Tackling the cold weather in Chicago has been an education unto itself. I’ve had to learn to look beyond “ooh that’s super cute” when looking for coats and sweaters. Now I gotta think about practicality. That leopard trench coat may be fly, but will it keep me warm? How often will I wear it? If it’s rainy or sleety out, will I be restricted in what I wear? This is even more challenging when you’re curvy and fabulous. Finding an attractive yet functional raincoat, leggings that actually keep your legs warm, or a sweater that’s both chic and warm can be a mission, but it doesn’t have to be an oxymoron. Here are my picks for brands that are doing plus size right, and helping me withstand the varied weather conditions I’ve been exposing myself to!


Numero Uno — Dickies.

The brand that’s better known for scrubs and men’s work clothes also offers women’s clothing that goes up to 2X or 20/22 on most items. Don’t come to Dickies looking for the latest trends. This clothing brand is all about clothes that are durable and functional, season in, season out. I was lucky enough to review some of their items, and I gotta admit — I was initially skeptical about the women’s storm water resistant soft shell jacket. It isn’t quite my style, I need more length and a cut that’s more curve-conscious. But on the real — on a bleak Chicago day when I need to go grocery shopping and it’s wet and cold out? It is my BEST friend. And because of the vibrant raspberry color, it makes for fun layering with a thermal, a funky sweater, and a jaunty scarf. The reversible fleece hoodie is so warm and cozy, it’s been a staple item in my wardrobe all month. If you’ve lost touch with your inner tomboy, this can be a super comfortable and low key way to bring that boy-chic look back. I like to dress it up by pairing it with a lacy camisole. And please note this heavy, great quality hoodie is now on sale for $20! It makes a cute going-to-the-movies-with-my-boo cover up!


Next stop, Land’s End. I never thought once about this venerable clothing brand, until I moved to Chicago. Now I realize I should have been checking them out for years now! Here’s what led me to Land’s End — the search for a suitable swimsuit, and the advice of a stranger. I always try to compliment my fellow full figured fashionistas whenever I can, so at a recent spa event I complimented an attendee. She let me know where she got her chic cashmere sweater from. Land’s End. So I already planned to check out the brand’s sweaters and outerwear…then this woman admitted to me that she wore a J cup bra (wowza!) and exclusively wore Land’s End swimsuits. Do tell!

I HAD to order one for my trip to the Dominican Republic. So I got the solid minimizer tank. It’s got great tortoiseshell-type buckle details at the shoulder, and boy oh boy does it do what it promises. It minimizes your whole body, but not in a painful way. Next up, I’ve got my eye on their silk long underwear. If they’re as great quality as what I’ve seen so far, I’ll be wearing these for years!


Last but not least, Newport News. Another brand I just assumed had nothing cute or practical for my purposes. Wrong! Hello, mid-length leopard reversible coat, I love you! I honestly never considered Newport News until the fabulous Lianne Farbes — better known as The Makeup Girl — swirled into Chicago wearing the most fetching black coat. As soon as she told me where she got it, I had to check em out! And it turns out that Newport News has some GREAT clothes. They’re not edgy or pushing any kind of fashion envelope, but the 30-year-old me sees these as chic yet mature, and the prices ain’t bad either (when you compare to let’s say, Lane Bryant). I’ll review more items as I purchase, but for now let me tell ya — the Simply Must Have Slim Legging fits the description perfectly. Comfortable around the waist, thick enough to keep my legs warm when I face the Chicago cold in a chic dress, coat, and boots. And they’re being amazing about not pilling so far!

Have you made any unexpected fashion discoveries, lately? Tell me more, tell me more!


Shuggie says:
December 29, 2009, 5:55 pm
I'm not really that plus-sized, but I've been hip to Lands End for a while - I view them as the frugalista-worthy Brooks Brothers (compare carefully and you'll agree). I have their silk underwear and they are a lifesaver-really great. I used to get Newport News catalogs alot, but haven't in a while - I remember their stuff was nice. Dickies is a new one -thanks for the tip.
Calming says:
December 29, 2009, 6:23 pm
I found a lot of deals at TJ Maxx. My mom is full and fab and she allows me to "dress" her she was afraid at first and I find a lot of reasonable and warm items at Pennys, Layne Bryant, TJs and Style and Co section at Macys. Great post Enjoy the Midwest weather... Who am I kidding been up here my whole life and the only think I like about the cold is the cute boots, sweaters, hats, scarves and gloves :) xo, CC
jdlady says:
December 29, 2009, 8:33 pm
I love SmartWool! https://www.smartwool.com/ I have one of the zip-up sweaters -it is super warm without being bulky. The socks are really warm too.
Fricasis says:
December 29, 2009, 9:18 pm
I do live in chicago. I moved there with my husband. One thing I have learnt is layering. I love pretty coat with nice colors, but I wear multiple layers one of which includes a fleece jacket which I wear underneath my coat. Leggings and warm socks also help.
Coop says:
January 2, 2010, 12:55 am
Thanks for the Dickies recommendation! I'm heading back to Cleveland for school and I'm always looking for something that blocks the wind, keeps me warm and it's too heavy during those Fall months. This seems like a great, inexpensive option. :-)
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