The Cardigan, the Shirt and the Splendid Jeans

Hello guys! If you know me you know that I love fashion, but I don’t live by labels or trendy items. As a plus sized woman I don’t often have a lot of selection when purchasing in person and most trendy, lower cost stores don’t carry my size. This makes keeping my wardrobe up to date a rather expensive endeavour. Honestly though, even if I could afford to fill my closet with every new piece, I don’t find a lot of this years fashion suits my body type or size. I am not one for showing off my stomach and this year has been another year of crop tops and side split dresses. When I do find sales on clothing that suits my body I buy because I don’t know the next time I will find something again.

This week we had a little time to wander around so Ryan and I visited the mall. By sheer luck this coincided with the first time I wore this adorable floral skirt. I bought it last year and after a day of wear I will never put it on again. The skirt may be cute but paired with the shape of my hips and the shape wear I chose, the skirt was jumping six inches higher than I wanted it to as I walked, showing off my black shape wear and my butt if I didn’t keep a hand on my skirt.

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Shopping.

I quickly grabbed a sheer black sleeveless dress shirt from Ardenes for $6.14 (who does now carry a small selection of plus sized pieces in their Basics Collection). In the spirit of wearing more colour though I asked Ryan to pick out a sweater for me in Urban Planet that wasn’t black and came back to find him debating between a peach and maroon cardigan. Not a sweater but he insisted that I would look “super cute” in it and to be honest, I think he was right. It was $12.00 which I think is a pretty good price for a gilet length knitted cover, though I do wish there was a little more volume to the bottom to give it a nice a line effect. I do think a triangular white lace insert in the bottom centred could give that shape while also making the piece unique.

Eva Blakeman – Cardigan

I also wanted to get a cute pair of boots while we were there but due to “no try on” policy combined with their “final sale” shoe policy I just couldn’t justify throwing money at a pair of shoes that I couldn’t even try on.

The splendid jeans though, man am I happy I found these bad boys. It feels like it’s impossible to find jeans and I know I am not the only lady who has cried in the fitting room trying to pull any self esteem together while trying to button the pants. In this case I was very lucky as I couldn’t try on the jeans in store but they fit beautifully. I did the old trick where you pull the top of the jeans around your hips to see if they will fit and it worked. I love stretchy jeans in the warm months and these have really good diagonal and vertical stretch. I can pop down into a squat without any strain in the fabric. Did I mention these jeans were $20.00? It is so hard to get fun jeans under $60.00 a pair and these bad boys (in a size 16) are awesome!

Books.

Today wasn’t just a couple of clothing items as I got my hands on three books! The first being “The Fork, The Witch and the Worm” which is a series of short stories that take place after the events of the Inheritance Cycle written by Christopher Paolini. For those who didn’t read the series, they are also known as the Eragon Series. The first book had a large blue dragon on it and if you are under 30 I would wager you saw it in your junior high and high school libraries. I have read and re-read the books many times as I love the universe and when I found out there was a little more story I had to get a copy. I have read 50 pages so far and it is almost exactly what I wanted to read without being the story I expected. A good middle group between fan service and genuinely adding to the story.

The second book is very much not a fictional story but it is a useful tool. I think most adults I’ve ever met could get something out of reading “Let That Sh*t Go” but Nina Purewal and Kate Petriw. From a quick peruse while standing in the book store trying to stay away from other patrons, I gathered that the book concentrates on mindfulness and mastery of your own consciousness, which I can say is something I dearly need. If I love the book I’ll make sure to write about it in the future. This style of book, the self-help, had always seemed to dull to me until I read “Tools of Titans” by Tim Ferris. That book changed my view on the non-fiction narrative that these books often follow in a fractured state. I also think the shift from books that were ornate and called something like “Self Care for the Modern Women” to things like “Get Your Sh*t Together” has made an impact on sales within in my generation. Being a “millennial” *shudder* means bold statements and ruthlessness catches our attention more than kindness on the cover. Uh millennial. I don’t know why the news still portrays millennial as 18 year olds who can’t figure out their taxes… if you aren’t of my generation, we are not children but rather adults in our mid twenties to our late thirties. Yes we react more positively to this kind of marketing, but I believe a lot of that has to due with our perception of modern imagery. We have returned to the “pop art” era where bold colour choices in simple designs paired with bold black text embodies the late 2010’s and early 2020’s. Anyways..

