Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Swimsuit Choices For The Plus Size Woman

The summer season is nearly here and a bathing suit is a hot weather necessity. If you haven't looked at swimsuits in several years because you were disappointed at the options for plus sized women, be prepared for a treat this season!

Plus sized women have a number of bathing suit options that are quite different from traditional swimsuits. Here are a few ideas for nontraditional bathing suits for the plus sized woman.

The Tankini
The tank suit top combined with a bikini bottom is a tankini. You can look it up in the new dictionary. "Tankini" was a new inclusion this year.

This bathing suit is designed for the woman with longer legs. It is easy way to camouflage a body that has slimmer legs and bottom. It is also easy to understand why this suit so popular with plus sized women when you see how the swimsuit fits. The bottom allows coverage, while still having style. The top can be pulled down over the top of the bikini or it can be bunched to allow a small space between the bottom and the tank. The emphasis on the waist can be avoided in this suit.

The tankini has an advantage to women who are dieting, since the top and bikini bottoms are sold separately. One size can be purchased for the top and another size for the bottom of the suit.

The Skirted Tankini
Take a basic tankini and add a small skirt to cover the front of the bikini and you have a skirted tankini. This bathing suit is the perfect nontraditional suit for a woman who wants to emphasize her rear look. Reverse the skirt, and the legs from the front can be featured.

The Skirtini
The skirtini combines the bikini with the tank suit top and an attached skirt. The skirt is usually longer than the attached skirt, so the hips can be covered in full. This is the perfect suit for a woman who wishes to emphasize the lower legs and upper thigh.

Women who wish to feature the bust line will find the skirtini a perfect nontraditional suit. String bikini tops or halters can be worn on the top with the skirt covering the waist and lower hip section.

The Two-toned Skirt Suit
This suit is a modification of a traditional suit, with an important twist. The two-toned suit is really two pieces that can be placed together with a skirt cover. It has options for a light color on either the top or bottom. If you wish to emphasize the top part of the body, select a dark color for the bottom of the suit and a light color on top. Anyone wishing to emphasize the bottom of the body reverse the location of the dark color.

The Blouson
The blouson bathing suit allows great coverage for the woman who wishes to cover more of the bust line and feature her legs. It is also an easy way to balance the top and bottom of the body by adding emphasis to the shoulders with straps and small cap sleeves.

The Sarong Cover Up
The sarong is more traditional to cover up for legs, but the new cuts in sarongs can emphasize one leg while covering the bottom portion of the body. The new sarongs, with leg openings, are cut mid-calf length.

Full sarongs can cover the bust line and open at the waist. Color can be used to draw the eye to the top or bottom of the body, depending on the design and color balance. A solid color draws the eye to other designs. Elaborate patterns draw the eye to the design.

A full length sarong with a pattern on top and a solid color on the bottom emphasizes the top of the body. A sarong with a patterned fabric on the bottom and a dark solid color on the top will draw the eye to the bottom of the garment.

Top with Bra Insert
Another variation of a traditional swimsuit with a twist, the top with bra insert is placed into such nontraditional swimsuit options as the halter and bikini top. The bra insert allows lift and structure that a simple suit cannot.

Summer is a time for swimming and water sports. Plus-sized women now have nontraditional choice in bathing suits that open wardrobe choices to new levels.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

How To Look Thin In Photos!

It's spring! There's Prom Graduation Weddings etc. and if you're like us, the results of your swimsuit diet aren't quite showing yet. If you've got any graduations or weddings coming up in the warmer months ahead, you're likely to get your picture taken. If the thought of a photographer makes you want to run, relax: We've found a few tips -- online, in books, from experts -- on looking thinner in pictures.

1. Use flashes in sunlight. It's all about the lighting. Flashes are good because they override the shadows that overhead sunlight might cast on your face, making for pronounced under-eye and chin shadows.

2. Lean in towards the camera. Leaning slightly towards the camera is helpful: "Think of having a long neck like a gazelle, and tilt your chin down just a bit to avoid the appearance of a double chin."

