21 Squared: The Curvy Fashion App

By Erika, Fashion Expert

Ever seen a woman wearing something you loved and wished you could buy it right then and there? Ever wanted to purchase something you see without having to sort through all the merchandise in a store or search through pages of items online? Ever wanted to get an idea how something would look on your body before you took the plunge to purchase it? Ever been in a style rut and just been looking for some style inspiration as a curvy girl?

Let me introduce you to the app for you – 21 Squared: The Curvy Fashion App

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I have been using this app for a while and I have to tell you guys – I LOVE it! 21 Squared is an incredibly easy app that lets you find outfits, read real reviews on clothing, and shop with ease.  Honestly, it’s as simple as that!

There are three main components to the app: outfit inspiration and matchmaking, shopping, and reviews.

Outfit Inspo and Matchmaking

21 Squared users can explore fashion and outfits from other users in the community.  You can sort outfits based on factors like people who match your body type or items that are available for purchase right now.  That’s right, if you’re  5’6” and a size 20, you can pull up looks from users who have a similar body type as you.  The more data points you put in (measurements, weight, etc.) the more precise your results will get. How nice is it to see how that J.Crew top will look on you before you buy it!?

Shopping

21 Squared allows its users to shop the outfits posted by users directly from the app.  That’s right, with the simple tap of a finger you can be linked directly to the jacket, top, jeans or shoes that you love! There are over 5 million products available through the app.  Additionally, there is a “SALE” tab that features the hottest items and latest sales from dozens of retailers.  Shopping from multiple retailers from one place has never been so easy. Some of 21 Squared’s retail partners include some of my favorite brands and stores like Lane Bryant, Eloquii, Nordstrom, and Mod Cloth – just to name a few!

21 Squared - Shop

The app also makes it incredibly easy for users to link followers to their clothing items as well.  If you have your tags you can scan the bar code directly into the app! You can also use a web browser and post a direct link for any items featured.  It’s insanely simple and very intuitive and user-friendly. Below, I’ll walk though through exactly how you can upload your looks. 

Reviews

The reviews are one of my favorite features from this app.  How many times have you shopped without any clue if a dress runs true-to-size or if you need to size up or size down? Ever wanted to know if the material of your shirt is super cheap or super luxe? The review on the 21 Squared App allows users to share exactly that type of information.  Does an item run large or small? Have a ton of stretch or none at all? Users can share these tips with shoppers so that you know what you’re getting into before you buy it!

21 Squared - Reviews

Usability

Using the 21 Squared app is incredibly easy too. If you can use Instagram then you can use the 21 Squared app. I’ve taken a few screenshots just to show you how simple the process really is.

21 Squared - Step 1

21 Squared - Step 2

21 Squared - Step 3A

21 Squared - Step 3B

21 Squared - Step 4

21 Squared - Final

21 Squared is available for both Apple and Android products.  All you have to do is visit your respective App store and download the app for free! 

Be sure to follow me on the app at @erikamcdaniel (yep, that’s my maiden name) and let me know in the comments or via social media that you’re on the app.

I can’t WAIT to hear your thoughts!

Stay Chic,
Erika

#OOTD365: The First 100(ish) Days

By Erika, Fashion Expert

It’s been about two months since I’ve posted on the blog.  If you follow YCS on Instagram, you have a little bit of insight into everything that has been going on.  If you don’t, have no fear, I’m going to be doing a 3-part blog series about the last 3 months and remaining “Chic Under Pressure” (I wrote it, so now I HAVE to finish it!).  I thought, however, as I get back to my regularly scheduled blogging program, that I’d do a recap of my #OOTD365 challenge so far.  We’ll talk about some of my favorite looks and why they are my favorite and I’ll also share, the top 3 lessons I’ve learned so far.

Top 10 Favorite Looks

Over the past 142 days, I’ve had a lot of looks, some I’ve loved and others, not so much.  Here’s a countdown of my favorite 10 looks so far.

#10 • February 21, 2018

I wear this look ALL the time.  It’s so easy to look polished and pulled together in a monochromatic look.  And navy is just a little bit unexpected when it comes to wearing one color from head to toe. Fashion tip: If you wear a nude colored shoe it will elongate your entire silhouette by drawing the eye out.  Pointy toes also have the same effect.

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Blouse: Lane Bryant • Skirt: Eloquii • Necklace: Aldo • Shoes: BCBG

#9 • January 13, 2018

This poncho/sweater is just so comfy cozy! I snuggled up in this almost daily after work.  It’s easy and chic for those cold winter months!

