February 2017 | Natalie in the City - A Chicago Plus Size Fashion Blog, by Natalie Craig
Natalie in the City - A Chicago Plus Size Fashion Blog, by Natalie Craig

A PLUS SIZE LIFE + STYLE BLOG

February 27, 2017

BEHIND THE SCENES: MEIJER'S #StyleForEveryBODY

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I was introduced to Meijer in August 2016 when I flew out to Grand Rapids to visit the Midwestern super center's headquarters. Upon stepping foot into my first Meijer, I felt included. The store's plus size section catered to a wide range of women and boasted on-season trends—something that I wasn't always used to seeing at a super center or even a mall. I couldn't be happier to connect with another brand that cared so deeply about serving every body type. I met with the fashion team at Meijer, and they expressed their dedication to push the store's clothing to be as on trend and fashion-forward as possible. But little did I know that Meijer was on the brink of something even bigger.

A couple months later, Meijer announced they were getting rid of their plus size department because they were merging it together with the women's department and putting sizes small through 3x on the same rack, in every style. This was an emotional time for me because as someone who has always had a larger figure, I have always been shown to the tiniest, darkest corner of the store: the plus size section. I constantly wonder why brands don't just expand their sizing instead of having separate sections for thin and plus size women. And now, Meijer is doing just that, and leading the way in these efforts. I couldn't be happier to be involved.

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Behind the scenes of #StyleForEveryBODY
I got the opportunity to participate in Meijer's #StyleForEVERYBody campaign to announce the integration. I got to work with two amazing teams from JohnsonRauhoff and Meijer as well as some beautiful plus size AND straight size co-models. It was truly a day I will never forget!

Since the campaign has gone live, I have had a lot of women reach out to me and ask me how I got my start in modeling. While I have worked with other brands in similar capacities, this was my first, real modeling gig. At an early age, I idolized the models I saw in the magazines and on TV, wishing that someday I could be a model, too. However, my physical features (height and weight) were working against me. I started Natalie in the City in 2013 as a way to creatively express myself, and I could have never imagined that it would provide me with opportunities like this. I never had a vision for what I wanted my blog to be like, but it lead me to this campaign and to so many others that have been a catalyst in prompting more plus size inclusivity in fashion.

So my advice to you—whether you want to get into modeling, start a blog, embark on your dream, or take a risk—is to just simply pursue your dream. Be who you want to be, and do what you want to do. It sounds simple, and it is, the journey may be harder than the commitment. However, just taking that first step to setting fourth on your dreams is integral. And even if all the odds are against you—like being a 200+ lb., 5 ft 2 in.-tall model—if you believe it, you can be it.

If you could have anything you want in this world—no boundaries, no restrictions—what would it be? And what is the first step toward living that dream? If you feel brave, leave your dream in the comment section below! I can't wait to read them!

Thank you to Meijer for partnering with me to get the word out about their push to make fashion more inclusive and sponsoring today's post. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Natalie in the City possible!


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February 25, 2017

THE VIEWS YOU HAVE TO SEE IN CHICAGO

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I moved to Chicago for the views. 

Well, there were more reasons than that, but we'll run with it for this post. When I moved here, I became obsessed with living on the highest floor of my building and making sure that everywhere I went, I could see the cityscape. I was able to score those amazing views for two years, until I graduated from college. My first apartment out of college was on the second level of a building a little north of the city, and all four windows in the apartment backed up to a beautiful (not) brick wall. Can you say, "reality check?" 

Aside from the views that first stole my heart, Chicago is a great city for many reasons, whether it be the food, sports, mass public transit, beaches, or the museums. If you were to ask a handful of Chicagoans what their favorite place for brunch, lunch, dinner, or coffee was, you'd probably get bunch of different answers—especially when it comes to pizza (I vote Loumalnatis, if you ask me). But the views still win me over more than Chicago's finest slice of deep dish pizza.

So, I’m partnering with Mercedes-Benz to share my version of Chicago. People are always asking me about my go-to spots in the city, and since I'm all about the views, I decided it was time to share my favorite views with you. If you had just one day in Chicago, these are my can't-miss spots for the most breathtaking (and free!) views of the city.


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1. The Chicago Sun Times Building, 350 N. Orleans St.

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2. Montrose Beach, 4400 N. Lake Shore Dr.

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3. Eight O Five Rooftop, 805 N. LaSalle Dr.

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4. The AON Center, 200 E. Randolph St.

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 5. Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave.

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6. The Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St.

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 7. The Adler Planetarium, Museum Campus, 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr.

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 8. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Dr.

