Friday, November 16, 2007

BUXOM Loves: Torrid

Phew..! It has certainly been a while since we've talked, hasn't it? Life, a new job, the joys of home-updating and all those little things have diverted me, lately. But never fear, my dearest Buxom Broads! I am back and in full swing with some fabulous new fashion goodness for you.

I have seen heaven. Torrid be thy name.

Ok, seriously... I didn't think I would EVER mutter that phrase. I used to work for Hot Topic back in the day (actually, I managed there when Torrid was created), which made me vehemently prejudice against Torrid. Because, to be quite honest, when it was first created it seemed to be nothing more than Hot Topic for Big Girls. And not in a good way. The clothing was shapeless and it looked like they took the latest Morbid Threads pieces, added some more fabric to them and completely robbed them of shape.

Not so now, my dearies.

This past weekend, I went to the Owings Mills mall for some retail therapy and visited my tried-and-true haunts. I found some really cute Ug Boots at Payless, a couple of great babydoll sweater dresses (an unbelievably feminine, frisky and flattering pair on curvy girls... just make sure you stick to a good empire waist and not a boring column-esque job)... life was looking up for me.

Then, I arrived at Torrid.

For a minute there, I almost kept walking. But then I gazed inside and saw that Torrid was NOT the store I used to know. Instead of being just another Hot Topic, I found an emporium of hot, saucy and great fitting clothes. OMG it's like heaven. They had every form of look I love- city/urban sass, Punk/Club clothes, Business attire, Coctail wear. And though a lot of the clothes didn't look extra flashy on the rack, they looked dynamite on!

First I tried on a pair of black business pants, a gray under shirt and a short vest (the Annie Hall/Vest look is SO in right now). Unlike other stores that make my size, I found these pants DIDN'T show off my buttcrack every time I sat. They actually accentuated my awesome booty and didn't creep down on the equator when I sat. Score! Plus, the vest was flattering and ever-so-cute. I'm sold on the whole ensemble.

Then, I tried on a lovely pleated skirt. NOTE!!! Pleated skirts in flowing material look DYNAMITE on anyone. They're feminine and airy, they do double duty as a dressy
separate and a flirty on-the-town piece AND they're a classic. If you are in need one sophisticated black skirt, GO and buy this one RIGHT NOW. It may be a bit pricey at $50, but it'll last you for years to come and goes with just about anything. Wear it with kitten heels and you're vintage-fabulous. Pair it with doc martens and you're rockin' the Ally Sheedy/Breakfast Club chic. You can't lose!

But... oh man. The most AMAZING thing there were the jeans.

Ladies... three words. Apple-Bottom-Jeans.

Created by Nelly, these jeans are simply made for women. They're not your Mossimo, totally-not-constructed-for-ANYONE-who-has-an-ass pants. No, these little jems are so comfortable, so cute and so fun. I will raise my hand and swear to you right now
that I have NEVER loved a pair of jeans like I love these jeans. I have struggled for years with the curse that is Ultra Low Rise pants (eek!) and their counterpart and just as deadly nemesis, Ultra-High-Granny-Waist Jeans. I have gone through all sorts of discomfort and settled for less-than-great fitting jeans just to have a few pairs to my name. But oh man, no more. NOW- one warning. You pay for quality here. They are a hefty $70 a pair. And before you "Oh HELL NO!" me, listen... they're worth it. Seriously. Go into the store, try them on. If you hate them, let me know. But I have a feeling you'll be a convert too... just go for it!

Now, that brings me to the downside. You pay more. No way around it, Torrid is expensive. Shirts there (even tank tops) start around $20 and go on up to $100 for a fancy hoodie. Pants and skirts are around the $50+ arena, with dresses being around $60. However, the clothing is made well and you pay for fit.

But, my dear readers... I wouldn't just leave you out there, a poor little lamb amongst the wolves of full price clothing... oh no! Psst... (leans in) check the site for sales. I happened upon their site a few days back and I got a pair of Apple Bottom Jeans for $35 on sale. SAME pair I found in the store, if I might be so boastful. The trick with Torrid is to go to the store, try stuff on THEN check the site. You won't always stumble on a sale, but sometimes you get lucky. I would highly suggest joining their mailing list. They gave me a head's up when they were doing the 1/2 off Clearance Sale and I cleaned up. Shirts went down to a range of $7-$20, pants dropped to $20-$40 and even those crazy hoodies were "only" about $50 (though I would argue that one really damned good hoodie can really kick up your wardrobe).

