Monday, December 31, 2012

I Love Boots

I mean, I r-e-a-l-l-y love boots. I love the various contemporary styles of boot-wear and how they can instantly boost your style quotient.  For many years, however, I suffered from “boot envy”. Yes, it's true. My extra large calf and my need for a double wide width kept me an outsider looking in at the boot-wearing world. Forgive the Christmas metaphor, but it felt like I was left outside, gazing into a window of a warmly decorated living room, fire roaring, family gathered around the tree, singing carols and sipping eggnog, and there I was, on the outside, in the cold. I think you get the picture.

Ulla's selection of wide calf boots , however, has invited me in! Ulla covers me in every style and merrily, at an affordable price. 

Here's what I'm lovin'. One style was on my Christmas wish list; can you guess which one?

Low-Heeled Ankle Boot 

Ulla's Leg-lengthening Ankle Boot, 25922, gives style and extra height with its 2" stack-look heel. The boot is 4" high from the top of the heel, with a comfy tricot lining and a non-slip synthetic sole. It's perfect for pants or jeans.

Flat Knee-High Boot

Ulla's Stretch Back Riding Boot, 25930, is a comfortable riding-style boot with a wide calf that has two 
s-t-r-e-t-c-h panels forming the entire back, to conform to the shape and width of your leg. There is a pretty buckle strap accent at the rear ankle. The boot is 14" tall from the top of the 1" stack-look heel. This boot is so versatile with jeans, pants, and leggings, and of course, skirts and dresses. I love the clean, crisp “riding” style.

Dressier Heeled Boot

Ulla's Patent Trim Dress Boot, 25929, is a tall boot with a touch of sass. With patent and sueded angled trim on the calf and at the ankle, it has a square toe and is 15" high from the top of its 2 1/4" stacked-look heel. This is a beautiful pair of boots! Oh my, this boot just polishes any outfit!

Wedge Boot

Ulla's Versatile Wedge Boot, 25926, has a pebble-grained texture making it casual, but still stylishly tailored. It has a rounded toe and it is 14" high from the top of the stacked-look wedge heel. Personally, I wear this boot several times a week  very easy to build an outfit with. This is a low wedge boot that will take you anywhere in smooth, sleek style.

So, I dropped a few hints – and yes, I received a pair of Ulla's Stretch Back Riding Boots, in brown, for Christmas! Love 'em!!

Which style would you pick?

Ulla Popken Blogger & Stylist
Feel good in what you wear.

Monday, December 17, 2012

One Gorgeous Jacket

Ulla's Tweed and Chenille Plaid Jacket, 25323, is a star! In fact it was just featured in November by Marie Claire magazine’s plus size fashion blogger, Nicolette Mason, the "Big Girl in a Skinny World".

A go-to jacket for many occasions, its festive, regal red plaid pushes it to the front of my closet during the Holiday Season.  It's a richly textured designer-style plus size jacket with a polished look that can be worn over pants or skirts. 

It has pretty winged lapels, patch pockets, fringed trim, and faceted dressmaker buttons over hidden snaps. I love the fact that it is shaped with light shoulder pads, but still has a comfortable relaxed fit.

Here are three ways I'm wearing this winner jacket this season, over...

1. ... a white tee and jeans. As a thoroughbred look through and through, I'll never get over jeans and a white tee. As I've matured, I love the juxtaposition of a designer style jacket over a pair of great classic jeans. Ulla's Stretch Denim Boot-cut, 14823, has just enough stretch for comfort but not too much so that the jeans loose the silhouette I'm after. (The jeans come in a Slim-leg cut, 14824, as well, and both styles are available in a shorter length with a 28 inch inseam.) Try Ulla's Split Neck Tee, 31561, in white, for a crisp, high quality look and great coverage.

2. ... Ulla's Matte Jersey Black Tank, 94568, and Slim-leg Pants, 02635. This outfit was among my favorites in Babe's Picks. It is a sophisticated look and comfortable as can be. Is there a better combination?

3. ... Ulla's Matte Jersey Dot Sleeve Maxi Dress, 31254. Why? The sleeves of the dress are nicely cut so there is minimal bulk, but they give me the option of removing the jacket if I get too warm. I also plan on wearing the dress, alone, on New Year's Eve!

In your opinion, how many wearings of an item make it an investment piece?

Ulla Popken Blogger & Stylist
Feel good in what you wear.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Pearls, Pearls, Pearls … Especially for the Holidays

Ulla’s gorgeous plus size clothing  is complemented by the addition of the right jewelry. Completing your look with a jewelry “layer” provides dramatic impact and rich interest with its light and movement. Here’s the perfect example: Ulla's Carolee Pearl Collection. Whether you make it a holiday treat for yourself or a friend, or put it at the top of your Ulla Wish List,  it makes the best sizeless, ageless, and timeless gift around.

