Full Figured Fall

I think my most regular readers realize Wednesday is my roughest day, but let me just explain why I didn’t post anything yesterday with this: work deadline + root canal = suckiest Wednesday ever. Seriously, I was at the dentist until after 7:00 p.m. So not fun.

I’ve been fighting this summer-never-dies fight for too long now, and the weather’s begun to turn on me. In fact, this whole week has been a dreary, bleak washout. The season has changed with a vengance. Yesterday it literally rained all day. Welcome to fall in Miami. Fingers crossed for no hurricanes!

The funniest part of fall in Miami is the store windows. Retail stores must change storefronts with the season, but because it never really gets THAT cold here, the racks of coats and all those cute scarves, gloves, and knit caps just don’t make sense here. I always feel a pang of shopper’s envy — fall clothes are so cute! As the weather gets wetter and chillier, I always start checking out the season’s cutest sweaters. And I gotta tell ya, Old Navy is coming out swinging. Yeah, I said Old Navy.

I’d given up completely on Old Navy for a while. Online their stuff was kinda cute…  kinda. But then I’d go to the store and find myself completely unimpressed. But now that Todd Oldham’s been named Old Navy’s creative director, hope is on the way. And their sweater game is tight right now!

I’m biding my time, but stealthily watching this cable-knit kimono sweater. As I hurtle towards thirty, I’m increasingly attracted to the kinds of clothes my mother would call “the basic essentials,” which means less teeshirts with random phrases on them, and more classic pieces I can mix and match with other stuff. This “tan heather” sweater looks so soft and comfy, and I can already visualize the big hoop earrings and pretty necklace I’d rock with it. Layer it over a cute tank, add your favorite jeans and a pair of funky flats (leopard, anyone?), and that’s effortlessly chic Miami fall fashion if you ask me. I’m just a sucker for a cool cardigan. I also adore this one from b & lu, which is another great site for plus size divas. (But seriously — being a bella on a budget, I can’t justify a $46 teeshirt. No matter how cute it is).

Fall colors are so rich and jewel bright and resplendent on bellas of all shades. This season, Torrid is all about gold and so am I! This Betsey Johnson gold foil bag would take my comfy sweater ensemble to the next level. And I’m tempted to go up an inch or so higher than my usual flats with these peeptoe gold wedge heels. Adorable! (warning — there is such a thing as too much gold. Kimora probably doesn’t agree with me).

My favorite fall colors are the wines and the deep berrys, and the purple, purple, purple. I’m a fool for purple, and I would totally rock this Old Navy charmeuse top. But I must be honest — I own a LOT of shirts just like this. Flowy sleeves, v-neck, waistband. Without that lush color and floral pattern, this top would not be that special. Check out the green and see what I mean — although it could be jazzed up with accessories, that just screams “renaissance fair” to me. Not the look I’m going for. The next shirt I buy needs to really speak to me. It needs to call my name, and whisper sweet nothings about how fabulous it’s gonna make me look. That shirt doesn’t speak loud enough to me.

Heavily patterned kimono prints in soft fabrics are currently the mainstay of the women’s section of Ross and TJ Maxx (trust me, I know). If you’re looking for a cute, flowy, fun top in a crazy pattern — forget Torrid, forget Lane Bryant (unless you enjoy spending over $35 for a teeshirt). I didn’t pay more than $15 for any of the newest shirts I’ve gotten recently, which are all empire waist tops from brands like Self Esteem, Chocolate Factory, and One Step Up. Which brings me to Alight.com — a great place to shop for full figured bellas with a passion for fashion. (pssst – were you wondering about the dress I got for that wedding in Lake Tahoe? It’s very similar to this one, and I wore a shrug with it. I’ll post pix soon, promise).

Let’s talk bottoms. Finding the perfect pair of jeans can be such a mission for curvy mamas, and shopping online for jeans if you’ve got an unusual waist-to-hip ratio just isn’t a good idea. So take my friendly advice and head straight to Lane Bryant. Their new Right Fit Jeans could be exactly what you’ve been searching for. They’re definitely making plus size bloggers happy. I sincerely advise you to read this follow-up post on The Pretty Pear about the pros and cons of Right Fit.

