New Plus Size Collection Launches to Fill Your Closets with this Fall

By Inemesit Etokudo

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Plus size retailers have been working in overdrive to produce new collections and extending their choices for this Fall/Winter season. Social media has been inundated with news of brand new lines dropping every other day, creating a large amount of buzz around plus size clothing this season, a welcome change to the industry as a whole. Finally, plus size consumers are being catered to and treated like their straight size counterparts and the level of hype has really risen this year. This may be a result of a successful plus size turnout at NYFW or because designers and retailers are finally listening to their consumer base; but, whatever the reason, one thing is for sure - the options for plus size individuals have soared!

Here is a list of brands to keep an eye on when building your closets this Fall!

1.    Girl with Curves x Dia & Co. (https://style.dia.com/style_guide/girl-with-curves/)

            Style icon Tanesha Awasthi is bringing her expertise to Dia & Co. with her latest collection, GIRL WITH CURVES—named after her incredible fashion blog. Designed for the unapologetically confident woman, this collection is filled with statement-worthy accents and timeless silhouettes.

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2.    Ashley Nell Tipton (http://www.simplicity.com/searchsummary?q=tipton)

Ashley Nell Tipton Debuts Her Fall Simplicity Collection with Customizable Pieces in sizes 18W through 34W!  She has teamed up with Simplicity, a brand known for their pattern making expertise, to allow you to create your very own dresses, coats and Fall staples!

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3.    Danielle Brooks x Universal Standard (https://www.universalstandard.net/)

            Although this line by Orange is the New Black Star Danielle Brooks has yet to drop, we can only imagine the greatness that will come of it. Based solely on a post she shared via Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/p/BY8tZuXBNmj/?taken-by=daniebb3), Danielle’s collection promises to be a professional, simplistic one with clean lines and fall colors. Keep an eye out on Danielle and Universal Standard’s social media for more previews!

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4.    Jeff Cafone Collection (https://www.jeffcafone.com/shop/)    

            Jeff Cafone, self-taught designer based in New York City, has listened to all the plus size leather jacket qualms and come to the rescue. He has released his first luxury collection exclusively in plus sizes 12-28+. These are definitely a splurge item but the impeccable handwork and made-to-order bespoke designs will ensure these jackets last through many Fall seasons.

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5.    Jordyn Woods x Addition Elle (http://www.additionelle.com/en/brands/jordyn-woods-collection)

Jordyn Woods has released her new Love & Legend Collection which had its debut during the 2017 Addition Elle New York Fashion Week show. The collection will feature 15 pieces retailing at $42 – $178 in sizes X – 4X, and is the first in a series of offerings between Woods and Addition Elle. The collection is youthful, with splashes of color, mismatched denim and bold silhouettes perfect for the upcoming Fall season!

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6.    La La Anthony x Lord & Taylor (https://www.lordandtaylor.com/search/EndecaSearch.jsp?bmText=SearchString&N_Dim=0&Ntk=Entire+Site&Ntt=LaLa+Anthony)

            Lala Anthony has launched a denim collection with Lorde & Taylor that is for “all women, all shapes and sizes.” The collection ranges from sizes 0 to 24 and is priced under-$100, featuring fashion-forward silhouettes details like zippers, asymmetrical hems, rolled cuffs, and distressed fabrics! This denim collection has dropped just in time for us to get our Fall denim needs met!

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Our Beauty Habits, The Truth Revealed

By SheenaDeanne 

How long have you had a half-used lipstick, mascara, foundation, or concealer at the bottom of purse, in the back of your bathroom cabinet, or lost in the “catch-all” bathroom drawer? To undercover our beauty care habits Poshly was commissioned to survey over 4,000 women in the U.S. and the results were shocking.  Although, the research survey was conducted in 2015 little has changed with our daily habits. 