Carolee's Pearl Rope Necklace, 15970, is a full 72 inches—yes, six feet—of lustrous faux pearls to wrap and drape in an assortment of ways; to work with styles from classically elegant to fun and flirty. Choose from three colors: white, charcoal and gold-colored. Their beauty is represented in Ulla's photography, but there is so much more to admire: their substantial feeling of quality and their gleaming luminosity. They are commensurate with the stature of us curvy ladies! You need to feel, hold and wear these pearls to appreciate their beauty.

Carolee's Pearl Snake Bracelet, 15972, wraps your wrist in lustrous faux pearls. It stretches to fit everyone and completes your understated day-or-night look when paired with the matching pearl rope necklace and Carolee Pearl Stud Earrings, 15971 (a 12mm size 'pearl') and is a real knock-out with one of the Carolee drop earring styles Ulla offers.  For me, an “average” 7-and-a-half-inch bracelet is not big enough, so I love this bracelet because it fits perfectly.

I do love earrings, always have. Perhaps the most important piece of jewelry you can wear is earrings. Why? Earrings gather light and direct it to the face. If your best feature is your eyes, smile, skin or hair, earrings will help spotlight it. When it comes to jewelry, earrings can offer high impact for little money. Carolee Pearl and Pave Earrings, 15975, are stunning, mixing pearls with elegant pave crystals for a fresh approach to a classic look. They are made for pierced ears and are one inch in length.

I can dream, can't I? Carolee Crystal and Pearl Earrings , 22056, transport me to the glamour of fine jewelers of world renown. These earrings are spectacular: sparkling crystal leaves enhance two faux pearls to create a pretty and delicate pierced style, one and one half inches long. Very special for the holidays!

Jewelry is a sophisticated addition that helps you shine on the outside the way you shine on the inside. It’s a “must” for the holiday season. Use jewelry to add radiance and balance your proportions. The jewelry we curvy women wear must be proportionate to our “real estate”. It presents the opportunity to be spectacular!

If you'd like to view Ulla's Carolee Collection, click here.

And, we'd love to hear about a favorite piece of jewelry in your personal collection.

Ulla Popken Blogger & Stylist
Feel good in what you wear.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Holiday Magic

Once in a while an item comes along that just makes an outfit. Often it is a plus size top that seems to inspire many outfits and stretches your wardrobe to take you many places. Such an item is Ulla's Allover Beaded Vest, 25330. One of the things that really pleases me about our Allover Beaded Vest is its versatility. I can see it as the anchor piece in a continuum of outfits ranging from dressy to casual, thereby taking me just about every place I need to go during the holiday season. Now that's plus size clothing magic!


Contrast Edged Blouse, 25431, Silver/Black
Mixed Media Flat, 24918, Grey


Knit Turtleneck Dress, 75209, Merlot
Feather Pump, 25938, Black Suede


Pintuck Trim Tunic, 24436, Poppy
Scrunch Suede Boot, 25925, Red


Colorblock Skimmer, 24915, Grey/Burgundy

How would you wear Ulla's Allover Beaded Vest?

Ulla Popken Blogger & Stylist
Feel good in what you wear.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Lengths Graded by Size

Some customers ask, "Why does Ulla grade the length of some tops by size?" In other words, just because I'm bigger doesn't mean I'm taller. This is certainly true and I'd like to share how it works and the options you have. 

First, Ulla's design team always offers options. If we offer a certain style graded by size, we usually offer a similar style in the same length for all sizes. For example, Ulla's Crochet Detailed Top, 14561, is graded by size, from 29 - 33 inches. It has rich embroidery, relaxed fit, 100% cotton knit and comes in great colors: Autumn, Navy, Peacock, and Aubergine. Ulla's Braid Ribbon Knit Tunic, 24557,  has a standard 34 inch length. It, too, is embellished with loops of ribbon braid creating a lace-like effect at the open neckline, it's a relaxed fit and made of 100% cotton and it come in jewel tones too, Merlot and Baltic.

Another example is Ulla's Contrast Edged Blouse, 25431, graded by size from 29 - 33 inches.  It's a soft, 100% rayon crepe blouse, shirt collar, button placket front, long sleeves with adjustable button cuffs, chest pocket and relaxed fit. Ulla's Chest Pocket Shirt, 14451, comes in a standard 32 inch length. It too is made of 100% rayon crepe with long sleeves and classic button-down styling with chest flap pockets. Both come in a bounty of classic colors.

A third example takes the form of a jacket. Ulla's Matte Jersey Swing Jacket, 94567, is graded by size from 29-33 inches. On the other hand, Ulla's Matte Jersey Jacket (love the shawl collar!) - 24546, comes in a standard 32 inch length. These jackets are both made of the same excellent, wrinkle resistant, easy to wear Matte Jersey fabric, and come in a range of beautiful colors that really make a wardrobe work-hard!

Why is it necessary to make both options?

Women carry weight differently, in different places. Each of these places affect how a top drapes, how it falls - how long it appears. For example, I take up 'length' by my large bust and tummy. One Forum member made the astute comment, that the V Neck Teal Chenille Sweater, 25556, I wore in Babe's Picks looks much shorter on me than the model. This is because my bust pulls the sweater out, thereby shortening the length. Other women take up length with extra weight on the back, midriff, hips or tush. 