Jan 13

Poncho + Necklace: Avenue • T-Shirt: Joe Fresh • Jeans: Dressbarn • Shoes: Melrose and Market

#8 • May 12, 2018

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this Sophie Theallet for Lane Bryant jumper.  It’s PJs but it’s also a CHIC AS EVER jumper that can be worn out. Honestly, very few things make you feel sexy while super comfortable.  This one is a winner!

May 12

Jumper: Sophie Theallet for Lane Bryant • Bag: Calvin Klein • Shoes: Kelly & Katie

#7 • February 26, 2018

This look is proof that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to look good.  This super cute lace dress is from Target.  Yep, that Target!  Bet you’d never know if I didn’t tell you.

Feb 26

Dress: Who What Wear for Target • Shoes: Jimmy Choo

#6 • May 20, 2018

Spring FINALLY sprung and I got a chance to break out one of my FAVORITE maxi dresses! The next time someone tells you that plus size women should stay away from prints, kindly point them in the direction as this dope look.  Please and thank you.

May 21

Dress: Mynt 1792 • Sunglasses: Eloquii

#5 • April 7, 2018

Island vibes? Yes please.  These elegant, high-waist pants are sure to be in heavy rotation this summer.  They are lightweight, breathable, and oh-so-classy! Even a t-shirt looks high-end when paired with them.

April 7

hirt: Sixteen Fourteen by YCS • Pants: Standards and Practices • Shoes: J. Crew

#4 • February 16, 2018

Wakanda Forever.  That is all.

February 16 x 2

Wrap: D’Iyanu • Turtleneck: Dressbarn • Skirt: Eloquii • Shoes: Manolo Blahnik

#3 • May 2, 2018

When one of my besties pulled this dress off the rack we KNEW it had me ALL OVER IT! I love everything about it – the unique print, the vintage neckline and sleeves and the tie-neck, my personal signature.  This one is a winner every time I wear it!

May 2

Dress + Sunglasses: Eloquii • Shoes: Old Navy

#2 • April 3, 2018

Whoever said plus size girls shouldn’t wear two pieces got it so, so wrong!! I love all of the body confidence that I see up and town my timeline and IG.  How fun was it to be a part of it and inspire women who look like me to own their curves and wear what they want!

April 3

Bathing Suit: Gabi Fresh for Swimsuits for All • Sunglasses: Armani

#1 • March 31, 2018

Is it any surprise to you that my favorite thing I have worn thus far has been my wedding dress? I LOVED my wedding dress and didn’t want to take it off.  I seriously contemplated sleeping in it!  I felt so beautiful and elegant and regal AF. I’m currently looking for 100 more reasons to wear it again and again!

March 31

Dress: David’s Bridal • Veil: Truly by Zac Posen • Earrings: J. Crew • Shoes: Badgley Mischka • Photo: Terri Baskin Photography

Top 3 Lessons Learned

One of my favorite things to share with you all each week are the lessons I have learned. Even though we aren’t quite half way through the year, I have LEARNED a lot.  I’ve tried really hard to keep many of the lessons close to my heart.  Here are top 3 that I’ve learned so far:

#3 • Do more of what makes you happy. By nature, I’m a people pleaser. It is exhausting. And you end up giving away much of yourself who people who do not deserve or appreciate it. For my 35th birthday, I promised myself that I would spend more time doing what makes me happy, being around those who make me happy, and focusing on pleasing God and myself. Life is WAY too short to be bending over backwards to please people who don’t matter and giving so much of yourself away that there is nothing left. Yes, I’m getting married this year, but be clear, this is the year of “me.”

#2 • Your tribe matters. I feel like I said this before but boy, oh boy, has my tribe showed up for me. I’m actually going to do a YCS Bride Guide post all about choosing your Bride Tribe and why they are so important to your mental health and emotional stability during the wedding planning process. My tribe (including my Bride Tribe and Goal Diggers family) has truly lifted me up and held me down over the last few weeks. And honestly, NONE of it had to do with the wedding. These women have prayed for me, with me, over me, spoken life to me and my fiancé, hyped me up, encouraged me, supported me, and pushed me when I thought I couldn’t go on. Who you surround yourself with matters. Who you let speak into your life matters. Who you allow to sow into you matters. Don’t feel bad about being selfish about your space and he energy you allow around you. It could truly be the difference between life and death!

