Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Kick It Up A Notch (Clothing, part 2!)

So you didn't really think I was going to go to JC Penney, did you? Ugh. Every time I think about that store I have day terrors of cheaply sewn stuff that never fits quite right. I have had luck at that store exactly twice in the past 10 years. They have a 3/4 sleeve button down shirt that I love, as long as it's made in the right fabric (I have one solid colored one and a few stripes- the solid one shrank like crazy). And they sell good tights. But really, lots of places sell good tights, so I don't take special trips to Penney's for them.

Instead of Penney's I went to Dillards in Nashville. Dillards is hit or miss by location- I have been to some that are dismal. But the one I went to on Wednesday has a great plus size department. I tried on literally every single pair of pants I could find and finally had some luck! Now so far I have tried on pants in: Lane Bryant (weird fits, weird hemlines, occasionally the chemical smell from hell that I know from past experience does not come out so I don't even try on clothes that smell like that) (incidentally, holding pants up to your nose and sniffing them in a store gets you some really weird looks- go figure), Avenue (CHEEAAAAP pants with way too much stretch in them, and the chemical smell), Talbots (just doesn't fit correctly), Macy's (really not too many brands at Macy's here), CJ Banks (ok, but also pretty cheap). I have spent hours in fitting rooms, so you can probably understand why I was getting so upset about this.

Dillards. Wow. They have some really good clothes in there. The funny thing about being plus sized is that you are used to a very limited selection of clothing. Sometimes I look at the misses section of a department store and wonder how people shop with so many options sitting right in front of them, and as far as the eye can see. But the plus size department at Green Hills is relatively large and there is a good range of brands from relatively inexpensive stuff to higher end lines. I tried on everything.

Here's what I wound up with.

They FIT RIGHT. And they are LONG ENOUGH. (I know I keep harping on this but I am 5'8" which is not gigantically tall. And let's talk about this picture for a second- the jeans on this model are TOO SHORT. Seriously. Hire me Jones New York, I will help you with your photo shoots. On top of that, these jeans are not that high-waisted on me. As a matter of fact, this picture is terrible!) Lately most trouser jeans I've tried on (they usually have a wider leg) have way too much extra material in the back of the thigh that gets on my nerves. On sale for $47

These are going to be work horse pants. They were expensive but the fit is great and the fabric is really soft but not too thin and also has some stretch in it. They are straight leg and make my legs look really long. I could probably wear these every single day and no one would ever notice that I am wearing the same pants, they are that basic. $98, but the cost per wear will be very good. You can see them here. (Yes, I look just as pretty as that model in these pants. But only when I wear them.)

Elisabeth by Liz Claiborne slim fit jeans

These are as close to skinny jeans as I will EVER get. I thought they were normal jeans (I had a pair that I loved back when I was about 18 years old) until I tried them on and then read the tag (SLIM FIT SLIM THIGH LOW RISE really didn't call out to me until I was like "Why are my jeans hugging my calves?") but somehow they are really flattering. They look best with heels or a ballet flat and longer tops (another danger zone- a lot of tunics make me look 8 months pregnant, it will be worth a search to find the right ones). These will be fun to experiment with and wear on weekends. (There is no way I'd wear them to work.) On sale for $37. I find it interesting that if jeans only come to the ankle it's okay as long as they are cut really narrow. Instead of cutting the body off horizontally they keep a long line down the leg. I have a feeling that the Elisabeth brand is on the way out, there was only one sale rack of stuff and most of it was ugly. And if I do a google search I get all kinds of secondary distributors instead of brick and mortar stores. Shame.

I really thought that skinny jeans were just a horrible trend that would go away relatively quickly. But I should have known better- instead of going away the overall silhouette has changed completely. Back in the late 1990s/early 2000s, the silhouette was loooooow rise jeans, which went away some and gave way to wide leg pants and slim shirts. Now we've moved on to skinny jeans with more voluminous tops. Like all trends, this can be modified for any body as long as you pay attention to proportion and fit. There's no way my big ol' legs are going in a pair of true skin-tight skinny jeans, but a slim cut to the ankle with heels is something I can pull off with the right tops.

So it boils down to brands now. Jones New York and Lauren Ralph Lauren are not cheap. But they fit right. I spent the same amount of money on three pairs of jeans that shrunk up to my ankles as I did on some denim trousers. But in the long run I think the cost per wear will be similar, if not better, because of the quality factor. I give myself this speech all the time- particularly when it comes to shoes. Some shoes you need to buy good brands, especially heels. Especially HIGH heels. Some shoes I buy cheap because I beat them up fast- especially ballet flats. Especially METALLIC ballet flats. I spent $50 on some silver ballet flats and the paint was coming off of the toe in 3 wears. I could have gone to target for an almost identical pair for $20 and wouldn't have been upset when the paint came off because that's the quality I expect.

So this post has clearly gone on long enough, but next clothing adventure topic will be skirts and yes, I'm going to include pictures. Of myself. In skirts. If I'm feeling brave....

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