Thankfully, Ulla offers both options. You'll know which one's right for you and then can streamline your picks. If you are shorter and don't want tops that are too long, you can choose tops that come in a standard length. However, if you are shorter but notice that where/how you carry weight causes the top to seem shorter than you'd like, you can choose the graded length options.

I know Ulla's design team, Diane and Alicia (and me too,) would appreciate your thoughts on this sizing issue.

Ulla Popken Blogger and Stylist
Feel good in what you wear.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Are you a curvy petite diamond?

The curvy petite diamond is probably 5'4" or shorter, wears plus size and finds herself having to shorten the inseam of pants and the sleeves of tops and jackets. Sound familiar?


We want to keep patterns on a somewhat smaller scale, put together tonal or monochromatic outfits, avoid excess fabric and opt for fabrics that conform just a bit, wear a bit of a heel when comfortable and choose footwear with a narrowed toe box.


Here's the news:
Ulla has three styles of plus size bottoms that are a break-through for the petite curvy woman. Yes!!

Check out these styles:

Ulla's Short Stretch Denim Slim-leg Jean, 24844, has a 28 inch inseam (the regular cut has a 31 inch inseam) and comes in denim and dark denim shades. This is a classic denim in a sleek fit that stretches to your body's contours with front button-and-zip closure.

Ulla's Short Stretch Denim Boot-cut Jeans, 24833, also with a 28 inch inseam, stretches to your body's contours too with a front button-and-zip closure. The leg lengthening boot-cut fit flatters every figure. The fabric is 99% cotton/1% spandex. Both jeans can be machine washed.

Ulla's Short Stretch Twill Button Pant, 24832, comes in black and khaki. It's a well-tailored pant with button zipper front, back darts and slash pockets. Enjoy the relaxed fit, with 97% cotton/3% spandex fabrication. This pant, too, is machine washable. The inseam of this pant is 27 inches (the regular cut has a 30 inch inseam.)

Ulla's Beaded Fantasy Floral Knit Top, 24554, has a well-scaled print of exotic blooms and swirls, and also 3/4 sleeves and 100% cotton fabric. Notice the bottom of the print, gorgeous blues that will melt over jeans for a sleek tonal look.

Ulla's Contrast Edged Blouse, 25431, is soft, drapey and lightly textured moss crepe with simple but striking standout accents. This is a striking plus size top that won't overwhelm your shorter frame. It is a long-sleeved top, the buttoned cuff  however, will help you fold the sleeve back and shorten to your desired length. Check out the colors combinations: Rio Red/Black, White/Black, and Silver/Black.

Ulla's Crochet Detailed Top, 14561, has rich tonal embroidery and crocheted neckline trim. It's 100% cotton knit with 3/4 sleeves. It comes in gorgeous colors, Autumn, Navy, Peacock and Aubergine.


Ulla's Matte Jersey Swing Jacket, 94567, paired with a matching Tank Top, 94568 is a perfect "twin set." The jacket is going to fall at the upper to mid thigh, the fabric is soft and drapes beautifully and the sleeves are 3/4 length. I love the rich jewel tones, Plum, Rio Red, Deep Teal and Black.


Ulla's Chandelier Print Inset Knit Dress, 25222, will require a hem but it will be well worth it. Here's my thinking, curvy petite women are used to hemming dresses. Simply hem to the most flattering part of your leg. The tonal, elongating qualities of this dress are quite flattering and are worth the effort and small expense to get a customized fit. Everything else is perfect for you: long, slimming seams, 3/4 sleeves, stretchy soft fabric, 97% viscose rayon/3% spandex and it's machine washable.

Consider Ulla's Cap Toe Skimmer, 24917. It has cap toe piping and a narrowed toe box. The tonal detail provides interest without distracting for a simple, elegant look.

Ulla's Ghillie Pump, 24910, has a 1 inch heel and a bit of a rounded toe. It is made of micro-suede with cut-out vamp and faux tassel tie. The smooth piping detail adds interest and keeps the look sleek.

Please share your tips for the curvy petite diamond!


Ulla Popken Blogger & Stylist

Feel good in what you wear.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Are you a Heart Shape Diamond?

The heart shape diamond is broad and full in the arms, shoulders and through the ribcage but narrower through the hips, thighs and legs.  We want to keep the fabric soft and flowing so it doesn't cling to puffy areas along the back.


Keeps the fabrication soft and beautiful. Avoid defined waists and choose tunic length tops that end at hip, which will smooth out and fade the fullness at waist and tummy line and draw attention and bring focus to the hip line, which is trimmer. Patterns at the hip, therefore, are good choices. Keep the cut of pants slim.

Ulla's Gold Rush Embellished Tunic, 25424, is a perfect choice. Boho style and lavish goldtone embellishments of metallic embroidery, velvet ribbon, sequins and beading come together in an eclectic combination especially rich at the bottom of the garment, bringing focus to your trimmer lower half. The fabric is semi-sheer georgette and is lined through the body; with long, sheer illusion sleeves.