The system of sizing is completely different for these jeans, so there’s no size-based shame for the customer. I’m a size 4, baby! And I’ve never been able to say that before in my life. That doesn’t mean that I’m deluding myself into thinking I’ve somehow shrunk, but I do believe lots of plus size women feel weird shame about wearing sizes in double digits.

Another important word of friendly advice? Buy them in the store. I ordered mine online and had to send a pair back. They were way too big. At least in the store you have the option of working with a sales associate and trying them on first to make sure your Right Fits fit right. Now that I finally got the perfect size for me, I could NOT be happier! I have the light rinse flares in size 4, and they’re so, so comfortable. They make my butt look perky, and the waist and length are just perfect. And the price is right!

They cost $39.50, and come in stretch, boot cut, flare, and A-line cuts in rinses from light to dark. It’s a wonderful thing to find a pair of jeans that fit as comfortably as a pair of sweats. And that’s how I feel in these jeans. I used to come home, go upstairs and change immediately into comfortable clothes. Now I don’t need to! Love these jeans. But they might not be for every curvy bella.

Have you tried these jeans yet? Let me know how your Right Fits fit you! What cool clothes are you eyeing for fall?

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Comments

  1. Love the style and color of the Old Navy sweater. I haven’t shopped Old Navy in a while, but recently read they’re no longer offering plus-size in the stores, online only.

  2. I am so going to buy that gray sweater.

  3. I a total sweater or cardi girl too! Just came back from the shops here in London and wishing hard I had taken the plunge and bought a lovely sapphire blue one I saw in River Island..

  4. That Kimono sweater is such a beauty. I think that shape is flattering on all women, of any size. The short, flowy arms and v-neck bring attention in the right areas. It would look nice loose or even in a fitting style. The color is fabulous as well! Thanks for the info Afrobella.

    ~ Elana ;)

  5. I’m surprised Old Navy had a cute kimono style sweater this season. I wrote them off a few years ago and considered their clothes only to be cute for high school kids. But I could definitely wear the kimono sweater to work and look good. I

  6. all sounds great, ladies. it’ll be cold outside where i’m living in new england … i’m excited about the sort of audrey hepburn wide-leg pants with with sweater look. and i’m going to try wool tights and menswear-type but sexy pumps (in an unexpected color like red or eggplant) with my skirts. hope all this tailored, classic vibe won’t look too “old.”

  7. Simone – I don’t think that’ll look “old” — I’m a firm believer that you’re as old as you allow yourself to feel. Rock your wool tights, skirts, and pumps with cool accessories and wear the ensemble with confidence, and you’re sure to turn heads!

    I had completely written off Old Navy too! I hope their comeback lasts. I used to be pissed that they had plus sizes only in SOME of their stores, so I guess all-online makes me happy. But I don’t get why big fashion retailers don’t understand how much full figured women LOVE to shop and prefer trying on clothes to make sure they’re flattering. Too much of this kind of shopping is online-only, if you ask me.

  8. I am not an Old Navy person, unless I am shopping for my kids but that Kimona sweater is a must have for fall! I wonder if the have it in other colors? “If it’s nice then buy it twice”! Guess who’s headed to Old Navy tonight? Thanks for the tip Bella.

  9. I was so excited that I spelled Kimono wrong! LOL

  10. That sweater is too cute! How upset am I that it is only offered in Women’s Plus? I’m probably not going to buy many clothes, but I’ve got my eyes on a new pair of knee-high boots in a rich brown, and some high heeled mary janes. Zappos, here I come!

  11. I’m disappointed the sweater is online only ,but I might buy it anyway, because it is great! Thanks for the tip on Lane Bryant too. I am in need of new jeans and it looks like LB will be the place for me to try. I want some new jeans and comfortable too and to be sexy. Is that too much to ask? I think not.

  12. That sweater is cute (and I want it) but whats with womens plus being “exclusively online”…we don’t want to try on our clothes before we buy them?

