Lovely in LuLaRoe
It all started with a dress.
My friend Cyndi is one of those people who anticipates your needs before you even realize them yourself. I mean..how many of your friends sent Dulcolax after your mastectomy?
She also knows my tendency to come across as lukewarm when I am overwhelmed.... and calls my bluffs. So when she said LuLaRoe was positevelythebestthingever, and I said meh, she still sent the dress.
Let me say right now, this is not a sponsored post. I'm not getting paid for my opinions.
But if you read my previous post about my relationship with my body after cancer treatment (you know, the bald dude post), then you know I've found a sisterhood with other breast cancer patients and survivors, sharing similar body image struggles. And when you find something that makes you feel comfortable, confident, and pretty, you tell your sisters!
For that reason, I'm writing this series of posts dedicated to the styles of clothes that I have found work best for me now that I am a Survivor (I prefer Thriver)...getting back to the business of living my life.
For perspective, here's the down and dirty about my body;
I am 5'8" tall.
I weigh 220 pounds.
I wear a size 16/18 in jeans.
In tops and dresses I usually wear XXL or 1X, sometimes 2X, usually opting for styles with a little extra room to downplay my tummy. Treatment-induced menopause has resulted in a lot of extra weight around the belly.
At diagnosis, I was wearing bra size 38G.
In October 2015, I had an aggressive bilateral modified radical mastectomy.
I had all of my underarm lymph nodes removed during my mastectomy, and have developed mild lymphedema in my upper arms (resulting in swelling).
Now back to the good stuff!
Comfortable. Confident. Pretty. That's how I felt when I tried on my first LuLaRoe dress, Carly.
Carly is basically an over-sized t-shirt with an A-line silhouette and a high-low hem.
It manages to look fitted in my chest, but skims my belly...the part of my body I am most self-conscious about. It runs large. I am wearing an XL in these photos.
Carly seriously feels like pajamas, but looks chic and playful.
I love that all the LuLaRoe dresses I've tried have modest lengths. I'm a busy mom who has to lug groceries and fasten seat belts in the "way back" and pick up dropped toys. I don't have time to worry about who's getting a free show. For that matter, I don't have time to shave above my knees. (Sorry, Jason.)
Both of my Carly's are a simple space-dyed cotton blend, soft and breathable. But LuLaRoe is best known for their fantastic prints, which would further camouflage trouble areas.
In the picture above, I'm wearing an oversized tunic (the LuLaRoe Irma) tied over my Carly. I've noticed tying a knot in a loose top creates asymmetrical gathers across the chest, distracting from the lack of breasts. Just play with the folds and the tightness across your belly until it flatters, rather than accentuates.
I accessorized with an infinity scarf. This one is a gauzy floral from H&M. If hot flashes are a problem for you, there are many lightweight versions like this on the market. An infinity scarf is probably the most foolproof way to downplay a mastectomy. Not to mention budget friendly! No matter your age, don't be afraid to explore fast-fashion, youth-focused retailers for inexpensive scarves. When I managed Forever 21, I had a lovely lady in her 70's come in each week to shop our scarves. The poor woman's jewel's, she always told me!
Carly is also darling with a chunky necklace. Or so I've been told. I had three kids in two and a half years. I no longer manage to wear fashion jewelry....Or use the bathroom in private. But I digress.
Above is my pink Carly worn with my own crocheted vest...LuLaRoe offers a similar style called Joy:
A lightweight, long vest is a comfortable way to amp the style factor without adding warmth, for those of us experiencing hot flashes from chemo or menopause.
The Nicole dress is a classic silhouette, with a fitted bodice and a flared skirt at the natural waist. In the pictures I am wearing a 2X.
Nicole has a feminine scoop neck, but the neckline is high enough to cover my radiation damage. I appreciate this for modesty and sun protection. A cotton blend, this dress is soft enough for me to wear without layering a camisole underneath. During these warmer months I am happy to wear as few layers as possible.
Although I'm also looking forward to accessorizing my Nicole for fall....just add pumpkin spice........
My favorite feature of this dress is the elbow length sleeves. I have mild lymphedema, particularly in my right arm. Covering my arms gives me added confidence. I've already donated many tops (especially woven ones) because the sleeves are too tight.