As far as environment goes, the staff was awesome (really well dressed ladies of all sizes! God I hate going into plus size stores and not seeing a single plus size employee) and their dressing rooms made me feel like a queen! Great lighting, a lovely black chaise for me to sit on, a large mirror and personal attention (they actually write your name on a board outside your dressing room so they can personally help you select more sizes or looks... BRAVO)! I couldn't ask for more, really. Well, actually... maybe free chocolate or beer.

But anyways!

So, for those of you who haven't done it, get out to Torrid and have fun playing around in all there awesome clothes. Visit their website Torrid dot com for a peek at more of their great looks.

For those of you that have gone, leave your feedback. Think I'm totally nuts? All opinions are welcome!

Until next time (hopefully not another three months!)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Buxom Reader Review: The Avenue

The Avenue in Towson a review by Mel

This afternoon I was shopping outside my usual range - over near Towson. I happened to see "The Avenue" - offering plus sizes 14 & up, and giant signs advertising 70% sales. It's always fun, as a big curvy girl, to find another store that caters to my shape. The sales ladies were over-the-top welcoming and happy. This particular store - off Guilford Ave - was impressively large and well stocked. They have a lot of trendy things - bright oranges, reds, turquoise and deep blues, and many patterns. You can find the more classic pieces, but you'll have to browse through.

Inside the store, I didn't actually find anything 70% off except busy dangly earrings, busy necklaces, and socks. But end-of-summer clothing at 50 to 60% off, yes!

After browsing through the sale racks, and considering what I need in my closet, I selected 3 pair of capri pants, a basic white tee shirt, a little black short sweater with cap sleeves, made to be open over a blouse, with little ties at the waist...
a green blouse, and a plain white sleeveless top. Capris at the end of summer? Why, yes! Unlike my lovely statuesque tall friends, I have quite short legs. Capri pants hit my just a couple inches above the ankles, rather than sexily below the knee. Maybe I'd hem them, maybe I'll just deal - we'll see.

Now, back in reality land, I'm solidly a size 18. Into the dressing room, I took 18s and 20s. WOAH. The 20 zipped, buttoned, and had I not held the waist band, would have been around my ankles. The 18s were also ridiculous on me - back to the racks for 16s in pants, and 14s in shirts.

The sales ladies tried to throw me the pitch that I'm a size smaller than I thought. No no - no no.

I have not changed - The Avenue is changing the numbers to appeal to women who want to believe they're smaller than they are. To me, it's a serious irritant to spend my time digging through racks of clothing to try on things that I expect to have fit me - only to find that they're labeled in a way that has nothing to do with reality.

That's rant point #1. If you go to the Avenue, expect to try on things in a size or two smaller than you normally wear.

Rant point #2: The pricing system. Pants were mainly in the $24, $39 dollar range, with various end of summer discounts down to $14.95 or $19.99, according to signs on racks. However, this wasn't indicated on tags in any way, and it's hard to rely on things being racked correctly when you're gauging how much you want to spend. And, once you get into the dressing room, tracking what came from which rack - challenging!

Now, like Lane Bryant, The Avenue would like you to open a credit line with them. As a lure, they offer an instant coupon of 30% off on your most expensive item, and an additional little pack of coupons. $5 off a bra, $10 off a pair of jeans, a free pair of pantyhose, free body lotion or perfume - various "perks." How about simply offering me some straightforward prices?

In the end, I spent almost exactly $40 and got 2 pair of pants, the white tee, and the black sweater. I had absolutely no way of anticipating what my total would be. The sales ladies were exceedling chummy - how the Avenue will be my favorite store from now on, they'll be seeing me often they hope, how their store caters to very plus-size women with curves - it was just too much for me.

I'm curious to know what other shoppers have thought of The Avenue.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Shopping Spree: H&M and Hot Topic

Before I launch into my review, I'd like to share some shopping theory with you that will, hopefully, make your shopping much more productive and exciting.

I call it, the Holes Approach to Fashion Brilliance. The theory behind the HAFB is that instead of searching around wildly for clothes and buying items you'll regret later, you should look at your wardrobe like a grocery list.

Step 1: Analysis- What do you own the most of? What do you need? Do you own a Little Black Dress *you should!!*? Do you own sold pants in grey, black and an earth tone (usually brown)? Do you own both a relaxed pair of jeans AND a dressy, sophisticated pair (no holes, distressed elements or patches)? Do you have camis and tanks and layering pieces? Do you have bold "wow" pieces that jump out and draw attention to your favorite parts? Skirts? Wraps? Cute Jackets? Kitten heels and sassy sneaks?

Step 2: Identify the "holes" in your wardrobe. If you're missing any of the elements above, jot them down! Is your closet mostly solids, or patterns? You need a balance of both!

For example, Here's my List:

*patterned shirts/camis
*lacey/girlie camis
*skirts (brown/neautral and patterned)
*black kitten heels
*button down shirts
*belts, big ones!