Another, more casual option is Ulla's Color Collage Knit Tunic, 25563, with a resounding crescendo at the lower half. Every color of the rainbow makes an appearance on this lively border print plus size top.

Ulla's Midnight Garden Jacket, 25322, is made of a chenille-textured jacquard that feels luxurious, and looks lavish in deep black with golden floral designs. It is edged with decorative loop trim, accented with metallic dome buttons. The firm fabric will not cling to puffy areas and the trim at the Mandarin collar and hip creates well-placed focal points.

Okay, so you know I'm going to recommend Ulla's Matte Jersey Straight-leg Pants, 02635 to pair with the Gold Rush Tunic or the Midnight Garden Jacket. I love this pant! It's a soft knit essential and has a smooth resilient feel and natural wrinkle resistance. So comfortable, so easy with a flat elastic waist and slim fit.

Ulla's Stretch Ponte Knit Slim-cut Leggings, 14622, are an easy mate for the Color Collage Knit Tunic. These pants are go-to for the heart shape diamond.

Ulla's Split Neck Knit Dress, 25230, is a super choice for opening up a wide upper torso. It's an easy-going dress accented with a split, draped kerchief-look collar in both front and back. The plus size dress comes in two soft, interesting colors, Baltic and Carbon.

Another good choice is Ulla's Button Accent Knit Dress, 25231, precise rows of fabric-covered shank buttons flank the half-zip front below the round neckline, and thereby draw a vertical line through a wider upper torso. This dress comes in Eggplant and Black - give the Eggplant a try!

Please share your tips for the Heart Shape Diamond!


Ulla Popken Blogger & Stylist
Feel good in what you wear.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Are you an Emerald Shape Diamond?

Emerald shape diamonds are straight up and down, much in the way models are - mostly everything looks good! Emerald Diamonds are wide and full from the shoulders and arms through the hips, thighs, and legs, and have no significant indentation at the waist.

Plus size Emerald Diamonds want to avoid styles that emphasize the natural waist and should instead opt for styles with empire waists. Choose embellishments that create interest and depth. Keep tops long and choose dresses with what I like to call "hot spots."


I'm crazy about Ulla's Crocheted Lace-trim Tunic, 25425! It's an empire plus size tunic in a richly elegant print finished with a paisley border. Beautiful scalloped crocheted lace edges the surplice V-neckline. Ulla's Waterfall Sharkbite Knit Tunic, 24560 comes in gorgeous colors, Poppy, Emerald, Bayberry, Lagoon and Black. What a soft knit! The face-framing draped waterfall neckline softens the 'squareness' of the torso and lengthens the overall silhouette.

Twin Sets:
Ulla's Entwined Floral Burnout Duster Set, 25350, turns heads. Love the longer 34 inch length, the matching scoop-neck tank and the overall dramatically beautiful floral motif and color palette. Above, when I suggested interest and depth - the burnout sheer print technique makes this set a great example of added dimension and stature.

Continuing the theme of the waterfall neckline is Ulla's Waterfall Beaded Knit Dress, 25225. The 'hot spot' on this dress is embellished beading at the shoulders. Very pretty - very smart. Ulla's Intricately Beaded Empire Dress, 25228, is a graceful chiffon tank dress richly embellished with a deep band of beading that defines the empire waist.

The Emerald Diamond has no disproportionate areas. Choose Ulla's Stretch Button Zip Tab Pant, 14821, stretchy, soft, with a silky surface texture that allows tunics to drape and not grab. This plus size pant is available in Espresso and Black.

Please share your tips for Emerald Shape Diamonds!


Ulla Popken Blogger & Stylist

Feel good in what you wear.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Are you a marquise shape diamond?

The marquise shape diamond is thinner through the arms, shoulders, hips, and legs, but has a larger, fuller tummy and/or tush.


We are going to keep the attention up and on the face, shoulders, cleavage and neckline of an item. We're going to minimize attention at the waist and avoid a defined waist. Bottoms will be solid and in deep tones, flattering the tummy and tush.

Ulla's Wildly Wonderful Swirl Tunic, 25429, has beautiful stand-out accents that suggest Venetian glass in a graceful V-neckline and the tones deepen through the middle! Right where the marquise diamond wants it!

Ulla's Tonal Embroidered Tunic, 25427, has subtly shaded contrasting embroidery on the front yoke and half placket giving this soft plus size tunic a special richness in warm colors of Merlot and Autumn focusing the attention on the shoulders.

For playful, casual occasions, Ulla's Color Collage Knit Tunic, 25563, the rich palette and design scheme actually distract from puffiness through the tummy. The vibrant print takes over in a strategic way. For special occasions, Ulla's Chevron Sequin Front Tunic, 25439, is gorgeous with distinctive sequin chevron beading at the V-neckline, cuffs and right down through the center front, creating an elongating effect. Yes!

