The Downside of Online Shopping

So this is a quick follow-up from my Worth a Click fashion post from a few weeks ago… I bought my first items from Kiyonna, and the experience totally underscored why I prefer to shop in person, rather than online. I got these shorts in chocolate brown, and yeah… I’m gonna be sending those back ASAP. Sizes apparently run a bit smaller than I’m used to at Kiyonna. Still looking for those perfect summer shorts, and I’m gonna trade these in for one of those fabulous daffodil yellow tees I mentioned before.

And I bought this dress, which is cute and comfortable, but it didn’t wow me right away like I thought it would. The sleeves aren’t as kimono as I expected, and to take it from understated to amazing, I’ll be needing to purchase some kind of fabulous necklace to kick it up a notch. But here’s the thing —
I bought this dress because I’m going to a wedding this Sunday and it’s the kind of event where there may be some haters to the left if you catch my drift. I want to really look stunning and work it for all it’s worth. My options are…

1. get the aforementioned necklace or pendant and just rock the dress with my head held high,

or 2. Get a new dress that will do the job, ASAP.

I’m leaning towards option #2. And as luck would have it, I’m actually heading to NYC for a fleeting, fleeting trip this weekend, so I need advice from my gorgeous full figured bellas who live in NYC! Where should I go to get the dress of my dreams?

I’ve been doing some research, and I think it’s between Salon Z at Saks Fifth Avenue, and Monif C, which is on W. 38th St. (I’m staying on the upper East side, so I have no idea how far away either place is). I’m not sure I’ll have enough time to shop at both stores, so any input to aid in my decision making would be much appreciated. Monif C looks like the kind of store I’ve been dreaming of — OMG I love this dress! But I wasn’t planning to spend more than $200. I actually wanted to spend like $150, tops.

Help me, bellas! You’re my only hope. Where should I shop when I head to the Big Apple?

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Comments

  1. I would also stop by Century 21 in Downtown Manhattan near Fulton Street. You may luck up on a Designer find for less. I am not sure abou their plus sized options but the store is fabulous for shoes and accessories.

  2. Oh yeah, I, too, got burned shopping @ Kiyonna back in the day. I have not been back (even though the company sells nice looking clothes.) Have fun in NYC!!

  3. westindiangal says:

    If you want to spend $150, DO NOT go to Salon Z. They have great stuff, but it’s really expensive. If you don’t have a lot of time, Century 21 will not work for you. This is not a good place when you absolutely need to purchase something. It’s like shopping at Ross, but way better clothing.

  4. Do you like Ashley Stewart’s clothes? They begin their sizes at a 12. In my opinion, they always have something gorgeous and affordable to wear to dressy events. If you sign up for their email list at: http://www.ashleystewart.com/AS/signup.html, you’ll immediately receive a 15 % off coupon.

    NYC Locations: http://www.ashleystewart.com/AS/locator/aslocator-ny.html

  5. Sorry, I don’t have any store recomendations, but that purple dress is fabulously beautiful.

  6. not sure if you’ll have time to go there, but I’ve heard really good things about a boutique called Lee Lee’s Valise (www.leeleesvalise.com) in Brooklyn. She sells trentacosta and anna scholtz clothing. Also, I think trentacosta is having a sale on dresses, too (trentacosta.com). Oh, and anywhere that sells Donna Ricco dresses: Nordstrom, of course, and alight (alight.com) has a store on Long Island. According to their site, it’s “at the west end of the Morton Village Shopping Center in Plainview, NY.”
    I’m from SC, so I’ve *no* idea where that is. :) Good luck and post pics!

  7. Try Lord & Taylor, 424 Fifth Avenue at 38th Street. They’re known for their occasion dresses and there’s a good price range. I don’t know your size, but I think they go up to 16-18.

    If there’s any way you can get to Brooklyn (i know,lol)-there’s a boutique I’ve heard great things about and it’s for full figured ladies: http://leeleesvalise.com/ I haven’t been there but it seems like a boutique that provides a lot of personal service; you may even be able to call ahead of time to tell them your size and styles that you like and maybe they’ll get some options together for you ahead of time, to save you time. Good luck!

  8. Is H&M your thing? They carry women’s sizes in many of their stores (but not all, so check hm.com before you go). H&M has several stores in Manhattan, one in Harlem on historic 125th too, so from where your staying there’s likely to be one within a short walk or subway ride.

    I second Nic’s op on that purple number — it’s FABU. But for $380… eh.

