Sunday, March 30, 2014

Alexis Bares All! (Of Her Mid-drift)

I dress very conservatively. I don't like showing a lot of skin, and want people to notice me for what I say, rather than for my body. My favorite go-to outfit is a high cut tunic, leggings, and my trusty riding boots. One of the trends I have been seeing over and over are the mid-drift baring tops. I didn't think I'd ever see the day that I'd don one of them, until I decided to see if the trend works for curvy girls.

After dropping 40 pounds, I was still dressing like I was much heavier. Friends and family members were encouraging me to start wearing more fitted clothing, and to start to show a little skin. It wasn't until after trying on the mid-drift tops today that I began to see that I had a decent body under all of the stylish layers I was putting myself in.

I first went into one of my favorite stores, H&M. H&M has the trendy clothes of the season at an attractive price. I found a couple cropped tops that weren't too junior-esque and went to the fitting room to see how ridiculous or not ridiculous I would look.

My first outfit was a black quilted long sleeved top ($24.95) paired with a sheer white maxi skirt ($9.95). I was very surprised that it wasn't vulgar looking, and actually quite classy and demure.

I loved the way the next blush colored top with black polka dots ($17.95) looked on the hanger, but once I put it on, I soon realized that it was best suited for a girl that doesn't have such a large chest. I paired it with a full black skirt with pockets ($34.95) which I fell in love with and decided to add to my own wardrobe!

I then walked to JC Penney to check out the I <3 Ronson Line. There was a very chic looking black and white striped cropped top ($36) and I found a cute high waisted pencil skirt ($30) to pair it with. I loved the way this looked, it was very flattering, and would be adorable for dinner with the girls. 

All in all, not bad for having a burrito for lunch! Tips to make this trend look more adult chic and appropriate for over 30: 
- Make sure the top isn't cut low, you're already showing your mid section, don't go overboard!
- Don't go overboard on showing skin on your lower half, either. A high waisted skirt or pants give you a peek of your midsection, keeping things classy. 
- If you have a large chest, like I do, look for details that will draw the eye away from that area, like a jeweled neckline or solid color and choose a top that isn't so fitted, but also isn't shapeless and drapey.

The best advice I can give is that not every trend is made to work with every body type, but just because you're not a twiggy model doesn't mean you can't at least give it a try. Who knows, some of your body insecurities could take a back seat and you may find some of that inner body confidence you may have been lacking!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Finding a Sports Bra for a Fuller Figure

Hi AR Stylists fans! It's Alexis, and I am so excited to share some news with you! Ladies, if you're like me, you have problems finding clothing and undergarments to fit your large chest. Going into a store and picking a shirt, bathing suit, or bra right off the rack and having it fit perfectly only happens in our dreams. I have been on the hunt for a really great sports bra for about 5 months now. My other ones just plain hurt me- they are the racerback style, and holding your breasts up by the back of your neck results in a bad headache, back and neck pain, and sometimes, slight brush burns and bruises. Sometimes I would even have to double or triple up on my bras, depending on my activity level. I knew that there had to be something else out there that would hold me in better, not give me a headache, and not constrict my breathing.

I began by going to plenty of department and sporting goods stores, but they don't really carry any sizes above a 36DD. I'm a 38DDD (same as a 38F), and nothing would fit the way it should. Plus, most bras that are my size or larger would be special orders, which would drive the cost up more. I began doing research online, scouring blogs, fuller figured websites, and came across THE most amazing sports bra I have ever seen (your opinion may be different)! I found this glorious contraption on, and it is the Donna Karan Intimates Signature Active Sport Bra. First off, it comes in my size (yay)! Second, it has extra cushioning on its adjustable bra straps for comfort and support. It isn't a racerback, has an outer underwire, and also has 2 separate cups so you don't get the uni-boob effect. It certainly isn't an inexpensive undergarment, priced at $54 pre tax, but this investment would surely be worth it. To be able to exercise without pain is something I haven't experienced since Middle School! I ordered one to try it out, and if I ended up liking it, I would be sure to order another to hold me over. The reviews of this particular bra were all positive, so I was put a bit more at ease while punching in my credit card numbers at the checkout. (I found a coupon code for this website that gave me 10% off, you can Google search for any promo codes that may take your total down)

Once the bra arrived less than a week later, I couldn't wait to try it on. My mother and one of my aunts happened to be over, and they also have the same bra size issues that I do. They were just as eager as I was to see if I had found the Holy Sports Bra Grail. After adjusting the straps, I took a deep breath, turned around in the mirror, and loved what I saw. My ladies were securely held in, my breathing was not constricted, and there was no pain anywhere. I jumped a few times and then ran out to show my family. They proceeded to write down the website and the bra model so they could go and order their own! I attended an intense Zumba class later that evening and smiled the whole time, for I had no pain while jumping around and dancing, unlike the previous class with my old bras. This bra is perfect for a high impact activity, like Zumba or running, and you don't have to worry about having to double up on your bras. The microfiber material is comfortable, and washes well. I ordered another that night and they will both be in regular rotation on my workout days.

Some details you should look for when searching for a fuller figured bra are at least 3 hook and eye closures, padded shoulder straps, an underwire, and adjustable straps. I typically look for full coverage, and with everyday bras, I go for a minimizer. Maidenform makes some great bras with minimizers for fuller figures.

The Freshpair website also has plenty of other options for sports bras and sizes, and remember, not every brand/size is going to work for everyone. Try it out, and read the reviews. A comfortable and supportive bra, just like a man, is difficult to find. Once you found the right one, you just know! Donna Karan, you are my hero! I only wished I knew about this sports bra about a decade ago!

To check out this bra for yourself, click here.
To view the sports bra collections on Freshpair, click here.

Monday, March 10, 2014

How to Mix and Match Color Using the Color Wheel

If you've ever stood in front of your closet and scratched your head wondered how to mix and match colors in your wardrobe, you're not alone. It's a question we get asked quite a bit. It isn't a huge mystery, but there is a theory behind it. Enter the color wheel. The color wheel is the perfect guide to getting you a whistle and a holler worthy look!

Let's use the wheel and divide it into 2 sections... warm and cool tones. This will help you choose a color palette to build your wardrobe around. 

Warm Hues:
Do you have a preference for reds, oranges and yellows? You will want to go for the warm tones in the color palette. You can finish your look with neutrals that have a yellow undertone: browns, olives, and creams. Think a red dress with a classic tan trench coat and a pair of nude rounded toe patent leather pumps. The red dress is the star, and the other pieces won't compete with it. 

Cool Tones:
If you lean towards blues, greens and purples, you have a thing for the cool tones. Work some neutrals in that have a blue undertone such as black, grey, and white to complete your outfit. For example, a pair of mint colored skinny jeans with a chambray top paired with a heather grey boyfriend cardigan sweater and black flats. 

It isn't too difficult, right? And, if the mystery is still just that, call or email us so we can help you find the perfect wardrobe for you!

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