3. Stand like a ballerina. No, we're not kidding. While it stops short of recommending you wear a tutu, you need to pose like a ballet dancer: "The most flattering (read slimming) pose: Face front and cross one leg in front of the other, then turn your body at a 45-degree angle away from the camera and turn head and shoulders toward the camera. Place feet in ballet third position (one foot angled in front of the other)."

4. Put your hands on your hips. Your shoulders might look less rounded this way.

5. Get a shot from below, as if you were on the runway. In Camilla Morton's new advice book for women, 'How to Walk in High Heels,' (which is in another post) model Giselle Bundchen (pictured) is interviewed about how to look good, both in front of and away from the camera. For pictures, the runway-veteran agrees that lighting is crucial, but she adds a few tips on angles and poses: "For long legs, point one leg into the center of the frame and get the photographer to shoot looking up your body," says Bundchen. We just hope it's not up your nose, Giselle!

6. Get a shot from above. The best way to hide that double chin is to have someone shoot your face from a few inches above your head. Just find someone who's taller than you. Either you'll look up at them, which makes double chins disappear, or the area below your chin will be in shadow, and won't show up in the picture at all. For a group picture where you want everyone to look good, stand on a chair and have everyone look up at you: We've been using this technique at parties for years. It works!

7. Forget about looking thin and just relax. Not all experts agree with the stand-up-straight, pose-like-a-movie-star advice. We spoke to Edward Keating, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning photographer for the 'New York Times,' who was the principal photographer for the newspaper's 'Vows' column for seven years. He says that the best thing a subject can do to look good in photographs is to be relaxed and happy. "Look at the photographer, not at the camera," says Keating. "If they're connected with me, they're not thinking about the camera and the lens."

Good Luck and remember it's all about attitude "If you feel Beautiful you will look Beautiful!"

How To Walk in High Heels

Though many of us love high heels, others don't wear them very often. Some are intimidated by high heels, while others have just never had the occasion to wear high heels.Either way, when a "high heel occasion" rears its ugly head, many will stay home with their trusted friend, the sneaker. If fear is keeping you out of the high heels you covet, set your phobias aside! Walking in high heels is not that difficult, and with a bit of practice, you'll stepping out in high heels in no time.

Here's How:
First practice just standing in high heels.
In front of a full length mirror, stand for a while, then turn slightly to each side. Not only will you be able to check your posture and profile, but the act of merely standing in high heels will help remove some of your apprehension, and let you get accustomed to the added height of the heel.

Take a few steps in your high heels. If possible, do this at first on a hard floor (not too slick), or in a room with low carpeting, as really thick or padded carpeting can throw off your balance.

As you walk in high heels, remember to keep your legs straight and as close together as possible. With each step, point your feet as straight in front of you as you can. Start off with slow, determined steps at first, being extra conscientious of each step. As you build confidence and experience walking in high heels, it will become much more natural.

Continue walking back and forth across the room, turning different directions, and stopping without wobbling on your high heels. Once you're comfortable with this, try the same thing on different floor surfaces, and remember to start off slowly with each one.

When it comes to actually walking comfortably, practice, practice, practice. If you haven't ever worn high heels, or you are already comfortable in high heels, this sounds silly. But trust me, the first time you put them on, you'll see what I mean. Wearing high heels is a totally different walking experience, and if you take it for granted, you'll not only end up with sore feet, but possibly an injury. And, if you have a bad experience first time out, you'll be doomed to flats forever.

As you grow more confident in your abilities to walk, turn, and do all the other things you might need to do in high heels, you can move up to the height of shoe you'll be wearing on the day or night of your event - but remember to start slowly with each bit of added height. Jumping from two inch heels to four inch heels probably will not be quite as disorienting as your first step in any high heels, but it still will require patience and practice.

When wearing high heels on a staircase, always use the rail if it is available, or at least be close enough to a rail that you can reach it if you need to. When climbing steps, your entire shoe heel and sole should land firmly at once on each step.

