Polette Designer Sunglasses Winner

The winner of the Polette Designer Sunglasses Giveaway on my blog is Timeka from Sewloveable.

I am contacting her by email to let her know, and I will forward her email address to my contact person at Polette. To be as fair as possible to all of you wonderful women who entered, I put the valid entries into a free random number generator on Random.org to select her.

Thank you to everyone who entered the contest. Your support means a lot to me!

Even if you didn’t win this time, you might have better luck in the next giveaway that I am working on coordinating with a lovely business woman. So, keep following along.

Thank you again, and congratulations Timeka!

Teresa

My Selfie in Words

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This personal essay of mine appears in the current issue of Bella Grace magazine. With the editor’s permission, I am sharing it here with you. Hope you will enjoy it! Consider picking up a copy of the magazine at your local bookstore to see the creativity of many other writers and photographers too.

My Selfie in Words

I have never taken a selfie.

It’s partly on principle, and partly because – well – I don’t have one of the fancy phones that make it easy. I did try one time just for the heck of it, but I kept cutting off part of my face no matter how I angled the phone. I gave up. Honestly, I could just look at myself in the mirror anyway. Even if I could take a good one, I’m still a little old school. I did draw a self-portrait on my Kindle not too long ago with my finger, using a sketchbook app. I thought it turned out cute, especially considering that I drew it with my finger.

“I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” – Walt Whitman

A selfie is a quick version of self-expression, a way to capture yourself in the moment. Personally, I still prefer the slower versions like an artist’s portrait or a long poem. I would rather write than snap a picture of everything, even though I know there can be magic in photos too. Yet, some of the senses are missing, no matter how hard you look at a selfie.

A picture can’t capture the clean scent of my toddler’s hair after a bath or the softness of his cheek when his mommy kisses him. A picture can’t bring back the smell of spicy cologne that my husband wore when we were first dating or the nervous flip-flop feeling in the pit of my stomach when we went on our first date.

Life unfiltered: a carpet cluttered with Lego blocks and wooden trains that have collided off course, a kitchen sink filled with dishes to be rinsed and nested neatly in the dishwasher, a Sheltie on the floor wearing a red splint because he broke his front leg (long story), our flat screen television resting on a makeshift stand while we wait for the real stand to be delivered, a full time mom and part time master’s degree student in her thirties trying to make it to the gym in her Prius, a husband going to work early in the morning and coming back late at night to scoop up his son and say his favorite greeting of “hi dear” to me.

When I think of these days, “hi dear” will ring in my memory. My son’s chant of “car, car, car” – his favorite word – will ring there too, like a remix.

I have seen some creative selfies. I saw some selfies from a woman who drew elaborate pictures on her bathroom mirror and stepped into them to snap a photo. I admired her creativity. Most of the time when I’m behind a camera, I’m taking photos of my husband and son. I try to get my husband to take a few photos of my son, Carson, and I together so that when he looks back, he will know that, yes, mommy was on the vacation too.

My identity is me, but it is also my family. Right now, a selfie looks more like a family portrait. It looks like diaper changes, the high chair, play dates. It looks like the toy police car that Carson drove up to the manger scene under the Christmas tree so many times last year that it started to seem intentional.

If I could paint a self-portrait, it would look like Russian nesting dolls. Nestled inside of this mom is a young girl who grew up on a farm, raised rabbits for 4-H, took walks in the cow pasture after school, went fishing, read voraciously, and didn’t yet feel self-conscious when she spoke her mind.

The next nesting doll would be a teenager who was on the yearbook staff, who drove to work as a restaurant hostess after school, who had dates to homecoming and the prom, who went to the movies with her best guy friend a lot, who graduated in the Top Ten, who read magazine articles about how to be appealing. I wish I could tell her to ignore those articles and just rest in her own worth.

Another nesting doll would be a newspaper reporter in her early twenties, driving around in her little Jetta with a “News Girl” vanity plate on the front. She was listening to J-Lo or Christina Aguilera and singing along as she drove out to different interviews. It was the first time she could walk down to the coffee shop for a chai latte every day and afford a fancy brand of shampoo. She felt like life was a big adventure, and every day was different. I’m still proud of that person.