    Things like that will always bother me…

    I saw those new jeans in LB…the new system was intimidating (lol) but I will go back and try the curvy…maybe they won’t have such a gaping hole…

  13. Hi ms. afrobella…
    I’ve written a couple of times asking for advice but you ‘ve never replied. This is the last time before I completely blacklist afrobella from my list of natural hair journey.^_^

    I’ll try to make a long story short. I wanted some advice since I completely destroyed my natural hair. A woman w/a big head of beautiful soft curls advised me to use a sofetning texturizer to loosen and soften my tight coils…so sadly I bought a soft&beautiful texturizer. application time 5-6mins treatment time 7-8mins= approx. 14-15mins…So I section my hair and am supposed to apply and then stretch to appropriate wave length…4-5mins into applying I notice some very straight strends and this is before stretching…So I screamed and cried my eyes out as I frantically washed it off…as I washed the crack off I felt the straightend texture of my hair and it broke my heart…5mins was apparently too long…So now my hair slightly curls as it dries, there are a few strands of soft curly coils-it has that wet stringy, slightly curly and frizzy soft look…I hate it and am so disappointed with the results. My b/f who knows absolutly nothing about hair nevermind ‘black’ hair casually says “just wash it out-you know, put some conditioner on it”- Are there any really good curl activating conditioners out there I can pick up to help?!? PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    p.s I will email this also because I’m in great need of fixing what I broke :(

  14. I have never know another full-figured, besty johnson purse lov’in, kimono sleeve wearing sista before. I like that sweater from Old Navy nice one. I was just saying to my co-workers I’m not putting on a coat until winter. Here in Chicago the seasons are changing so thanks again about the sweater. My sister loves the jeans Right fits she has a gangsta botty, her jeans never fit in the waist. They do look nice on her too.

  15. Claire, I’m sorry I didn’t respond to your question earlier. You might find it hard to understand but I get overwhelmed with the amount of e mail I receive and I don’t have the time to respond to all of them in a timely fashion. Also, as I state in my About Afrobella page — I am not a hairdresser. All I can do is give advice based on my personal experience and research. For a complex question like this one, I think a hair care professional would give the best advice.

    I’m sorry the texturizer didn’t work out for you. From everything I’ve read about chemical treatments, there’s not much you can do once the treatment has been applied and taken effect. I honestly don’t know of a conditioner that can restore curls to chemically treated hair, but conditioner is definitely always a good thing, especially for hair that’s been damaged. So deep condition your hair, give it the love it needs. Don’t get desperate and try to fix the problem with more chemicals, that’s the worst thing you could do. There ARE styling products that claim to encourage a curl — Kinky Curly Curling Custard comes to mind, as does Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding. But I don’t know of any product that can completely reverse the effects of a texturizer, or any other hair straightening chemical.

    Also, instead of relying on a site like mine for immediate hair help, (which is definitely about natural hair but doesn’t exclusively focus on it, and is just as likely to also write about makeup, music or culture), you should also visit dedicated natural hair resources like Nappturality, Motown Girl where there ARE hair care professionals and more experienced natural hair gurus who can give you the kind of immediate feedback you need. Check out the links they post for other natural hair message boards where there are loads of natural bellas who may have experienced what you have, or have specific advice for your predicament. Hope that helps.

  16. Hey Claire, I know that you are expecting a response from Bella but I just wanted to throw in my two-cents. The harsh reality is that you might have to cut your hair as it grows out. If you must use the texturizer, this is what I suggest…..I suggested something similar to another friend and it turned out fine…she used the texturizer but blended it with some water so that it came out like a liquidy conditioner, she poured it in, rubbed it a bit and washed it out. No pulling, it straigtens the hair out too much. I have natural hair and I have not used the texturizer myself but I know this works because her hair looks great! Please note, that you can accept your hair just the way that it is and work with what you got. Good luck to you! Now back to that cute sweater .D

  17. That sweater is gorgeous and I have on a kimono sleeve shirt right now. If Old Navy is truly stepping up their game, I might have to include them for some of Peajai’s Plus-size Fashion Picks. :)

  18. b&lu has some cute clothes. And they’re pretty good quality — but I stick to the clearance section!
    I just get tired of being a lane bryant billboard. It’s good to find some other stores catering to plus size ladies.

