Monday, October 31, 2011

Sexy and Sleek

Recently, I was thrown for a loop. A relative whom I hadn't seen in 18 years came to Baltimore and we had dinner together. Seemingly in a time-warp, I was transported back to being "such a pretty face" which was really a euphemism for being fat. CRASH! BOOM! BANG! STOP! ...Put the brakes on that 'stinkin' thinkin' Babe!

The moment passed and I got dressed for dinner in Little Italy. I have tools and insights I didn't have 18 years ago and no one, I repeat, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." (Eleanor Roosevelt)

I chose my Ulla Double Ruffle Stretch Knit Dress, in Black, #15229. The complete outfit I wore to dinner is actually one of Babe's Winter Picks. I walked into the restaurant and just knew I was the sexiest, most sophisticated woman in the joint! Amazing what a great "little black dress" can do for a woman.

The dress is:

* made of sleek, viscose rayon spandex, and trust me, it may not sound sexy, but it is!
* pretty V-neckline enhanced by a double ruffle giving 3-dimensional texture to the dress.
* long and sleek like a tall cool drink of water.

I had to laugh, my relative couldn't wait to snap my picture, several times in fact, to show to the folks back home; and after that initial wave of anxiety, I couldn't have been happier!

Please share thoughts on your feelings about family visits.
Ulla Popken Stylist & Blogger
Be your personal best.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Smart Dressing that's Not Studied

Have you ever noticed a woman who always seems to be well-dressed? Adjectives like smart, elegant, effortlessly-put-together seem to radiate from her? You can be that woman too!

The trick is to find a few 'uniforms' that work with your silhouette and lifestyle and refresh them seasonally. One example is the inner black column (tank and pant) with a go-to cardigan or jacket.

Ulla's Big Button Cardigan, #15547, is such a go-to piece. It comes in three colors, black, camel and port and is made of cotton/acrylic, 60/40, so it's comfy, drapes and keeps its original shape well.

A close cousin of this look is to use another monochromatic colored inner column, such as our Matte Jersey Tank, #94568 and Straight Leg Pants, #02635, in plum, with either a.) a tonal cardigan, say the port color, with a tonally matched flat shoe, such as the Essential Skimmer in purple, #15936, or a contrasting cardi, like the camel color, with a shoe that is also tonally coordinated with the pant.

While the term 'smart' usually refers to a look that is sleek, uncomplicated, upscale and uplifting - my guess is that the woman who takes advantage of this look is a pretty smart cookie, herself!

What are your 'uniform' looks?


Ulla Popken Stylist & Blogger

Be your personal best.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Good Coat - The Cornerstone of Confidence

Think gift wrap. Have you ever received a gift impeccably wrapped and couldn't believe your good fortune? The anticipation of the treasure inside compelled you to treat the package gently and with great appreciation. The presentation of the outer wrapping called you to make a judgment: something really fabulous was inside and must be treated accordingly.

Think of the coats in your wardrobe in this way. People will judge you in a nanosecond; your coat is your wrapping that creates the first impression others will have and will likely keep of you. Perhaps more importantly, it engenders the feeling you get about yourself as you move around through your day.

Outerwear is important and usually expensive; however it presents one-stop shopping for "fade and focus." The cut or shape of the coat will provide much of the "fade." The style details will provide the "focus."

Two Ulla coats are masterful renditions of "fade and focus" ---

The Funnel Neck Coat, #15112
Front and back yokes, vertical seams, on-seam pockets, 36" length and A-line fit provide great "fade." The strong single line of rich tonal buttons leading to the funnel neck creates "focus" right up the middle, framing the face.

The Ultimate Dress Coat, #15115
Roll-back raglan sleeves, on-seam pockets, 48" length and A Line fit provide the "fade." The "focus" is provided by the mandarin collar and four significant tonal buttons which create a vertical line pointing to the face.

Please share styles of outerwear that give you confidence.


Ulla Popken Stylist & Blogger

Be your personal best.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Full Body Photo Project

I met a very smart young woman in cyberspace, Jessica Kane. She reminded me how important it is for a woman to appreciate her whole body. After all, it is your whole body that makes your life happen, not just your head. The Full Body Photo Project is a celebration of all of YOU! The Project invites women who wear plus size to share a full body photo of themselves on a collective site. Several plus size specialty retailers are sponsoring the Project and offering prizes, of course Ulla Popken is a co-sponsor as well.

I remember back to the days when I was ashamed of my body because I was fat and the world of plus size fashion was lean. A lot has changed since then on many levels:

* Beautiful plus size clothing is plentiful- my favorite, of course being Ulla!
* The definition of beauty is expanding
* The paradigm has been changed forever - from the pity party to the pretty party!

Whew! What a relief!

A lot has changed for me too. I'm proud to work with Ulla Popken, where personal best is a combination of how you present yourself and how you live. "Dress U.P.," where our customers share pictures of themselves wearing Ulla clothing is actually a forerunner of the Project. Moreover, the very existence of Babe's Picks is evidence of a vision where all women belong and all women can be beautiful.

I hope you'll participate and put your personal best out there. Pictures that exude joy, comfort and pride may be rewarded with a gift card from one of the Project's sponsors. The Project, collectively, however, does something much more important, it unabashedly expands and redefines beauty and beckons all of us to be included.

Ulla Popken Blogger & Stylist

Be your personal best.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Jeans Give-away!

Diane*, you're a jean-ius! We will GIVE-AWAY a pair of jeans to the first 10 women to comment on my blog, Talking It U.P. AND send the comment to All we ask is for a review of the jeans within 30 days.

The launching of our new jeans is something we are very excited about and proud of at Ulla Popken. They are a representation of why we claim to be the 'better choice' in plus size fashion. Our jeans, Stretch Denim Button Zip Bootleg Pant, #14823, Stretch Denim Slim Jeans, #14824, and Stretch Denim Jeggings, #14822, have been completely rebuilt from the bottom - U.P., no pun intended - okay, maybe a little pun :)

* The fabrication is 99% cotton and 1% spandex, allowing the jeans to stay soft and well-fitted throughout the day while still giving a bit of stretch for comfort.

* The cut has been worked and reworked to embrace the curves of all of our customers. The doubled waistband sits at the navel, creating the sleekest silhouette possible.

* We sent the whistles and bells back to our daughters, where they belong, allowing our jeans to fit smoothly, agelessly, and serve as a back-drop for great tops and accessories, both casual and dressy.

* The pockets are positioned to 'lift' and smooth the appearance of the tush in a flattering way.

* The washes, Dark Denim and Denim have depth and a ruddy richness that is quintessentially American and usually only captured by designer jeans costing 2-3 times more than ours.

Did we get it right? You be the judge. Check out our VIDEO where we asked four Ulla associates, sizes 12-20, to take them for a test drive.

Yes, great jeans are an important foundation of a well-dressed woman's closet. They're versatile and therefore a no-brainer investment in a modern woman's wardrobe who wants to present herself as sharp and tuned in.

We want your opinion! If you have already tried the new jeans, we'd love to hear what you think.


Ulla Popken Stylist & Blogger

Be Your Personal Best!

*Diane Cantor is the VP for Merchandising at Ulla Popken.