DIY Halloween Costume

It is Halloween time!  I received an invitation to a themed Halloween party this year, so my already planned costume will be worn another night.  Now I need a costume that is theme appropriate.

    • $10 Lilac Ballgown after gentle, cold wash

      $10 Lilac Ballgown after gentle wash

      Check out the closet – I immediately did an inventory of what I currently own.  This included makeup, clothes, shoes, accessories, etc.  I thought I could reuse an old dress, and if the party was tonight, I would have made it work.  But I had time to find something better.

    • Shop the Charity/Thrift stores (Goodwill, Savers, and other charity shops) for inspiration and outfits.  Most dresses and donated items for costumes are $10 or less.  I dropped off 3 bags of clothes from my recent closet purge and received a 20% off coupon for Savers, but ultimately paid $10 at Goodwill, while my friend scored her dress for only $8!  For an extra $2, I found a perfect matching purse for my costume.
      Perfect for Wendy from Peter Pan

      Perfect for Wendy from Peter Pan

      • I found this amazing blue ruffled dress for $10 that is the perfect Wendy costume from Peter Pan.  Just add a teddy bear, or get a group together.
      • There were several big yellow ball gowns for Beauty and the Beast Belle costume.  Get creative and make it steampunk, zombie, vampire, Gothic, or whatever you can imagine for a unique look.
      • There were a ton of black dresses in every shape and size.  The right outfit will be waiting to inspire you!

        Charity shops are HALLOWEEN GOLD!

    • Add some embellishments.  I bought matching ribbon for $3 to make my dress more gaudy and outrageous.  Easily distress your outfit with hanging ribbons, sheer fabric, torn lace, and ripped hems.
    • Finish the outfit with wigs, wings, tiaras, shoes, makeup, and other accessories for the over-the-top unique look.

Cleaning Tips:  My $10 treasure had a slight musty smell from the charity shop.  I checked the label for materials (100% polyester, dry clean only) and decided on a gentle, cold wash, and light “refresh” from my dryer.

Double check materials to determine exactly how to clean the garment.  Just be extra careful not to shrink the item.  Gentle, cold wash will work for almost any Halloween costume.

Can I Wash This link

5 Tips to Avoid Back Bulge

The perfect bra (for you) should support the breasts, provide smooth coverage over the breast cup, and be tight enough to stay on your body.

Back bulge is skin that spills out on the back, often around the bra line due to restrictive garments.

Example of good fitting bra, no back bulge

Example of good fitting bra, no back bulge

Many girls and women with back bulge are not actually “fat”, the back bulge is created by merely wearing the wrong garment.  Others may actually have an extra layer of body insulation and can reduce the appearance of back bulge with these same 5 simple tips.

  1. Back bulge paired by double boob (the bra cup cuts into the breast and creates the appearance of boob on boob for each side) means the bra cup is too small.  Go get fitted properly for the correct, larger cup size.
  2. Back bulge, on a bra with the correct cup size, can often be reduced or eliminated by adjusting the bra band.  Try adding a bra extender on the bra band.  The bra band should fit comfortably while still providing breast support.
  3. The bra may technically be the correct size (cup and ribcage measurement) but still emphasizing back bulge, try wearing a bra with wider band.  Larger breasts and ribcages are better supported with a wider bra band around the body.  All of my bras are 3 hook wide bands for great support and to reduce any appearance of back bulge.
  4. Try a bra with more coverage.  The bra itself may be the correct size, but skimps on coverage underarms and around the back.  Compare the underarm coverage on a few bras, try each of them on and determine if more or less coverage reduces back bulge.  Again, the underarm and back should not be too tight to increase back bulge and make matters worse.
  5. As women age, the breast naturally sits a bit lower on the body.  Try adjusting the shoulder straps on the bra.  Bras designed with shoulder straps rely on the extra support from those straps to fit properly.  Back bulge specifically near the underarms is often reduced by adjusting the bra straps to be a smidge longer.  Adjust 1/2 inch longer and try the bra on again.  Keep adjusting until it feels supportive without digging into your shoulder or underarms.