  19. Sorry to hear about your hair Claire. Don’t be to hard on yourself we’ve all had our own hair mistakes. I put a color booster in my miss clariol’s blonde hair color for a quicker level lift – turn my hair orange. HA ha ha My daughter’s hair sounds similar to your’s straight curly and kinky. She’s growing out a relaxer. Miss Jessie’s curly pudding defined her curly pattern and softened the kink. But nothing can reverse the straight parts but time or a good trim. But she works with her hair anyway, headscarfs headbands a hair pin here a straight piece tucked in there. She gets french braids, straw sets, weave. At 17 y/o she’s a master of the comb and brush.

  20. Thanks for the fall tips Afrobella. I too had given up on Old Navy but I will check out what they have going on for fall. Patrick Robinson (black designer who used to work for Armani and had his own line a few years ago) was recently hired to be the Creative Director for the GAP so hopefully we will start to see some good things from them in a season or two.

    I am loving the Tory Burch (out of my price range right now but I can still look), Club Monaco and J.Crew stuff for the fall. Classic and flattering.

  21. thanks afrobella! i tried on my ensemble today and it was hot hot, sexy, loved myself in it. at least i feel hot–in this cooling weather–and as you said it’s all about how you feel. i like tights as a leggy alternative to boots until i absolutely have to wear boots. and the contrast between big, free hair and tailored clothes is great too. i almost feel like my foxy fro is the only accessory i need!!

  22. Claire you messed up. You have to cut it off if you want natural hair and also keep in mind anything owned by Pro-Line/Alberto-Culver is probably not natural hair friendly.

    Why would you blacklist Afrobella because she didn’t answer your beauty question. This site is like an electronic form of a magazine. Would you stop reading a magazine because they didn’t print your letter to the editor?

    Jane

  23. I love you guys! Sorry ms. afrobella, I didn’t mean to sound harsh w/the blacklist, it’s one of those attention getters they tell you to throw in when writin (^_^)
    Thank you for the advice though-I think I just need a good trim now to balance it out.
    TRINICHICA: It’s funny, after I looked at my hair from rinsing it off, I thought maybe it would have been best if I diluted the texturizing cream and pour it on real quick…it makes so much more sense-and I so loved my tight curls. Afterthoughts suck hardcore. But live and learn. Thanks a bunch for the advice guys.

  24. AHHH, Ive been waiting for a blog like this. Thanks for the tips.

  25. *OFF TOPIC*
    The Dr. Phil Show will have the families of the Jena 6 teenagers on his show tomorrow.
    sorry Bella didn’t know where else to post this.

  26. Oh, and I tried and bought a pair of the Lane Bryant jeans when they launched in Late July, I liked them at first but then They stretched too much and I don’t like the way the felt after awhile, I’ll try a smaller size because I was intrested in the 5′s but the lady insisted on a 6 and now they are too gib even after washing.

  27. Oh and 1 more thing, I as well have sent you several e-mails and I NEVER get a response EVER. I even wrote to tell you that I was the winner of Lianne’s Blue Storm collection at the makeupgirlblog.com contest back in August, and again no response. It’s really dissapointing in all aspects, especially when I notice that you response to some people and not to others. I know your bust, but come on. I love your site, but I might have to move on.

  28. Why don’t people who want to tell Afrobella something just post it on this blog?

    Chick has a job. A job that pays more money than this blog. There are people who care about you winning prizes and messing up your hair.

    your mom
    your aunt
    your car

    Afrobella is a writer. She responds to people who she finds interesting, it’s nothing personal it’s just what people who are writers do.

    Writers are not psychologist.

    I’m not trying to be mean, but really people are a bit pushy and it’s kind of dumb considering this board isn’t even moderated.

    She’s way nicer than I would be. How dare you come on her board and whine about how she runs her board, very disrespectful.

    Jane

  29. I don’t know what to tell ya, Mrs.518. Sorry I haven’t written back to congratulate you on winning that makeup contest. Let me paint you a little portrait of my life in e mail: I go to work and log into an inbox that averages 75-150 new e mails EVERY DAY. Those I need to stay on top of, because it’s my job. Then I come home to approximately 45 e mails. I also have two Hotmail accounts. And (perhaps foolishly), I added to the pile by joining MySpace, Facebook, Nappturality, and Nappy Star. I get lots of messages there, too. I literally feel like I am drowning in e mail. Add that to the fact that my job is to be a writer, so all I do all day is write articles, blog posts, whatever. I respond to the most pressing messages, and my immediate priorities are family, friends, and business messages. And getting a comment like yours just makes me realize that I really can’t please everybody. I’m one person. I do the best I can.

