If you’re plus sized, you may have had the same experiences I have had with thrift shopping–I rarely find anything. Imagine being in this situation if you were about to interview for an awesome new job, and you couldn’t afford a professional outfit to make a good first impression. That’s where Dress for Success steps in. With affiliates worldwide, they provide work-appropriate clothing and career assistance to women, and they accept donations from people like you. When visiting my local Dress for Success affiliate in New Orleans (on Magazine Street, a few blocks from Audubon Zoo), I found out they not only provide interview-wear for their clients, but also a week’s worth of versatile outfits once they get the job. However, much like other places that accept donated clothing, they need more plus sizes! Here is where to find your local chapter’s location and hours. Along with gently used garments, they accept accessories, gift cards, and monetary donations. The New Orleans chapter is also participating in Give Nola Day, which benefits non-profits in the New Orleans area, so May 6th is a great day to go online and make a donation. Remember Dress for Success when you’re cleaning out your closet this spring!
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Work where? No matter how you bring home the bacon, you can always be on the clock in style. In this week’s Style Study, I’m going to show you three different professional outfits tailored to different workplaces and a quick DIY to reveal your creative side.
Outfit #1: Executive Excellence
You’re the corner-office cutie who’s dressed to impress! This look is great for any workplace with a suit-and-tie dress code or for that all-important interview to you snag the job of your dreams. The power suit doesn’t have to be too matchy-matchy. I paired this plain black blazer with a chevron-striped pencil skirt, both from Lane Bryant, to show that you can mix and match your suit separates to get versatile looks from your business wardrobe. The ruffled top from Cato Fashions adds a pop of coral to brighten up your daily grind.
Chevron earrings from dELiA*s, a Lane Bryant belt, and black patent, pointy-toed heels from Zappos gives the outfit professional polish to show you mean business. Ready for a night out with co-workers? Lose the blazer for a party-perfect evening look.
Outfit #2: People Person
Let’s face it. Heels and short skirts aren’t always practical if you spend all day on your feet. You may be a teacher running to keep up with the kiddos one second and having a parent-teacher conference the next. Or, you may work in retail where you have to look put-together for the public but still have to be comfy enough to spend eight hours without sitting at a desk. This is the outfit for you! This sheer teal top from Torrid layered over a Lane Bryant cami gives the outfit a dressy look without being too fussy. The black slacks, also from Torrid, are casually functional and have a little bit of stretch ensuring that you can keep up with whatever the day throws your way.
I can testify these sensible flats from Zappos with cute knot details have helped me to survive many shifts on the sales floor. I used the same Lane Bryant belt from the first outfit to emphasize the top’s empire waist. The little rose earrings from Charming Charlie compliment the fabric detail of the top as well, and a cute hair bow from Carter’s (Yes, the baby store! I was shopping for my niece, and one thing led to another…) finishes off the outfit.
Outfit #3: Creative Comfort
Ever want to show up to work in your sweats? Some people are really this lucky, especially artists, designers, and writers. If you’re one of these folks working either from home or from a dressed-down workplace, you can still look polished without taking too much energy away from your creative endeavors. Pastel and pretty, this graphically inspired Lane Bryant sweatshirt layers effortlessly over an Old Navy mandarin collar shirt. Stretchy, skinny jeans from Torrid are comfortable for a long day sitting in front of a computer but are polished enough for if you actually run into another human being.
The accessories pull from the pastel palette of the rest of the outfit. You’ll swear these mint flats from Simply Be are your favorite slippers, and the earrings? Well, that’s our DIY project, and you can make them in no time!
The how-to on how to make the earrings can be found here, and she even gives a few different designs you can pick from. As for me, I started off with a pair of big, gold hoops from Charming Charlie that were beginning to tarnish and not look so great. Picking the embroidery thread, I chose colors found in the sweatshirt going with shimmery mint green and pink and a solid black. Full disclaimer, the shimmery thread was a bit more difficult two work with because the strands wanted to separate more so than with the black thread, but I made it work, and here’s the end result!
Hopefully no one has a case of the Mondays with these outfits! Until next time, work hard, play harder!