So, what's YOUR version of the city you live in? If you live in or plan on visiting NYC, LA, Chicago, Austin, Miami, or Denver, Mercedes-Benz is inviting you to share your city in a simple and artistic way on Instagram. It's easy—you create a quick (but beautiful) animated album of five of your best geotagged photos and upload it to Instagram by clicking this link, or visit: sociallydriven.mbusa.com on your mobile device. Then, you share your album on your feed with the hashtag #MBsociallydriven—and your photos might be featured on the Mercedes-Benz website

Ready to rediscover your city?

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February 19, 2017

LACE UP

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When I saw these lace up leggings, I knew I had to have them. I'm obsessed with everything that has to do with the lace up trend. For example, refer to this post with the lace up sweaterthis post featuring a lace up dress, and this post showing a lace up blouse. See?! I have a problem!

This whole outfit is actually from Forever 21 (minus the body chain necklace, which is H&M). I used to shop at Forever 21 plus a lot, because it was so easy. There are three Forever 21 stores in Chicago that have a great plus size section. And for a while, Forever 21 was serving up the most fashion-forward clothing for the plus size girl that wants to be seen, not hidden. But as of lately, I have been trying to expand my shopping rituals to include more from Eloquii and Fashion to Figure. So, this may be my last all Forever 21 outfit.


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Photography by: Katherine Davis
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February 14, 2017

TOP KNOT

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Don't you just love a go-to cozy outfit that doesn't scream "lazy" or look frumpy? Well, this is my go-to outfit, and while it's comfortable, it still makes me feel glam.

I recently bought this Style & Co plus size lace up sweater at Macy's, but it has since sold out. So here is similar sweater from Macy's by INC. I have also created a shopping widget below with lace-up sweaters, too!

This pair of gray-washed denim is from my favorite place to get jeans: Target. Oh, and I cut the holes on the knees myself! Ever since Target relaunched their Massimo denim line with more sizes, fits, colors, and washes, I haven't purchased denim from anywhere else. I wear a size 14 or 16 depending on the style! I also recommend checking out Mossimo's "curvy" fit, which is great for my fellow curvy chicks with hips that don't lie.

Also, I know y'all peeped my Jord wood watch from my Koa & Ash post a couple of weeks ago. Well, good news: You can win a Jord wood timepiece this week! Jord and I have teamed up to give one lucky reader their choice of wood watch. The giveaway ends February 19, so if you haven't entered yet, visit this link, and drop your name!

Can we talk about these beige booties now?! I fell in love with them when I was on set shooting with Meijer (which I can't wait to tell you all about very soon). So when my cab driver picked me up from the set, I asked him to stop by Meijer so I could run in and grab the boots. If you live by a Meijer, the boots are from Sugar, and they come in black and beige!

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 Photography by: Katherine Davis

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February 12, 2017

FALLING IN LOVE WITH MY CLOSET AGAIN

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If you’re a fashionista, like me, you are probably in the same exact situation I’m in right now (and every time I buy new clothes). My closet is always packed with my favorite garments of the moment and even clothes I haven’t worn in months. Not only is my shopping addiction and this blog keeping my closet packed to the brim, but I also share the closet space with my fashionisto boyfriend—who has his favorite clothes of the moment AND clothes he hasn’t worn in five years packed into the closet as well.

So what’s a girl to do?

The monthly purge
The good news is that I’m not that much of a hoarder. But these are clothes we are talking about parting ways with, and I’m not good with goodbyes in that sense. Every month, I place the clothes I think I’m ready to get rid of in a box and put it behind my bedroom door for two weeks. If I don’t think about any of the clothes or pull anything from the box during that time, then I part ways with them.

Keeping inventory
Do you ever forget about the clothes that are shoved all the way in the back of your closet? Yeah, me too. And sometimes these clothes still have tags on them (UGH). So on the days where I feel like I have nothing to wear, I will start at the back of my closet to find those hidden gems.

But there has to be an easier way to store my clothes while being able to go through them seamlessly without making a mess. What I really need is a virtual closet where I can thumb through my on-and off-season clothes, have them dry cleaned, put in storage, or sell or donate them. And I think I may have found the perfect way to achieve this.

The digital closet of my dreams
Enter Armoire, a Chicago-based clothing storage service that keeps your off-season clothes in a cedar lined space and picks up and delivers your clothes within 24 hours of your request. Best of all, Armoire frees up some closet space so you can keep being the trend-obsessed fashionista that you are! I just signed up and created my profile on Armoire, and I am highly anticipating the app’s launch in Spring 2017. I was pretty impressed with Armoire’s $35-$65 per month pricing plans (also detailed below) since a dingy and dusty storage unit in Chicago averages around more than $60 a month—and that doesn’t include dry cleaning. Another thing I’m looking forward to on the Armoire app is being able to consign clothes I no longer wish to keep, which saves me from having to drag heavy bags of garments to the nearest consignment or thrift store in the city. If you aren’t in Chicago, no worries, Armoire has plans to expand to New York City, Washington D.C., and other metropolitan areas, too.