5-tips-to-avoid-back-bulgeBonus Tip:  Even washing bras by hand or the delicate cycle (in a mesh bag and always air dry, NEVER use the dryer for bras), the bra straps can slip and both the bra band and shoulder straps can stretch.  If the bra seems too big, try adjusting the straps and band shorter.

Drop The Towel

The Huffington Post is running a campaign for bikini beach bodies, providing encouragement for women to drop the towel and not be ashamed of their bodies.  YAY!

Too many of my friends (and friends of friends) refuse to get in the pool with their children because they would have to wear a swim suit.  For many women, it is not necessary Fat Shamming, but rather a case of self shamming.  Teenagers are not comfortable in their own skin, and adults are conditioned to think only model perfect size 2 bodies should be showing off that much skin.

The easiest way to Drop the Towel is to find a great fitting, supportive swim suit.

Tommy Bahama Swim Fit Guide for Tops

Tommy Bahama Swim Fit Guide for Tops

Tommy Bahama has this fantastic swim fit guide with plenty of suggestions.  Not ready to pay full price?  The Tommy Bahama outlet store at Wild Horse Pass premium outlet mall has excellent prices and darn good selection.

Sport top Shorts

Venus Sport top and shorts

Try a Sport Top style for full coverage support on top.  Board shorts perfectly complement the sport top for activity and mobility, eliminating the wardrobe malfunction fear!

Title 9 board shorts

Title Nine board shorts

Swim Dress from Soma

Swim Dress from Soma

The swim dress is a nice compromise for full coverage & support to Drop the Towel and get you back in the water.

Here are a few spa resort pools to show off that new swim suit with confidence.


Women’s Clothing Sizing is a Lie

A women’s size 6 is not the same as a size 6 label from 20 years ago.  In fact, today a women’s size 6 is not even consistent across stores.  Since women’s clothing is not standardized to actual measurements, clothing size becomes a starting point only.  The lie behind Women’s clothing sizes is further confused by odd number Junior sizing versus Misses even number sizes and inconsistent Plus and Petite options.

Same same waist

All of these are the same size waist and similar fit

Here is a sample of skirts and shorts from my closet.  All of these fit right at my natural waist (just above my belly button).  All of these are the same measurements at the waist.  In every real definitions, each of these are the exact same size.

Except when you check the label.  Top down; J. Crew skirt is size 8, Boston Proper size 12, WHBM size 6, WHBM size 10, and Ann Taylor Size 8.  Even within the same brand, the shorts were totally different sizes!  It is time to stop obsessing over the size printed on the label. Continue reading

Dress Rental, Friendly Fraud, or Wardrobing

Buying a special occasion dress, wearing it, and then returning it to the store, aka “Dress Rental” is a huge problem for stores and ultimately, the customers.  Also known as friendly fraud or wardrobing, whatever cute term is used, it is theft.

This is a great way to put your favorite local business out of business.  Renters will hide the tags in the outfit while it is being worn or even try to reattach the tags after the event is over.  Dresses end up smelling, sometimes stained, and often damaged (i.e. missing beads) that the renter will try to pass off as a normal return.  Many of the big box stores accept the returns and pass on the higher costs to customers.  Small shops that refuse to return the rental are harassed for trying to stay in business, and often the renter thinks that yelling louder and making a scene will get the refund.  Sadly, this is often true.

Even if the dress is returned in perfect condition, someone else missed out on that dress for their event.  The store ends up with extra inventory at the end of season.  Most stores plan Prom inventory 4-6 months in advance, based on previous year sales.  Those returns are factored in and there will be fewer options for next season.  This assumes that the store is still in business the following year after many rentals.

If you really cannot afford to buy a new dress of your dreams there are many other options:

      • Check out Rent the Runway online dress rental, designed specifically so you can pay a rental fee and return the dress after your event
      • Borrow from an older friend or sibling
      • Buy a used dress from a consignment store or eBay
      • Upcycle a dress – NDAD has tons of suggestions to try!
      • Wear dress pants and a fabulous shirt (barring any gender specific dress codes)
      • Make your own – many fabric stores offer sewing classes

Here is an excellent article from the New York Post explains exactly how this theft raises prices for regular shoppers and ultimately leads to job loss for retail workers.