Now, as a mom, I feel like I’m experiencing the part of my own life that I can’t remember. I’m experiencing it vicariously through my son. I can’t remember what it was like to be a baby or a toddler, but I see his sense of awe in the world, and I’m sure I had that too. I still have that sense of awe as I watch him. I see the magic of learning, the beauty of life itself. So, this is me. This is my selfie, in words — a work in progress. What does your selfie look like, in words?

Thank you for reading!

P.S. Since the time that I wrote this, I did take a selfie with someone else’s phone once (wink, wink).

xoxo Teresa

Copyright 2015. Printed here with the permission of Bella Grace.

Kelly Clarkson Concert Style and a Designer Sunglasses Giveaway

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Here is a fan’s view of Kelly Clarkson singing at her Piece By Piece Tour at Hershey Park on July 11, 2015.

Kelly Clarkson kicked off her Piece by Piece Tour recently — and I was there in row 7, section C, really close! She sounded amazing, mixing a lot of her well-known hits with the songs from her new album (which I have memorized). My favorites from the new album are “Heartbeat Song,” “Dance with Me,” and “Take You High.” I also loved that she performed a song with her opening act, Pentatonix, a really impressive a cappella group that I rooted for on The Sing-Off.

Kelly is a wife, mother to a young child, and around my age, so I find her very relatable even though she is truly famous and incredibly talented. What stood out to me was Kelly’s sense of humor and her quick wit. She made some hilarious, off-the-cuff jokes. She really cracked me up when she was talking passionately about her music as the band played in the background, and she said something like, “I feel like I’m at church right now, and I’m about to lead someone to Jesus!” It’s not an exact quote, and maybe you had to be there . . . but the background music and the timing of it all was just perfect.

She was in her bare feet, which was endearing. She accidentally fell on her butt during “Stronger,” but she kept singing and never missed a beat. That’s when I felt more admiration for her than ever.

Anyway, I figured I would chat a bit about her fashion and show you a lot of photos since my blog focuses on that. First, though, I want say that I love the body positive messages that Kelly has been sending lately. Her concert was so uplifting, even if “Because of You” did bring a little tear to my eye (and I felt cheesy for it, but then I figured, hey, just feel the moment . . . and then pretend it did not happen, haha). On the topic of body positivity and female respect, Kelly welcomed a slam poet to the stage whose message was so vital and powerful for today’s women to hear. Here is the YouTube video of slam poet Miranda Tellis if you need some encouragement right now.

Now, without further ado, fashion discussion! Click the photos to make them bigger.

The vibe of her outfits was bold and F-U-N. She wore bright colors, anchored with black as a neutral. Sequins and embroidery, tulle, floaty fabrics, shiny fabrics, slightly 1980s — she went there! Personally, I loved her style. I even like how she shaved some of her hair, and I’m thinking we will start seeing that hairstyle soon in the general public because of Kelly. I’m not sure if I could pull it off. I keep getting tempted to do a more subtle version of it; then I lose my courage. The woman is fierce in the best way! Even her last outfit, mostly black with leggings underneath, had a fun feel because of different fabric textures. Kelly’s outfits seemed to fit her upbeat personality very well.

Now it’s giveaway time. Polette, a French sunglasses and frames company, has kindly offered for me to pick one reader who will receive a free pair of frames or shades. To win:

1. Follow my blog by email, and

2. Visit http://www.polette.com and then leave a link to your favorite pair of sunglasses or frames in my blog’s comments section. 

Please consider following Polette on your social media as a thanks for the giveaway. I will announce the winner on July 31.

Here’s a photo of me wearing my Polette shades early in the stadium for Kelly’s concert. You can visit my original review of Polette here or see my latest fashion post here.

Me at the stadium

Stadium

P.S. Since my camera phone is old and takes mediocre photos, I want to give a shout out to Tracie from Alabama, who I met at the concert. Her husband had even better seats than us, so he took the photos of Kelly that are in this blog post and very kindly emailed them to me.