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It was a fun and unexpected trip that was very fruitful for me, but not so much for Ryan, who got a coffee but none of the books he wanted due to them not being in stock in stores in our city.

If you want to chit chat about this post or about anything else, please feel free to comment below and I will get back to you as quickly as I can.

Styling By Skin Tone

Welcome!

You know I love fashion, I love shoes, and I love wearing black. I wore black as my only colour for years due to insecurity with my weight and not understanding what colours fit me Shopping in the same stores my friends did I rarely found shades I felt confident in, so I hid under my black dresses and shirts. As I got older I realized that I was shopping in stores that had strong summer themes, which lead a lot of their clothing to be in warm tones, which just don’t suit me! I changed where I shop and suddenly I can find just about anything in a flattering shade, and when I can’t, I’ve learned how to adjust my look to wear it better.

Photo by Kai Pilger on Pexels.com

While skin tone does influence which colours look better naturally against your skin tone, they don’t have to limit you. Today we are going over how to determine your skin, eye and hair tone as well as what colours match well with them. After that we are going to get into how to adjust your make up and hair style to wear colours that aren’t as naturally suitable for skin tones.

Determining Tone

It is important to check your tones under natural lighting, indoor lights will skew results. (This also comes into play with dressing rooms with fluorescent lighting).

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Skin Tone

The quickest and easiest way to determine your skin tone is to look at your eyelids and wrist for your veins. If you see them as purple or deep blue, you are cool toned. If they are a blueish green, you would be a neutral tone and if they are olive or green you are warm toned.

In my case I have very purple veins showing around my eyes and deep blue on my wrist. This leaves me as a cool toned individual.

Eye Tone

Eyes are interesting as blue can sit in any category. If your eyes could be considered “ice blue” or a deep blue without yellow tint, they are cool. Other cool colours include grey and deep green.

Neutral eyes includes dark brown and blackish eyes.

Warm eyes include blues that have a tint of yellow or a brightness to them that would be reminiscent of water. Warm also describes mid to light brown as well as hazel and light green eyes.

I have a Scandinavian looking ice blue eye with a dark band around the exterior, leaving me in the cool category once again.

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Hair Tone

Hair tone doesn’t really have a neutral but it is very easy to see if your hair is warm or cool. In the case that you have matching tone for your skin and eyes, it is recommended to dye your hair in the same tone. It isn’t necessary, and even as this sounds contradictory, dying your hair to match your other tones looks more natural.

Hair tone is most easily seen in the undertone of the colour. Cool hair will have blue, silver, ash or violet undertones where warm hair will have red, brown or yellow undertones.

I have dark blonde hair with no real hue, but seems to be cool. I do have lighter blonde balayage that I have to use purple shampoo on to keep it cool. When it becomes yellow the colour looks odd framing my face but lends well to why warmer toned shirts.

Matching Tones

A good rule when it comes to tones when shopping is to hold the fabric directly against your jawline. If your natural skin tone seems accentuated by the colour, it likely matches you, if you wind up looking ill or natural beside the colour, it isn’t a good match.

Something to be aware of is the trend of clothing tones changing depending on the season. In the spring and summer months you are much more likely to find a plethora of warm toned clothing whereas in the winter months you are more likely to find more cool toned items. Autumn tends to be a fairly even mix of the two. When in doubt, navy looks good on everyone.

Photo by Irina Iriser on Pexels.com

Cool Tone

Cool toned skin looks marvellous paired with jewel toned colours. Bright blues, emeralds, deep purples, ice blues, true pink and the good old white and black. For metallics, cool tones can wear gold as metallic surfaces reflect their tone onto what is around them. A gold metallic shirt would reflect warm tones onto your face, warming you up (in order to make this work the best, warm up your eyes with red or yellow toned colours). Gun metal and silver metallic work well with cool skin tones without adjusting warmth in the face.

