“Friends may come and friends may go/But you should know that/That I’ve got your back, it’s automatic/So never hesitate to call/Cuz I’m your sister and always for ya and I/I don’t know what I’d ever do without you/From the beginning to the end/You’ve always been here by my side/So I’ll call you my best friend.”–Brandy, “Best Friend”.

Hey Guys!
So this past weekend, my bestest bud from 4th grade, Liana…


…came to visit me!
She’s from Atlanta, which, while lauded for its crunk music, isn’t quite as well known for fashion. Liana came to NYC looking to add a dash of style to her wardrobe, and I figured…who best to deliver it to her?!?!
We were hitting the town all weekend, and she needed outfits for the various dinners, club hops, and social events I had planned. She also wanted to indulge in a bit of Canal street shopping, so I figured I’d take her to the Soho strip (Q to Canal Street, R to Prince Street)…

…to see what we could see.
With only 3 hours before our next event, we hit the pavement. But of course there were a few caveats. I asked, what’s the most you’d spend on a top? At first she said, “I’ll pay whatever as long as it looks good.” So I was like, “You’d pay $80 for a top?” And quickly she changed her tune. Turns out, the most she’d spend on a top was $50, and the most she’d spend on a bottom was $60. Plus Liana is a voluptuous lady, so we had size concerns to deal with.
Instead of messing around with my favorite haunts like Bloomingdales or Club Monaco, we made a stop at H&M…

…for their reasonably priced, fashion forward offerings.
I decided I’d look for a few club tops, and tried to only pluck ones that didn’t have clingy material, flowed over her tummy, yet still had sort of a dressy element.
This gold top…

…looked like it had potential at first blush, but Liana quickly pushed it to the side, citing it was ‘too gold and filmy.‘ (Don’t you love the facial expressions?)
We liked this shirt/dress better…

…but I wasn’t a fan of how it hugged her curves around her bottom. The neckline was flattering, but the bottom seemed lumpy.
This top…

…again, was too clingy, and though it had a silver sheen, it didn’t scream ‘I’m going out!’ but more…”I’m going to the grocery store!” Didn’t work.
But this zebra print flowy top…

…was just right! It had an eccentric print, and its sheer element was sexy enough for a night at Marquee. Plus the flowy fabric didn’t cling to curves, and the neckline drew attention to Liana’s face. We took a look at the price…and it was only $25! Well within our price range. So we checked out…

…and were on our way!
So I had Liana trying on those tops with white shorts, and thought that white jeans would look *great* with the zebra print top. I thought that we’d run a find a quick pair of jeans, and be on our way.
I chose to run into the Levi’s store…

…because I knew they’d have a whole range of sizes for a reasonable price. Turns out they were having a sale, and every jean was $30! Perfect.
I grabbed a few pairs–short, long, and in varying widths–and we hit the dressing room. This size 14 pair…

….was too tight around the thighs and very low cut. This size up….

…was too low, had a weird crotch, and too short. No Dice!
We were short on time by now, and I figured we could run into Uniqlo…

…because I knew that they had inexpensive jeans and went up to a size 14.
Well the jeans there were an affordable $39.50, but Liana couldn’t even pull em up over her thighs. For shame, Uniqlo! She did, however stumble upon this saucy black shirt dress…

…for $89.50. Out of our price range, but Liana loved how she felt in it, and I thought it was flattering. The black color was slimming, the vertical buttons on the dress elongating, and the style just worked well! So we checked out…

…and were done!

That night Liana ended up wearing her new zebra top with a pair of Baby Phat jeans she brought with her from home.

Going shopping with Liana was an elucidating exercise. I didn’t realize how hard it was for voluptuous women to find affordable jeans in your go-to stores. Heck, I didn’t realize how hard it was voluptuous ladies to find *anything* stylish, fashionable, and well fitting. And last minute? Forget about it.
But I think I did an ok job, no?
Want Liana’s look? Try the following pieces:

Top Row: Florida Wash Signature Jean, $64, BabyPhat.com
Shirt Dress in Charcoal, $129, www.igigi.com.
Bottom Row: INC International Concepts Belted Zebra-Print Shirt, $79.00, www.macys.com ; Not Your Daughter’s Jeans Tummy Tuck Stretch Jeans, $98, www.nordstrom.com.
PS Need more style advice? Check out my prior post on voluptuous vixens here.
PSS Shout out to my other best bud from the A, Tara. Lurve you gurrl! Come visit me!!!
PSSS Dont’ Forget, from nymag:
Tracy Reese and Plenty by Tracy Reese’s girlie frocks (now $99), handbags (now $250), and sweet sweaters (now $93) are on sale.
When: 6/19 and 6/20.
Where: Loft Eleven, 336 W. 37th St., at Eighth Ave., eleventh fl.

18 thoughts on “Real Style Intervention Diary”

  1. While your friend may have needed a little help with her fashion selections..The fact that she is from Atlanta has nothing do with Atlanta not being a fashionable,trendsetting city.

  2. I lurrrve you, too, girl!
    Really wish I coulda’ been there, but next time!
    The A enthusiastically awaits your arrival on the 28th!!

  3. p.s. Liana!!! perfect smile, perfect hair, perfect skin… JUST GLOWING IN ALL THESE PIX!! You look fab-a-la-mab!!!