#1 • Don’t let people try to force you into relationship with someone just because THEY’RE in relationship with that person. I am not obligated to be in relationship with people just because of their relationship to me.  What does that mean? Well, so often we feel (or other people make us feel) like we have to be in relationship – not romantic – with someone just because they are our family member/future family member/friend of a friend/etc. But it is my job to fiercely protect my space, my energy, my bubble, my mind, and my heart and this week I was reminded of that.  Regardless of other people’s opinions or how they think I should feel – I am in charge of how I feel. And I don’t have to allow people who suck the life, energy, or positivity out of me to be around me.

What’s Next?

Well, I’ll continue on this #OOTD365 journey.  Because the weather has FINALLY broken, you can expect LOTS more color in my daily wardrobe. And, I already told you about the “Chic Under Pressure” series I’ve been working on.  I’ve also got some new reviews coming up for you.  Some new tutorials.  And, I’m getting SERIOUS about fashion education – so except fashion mini-classes, workbooks, and courses to be a THING in the second half of 2018.  I’m also going to let the hubby dress me for a week this summer (that’s gonna be CRAZY) and should definitely expect to see some posts about the kids.

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XOXO, Erika

All photos taken by me or my husband unless otherwise credited. 

OOTD365 March 5 – 11, 2018

By Erika, Fashion Expert

I don’t know about you guys but I’m over here waiting for spring to, well, spring! The tease that we had a few weeks ago whet my appetite for warmer days and now, with each new snow, I’m longing for sunny weather and higher temperatures.

I’m also eagerly counting down to the big day! It’s crazy that we are only three weeks away! Less than that, actually. The beginning seems so long ago. I can hardly believe we are almost to the wedding. Counting down to the wedding also means counting down to the honeymoon!! One way or another I’m going to get my warmer temps.

Before this week’s recap, I want to prep you guys for a few things ahead of the wedding. First, I will be taking a brief hiatus from posting my #OOTD365 looks from April 2-9 while I’m away on my honeymoon. I’ll snap photos and share a recap, but I make no promises to post the looks daily. I want to focus on honeymooning. Second, there will be a TON of post-wedding Bride Guide content. A lot of the stuff I want to share needs to wait until after the wedding as to not ruin some surprises and special moments. So be on the look out for that. Lastly, if you want a sneak peek at life leading up to the wedding, as well as some behind the scenes action on the day of, then follow YCS on Instagram and be sure to watch our IG story. That’s where you’ll get some insight and sneak peeks that others won’t see.

And now, for what I’ve learned this week:

  • Self care is crucial. Intellectually, I know this. I often preach it. But I don’t always follow it. This past week I had a much needed massage and facial and a few really good nights sleep. I needed those. I hadn’t realized how much my schedule and life had taken a toll on me and my body. Also, I must have been a raging lunatic because not one, but two, of my dear friends gave me gift certificates to the spa for my birthday!! Ladies (and gents) take care of yourself!!
  • Do not stop learning and growing. I’ve got a whole post on this coming up (and something really special for my DMV readers). You are never too old or too smart to learn and grow and change. Be open to improving. It’s good for you.
  • Do more of what makes you happy. By nature, I’m a people pleaser. It is exhausting. And you end up giving away much of yourself who people who do not deserve or appreciate it. For my 35th birthday, I promised myself that I would spend more time doing what makes me happy, being around those who make me happy, and focusing on pleasing God and myself. Life is WAY too short to be bending over backwards to please people who don’t matter and giving so much of yourself away that there is nothing left. Yes, I’m getting married this year, but be clear, this is the year of “me.”

And now for what I wore:

XOXO, Erika

#OOTD365 February 19 – March 4, 2018

By Erika, Fashion Expert

I know it’s been a couple of weeks since my last recap post. When I tell you that a TON has been going on these last two weeks – phew!!! That would be an understatement. There are a LOT of really exciting things happening, much of which I will share on the blog in the near future. But, unfortunately, at the moment, mums the word 🤐.

People always tell you things get really crazy right before your wedding and then a couple weeks before you hit coast mode. Well, we are in the midst of “really crazy” and I’m looking forward to hitting “coast mode” in the next couple of weeks. Once the wedding is over, I have a TON of content to share with you. But it’s a little hard to do without giving away details of the big day.

Personally, things have been a tad bit wild too! Life is happening a little more than I’d like but, you know, that’s the nature of life. I am working on taking a break, having a breather, and prioritizing when things get crazy. I often put so much pressure on myself to be all things to all people and that is physically impossible! So I had to take a step back and be OK with it!!