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Neutral Tone

Neutral toned skin can play with both warm and cool colours without it looking off. Faded blacks aren’t a good match with neutral skin, so make sure to protect your blacks when being washed. Dark denims, shades of brown and mustard yellows can really compliment this skin tone.

Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

Warm Tone

Warm toned skin pairs nicely with rich ruby reds, blush pinks, pastel colours and leafy greens. Floral designs often look very nice on warm toned skin as they often have a combination of the above mentioned shades. Rose gold and gold looks lovely paired with warm skin and gun metal can be used if you cool down the eyes with greys, blues and purples.

Adjusting To Other Shades

Colour against the face

Separating colours that don’t match your tone with white, black or neutral tones can help you wear the colours you love without looking off. A white collared shirt with the collar popped over the sweater that doesn’t match can change the whole look. Using a scarf can have the same effect.

Warming Up Or Cooling Down The Face

Warm toned skin compliments gold naturally, but metallic shades can be used to change the appearance of tone on the face. A cool skinned individual who wants to wear warm toned clothing could use a gold highlighter and yellow toned brown shades round the eyes.

For a warm toned individual who wants to wear cool toned, try using a more purple hued blush and blue, white and purple tones around the eyes. Also using a matte finish foundation will help keep the cool toned look.

Clashing Hair colour

In the case that you hair tone does not match the tone of the top you are wearing, separate them. An up-do will separate the two tones that are clashing. Another option if you really love warm toned clothing but you are cool toned is to balayage your hair. If the top is cooler near your face and the bottom is warmer where it would rest against clothing, it can help pull it all together.

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Weddings and Confidence

While it is generally easier to wear what matches you, it isn’t always what you like or what you have the opportunity to wear. Weddings can be the most problematic as bridesmaids don’t often have a lot of control over hair style or dress colour, but you can always fake a different tone for a day with neutral foundation instead of your cool or warm tone and use a little highlighter to warm you up if you need it.

The most important thing I want to say about all this is that while there is colour theory and everyone has good and bad shades on them, the most important part of pulling off any outfit is confidence. Don’t let your clothes wear you, make sure you wear them. Pull your shoulders back, straighten your back and walk with the knowledge that you can do anything.

As always I really appreciate you coming here and spending some time with me. I love hearing back from you guys so please let me know what’s on your mind in the comments.

My Favourite Shoes

I’ve been sinking into some YouTube holes lately and one lead me to some old videos I absolutely loved when I was younger. I ran into Grav3yardgirls channel, more specifically her old shoe collection videos. I spent many years trying to get my hands on a pair of Jeffrey Campbells because she talked them up so much. Because of her videos I decided to film one of my own and write this post at the same time.

Eva Blakeman – My Shoe Collection

Jeffrey Campbell – Litas

Jeffrey Campbell Litas

While these shoes are absolutely beautiful, they usually come with a price tag. $220-ish in CAD. I managed to get them brand new at just under $60 which was such a steal. They may be a little intimidating to look at but they are incredibly easy to walk in and the break in period is really short. I love them because they are a closed shoe and they lace over the ankle. With such a high heel and platform it’s important to me to have that ankle support just in case I run into an incline or slippery floors.

Le Chateau – Unknown

Le Chateau Heels

Once again a steal! I got these around $30.00 and have been wearing them for years. They have a very structured toe and lovely detail work. While I have had a couple pair of Le Chateau shoes fall apart pretty quickly, these have never let me down. The rear heel is just starting to show some wear and I don’t think I’ll invest much in keeping them going but they were certainly a good purchase. They wipe clean really easily and the zipper has gotten a little sticky this last month, but I think that’s more so due to me getting some leather treatment in the zipper than anything else.

