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Magical Thighs on South Beach

Headed to be beach today with one of my sister wives, and I’ve gotta say, Ashley has been on the “glow up” for a while now. Used to have little stick legs I was ashamed of. Used to think I wasn’t pretty enough or even remotely okay looking. Used to hide and wonder why God had given me this burden of ugliness. But now–I know Ashley is beautiful. She doesn’t have a thigh gap. She doesn’t have long blond hair. She doesn’t have a PhD (yet. And yes, my lack of a PhD sometimes bothers me). She doesn’t have a wedding ring or even the shadow of one. She doesn’t have a churchy singing voice. She doesn’t even have cheekbones (all facefat, no angles at allllll). But she is wonderfully and beautifully made. She is confident and sure of herself and how she fits in the world. She is wearing her first real swimsuit and she is happy about it! She is a human with magic inside of her. And magical thighs.

Magical thighs on south beach

She is wearing her first real swimsuit and she is happy about it!

The me who wrote this post last week is a confident woman. She is a woman who loves herself, loves waking up in her body, loves participating in this world and this life in that body. But, I wasn’t always that woman. In fact, I was, perhaps, the complete opposite of that woman for a long time–I remember being a super skinny little girl who didn’t smile open-mouthed because I thought my teeth were too ugly to be seen in public. I was a teenager who didn’t wear her legs out because they weren’t perfect, airbrushed, like the glittering women in music videos. I willed my hair to be anything but what it was. I didn’t dare wear a pair of shorts because my thighs rubbed together. Life was a series of little pains, big pains, and hiding behind whatever would shield me.

I’d love to tell you that there’s a formula for shedding a lot of the self-doubt and low self-esteem I carried (and let’s be honest, sometimes it still bubbles up). I’d love to tell you that all you have to do is take a magic pill and all of a sudden, you’re ready to hit the beach–South Beach, at that–in a little black swimsuit. But, no, this self-assuredness and confidence was a hard prize to win. I had to search for myself, lose myself (in a relationship, in my work, in bad haircuts, in editing my natural weirdness), and, finally, cut off my hair and dive into my life’s passion–writing and teaching–to really find out how incredible, loved, lovable, and beautiful I really am.

I did no 90-day workouts. Iyanla did not fix my life. I did not win a car from Oprah. Instead, I started facing myself each day–confronting what it was that I’d been given in the mirror. I shaved off my hair and forced myself to fall in love with my face. I wore clothes that made me switch my hips (I’m no Beyonce, but my hips can swing a vibrant swing). I accepted the deep, thick magic in my thighs and the way they fill a seat or a tight pair of jeans.

I wrote unapologetically. I laughed. I made meaningful friendships, and most importantly, I made Ashley the center of it all.

Which part of your body are you most proud of? Tell us in the comments below.

Be Fully You

Loving Yourself this Valentine’s Day

The season of love is more than plus size valentine’s day lingerie and celebrating our love for others. We think we should be celebrating a little love for ourselves, too. Here are five great ways to do that:

Loving yourself this Valentine's Day

Get used to calling yourself beautiful. 96 percent of women in a recent survey said they wouldn’t the word “beautiful” to describe themselves. Getting used to calling yourself beautiful can help you remember that it’s the way you see yourself that really matters.

Forget what other people think. A 2011 Ohio University study suggests that women who focus on how their bodies are functioning had greater appreciation for their bodies and for themselves. Check in with yourself on a regular basis: Your opinion is the only one that really matters.

Don’t apologize for being proud of yourself. 95 percent of women in a 2015 study feel they could apologize more, compared to 18 percent of men who feel like they apologize “too much.” Turns out, it might be because we’re perceiving something as offensive where others may not. So go on: Be unapologetically gorgeous. Nothing to be sorry for there.

Speak up. In a 2014 study, 38 percent of 1000 high-level female executives responded that they wanted to be directly addressed in meetings, or have questions asked directly to them. You may not be in the C-suite, but you can change this for yourself. Make yourself heard. Use definite language. The world’s your oyster.

Honor your truth. In a 2006 study from the London School of Economics, researchers found that 90 percent of girls 15-17 wanted to change something about their bodies. We know, the teen years are hard. But those girls are young women now, and we hope they’ve learned to love their bodies for the truth they hold: You. Are. Beautiful. Accept it. It’s real.

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Be Fully You

The Beauty of Being Fully Alive

happiness

There are over 22,000 self-help books about happiness on Amazon. But happiness alone doesn’t make a full human experience. And “happiness” always sounds kind of generic, like “sunshine”, “blue skies”, and “vanilla”.