Step 3: Carry your list in your purse and keep a keen eye out for your needed pieces and knock em out!


Ok,lesson over!

I recently took a trip to my local shopping mall for a bit of cathartic shopping. My main target was H&M's mega sale, which promised gigantic savings off of their clearnace items *and Madonna's current line had caught my eye*, though I found myself disappointed with their offerings. H&M, what are you THINKING???!! First off, their colors are garish and everything looks like it was stripped off of a 1970s couch and modeled after maternity clothes. The whole empire-waist-babydoll-dress thing is ridiculous! The cuts are not only unflattering to curvalicious femmes, but just plain awful on female bodies in general. And with the whole leggings craze going on, I keep having nightmare flashbacks to the mid 90s. I hate to say this, as I am a long-time lover of H&M, but they really need to get their act together!!

I did find two items that were well worth it and fit the holes in my wardrobe- a cute patterened T shirt and a black and pink, totally punk rock Space Invaders-esque hoodie *sadly, H&M has no pictures online...*

HOWEVER I struck gold at Hot Topic and their clearance sale. For fifty bucks I walked away with two sexy button-down shirts (one with a great pin-stripe pattern, the other is very pin-up like with a sweet screeching eagle on the back), two big stretchy belts (one in houndstooth, one in hot pink/black lace), a funky Virgin Mary necklace and a neat black ring belt. And I could of bought more, but I restricted myself to fifty bucks. Their half-off clearance sale is NOT to be missed and is still going on, as far as I know, so get out there! This is a chance to get some wild and crazy pieces to add to your wardrobe at a great price (and a little secret... throwing in one wild accessory can really perk up your work get-up and keep you feeling young, hot and sassy).

Friday, June 22, 2007

BUXOMRant: Untameable!

Ok, here it goes. I will be the first to admit that I'm a bit of a Curvalicious Phenomenon... I'm a size 14/16, which throws me in the "Plus Size" (cringes at that term, it's so close to SuperSized) arena, but I'm also 5'10". This means that most "Plus Sized" clothing doesn't fit me correctly and I feel like I have to straddle both worlds- praying that I'll fit into some of the higher sized 14/15 clothes at department stores and also venturing into the Layne Bryants of the world.

I'm not a fan of Layne Braynt- I'll just come out and say it. Why? Well, because I feel like their aim is to cover us up. Every time I go into their store or surf their site, I see very matronly cut shirts that hide curvalicious cleavage and pants that don't hug the tushy like they should. Who care if it gives you a little stomach pooch, a little muffin top? Muffin tops RULE. Say it with me now, "MUFFIN TOPS RULE!" They're sexy little bits of chub and shouldn't be demonized, at least not when they occur naturally (when I see women wearing pants 4 sizes too small for them, that's another thing).

So, while checking Layne Bryant in my daily fashion exploration, I came across one of their new items and had instant chills. Not the good kind of chills, the "OH DEAR SWEET GOD STOP" chills. They're selling Tummy Tamer Jeans, which promise to give you "a sexier, sleeker figure" (see image, left). Why! Why isn't it sexy for BUXOM Broads to just be their curvy, sweet selves? How isn't chub sexy? Really?!

I'll be honest here, I think women of all body types are hot. I don't just love curvy chicks- I think we women really got the good end of the deal when we were created, because, well... I mean LOOK at us! We get to be hot, feminine, strong, sturdy, athletic, caring, aggressive, heroic... you name it, that's us. Men are awesome too, but even most men agree that, as far as bodies go, women really won that battle. I feel lucky every day to be a woman, plain and simple.

Sigh. Look, I'm not going all soap-box on girdles. I personally feel like they should be abolished- stop holding us in! Let us fly free and be beautiful- whether we're slight and svelte or big and sassy! But I know that girdles can give a good emotional pick-me-up on our down days and make us feel better. So, if you're a girdle lover, that's all good.

I just don't like how Layne Bryant, a clothing company that should be reveling in the awesomeness of Curvalicious women, keeps offering fashions that cover-up, constrict and minimize those curves. Making a big deal about jeans that minimize our flesh and hold us in just seems to contradict the idea that they think curvy gals are sexy, beautiful and just as entitled to good fashion as everyone else.

I would love it if Layne Bryant and other mass clothiers like them would stop offering up fashion that hides and minimizes the curvy physique. How about actually tailoring jeas so we don't need the girdle? How about constructing jeans that fit our tushies and stay up?! What about NOT selling us ULTRA LOW RIDING PANTS that are made for girls with no bums? How about dresses that show our sexy curves, not cover us up in moo moos!!

