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top: Charlotte Russe (similar) // skirt: Madewell // shoes: ModCloth // purse: Forever 21 (similar) // earrings: c/o Gudbling

photos by Chelsea Francis

While I don't believe in universal closet staples, I am really glad to have a sleeveless white button down in my closet again. I had one a couple of years back that stopped fitting the second I had a professional bra fitting. I've looked and looked, and even thrifted an extremely wrinkle-prone replacement from a pricey designer, but I just never found a shirt that met my closet and lifestyle needs. Then a couple of months ago, I was working on a curated shopping list for a friend when I stumbled upon this shirt on the Charlotte Russe site. I haven't personally shopped at the ole CR in years, but their prices and styles were a great fit for my friend, so I spent an afternoon scrolling through pretty much everything on their site. As soon as I spotted this top, I added two to my cart, one in a medium and one in a large, and hit order. (For reference, I ended up keeping the large!)

I'm SO bummed that this shirt is now sold out because I was going to encourage you all to buy it. I wear it at least twice a week and honestly already wish I'd bought a second one because I know this one is going to wear out soon. I love tucking it into cutoff shorts (outfit coming soon to the blog) and it goes with absolutely all of my skirts. Plus, the collar makes it way cute to wear under a dress! A white sleeveless blouse may not be a must-have for everyone, but I hope I never have to live without one again.

Now if only I could find the perfect black fit and flare dress that I've been searching to replace this one with since 2014.

a good shirt is hard to find

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photos by Chelsea Francis

Another day, another pair of culottes. If 2017 will be known in my memory for one thing, it'll be the year I branched out beyond skinny jeans and gave other pants a try. And thank goodness I did!

Culottes are a style I would have never attempted because I didn't think someone who looked like me could wear them. I've been thinking about this a lot lately - the feeling that I shouldn't wear something because it won't look like it does on the size 0-2 model. While it's awesome for fellow size 0-2 women to see a garment on someone who looks like them, there are many, many more of us buying clothing with no real reference for how the clothing will fit. Oddly enough, I'm now at a size where the models on plus size sites wear the same size I do, which is mostly unhelpful for women shopping from those retailers.

It wasn't until I sought out more "mid-sized" (is that the term we're going with?) bloggers that I started getting more creative with my closet. Sure, I'd rock a colorful cat print dress, but only if it had a fit and flare silhouette because I knew I could count on the fit. Seeing other women who don't fall into the typical model-size category wearing interesting clothes gave me the push I needed to try some new things.

I recently saw a Topshop jumpsuit on a blogger who looked about my size and I immediately clicked through to add it to my cart. The model on the site did absolutely nothing to sell me this garment - in fact, I scrolled right past it when doing my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale shopping because I assumed it wasn't for me. Funny how not showing the garment on a body like mine almost lost them a sale.

On one hand, this is what I love about blogging: you don't have to fit a certain mold or have a certain body type to show off your personal style. Anyone can participate and you don't have to wait for permission. Thanks to bloggers, I'm able to find other women like me - women who have bodies like me or who dress like me, women who like what I like or introduce me to something new.

On the other hand, retailers and the fashion industry need to do better. I've had two experiences recently when working on collaborations with brands and felt totally stumped on what pieces to choose because their sites did nothing to sell the clothes to me. Sure, they both had hundreds of cute things in stock and both happen to be brands I like and have shopped from before, but online shopping with them feels more like blind shopping. Take out the guess work and I guarantee you more sales. (Oh, and how about offering a wider range of sizes too, while we're at it! Don't blame millennials for killing your company if you don't even offer above a size 14.)

Have you had a similar experience shopping online? For my "mid-sized" babes - tell me your favorite bloggers because I'm always looking for more to add to my feed!

P.S. Alissa wrote about this exact topic today too! Go read her blog post about finding your style when you're not represented.

not-so-skinny jeans

linklove0811

Happy Friday! This was a weird week, but luckily we have the Internet to get us through, amirite?

Kesha's new album is out today and she also gifted us with this essay about how Rainbow came to be.

Basically all my feelings about that Bachelorette finale.

OMG Elsie and Emma had their mom write a blog post about how she fostered creativity in them as kids - SO sweet!

Alissa talks about what an asset a statement dress is at the office. (Oh yeah, and she shows off a certain asset, if ya know what I mean!)

Bad days happen to the best of us (oh, lordy, do they!). I needed + appreciated Grace's openness about her recent bad day and the steps she took to remedy it (they may not be what you expect!).

Fall is the perfect time to switch out your crossbody for this year's hottest bag trend: backpacks!

Speaking of trends, I've planned so many cute fall outfits around baseball caps - velvet and denim and wool, oh my! Get your styling inspiration from Priya!

Oh, you know, just Chelsea living my dream at these colorful walls.


Every woman deserves an outfit that makes them feel as comfortable and beautiful as Tieka is in this one!

This body posi beach trip is a dream (and what each woman had to say to their body-shamers is incredibly important).


Is there such a thing as a magpie who's drawn to vibrant things instead of sparkly ones? That's how I feel about these colorful baubles!

Valery's got five tips for transitioning your favorite summer outfits to fall.

A wishlist for the weekend: this blush blouse in a surprising print, possibly the cutest tiered dress I've ever seen, a veggie-print skirt, this precious wristlet, and this rainbow button cardigan.

link love

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dress: Cousin Earl via ROAM Port Aransas // shoes: Moorea Seal (similar) // pouch: REALM // earrings: Gudbling

photos by Chelsea Francis

I can't believe it's taken me this long to get this dress up on the blog! July totally got away from me, and my photographer took a well-deserved vacay for a good part of the month, but better late than never, right?

In case you missed it, this dress was my souvenir from my Port Aransas trip earlier this summer. As Dago has learned over the years, my favorite gifts are the kind I can wear, and the same is true for souvenirs. I like to wear my love & experiences! Every time I see this dress in my closet, I get a little flashback to my vacation - the quality time I spent with Dago, all the pretty colors of the Coastal town, the ease of beach life. Sure, I may be putting on sweat pants to go work at my desk at home, but I get a little dose of inspiration and ocean air just seeing the flamingos hanging out.

I'm actually so glad that I was having such a body positive experience while on vacation because this dress isn't something I would have picked up in my "real life." Never have I thought I could wear, or be comfortable in, a dress that didn't have a defined waist. I know I wear a lot of smock dresses (literally my favorite), but they always have a waistline. Something about the totally #onbrand flamingos and you-can-do-anything-you-want vibe of vacation gave me the push I needed to grab the dress and run to the dressing room before Dago could say "We're going to miss our brunch call!" The rest is history. I didn't even change back into the outfit I was wearing and became officially the happiest person on the whole dang island.

What kind of souvenirs do you collect? If you could find a dress entirely printed in one thing that would make you buy it in an instant, what would it be?

let's flamingle

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