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Jeffrey Campbell – Litas

Jeffrey Campbell Litas

Oh Lita number 2. I got these second hand for around $50. Though they were previously broken in they fit very nicely. These are an older pair than the white lace ones so they are actually a little shorter in the platform and the heel. They came with a couple scuffs but I couldn’t be happier with them. Such a sturdy shoe, very structured and once again, very easy to walk and run in.

Steve Madden – Booties

Steve Madden Booties

You might notice immediately that these are in shabby shape. I have owned them for 6 years and admittedly I didn’t take the best care of them for the first two years. I wore them daily for a couple years and took them in twice to have the heels fixed due to wear. They are a very comfortable shoe due to the thick heel and structure in the arch. I wish I had been kinder to them as they were in the $220 range. That being said, they took years of winter melting agents, heat, cold and running through downtown very well. The overall style and quality is remarkable and if I ever found another pair I would buy them in a second.

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Doc Martens

Doc Marten Sneakers

These were purchased to replace my much loved Nike Greco Supremes. When they went out of production I bought two pairs but when they finally died, it was time to find a new casual daily wear shoe. These were fairly reasonably priced at around $120 new. Once again they lace over the ankle when I need them to, but in this case I nearly never tie them up. They are incredibly comfortable to run around in and pretty comfortable to wear with wool socks in the winter. I have been vigilant with treating them often and I think they are ageing well. I’ve been wearing them as my daily sneakers for around 3 years and they are just starting to show wear on the soles and in the back of the heel. A supremely good purchase.

Leather Treatment

I prefer leather shoes as they have more longevity and I feel they are a better investment. Leather can be treated at home to protect and restore it whereas synthetics cannot really be “fixed”. Before treatment I use Saddle Soap to clean the shoes. Saddle Soap is a soap designed to clean leather without stripping it. I use a beeswax protectant on most of my leathers with the exception of my leather work boots who generally get a good soaking of mink oil before beeswax to make them more flexible and stop them from making my feet bleed. Using mink oil on heels isn’t recommended as it does shorten the life of the leather, but for work boots I would rather have them live a little shorter and not bleed my way through breaking them in.

Getting leather to absorb oils requires heat but you have to be careful not to melt or burn the shoe. You can use a hair dryer to heat leather before and after smearing the treatment or you can do what I do, which is set my oven to 175 F and put my shoes and boots in for a few minutes before and after. I do the oven method because I like to treat all my leather at once and because it’s easy to keep them warm as I layer treatments into the leather. It’s very important not to let your shoes sit in there too long, especially if you have any plastic on them as they will melt. Be very careful touching them when removing them as any metal will burn you. If this method sounds a little questionable, use the hair dryer method. There are great YouTube videos to follow for restoring shoes if you are interested in trying it yourself.

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Eva Blakeman – Shoe Collection

Accessories – How To Style As A Plus Sized Lady

Very happy to be writing about this today! If you missed the first on, click here to read up on belts. I really enjoy writing about styling as a plus sized lady. As it can be difficult to get clothing and accessories that fit my body it is very important being able to make what I can get to look nice, and a great way to pull an outfit together through accessories.

As with many things in fashion, there are rules and there are circumstances where the rules should be thrown out the window. Let’s start with the rules.

Accessories that match pull outfits together. A tan belt, a tan bag and a nude pair of pumps paired with a blue dress allows the outfit to have a common and central colour that avoids looking messy. The same does with a black belt, black purse and black pumps paired with grey dress pants and a white blouse. Having matching pieces brings an organization to an outfit, and having them being subdued colours and tones keeps the look professional.

When it comes to matching accessories to jewelry, the rules says not to mix metals. Gold accents on a purse should be paired with gold jewelry. When it comes to building a versatile wardrobe on a budget, pick one metal and match to it. For example, my engagement ring and family ring are both gold, so I have opted to buy accessories with gold rather than silver accents to keep fluidity in my outfits.