  4. It was definitely a lot of fun shopping in New York and Claire had the patience of a saint. I’m from the A but I don’t think Claire’s point was b/c I’m not fashionable then people from Atlanta aren’t fashionable. I wanted to definitely step outside of my box but sometimes that’s not the easiest when you can’t walk into every store knowing that the clothes are gonna fit. I had a lot of fun and maybe this will spark a new found interest in fashion! Who knows!?!? Thanks for all your help, Claire!

  5. I am a size 16 and I do not have that many problems finding clothes, I think I do better than the girls who are a size 6. I don’t understand why you think it is soo hard for the voluptous to find anything, maybe it was just the figure your friend had. I find things at the last minute all the time and I live in the weakest, smallest city in the MidWest (Milwaukee). Do not put us all in the category of “I’m curvy and I can’t find anything to fit me.” Shop at stores that cater to women with curves, which is not H&M.

  6. There are stores for plus sized women, fine, but why don’t regular everyday stores carry sizes that run the gamet? Why couldn’t she find jeans in Levi’s of all places? And why are plus sized stores hard to find? Pretty girl, you might have a surplus in Milwaukee, but a lot of people don’t. Every store should go up to a 16 at least and provide clothes for everyone not just the stick thin.

  7. i’m a size 4/6, and as a woman of color many of my female friends and family members are overweight. i’m glad you have no problem finding clothes that fit, but even in nyc, a fashion epicenter, my loved ones do and its an issue that needs to be addressed. i also don’t think its cool to go on the defensive and detract from other women to make your point. i think women of all shapes and sizes need to come together and show these clothing companies that they need to cater to ALL of us or none of us.

  8. Thank you so much for doing this post! Your friend looks great (esp. the dark wash baby phat jeans — must find a pair for myself!)
    That said, you hit the nail on the head with the difficulty finding fashionable clothing if one is above a certain size. I’m a 16 and while I get compliments on my clothing from colleagues, it is by no means as easy for me to find fashionable,quality items as it is my smaller friends/colleagues. I can only imagine that even in a cosmopolitan city like NYC, the problem is the same. Despite the need, designers simply don’t want to cater to plus sizes.

  9. great post Claire! I’m a size l2 and cant find anything ever because of my belly, and fahion mags always do “curvy” that doesnt mean a curve of the tummy. (unless ur essence and start at size 8…i mean, thats extreme in the other direction).

  10. Great post,but I have to say that animal print does nothing for her figure. I think she would have looked fab in the gold top with some accessories. The cut of the animal print top made her shape look alittle off. She looks curvy in all the right places which means she can pull off form fitting outfits. Spanx are our friend tell her to invest in some and throw on the clingy top she’ll love it. I’m a CG,but with a small waist and I love wearing some form fitting outfits when the occasion calls for it. I feel like a real woman with all my curves, and I agree with PRETTYGIRL I have no problem finding FAB clothes hell i’m hooking up my not so CG friends.

  11. Where is she shopping in the A?Because when ever I go down there to see my girls who are 12,14,16,18 sizes they are rocking something serious. I’ve always been a “big” girl, around size 12,14,16,18 and my mother used to tell me that when you got curves like that you got to try a little harder. So what if you can’t shop in Express or H&M, you gotta make it work adn try harder. And the zebra print top looked a little cheap. You could have definetly got something like that Atlanta.

  12. Luv the post!
    As a plus size lady here in NYC, it is sometimes hard to find fashionable, affordable and quality clothing in the stores. However, if you’re willing to search beyond the Ashely Stewart & Lane Bryant you can find some steals online and catch sales at boutiques like Lee Lee Valise and now Monif C.

  13. I am a size 16. I noticed I started getting better clothing when I put more time in the plan & search. Eventhough, my friends are able to pick up clothes at the stores at the last minute, I am not. I have a couple of key pieces in my closet for social stuff. I would go to buy new accessories to complement these pieces. I also constantly search the web for ideas. If companies do not offer my size in the stores, they sometimes offer my size & bigger on their websites. I also unfortunately, had to make my budget a little bigger for shopping. I noticed this gave me a wider range for clothing options while shopping. I know everybody may not be able to do these things, but it is just a suggestion.

  14. I am what you call a curvy person, a tweener between misses and plus. I also live in Southern California and have a more classic/tailored style. I’m also a middle-class professional in my early 40s, so I’m not trying to look like Young Hollywood.
    In terms of finding things, I do OK because of my location and style. Before Forth and Towne went out of business, I stocked up. I also like bridge designers like Ellen Tracy, Dana Buchman and Lafayette 148, which I think are geared to women my age.

  15. Great article. I did like how you showed the “good” and “bad” tops to get an idea of what the wrong cut can do for a body shape. I think Liana looked great in the tops showcased her waist, whether they were fitted (like shirt dress, even though it was a bit tight at the bottom) or the zebra-print top that hugged her right under her bustline. Good cuts for her…brings all the attention to her slim waist and pretty face.

    When it comes to clothing, It’s really all about the cut. It doesn’t really matter what size you are…if the cut’s not right, it’s not going to fit.

  16. I don’t know were she shops but I from the A. I am considered a fashionista around my parts. I get compliments from people from different states and countries. Being fashionable doesn’t matter where you come from it’s up to you to do it.

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