Our Beauty Habits Revealed

  • More than 80% of women know makeup has expiration dates and have problems with old product, but still don't discard them because they forget
  • 89% of women hang onto old makeup "just in case they might need it later" 
  • 87% of them know that makeup has expiration dates.
  • For the average consumer between the ages of 25 and 50, 75% don't routinely finish their makeup - and not just before it expires, but at all. 
  • Women are knowingly keeping and using expired makeup that could have an adverse effect on their health and well-being.
  • Less than 1 in 5 toss their mascara in the recommended time frame of 3 months. 
  • The most common makeup to stick around too long is eye makeup - even though it expires the fastest and is the worst to use, past its safe expiration date.
  • The average consumer owns almost 40 makeup products 
  • Women between the ages of 25-42 would rather suffer reoccurring breakouts instead of downsizing their bathroom vanities

What Now? Time To Actively Keep Track Of Expiration Dates

This study is a reminder that we must be diligent about caring for our beauty products to prevent skin irritations, breakouts, and infections.  You can brush up on how to care for your products and beauty tools such as makeup brushes by reading several of our Beauty Lessons posts here.  

Keeping track of every expiration date of every makeup and skincare product you have can be daunting, however it’s something that’s important that will have a positive impact on the heath of your skin and the ease and finished look of your makeup.  Because as Loreal always says - your worth it! 

Checking My Privilege

By Inemesit Etokudo 

My intention when starting to write this post was to share my skin glow secret (it is Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops which can enhance your foundation routine – I highly recommend getting yours at Sephora) but this weighed so heavy on my heart that I had to write about it. If you have any questions regarding the skin glow, please feel free to drop me a line and I will go into more detail for you!

 

I am always one to encourage those around me to check their privilege – to acknowledge the lenses through which they view the world and understanding how that can (consciously or subconsciously) skew their opinion on things. This past week, however, I had to take that advice myself. I have never been quiet about my growing disdain with the body positivity movement and what it has evolved into in recent years; however, I wholeheartedly get the need for this movement right now. Aside from there not being a counter, more productive movement yet, the body positivity movement is prevalent enough to allow a safe enough space for us who are othered based on our bodies. I have always been plus, thought of myself as outside of the ideal standards of beauty and have navigated most of my teenage and adult life with that in mind.

 

Last week, though, my point of view was skewed a bit during an encounter while shopping.

 

I was in the change room and required a smaller size of a skirt, so I politely asked for a size 1 (this is equivalent to an 1XL at this store). Another shopper who was in the change room next to mine yelled out a very dry and sarcastic “I wish I could wear a 1” to which a chorus of laughter followed in agreement. Look – I am not one to ever be shamed or take to heart any negative comments (comes with thick Nigerian skin) but the moment I received my new size, I ran back into the change room and locked the door behind me. I was rattled because I was body shamed for being too small, something that has never happened to me.
 

I brought this moment to a trusted friend and confidant in order to make some sense of it and he told me that I had to reevaluate my privilege; to understand that although I do not fit society’s unreal and unattainable standards of beauty by any means, I do not represent the other extreme. I can still pass through certain holes in these beauty standards, find clothing in most places now, my height, skin tone, accent all “acceptable” without fitting the ultimate mold. I had to search deep, setting aside my own feelings of inadequacy, thoughts and feelings surrounding me letting down my readers and rethink how I’m fighting for body love and equal representation in fashion.

 

I have to respect the fact that I am not hit the hardest in the media or walking through society day-to-day and my personal privilege needs to be acknowledged and acted upon when going out there and representing us. My body is constantly changing and I fluctuate in terms of size yearly; but my passion for ensuring women across the board are fairly represented in media and fashion and trying to build body love from within the walls of elementary school classrooms remains steadfast. I will keep fighting but will now check my own privilege and look to others who have a different point of view on this to help me through.

August Wish List

By  CDM's Kitten - Caroline Downing 

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Y’all. July was a month if there ever was one. I resigned from my position at the firm to start a new chapter (next week) and have jumped a few personal hurdles- one of which I think will be coming to the blog soon if I’m brave enough. I’ve been terrible about working out, which I’m feeling and need to get back to that. Working 12 hour days to prepare myself and the firm for my departure was not conducive to working out or really healthy in any way.