Good luck in the giveaway, lovely ladies!

xoxo Teresa

Linking up with Garay Treasures, Top of the World Style, What I Wore, The Wednesday Pants, and A Little Bit of Cheer.

My Elegant Scarf Print Kaftan Top from Qurvii

It feels amazing to have the opportunity to review so many plus size designs lately because I’m an average woman and a full time mom — not a model, not tall, not uber glamorous, not even the traditional shape of a curvy woman that is used in advertisements. I hope my stereotype-breaking blog is inspiring you though. I know a lot of fashion bloggers feel pressured to Photoshop themselves, but I am keeping it REAL here. All the photos are taken by my husband with our home camera. You see the smile and the imperfections, and I’m embracing all of it. Does it take courage? Yes. Oh, yes, sister.

I feel like fashion bloggers, and especially plus size bloggers, have the opportunity to remind other women that magazine images are not real. You see the hair of a busy mom and the smile lines. You see someone who isn’t wearing much make-up and who, honestly, does not do well with make-up tricks. When blogs start to look too much like magazines, well . . . I’m not sure if that is helping anyone. If you’re good at make-up, then let your light shine — but that’s just not my gift. Each time a company sends me something to review, I consider that to be a victory for curvy women and for authenticity. It’s not just about me or about image. Those who know me personally know that I tend to shy away from the spotlight, so believe me, this is not about image! I love reviewing plus size clothes. I love the beauty behind the designs, and I love how confident and at ease the clothes make me feel. I also like challenging stereotypes in my own subtle way.

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Anyway, this beautiful kaftan top Qurvii sent me to review stands out for many reasons. The silk satin material is so soft and light for summer, and I love the colors in the scarf print. The blue, pink, and green are just right together (somehow the colors take my mind to a village in Greece). Since I am short (5’2) and less busty than most curvy women, the top was a little longer on me than it would probably be on most ladies. To compensate for that, I tied one side in a scarf knot to make the top look better on my proportions. I think the scarf knot looks great and even adds to the style. I paired the top with shorts and a necklace from Maurice’s, a Fossil clutch wallet, Nautica flip flops, and vintage gold knot earrings given to me by my mother-in-law. Blue is one of my favorite colors to wear, so I feel elegant and confident in this outfit. A really special touch on this top is that the back is white, with just a blue print around the border, which adds a lot of visual interest. Qurvii specializes in the type of silk tunics, flowing chiffon dresses, georgette, linen, and satin tops that plus size women dream of wearing but often have trouble finding. The price point on this top is also more affordable for the everyday woman than many items I’ve reviewed on my blog.

Soon as this top arrived in the mail, I washed it and wore it the same evening. I thought it was that pretty! I went to Olive Garden with a friend (where I got complimented on the top while sitting in the waiting area), and then we went to see Magic Mike XXL (guilty pleasure, yes). As a side note, I had no idea that Michael Strahan was going to be dancing in the movie — so that was a very pleasant surprise! I whispered to my friend, “Is that Michael Strahan??” but we didn’t know for sure until we saw the credits at the end. Nice moves, Michael Strahan! It was a much-needed, rare mom’s night out. Earlier in the day, I took my son to a petting zoo, where he accidentally fell in a mud puddle (toddler boy, lol), and I had to clean him and all his clothes in an outdoor foot-pump sink to keep from getting mud in the car  . . . so, yeah, I needed to go out!

Hope you enjoyed my review of the Qurvii plus size kaftan top! Even though I was gifted the top, the opinions are all my own and not sponsored by Qurvii.

xoxo Teresa

Feeling Retro in My Polette Wooden Sunglasses

DSCN2562Sunglasses made of bamboo? Sure, I’ll try those — especially in salmon pink! Polette, a French company that sells sunglasses and traditional glasses at a very reasonable price by eliminating the typical middle man, has a range of frames from classic to quirky. When the company told me to pick a pair of frames on the site, I immediately went for something intriguing. After all, I had never worn wooden frames before, and I had never seen anyone else wearing wooden sunglasses. If you’ve never seen someone wearing wooden sunglasses before either, then keep scrolling, because I’m about to expand your eyewear horizons . . . DSCN2576 There you go! Even though the frames are made of wood, they are very light weight. The bamboo frames feel even more light than most plastic frames, and I love the touch of white on the sides. The design and color choices are thoughtful. As you can see, these fun sunglasses made me want to go a little wild with color in my outfit. I could also style the glasses with neutrals for a more subtle look, but this time around, I’m giving you a stand-out, retro outfit to go with the stand-out, retro vibe of the shades.