As a rule, I would recommend always having a “set” of accessories. A matching belt, purse and pair of shoes pull a look together. As a minimum I would recommend having a complete set in both black and nude as they will pair well with pretty well every other colour. If tan doesn’t pair, black always will. You don’t always have to use all three items together. Having two matching items that work beautifully together can do as much as having the three.

Now let’s break the rules. Let’s return to the blue dress and say you wanted a statement piece. Let’s say you have a tan purse and pumps and a gold belt. This also works as the belt and shoes still match and the gold compliments the outfit. In this outfit let’s assume you would wear a gold ring and gold earrings. Now you have a strong theme in your outfit. The tan ties the belt and shoes together. The blue dress is the background. The gold belt, ring and earrings match well and now the outfit looks lovely and no part of it looks messy. The reason this works is due to the matching. Mixing metals and many colours at the same time makes outfits look messy.

In this day and age, mixing metals, prints and textures has become very common and when done correctly can lead to good results should it be done in moderation. A loud top, bright printed bottoms, statement shoes and a bold purse is just too much! Pick and choose and when pairing two prints, try to find a common colour between the two to tie them together. You can also match jewelry to outfits by matching the colour of the stones or beads to a colour in the outfit. This allows for loud looks that maintain an order that stops them from becoming a disaster.

Now all this being said, rules are meant to be broken. These are general rules, but your personal style doesn’t need to stay between the lines. For business and events, it’s probably best to stay within the lines, but personal style knows no boundaries! I would love to see your outfits and the confidence you have wearing them! DM me on instagram at @evablakeman!

Belts – How To Style As A Plus Sized Lady

Hello, I am very excited to be writing about belts today. As a plus sized lady myself, I have spent well over a decade figuring out how to step up my outfits without the luxury of having most brands fit my body or having access to many plus sized stores. I learned that accessories and layering flatters every body type, but each body type is flattered by different fabrics, colours and styles. We will cover this down below, but if you prefer watch the video instead of reading, that is perfectly okay as the video covers the same things.

That being said, there are some simple things you can do with a belt to change an outfit. The first of which is simply putting on a belt. It elevates the outfit by adding a new element and layer. On skirts and dresses, adding a belt to your waist can accentuate your waist.

On the topic of waists, your distance between your bottom rib and the top of your hip will change which belts you can wear comfortably. For ladies with a very small distance like myself, thin belts are the best way to go for two reasons. The first being maintaining mobility as putting a large structured belt over the little area that can bend. This makes sitting and lifting very uncomfortable. The second is to create the illusion of a longer distance between ribs and hip. Thin belts can make the waist seem taller.

That all being said, using thick belts can work if you want to use them if the fabric is very flexible should you want to use your belt as a statement piece in your outfit.

For ladies with a much longer distance between their bottom rib and the top of their hip, structured tall belts like corset belts and large leather belts can do wonders to pull your waist in and create a lovely hourglass shape for your body. Thin belts can still be worn, but ideally they would be wider than 2 inches.

Let’s talk masculine vs feminine belts. In the case you have a very feminine belt, let’s say very light in colour, delicate looking and ornate, it could go over a nice dark dress, but in the case you want to belt over a very feminine dress, try a more masculine belt. This adds a lovely amount of contrast to the outfit and introduces new elements. This is not a hard rule as belts are often very versatile, but a black belt on a white dress makes your waist more evident as well as giving a nice contrasting line to a bright outfit.


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Shopping for belts. A general rule I hold is that any belt I purchase should fit my hips, which guarantees it will also fit my waist, making one piece more versatile. If you do not own pants that sit at the hips that need to be belted, this rule does not apply to you, but in the case you wear jeans and dresses, having a simple leather belt you can wear in your jeans and also over a dress will save you money. As a general recommendation I would say one black leather and one natural or tan leather belt that can be worn in your belt loops as well as on your waist is always a good investment. Decorative belts often can’t do both due to limited strength, width and very large and decorative fronts. That is okay. You can have as many fun belts as you like.

I really love talking about style and I am so happy to be writing this. In combination with filming videos about style, this project has been incredibly fun for me. If you have any questions please leave them in the comments below!