Right Handbag

Fall season is on its way and along with it comes the new styles for the ďBack to SchoolĒ time of year. One of the biggest highlights for me at this time of year is the introduction of all the new handbags and accessories to help spruce up our Fall wardrobe. When shopping around for the perfect bag, I have several things that I must take into account, where I am going, what I need the bag for, and what items I must take with me. All of this is easier said than done most times. I search high and low for an assortment of bags to fit my needs as a SSBBW woman. I have large arms which mean most conventional bags do not fit my arm measurements and I end of carrying the bag as a tote instead of its intended use or I find that the bag is very large and cumbersome. I enjoy designer bags as much as the next person but find that I must really search to find the right one to fit my arm dimensions. Several friends of mine who are also large have just opted for the clutch style bags. I am a person who carries a lot around with me so this style is not an option for me. No matter what your style or need maybe, this season has produced some very attractive and affordable bags that should fit everyone.

Avenue, Lane Bryant, Target and Making It Big all have an excellent collection of Fall handbags that are affordable and stylish. The new trend for bags this season seems to be satchel and tote bags. Patent leather and Crocodile are in also. So visit these stores online and enjoy picking out your new handbag for Fall.

Written by: Lisa Marie Tansey

To All My Pear Shaped Girlfriends!!!

As a pear shaped BBW who is rockiní some serious curves, I have always had a frustrating time finding clothes that are fun AND flattering. It seems to me that the great fashion gods are crazy when they design most BBW wear. Either it is a larger version of some juniorís style that no respectable BBW would be caught dead in...or the other end of the spectrum-old looking. I donít want to be wearing matching Alfred Dunner when I walk into Grandmaís house to visit.

Now I do have to admit...yes, I am hard to please. I just think that if I am paying the obscene amounts of money they charge for plus size career and fashion clothes, then I should be totally happy with what I buy. I only buy an item if it has all of the design requirements I will detail below...and of course makes me feel fantastic! No matter what the size-when you look good, you feel good...and it shows! When I am in a great outfit and feeling beautiful, I can rival any super model.

The key to great plus size style is to try it on first! Never judge a shirt by itís hanger. I have seen tops I love on the display and they end up looking like crap on me. On the other hand, I have seen shirts on the rack I would never think in a million years I would look good in, but am wonderfully surprised and when I do try it on. Be brave, go ahead and try that cute top on! You may be surprised at how much you love it. I canít stress this enough...only buy what you try on and really love. Donít settle! If you donít love it then you wonít be excited about wearing it. Buying clothes that you regret later leads to a closet of expensive clothes and still having nothing to wear.

First requirement for me, the shirt should be A-line. Like all my shapely pear friends out there, I am smaller on top than in my hips and bum. It never seems to fail that I find shirts I adore, but when I try them on in the size I need to fit over my hips, then it is waaaay too big in the shoulders. I have found that A-line shirts are cut with more give through the hips and allow me to buy closer to the size I need through the shoulders. I recently found a really great A-line shirt in a snazzy blue and black print. It is an A-line tunic length that gathered at the bust with a snazzy jewel accent. Gathering at the bust made me look like I had a rack, it was appropriately sized in the shoulders and had enough give at the bottom to accommodate the hips. Love it!

Which brings us to the tricky shirt length/cut area. I like tunic shirts. They tend to run longer and hit lower on my hips. This cut is so much better on me than the shirts that end at the top of the hip and make my hips look more out of proportion. But beware gals!!! Tunic + Empire waist=maternity top look!!!

Any shirt I wear has to have sleeves-usually at least half sleeve. I have seen some plus sized gals that can wear sleeveless (and I am totally jealous!), but alas, I have heavier upper arms and prefer to wear sleeves. I am not talking the gauzy, breezy sleeves that seem to be a plus sized standard (are you listening Lane Bryant?), or the little 1 inch overhang that some tops call sleeves...Iím talking real sleeves. A great way to get to wear some of the cute tops I find that donít have sleeves is to layer the look. I have worn a nice, fitted or stretch shirt in a solid color under a really cute pattern shirt that didnít have sleeves. The key to layering when you are plus size is to make sure the first layer is very fitted through the body. You donít need bulky under layers messing up how the outer shirt hangs. Another great way to layer over a cute sleeveless shirt is a sassy jacket. I have a great lightweight summer blazer I throw on over a really cute sleeveless shirt that I love. This is an especially great option in summer when it seems you canít find a cute shirt with sleeves!

A lot of the tops I buy have a pattern. A fun print can make a boring shirt come to life. Careful consideration is always applied when I choose a printed shirt. Is it too loud? Too much of a good thing? Generally, if I can look at it for more than 1 minute and not get dizzy...then itís a winner. Embrace color and patterns in fashion! It shows the world your great sense of style, that you are confident and fun! The only pattern I never wear is horizontal stripes. I cannot stress this enough ladies! Horizontal stripes are not our friends!!! I donít care how cute the top is...stripes should always be vertical or on the bias!!!

I tend to pair a great print top with a pair of solid dark colored dress pants or a nice skirt. This draws the eyes upward and downplays my hips and bum. When buying any sort of pants, skirts or jeans, the important thing to keep in mind is your body shape. For pears like me, pants that are flared at the bottom or straight cut tend to be better than tapered pants or anything stretchy. By keeping the bottom of the pant wide instead of tapered, it visually offsets my wider hips and allows the eye to go straight down instead of down and in. The key is to try on lots of styles of pants and see what is most flattering on your body shape.

With the season turning over the stores are running great sales right now. So go out and find something pretty for yourself! Donít be afraid to try stores that you would normally not shop. I happened upon a Torrid store one day. Torrid is a sister store to Hot Topic. (Or as I like to call it, Hot Topic for chunky chicks). While most of the stuff in there was way too young for me, I did find a great pair of capri dress pants and some sassy heels. Who would have thought? Have a good time with fashion ladies! Be the big, beautiful women that you are!

Written by: Michelle Stevens

"For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together.
For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad."
~Edwin Way Teale
Labor Day is a glorious holiday because your child will be going back to school the next day. It would have been called Independence Day, but that name was already taken."
~Bill Dodds

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