Polette gifted me these sunglasses in return for my honest review. I am very pleased. These are light-weight, well-made, and unique. On a practical note, the shades are easy to see through — not too dark, and no color distortion. Thank you, Polette, for this opportunity. The rest of my outfit includes a jumper from eShakti (very fun to wear, though I do wish it had a side zipper rather than a back zipper) and a purse from Haiku bags that I reviewed here. My jewelry is from Bon-Ton. If you would like to learn more about the vision behind Polette, click here.

Hope you enjoyed seeing my bamboo shades.

Polette is offering 15% off its already affordable sunglasses and frames to Mama Muse Me readers. Use the coupon code “Speccy” at http://www.polette.com. The offer excludes sales.

xoxo Teresa

Linking up with Rhea from Style to Inspire (If you love giveaways, she is having a giveaway at that link too). Also linking with Shopping My Closet and Top of the World Style.

These Boots are Made for Walking . . . the Runway

Boots 1Today I’m wearing Hillary boots from Boots By Pamela. These are seriously some luscious boots, and I am really excited to be wearing them because designer Pamela Ammeter is one of the talents being showcased at Full Figured Fashion Week in NYC. If you are reading this on Friday, June 19, her boots could be going down the runway right now. If you find this post later, you may have already heard the FFFWeek buzz about her boots.

Pamela sent me the Hillary boots from Canada to coincide with her FFFWeek spotlight. My Hillary boots fit like a glove, and their rich brown color is perfect. The zipper works well, and I really like the antique gold hardware details. These comfortable boots look expensive, with high-quality man-made leather (polyurethane) and all-rubber soles. I’m wearing a size eight.

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What makes Pamela’s business unique is that she caters to women who need wide calf boots. I’m definitely in that category. Most boots I try on in a traditional store are at least an inch or two too small in width, which is very, very frustrating. If you’re a curvy woman, I know you’ll relate to this. Pamela had the exact same experience when she used to shop for boots, so she combined her background in the fashion industry with her need for boots that would fit — and Boots by Pamela was born. I’m going to be bookmarking Pamela’s site on my laptop so that I won’t have to go through the frustration of boot shopping in a traditional store in the future.

The nice thing about brown boots with a red undertone like these, rather than a blue undertone, is that you can match them to almost anything in your wardrobe, including black pants. If you wear brown with a blue undertone, it really doesn’t work with black very well (go ahead, try it). This tip will save you a lot of money if you need to make a choice between brown or black boots, ladies!

I’m calling the look that I’ve put together to showcase my boots Upscale Country. I’ve paired them with a calico dress from Maurice’s and a handmade alpaca shawl from the Backstage Alpaca Shop in Bedford, Pennsylvania. This shawl was definitely a splurge piece for me, but it feels like a giant hug. I saw it when I was on a weekend retreat, and I knew I would regret not buying it. Alpaca is a fiber that was once reserved for Incan royalty, so putting the shawl with the boots just felt right to me.

In the summer, women generally opt for ankle-length, open-toed boots, but Hillary boots are so nice that I would wear them on an extra cool summer evening too. I will probably do another post when it gets cooler outside to show you how the boots and shawl look with skinny jeans.

Thank you, Pamela, for the honor of showcasing your work, and thank you, dear reader, for joining me today.

Pamela

Boots by Pamela Designer

What do you think about the boots?

xoxo

Teresa

I’m linking up with Garay Treasures.

Musing in Ocean City, Maryland

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This is one of the art works by Brooke Rogers on display at the Center for the Arts in Ocean City.

