Bevin's Blog I'm blogging the relentless pursuit of my joy

2013-02-12

FAT SEX WEEK: My Favorite Places to Buy Plus Size Lingerie

After the success of GAY SEX WEEK on my blog in October 2011, I decided to produce FAT SEX WEEK to celebrate sex for all bodies. This is especially inspired to counteract all of the media about sex around Valentine’s Day that’s all heteronormative/couplehood-oriented/body hegemonic. It’s a week of body liberation and sex and it’s going to be really fun! Check out all of the FAT SEX WEEK magic!

(All the photos in this post are Safe For Work as long as fat girls in lingerie are safe for your work. Fair warning.)

Probably one of the questions I am asked most often by people I don’t know very well, other than legal advice, is about plus size lingerie shopping. I suppose it’s a compliment to my personal shopping prowess and exceptional cleavage enhancement techniques. It’s true, I ADORE lingerie. I wear loungerie to hang out in the house in and to sleep in, I wear fancy lingerie in the bedroom as well as on stage femmeceeing, I often wear vintage lingerie as dresses and shirts. I have the equivalent of a full closet of lingerie. That’s not hyperbole. I believe lingerie is for all times and not just special occasions. It’s like make-up for the bedroom.

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Here’s me in 2008 wearing two pieces of vintage lingerie layered over one another. Vintage lingerie is actually really warm.

I thought for FAT SEX WEEK I would do a round-up of the places that I really like (this list is by no means exhaustive, I could probably do four blog entries about lingerie). I also include a quickie product review of the Milana Bra by Genie!

Torrid is one of my favorite places. They don’t nail it every season, but I usually cruise Torrid’s clearance racks at least once a year and find a couple of gems. I love anything they sell that is called “chemise” and involves a microfiber or nylon/spandex blend, lace panel and/or underwire bust. I have a couple of cute chemises that are extremely comfortable and have lasted years.

Torrid sells online as well as in stores, and you can ask them to hold something in store for you to run and pick up if you’re into going to the mall.

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This piece would be in my wardrobe if I had extra cash right now.

Cacique (the Lane Bryant brand) has been a favorite of mine for years. I worked there in the early aughts and their Plunge bra changed my gender. I still wear them pretty much every day. I like getting their lingerie second-hand via ebay or resale sites because the lingerie (not bras, but lingerie) can be laundered fresh enough like new. If you’re buying directly from Cacique, I suggest shopping near Christmas or Valentine’s day, that’s when the pickings are best, in my opinion. Lots of reds and pinks. Post V-Day clearance is best, honestly. And if you can combine clearance pricing and time it with LB gift check time (the “spend $75 get $25 off” deal) then you just win all over.

Pro tip: wear Cacique pieces as sexy tops out in the world. If you’re down with maximal cleavage it’s a hot look!

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The split-side satin chemise is available now. Super hot and shiny!

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The heart apron babydoll! OMG! So cute!

Size Queen Clothing out of Portland is also a favorite stop for intimates. If I was going to get a super custom made piece I would tap Bertha to design and put it together for me. She’s a GENIUS at spandex and fat bodies, and her pieces are exquisite. All of my Size Queen clothing pieces are treasures.

You can cruise her intimates (“tease wear”) on her website, but honestly, she’s so great to work with I would just chat her up with your vision and go from there. My friend Wyatt Riot got an amazing wrestler costume with a heart cut out for his “chubby” tattoo from Bertha. He wore it to Rebel Cupcake, it was amazing.

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Sadly the punching booth sign covers up the heart but you get the idea of the wrestler outfit. A wrestler onesie is a really great example of genderqueer lingerie!

Big Gals Lingerie is a dangerous place to shop (like, don’t shop there at work) for fat femmes who like other fat femmes. Their product photos are beyond sexy. It’s distracting. But, they go from size 1X-12X. I’ve never bought directly from them but know folks who have and have had great experiences both with “off the rack” pieces and custom made pieces. I’ve tried on their clubwear and lingerie when it came into my old workplace, Re/Dress, and I found the pieces to be good value for the money. They have tons of costumes and various other pieces.

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This pink sequin bustier is only $32!

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If you have a loved one who is recovering from illness or surgery, this nurse costume (up to size 12X) is a great outfit to surprise them with.

In terms of garter belts, I think the best you can get is something vintage style with metal clasps. The plastic ones have broken on me and the garter wearing femmes I know so many times! The metal kind are great because usually if something happens to them they are easy to swap out, but I’ve never known someone who broke the metal kind. There is nothing worse than walking around with a broken garter! Invest in a good piece!

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Rago is my favorite garter belt brand. I have a standard 6 strap belt in black and a full girdle style in white. This version goes from Small to 8X and comes in white, black and beige.

If you want to get some stockings to go with those garters, I buy my costume thigh highs from 3wishes.com. They have a whole section of plus size stockings. I buy the lace top stay up thigh high fishnets, which grab onto the fat at the top of your thigh and stay up that way. I also have their cuban heeled stockings and like them. I once got the black lace top stockings by accident and the sizing was very small on those, so look out for that.

I was given a piece of lingerie to review for my FAT SEX WEEK write-up by the folks at Milana Bra by Genie. It’s basically the same thing as the Genie bra, only with a lace panel in front for “modesty.” I’m the same blogger who earlier in this post suggested you wear lingerie as outerwear so I’m not going to ever buy lingerie for modesty. If that’s your thing, I’m totally cool with it. Despite its marketing towards modesty, there is an incredible amount of awesome in this piece!

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It’s the perfect genderqueer summertime outerwear club piece! I think if you paired it with a pair of vintage 80s dance pants or harem pants and some cool necklaces or a blazer it would be totally amazing. I actually really want to get Jessie Dress in one of these.