With all of that said, I’m back with two weeks worth of outfits to recap (minus one day because I just COMPLETELY FORGOT to snap a pic) and three things I’ve learned:

  • Your tribe matters. I feel like I said this before but boy, oh boy, has my tribe showed up for me. I’m actually going to do a YCS Bride Guide post all about choosing your Bride Tribe and why they are so important to your mental health and emotional stability during the wedding planning process. My tribe (including my Bride Tribe and Goal Diggers family) has truly lifted me up and held me down over the last few weeks. And honestly, NONE of it had to do with the wedding. These women have prayed for me, with me, over me, spoken life to me and my fiancé, hyped me up, encouraged me, supported me, and pushed me when I thought I couldn’t go on. Who you surround yourself with matters. Who you let speak into your life matters. Who you allow to sow into you matters. Don’t feel bad about being selfish about your space and he energy you allow around you. It could truly be the difference between life and death!
  • Remember to look out for winks from God. Sometimes we can get so focused on different things and the turmoil around us that we miss when God sends winks our way. The other day, a lady in front of me decided to buy my coffee at Dunkin Donuts and I almost burst into tears. It cost her hardly anything ($1.49) but it was a tiny little wink from God that reminded me there is good in the world and that He’s there. God is constantly sending us nudges and reminders – we have to remember to look for them.
  • Have an attitude of gratitude. It can change your perspective on everything.

So that was a little long 🤷🏽‍♀️. And now, for the looks!

XOXO, Erika

#OOTD365 Weekly Recap: February 12 – February 18, 2018

By Erika, Fashion Expert

I’m a day late with this week’s Recap post! My sincerest apologies for that.  Truthfully, I took a trip to Wakanda (again!!) on Sunday night and by the time we got home the only thing I was going to do was crawl into bed!

Last week was loads of fun and really special for a lot of reasons.  In one week I celebrated Valentine’s Day (which, quite honestly, could be my least favorite holiday), made my way to Wakanda twice, and had a lovely, lovely Bridal Shower hosted by my mother.  It was a great week indeed!  Here’s what I learned from it:

  • The people who love you support you and the rest of the people don’t matter.
  • I am not obligated to be in relationship with people just because of their relationship to me.  What does that mean? Well, so often we feel (or other people make us feel) like we have to be in relationship – not romantic – with someone just because they are our family member/future family member/friend of a friend/etc. But it is my job to fiercely protect my space, my energy, my bubble, my mind, and my heart and this week I was reminded of that.  Regardless of other people’s opinions or how they think I should feel – I am in charge of how I feel. And I don’t have to allow people who suck the life, energy, or positivity out of me to be around me.
  • Sometimes, you hit a fashion stride.  That feels good.  And this week, I hit a little stride!

And now, for what I wore . . .

February 12February 13February 14February 15February 16img_0832

February 16 x 2February 17img_0831

February 18

 

 

 

XOXO, Erika

#OOTD365 Weekly Recap: February 5 – February 11, 2018

By Erika, Fashion Expert

I feel like all I have said for the last several weeks is “it’s been a week.”

Well, if you can believe it, it has probably never been more true than this week. I can’t get into details, so I’m going to jump straight to what the one thing learned this week. It’s something I already knew but was reminded of so clearly this week that it needs to be said.

So what did I learn this week?

My tribe matters. We’ve all heard this, we all know this, we all say this all the time. But truly, my tribe (and your tribe) matters. The people that you choose to surround yourself with are so important. This week, my tribe rose up and surrounded me with love and prayers and it was a reminder of how much the women in my tribe mean to me. And how, if I didn’t have the tribe I had, this week would have been even more difficult than it already was. Simply put, your tribe matters. . . .

And now, for last week’s looks:

XOXO, Erika

#OOTD365 Weekly Recap: January 28 – February 4, 2018

By Erika, Fashion Expert

We have entered the second month of the year. I don’t know about you guys but the month of January went fast but the weeks went slow. January was a month filled with highs and lows; so, honestly, I’m kind of glad it’s over.

February brings a LOT of excitement. A Super Bowl win for the Philadelphia Eagles. A bridal shower for me. Less than 60 days until the wedding. New York Fashion Week. It’s shaping up to be a great month. As I leave January behind and look ahead, here’s that I learned this week:

  1. I am in silent competition with myself not to repeat an outfit. I hadn’t thought about it but it’s kind of my own secret challenge. I have no idea how long I’ll be able to keep up the jig.
  2. Some moments in life are so much bigger than fashion. They just are. And, as much as I love fashion, it is crucial to recognize the moments that are far more important than what I’m wearing (see Day 34 on Instagram when there was no #OOTD365 post).
  3. I still get surprised, and super flattered, that people are investing in this little journey. It seriously tickles me whenever anyone mentions it.