Kendall has started traveling for work, which he loves, so I love. I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen more and cooked shrimp for the first time in my life.

Life happens and it keeps moving- that’s kind of the theme for me right now. I’m taking this week off between jobs and I couldn’t be happier to catch my breath. I’m currently blogging from my parents’ basement while my dad cooks a steak. I’m waiting for a call from my wedding DJ. I’m relaxed and I’m happy.

Here’s what I’m craving this month:

I’ve been eyeing the Steve Madden Dainna-L in leopard as the most perfect heel for fall. It has that chic pointy toe and the block heel I require.

There are a ton of Betsey Johnson work appropriate dresses included in the #NSale, but I’m digging the short sleeves and applique on this Fit & Flare Dress.

Speaking of applique, I’m not sure why but I am seriously loving destroyed and appliqued sweaters like the emory park Embroidered Rose Distressed Sweater.

Summer may be starting to wind down, but my Maryland self would use this Don’t Be Shellfish Tote Tote always.  And I mean really I need another purse like I need a hole in the head but I can’t get over this Ted Baker London Blossom Leather Tote. Got the MD vibes with the crab, DC vibes with the blossoms.

Also from my post yesterday, I love love love love the Banana Republic Embellished Sheath Dress.

I have an adorable Miss to Mrs. tumbler that I use always, but how cute is this I’m Getting Meowied Mug? It’s my time to enjoy this stuff right?

I have somehow scratched both pairs pink cat-eye sunnies I got this spring, and these 46mm Round Cat Eye Sunglasses are under $15 so…

My Macbook case has been through the wringer and is now cracked. Upgrade to this super gorgeous Hard Case Macbook Pro Case or nah?

I have been looking for a perfect rose gold nail polish. Oh hey Kendra Scott with your Rose Gold Metallic Nail Lacquer.

Treasure & Bond High Waist Crop Jeans fit my personal jeans requirement perfectly- high-waisted, cropped, and distressed.

I have yet to find espadrilles that I love and that also feel good on my feet- but Platform Sandals? I could try that!

 What are your August plans and wishes? Let me know in the comments!

You can find this article and more at www.thecarolove.com

The Brief, Definitive Guide to Summer Skincare

Summer time means rooftop bars, music festivals, beach days and sun-kissed glowing skin. Unfortunately, it can also mean sun damage, sunburn, and breakouts from the mixture of sweat, oil, bacteria and sunscreen. This is your well-kept beauty summer skincare guide complete with the steps you need to take to ensure that your skin is protected to prevent redness, unwanted pigmentation, and increased oil production.

Double Up On Cleansing

Sometimes it’s not wearing makeup that breaks us out, it’s the fact that we never take it completely off. The first and most important step in any thorough routine is proper cleansing. This step should remove makeup, debris, sweat, oil and allow for the better efficacy of the products that follow. No special products required, except a gentle cleanser for your skin type. Thorough cleansing alone will help keep breakouts at bay.

Wear Sunscreen Every Day

While obvious to some, others tend to neglect this little important fact.  Applying sunscreen every day it a must and remember that it doesn’t have to be hot outside for damage to occur. Find a formula that works for you and apply liberally. With so many products now offering sun protection, there’s ONE out there for you; oil free face lotion, moisturizer, mineral powder, serum, makeup primer, setting sprays…you only need one.

Don’t forget your neck. Think of your neck and chest as extensions of your face. Anytime you are applying products to the face you should also apply them to these areas as well.

Stay Hydrated

Be sure to seek water-based hydration  - topically as well as internally. You’d be surprised how much water we lose from evaporation and sweat. This is especially important for oily skin types that need the hydration, but not the oil. Toners, masks and hydrating serums are great, and are especially a treat if stored in the fridge for cooling after sun exposure.

Reduce Breakouts By Reducing Oil Production

The summer heat tends to make my oily friends even shinier; sometimes causing breakouts. Instead of drying your skin out with over mattifying products, ensure that your skin stays properly hydrated. It seems counter-intuitive, but dehydrating and drying your skin out will trigger increased oil production and increased breakouts. Instead, focus on oil free moisturizers and boosts from water-based hydrating toners, masks, and/or serums.