    And one more thing — I get the same complaints from my sister, when I don’t have the time to write back to her e mails. So if it makes you feel better, you’re not the only one who gives me a guilt trip. I have always enjoyed your comments, and thanks for being a regular reader. But if the fact that I haven’t written back to your e mails personally makes you want to “move on,” I really don’t know what else to tell you. I would like to be able to do it all, but I can’t. There aren’t enough hours in the day.

  30. Jane — you get it. You get my life. I wish I could give you a big hug for being so understanding. Thank you.

  31. I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful, and I’m sorry it came off like that. As I mentioned before Bella I love your blog, and what you do is admiral. All I wanted was a response. Again i’m sorry and maybe I picked the wrong day to write this. Just like you are entitled to your opinions, reactions and thoughts. So am I (Jane)

  32. And Jane, all I wanted to do was thank Bella personally for letting us know about the contest I won. I didn’t think being gracious and wanting to thank someone was a crime; and I am very aware of Afrobella’s profession.

  33. I love love love that sweater. I saw this really nice one in an jcp ad – it was similar, but I can’t find it online. Then I came here to find something else you wrote and BAM! You had that sweater!

    Now I have to choose – darn!

  34. It’s cool, Mrs518. You’re right — I reacted because I honestly had just come home from a long day at work, and was finally reading all my comments before I went to cook dinner. It just came at a bad time, at the end of a long day.

  35. Wow, its really funny how people relate to what you write and then, they really THINK, they know you. Ha!!!!! They really think you owe them more than what you give. Mmmhhhh. Girl, I have to give it to you, you got skills! I enjoy this blog, keep it pushin!:)

  36. Oh, I like that style sweater too! Agree with another observer, anybody, just about in size will look great in that piece.

  37. bella, your description of the “Right Fit” jeans has me wondering if you have my phone bugged!! girl, i purchased my first pair on saturday…I LOVE THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i am a size 5 blue and the huuuggg my booty sooo good!!! did i say that i LOVE THEM????? i have the darkest blue pair and i will be going back for more!!!

  38. ((((HUG)))) for Bella and ((((HUGGGG))))) for Ms. 518!!
    Bella maybe you should set up a friendly auto-responder message and switch it up from time to time so pple think it’s you sending it out personally *lol*
    or hire a virtual assistant to answer the “i-love-your-website” emails.
    =)

  39. The weather is nice over here : )

  40. hi bella

    jus wanted to bring you and your readers’ attn to a post i did for full figured girls myself…on wrap dresses. http://fashionoverstyle.net/2007/09/26/for-the-hippies/
    i think they’d be really cute paired with a cute sweater such as that one and come cute boots for fall eh? of course im not in you’re climate but i can only imagine the layering needed for the cold! was hoping you’d add me to ur Caribbean links section you have if you like what u see…much appreciated.

    Irie Diva
    Jamaican fashion guide

  41. Hey Bella,

    Good post. Love that kimono sweater. One frustration I have about plus size jeans is that they always assume if you’re plus size you have curvy hips. I actually have slender hips so I’ve never been able to buy the jeans in Lane Bryant, the Avenue and that ilk. I’ve actually had the best luck with Old Navy plus size boot cut jeans and also Lee Ultra Fit Rider jeans. Another pet peeve is plus size stores like the Avenue that only sell wide width shoes! I have a long, narrow foot. Why do they think we’re one size fits all?!

  42. I love that kimono sweater! I just did a post about where to find plus-size jeans, in case people are interested – click here.