I asked for the 3X to try out and I am typically a 3X according to their size chart but it was way too small for me. It’s very boob minimizing, too, if that is your wish. It fit like a sportsbra. I would say go a size up from where they posit you on the size chart. It goes from small to 3X.

Like I said, I have a million more resources for lingerie looks, and hopefully this first helping gave you some places to start! Stay tuned tomorrow for the next installment of FAT SEX WEEK!

2013-02-11

FAT SEX WEEK: Courtney Trouble’s New Porn “Lesbian Curves”

After the success of GAY SEX WEEK on my blog in October 2011, I decided to produce FAT SEX WEEK to celebrate sex for all bodies. This is especially inspired to counteract all of the media about sex around Valentine’s Day that’s all heteronormative/couplehood-oriented/body hegemonic. It’s a week of body liberation and sex and it’s going to be really fun! Check out all of the FAT SEX WEEK magic!

(All the photos in this post are Safe For Work as long as fat girls in lingerie are safe for your work. Fair warning.)

The best thing in the world to launch FAT SEX WEEK here at QueerFatFemme.com is a review of a totally QUEER FAT FEMME ON FEMME porn! Lesbian Curves was just released by that bombshell Courtney Trouble from her indie body positive porn production company TROUBLEfilms.

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This is hot babe Courtney Trouble wearing an outfit of lingerie I wrote in my porn review notes “Need to find those underwear and buy them.” Femme reviewer realness.

I have long admired and appreciated Courtney Trouble’s porn femmepire. She says in her blog, “My audience may be smaller than most, but knowing that my art is on track with a larger scheme of the adult industry makes me feel like I’m working towards a goal of normalizing, representing, and respectfully erotizing what may seem like a ‘fetish’ or a minority in mainstream sexual ideals.” This is exactly in line with why I think sexual content in identity work is so important–it is really powerful to own our sexual liberation and represent it in a way that is both sexy and honest. I love Courtney’s art!

On to the review! Courtney sent me a review DVD of Lesbian Curves and I watched it a little differently than I usually watch porn, which is usually picking and choosing scenes based on my mood. This time I went beginning to end, on the couch like a movie, and we even went into the special features the next day!

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Betty Blac. All of the stars of Lesbian Curves are hardcore babes.

Here is Courtney’s summary of Lesbian Curves:

Sultry body worship, sensuous kissing, playful taunting, sex toys, chemistry, and hard core lesbian fucking are what make Lesbian Curves the genre-busting adult film you’ve been craving. This full length feature is full of luscious skin, bodacious bodies and intense orgasms, brought to you by the fiercest femmes in porn, soaking wet and thirsty for passionate, curvaceous, gritty, real lesbian sex.

Starring Courtney Trouble, Kelly Shibari, Betty Blac, Sophia St James, Sandy Bottoms, Kitty Stryker, Peppermint Fatty, and Eden Alexander and shot in full HD.

I really adored that the cast is size diverse throughout the range of “fat” sizes–from inbetweenie on up. Check out the cast photos here (NOT safe for work). It’s also racially diverse, including a scene that is just two queer women of color.

It’s clear that the porn performers have real chemistry. Especially the scene between Kelly Shibari and Betty Blac. I had a long conversation while watching it about whether or not they were a couple in real life.

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The music is good, especially during the first partner scene. It’s almost like someone was DJing the porn. I like it when porn music actually flows well. It’s also luxuriously edited. There aren’t a lot of story lines in this movie except the scene between Kitty Stryker and Eden Alexander.

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There were no safe for work photos of Kitty Stryker from the press kit so I borrowed this from Kitty herself. She has two-toned hair and cute glasses in the movie. I had a long conversation during her scene about how to get Kitty to make out with me.

Sophia St. James has been a favorite of mine for a long time, ever since I saw her in Bordello (another amazing work by TROUBLEfilms). She has a great scene with Peppermint Fatty that involves a juicy strap-on. I’m interviewing Sophia later this week as part of FAT SEX WEEK.

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I’m pretty sure no nipples makes it safe for work.

A lot of the scenes are best described as “Sweet and hot.” There’s a deep tenderness and body appreciation between the performers. Not a lot of kink involved in the movie, which is a little bit of a bummer because, to be frank, a lot of those sweet asses could have used a vigorous spanking and/or some good biting. (Just saying. Kitty Stryker, call me.)

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I never consider time wasted watching porn if I learned a sex technique I can fold into my repertoire. Courtney does this thing in her scene where she holds her tits together and has her scene partner suck both nipples at once. This is not easily accomplished in real life but is fun to try!

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Watching porn that represents people whose bodies look like yours and who are doing sex the way you like to do sex is incredibly self-affirming. I thought that the intro to the video, where a fat girl (Courtney) is engaged in some serious self-loving body worship, was extremely powerful from an artistic and embodied point of view. And also just totally hot.

It can be hard to find porn that represents your body or how you like to do sex, which is why it is so crucial to support indie porn makers like Courtney and TROUBLEfilms (which has a pretty incredible queer, race, gender and size diaspora).

Lesbian Curves is $28 on dvd (which includes lots of extras, that I enjoyed greatly). You can download to own Lesbian Curves for $26.

I was talking to my friend Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasina in my kitchen the other day about Lesbian Curves and she said, “Were there queer fat femmes getting tied up? That’s what I want to see!” And we went on to basically write the sequel, Lesbian Curves Two: Femme on Femme Action and it involves a scene where LLPS whips someone while they recite the Femme Shark Manifesto. Courtney, if you want me and Leah to help you vision this we’re happy to get coffee.

A copy of Lesbian Curves is the perfect present for your lover, partner, bestie, future sexcapade for Valentine’s Day! Also, you can give the gift of a QueerPorn gift certificate from Courtney’s website!

Stay tuned for the next installment of FAT SEX WEEK tomorrow!

