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Plus-Size Expert

Our Plus-Size Fashion Expert Felicity knows that size doesn't matter... fashion is for everybody! So put down that celery stick and get fashionable!

Formal Fashion without Looking like Aunt Fanny

Hey girls!!

If, in fact, it is possible to have a love/hate relationship with something, I have it with shopping. Please understand that I could shop until I get to the point where I should have dropped three hours ago! More than 99.9% of the time, it is my cash flow which prevents me from battling on into bigger and better sales.

"What is there to possibly hate about shopping, oh Guru of Plus Fashion?" you may ask. My answer to you is simple: formal dresses.

Don't get me wrong. I love to get dressed up. There's just something about feeling like a princess that does it for me. If I could, I'd wear a formal ball gown to all of my classes (certainly one way to be noticed in a lecture hall). Certainly, it's difficult to find the "perfect" dress for that special event. The goal is to express yourself, and yet do it in a way no on else will.

When you're a plus sized gal, it's even harder. There are so many less options and alternatives for us out there in terms of finding fun and sexy dresses. If you live in an area with very few options for a plus size diva, you are in even worse shape.

Not too long ago, you had to have a dress custom made or go looking like you were wearing a tent! Fashion has certainly come a long way, even just in the past few years. It was only three years ago that I had to hunt for my first truly formal dress. The stories I could tell you would make your hair stand on end! I tried on an estimated 125 dresses in a matter of three months. At the time, I was just on the borderline of being able to fit into "straight"" sized clothing. After dress #50, I was beginning to lose hope. Around #85 I was desperate and at #125 I gave up.

I figured an ill-fitting dress was better than no dress at all. I squeezed myself into this beautiful baby blue dress (with a lot of help from what I affectionately refer to as my "thinner-outer" underwear). The majority of my friends were skinny-minis and had no such problems finding their dream dresses. I had never felt so frustrated and alone.

In three short years, the fashion industry has wizened up and began making more options available to us larger gals. Many specialty dress stores now even have entire sections dedicated to plus sizes. Major designers have started expanding into the plus divisions.

Personally, I'm looking forward to the new BCBG line. There are various options for us throughout the country. Even if you don't live in New York City (the mecca of all that which is fashion), there are places for you to shop.

Many stores have web sites which allow you to search for the store nearest you. Check out:,,,, and

The online plus-size business is positively booming. Some of my favorite sites are:,, and Angela from Boston, a member of my wonderful panel, has discovered a fantastic site,, which carries all of their dresses in sizes 2-24. Many of the designs are absolutely beautiful so I highly recommend checking them out.

For those of you who prefer to try on your dress before you purchase it, many formal designers carry the same dresses in a wide range of sizes. Jessica McClintock, for example, carries dresses and two piece outfits from sizes 2-16 and many up to 26. If you go to the boutique, you usually have to special order your dress and can choose the color and fabric which you want. If you are not near a Jessica McClintock boutique, many of the larger department stores and bridal specialty shops carry the line.

Although it is still not ideal, the diva in us all can have her time to shine on our special night. My advice: start early!! The more time you have to look, the greater the options you will have for the right dress, gorgeous hair, and of course the perfect pair of shoes. It's your chance to be a princess!

C-ya next week girls,

Check these other great articles from our Plus-Size Expert:

Claustrophobic Closet Clean-ups6/18/01
Fancy Formal Frocks3/29/01
Mainstream Sizes Expanding: A Clothing Revolution or Just an Experiment?2/15/01
All Your Questions Answered10/23/00
Trendy Dressing for the Cooler Weather9/25/00
Big, Beautiful Bathing Beauties5/29/00
Sizzling Summer Style5/22/00
Sporting the Sporty Look!1/25/00
Tackling the Clothes Closet Clean Out1/04/00
Self-Esteem: Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are12/20/99
Felicity's Fabulous Fashion Finds12/13/99
Fashion for the Party Girl on a Tight Budget11/16/99
Formal Fashion without Looking like Aunt Fanny11/08/99
Attitude: The ESSENTIAL Accessory10/11/99
Felicity the Fabulous Full Figured Fashion Fanatic10/04/99

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