  43. warrior11209 says:

    I bought a pair of the Lane Bryant Jeans and I looooove them .. I am buying another pair this weekend – I bought the dark/boot length jean – the waist fit perfectly, the butt was not dragging( I hate the “mommy jeans) and my legs look longer. Can you tell I am a ahppy camper.
    Love the sweater from Old Navy is rockin’

  44. Ok…just bought my first pair of the new LB jeans (they are having an amazing sale…buy one get one for $10 – both items under 49.50) I am impressed! This is the first pair of jeans I HAVE bought that does not have a gap at the waist. The jeans will always never be as long as I’d like (I’m 6’1) but other than that I love them. I am a blue 5…

  45. I don’t have much to say about the women’s clothing, being a thinner Other guy, but I just wanted to report that I drove by my local Old Navy today and saw their current window decals. There is a beautiful black woman with natural [looking?] hair in a tunic type top…Granted it all kind of plays into the ‘ethnic’ appeal of the top/outfit…But it is great to see the variety of beauty being recognized by the more mainstream retailers…Hope you are enjoying your weekend…

  46. I love that sweater!

  47. I love the Lane Bryant Right fit jeans too. When I first went to the store I thought, more hype to buy some overpriced clothes. But then I tried on the Curvy fir jeans, and I was hooked. The best jeans I have ever purchased. I like the fact that they come in curvy, slightly curvy and straight cuts. Usually because of my full figured shape I have to buy pants that fit my thighs, but have my pants taken in at the waist. These fit like a glove. Oh Old navy’s plus size fall wear loooks good. I too thought old navy was a tweeny high schooly like place. But this year’s fall items are looking okay..and some items are downright great. I just hate that it’s solely online.

    Oh some great full figured sites for clothes… torrid.com Kiyonna.com sizeappeal.com igigi.com

  48. I find that most sexy/trendy plus size clothing sites are expensive, except for that staple, Lane Bryant.

  49. AndSoThen says:

    My hot spot for clothing/shoes/purses is EBAY!!!
    I will find something I like try it on, and then run to ebay for it.
    Have done this for years. Quite the savings…so much so that I got my niece several pairs of True Religion jeans for half the price, you just have to read feedback carefully. I got my first pair of Manolos on ebay !! Simple black platforms and I am a 10.5.
    I consign the right fit jeans I am a 3 red….in love..wish the talls were not so much longer.
    I am a not wanna look like everyone else type so let me give you some of my fave lines, google if interested
    Rundholz- deconstructed hotness
    Sarah Pacini- sweaters, hot dresses, lovely skirts
    All time fave -Cynthia ashby- http://www.cynthiaashby.com
    Neesh- sweaters, tops, skirts
    Hard to find but very small boutiques carry them and all over ebay too. I mostly shop online for them
    A big find early this year was XCVI skirts…sooooo wonderful
    shapely and reasonable.
    Aerosoles is stepping up their shoe game…their boots have a secret zipper to enlarge the calf of the leg..
    Again try ebay for them if you know your size
    Remix vintage shoes!! Hot
    John Fluevog shoes Hott
    Cydwoq shoes -funky!!
    **Lastly…try the Gap online….they go on sale 6 weeks after it hits the store don’t buy it when it comes out..wait and the sizes are better online.

  50. This is my first time commenting. I love it here! Anyhow, about the Right Fit Jeans. I love the way they fit initially. PERFECT. I’m a 2 Red and they definitely work for me. My fav is the dark wash. A dude gave me kudos on those ;) However, after about the 3rd wear or so, they start to loosen up and the fit is definitely not the same! It’s a big baggy actually. I WISH I could say it’s because I lost weight. I guess maybe that’s just the way it goes with all clothes. But I still miss that initial fit :(

  51. I love the jeans and the fit, but lt me tell you— they smell terrible! i think it is the dye or something, but i have been washing mine over and over again trying to get rid of that rank smell they came with. it’s a bit like sweaty socks and cheese. no joke. yuck.

  52. curvy? don’t they mean fat?

  53. Stephanie says:

    OMG, I bought a pair of Lane Bryants Right Fit jeans (dark) in november 2007. They were fine, I just bought another pair last week and they have an awful smell, like you said sweaty socks and old cheese. I have washed them 3 times, and still they smell bad! they make all the clothes in my was smell bad too! I don’t want to wash them 100 times before wearing them, because I like the dark jeans look. This is crazy! and I can’t get rid of it! Does anyone have any ideas??

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