Monday, February 27, 2012

Outa the Box

Babe's Picks for Summer will have a new look and a new purpose to celebrate the plus size women's clothing revolution! We've listened to what customers are saying with regard to our photography, in addition to the models we know and love, Phillippa, Julie, Erin, and Katie, customers also want to see the clothing on a woman closer to her own size and age.

Therefore, beginning with the Summer Collection, in a dozen or so photographs, online, I will be wearing the same exact outfit as it is shown on the model! This change forced me to stretch my comfort zone, to do more listening than talking, and to rely on the judgement of then Ulla Popken design team, Diane and Alicia.

I wear a size 20 and I'm old enough to be the mother of our models. Lets just say I've been dressing my own way for a long time - perhaps too long. I've got thighs, arms and a tummy that, well, I'd prefer to hide. Turning myself over to Diane and Alica took a dose of courage.

We met at 7:30 in the morning. Diane and Alicia were already there, drinking coffee, and chatting about what they had to accomplish that day - business as usual for them. I, on the other hand, was a bit nervous but excited at the same time. Previously, I chose my own clothing for Babe's Picks, so this was a change for me - frankly, a big change. Heck, why should I listen to them? I dress pretty well, get lots of compliments and even get paid to dress other women!

They had prepared 16 outfits, and our goal was to select and photograph 12 outfits. Suffice it to say, we couldn't pick less than 14 because they just looked so good and were so beautiful. The rich, saturated colors, the white pants, the vibrant patterns, the leggings, the capris, the hankie hem, the batik duster --- were among the things I would never have tried on my own, and yet, I truly loved them on me!!!

As I reflected on the day, it would seem I took away greater insight into Ulla's exclusive designs:
  • Diane and Alicia are experts at designing for plus size women and have earned the reputation as being the trusted authority.
  • A variety of well-chosen fabrics and cuts are selected to do some of the 'hiding'.
  • Much of Ulla's clothing is designed around 'smart-prints' - which strategically direct the eye.
  • Cuts that appear Boho or non-traditional do a great job of flattering the silhouette.
  • If you don't allow yourself to think, dress and live 'outside the box' - you only get what's in the box.

Perhaps the best part of what I took away was actually the clothing itself! I can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can get out and about and wear my exciting, expanded wardrobe. :)

What have you tried that's 'outa the box?' Did it work?

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

Monday, February 13, 2012

Retail Therapy

I'm a student of Linda Bacon, PhD, the author of Health at Every Size. Among the brilliant insights she has taught me is the importance of being attentive to the full experience of eating, dressing, and living life! 'Woulda, shoulda, coulda' is a waste of time and energy. Linda's concept is to use all your senses and sensibilities to embrace the moment fully, because when you're satisfied, you're less likely to compensate with behaviors that skirt the desire and actually compromise your well-being. If you're eating an ice cream sundae, savor it fully, with all your senses. If you're selecting a plus size woman's top, love it completely, treat yourself generously.

So many of us women of a certain age who wear plus size, promise ourselves new clothing when we lose weight, when a special occasion comes around or after we buy something for someone else. Linda would say go out now and buy clothes we feel good wearing, no matter what we weigh and in the right size that we wear today. Seize the present - it's really all we have.

Taking action allows us to live in the moment, in the body we have today, which is the kind of "presentness" many spiritual disciplines such as meditation, yoga and martial arts are built upon. We want to live in the present moment with full awareness, an essential component of truly inhabiting our body. If we accept the present reality of our body, we can focus on how we feel and what we want, and move forward in our life.

So in terms of 'retail therapy' - pick one item that is a microcosm of this type of acceptance. Personally, I'm absolutely in love with Ulla's Beaded Embroidered Trim Tunic in watermelon.

I love it even more when I notice the details, touch the fabric, hold the color up to my face. I love the lines, the length, the shape, the vibe! YES! This season, this item has become a symbol of the importance of being in love with what I wear and treating myself well.

What makes you say YES to a plus size top?

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