If you know you'll be slow dancing in your high heels, you should practice side-to-side stepping, as well as turning slowing in your high heels before actually hitting the dance floor.

If high heels are not your thing, or if this is the first time you'll be walking a lot in high heels, you may want to consider "working your way up" to the heel height you'd like to be wearing. Start with a lower heel than the high heels you'll be wearing on the day or evening of the event, and practice walking in them first, using the above steps as you work your way up through to higher heels.

Consider starting out with a chunkier high heel, as opposed to a stiletto. If the high heels you'll eventually be walking in have a thinner heel, you can at least adjust first to the "added height" element before adding balance to the equation.

If possible try to limit the number of obstacles in the first high heels you'll be wearing - for example, a pair of high heels with rounded toes will probably be more comfortable than pointy-toed shoes, and you can concentrate more on walking gracefully in high heels if your toes aren't being pinched together.

Try at first to avoid backless, or extremely flimsy high heels. Opting for a pump, or a sandal with an ankle strap will add support for your ankles, and will definitely help in your attempt to walk in high heels.

Fast dancing in high heels can be extremely dangerous, and should be avoided. But don't think it's okay to simply throw off your shoes and head barefoot onto the dance floor. This can be equally or more dangerous if you were to step on broken glass, or have someone else's spiked heel come down squarely on the top of your foot. If you have a chance to remove high heels before dancing, do! When clubbing, opt for a lower heeled shoe that you can dance safely in - or go to the club, and don't dance.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Take this advice. Before you buy a sports bra, do 2 things.

Go For Fit!

Take this advice. Before you buy a sports bra, do two things.

First, consider the size you are wearing now and ask yourself a few questions...

Do the shoulder straps dig in or does the bra ride up your back? If so, the band (number) size is probably too big or you're wearing the shoulder straps too tight. It's the band, not the shoulder straps, that will provide the most restriction against vertical movement.

Is there bulging out of the cups? If so, the cup (letter) size is too small. Is there wrinkling on the cup? If so, the cup is probably too big.

Use the answers to these questions to help you figure out if you are wearing the right size for that style. If the bra is old (over 6 months) and you've machine handled the garment, chances are it's dead. In this case, you may just need a new garment, not a new size.

The second thing you can do to go for the right fit is to take your measurements and compare your findings to your current size. See how to Get Measured below.

Up to Top

Get Measured!

Did you know that more than 70% of women don't really know their measurements? That makes it tough to know which size is best. So, checking your measurements is one thing you can do to help get the right size.

To get measured, you'll need a tape measure and you may want to use a mirror. Don't worry. You can always print this page and bring it home.

Warning. These instructions are generalized. You'll probably end up rounding some numbers, which means this is not an exact science. So, take care to use your common sense when figuring out your results.

If you have doubts or questions, just contact me at and I'll help you out.

1. Band Size
While standing straight and wearing a regular bra, wrap the tape measure around your chest, ABOVE the bust. Make sure the tape is straight all the way around you. Pull the tape until it is taut but not restrictive or pinching.

Now, round the measurement to the nearest even number. That's your band size or rib cage measurement.

Band Size Illustration

2. Cup Size
While still standing and wearing a regular bra, wrap the tape measure around the FULLEST part of your bust. Again, pull the tape until it is taut but not pinching or digging into your bust.

Make sure the tape is straight and around the fullest part of your bust. My feeling is if you are in between whole numbers for this measurement, round to the nearest whole number. If you're directly in between two whole numbers, round to the next largest whole number.

Cup Size Illustration

Now, subtract your even-numbered band size (step #1) from the whole-numbered measurement in step #2 and convert the difference to your cup size according to the chart below.

Difference 1" 2" 3" 4" 5" 6" 7" 8" 9"
Cup size A B C D DD E F FF G

Taking your measurements so you can find the right size and using our Sports Bra Guide to get the best style are two things that you should do to see what's the right choice FOR YOU. Here's how you can protect your investment after making these important decisions.

For more info on shopping by size, click here.