I just reserved my spot for the app's initial launch. To reserve yours and to score an exclusive package upgrade for free, send an email to macon@getmyarmoire.com.

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Interested in Armoire, but have more questions? Leave a comment below, shoot an email to Armoire’s Founder Macon Foscue at macon@getmyarmoire.com, or follow them on Instagram or Facebook for the latest updates.

Armoire package pricing:
  • Petite package: $35/mo stores up to 15 winter items and 20 summer items. Dry cleaning is a la carte.
  • Classique package: $45/mo stores up to 30 winter items and 40 summer items. Dry cleaning a la carte.
  • De Luxe package: $65/mo stores up to 50 items and includes dry cleaning.
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This post is sponsored by Armoire, all thoughts and opinions are 110% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Natalie in the City possible!
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February 5, 2017

BE MY VALENTINE

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I really love this look for a Valentine's Day date night if you prefer an all black outfit rather than a little red dress—like me. I don't always wear sequins and leather together, but when—and if—I do, I have to strike a subtle balance of the two eye catching materials. The black sequins on this Fashion to Figure sequin tank top put off a soft shimmer, and paired with this playful blazer with see-through sleeves, the look doesn't come off as an outfit that has too much going on. While I love all of these pieces together, each one of them are strong on their own and could be mixed into different outfits. Since I love black on black ensembles, this is most likely an outfit I would wear on a date night or for valentines day because it's glam, sexy, and isn't far from my comfort zone.

What are you wearing for Valentine's Day?

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Photography by: Ghaffar Gbenro 

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February 1, 2017

8 VALENTINE'S DAY GIFT IDEAS FOR CURVY GIRLS

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Are you wondering what you should get that special curvy girl in your life for Valentine's Day? Well, I know one thing: She deserves the best. This gift guide will lead you to a gift that makes her feel empowered and beautiful in her own skin! Have any suggestions or ideas? Drop them in the comment section below this post for a chance to have your idea added into this gift guide!

Lingerie
There are so many options out there now when it comes to lingerie for plus size women, and I think one of the most empowering gifts you could give your curvy girl is something that she will feel sexy in. If lingerie isn't her thing, try a sexy robe like this one from Zulily below.

For the shoe lover
Did I mention shoes? If you know your girl's shoe size or can sneak a peak with out her finding out, a pair of ankle boots, strappy heels, or  wide calf knee-high boots would be the perfect gift. It's important to keep "wide calf" in mind if you are leaning toward the knee-high boots and a wide fit in the shoe for ankle boots or heels. The pairs I have included below have either a wide fit or wide calf. You can never go wrong with pair of black boots or heels, but if you really want to impress your girl, I would opt for an ankle boot with designs and embellishments, like the Sam Edelman pair below!

For the beauty guru
If your sweetheart is into makeup, she probably already has a strict beauty routine in place, but the makeup products below make the perfect addition to any beauty routine without disrupting her preferred regimen. A new brush set and a gorgeous highlighter or eye shadow palette are will have your girl glowing!


For the sophisticated and simple chick
While jewelry can be a cliche gift, if you know what kind of pieces your bae likes to wear or have a special piece of jewelry you have been thinking about getting her, you can never really go wrong with this gift. A subtle piece of jewelry like this bracelet with a knot or this pearl necklace is the perfect gift because it's simple enough to be paired with any outfit. Girls love a piece of jewelry that they can wear every day, especially if it reminds them of you. 



For the fashionista 
Satin trench coats are all the rage right now. They are sophisticated, sexy, and definitely eye catching. If you want to impress your fashion-forward girl, you will surely do it with this. If you love her like you say you do, order her Nadia Aboulhosn's ALYA duster in rose champagne so she knows it's real.
For the girl who loves to glow 
What's better than a gift that gives a girl more reasons to indulge in herself? Decadent body scrubs and lotions are pure bliss to any woman who is on the glow up. The Clarisonic skin cleanser is also a must have for anyone that loves her facials and masks.
For the writer / artist / hopeless romantic
I am a journal hoarder. It doesn't matter that I already have 500 journals at home and 200 in my desk at my office. I love anything that inspires me to write or draw. If your valentine is the artsy type or a girl who surrounds herself with inspirational things, get her a journal. Maybe you two could write to each other and pass the journal back and fourth one week at a time. We get so wrapped up in technology these days, who knows how many details or emotions we miss out on because the world is moving so fast around us. Too sappy? Ooooooookaaayyy. I tried!!
For the bookworm OR for the girl who is trying to find self love 
I HIGHLY recommend these books for every woman to read, especially Pussy: A Reclamation. Help uplift your woman with these inspiring and life changing books. This is the gift that truly gives back. Happy wife, happy life! Know what I mean?
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