2013-01-04

2013 Intention and New Year’s Eve Look!

Oh, New Year’s Eve came and went and it was a blast and a half. It’s amazing how hard it is to get people to be willing to work on New Year’s Eve. Typically I have a pretty big posse of folks who want to do cash nightlife gigs, especially if it involves getting paid to dress scandalously, but it’s a lot harder on NYE. I, personally, LOVE working on NYE, love having only one place to go, having already set in stone my plan far ahead of time. I’m a Capricorn, it’s my way.

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I also love creating a space without a ton of ridiculous noisemakers. (When Nicky texted me about getting them I was like, “That’s not my style.” She brought some of those popper confetti things anyway.) All photos in this post are by Kelsey Dickey.

My outfit was also pre-determined with the help of Catherines! Catherines asked if I wanted to try out a social occasion look and I said, sure! I was delighted at the amount of vavavoom I was able to score. My outfit was perfectly glamorous and magical.

My two main considerations for plus size party girl New Year’s Eve look were WOW factor and versatility. Number one, I was in charge of counting down to midnight so there’s a moment where eyes are on me. And then also I was going to have to bustle around taking care of party host things like the champagne toast, the weirdly long bathroom line, and all the other trouble shooting I won’t get into but I broke three nails that night and hauled 20 bags of ice while wearing a pin-up wiggle dress. Also, since the Yes Ma’am venue is partially outdoors (I LOVE our “chatio”) I needed to be able to be comfortable chatting outside without having to grab my coat from the coat check.

I selected the Valentina Illusion dress by Kiyonna from the Social Occasion category at Catherines and I was super thrilled with it! I have liked Kiyonna’s designs for a long time and it is fabulous that Catherines has them available. The shipping was really fast and the 3X fit me perfectly.

For a New Year’s Eve wiggle dress I define “fitting perfectly” as a comfortable purple sausage casing.

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I lament I didn’t get a good full-length shot with our photographer but it was a wild party and there wasn’t room for a long shot!

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My co-hosts also looked amazing and I like how Nicky, DJ Average Jo and I are intentionally matchy matchy here.

Catherines also hooked me up with an outerwear piece to complete the look. The Purple Wool Capelet was PERFECT for flouncing back and forth to the chatio. It also buttons in this way that the cleavage still shows when you’re wearing it, an important consideration for WOW factor.

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I took the capelet for a pre-NYE test-run to brunch. This photo is not by Kelsey.

I also love this piece under a coat, because I find that no coat really keeps me warm enough in winter, I usually need a wool layer under my down coat. But because the fur collar is so girthy I don’t need a scarf!

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The cold chatio, with the table for the NY Toy Collective.

Thanks to Catherines I had a really magical fashion New Year’s Eve and am super thankful!

Yes Ma’am’s third party was so great. I was thrilled and touched that so many of my friends came through, what a great crowd to spend the first moments of this brand new baby year with!

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I also love to talk about New Year’s Revoltions/Intentions on my blog and I’ve finally settled on mine, only a few days late. (I got sick and am still recovering.)

This year I’ve decided to “Know My Own Strength.” I struggled with choosing this as an intention for a minute because I wondered if it was going to incite the Goddess to rain down shit upon me the way she did during my Saturn Return. I know I never get any challenge that I’m not actually strong enough for. Also, it’s one of the major emerging themes in the memoir I’m writing, that I didn’t know my own strength. I’m learning a lot from the process of writing the book and some of the stuff I’m learning are things I didn’t realize about myself. Like how much I never really knew my own strength. So I am imagining a 2013 where I meet challenges head-on, knowing I have everything I need to meet them.

Leaning into challenges helps to keep me sane and peaceful in the face of anything. Including the ever important ability to ask for help when I need it!

I hope your NYE was everything you hoped, taught you something about yourself (I sure learned some stuff) and had elements of WOW and glamour and glitter and that your 2013 intention setting has you ready to love yourself right in the coming year!

2012-10-23

Window Shopping with Simply Be

Hi friends! This featured post is brought to you in partnership with Simply Be, as an introduction for my readers. The words are all mine, but Simply Be and I both believe everyone deserves to look amazing at every size!

Simply Be offers clothing in UK sizes 10-28, US 8-26.

I’m super into the Gok Wan retro lingerie collection for Simply Be!

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This bra and high waisted brief combo is so killer! I also really appreciate that the photographs for the retro collection are pin-up styled because, lez be honest, that’s the look I’m going for with my underthings!

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I also love the Gok Wan Divine Outline shaper. I love shapers used as tools and not for body shame. Last night I performed in a performance art tribute to Taylor Swift and reinterpreted the Taylor Swift song “Speak Now,” her wedding busting up song. And I dressed like a bride. And dressing like a bride means bridal shapewear and that kind of stuff is no joke. I came home with some intense marks on my body. I was actually longing for a piece like this outline shaper that’s just about squishing in the right place and not about digging into me with a ton of extra boning. Fashion! (P.S. Shapewear is great for staying warm in the Winter!)

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A friend of mine was just raving about Simply Be bras and I deeply adore a Marilyn Plunge bra. I think the essential garment I wear every day is a plunge bra, regardless of how cleavagey an outfit happens to be.

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This Joe Browns Honeycomb Knit Dress is to die for! I love this for workwear or hanging out. I actually am totally adverse to regular sweaters and prefer sweater dresses where I get to choose where my waistline is.

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Great for going out, the Stud Detail Tunic Dress! I think it’s super sexy and edgy but is still something you can wear to your significant others’ corporate cocktail party.

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I love retro looks in modern fabrics and the Ring Printed Dress With Collar blends this well. The peter pan collar is so sweet and I still think the dress is sophisticated and not totally twee.

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The Joe Browns Fur Collar Coat is really close to the coat I wear all the time in the Late Fall. I created mine by pairing a vintage fur collar with a jaquard coat, but this is actually all the work done for you. And I get compliments every single time I wear it. This coat with the rose details is incredible.

