Gussied Up & Tess Munster!

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Gussied Up, a plus size clothing boutique owned by the lovely Victoria McGroarty, celebrated the store’s 3rd anniversary this weekend – with a Meet & Greet with Miss Tess Munster!

 

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This delightful Bathurst boutique has classic pieces and Canadian designs in sizes X-3X.  With versatile pieces like day-to-evening dresses, casual blazers, leggings and cute but practical undergarments.

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This past visit I had my eye on the vintage-inspired bathing suits — any era with fashions that celebrates hips & tits wins my heart every time!  The feminine details for belts and bling is what I go weak in the knees for (ended up buying a sweetie-pie one I’ve had my eye on since seeing it on Instagram).

MINE!  The Black Bow Belt!
MINE! The Black Bow Belt!

 

With the weather oh-so gorgeous, I walked up from West Queen West (a significant distance) – so I decided to dress down cozy and comfy with my navy faux Toms (Airwalk from Payless), pink stripped maxi (from AdditionElle), cat-eye sunnies (from The Public Butter), pink moustache scarf (from Winners), faded denim-hoodie jacket (Jessica Simpson from HBC) and my MK grey cross body bag to make my Saturday afternoon stroll to meet Miss Tess Munster!

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The line up to meet Tess nearly wrapped the corner of Dupont!  Lucky for me….Rebecca (of Rebecca Northcott Photography) and I had a “tag-team approach”… and who ever got there first would save a spot for the other, regardless of the dirty looks to come our way by fellow-in-line fans! 😉

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Tess is a Plus-Size Model, Make Up Artist, Body Positive Activist and Blogger based in L.A., who turned her hobbies into a successful career.  She is a petite woman with an amazing smile that truly does light up a room!

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She recently founded the #effyourbeautystandards movement which has over 65,000 shares on Instagram alone, that changed her life. She receives letters and emails from different women every day thanking her for empowering them to love their bodies, and to not be ashamed of being short, pale/dark, or dare I say…Fat.

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The features that Tess was bullied about in her youth, that she now embraces, that has led to her success.  She really is an inspiration, encouraging other women to embrace and accept who they are, as they are.

Tess hopes that girls who are bullied, and women who lack confidence will begin to see their inner and outer beauty at whatever size.

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For everyone that says we can’t show our tummies, wear a pencil/form-fitting skirt, wear a bikini, wear sleeveless tops… YOU can!

That’s the main message of the #effyourbeautystandards campaign   — Tess wants YOU to join her in wearing “daring” fashions & stop hiding your body because society tells you to.

BE a total babe regardless of our size..big OR small we all deserve to feel beautiful.

 

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Take a look at some of the beautiful shots Rebecca captured at the Meet & Greet with Miss Tess Munster at Gussied Up:

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Tess was a delight to meet!  A genuinely nice person — happy to give hugs, pose for pictures …even TAKING SELFIES with her adoring fans!

I’ve got a massive #girlcrush on this woman – even more now that I’ve met her!

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Tess with Rebecca, of Rebecca Northcott Photography

Tess is proof that determination, relentlessness, and positivity can look beautiful on anyone, and that there is a wonderful life past a size 20.

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Gussied Up located at 1090 Bathurst St (at Dupot) in Toronto, Ontario.  You should def make a visit to see what fabulous fashions finds need to be yours!

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Here are a few shots taken by my iPhone camera too:

Me with Gussied Up owner, Victoria
Me with Victoria, Owner of Gussied Up!

 

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Shots taken with my iPhone: Me + Victoria and Me + Tess Munster

 

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Fashion Forward Polka-Dot Blazer

After what feels like many moons since I’ve woken up at 6am , I get myself dressed for a day at the office.  As promised, I found the following two pieces in my closet…wayyyy in the back which I paired together today for a fantastic little office outfit perfect for a breakfast networking meeting with fellow CSTD (Canadian Society of Training & Development) members, followed by a busy day of project deliverables and deadline submissions, before I head off on my EXTRA long weekend! [Toronto is about to have it’s the first long-weekend (Family Day) since the Xmas holidays.  I’ve taken the Friday and Tuesday off too…for a little Irene-time – woot! woot!]

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This 2-piece illusion dress – sheer green long-sleeved top attached to a simple black pencil bottom –  might be the very first Forever21 piece I ever bought, ever!  Prior to this purchase, I’ve always shyed away from going into that shop – the name alone scared me.  Always felt I’d be roaming through the racks when some official shop security-type person would approach me saying “Excuse me Ma’am, You’re clearly NOT 21…let me escort your old a** outta here to a more age-appropriate store.  Thank you Ma’am….” (Yup…I’m sure I’d get double-‘ma’am’d’).   As you can see from some of my previous posts, this irrational fear has not stopped me from shopping at Forever21 – in fact, I’ve actually had tons of luck with fabulous finds there.  My only issue is that because items are SO affordable, that every plus size girl in town is gonna have my outfit.  And I’m not down with that.

So I try my hardest to shop all the time and EVERYWHERE to ensure that I can create Looks that are unique and interesting without being too easily attainable.  Don’t get me wrong – I love knowing my outfit choices has inspired someone else’s fashion-juju, after all immitation is the highest form of flattery.  Buuuuut…it is nice knowing that’s the pieces I own are somewhat exclusive and just mine 😉

I’ve only worn this dress a few times, mostly around the holidays for those impromptu cocktail socials that seem to pop up at a moments notice as everyone tries to maximize their Xmas cheer and host get-to-gethers.  Bringing a sheer top to the office is always a challenge and daring act – especially if you’re a big-boobie girl working in a more conservative work environment, like me.  My love of blazers seem to really help me take pieces that at, first glance, are not entirely office-appropriate into chic and fun office wear.  Now blazers don’t have to be boring and boxy.  I’m very particular when it comes to my blazer finds too!  Looking through my collection, I’ve noticed many of mine are not  the ‘standard’ solid coloured type at all.  Most…nearly all of mine hanging in my closet are loud – bright coloured or patterned.

20140213-093503.jpgLike this fashion forward polka-dot blazer I picked up likely 5-years ago from Winners while on a lunch-break.  As soon as I saw it on the hanger it made me nostalgic for Madonna’s Lucky Star-Searching for Susan-big hair-and-shoulder pads era!  I remember my co-worker, who was shopping with me, saying how old-fashioned it was…like that was a bad thing.  By that time I absolutely fell in love with it regardless of her commentary, and bought it immediately!  What’s nice about this piece is that it has zero collar or lapel, taking away extra bulk around ‘the girls’ …which I certianly don’t need.  And it has the tiniest hook-and-eye clasp to keep the blazer closed, creating a nice long/slim look for me I think …always a nice feature 🙂

So this is what I wore to work today.  You likee?  (Sorry about the crapy bathroom selfies…sigh.  No time or motivation to take proper timer-app pics at 6am.  Also, sorry about my terrible hair.  Winter toque static…blah!)

How I got The Look:

2-piece illusion dress (sheer green/black skirt) from Forever21+, Yorkdale Mall

Black n’ white polka-dot blazer from Classic Trenz by T.Renz, Winners

Large silver tear-drop earrings and grey tall boots from Payless

Michael Kors white ceramic watch

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