Ulla's Dimensional Jacquard Knit Jacket, 25560,  has an abstract animal design in a textured jacquard knit. Large black buttons draw a vertical line right through the middle, minimizing attention at the waist.

Ulla's Allover Beaded Vest, 25330, has an open front of semi-sheer georgette with beading and sequins which will layer beautifully over many plus size tops. This is a knock-out piece!

Ulla's Crepe Wide-leg Pants, 92820, have an adjustable drawstring waist, and slash pockets for a soft, graceful look. Easy to wear!
Ulla's Silver Moon Beaded Jacket Dress, 25226, is an elegant two-piece jacket dress that glitters with metallic silvertone embellishments and beading. The A-line empire waist tank dress has camisole straps and a sweetheart neckline which will emphasize some of the marquise diamond's best features.

Ulla's Sequin Banded Chiffon Dress, 15220, will also turn heads, it's a stunner and keeps the focus right where you want it, especially if you have legs you want to flaunt!

Please share your own tips for marquise shape diamonds!


Ulla Popken Stylist & Blogger

Feel good in what you wear.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Are you a round shape diamond?

The round shape diamond is round and full through the arms, shoulders, back, tummy, hips and thighs. She may or may not have a smaller waist.


We are going to allow for the fullness of the bust, and avoid pulling or gaping. We're going to create a gentle fullness between the bust and the hip. Interesting necklines, an open neck in general, brings attention up and on the face. In terms of the torso as a whole, the round shape diamond should look for outfits with a strong linear detail or focus.


Ulla's Gathered Beaded Center Knit Tunic, 25571, has a graceful fall of soft pleating which avoids any pulling and an A-line fit. Embellished with flaring rows of faceted beading, against a rich Merlot color (or Black)  - the tops centers attention on the face. In the same spirit, Ulla's Pintuck Trim Tunic, 24436, has a similar gentle drape with well-centered detail bringing focus to the face as well. Ulla's Embroidered Tunic Blouse, 05420, mixes complementary prints in a great way for the round shape diamond. The neckline is open and enhanced with vivid embroidery. The sleeves are a much darker pattern, allowing the fullness of the arm to seem to recede a bit.

A linear masterpiece, Ulla's Grommet-trim Knit Coordinates, the Jacket, 25561, paired with the Tank, 25562, keep the eye running north and south. I appreciate the infusion of 5% spandex, making the set drape and softly glide over curves. This set is a great example of the line keeping the silhouette sleek and sophisticated, inviting rich colors like Emerald, Grape or of course, Black.

Pair any of the tops with Ulla's Matte Jersey Straight-leg Pants, 02635 for a slimming, comfortable bottom that takes you just about anywhere.


I'm lovin' Ulla's Bead and Braid-trim Knit Dress, 25240, in Rio Red (or Black) for the round shape diamond. It is an Empire dress with a flattering V-shaped frame at the neckline. It flatters the torso with a sweat-heart shaped bodice with soft gathers below, front and back. The embellishment is rich and decisive.

Please share your own tips for round shape diamonds!


Ulla Popken Stylist & Blogger

Feel good in what you wear.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Are You a Pear Shape Diamond?

My next five posts address "body shapes." Your body shape or frame is really an overall picture of the size of one body part compared to others, regardless of how much you weigh. Did you know that your body frame can be likened to the shape of a diamond?

In my opinion, there are five body types. Sometimes this determination is harder to identify than others. Often a large women is large all over. When this is the case, decide if one body part is disproportionate to or larger than other parts - this will be the key.

The pear shape diamond is smaller through the arms, shoulders and bust than the lower half and has wide hips, tush, thighs and calves.



Choose styles that have interest at the neck, lapel or shoulders. The goal is to broaden the shoulders just a bit to provide balance to your larger lower half. Ulla's Matte Jersey Jacket, 24546, with it's shawl collar, gathered shoulders and open front is an easy choice. Wear jackets, tops and coats that are fitted at the top but gently flare at the bottom with a slim solid bottom. Pattern plus size tops are your friend! Ulla's Dimensional Jacquard Knit Jacket, 25560, provides a great frame for your torso.


Bring the attention up to your neckline and face with bright, significantly sized jewelry, like Ulla's Blue and Silver Necklace, 24042. Adjust the adaptable hook so that you get a flattering 21 inch drop - right where you want the eye to focus.

Finish either plus size jacket choice with Ulla's Matte Jersey Wide-leg Pant, 85601, sleek, slimming and providing comfortable balance for the whole silhouette.


An empire waist dress is a winner for the pear shape diamond. This style draws attention to the bust or upper half of the body, because the embellishment and focus is at the neckline, right where you want it. Ulla's Sequin Bodice Knit Maxi Dress, 25220, is eye-catching at the top with graceful gathering that falls into soft folds below the bodice - perfect!

Calling pear shape diamonds to share their best tips!