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Simply Be also carries a ton of wide calf boots, including Legroom Boots Extra Ultra Large Calf Width. That’s a lot of superlatives but they are super foxy!

2012-04-17

Sleep is my Party Drug

Many folks will be familiar with the show Downton Abbey that has swept through the hulusphere. The first season is on Netflix watch instantly, second season I think is on hulu plus now. Get on it if you like things that are nighttime soapy and vintage realness it is totally that sweet spot shows like Mad Men fill.

Anyway, in the first season Lady Grantham says to her eldest daughter Mary that she should get a good night’s sleep. Mary quips, “You always say that.” And Lady Grantham says, “That’s because it usually does.”

I keep thinking about this scene lately as I cultivate my sleeping habits amidst a lot of life schedule changes.

I notice how well a good night’s sleep treats me the next day. How much self care there is in turning off the internet at a “reasonable hour”, whatever that means. For me that means setting myself up to sleep for 7-8 hours. Feels like a luxury given how much I need/want to accomplish in a given day and how much play time I want to squeeze in there. But accepting my human limitations is one of my great spiritual lessons and, unfortunately, I know that means prioritizing sleep over all those zombies I want to serve cheeseburgers in my clickie clickie game.

I have a lot of admiration for people who can sleep very little and thrive. In accepting my own human limitations I am accepting human diversity and props to my siblings in the struggle who can handle life, art, activism, family, work with very little sleep.

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I’m pretty excited about this sweater dress. I got it vintage for only five bucks, right before it got too warm to wear it.

I have had a ton of conversations lately with folks about how much fun we’re having going to bed early. (Usually when a topic is coming up in conversation that’s how I know I am brewing it for my blog.) Just this morning my pal Austin was bragging that he got to bed at 10:30 the night before. Time Out New York called me a Plus Size Party Girl and I know that to be true. However, I also know it is true I need and want to sleep. The tried and true way that I’ll be totally on my game when I go out is to get a lot of rest the night before. A good night’s sleep is my party drug.

Sure, there are times in my life where I’m all go go go, one social engagement after another. But if I don’t factor in necessary sleep I will inevitably get myself sick. At that pace, also, I certainly don’t enjoy things the way I want to. And what is the point of living an incredible life without the time and faculties to savor it?

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Macy agrees.

Lately I’ve been going through one giant fiasco after another. Seriously, the shit storm has been Saturn Return in proportion, yet I am 33 and supposed to be past my Saturn Return.* Personal life, financial life, work life. All requiring attention, solutions, strategies, and going to bed with the faith that everything is going to feel better in the morning. And it usually does.

I’ve been hella anxious lately. There’s not a lot in my life I can control right now but the stuff I can I’m totally going to control what I can. So I gave up coffee again and get enough sleep.

Sleeping a lot on the weekends has also helped me cope. My emotions have a very tight correlation to my body and all the stuff I’ve been going through is exhausting. Relenting to that and reveling in the joy of sleep has been great. A weekend night of 10 hours is really amazing to me these days.

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“Well, nobody likes their job, nobody got enough sleep.”

I’m always checking in with myself regarding depression, since it runs in my family and I am prone to bouts of it (and the oh so obnoxious seasonal affective disorder where just the lack of light bums me out). Sleeping a lot can sometimes mean I’m depressed but I know right now I’m just making sure I can be the best Bevin I can be under the circumstances.

So. Self care. Sleep. Sleep as a means of coping. Sleep as a means of energizing to enjoy the most out of parties and life. Here’s to lots!

*If any of my readers out there are astrologers and want to barter for a reading I would be so down.

2011-09-25

I Lust 80s Rock Vests

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Photo by Amos Mac.

My darlings I have a current style obsession. It all started at the beginning of the summer when one of the style blogs I cruise on Tumblr, Miss Amelia Butter (dear lord she’s a babe) started posting about 80s rock vests. She just kept talking rock vest and I was listening.

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Favorite outfit of Summer 2011, this sun dress and my rock vest. Pictured with Leslie!

What is a rock vest? Well, it’s a vest that goes over any outfit and makes it more bad ass. The basic rock vest is denim and endlessly customizable. I like to wear them about 2-3 sizes too small to give my cleavage its rightful center stage.

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Luckily one popped into Re/Dress and my obsession only grew. I wore it immediately and my co-workers were there in accidental solidarity–three of us wore rock vests and sun dresses on the same day.

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Chavon has many rock vests. Here she pairs it with tight skirt and vintage undergarments and rock gloves.

Denim rock vests are amazing. However, I love when a rock vest comes in leather or fur. Re/Dress had this incredible White Snake video stylin’ blue tie dye leather studded situation I lamented was a bit too small for me. Whoever bought that rock vest I salute you.

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Glenn Marla has been wearing rock vests for about the entire 8 years I have known him. I love this one he scored during the early years of Re/Dress. Photo by Amos Mac for Original Plumbing Magazine.

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Giving the crazy eye, wearing the grey rock vest, paired with feather earrings and pussy necklace. Together with Mr. Transman 2010 Kit Yan and Miss Heather.

Rock vests are a punk staple. I know a million people who never stopped wearing them. I think Chicago probably has about 68 layers of bling on his rock vests.

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Chicago (a/k/a Princess Tiny and the Meats) to the left in the light denim rock vest. AR Punk as lead singer in the amazing black rock vest. I didn’t get a shot but his rock vest says on the back, over a rainbow flag “These Colors Don’t Run.”

I never thought I was bad ass enough to actually dress bad ass. Is that weird? I mean, objectively I am a bad ass, but I was really interested in appearing to be a “good girl” on the outside growing up and sometimes, even though I can dress pretty slutty, I still forget and think of myself as not bad ass enough to pull something off. So, here I am, wearing rock vests and making pretty much anything I have on (including darling purple maxi dresses) look that much more bad ass.