Like Carly, Nicole comes in dressier fabrics and prints. But as a Stay at Home Mom, these casual jersey knits are my jam! This weekend I wore this dress to the Salon, and on to the park to play with all three kids. So versatile! And I was able to bend and catch Eli on the slides without worrying about my, ahem, assets.
I thought I knew leggings. At Forever 21, we were selling the Wonder Bread of leggings hand over fist, at $2.50 a pair.
Could LuLaRoe's cultish "Butter Leggings" be that much better? Spoiler alert: The answer is yes. Yes they can. Yes they are.
These leggings are super soft, and come in thousands of colors and prints.
They're available in two sizes, One Size (OS) for sizes 0-10, and Tall and Curvy (TC) for sizes 12-22 (or higher). I wear TC.
And oh, the fit!! The leggings have a wide waistband that sits smooth on my natural waist...no pinching. No muffin top.
In my ten years working retail, I witnessed even the most stylish outfit ruined with itching, tugging or pulling throughout the day.
The most impactful way to look beautiful in your clothes is to exude confidence. And it's hard to feel confident when you're uncomfortable.
The leggings are made of synthetic fibers (Polyester and Spandex), so they can feel warm when temperatures get high. I am less sensitive to hot flashes and sweating in my lower body, so for me they're still comfortable.
I've been told most women take their LuLaRoe plunge with a pair of leggings and a coordinating Irma tunic (pictured above in an XL).
I didn't feel like this was the most flattering look for my body. Although that didn't stop me from wearing it to my last chemo infusion. Because, hellooooo, comfort!
My Irma is a soft, slinky rayon blend. In other fabrications, the Irma may cling to the tummy less.
Rayon is a man-made fabric, but it is produced from plant fibers, so it breathes more like natural fabrics (cotton) than synthetic ones (polyester). Made well, it can feel deluxe. Rayon can be tricky to care for. Even with cold, gentle washing and line drying I have had some rayon tops shrink, skew, and pill (on the first wash!). In my experience this is usually based off quality....it's true...you get what you pay for. I've washed my Irma twice now, and it still looks brand new.
I need to get my hands on some LuLaRoe!
So have you Googled LuLaRoe yet, looking for the nearest store?
Keep an open mind...I'm about to tell you how they do things a little differently at LuLaRoe.
To keep the merchandise affordable, and the experience personal, LuLaRoe is sold directly by entrepreneurs, consultants, via "Pop-Up Boutiques" in homes, local venues, and online. To keep it exciting, they randomly release a limited number of each color and print among their 35,000 consultants.
I haven't had the opportunity to attend a pop-up yet, since my dear friend aka personal LuLaRoe consultant is located on the wrong coast. But I did ask her to share what makes the LuLaRoe in home Pop-Up Boutique a unique and magical experience.
....Well, for one thing, it happens in the comfort of your own home, or the home of a close friend. There's no crush of a crowd, no wandering aimlessly through a massive department store looking for your section or your size, no high pressure sales.
You're with a group of women, and it's the grown up version of dress up, just like you played as a little girl. Everyone is helping everyone else. You're hoping to find something that makes you look beautiful but you're also just as anxious to help the other ladies find their 'unicorn'. You leave feeling uplifted, beautiful, and happy.
For those of us suffering from autoimmune diseases, overcoming cancer, or just ending a day watching rambunctious children, a LuLaRoe Pop-Up Boutique affords us a rare luxury. The luxury of uninterrupted time amongst adults where we actually get to focus on ourselves for a set period of time. --Cyndi Richards, Consultant at Lovely LuLa
In my own experience with online Pop-Up Boutiques and Social Media Flash Sales, I've already experienced a sense of community I wasn't expecting. Consultants (yes, I follow several) use social media to reach out to their customers asking them to post pictures of their day, weekend, recent challenges, life as a mom...you name it! And it. is. a. lovefest. It is simply beautiful to see women building each other up with compliments and encouragement.
Check back soon...I still have five more LuLaRoe gems to share with you!!
Not to mention other favorite styles, tricks, brands and shopping tips.
Now go forth and find yourself some unicorns!
View more LuLaRoe and find a consultant here.
Meet my consultant, Cyndi Richards, here.
And thank-you to my handsome husband, who made me feel so beautiful while he shot all the photos for this post.