Vitamin C Is Key -Topically & Internally

Free radicals are not are friends and contribute to aging. Antioxidants, like vitamin C are great for use during the day to protect skin cells. It’s also great for fading brown spots, and brightening and smoothing skin. (In the spa, our Vitamin C facial is the most requested seasonal treatment). Because I also work in construction, a good Vitamin C serum has been a staple in my routine. I’m not outside every day, all day, but when I am there are a lot of opportunities for environmental damage.

Stay Cool

Along with direct sun exposure, heat also causes hyperpigmentation and heat rash due to the skin’s increased temperature. To soothe a heat rash, think cooling and hydration. A gel based mask with soothing, anti-inflammatories like chamomile, bosabolol and aloe is a great way to repair and calm skin to reduce irritation and redness.

Enjoy the season in your best skin!

By- SheenaDeanne

Make Up Spring Cleaning Tips To Do This Weekend

It's that time of year again where we need to clean out our closets and our makeup bags. This year, make a promise to yourself to do a weekend spring cleaning spree to toss out any broken powders and old mascaras. Here are three tips to help make the process easier and quicker

STEP ONE: DIVIDE & CONQUER

Divide your collection into coordinating groups by sorting items into piles, for example, lipsticks with lipsticks, mascaras with mascaras, highlighters with highlighters and so on. Once you have finished shorting, it’s time to look at the condition of each item and toss anything that no longer serves a purpose which could be a foundation with so-so coverage or a blush that doesn’t flatter your skin tone.

STEP TWO: DECIDE WHAT TO TOSS

The items in your beauty collection should make you look your best and fit your needs. I know we our all guilty of this ...but let go of the “I’ll use it someday” trap. The reality is you are 90% likely never to use it - that someday will never come. Also, remember anything that is expired is not a must have or must keep.

STEP THREE: ARRANGE YOUR REGULARS

Make arrangements for your everyday favorites and your backup stash. Once you have decided what works and what doesn’t for your collection keep the items you use every day easily accessible and keep everything else separated by categories: lipsticks, mascaras, eyeliners, etc. Don’t forget to make space for your skincare items by organizing them in the order you apply them - this is super helpful first thing in the morning and at night after a long day of work or a night out. 

By Sheena Deanne 

A Shout Out to Sunday Funday

Pints & Puppies

Literally. I spent the day in the sun with one of my closest friends, day drinking and petting dogs and looking at dogs and contemplating kidnapping some dogs. A portion of the proceeds went toward local charities supporting dog rescue. Can’t get any better than that. I wasn’t even thinking about it at the time but I was rocking my Turquoise & Yellow Sporty Chic Hippy – Hand-Beaded Necklace c/o Dirty Hippy Swag and they donate a portion of their proceeds to help animals too! So it was a day celebrating our furry friends.

In that vein, I have a little call to action for you guys. I have been following Hannah Shaw aka Kitten Lady on Instagram for quite a while now, but one of her newest tiny but mighty rescues has totally broken my heart. Little Chloe has a damaged spine due to abuse and no use of her back legs, but Hannah has not given up on her. It’s likely a long, expensive road ahead for this little one, who through no fault of her own is in a very rough spot. If you can, I am encouraging you to donate to help save not only Chloe but the other little lives under Hannah’s care. I myself am a new monthly donator- think about it like this- 2 trips to Starbs or help save a little life. It took me less than 5 minutes to sign up.  You can find this article and more like this on future Chipped Diamond posts, or at www.thecarolove.com. 

- Caroline Downing 

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Statement Stripes with Fashion Nova Curve

I'd like to start this post off by saying this is not sponsored. I purchased this Fashion Nova Curve item with my own money so all opinions are my own and are unsolicited.