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Or if not bad ass at least a little bit edgier and dressed down for a jaunt through Central Park.

Next stop is the design element. I’m going to add the Rebel Cupcake logo to one of mine, and I think Gumdrop the Fat Unicorn is going to make an appearance to my grey denim rock vest. Rock vests are a crafter’s dream layer. I wonder if there was ever a Quacker Factory rock vest?

Currently I am rocking various pins based on my mood. “Cause dyke drama,” “Cancer sucks,” “I heart Fat Femmes.” I still have a bunch of old pins with my picture on them from when I was 24. I haven’t felt vain enough to rock my own photo or especially one from 8 years (and many hairstyles) ago but maybe one day it’ll make sense.

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Victoria models Gumdrop the Fat Unicorn bandannas.

On my rock vest wish list: a red rock vest, a black rock vest, and the perfect rock vest fur collar trim to add to one of them. Some sort of not ridiculously awful air brush artist who will actually service my rock vest enhancement needs unlike the jerk at South Beach Fashion in Rehoboth Beach who said, after making me wait 15 minutes, that he wasn’t going to do any custom work.

Oh well, whatever. I am super into rock vests now and thank Amelia for invigorating this addition to my wardrobe!

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P.S. The BABE CITY, BC, CANADA team from Glitterpolitic. To the right is Majestic rocking a leather rock vest from all ends of the gender spectrum and into the stars. I am using this photo as a vague segue to encourage all of you to go read (on the left) Ashley Aron’s amazing post about people assuming she’s pregnant. They are both incredibly bad ass.

2011-07-14

The Queer Fat Femme Guide to Preventing Chub Rub aka Thigh Chafing

New additions to this post added August 23, 2013! See the bottom!

My mailbag yielded this great question from a reader.

Hi Bevin,

I have a bit of a sensitive question. On your blog, you’ve got all these pictures of you wearing FABULOUS dresses…but what do you do to prevent chaffing? (Or is this not a problem for you?)

(I did a search at your blog before I asked. I hope it’s not too personal!)

Thanks for your blog–it’s fantastic!

–An amateur queer fat femme!

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Camping at FemmeCamp! It got fancy.

Dear Amateur Queer Fat Femme:

Thank you so much for your question and the compliment! I’m so excited to be a resource for you and others. In fact, I have never addressed the timely and relevant issue of chub rub on this blog. (Chub rub is also known as thigh chafing, summertime thigh sweat issues, fat thigh rubbing and the like. But I like chub rub.)

When I was a baby Femme I didn’t think I would ever get to wear dresses all the time for two reasons: the mysterious chaffing between my thighs that made wearing them excruciating, especially in the summer, and my aversion to carrying purses.

And then something magical happened. When I was about 22 I discovered there was a name for this mysterious chafe, and it was chub rub. And there are numerous solutions for it! Also around the same time I discovered a purse I absolutely fell in love with that made me want to carry a purse. And once I had the freedom to carry more things than a wallet and my keys (like femmenabling items like lipstick, hand sanitizer, safer sex supplies and chub rub solutions) I decided there was no going back with this Femme thing, I was all in.

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This is a replica of the purse I fell in love with and carried to death. I used to collect Marilyn Monroe purses, though this one is a photo of another blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield.

So, how to solve the issue of chub rub? First of all, I want to say this is not just a problem for fat people. This is a problem for lots of folks of all sizes who wear pants and who wear dresses. Chub rub is a pervasive fashion issue. Luckily, fat femmes have each others’ backs and we’ve been swapping these solutions for years. Here are some methods I know about, starting with the two I prefer.

First is wearing shorts under your clothes. Not just any shorts, tight fitting shorts. Bike shorts help some.

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Mackenzi found some bike shorts she swears by from Target in the athletic wear section this summer. Here she is in front of her amazing store! It has a brand new ecommerce site so go visit and buy lots of gifts and housewares from her and support a queer fat femme owned business!

I use shaping garments for my shorts-under-dress solution. The best I ever found were from Lane Bryant about 9 years ago. I am grateful that when I worked there I bought a bunch so now they’re only just getting tattered. I have never found such good quality and comfort in a shaping garment since. I think you can get some good ones still from the girdle section of your local department store.

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Me & Sarah Jenny. Sometimes you’re wearing something so clingy that a full-body shaper situation helps to keep the dress aligned. I’m one of those people that doesn’t buy into the thought that shapewear actually makes you look any thinner, I think it just moves your fat around so dresses might fit a little bit differently than if you were freefatting.

This Macy’s light control girl short is exactly the shapewear I am talking about and about half the cost of the ones I bought at LB (that have lasted years). I think shapewear can be a great investment if it isn’t Spanx. Those disintegrate far too quickly and I find them a poor value.

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Me, Leslie and our friend Kwame at a Fourth of July BBQ wearing dresses in the heat. I am freefatting.

I have tried the Lipo in a Box brand (unfortunate name for shapewear) and I found their shorts bunchy and fiddly but they will do the job in a pinch.

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Coordinating tights/leggings/teggings are also a great chub rub solution along the lines of shorts-under-dresses.

If the idea of shorts under dresses sounds hot, well, it usually is (which is why you want shapewear that breathes). So I love the option to use a specialty cream or lotion to ease the chub rub.

My brand of choice is Bodyglide. You can get it online or at running stores because runners chafe, too. I walk right into the running store, buy it, and I’m sure the staff knows that I am a fat girl in their store for the chub rub cream. I use Bodyglide to both prevent chub rub and treat it when it has already happened.

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I think body chemistry has a lot to do with how and whether a certain cream or lotion will work on you, but other friends have suggested:

*Monistat Soothing Care Chafing Relief Powder-Gel, which you can get at drug stores in the ladycare aisle. I don’t love it because I like the ease of the stick application of Bodyglide.