I’m back from a short (but very sweet) vacation at Ocean City, Maryland. It’s about a five hour drive from home, so I’ve gone there many years. This time felt different, though. First of all, I had a toddler with me. That changes everything. I spent a lot of time making tracks in the sand for Carson’s cars to run on and chasing him around in general. I had to coax him to stand where the waves would just barely touch his toes, and each time, he would say, “splash!,” which was adorable to a mommy’s ears. We swam in the condo rental pool every day, and we went through a lot of swimmy diapers (apparently the pool is really relaxing). Our condo rental overlooked an M.R. Ducks and a Billy’s Subs Shop on 140th Street. I ended up buying a cute, bright pink M.R. Ducks sweater to wear on the chilly days, and we frequented Billy’s Sub Shop (yum!). I highly recommend both businesses. Since we were not near the boardwalk, we rode the bus (only $3) when we wanted to stroll the boardwalk, and Carson loved that. If you’re going to Ocean City, especially with a toddler, here are three spots off the beaten path I found that you might enjoy too.

1. At the intersection of 94th Street and Coastal Highway, you’ll see a big blue water tower that has and advertisement for the Art League of Ocean City’s Center for the Arts. At some point each day, my husband and I liked to stop at the Coffee Beanery there (the iced white mochas were great) and then take Carson to the little playground directly behind the water tank. I know it sounds cheesy to tell you to look for the playground behind the water tank, but it’s a really good one for little guys, and the water tank makes the spot shady. We sipped our mochas as Carson played, and I consider that to be pretty relaxing. Just beyond the playground is the actual Center for the Arts museum, and the art is wonderful! If you are into art like me, you’ll like this spot tremendously.

2. Northside Park. I recommend walking the long dock. We saw a lot of people catching crabs there. One guy was using raw chicken neck in his trap, which seemed interesting… but it was bringing up a lot of crabs. Now that you have the image of raw chicken neck in your mind, just know that the spot is really beautiful. There’s lots of room to run, rent kayaks, or play on different playground equipment.

3. Bring a baby-sitter if you can! My husband and I had my parents around to watch Carson one evening so that we could go out on a fishing boat in the bay (the Tortuga at Bahia Marina near 21st Street). I caught five flounder (none big enough to keep) and several crabs that I had to throw back, but I had a really good time. The boat went near Assateague, so we could see the wild ponies, and at the same time, we saw a couple of dolphins.

Me and Another Fish

So much fun! As you can see, I am not worried about making a fashion statement when I’m on a fishing boat. :)

Another piece of advice: seriously, do not bring food on the beach with you at Assateague. My son had a sealed bag of pretzels that one of the wild ponies stole! I was so busy organizing everything that he needed on the beach that I didn’t even think about the pretzels. The pony decided to stand on our blanket awhile and also chew on my Redbook magazine. Lesson learned!

Horse that stole our pretzels on Assateague

Finally, besides plenty of playground, sand, and swim time, Carson especially liked the boardwalk shop that lets customers Photoshop their own faces onto iconic photos and then get the image printed on a t-shirt. Carson immediately chose to have his face put on Ryder from Paw Patrol. It’s hilarious seeing him wear that t-shirt now. He really likes it. He keeps saying, “Chase!!” For those of you not in the know, Chase is one of the dogs on Paw Patrol.

Hopefully I gave you a few vacation ideas or at least made you feel a little closer to the beach!

xoxo Teresa

Fashion Inspired by Melissa McCarthy in Spy

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Melissa McCarthy literally kicks butt in her new movie, Spy. My husband and I cracked up in the theater, and we both thought the comedic timing was perfect. I think this might be the first time — correct me if I’m wrong — that a curvy woman has been the star of this type of action comedy. As always, Melissa’s husband makes a little appearance in the movie, which I think is just adorable.

Anyway, if you’ve read this blog for even a short time, you probably know Melissa McCarthy is one of my inspirations. Driving home from the movie, I started thinking . . . hmm, how about a fashion post inspired by Spy? Here’s the formula I came up with: trench coat + classic dress underneath + heels. What do you think?

My husband liked this look a lot and even said there’s something sexy about it. Thanks, hubby! Take note of that ladies. You could turn some heads in this look. I added a Betsy Johnson watch because I felt like a spy would have a watch with some type of stealthy capabilities, and I also wore a vintage Chanel button that I’ve attached to a necklace for some mystery.

