If you were one of the lucky ladies who RSVP’d and attended the fabulous trunk show I cohosted with Monif C and Boutique Larrieux in a luxurious suite at the Waldorf Astoria a few weekends ago, you already know. This was an absolutely incredible experience for plus size women in the Midwest! Oh yes, the Midwest. Ladies came from all kinds of surrounding states and cities to see, touch, try and buy Monif C’s dresses, sip mimosas, and enjoy each other’s company. I had an amazing time. And amidst the fun, fashion and fittings, I had a few revelations about us plus sized women. Allow me to share the experience and my thoughts with you!

First things first – this is what I wore!


This is the Monif C Gia Batwing Ruched dress, and I absolutely LOVED wearing it. Got nothing but compliments, and felt like a queen!


So many gorgeous dresses, there for the trying. For me as a woman curious about the variety the convertible dress offers, I got everything I needed and then some. I for sure need another few of these – there’s so much you can do with a convertible dress!

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The whole crew! From left to right, Lydia the owner of amazing Milwaukee plus size mecca Boutique Larrieux, incredible Barbadian designer Monif C, her right hand man and convertible dress wrapper extraordinaire Brandon, and me!

Lydia is so dynamic and inspiring and awesome. And Monif is my new Bajan bestie. We had a blast. And Monif and Brandon together? HILARIOUS.



Brandon was on hand for everyone trying on a Marilyn convertible dress, to make sure they felt beautiful, comfortable, and like they could tie the dress themselves when they need to.

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All day long women trickled in to sit, sip, and try on dresses. We shared a lot of honest opinions, richly deserved compliments, fashion advice and laughter.


Amidst all of that, I observed a few things about plus sized women, based on the ladies who came to the event. Here they are, in no particular order.

— We are FABULOUS. But sometimes we’re afraid to be. So many of the ladies who came in would touch a dress in a bright color, maybe take it off the rack…but have to be talked into trying it on because they were scared. “I’m not wearing my shapewear!” “Iono about all of that!” I say just try it on so you know what it looks like! You might surprise yourself!

— Reserve the right to bare arms. This was the number one question and concern of the day. Arms. And how to cover/conceal/eliminate them from the fashion equation. Ladies, I get it. I used to be one of you. When I moved to Miami I remember a skinny girl who lived on my floor asking me how come I never wore sleeveless tops despite how hot it was. And then it hit me – I was depriving myself. And for what? For concern about what other people would think if they saw my stretch marks or flabby arms? And then what would happen? Life would go on. And furthermore, if anyone is stupid or lame enough to look at your arms and judge you, then who wants to know or interract with someone that superficial to begin with? Not I, said the cat.

My point? Don’t be afraid to wear something sleeveless. Go out and work it.

— We don’t need to suffer in our shapewear. Shapewear can be great if you want a smooth look, but it can be uncomfortable and too evident if not careful. Some shapewear rolls down. Some shapewear adheres to your skin and feels sweaty and gross. Some shapewear has ridges that are evident under your clothing therefore defeating the point of shapewear. I treat my shapewear like I do my shoes and clothing – if it’s too restrictive and uncomfortable, I’m not wearing it. I might not be as taut and smooth as the next lady, but I’ll be able to breathe and that makes me happy.

— There is security in the LBD, but there is SO much to be said for COLOR. They tell us black is slimming so plus sized women have a tendency to reach automatically for black. It’s what is safest and most expected. BUT. A killer bright dress will get you noticed and complimented. So maybe you might wanna switch your Little Black Dress for a Little BRIGHT Dress instead, every now and then. FOR EXAMPLE…check out these three photos of ladies in RED.


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Owwwwwwww! From left to right – famous blogger and television personality Miss Lori, brilliant social media manager Heather Carper, and another beautiful Monif C shopper (sorry I didn’t get your name)! My point is – look at how these three, beautiful curvy ladies look in COLOR! And now imagine them in black dresses. Not as fun, right? I am all about shining bright, especially for the holiday season!