We’re each a complex mix of messy emotions that can range from exhilaration and joy to anger and fear about our crazy world and politics with moments of peace in between. And exhaustion, that wonderful feeling that comes after a day of new adventures, challenges and accomplishments; a day fully lived.

Is happiness really our natural state? Are we doing something wrong if we’re not feeling happy every second? What if our quest was to be fully alive instead. To be fully ourselves. To make a difference in peoples’ lives. To dedicate ourselves to being forces for good in the world. To feel all of our feelings and know that they’re all okay.

Instead of “fixing” ourselves when we’ve had a bad day or stressing ourselves out more because we’re not feeling especially happy (like all of our friends on Social Media) we can appreciate the beauty of being alive, even if it means we’ll have moments of pain. Or anxiety. Or sadness. Or anger. We’re human after all. We feel. We hurt. We love. We have the capacity to care. Deeply.

Rather than making happiness some goal in the future or long term plan, how about being present for the experiencing the simple everyday pleasures we often miss? Look around you. Where can you find pleasure and beauty and miracles? The first sip of coffee in the morning. A kitty curled up against your thigh. The sun on your cheek.  A warm breeze blowing through your hair and tickling your skin. The rain that’s soaking our city when we’re in the middle of a drought.

Let’s enjoy happiness when it comes and stop judging the rest of our feelings. Remember that Social Media is not the whole truth. Its usually the curated parts people want you to see. Let’s see happiness as a by-product of being true to ourselves, but know it’s not the full life experience. Let’s make our goal to live fully, to take on new adventures, to do things that create meaning in our lives, and to have deep connections with others.

H&C

Top 3 Must-Have Valentine’s Day Outfit Details

5-must-have-valentines-day-outfit-details-b

We heart Valentine’s Day here at Hips & Curves, for obvious reasons. And we want to remind you that we’re here to help you put together the perfect outfit for that specific romantic dinner (or day!) that you might be planning. Just talk to one of our consultants for some advice on a great Valentine’s Day look for you.

Here are the top 3 things we always have to remind people of, to get you started:

1. Don’t forget your legs. There’s nothing quite like the feel of a perfect pair of silky stockings. Somehow, even the sound they make as you’re walking is sensual. What better way to highlight than with a set of thigh-high stayups? And don’t forget some graphic detail to add some interest to a little black (or red, or white!) dress. Our signature Lace Top Sheer Thigh High Stay Ups are a staff favorite.

2. Valentine’s Day isn’t just about sexy. Probably the thing we love most about Valentine’s Day is that, if you’re celebrating with someone, that person probably loves you for being you. So: Are you playful? A comfy T-shirt kind of girl? A hopeless romantic? Be true to you, whether you’re planning a day out or your outfit for it–that’s the most attractive thing of all.

3. Engage all the senses. People always forget: It’s not just about the way you look. The olfactory sense is by far the best at evoking memories, and our sense of touch can tip something casual into sexy territory, so make sure to put all of our senses to work this Valentine’s Day with something like our massage lotion, or a special scent.

February’s right around the corner. Have a look at our web site, chat to our consultants; let’s make this Valentine’s Day your most romantic, playful, and sensuous ever.

H&C

Better Than Flowers and Chocolate: Great Valentine’s Alternatives

Great Valentine's Alternatives

Ah, Valentine’s Day. A day to show off off your love for the one you love, whether that be dressing up in a gorgeous Valentine’s Day outfit, or letting them unwrap you to find some tart, sexy Valentine’s Day lingerie.

But it is Valentine’s Day, not just Valentine’s dinner, or even Valentine’s-in-the-sack, so we put our brains to work to find some alternatives to the ho-hum Valentine’s Day presents we all have inevitably received and given over the years.

This year, instead of chocolates and flowers, consider:

A little succulent garden. We’ll never get over how lush and long-lasting succulent plants can be. Yes, we know, they’re like the new Pet Rock, or whatever, but still. These little guys charm anyone with their infinite shapes and varieties and colors, and they’ll last a long, long time.

A day out. Yeah. Spend the whole day together. Give yourself carte blanche. Is it binge-watching Supernatural, complete with commentary? Is it meandering aimlessly around town? Or is it a wine-tasting tour? Give it a try. After all, Valentine’s is a day to do what you love with whomever you love.

A better way to chocolate. If your Valentine really loves chocolate, why not give them a tour of a chocolate factory, or, better yet, take a workshop with them on how to make it? A quick search will turn up a number of options in your area. We found quite a few, including this one, with options all the way through spring, 2017.

Okay, one for the bedroom. Have you seen our Fifty Shades of Grey (TM) kit? How about trying something really new with your Valentine? Our Hard Limits Universal Restraint Kit will definitely up the ante.