Ulla Popken Blogger & Stylist
Feel good in what you wear.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Guest Post: The Here and Now of Plus Size Clothing

Our guest post today is from Maureen (Moe) Wood, who has been the Editor of the Large and Lovely site at BellaOnline  for eight years and has a plus size shopping blog where she shares My Favorite Things. Moe is one of the most knowledgeable and approachable experts on plus size fashion in cyberspace and beyond.  She just celebrated her seventeenth wedding anniversary and is working up the nerve to dye her hair blue. Yikes!!

Many women today still believe there are no clothing options available for plus size women. I think the problem with this belief lies in our old world view of shopping. This last decade and especially in the last five years the internet has played an enormous role in plus size shopping and retailers like Ulla Popken have not ignored its importance, although some companies (and shoppers) have been slow to embrace it.

I would like to say, gone are the days of walking into the store to shop but plus size women really never had that option to begin with (there was a lot of settling) and I do not think that will change.  Instead of whining about it I think we all need to embrace it.  The opportunity for plus size women to shop at "hundreds" of stores has never been more exciting, all without having to leave the comfort of their sofa.

I think part of the issue is a certain fear of shopping online; especially those with little online experience --sizing issues, being ripped off, etc. With sizing issues, well we complained about those at stores too. Everyone does. If trust is an issue then the safest way to begin online shopping is to start with companies that have been around for a while, read their profiles and definitely read recommendations from other shoppers.

The best thing plus size specialty retailers did for plus size women was to open up an online shop for their businesses.  Now we can shop across the United States, Canada, England, Australia, and even Denmark for clothes we could not even think of buying in our home towns.

The best companies are all too willing to answer questions and help online shoppers to make their shopping experience rewarding either through email, online chat or over the phone.

All that being said about how wonderful internet shopping is, unfortunately there are still some sub-groups of the plus size market that are lacking.  I think the most under-represented women are those who are plus size and petite.  I would really like to see a plus size petite clothing company make a big marketing campaign -- along with fashion show, etc. Until then they will have to search a little harder than the rest of us.

Another sub-group that has suffered are the women in the larger sizes, above 3x. Their clothing options over the last twenty years have been horrific but there are some really nice brands delivering fashion in extended sizes.  One of the things I love about Ulla Popken is that they have an offering of clothing that goes up to size 38. I consider Ulla Popken to be the quiet brand.  They are not in your face with provocative ads and they offer a classy functional style that is well made -- dare I say reliable.  If it were not for the internet I would never have had access to what they have to offer and definitely not have had the opportunity to meet Babe.

For the most part I think we are open to what the future of plus size clothes shopping has to offer but I think we still have one foot in the past and we need to bring it into the here and now if we are to take full benefit. We need to let go of the old ideals of how to shop so we can look good and actually enjoy our shopping experiences on our own terms.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I'm Feelin' It

It's summer, the weather is warm and my social life seems to be heating up too.

Enter... Ulla's Dobby Tunic Blouse Set, #24423, which comes in two lovely colors, blossom (pink) or grass green.  This tunic reminds me of the proverbial dilemma of the chicken and the egg - which came first? The Dobby Tunic Blouse Set certainly has the power to create a mood.  It's also, what I choose when I'm in a feminine, light-hearted and playful mood and I want to dress the part. 

The set is light-weight with delicate crochet work. The beauty of this plus size set is how the crochet work gracefully outlines your shoulders and frames your face. It reveals the perfect amount of skin. Sensuous but not overdone. The blouse is 32 inches and the matching tank is 30 inches long and machine washable.

Reach for it when you're feelin' it or when you want to feel it!  Remember, there's no harm to "fake it 'till you make it" - if you get my meaning :)

Do you have an item that is a mood-maker?

Ulla Popken Stylist & Blogger
Feel good in what you wear.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Style that Lasts

One of my all time Ulla favorites, the Watercolor Print Duster, #12430, reminds me of icons of style that last.

Yes, the duster has many virtues like it's semi-sheer fabric, soft surface texture, 36 inch length providing cool coverage, it's machine washable and presented in a palette of vivid ocean colors against a crisp cool white background. More importantly perhaps is that it is an updated classic that always looks good on me and I can take that to the bank. No pun intended, I know I'm not spending a fortune because it gives me great style and versatility.

When I think of pieces that I wear frequently, it's amazing how the cost per wear goes down.  This duster creates fabulous looks right from my closet. It gives me an instant shot of confidence because it's tried and true. Here's how I exploit it's versatility, I use it as a:

Cover-up over a bathing suit. Pin a small turquiose pin on a black swim suit, creating a matching set instantly.

Tunic, buttoned up, over Ulla's  leggings,19900, in white. The 36 inch length makes this the ideal plus size top for leggings. Wear with tonal earrings to polish to your look and bring radiance to your face.

Jacket worn open over a white tee shirt and a casual pant, such as our Stretch Twill Relaxed Pants, 12830, in white or our Stretch Denim Button Boot Leg Jeans, 14823. My secret is to button only one button at the smallest part of my torso, creating a waist.