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Protect Your Investment

Let's face it - you need the right sports bra for you to comfortably stay in motion. Consider this essential garment to be an investment in your health and fitness. So, after you've found the right sports bra, your focus should be on how to make the most of your investment.

The functional life of a sports bra can be lengthened depending on how the bra is treated. We tested all of our bras in the washing machine and dryer and found just about every one of our styles can take the beating. But, there is a way to protect your investment.

Hand Wash and Line Dry!

After continuous machine and hand washings, our results showed the average hand washed/line dried bra had an extended functional life.

Machine Wash/Dry

Average garment lasted about 5-6 months
Hand Wash/Hang Dry

Average garment lasted about 9-10 months

Washing machine cycles can be too rough. If you choose to use machines, you can protect your bra by using the dryer on the cool air setting.

These are some signs that your sports bra is at or near the end of its functional life:

  • Restriction against Vertical Movement (RVM) decreases considerably
  • Synthetic fabrics (like CoolMax polyester) are starting to pill
  • Fit seems to be too loose or too big while your measurements have not changed

Sunday, March 18, 2007

How to Shop Online for Plus Size Formal Occasion Dresses

Special Occasion Dress Shopping Has Never Been Easier for the Plus Size Woman

It could be a known fact that more than 66% of women in the USA today wear a size 12 or larger. It is terribly frustrating to have an idea of what you would like to wear to that office or holiday function, or any special occasion for the matter, and not be able to find the dress that you truly want in the local stores or boutiques. When you do set your eyes on that special dress, you cannot find your size as all the dresses are either a size 6, 8, or 10 and you are definitely NOT one of those.

Well, have you ever thought about the ease and convenience of online shopping? Certainly, you have bought gift baskets or a set of dishes on the internet but a formal occasion dress? That must be truly beyond your comprehension and a new frontier for you but stress no longer, as you can successfully purchase a plus size formal gown online.

These are the rules:

1. Have an idea about fabrics, their textures, and quality. Every good clothing website will state the type of fabric used on the description summary of the dress. Special occasion dresses are usually made of synthetic fabrics nowadays, due to lower costs and their ability to be wrinkle-free. Visit stores and boutiques in your area and very soon, you will be a fabric expert!

2. Also visit physical stores to see what colors and styles fit your shape and figure and have an idea what you would like or not like on you. Are the styles on the racks too dowdy or are they just plain revealing? Are the colors too loud and bold or are they just plain boring? You will choose the style and color basing on what is socially acceptable for that special event and what will look great on you.

3. Basing on previous shopping experiences and yes, mistakes of the past, you will also have a clear idea of what is becoming on you and to you.

4. Buy or borrow a tape measure (the vinyl or cloth type), if you do not have one already. This is the best tool to obtain your body measurements accurately. Measure over your undergarments, your chest, waist, and hips. Place the tape measure snugly and firmly over your body and not too tightly. Write these numbers down in inches.

5. Now for the best shopping online experience ever, ensure that you select a dress size basing on these body measurements of yours. Remember that every manufacturer size their dresses differently, especially special occasion dresses. There is no standard American size chart for women's clothing. What is normally a size 16 to you, is probably not the same when it comes to formal wear.

6. When selecting a size, please choose the size that corresponds to your widest body part, if your body measurements are not ideally proportionate. Social occasion dresses are not everyday clothing and are highly tailored and constructed. You may have to follow the rule-"easier to take it in, than to let it out".

7. Visit the various online boutiques out there. If you do not have a website name in mind, do a "search" in Yahoo!, Google, MSN, or AOL for "special occasion dresses", "formal dresses", or "evening gowns", to give you a few examples. All the specialty stores selling these dresses will be in the search results. It is now up to you to visit them and see what they have to offer. Online stores usually have great prices and selections.

8. Remember to allow ample time between the time you shop and the special event because oftentimes, plus size social occasion dresses are special ordered and require a waiting period.

9. If you follow the above rules, your online shopping experience for your plus size formal occasion dress, will be a pleasant one and you will definitely do it again the next time around. Happy Shopping!