  9. Mrs.Mckinzie says:

    Hey Bella! now you know you need to treat yourself to something nice ,because you deserve it.I would send that dress back ,and get something that i’m going to feel afrolicious in.I’m not from NYC,but i’m saving my money to get me something from Monif C.

  10. Both ginag and BluTopaz beat me to the Lee Lee’s punch! I have borrowed dresses and other items from them for photo shoots for the site with fabulous results.

    Also, if you are willing try venture into online shopping again, I recently purchased a gown for a Black Tie Affair from http://www.igigi.com. They have absolutely GORGEOUS high quality dresses that from my experience, run true to size.

    Also for your trip: if you aren’t intimidated by taking public transportation, try http://www.hopstop.com. Hopstop.com is a terrific website that you can plug in your address, the address of where you want to go, and if you want to take the subway, buses, etc. and it will give you stop by stop directions–even how much the cab fare will be if you choose to hail one.

    Hope this helps. Can’t wait to see what you purchase and to hear all about it!

    Peace & Love,
    Ms. Aja B.
    Belle-Noir Mag

  11. Afrobella – I am so sorry to hear of your disappointment w/Kiyonna. I was anxiously awaiting a good review so that I could purchase the shorts.

    I did find some cargo shorts in Tarjay (Target) this weekend that seem to work well. They are a full leg and don’t taper which works best for me. I don’t know how you feel about Tarjay’s clothing line but I have been able to find cool pieces that have lasted many washings :-)

    Also, how do you feel about gaucho’s for a casual summer bottom? My best friend says she going to go with those for the summer as a alternate to cute skirts. She’s not into shorts.

    I hope all goes well in your search for a fabulous dress! I don’t live in NYC so I can’t help you with a recommendation :-(

  12. cosmicsistren says:

    When I used to work at Saks I was told that Salon Z has the best selection of plus size clothes in the city. You will DEFINITELY find something there but be prepared to spend some serious cash. I agree with another poster that Lord and Taylors is good too. Not as pricey as Saks.

  13. This is weird. My original comment suggesting Ashley Stewart was being moderated and never posted.

  14. Bella-go to LeeleeV. MAke time to get to Brooklyn, it is worth it.
    Monif is wonderful too but go to LLV!

  15. DH — it probably had links in it, am I right? When a comment includes links, sometimes it gets caught in my spam filter. When I get home from work I can fish it out so it’ll be among the rest of the comments.

  16. If you’re in NYC on the Upper East Side and you want to shop for a dress $150 or less but don’t have a lot of time, I’d go with Lane Bryant. It’s located on 34th Street b/w 5th and 6th Avenue. If they don’t have anything, Macy’s is right up the block on 34th b/w 6th and 7th. And Lord & Taylor is on 39th Street and 5th Avenue. There’s an H&M on 34th Street and 7th Avenue but last I heard, they’d discontinued their Big and Beautiful collection. I believe Monif C is located on 38th and 8th Avenue on the west side. But unless there’s a sale, you’ll be over budget. You could also try Bloomingdales on 59th Street and Lexington Avenue. I believe they have a plus-sized section but may also be a little costly.

    Good luck! And I really enjoy your blog.

  17. hey lady,

    you should check out PIECES OF BROOKLYN (www.piecesofbklyn.com). they have lots of great spring items in stock and one of kind dresses that i’m sure you’ll love. it’s black-owned and ran by one of the cutest couples around. check them out if you can and ask for the owner, latisha.

    good luck!

    *r

  18. auragirl says:

    That purple dress is very pretty!!!

  19. Go to Bloomingdales on the Eastside and then head to Lord and Taylor’s from there and if you still haven’t found anything head to Macy’s from there on 34th. This is the most time efficient, bang for your buck travel route. Good luck and next time you are in the city we have to get up!

  20. Hi Bella,

    Yep, it had links in it. I had included a link for an Ashley Stewart coupon sign up and a link to their locations in New York. Do you like their clothes?

  21. Well since you have a budget I would definitely follow the lead and stick with 34th St. Check out Zara and Macy’s. However the Meatpacking district is a great shopping area to just indulge and enjoy. New stores are popping up left and right. Also try W.Broadway and then over to LES. These areas are a bit pricey but still worth the trip. Window shopping can sometimes point you in the right direction of what your looking for and then inspire you to make the right purchase.
    -styleammo.blogspot.com

  22. cosmicsistren says:

    Just a heads up to all my plus size ladies. Pieces of Brooklyn doesn’t have plus sizes. They have what I refer to as “skinny heffer” sizes.