The really neat thing about the trench and the dress is that they’ve both been in my closet for a decade. Classic pieces like these are always in style, and they last a long time if you take care of them. The trench coat still looks brand new.

Before I say goodbye, it wouldn’t be a Melissa McCarthy-inspired post if there weren’t a little silliness involved. In Spy, Melissa wears a lot of different wigs and disguises, so here is me in a blonde wig about eight years ago. I was on vacation in New Orleans, and a friend dared me to wear the wig out for the evening. I was always up for a dare back then (whew, how things change when you settle down). I think it’s a cross between Dolly Parton and Marilyn Monroe, leaning more toward Dolly, haha.

I hope this post made you smile.

Have a great day, sweet reader.

xoxo Teresa

Linking up with Rachel from Garay Treasures.

My OOTD: Coral Summer Maxi

I wore this coral plus size maxi dress from Deb’s to an outdoor concert and a car show over the weekend, stayed cool, and had a fabulous time. I thought the crochet white purse and the handmade-style bracelet added a nice summery touch. It’s hard to see the sandals, but they’re the same ones from the bottom of this post. 

If anyone guesses where I bought the purse, I will send you a little prize. I bet you can’t guess it!

Have a good week, sweet reader.

xoxo

Teresa

Full Figured Fashion Week Designer Spotlight

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FFF HC

I am so excited to spotlight a beautiful young designer who made a debut at Full Figured Fashion Week in NYC in June. She’s 19 years old, creative, driven, and full of vision. The Nebraska native is sure to inspire you too and make you feel proud to call her a curvy sister. Let’s welcome Hannah Olson from Hannah Caroline Couture to Mama Muse Me Blog today!

I have a wonderful Q&A session with Hannah to share with you, but first I want to give you a little up close view of the collection that she showed at FFFWeek. It’s called Gilded.

The bead work is pretty spectacular, and I like the feeling of elegant drama that Hannah is evoking. Hopefully you are intrigued too. Hannah does custom designs for women of all sizes, and the prices on her site are reasonable. Now here’s our Q&A to let you into the world of Hannah.