I was extremely excited when I first found out that Fashion Nova, a celebrity ladened brand that is a one stop shop for deep Vs and crop tops, launched a curves section. I am a huge believer in the fact that every body type deserves access to sexy, on-trend pieces and Fashion Nova Curve has not shied away from providing this to it's consumers. My personal style tends to fall away from body cons and risqué cut-outs and, instead, leans towards oversized, menswear inspired cuts, making fashion Nova Curve a little outside of my comfort zone. But I decided to take the plunge anyway and see how the new curve pieces measured up!

I opted to go with this striped dress in anticipation of stripes' major comeback in the S/S 2017 season. On the site, this dress is advertised as a midi dress but, in reality, it is a mini. This may partially be due to the fact that I'm 5'8 and decided to rock this dress with my 3 inch chunky Spice Girls boots but the fact that Fashion Nova Curve's sizing runs small is probably the biggest contributor. I am usually a size 1X/2X depending on the brand but I did some research into the band before ordering and found that ordering a size up would be best. The 3X fit well but I found that the measurements around the arms and the overall length were small and short for me. I would highly recommend sizing 1 or 2 sizes up if possible as the brand is definitely a junior plus fit, similar to Forever 21 Plus.

I was pleasantly surprised in terms of the overall quality of the piece. For the affordable price point, I was expecting a shady, Ali Baba-esque item with poor stitching and no attention to detail; however, this dress was lined and the sweater-like quality of the material made it very wearable. All in all, I would give Fashion Nova Curve my stamp of approval and I will be shopping there again in the near future!

"Young, Black & Well Dressed" - A Photo Series | Part 2 - Black

PHOTOGRAPHY BY AYO B. (@AOBYYC (www.instagram.com/aobyyc))

I am black, not because it is trendy or because I want to surf on the latest “urban” wave. I am black because that is who I am. I was born black, was raised black and will die black. I do not need to seek out external validation to truly appreciate who I am and to understand the strength of all the black men and women who came before me. My black doesn’t rely on the coke bottle figure, Adidas tear-aways or bamboo earrings. My black could care less about fitting in or conforming to what society thinks black is. My black embraces me in the darkest of moments and replaces the crown I often times forget my heritage has blessed me with.

Black is courageous. Black is powerful. Blackness endures.

I am consciously black and I navigate the world as such. I am proud of my black, but that does not mean I am blind to the adversity that comes as a result of my melanin level. Where I see strength and beauty, most see a statistic. My skin evokes a level of discomfort in those around me, creating an exclusively inclusive world. The tight polite smiles, condemning stares and constant stench of white guilt make up the sound track to my daily life. It would be easy to crumble under the negativity that I receive solely based on the level of a certain pigment my skin produces but I refuse to let those thoughts invade my headspace. I am rooted deep enough in my black to never waiver or fold.    

Being black is far more than a state of mind - it is a state of being. Black girl magic is a reality, allowing me to celebrate my melanin-laden queens at every turn. My black is personal to me, a tapestry of the experiences that I have lived. My black cannot compare to your black and your black cannot be compared to another's because by it's very definition, being black is an internal struggle that bears the fruit that is you. When we stop trying to draw parallels between our back and embrace the fact that blackness is a fluid creature, we, together, will become unstoppable.

Black, a five letter word the sends fear and hatred down the spines of those around us - but, isn't it time that this word regains its truth? Isn't it time to reclaim this word, shouting it out every chance we get? Isn't it time we broke the stereotypes, taking back our culture - the same culture they condemn in one breath but replicate and profit from in another? 

I dedicate this post to all my black King and Queens, those still with us and those taken from us too soon.

Thank you to Andel (@andeljoseph (www.instagram.com/andeljoseph)) for helping me tell this personal story of my black struggle and to Ayo (@aobyyc (www.instagram.com/aobyyc)) for capturing my thoughts.