  23. Bella! You should have a happy hour in the city for all your NY readers! We’d love to meet you. Also, not only should you go to Lee Lee’s for your dress, but you could get your eyebrows threaded and only spend that $7, I mentioned. Happy Hour! Happy Hour! Please!!!

  24. Heads up on Leeleesvalise in BROOKLYN it was featured on ESSENCE.com and looks very luxurious, with a lot of attention to care. All the clothes look fabulous with lingerie options aswell and it looks like everything is carefully chosen for the full figured woman only without compromising style and beauty nlike some shops.

  25. WOW. You bellas are THE BEST!!!!! I won’t have time for Brooklyn, sadly… I’ve never been! And unfortunately, islandgirl, I won’t have time for a happy hour. That’s a GREAT idea, so the next time I go to Chicago or NYC, I’ll set something up. I’d love to meet you bellas in real life! But this trip, I won’t even have time to really see my NYC peeps that are expecting me. I’ll be too busy glamming it up! I will definitely plan this out to a tee and of course, post pics in the dress I choose for the wedding. Thank you ALL so much for your guidance and input. YAY!

  26. I keep hearing wonderful things about Lee Lee’s Valise, but I am not investing any real money on clothes right now because I am losing weight. Between me and you, I have gotten some cute dresses from places like Easy Pickings, Rainbow and Target for the cheap when I didn’t need to/want to drop any real cash.

    Have you considered pitching to one of these botiques or sites like “Look, I am Afro Bella, I have this site, our traffic is crazy high….can we make an arraingement where I get a discounted dress in exchange for some press?”

    Lane Bryant’s dresses are a mess, IMO. I shop there for bras and get the heck out! Ashley Stewart may have something cool, and I know they start at a 12 now.

  27. I know you said it’s not really in your budget but I would really suggest Monif C. I purchased two really pricey pieces on a trip to NY and always turn heads. But the best thing? Never have I seen anyone at an event have on anything that could compare to the pieces. Well worth the cost!

  28. Bella NO!!! Whatever you do, DO NOT get that purple Monif C. dress. Did you see how saggy the model’s breast looked in that photo? With all the pinning and fixing they do for photo shoots, if that’s the best that dress could look, you need to run far far AWAY!

  29. bella, don’t do too much for them now.. even if you have to just get the beautiful pendant, Afrobella’s confidence is enough to blow them away. i’m sure you’ll look stunning either way. flash them the smile that kills and keep it moving!

  30. Hi,
    I say head to Brookyln!

    For a cultural and or funky dress that I’m sure you would make the haters hate more, I would hit Brooklyn and get something from Moshood Afrikanspriit.com

    for more traditional Monifc is good. As well as Lee Lee Valise. http://www.leeleesvalise.com

    For Department Stores:
    Macys on 34th Street
    Lord and Taylor
    Bloomingdales–My favorite.

    Good luck

  31. mezzo_soprano says:

    Hi Bella,

    I have 2 weddings to go to this Spring and here is a link for the dress I am getting. Take a look at Nordstrom, they have fab dresses for under $200.00. someone else mentioned Ashley Stewart, you can’t go wrong there!! :) But do take a look at this dress.

    http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/2971218/0~2376776~2374327~6007059~6007112~6010558?mediumthumbnail=Y&origin=category&searchtype=&pbo=6010558&P=1

  32. Hey everyone!
    I noticed you guys were talking about where to get clothes at…. what about spas?? I found this girl a while back when she was working with another spa and now she opened up privately and i definitely think she’s worth checking out ! Best BRAZILIANS ever !!! and she’s awesome at deep cleansing facials…she also has great reccomendations for hairstylists and massage! So pamper yourself and then go shopping! hope this helps!

  33. oops the website for her website is http://www.priveskincarestudio.com !

  34. haha adress for her website is what i meant!

  35. Hey Bella! Do not forget Deb’s Redress new york for some really cool vintage pieces- the only plus size vintage store! Re/dress is always great for the woman on a budget but who wants to make it twork!

    Good Luck in your transition!
    Marie Denee
    The Curvy Fashionista

  36. I just got burned at Kiyonna, today, too. I previously ordered one dress that fit perfectly, so I went ahead and placed a bigger order with them. Big mistake! To say what I got was not true to size is an understatement! I couldn’t even get three items on and I checked their size charts carefully. In addition they absolutley will not give you a refund-it’s exchange only-even though two Item lost buttons when I was removing them from the package.

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