*Raw Shea Butter Lotion, the brand I prefer is Nubian Heritage. Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha turned me onto this brand and it is my very favorite, both scented and unscented versions. But I use it as body lotion and not chub rub cream.

*Deodorant. You’re putting it under your arms already, try it on your thighs?

*Silky Underwear Dusting Powder by LUSH I love LUSH from the bottom of my heart and my coworker Afrotitty suggested it to me as a sweet-smelling solution. I have some, I’ll try it.

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Paparazzi moment! Meeting up with my friends Brian and Arnulfo for brunch on 4th of July. Photo taken by Arnie while I was on the phone with Brian and Macy was taking care of business. I’m wearing my favorite denim mini skirt that is actually a skooter (shorts built-in under a skirt that you can’t see are there–different from the kind where it’s just a front flap and you can see the shorts in the back, I hate those). I’ve gone hiking in these, climbed trees, clambered over rocks and walked for miles and miles with no worry about chub rub.

So, AQFF, I hope this list helps you grab those dresses from your closet and wear them comfortably through the rest of this summer and the rest of the times in your life you want to wear dresses!!

P.S. Anytime you purchase anything using the Amazon referral link on QFF.com I get a referral bonus and stash it away to buy myself fun stuff like books and toys. I appreciate it greatly. Thanks to whoever bought a lot of stuff in January!


Here are a couple more additions to our arsenal of thigh chafing prevention!

Bandelettes! 6″ bands of lace that grab onto your thigh fat and prevent chafing. My whole review of them is at this link! $14.99 and a bargain!

Here’s a great natural remedy for the chafing when it happens–a coconut oil calendula infusion! Take about an ounce of coconut oil and melt it, add some calendula (available wherever loose herbs are sold) and simmer for about 20 minutes. Then let it cool and rub it between your thighs for relief. Coconut oil is also another idea for chafe prevention.

*Butt Paste, an all natural diaper rash treatment and prevention! It comes in lots of sizes, and I found Butt Paste in 2 oz for $5.99 on Amazon. There is also a Maximum Strength Butt Paste. According to some of the online reviews folks prefer it because it is natural, effective and has a pleasant slight vanilla scent and most other diaper rash creams smell like medicine. Apparently the maximum strength is also good treatment if your chafing has gotten to the point of open sores.

Again, all chafe prevention creams and oils really depend on how your body chemistry works with them. If you have other methods not mentioned I’d love to hear about them!

2011-02-22

Get into it: Femmes and Friends Fa(t)shion February

My friend Jessie Dress is a miracle. Not only did she design that awesome redo of the fatphobic PETA ad, she starts some amazing projects to gather people around things she’s passionate about. Example 2: Co-founder of Austin’s Femme Mafia Chapter.

I present for your joy and eye candy her latest idea, Femmes and Friends Fa(t)shion February. It’s basically a community outfit blogging project, mostly by queer fat femmes and their friends and allies from different body types and sexualities. Jessie said, when launching it, “I want to see your hot ass! I want to see people wearing work clothes, or house clothes, or going out to dance clothes. I want to know where you got what you’re wearing, and what you did to make it fit your body and your life.”

I have been an almost daily contributor to the blog. I put all of my entries on my own tumblr, peppered throughout the month.

I participated for a few reasons. One, I am friends with Jessie and I like making her happy. Another was because my bestie Mackenzi pointed out to me when I was trying to do the math to afford* a Sweettooth by Cupcake and Cuddlebunny dress that I have more clothes than anyone she knows and many of those outfits she’s never seen. So it was an impetus to pay attention to what I’m wearing, take stock and purge some of my wardrobe.

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Shark dress. My first contribution.

I learned a lot from outfit blogging almost every day. It is really hard to get a full outfit picture taken unless you have friends who are willing to be patient with you. It also helps that I work part-time at a store, so on those days I got a fellow Shop Girl to help me out.

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The first time I repeated an outfit, but I remixed it with a different cardigan/tights combo.

I also learned not to put so much pressure on myself. One day I took a picture of what I was wearing and I suddenly understood why some celebrities only leave the house after taking a photo of their outfit. I thought my business casual outfit was flattering, but not so much in a photo. I didn’t love the outfit and I decided not to blog it.

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I think a creepy angel head belt is totally to opposite of business casual.

I watched my bouffant get bigger as time wore on for the busiest party/gig weekend of this month, from Rebel Cupcake on Thursday through Nerd Love on Monday. There was a lot of hair action.

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Right in the middle of that period of time, wearing my Femme Flannel outfit.

I contemplated posting my loungewear, but when I’m wearing loungewear I’m typically working or lounging, not messing around with a camera.

Catifabulous did a write-up of the project in the blog Sociological Images. Fatshion February definitely had some limitations in terms of the participants (namely, very few people of color and above size 24 folks), but I still think it was fun and gave me a fresh perspective on my wardrobe.

I liked looking at all of the different ways people wear their clothes and the stories they tell about them. I also like to know where people get their clothes and how much they spend on them. I included that info on my outfit blogs when I knew what I spent on something.

I never realized this, but I typically compose outfits consisting of one item that is pricier and many other, under $10 pieces. I also never noticed that I privilege jewelry that’s at the top of my heap, so I’ll wear the same four or five necklaces in rotation until I go hunting through the box/shelf/many jewelry organizer bags I have. Accessorizing is often something that is an after thought for me.

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My favorite outfit of the month is almost always for Rebel Cupcake. This was my ‘fit (except my sparkly pink heels) for RC: Erotic City. Also pictured, Mackenzi.

And it’s not too late to get into it! The Femmes and Friends Fa(t)shion February tumblr page explains how to submit!

*See, I work at a resale store and sometimes I make some store credit, so I rarely pay cash for my clothes. This makes a big difference in the life of the broke artist.

