Dec 26
Fashion is Subjective
icon1 BlackCatPlus | icon2 Plus Size Fashion | icon4 December 26, 2007| icon3No Comments »

My partners and I would always be amused when a few women would come in and we would overhear their conversation about how one of our articles of clothing was “hideous” or how another article of clothing was “awesome!” One woman announced, “When we walk by the store every morning, we just laugh and laugh at that piece in the window.” Oh dear!! Now that piece has one size left out of six and has been a very popular seller for us. All three of us loved it which is very unusual for all of us to agree on an article of clothing. However, we are never offended when someone expresses their opinions as it helps us learn about different tastes and it comes with the territory when owning a boutique.

When I am buying for the boutique or the on-line boutique I am imagining a particular customer who would wear a certain piece and I buy with her in mind. The nice thing for women today is that we can find different styles to reflect different tastes. There are times when I am more conservative than others. In the boutique, I get to wear my “over the top” outfits. I love color and the mod prints that are out now. When it is not busy in the store we have conversations as to whether or not we like a particular article of clothing and why. As a buyer that is the most fun time so that we can get other perspectives. I am probably the most extreme of the three of us. Sonya is the most casual and Lisa is the most versatile, she wears clothes that reflect her mood and what she is doing that day.

We are always amused when one of us does not like an article of clothing or an accessory and it sells. The major department stores have several buyers. Fashion is very subjective and it all comes down to a matter of taste! And, there are all different kinds of tastes out there!! We play games when we are looking at clothes and we try to guess which one out of the three of us who would buy a particular style! I have had to “tone down” my selections because not everyone likes “out there” fashion so I have learned!! :) The fun thing about fashion is that it can represent a particular mood we are in that day! Through fashion we can choose to make our life whatever and however we choose! For fun, log on with a friend and talk about what you like and do not like about particular styles–you can even visit us at and let us know what you like and do not like or want to see! Have fun and happy shopping.

Dec 20

In this day and age of throwing out all of the fashion rules, what does it mean to dress appropriately? Is what is appropriate determined by age? Who decides what is appropriate? Women do!! Today’s women want clothes which represent their lifestyle, are made of high quality materials, have a flattering fit, and are a good value for the money.

Ellen Davis, Senior Director of the National Retail Federation, a trade organization serving the retail industry says, “Women are changing fashion to make what they are currently wearing become age appropriate. Take today’s baby boomer, for example. She doesn’t want to be pushed into the styles her mother wore as she aged; she wants her individualized style to stand out” (Women’s Wear Daily, 13 Dec. 2007, page 2). A perfect example of lifestyle dressing is apparent by the number of pairs of jeans a woman owns. How many jeans do you have in your closet? I just counted. I have six pair of jeans that I wear in the winter time and add another four pair of lightweight or crop jeans that I wear in the summer time!

For example, our Kiyonna dressy wide leg denim trousers have a great fit that flatters and gives us the opportunity to dress them up and wear them to work or wear them for play. These jeans have a great fit, look great and are comfortable which is exactly why I have worn mine to teach college this past week! I paired them with a jacket and t-shirt and no one really knew they were jeans!

Dressing appropriately simply means choosing clothes that make us look great and make us feel confident in whatever activities we are engaged in!

Dec 13

A lot of boutiques advertise that they carry contemporary clothing. What exactly is contemporary clothing and can plus size women wear contemporary clothing? There are several different kinds of classifications to describe clothing styles.
Traditional, Conventional, and Contemporary are the most recognized categories. Traditional clothing styles change very little from season to season. Conventional styles cater to middle America, with branded merchandise offered at moderate prices. The Contemporary clothing boutique recieves all of the latest trends in fashion. Usually the styles are in the contemporary boutique a season or two earlier than what one would find in a department store. The mix of contemporary merchandise is updated and the fashion looks are influenced by the latest trends. In our boutique and on-line store at, we are considered a contemporary store.
Generally, in a contemporary store, the depth of merchandise is limited and the merchandise turnover is quicker because there are not many sizes in each style. The prices vary from moderate to upper. Note that there is a difference between trendy and contemporary.

Trendy pieces usually only last for a season or two at most. Contemporary refers to the fashion category rather than an article of clothing. YES!! Absolutely plus size women should take advantage of the contemporary clothing choices to show off their best features. It is a great time to wear color and take advantage of the updated clothing choices! We do not have to JUST wear pants with elastic waistbands if we do not want to or JUST wear all black clothing because we think it makes us look slimmer if we do not want to–there are more clothing choices now than ever before which can be just as flattering to the plus size woman! If you are on the more conservative side or are not sure, mix and match a piece or two into your wardrobe! How about all of the Mod prints and patterns??–take a look at Black Cat Plus’s mod print tops and dresses–we love our Black Cat Plus hatch pattern dress, and we see that you all have liked them as well and we have re-ordered more!

Pay attention to the new fabrics such as Modal which makes the look and feel of today’s clothing styles so much more appealing–it conforms to the body in all of the right places–check out our Modal wrap top from Kiyonna! It is the best wrap top around! Our best selling top in the on line and store front boutiques! So, yes plus size women can and SHOULD wear contemporary clothing–we want to look and feel our best every single day. It is not about what size we wear it is how we wear our size! And is it ever fun to wear the new contemporary clothing!! Happy Shopping! Jodell

Dec 5

Ever get all excited to try something on and it does not fit? To make matters worse, you absolutely love it, want it, and are trying to figure out how you can make it fit AND it is on SALE to boot! Well, here’s the little secret about plus size clothing that is essential to understand: Ready? This will save you a ton of angst, blame, and time and energy!

As a colleague of mine, Kathleen Fasanella, who is a clothing pattern maker and extremely knowledgable, explains, ” The problem with plus sizing is that there are greater disparities in the differences between plus size body types than the body types for misses.” Therefore it is impossible for a “one size fits all” plus size fit.

Many plus size women, —and you know who you are say, “Forget it, I will just get something big enough to compensate or cover it.” Whatever it is! Nooooo! Covering and compensating are two different things! Covering makes you look larger than you are and does not allow you to focus attention on your positive features.

Step one is to understand what type of silhouette you have and which clothing styles favor your particular silhouette. Take some time to measure your proportions and then measure the circumference of your bust, hips, waist and arms. See our step-by-step instructions to measuring properly and the different silhouettes on our FAQ page at Now, don’t start hyperventilating! The measurements are just simply numbers to help you determine what clothing styles look best on your particular shape! Once you have an idea as to what styles look the best– you can focus your efforts on finding clothes which accentuate your positive features! Happy Shopping! Jodell