What was your favorite Valentine’s Day gift ever? And what are you planning for this year?

Be Fully You

4 Reasons to Love Being Single Over New Year’s

Love being single on NYE

Oh, sure, no one to kiss, blah blah blah. How about this? How about, limitless numbers of people to kiss, and no one would look sideways at you for it?

But seriously: New Year’s is a great time to be single. Here are four more reasons why:

  1. No need to coordinate New Year’s Party schedules. Seriously. An old boyfriend and I once got into a terrible rip-roaring fight on the edge of Times Square over whose party to go to next. (We’re not together anymore.) As a singleton, you can go wherever you damn well please, and hang the consequences, because your schedule is yours and yours alone, to spend with the people you care about the most.
  2. No dress-up drama. Actual conversation between another ex-boyfriend and I:

“So…what are you wearing to Aileen’s?”

“I dunno. What are you wearing?”

“…This?”

“Okay, I’ll find something that kind of matches.”

Yes, it was ridiculous. And no, it didn’t matter who had which lines. And, if I’d been single, it would have never happened.

  1. Celebrate friendships, not romance. Oh, the New Year’s drama: You know what I mean. Sometimes, you get a lovely New Year’s, kissing your sweetie on a rooftop overlooking New York. Other times, you get a freakshow meltdown of a fight. (C’mon, we’ve all seen it happen.) Celebrating New Year’s on your own means you get to hang out with your friends as their friend, not as a couple unit.

Some friendships will outlast any relationship. New Year’s is a great time to recognize those.

  1. Celebrate yourself. What better way, what better holiday, to take a really good look at who you are, and recognize all the good you’ve done and all that you have in your life, than New Year’s Eve? Everyone makes New Year’s resolutions. Could one of yours be to be grateful for the things you bring yourself, and everything you offer the world? We think that’s a great thing to include.

Who’s single this New Year’s? Tell us in the comments below–and be proud of it!

Lingerie Diaries

Plus Size Bras to Wear with 6 Popular Holiday Styles

plus size holiday bras

So many holiday parties; so many holiday styles! What’s the best plus size bras to wear underneath each of them? More festive and even formal holiday attire requires that you match your bra to your outfit, or vice versa. It’s a lot like picking out the right shoes to compliment your clothing choices.

Here are six holiday fashions, and tips on the best bras to wear under each one:

1. Sheer and see-through tops and dresses. The “nearly naked” look isn’t just for celebrities on the Red Carpet. Strappy bra designs are made to be shown off. Wear them under mesh, lace, and other sheer materials.

Strappy Bra

Plus Size Strappy Bra, Black
2. Mock neck, cold shoulder or strapless styles. Here’s where you want to maximize your options. Convertible bras allow you to switch up straps and wear them in very different ways. Go for a criss-cross under t-back, open shoulder, or halter-neck outfits. You can leave them off completely when you need support under strapless tops and dresses, too.

5 Way Convertible Bra

Plus Size 5 Way Convertible Plus Size Bra, Black

3. Clingy satin, silk, or cashmere. These materials demand that your bra be almost invisible. That means no bumpy lace or multi-seam lumps. Here’s where a plain, t-shirt bra is your best friend. Look for smooth molded cups and make sure there’s enough coverage or you’ll end up with a quad-boob look (unless you prefer that look, which is also fine).

Pretty T-Shirt Bra

Plus Size Pretty T-Shirt Bra,Nude

4. Plunging or deep “v” necklines. Push-ups and plunge style bras are all about showing off cleavage. They give you more by lifting up and bringing your girls closer together. Plunge bras have a low center gore, and the cup design pushes your beast tissue forward. Push-up bras lift breasts higher up on your torso. Experiment with both to maximize the oomph factor.

Molded Underwire Bra With Push Up

Plus Size Molded Underwire Bra with Push-Up, Black

5. Scoop, square, and rounded necklines. Sometimes all you want is lift and separate your boobs for lovely, open décolletagede. Demi-bras do an excellent job. They will create a perky, sexy lift for outfits with a little more space in the cleavage area.

Layla Fold Down Lace Bra

Plus Size Layla Fold Down Lace Bra, Black

6. Lingerie as outerwear. Modern-day corsets make this look easy to pull off. Plus, you have a ton of options in materials: from more elegant satin to edgy leather. Underbust corsets give you a sexy hourglass figure when cinching in the waist of a column or empire bodice dress. Overbust corsets can be paired with jeans or velvet leggings, skirts, or play peek-a-boo from under a festive jacket. There are plenty of ways to make your lingerie the center of attention.