Duster worn to the office - wear it open over a trimming column of color from Ulla's Matte Jersey collection. Choose a monochromatic set, Matte Jersey Tank, 94568 and Matte Jersey Straight Leg Pants, 02635. in either plum, navy or black.

Tell us about a classic piece you use to update your look instantly.


Ulla Popken Stylist & Blogger

Feel good in what you wear.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Jewelry That Flatters You & Finishes Your Look

Guest blogger Cynthia Sliwa recently started  her own blog, Truly Becoming: Conversations About Authentic Style for Women Over 40. For over five years, she has been sharing her observations about jewelry trends in her Jewelry Fashion File blog for the respected  jewelry industry publication JCK Magazine at  She is co-author of the book Jewelry Savvy: What Every Jewelry Wearer Should Know. You may also know Cynthia from her writing as a columnist and  contributing editor for AmaZe Magazine and and from her workshops on full-figured style. Cynthia is a professional image consultant, working one-on-one with individuals to assist them with their personal and professional style.

Visit Cynthia's blog at Don't miss my guest post and a special opportunity to win your favorite tunic from Ulla Popken! 


Feel good in what you wear!
Once you've found an outfit you love, whether you prefer the comfort of separates or the ease of a dress, take your style up a notch with the addition of jewelry. Adding an item or two of tastefully chosen jewelry not only polishes your look, it also draws attention where you want it to go. 
Earrings are a great way to draw attention up to your face. Stud earrings are a comfortable choice. Faux pearl studs by Carolee, style number 15971, glam up a look and add a flattering bit of gleam near your face. Choose classic soft white, charcoal for cool pink-based complexions, or gold  if your skin has peach or golden undertones. These are especially great for travel, when you don't want to worry about losing a set of natural or cultured  pearls.

For more casual looks, try hoop earrings. Ulla Popken's "Oval Hoop Earrings," style number 21034,  designed in hammered gold-toned or silver-toned metal, they add plenty of pizzazz for a modest price.
Short statement necklaces have a strong presence in the pages of fashion magazines for good reason -- they add a delightful dose of eye candy near the face. The short length  is wonderfully flattering for women with full chests. These necklaces draw the eye up to the face rather than down to the bustline.
Ulla Popken sells a number of short statement necklaces in intriguing mixes of color. For instance, the "Autumn Necklace," style number 24043, consists of three strands of a combination of translucent and solid-hued beads, perfect for the woman who looks great in autumnal colors. The look is reminiscent of retro 1950s looks but in a more generous 21-inch length (plus 3-inch extender), which allow this necklace to fit comfortably below larger necks.
For a more versatile neutral look, the Ulla Popken "Crystal Necklace," style number 14934, of acrylic drops on a brass base works with a range of looks, from casual to dressy. The necklace is 20 inches long with a 3-inch extender, which should place the necklace in that sweet spot a flattering distance from the chin.
Take the extra moment to complete your stylish look with flattering jewelry. Or have some fun and design a look around jewelry you love!

Monday, June 04, 2012

Colors that Work

Do you select colors that you love to look at or colors that flatter your face?  Well, how about a color that does both?

Check out our Embellished Knit Tunic, #22535, in Caribbean. The fabric is soft to the touch but has enough weight to drape well, the crush of silver and white beading is rich and soft gathers of fabric frame the face beautifully. The cut of this plus size top is A-line and the fabric is 100% viscose rayon knit - which means it will move and stretch well throughout the day and it will be as wrinkle-free in the evening as it was when you put it on in the morning. The color is absolutely gorgeous and it is a universally flattering color. How can this be so?

Colors on opposite sides of the color wheel enhance each other, which is why strawberries pop and look so delicious packaged in green containers. This shade of turquoise is just about the 'color-wheel opposite' of pink― playing up a healthy blush in the skin, regardless of your complexion tone. Both light and dark, warm or cool skin tones have underlying or obvious shades of pink. That is why this color is universally flattering. Furthermore, this color is also versatile, it works for three of the four seasons and can be paired with all neutrals, black, brown, khaki, white and of course jeans.

What's your favorite universally flattering color?

Ulla Popken Stylist & Blogger
Feel good in what you wear.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Some Like It Hot

Some like it hot and some are hot! Whichever category you'd place yourself, fresh fabrics that breathe go a long way.

Our design team, Diane and Alicia are very proud of our growing line of plus size fashion made of gauze and with good reason - these fabrics are light, gentle, breathe, hold their shape and look great even when it's hot, hot, hot.

I was putting together a few things for an upcoming trip to Texas. When I took out our Caftan, 02291, I was flooded with memories of how daunting putting things together for a trip to a very warm climate was for me in the past. I remember too many days at the beach when wearing a cover-up made me feel well-presented, but I was s-w-e-l-t-e-r-i-n-g. Having gauze options make all the difference, on the beach and beyond. That memory made me decide to develop at least 75% of the outfits I plan to bring around what is available in gauze.