2011-01-16

2011… Sparkle Hard

When we were reunited after the holiday shuffle released her from her day job, my friend Heather declared to me “My theme for 2011 is ‘2011… Fuck it.’ 2010 was supposed to be 20WIN and nothing ever came of it. So 2011 I’m just saying ‘Fuck it.’” Heather is the kind of person who says to Pollyanna optimists like me “You call it thinking positive, I call it denial.” And though I have not abandoned my Pollyanna ways, I think her logic is sound.

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Me and Heather performing a staged reading of Steel Magnolias at Rebel Cupcake. Photo by Jeep Wheat.

Now, in no uncertain terms, 20Femme for me was not bad. I had a lot of crazy shit go down and it certainly didn’t turn out at all how I expected it to. The lessons and growing I had from my antics in 2010 are among the most pivotal of my life so far. I also had a pretty good time for some of it, existential angst and heartbreak aside. But, let’s be real, growing like I had to is not for sissies and sometimes it downright sucked.

When contemplating my year, I was thinking about the things I wanted to leave behind and the things I wanted to womanifest in the new year. I really want to focus on continuing to grow but just having a good time. Learning how to let go of expectations, keep asking for what I want, and squeezing the juiciest things I possibly can from every moment.

I think a lot of my lessons came to fruition during a Prince concert I went to the week before New Year’s Eve. I have a friend who has a ticket hook-up and is always trying to give me sporting event tickets that I politely turn down. He asked around my birthday and I said “What about Prince at Madison Square Garden?” Since Heather’s birthday is a week after mine I asked her to be my date and we went.

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This is Stuart. He’s responsible for carefully creating the purple rain above Prince’s purple piano during his medley of many great songs, including “How Come U Don’t Call Me?” one of my favorites.

I didn’t know this ahead of time but the tickets were floor seats. Right in front of the stage. For some reason, hardly anyone in the floor seats was dancing in the ample room around the end of the Prince symbol arrow. As soon as his first song was over me, Heather and about six other people were dancing around to many of our favorite Prince songs. It was incredible. I was wearing a gold sequin dress and I think if you’re on the floor at Madison Square Garden dancing you should just sparkle as hard as you can.

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After the show, up on the deck to get a view of the Prince symbol stage.

A lot of 2010 was spent on a collision course between myself as I am now and who I used to be before I gained self-confidence. I would never have worn a tight sequin dress, let alone a gold one, would never have thought to wear something interesting to a concert in the first place and would have spent the entire time at the concert feeling sad that, as good as it was, it was going to eventually end. I also wouldn’t have had the chutzpah to try to go dance away from my seat and even closer to the stage.

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Purple rain on the floor. And my sparkly Christmas purse.

Growing up fat and flamboyant, I learned early on to suppress my glittery tendencies and try to hide my plus size self as best as I could. I always second-guessed how I wanted to look and really took to heart terrible fashion advice. Such gems as “Don’t wear horizontal stripes” and “When you leave the house always remove one accessory.” I say fuck that. Watching Heather get ready is like watching a really cute hen walking around picking up one sparkly thing after another and I think it is probably one of the most fun things in the world to witness.

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Heather always looks as a good as a pin-up.

Having friends as flamboyant and supportive as Heather and the giant network of amazing artists I hold close helped me get and sustain the courage to be as outrageously Bevin as I possibly want to be on any given day. The last decade has been pretty transformative and I am so grateful every day for the unflinching courage to be myself.

Last year I started meditating and focusing on living in the moment. I have some big dreams but the way they are going to come about is by working hard and making my current moments as memorable and fabulous as possible. I can’t possibly recommend meditation more to help alleviate anxiety and increase happiness.

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The Prince concert helps to increase happiness, too.

I want to spend 2011 experiencing every moment, even the mundane inbetweens. I’ve been finding some really amazing stuff on my walks with my dog because I’m using my time and attention to notice. As my life coach said after I mentioned noticing a glittering piece of cellophane in a pile of leaves after our discussion about paying attention to each moment, “Attention makes garbage gorgeous.”

So in the spirit of “2011… fuck it” I’m just going to sparkle as hard as I can every moment. I feel pretty great about it.

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2011-01-10

Unicorn Party

Kentucky Fried Woman is one of the most inspirational Femmes I’ve had the privilege to know. She is kind, creative, talented and hot. She is a burlesque, drag and tap performer (among other performance talents). She also makes incredible fried chicken. We met years and years ago at the International Drag King Extravaganza.

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Me, Kentucky Grilled Man and Jukie Sunshine backstage at Flabulous! 2 in Oakland last June. Flabulous! is just one of many incredible productions KFW has curated. Photo from my camera. All other photos in this post are courtesy of KFW.

Another thing that is true about KFW is that she has an intense love for unicorns.

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When one has friends scattered throughout the world and Facebook links us together, we get to have intense fear of missing out (FOMO) when we see all of the amazing photos and events going on without us. KFW lives in Oakland* and I live in Brooklyn and I have never experienced such intense “I WISH I COULD HAVE BEEN THERE” as when I heard about the Unicorn Party she threw.

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The International Ms. Leather weekend is held yearly in San Francisco. One of the annual events is a Uniform Party. KFW got a bunch of friends together to crash the party dressed as unicorns. Basically the idea was that they walked in and said “I thought this was a UNICORN party!” I doubled over when I heard that.

They got together beforehand, crafted unicorn horns (here’s a tutorial if you want to know how to make one out of paper) and dressed together in a hotel room. I saw a few photos on Facebook of the unicorns at the uniform party and it was hysterical.

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One of the first times the World Famous *BOB* performed at one of my events, Cupcake Cabaret, she said performing there was like being in a unicorn stable. I loved that compliment, and when coming up with the theme for the January Rebel Cupcake it occurred to me that *BOB*’s comment should just be taken to the next level.

So it is in homage to two of my favorite unicorn people that this Thursday’s Rebel Cupcake is a Unicorn Party.