Allegra Steel Boned Satin Corset

Plus Size Allegra Steel Boned Satin Corset, Black

Mastering a great holiday style shouldn’t be hard work: With so many great options–and fun, sexy, lingerie to wear underneath them–you’ll be the belle of any holiday ball.

Editor’s note: In Elisabeth Dale’s book The Breast Life Guide to The Bra Zone: How to Find Your Ideal Size, Style, and Support, she dedicates an entire chapter to the pros and cons of different bra styles and covers. But the book’s more than that: It demystifies the entire process of shopping for a bra, and covers basics like how to take care of your bras to get the most out of them. There’s much more. Learn more, and buy a special signed copy, at Elisabeth’s web site.

 

Lingerie Diaries

My Corset Craze

my plus size corset craze

I’m not even sure how I got on the email list, but there it was again — another message in my inbox from “that corset store,” complete with up-close photos of gorgeous gals spilling out of satin corsets laced tight and, of course, on super sale. The emails seemed to pop up every week, and I never could bring myself to unsubscribe…

I’m not normally a lingerie gal, especially since giving birth to a child 6 years ago and my marriage (read: sex life) fizzling out around the same time. But I had a wild life before I got married, involving a piece or two of latex and lace, and I’ve always loved looking at erotic photos of women. So, there I was, daydreaming about scoring a corsetry deal and wishing I was 5 or 10 pounds thinner. Then, maybe, I could take a chance and order one of those tempting and intimidating garments. I mean, you’d have to be pretty thin to rock one of those, right?

Turns out, that’s not right. Inspired to do a little reading up on the subject, I searched the web for “corset” and “plus size.” What came up was a bunch of hits on “waist training,” a phrase new to me. Down the internet rabbit hole I went, and when I came up for air, I was newly inspired to invest in myself. Seems corsets can not only instantly boost your natural curves, but over time may actually lead to a more permanent hourglass shape — all while looking sexy as hell. I was sold (or more accurately, I bought).

I ordered a dark purple satin “short underbust” style, which does not go as high up the ribcage or as low down the hips as a traditional corset. It was on sale, and I also felt that a short corset would make a good starter choice, since it seemed less intimidating in size and amount of lacing involved . The package arrived during the day, allowing me to handle the corset and try it on in private. This turned out to be a very good thing.

The internet was very helpful in supplying a selection of videos on how to lace myself up. By the time I wrapped the silky yet firm fabric around my naked middle, I was a little nervous — as well as a little excited. It felt indulgent and also somewhat naughty to hook the metal busks and smooth the satin over my hips. It had been so long since I had worn any kind of lingerie, and this corset seemed to me like the epitome of a “sexy underthing.” I had to use a mirror to reach around and find the laces. The criss-crossing black ribbons, arguably the sexiest part of a corset, made my soft-bodied self look — and feel — positively voluptuous. I thought, briefly, of the tassle-tipped pasties I had seen on the corset site…. Maybe next time.

I was ready to tighten. With two laces in one hand and two in the other, I pulled my arms out to the side and felt the breath leave my lungs as my ribs compressed. At the same time, I noticed another sensation. Warmth pervaded my groin, most likely related to extra blood flow being diverted from the center of my body outward. It was definitely not unpleasant, and I was driven to tug the laces even tighter before tying a clumsy but secure bow at the small of my back.

Turning to face the mirror, I was surprised at how great I looked. My constrained waist was highlighted by the generous outward curve of my hips and my overflowing bustline, which was forced upward like never before. My panty-clad rear end, normally not my favorite body part, offered a perfectly soft horizontal balance to the strong vertical line of the lacing. I was in love — with my own image.

It may be hard to understand how new this self-attraction was for me. Thinking I would only look heavier in fitted or body-skimming clothes, I exclusively wore loose or even baggy tops and dark, wide-legged pants. But now, in the tightest — and most purple! —article of clothing possible, I saw a seriously hot, smiling woman looking back at me. The tight holding around my middle and the electric awareness of my crotch and breasts had completely altered the mental image I usually held of my own body. Rather than squishy or shapeless, I was now sleek, supported, shapely, and sexualized.

What happened next? Let’s just say I did what anyone would do when faced with a drippingly hot woman in a plus size corset, posing in their bedroom. My husband wasn’t due home for hours, and I realized I was overdue for some seriously sensuous self-care.

Since then, that “starter” corset got a lot of regular wear, and in fact, I’m thinking of adding another to my collection. I might go with something a little longer and a little tighter this time…

Be Fully You

Find Your Uplifting Tribe

hipsandcurves uplifting tribe

It was only the second time I had seen my friend since we had both given birth. We carried our daughters in front-packs, walking through the shopping plaza on Kauai in Hawaii, conversing about how much our lives had changed over the past year since we first met on the island.