Here's what I'm building my wardrobe around:

Hankie Hem Gauze Blouse, 22445 (multi)
Embroidered Gauze Tunic Tank Top, 22453 (lapis)
Crochet Detailed Gauze Tunic, 22452 (mango)
Turquoise Beaded Gauze Tunic, 22441 (black)
Beaded Gauze Tunic, 22449 (mango)
Cotton Gauze Pants, 02840 (black and white)
Rosette Detailed Gauze Dress, 22256 (orange)
Cotton Gauze Caftan, 02291 (white)

When I think of looking good and feeling comfortable in the heat, simultaneously, Ulla's gauze line is almost too good to be true.  What can I say, 'we've come a long way, baby!'

How do you stay cool and look fresh?


Monday, May 07, 2012

Spring into Color

Did you ever think that the colors you wear may telegraph more about you than your fashion preferences? Color helps people read your mood and it actually affects the mood you project. So why not Spring into Color?

At Ulla, being your personal best is more than inspiration, it's practicality. There comes a point when plus size fashion is more than finding what's on trend, or even what's flattering, it's about dressing yourself in what feels good and what makes you know you look good too. That's what people mean when they refer to a woman who 'has style.' A woman with style dresses in a way that gives her an edge. 

Ulla is the go-to source for colorful, plus size tunics that can help you use color to get up, get motivated and energized to make the most of your day. 

Check out the bounty of these beauties!

How do you give yourself an edge each morning?


Ulla Popken Stylist & Blogger

Feel good in what you wear.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Spandex Done Right

Our new Community Forum, U.P.Life Cafe has triggered some interesting conversations, several of which were started by members. "I hate spandex mixed in the fabric!" has gotten lots of participation. I'm so pleased because this is the type of conversation that allows us to discuss and think through what's good and what's not - it helps us realize that things are not 'black or white,' spandex is not good or bad. Therefore, this helps our design team create plus size clothing  that really meets customers wants and needs.
On the positive side, our members seem to value the comfort and move-ability that spandex affords. We seem to like the fact that spandex helps an item keep it's shape as we wear it and as we wash it.  However, and this was the important point made by the member who started the discussion, we like a cut, that keeps the item a little away from our bodies - not clingy. No one likes it clingy!

I went through our catalog and found a few of my Ulla favorites that seems to have it all!

Check out:

Animal Print Matte Jersey Dress, 22245 (95% poly and 5% spandex) Notice the detail at the neckline that creates a bit of a drape to the line of the dress.

Drop Cowl Stretch Knit Dress, 22247 (95% viscose rayon and 5% spandex). The gathering at the high waist creates a gentle relaxed fit through the hips.

Stretch Button Zip Tab Pant, 14821 (92% nylon and 8% spandex) Great cut! In my opinion this pant is tailored but "generously."
Seagull Stretch Knit Pants, 22636 (95% viscose rayon and 5% spandex) You're going to love this plus size pant. I don't know how Diane and Alicia did it, but this is so soft and comfortable and at the same time creates a flattering silhouette that stays through the day, thanks to the spandex.

Each of these items is designed with a cut that glides over curves and does not cling. Items that are flattering, sleek and comfortable at the same time make me very happy!

Which Ulla items with spandex have worked for you?

Ulla Popken Stylist & Blogger

Feel good in what you wear.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Five Dresses that Say It All

Recently, my Ulla colleagues and I were taking a look at which of our COMMUNITY pages get the most traffic. I wasn't surprised to find that our Prez, Phyliss Mosca's "Weekly Words of Wisdom," gets a lot of hits. My guess is that as women mature, it isn't so much about finding ourselves, but rather, evolving ourselves. We're smart, open-minded and driven to be our personal best - in all we do.

Of course that includes how we dress - how we present ourselves. If you look at our Dress category, I think you'll see a microcosm of what I mean. Here are five plus size dresses that telegraph my personal style evolution for dress-down, dress-up and in-between occasions.
  • Double Tier Knit Tank Dress, 22252 - Check out the smart and strategic placement of the tiers.
  • Cotton Knit Gathered Sleeve Dress, 22246 - Great color! Glow color!
  • Stretch Knit Shirt Dress, 22241 - This fabric moves like a dream and stays wrinkle-free.
  • Crepe Dress, 02283 and Crepe Shacket, 02326 - Sophisticated pairing - shacket on or off.
  • Raglan Sleeve Stretch Knit Dress, 11250 - Perfectly cut to enhance a plus size figure.

I've adapted a yardstick of sorts to reflect my standards from Ulla's Weekly Words of Wisdom.

1. Beauty
Will I feel beautiful wearing it? (Feeling beautiful is empowering.)

2. Personal best
Is this my personal best? (Be your personal best. Today.)

3. Confidence
Does it transfer the confidence I need to soar through my day? (The most attractive thing a woman can wear is confidence.)

What's your opinion? If you were asked to rank these elements, what would be your number 1, 2, and 3, and why? Are there any other benchmarks you'd add?

Ulla Popken Blogger & Stylist
Feel good in what you wear.