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Folks get $2 off admission if they wear a unicorn horn. I am hoping people are getting creative. Even a piece of binder paper twirled into a cone and taped to your forehead is in the unicorn spirit.

Also, you can totally buy the bandanna sported by Glenn Marla on the flier for the party at my etsy shop! The unicorn is named Gumdrop. They are a genderfluid fat unicorn and the mascot for my blog.

I think KFW has shown that there are so many different ways to be a unicorn in this world.

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*Also, no FOMO this month, Bay Area!! I’m taking Rebel Cupcake on the road! Jan 28th I’m pairing with Hot Box to present a Rebel Cupcake: Oakland! The line-up is hot and I’ll post more info here once I have it!!

2010-12-16

Why You Should Buy Elisha Lim’s Calendar Right Now

Let’s start with the facts.

Elisha Lim is handsome.
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Elisha Lim is well-dressed.
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Elisha Lim is a talented artist.
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Elisha Lim has used this triple threat for good by converting it into a 2011 calendar.

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A 12 month calendar of handsome dandy queers from January to December. Full colour images and comics feature sartorial queer style, shopping anecdotes and strategies, and a celebration of walking proud in what you wear.

The comics feature excerpts from “The Illustrated Gentleman” and “100 Butches” and contain a hand-drawn monthly schedule for each month.

I like that it’s small. It’s the kind of thing I could tuck easily into a small corner of my kitchen or by my bed or anywhere on the walls of weird narrow New York City realness apartments. However, you want to make sure it is someplace where you can read each month. Each illustration includes an essay.

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Elisha further offers purchasers of the calendar a bonus.

If you want to send this calendar to flirt with somebody, or just to say happy birthday, I can add a dedication into the package.

I appreciated so much that my version of the calendar was sent to me in brown paper packaging with my name in a fancy script. I loved it. I am going to save it. Perhaps it will become my return address label.

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Support a hardworking queer artist!! Clickie here to go to the calendar shop!

2010-11-30

Winter Layering with Style

Filed under: Fatshion — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Bevin @ 4:24 pm

Something that unifies skirt and dress-loving people this time of year is how to stay warm as well as stylish. As a native Californian who moved to the East Coast ten years ago I have developed some coping mechanisms to maintain my stylish exterior as much as possible while still being a total cry baby about how cold it is outside.

First of all, I spend a lot of my winter being a Plus Size Party Girl. (Time Out New York called me that and I just love that descriptor.)  This means that my base outfit needs to be as cute as possible while reflecting the fact that it is often really hot wherever I go out. 

 

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Take this leopard dress, paired with a foxy multi-chained necklace.  If I wore this outside in NYC I wouldn’t last long enough to accompany a bestie for a cigarette.

So I start to layer it up.  Sometimes I am inside and it is still chilly.  I like to always have a contingency plan for potentially chilly indoor climates.  Thus, a cardigan.

 

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This is a lace cardigan, we have a bunch at Re/Dress right now.  This is a contemporary lace cardigan, but I actually really love to use vintage lingerie as layering pieces.  Those polyester beauties are really warm and also see through (which enables the cuteness of your layering pieces to shine through).

If I am further chilly, I incorporate Scarf 2 as a drapey piece. 

 

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The look is a little Mary Kate, but it works.

Now for leggings.  Tights are cool for me in the Fall and Spring, but in winter I am so cold my legs need more warmth than that.  I’m not afraid to layer with tights. (I actually learned in a Girl Scout wilderness survival training that wearing tights or pantyhose under pants was a great waterproof way to stay warm.) 

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Here at the Re/Dress we have this new fangled thing called a “Tegging.”  It is a word we made up to describe that this legging is more of a tights material.  They’re super stretchy and warmer than regular tights.  We have them in tons of colors and they fit up to a 5X.  I would wear it under these snakeskin shiny leggings for this outfit.

I am also not afraid to wear two pairs of socks under my boots. When changing at the club, I might take a couple of minutes off to the side of coat check to change out of my snow boots.  I am terrified of falling in snow and wouldn’t even consider wearing heels in the snow, even from the car.

 

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Snow boots!

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Heels!

Also I have recently embraced the leg warmer for it’s layering magic.  It is also my secret trick to transitioning socks to leggings with my mary jane TUK shoes.  I just don’t like a sock over legging look. I think it’s awkward.

 

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Here’s where the real fun comes in, jazzing up winter accessories.  I am troubled by hats.  My hair is delicate and I try to avoid them as much as possible.  But sometimes when I wear a knit hat I like to make it more special with hair bling.  I just clip it to the weave in the knit, or use a pin back to pin it onto a hat.  I have a line of hair bling at the store that will soon be online as well.

I haven’t tried scarf bling yet but that’s forthcoming.

I also accessorize my warm scarf with a lighter more interesting scarf.  I have a couple of sequin scarves for this purpose.

 

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Here I have put a lightweight sequin Scarf 2 over a heavier boring but warm knit scarf.

I also believe that the best thing a stylish person can do to stay stylish during the four months of snow and cold in NYC is to get as many awesome warm coats as possible.  I moved to Philadelphia with one lightweight jacket (I thought it was a real winter coat, it was maybe an early Fall weight)  and I now easily have 6 winter coats.  Actually, I probably have more.

 

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I was trying to come up with a rubric of how many faux fur coats one should have.  At least one black faux fur, one solid color, one leopard print and one furry vest. 

I also always lose gloves so I am all about snatching up good glove deals whenever you find them. 

In sum, I think the best thing you can do to make winter more stylish is to not be afraid to try a lot of different things, wear a lot of color and layer, layer, layer.

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Me and Zoe on vacay in Toronto. We are not afraid to wear jeans under vintage dresses.

I’d like to thank Glenn Marla for his scarf inspiration and his unadulterated love of layering.

 

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