"Young, Black & Well Dressed" - A Photo Series | Part 1 - Young

Young, Black and Well Dressed” is a photo series and small project that I have been working on since last month. After posting a style collab image on Instagram with the caption “Yong, Black & Well Dressed” that garnered a lot of positive interest and feedback, I decided to explore these three words more in depth. I realized that the positive outpour over both the caption and the image said a lot more about the social climate we find ourselves in today than the actual image or words themselves. Seeing an image of two young, black individuals in fine attire within a predominantly Caucasian city created enough of a shake in the overly negative images of Black people we are constantly fed to create a disruption – a disruption I was all too happy to continue causing.

“Young, Black and Well Dressed” is my way of showing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter, Black Girl Magic and all other pro-Black movements around the globe. It is my way of outwardly expressing the disdain, pain and exasperation I feel on a daily basis when I see my people, the Kings and Queens of history, facing the same prejudices we have been facing since the turn of time. It is clear that I am not alone in this struggle – the countless number of marches, speeches and public upheaval that has flooded nations both near and far speak to humanity’s current state of mind. This photo series is for every black girl who speaks up in her science class and every black boy who decides to learn to play hockey because they are the ones who keep the dream alive.

Part I of the series, “Young”, is all about perspective. The world can be such a dark place and there is a never-ending stream of negativity blasted at us in various forms. I often find myself retreating within myself, the one place I know I can find solace to make sense of all that is happening. This leaves me feeling isolated without a sense of hope for the future. I age 50 years for every minute I spend watching the news headlines. I walk through life heavily, the weight of the world slowing me down every step of the way.

“Young” is my way of recapturing my youth, finding colour in the darkness and celebrating the fact that we are a pivotal generation. We are the generation that can no longer sit idly by as the injustices of the world happen around us. We are the young bloods who question everything, demand to be heard and fight relentlessly for what we believe in. We have been called entitled and privileged but, to me, that just means we are curious and empathetic, sharing in the collective storm cloud that has rolled through into our world.

I don’t understand why people fear an individual who is proud of their Black… well maybe I do. It’s because ignorance is no match for resilience and oppression is no match for the human heart. “Young, Black and Well Dressed” is my small way of showing my pride.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY AYO B. (@AOBYYC (www.instagram.com/aobyyc))

TGIF

Happy Friday! I will be dancing at my desk all day because tonight after work I’m heading up to New York City to get a little taste of NYFW at the Yuna Yang show tomorrow. My friend Amber is heading up there with me to be my train/ hotel buddy, but I also heard from Kristyn that she and Jenn are going to be at the same show so YAY!

TGIF

Happy Friday! I’m going to Illusions tonight have Amandafix up my hair but then staying for a sip and a shop with my other AmandaWhistle & Wild is doing a pop-up complete with wine + truffle tastings! Saturday, Kendall and I are finally seeing Sing (because we love singing cartoons) and Sunday I have a Bubbles & Bloggers meetup at Kate Spade City Center and, of course, the Super Bowl Official Snack Day. We’ll be spending it at a little gathering hosted by Sarah + her manfriend.

This week on The CaroLøve:

I have to applaud Dana on her post about what’s going on in the world. It’s so scary thinking about being judged for either your political opinions or the fact that maybe you don’t totally understand everything that’s going on. It’s just important to stay educated for yourself and to be kind.

Also giving props to my girl Roxanne. I honestly had never noticed any acne scars on her, but I am so impressed that she shared pictures and her rather unpleasant experience with micro-needling. The things we do for ourselves are not always pretty or glam, but I do appreciate that she showed us the good, the bad, and the ugly of her skincare.

Maybe I’ve been living under a rock- but did anyone else know that Fornash has a delivery box club for $25 a box? (less expensive if you buy yearly). I did Birch Box for a bit and was disappointed, but I think I’m going to treat myself to the every-3-months box

I’m super into dolled-up sweatshirts right now. I’m currently waiting for the Draper James Love Y’all SweatshirtAND the J. Crew French colors sweatshirt (currently on sale if you’re and XS or smaller) to come back in my size.

After putting together the post about green purses for my coworker, I stumbled across the GiGi New York Winter Sale + found her a set that she ordered ASAP. If you’re in the market for a new bag (I’m not- for once), this sale should NAHT be missed.

Have a great weekend!