“I just don’t understand it,” I said aloud, “I know all these women who’ve given birth recently, but no one is opening up and being real or honest about their experiences as new mamas. Am I the only one feeling this way?”

My desperation, isolation, and sense of losing myself were deepening. Even though I was doing what I could to build a tribe around me, I felt I could not find any sort of community within the tiny North Shore town we lived in.

“No, of course not,” my friend reassured me. “You’re just being open about it.”

“Then why does it seem like everyone always has it together? I feel like I’m losing it, but every other mama I see makes it look so easy.”

My friend stopped walking and turned towards me. “Hold on, honey,” she paused. “YOU look like you have it together!”

“What?” I was completely flabbergasted. My daughter was less than a year old and I felt I was losing my battle against postpartum depression.

It was then that I became reminded of a lesson I learned when I first became a yoga teacher: “Stop comparing your insides based on someone else’s outsides.” After becoming a mama, this became, “Every mama is losing her shit – some just hide it better than others.”

There are countless issues an intelligent and independent woman experiences after becoming a new mama: battles with self-esteem as she struggles to “get her body back;” fighting the isolation that happens with postpartum blues, anxiety, and depression; dealing with the strains on a marriage. The list is long with innumerable variations of challenges she often hides in trying to make her life and body look perfect, the way it’s portrayed in the highlight reels of social media.

Even though I openly shared my experiences in the Facebook group I created for new mamas, it was rare that any other woman would voluntarily admit her struggles, despite the fact that when we talked one-on-one, she would let me in on her similar struggles.

Why are we all trying to hide behind this veil of perfection?  Women yearn to belong to a community, yet we continually engage in behaviors that bring us further from our tribe.

It’s essential we open up with one another. It’s essential we champion each other’s inner light, especially when we feel at our most dark and dim.  Having suffered from bulimia, compulsive overeating, binge exercising, and total body dysmorphia, I never want my daughter to waste a minute of her life worried about her worth based on the number on a scale or on the tag of a dress.

The only way this will happen is if we start to uplift one another through genuine authenticity in the ways we show up. When we’re struggling to love ourselves and our bodies, it’s vital we can get out of our heads and into a better reality, one where we reflect back kindness, nourishing thoughts, and affirmative truths.

For the sake of our bodies, our minds, and our spirits, we need our creative life force and gifts to be devoted to so much more than how we look. As Clarissa Pinkola Estes shares in her book, Women Who Run With Wolves, it is an offense to nature that we aim to confine ourselves to being small by trying to fit one standard of beauty. That is not how Mother Nature works: there is not one kind of tree, one kind of songbird, one kind of wolf.

There is brilliance in individuality and every expression of this light deserves to be celebrated grandly.

Create a mastermind group of women who you can connect with over the phone, Skype, Gchat, Zoom, whatever modality works for you. Make it an hour that becomes a haven of nurturing one another to shine.

Create your own tribe and empower every woman within it to thrive. This is how we’ll find the freedom to feel amazing for ourselves and for every generation that comes after us.

 

H&C

Donate a bra, celebrate #GivingTuesday

givingtuesday

Imagine not being able to afford a simple necessity, like a bra.  The impact to donating your old bras can be monumental in the lives of women who lack basic undergarments that we take for granted.  Celebrate #GivingTuesday and benefit women and girls in desperate need of a bra!

A simple piece of lingerie, like a bra, is prized by women whose voices and choices have been muted by controlled and uncontrolled circumstances (e.g., human trafficking, cancer, domestic violence, natural disasters).  The majority of us don’t realize we can recycle used and unused textiles, like bras.  With 8 out of 10 women wearing the wrong-sized bra, this means there are thousand upon thousands of bras that can be reused and/or recycled to help women and girls in transition.

In partnership with The Bra Recyclers, we invite you to join thousands of socially and environmentally conscious recyclers around the world to help women in transition while reducing the amount of textiles that end up in landfills.

We’ll send you a 20% coupon code when you send us your gently used bras.

Infographic_fnl_Rev

Follow these 3 simple steps to donate your bras:

1. Wash It. Recycled bras that can be worn again should be washed. Prosthesis and mastectomy bras are accepted!

2. Return your bra to Hips & Curves 11099 S. La Cienega #170 Los Angeles, CA 90045

3. We will email you a 20% off coupon towards a new bra (or anything else on www.hipsandcurves.com) when we receive your old one.

Questions?  Call or Chat M-F from 8am – 5pm Pacific Time.