And now, for last week’s looks:

XOXO, Erika

#OOTD365: January 22 – January 28, 2018

By Erika, Fashion Expert

Four weeks under my belt in this challenge.

I said at the beginning that this would be all about transparency. So many times we admire what we see on social media or the lives we imagine people are living. And we forget that they are just photographs. Moments in time. The best 10% of people’s lives. The highlight reel compared to the reality show of our lives. The fact of the matter is that every day we put on clothing and get dressed and face all sorts of troubles.

So here is my moment of transparency. If I’m honest, this past week was incredibly difficult. I was on the road for work this week which began with its own set of frustrating challenges. While I was away I had a close family member be admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. And, upon my return, I spent the day at a different hospital where a friend to both me and my fiancé passed away under the most tragic of circumstances. Simply put, it was a week. And this week, more than any other thus far in the challenge, it think my fashion most accurately reflected – or completely hid – my mood. So, what three things did I learn this week?

  1. People have strong opinions about what I wear. I heard from more than a few people that my wardrobe this week was “too dark” or needed “more color.” What I thought would be an exercise in sharing my daily attire has turned into a bit of a social experiment with people weighing in on what my wardrobe needs more of and even a few folks emulating my looks. Not what I expected but a pleasant surprise, for the most part.
  2. Style uniforms come in handy. I’ve said for as long as I’ve had this blog (and Instagram) that my style uniform begins with jeans and a white t-shirt or that it is generally something black, white or cream. This week, that uniform came in handy. It may feel like the world stopped but, in reality, it didn’t. So having a style uniform made picking clothes easy when it was the last thing I wanted to focus on some days.
  3. A great leather jacket might be the most important wardrobe staple I own. Meditate on that.

And now, for this week’s looks (in reverse order, for some reason):

Challenge: No Repeat June 2017

A couple of years ago I participated in For the Love of Curls‘ 30 Day No Repeat Clothing challenge on Instagram.  Ever since then, people are ALWAYS coming up to me and asking when I’m going to do it again.  I usually hedge and say “sometime” because, honestly, a different outfit everyday takes a little work (it’s nice to have a fall back look in the event that you wake up late or don’t want to try that hard).  However, when LaShon reached out and let me know she was once again running the challenge, I couldn’t resist participating a second time around!

I would also LOVE if our YCS readers participated in this challenge.  It’s a TON of fun and you wind up with awesome combinations of clothing you would not normally think of.

The Rules

  1. The Challenge starts today, Thursday June 1, 2017, and goes through Friday June 30, 2017.
  2. Post a daily picture of your outfit on social media (IG, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.) using the hashtag #norepeatjune17.
  3. NO two days should feature the same outfit.  You can feel free to use elements from previously worn outfits (i.e. the same jacket, shirt, pants, etc.) but the outfit in its entirety should NOT be repeated.  And seriously, don’t switch your purse and call it a “new” outfit.
  4. You can rewear your accessories including jewelry, shoes and jackets.

Got it?  Simple enough, right?

I will make a point to post my outfits via Instagram (@yourchicisshowing), Twitter (@urchicisshowing), Facebook (www.facebook.com/yourchicisshowing) and Snapchat (@ChicPeekwithE).  Although it isn’t necessary, I will also share where each element of my outfit came from so that you can check out the brands that I am wearing for yourself.

Be sure you also take a moment to follow @4theloveofcurls on Instagram and the hashtag #norepeatejune17 for creative outfit ideas from all challenge participants.  I can’t WAIT to see what you ladies and gents come up with.

Stay Chic,
Erika

 

#NoRepeatJune Recap

By Erika, Fashion Expert

If you keep up with YCS via social media (and you should!) then you know that during the month of June I participated in the #norepeatjune clothing challenge issued by fellow blogger LaShon Renee at For the Love of Curls.  The challenge was exactly like it sounds . . . do NOT repeat an outfit over the 30 days of June.  Easier said than done, even for a girl like me whose closet is full of clothing and accessories.  In case you missed the challenge, you can check out most of the looks in the album below.  And, if you participated in the challenge, share a few picks by tagging YCS on Instagram (@yourchicisshowing) or Twitter (@urchicisshowing)!