The Ulla-blogging baton is being passed to two very capable writers, Joan and Diane. I hope you'll visit them at uplife.ullapopken.com Should you wish to contact me, please email to firstname.lastname@example.org Feel good in what you wear! Babe
Readers, you might remember my friend Marie and her careful step into the risky waters of dating at“a certain age”. Well, John asked Marie to meet his family! I guess things have progressed, and I am so happy for her!
Funny, I remember back 25 years to meeting my husband's family. On one occasion I met his two good-looking sisters and their boyfriends, his mom, dad and grandmother. Of course I wanted to make a good impression. I thought about looking pretty, svelte (as much as I could trick/fabricate), carefree and comfortable all while looking fashionable, sexy and wholesome. Whew!
Talk about contradictions...I was a panic-attack waiting to explode!
·sexy – but wholesome
·fashionable – but not a big spender
·pretty – but not too much make-up
·confident – but soft-spoken
You get the picture. Trying to be all things to all people was a lot of work - in fact, too much work. And of course, it can't work.
When you walk into the lovely Ulla Popken offices in Glen Arm, Maryland, you see this sign: Be-YOU-tiful. It sort of brings a lot of this rambling into perspective. Yes, by all means be beautiful, but be YOU.
Too much planning, contriving, hiding is exhausting. It drains one's energy tank and leaves nothing left with which to enjoy meeting the people who love the “special someone” you are starting to care for. Sometimes, reflective of the craziness and obsession of looking beautiful (read, thin), we lose ourselves.
·one-piece dressing is easy and always looks put--together and finished
·viscose spandex is always comfortable
·from Ulla's new Gently Shaped™ Collection, flattering a woman's curves
·the lace is sexy, youthful and appealing but still provides appropriate coverage – a tasteful balance
Getting back to Marie, the best part, she reports, was that with this simple, lovely outfit, she was able to focus on meeting John’s mother, his two grown children, their spouses and the grandchildren, ages 2 and 6, but still have a good time and look great!
Two other Ulla Gently Shaped™ dresses strike me as good go-to choices as well. The first: Ulla’s Faux Surplice Knit Dress, 32253, in “fragrant” Hibiscus or “comfy” black. The second: Ulla’s Ancient Inspirations Empire Knit Dress, 32254, choose either Brown Multi or Black Multi, coordinating with similar-toned accessories you already have for an easy pulled-together look.
Do you have a favorite great looking, easy, go-to outfit?
While Easter and Passover have deeply significant religious themes, both traditions include welcoming springtime; the egg, a symbol of springtime and rebirth is shared by both traditions. It’s hard not to love springtime and the potential of rebirth. It's not surprising then, that many women love this time of year, which seems to call for something special to wear.
The first time I saw Ulla's Rainbow Hues Tweed Jacket, 31321, I knew I wanted it for Easter! The jacket is a wonderful combination of tweedy texture and vibrant colors which bring an extra dimension of chic. Check out the contrast rope edging, pointed lapels, decorative buttons. I love that the jacket is shaped with light shoulder pads.
But why invest in another jacket?
Think of a jacket as not only a frame for your face but a frame for your torso as well. A well-designed jacket provides the shape and coverage we curvy women seek. As our curves get softer, all women, especially more mature women, benefit from the defining lines and proportions of a great-fitting jacket. Frankly, an excellent jacket can be “heavenly” for women of all ages, shapes and sizes.
How do you know if it's an excellent jacket for you?
Five check points:
Does the jacket provide gentle shaping? Does it follow your contours but improve them? Does it impose a bit of hourglass shaping to your torso?
A defining, flattering shoulder line is critical. The line should meet the edge of your shoulder. If the shoulder line of the jacket goes beyond your natural shoulder line, you'll appear larger and frumpy.
The neckline of the jacket should be prominent. I particularly like the V-neckline of this plus size jacket; it lays flat, and cuts the visual width of your upper body while framing your pretty face. Another good neckline choice is Ulla's Relaxed Knit Blazer, 31563, with its soft, curved lapels that lengthen your look. This jacket comes in great colors, Cerulean, Hibiscus and Black.
The sleeves should taper in a bit to make the arm look trimmer and longer.
The length of the jacket should end either above or below your widest point. Personally, I prefer the coverage of the latter.
There are moments in one's life that ache to be celebrated, observed, remembered, or all three. When I think about that one photograph that seems to capture the day and last through the years - I want to be assured that I looked my personal best and I felt good in what I wore. How do you measure the worth of a jacket?
Love this quote: "Remember that always dressing in understated good taste is the same as playing dead." Susan Catherine
Let's channel the wit and eye of the sardonic fashion writer, Susan Catherine, to follow-up on my previous post, in which the subject was beating the blahs. February isn't quite over yet, so let's talk about using accessories, jewelry specifically, to declare victory over the blahs and skyrocket your style.
First, identify your best colors. How? Select from a few items -- plus size topsor plus size dresses in colors you love. Next, hold one item at a time next to your face. Which item/color makes your eyes pop and sparkle, and makes your skin clear and luminescent? That's your best color!
Second, choose tonal accessories, especially jewelry. Yes, tonal accessories will layer, deepen and enrich the impact of your best color. Tonal jewelry will allow for variations of color and texture and provide opportunities to catch and distribute light on your face -- right where you want it.
Third, bigger is better. Frankly, it's what separates the WOMEN from the girls. Choose items that mix tonal colorations, metals, stones on a grand scale. This is where faux is formidable -- it renders jewelry an affordable, ageless ally and offers an instant focal point. Remember my formula of fade and focus, in other words to camouflage the negative and draw attention to the positive.