Now I'm not saying all of their clothing is bad. There are some HELLA cute things there and I buy them up like hotcakes, when I get up the courage to venture in...

I just wish they'd stop hocking this crap my way. I like my big ol' luscious hips and tummy, thank you!


Thursday, June 21, 2007

BUXOM Loves: Fashion

Whew! It's not even 9am my time and already I have two amazing fashion spots to share. I think that my whines last night of, "Dear God, it's so hard to find hot, cute clothes in my size that don't try to cover me up or make me look like a matronly cow. Please help!" were answered. So, without further ado, here's the goods!

Bitten | by Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker may just be my new heroine. With her new clothing line, Bitten, SJP has tackled two major problems in one: good fashion that is a) affordable & b) comes in sizes bigger than 14/15. My perusal of Bitten this morning made me just want to kiss her (come n get it SJP! Ok, maybe not... Ok, maybe). The styles offered are fresh, young, exciting, sexy and meow! I couldn't stop clicking on the preview fashions and had to pick my jaw up off the floor at the prices- a cute shirt for eight bucks?? Sailor pants for under twenty??!! And that's not the best part- sizes range from 2-22 AND she actually has a few plus size models showing off the goods. However, and this is my only criticism, it's only like two women and the rest are pretty model-esque... HOWEVER we will not look an awesome step forward-horse in the mouth.

Thanks to Lorien for passing this on to me (she also has found/purchased some of the line and is very happy with the results)!

Hips and Curves

Lingerie shopping drives me nuts. Usually this is because I go to one of the big department stores in my area and everything is designed for less-endowed women. Even if I do happen to desire a sexy little night dress and find it in my size, the chest usually doesn't offer enough room for my tatas and ends up making them look like lumpy, satin covered sacks. Looking in the mirror and seeing myself in this state instantly triggers a much sore rant- how the fashion industry doesn't think bigger women are sexy and, therefore, doesn't make sensual apparel that fits and compliments us. OR if it does make lingerie that is supportive and tailored to our curves, it's matronly, stuffy and usually in beige.

So, you can imagine my extreme happiness this morning when Anna sent me the link for Hips and Curves. Surfing around it, I not only found a ton of affordable and really sexy items (the diva in me immediately checked out their corsets/bustiers), but the models alone made me want to jump up and do an 80s "YES!!" fist in the air. It's so refreshing to see Curvalicious lingerie models who aren't hiding their bodies or being bashful/sterile looking. Looking at these awesome, vampy chicks is inspiring and their fashions are so sassy!

Thanks to Anna for passing along this awesome fashion site!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A good point

My dear friend Anna just posed a great question to me via gChat... here's the cut n paste:

Anna: just out of curiosity, why did you make it a blogger blog, and not an lj community where others could contribute?

Me: I [started this blog] because I feel like it's important to have an actual blog in online magazine format to give weight to the issue. My thing is, there are SO many skinny girl beauty blogs- that show me images of toothpicks wearing dolce and gabanna and I'm tired of that being the only voice.
I want something with authority and honesty that isn't infiltrated and tainted by marketing dollars and littered with google adsense crap about diet pills.

I know this blog is REALLY new and all and trust me, I don't have a big head about it. But I have been thinking of starting this up for years now and finally got so jazzed up over a recent shopping trip that I just felt like it was time. I LOVE the idea of an LJ Community and an open forum. Miss Anna, when you start it up, I will make sure to post about it! But I want this blog to have gravitas and I think this really is the best medium.

(Let me assert one thing- I am not coming down on skinny gals with that quip about other fasion blogs, but stating a fact. Most fashion blogs portray a version of skinny that puts my petite figured friends on edge and doesn't do anything for the general well-being of women's self-esteem. My lovely smaller sisters, I am not addressing you. I know you share just as many issues as we curvy gals do and have to deal with the same fashion industry that makes us ashamed of stretch-marks, wrinkles, cellulite and naturally hot imperfections.)

With that said....

BUXOM wants you!

Have a good idea for an article? Is there a fashion or beauty issue you'd like to have tackled? Do you want to write an article for BUXOM? Wanna be a model/fashion outing fashionista?

If so, feel free to contact me: missbeezers AT gmail DOT com. I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks to all of you who have started reading BUXOM and sending praise! I can only hope that it gets better and better with more input and fresh ideas, so keep em comin!

and with that, I leave you with an awesome fashion moment of zen...

Beth Ditto style maevyn and hotty.

-Curvy Wishes and Lipgloss Kisses (ooh I just sounded so Toya!)


Mika - Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)

Ok Ok... I just HAD to. Because, well, even though this song is a bit silly, I LOVE the message.

PS- those girls are MUCHO HOT!!!