1. What made you decide to show at Full Figured Fashion Week?
I decided to show at Full Figured Fashion Week because I love the idea of a whole week devoted to girls our size. In almost every other fashion week, we are lucky to see maybe one look in a collection, or even luckier, one designer that does plus-size garments. I love being part of a community with FFFWeek that isn’t about competition, but about cooperation and building an industry together. I researched FFFWeek for about a year and realized it’s where so many women go, whether customers or media, to find out the trends and emerging designers in the industry. Once I realized it was the place to be, I knew I had to apply and figure out a way to get there if I got accepted.
2. What process did you go through to be included there?
After I did all my research, I came up with the ideas for my best collection yet and compiled them in my application. I had to include information about my online presence and lots of photos of past work. It was a really long application so I was super nervous after I submitted it, but it made the acceptance email even sweeter!
3. What are you looking forward to the most, and what scares you the most about it?
I’m looking forward to getting more press about my brand outside of Omaha. People know about me and my company here, but I am excited for the huge boost that will hopefully come from being associated with FFFWeek. I’ve already been discovered by a few blogs, and I was asked to submit photos after the show to be featured in a fashion/lifestyle magazine. I hope it keeps coming! I think I am the most scared of not leveraging everything to the fullest. There are so many opportunities during the week and I want to make sure I network as much as possible, stay organized, and not miss anything. I’m not sure I’ll be able to come back every year, so I’m really trying to make sure that this trip was worth all the fundraising and all-nighters (I know it will be!).
4. How did you get started in design?
I got started in design when I was sophomore in high school, after I took a sewing class. I created a couple accessories in there and ended up selling them to friends, which started my accessories company. Then junior year I started making clothes for myself based on what I could teach myself from Pinterest, and friends starting asking for clothing too. So my business really started out of a necessity for myself, and then I realized that lots of other people had similar issues with clothes fitting right. Now I’m going to be a junior in college and I’m 19 years old. College has really helped me so much with the business side of things. I’ve been applying all my business administration classes directly to my business with things like accounting and marketing, so it’s really helping, but business school can’t necessarily provide me the kind of exposure that FFFWeek will, so I’m very excited for what will come from this week. I believe all the shows I had done here in Omaha have really prepared me for this one.
5. Why did you choose to focus on plus size women with your designs?
My company makes clothes for women of all sizes, but offering plus sizes is really what makes me stand out in the custom-clothing world. I’ve always been bigger, so it was really to meet my own needs first, and then I realized I had a business in it. It has proven to be so rewarding along the way though, because I’ve had plus-sized women just come up to me before and hug me or have tears in their eyes and thank me for making clothes for women their size. That’s something that has really kept me going and trying to build this business.
6. What is your design aesthetic, and what inspires you?
My design aesthetic is pretty dark and edgy. Most of my collections are black with some kind of accent color, usually a shade of red or purple. The collection I’ll be showing at FFFWeek is called Gilded, and it’s very true to that aesthetic. Most pieces have a vintage applique on it and there are cool patterns and textures involved. There’s leather, rhinestones, studs, and beading throughout the collection and it’s the most sophisticated collection I’ve done so far. I usually do casual everyday wear and party wear for my shows, but this is more cocktail. One of my favorite fabrics is a silver textured material and I’m really excited to see it under the runway lights with all the beaded appliques.
7. How is your business going so far?
My business has picked up a lot in the past year or so. Last April I won the business plan competition at my university and I received some funding and a lot of confidence and validation from the community. That really helped spur my business along. One of the five-year goals I presented in that competition was to be in FFFWeek, so I’m blowing a lot of my business goals out of the water! I focused my business on custom clothing and that has brought in a lot of business, especially with things like prom. I’m excited to see where things are next year and in five years, because I just stopped planning more than 6 months in advance based on the rate I’ve been growing.
8. What has been your greatest success?
I definitely think getting accepted into FFFWeek at 19 is the biggest thing that has happened to me and my company so far. It was my big, scary, five-year goal just a year ago, and now it’s going to be a reality before the month is over. I keep joking that it won’t really hit me till I step off the plane, or maybe when I come out with my finale model on the runway, but it still feels like a dream right now. I went straight to work preparing for it the day I got the acceptance email and my family keeps trying to get it through my head, but it hasn’t sunk in yet.
9. What makes you stand out from other designers?
I believe offering plus sizes continues to be what differentiates me from other designers. In the shows I’ve done in the Midwest, I was the only plus-size designer. Now, I’m anxious to see what will set me apart from the other plus size designers in New York. I’m excited to learn from their businesses and successes.
10. What is your biggest dream?
I want to be the person that people are willing to drive in to from all over the country to have a piece made by me. I don’t necessarily want to be a true couturier because I like producing custom clothes for people more than producing collections twice a year. But I would love to be the name that women get excited about when they get asked to prom or get proposed to or have a special event coming up.
11. What’s your favorite thing you have designed?
I don’t have a clear favorite, but more like several things that I like better than others. That comes with every collection I make. But there was a prom dress I really loved that I made for a friend this spring, and there’s a piece in my Gilded collection that I made for a model with my same measurements, so I’m secretly hoping it doesn’t sell because I would wear it so often!
12. Which designers, models, actors, or other muses have influenced you?
I like the music and aesthetic of the singer Lorde, but otherwise I gain most of my inspiration from materials rather than people. I like architecture as well, but mostly I like to take general ideas and complete them with whatever I discover at my favorite fabric store in Chicago. I usually let that determine what the collection will be like beyond a basic idea. For instance, I found a bin of vintage beaded appliques at that store this spring, and the concept of Gilded was born.
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Hannah sent me a little package of goodies to show my readers (pictured above). It included a pink tote bag with a body positive message hand-painted on it and two peplums with elastic bands that can be worn over any shirt or tank top to make endless combinations. The peplum concept is pretty neat! I think the peplums would look great on a young woman in her teens or early 20s in particular.
♥Thank you for joining Hannah and me today, dear reader!
xoxo
Teresa from Mama Muse Me Blog
Interview copyright 2015.