And last but not least – Curvy women, YOU DESERVE THE BEST. It’s time to stop settling. Many of the women I met came in wearing items I could tell they didn’t adore. It’s a trend I’ve been observing. In the quest to be on trend, we will sacrifice fit or high quality fabrics – simply because of the affordability factor, or the these-items-were-actually-IN-STORE-so-I-didn’t-have-to-shop-online factor. I’m not about that pleather life. High quality fabrics make a big difference in the construction of a garment, and just because we are bigger women doesn’t mean we should be expected to settle for less than we deserve.

Now of course I don’t want to speak in generalities, but these were my observations after a whole day of trying on dresses with a variety of curvy women.

Off soapbox! Now for more photos of the FUN!



How cute is this mother daughter team in corresponding Maggie banded dresses?


These ladies were FABULOUS. The Monif C. Marilyn dress (in a color we started calling “Tobacco”) looked GREAT on her!


Luvvie came through to show love (and that’s why she’s the best! YAY for friends supporting each other)!


That’s me, Starrene Rhett AKA Gangstarr Girl, Lydia, and Miss Lori! Thanks for coming out, ladies!



The always so sweet and lovely Contessa Gibson stopped by to show love and try on a dress or two. She’s coming out with something amazing in the plus size space, so stay tuned for that!



Jetta Bates of Jettasetting came to slay in that vintage zebra Versace jacket! Great to see her!



The whole event was nothing but fun, fashion and lots of love. It was truly a pleasure. Thank you Lydia and Monif and Brandon for being so awesome, and thanks to Merriweather Media for capturing the magic!

Check out the Boutique Larrieux Facebook page for even more photos of the awesomeness!


Patrick Jnr. says:
November 1, 2012, 9:02 am
Beautiful as always Patrice! A pity this wasn't held here, I have personally seen how off-putting shopping can be for plus sized women. Keep on keeping on little sis!
Ashley says:
November 1, 2012, 10:51 am
It's always so great being introduced to so many talented designers. Those colors are really popping. I see mustard, purple, red, etc - very nice selection.
MsXpat says:
November 1, 2012, 12:14 pm
Very flattering pieces in lovely complementary colours. Its good to know that plus size clothes doesn't have to be black.
pets says:
November 1, 2012, 2:35 pm
Love your dress and your bag!
Heather Carper says:
November 1, 2012, 2:56 pm
Thank you for the truly GLAMOROUS day! When I work the room in RED at my conference in two weeks, I will be repeating the mantra that the designer herself said her mother gave her: "When you're giving them this *points to face* and this *points to chest* and this *gestures at rear* they're not EVEN looking at a little arm or knee fat, or whatever part we are driving ourselves crazy with at the moment!" Yes, I look at the photo and see my arms, wrong shoe choice and unfortunate stance - but my friends only see me, looking fierce, in Monif's gorgeous gown. And those who have known me "forever-ever"? Send a big THANK YOU and AMEN for getting me out of BLACK (or my backup "she wears it so often it doesn't really count as color anymore" - Purple :))
Nik says:
November 1, 2012, 11:06 pm
Looks like so much fun! I miss my Chicago crew. And you're right, Lydia is a doll and I absolutely adore her! I really can't say enough about her. She just makes me very happy :) And unfortunately, your observations, *sigh* I've noticed those myself. I love your tips on how to break through and really shine!
Sharyn Felton says:
November 2, 2012, 2:39 pm
The pic's are awesome, please find out who made those awesome eyeglasses that Jetta Bates is wearing. Thank you
Mia says:
November 2, 2012, 7:42 pm
What an inspiring post and how uplifting to see so many radiant, gorgeous women! I'm going to take your words to heart, especially the part about only wearing clothes that I adore. (It's about celebrating oneself, and sticking by oneself through thick and thin, isn't it?) (And Heather! I had to scroll back to find your photo after your post. I don't know you, but when I saw your photo, I was struck by how regal you are. And that I've got to find me a red dress!)
GangStarr Girl says:
November 5, 2012, 11:04 pm
I'm so glad I stopped by. What an awesome day that was!
Sharon J. says:
November 26, 2012, 9:06 am
Lovely outfits. Looking good ladies!
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