Here's an example of how an inexpensive, but gorgeous, big-scale set of jewelry boosts your style quotient and becomes the focal point for three different outfits:
February, Valentines Day notwithstanding, can bring the blahs. What to do? Go for something cheerful: bring on the vibrancy of florals, the joy of petals: yes, wear some flowers! The insight of Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Earth laughs in flowers," is spot on.
Ulla’s Tropic Fantasy Floral Knit Tunic, 32550, is a great changeover piece. The fabric is dense, high quality 100% cotton, toasty enough for cooler weather but will breathe and transition beautifully into your spring wardrobe. The vibrant background of jungle red gets the energy flowing, and the sheer beauty of the sketched turquoise blooms helps you count on balmy days just ahead.
On a practical note, this plus size tunic has a scoop neckline, 3/4 sleeves, side vents and a relaxed fit. It’s machine washable and has a length of 32 inches.
Fashion presents the opportunity to wear art, to personify it, and even to transport you to a place you desire to go.
The important role flowers may play in our daily lives is documented in many sources. One recent source, a behavioral research study conducted by Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, reveals that people feel more compassionate toward others, have less worry and anxiety, and feel less depressed when fresh cut flowers are present in the home. The research has further proven that flowers make people happy when they receive them,” Etcoff says. (http://aboutflowers.com/health-benefits-a-research/home-ecology-of-flowers-study.html)
So I wondered, is this effect limited to fresh cut flowers? Who’s to say that this impact is achieved only by fresh flowers? Perhaps the ahhhh experience can come from seeing or wearing a stunningly beautiful floral design.
One last suggestion, you can also surround yourself with flowers in Ulla's
I can guarantee they will chase those February blahs once and for all! Hey now, there's more than one way to get flowers! Personally, I am uplifted by wrapping myself in a glorious floral arrangement! How about you?
Did you know you start talking before you open your mouth? It's called body language, and it’s worth a fortune. In the early moments of meeting someone, a first impression is formed.
The New Year brings new opportunities -- if you see it that way.
My long time friend and gorgeous green-eyed, curvy, 50+ client, Marie, met a man through an online dating service and after much cautious communication and more than three months of "holiday-responsible" delays (yeah, right!) - they're about to go on their first date. YAY!
Motivated by Babe's Spring Picks, Marie wanted me to suggest a plus size outfit, from Ulla's latest collection,which would be appropriate for when she meets John (yes, that's really his name!). They've planned to meet at a casual restaurant, equidistant from both of their homes, for early drinks and dinner on a Saturday night.
My thoughts---extrapolated into “what to wear”on a first date:
First, given you never get a second chance to make a first impression, make the most of it! Choose a plus size top, in a color that you know is your best -- a color that makes your skin glow and your eyes light up. Choose something stylish and special; but something that centers attention on the woman inside and not the top itself.
Second, still all about Fade and Focus, chooseaplus size topwith a neckline that opens up and frames your pretty face. Choose a cut that is designed for you, one that you know drapes and glides over your curves flatteringly and which you will not have to "re-position" or tug at. Choose a plus size bottom that is sleek, lean and comfortable. Fade reduces the prominence of less flattering features and Focus puts the spotlight right where you want it – we all have “a best feature,” and we deserve to have it shine.
Third, "Feeling beautiful is empowering™," and I might addthat feeling beautiful makes you alsofeel warm and desirable. After teasing Marie about the three months it took to finally set up a date, I know she is taking a risk - putting it out there, and nobody likes to risk rejection. Mustering confidence after a series of disappointments is no small task. That is precisely why the energy that comes from a new outfit is called for -- it boosts confidence!
Finally, the all-important body language – want to look more beautiful? Make eye contact, lean in but keep your spine straight, use your hands confidently, smile and don’t forget to laugh if something’s funny. By the way, dressing the part helps – it just does!
When I look back at my wardrobe of 2012, something rather unexpected seems to figure prominently, Ulla's Stretch Ponte Knit Slim-cut Leggings, 14622. I'd like to share why this is so.
I may have mentioned this to you before, but… I was blessed with "thunder thighs." I've always had large, heavy AND muscular thighs. When I was much younger, and played sports, they were indeed a blessing. However, as fashion became more important to me, they seemed to grow into a big problem.
I seemed to be restricted to wide cut pants, which always needed to be bought a size or two larger than needed through the waist and hips to accommodate my thighs and to avoid that "sausage syndrome". So what happened was I was wearing full tops and wide-cut, plus size bottoms. As my insights into creating a more flattering silhouette were honed, I continued to wear long, relaxed fit plus size tops, but I started to seek out more narrow bottoms. But...always mindful of my thighs, not too narrow - so this was a challenge.
This year Diane and Alicia, Ulla's design team, encouraged me to try our Stretch Ponte Knit Slim-cut Leggings in size 20/22. I'm so glad they did! These leggings have given me a youthful, current edge and I love it. First, the fabric is substantial enough to hide my "cottage cheese." (Charming, I know!) Second, the knit fabric and elastic waist fit me perfectly, and I might add, stay perfect through the day, getting in and out of the car, after I eat, etc. The cut is sleek, provides something akin to a custom fit and actually creates a lean silhouette. Finally, these narrow, sleek, plus size bottoms are the perfect proportion for Ulla tops, great embellishments with a comfortable, relaxed fit.
So as I reflect on my wardrobe of 2012, I give Ulla's Stretch Ponte Knit Slim-cut Leggings two thumbs up! It's funny how something so simple can mean so much.