I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

One of the biggest challenges for a Posh-Plus girl living in the OC or San Diego is the lack of truly great brick-and-mortar shopping options, even more so now in these post-bubble times.  The department store presence has reduced (Bloomies) or completely deserted us (Saks) and all we are left with is our tried and true Nordstrom.  As for boutiques, well this *is* the OC, a size 8 is considered fat and fashion is in two camps – Housewives (leggings with big shirts, mom jeans with twin sets, and track suits) and Housewives of the OC (jeggings with slinky tops, low rise jeans with slinky tops, and track suits).  The universal form of footwear is the flip flop.  Comfy – yes, casual – yes, fashion forward – not so much.  If you are looking for something a little different, of excellent quality, and meant for someone above a size 12, well it’s off to the internet with you – until now…. 

A few months ago a Google search sent me to a soon to be opening boutique for PLUS SIZES, “coming soon – late summer”.   I began to watc…okay I will be honest here… stalk the site waiting for more newsI was so excited when the website expanded past the landing page, finding the tidbits of clothes intriguing and owner Deirdre Mick’s vision absolutely inspiring.  And then the opening day was set, at last!  Better still – it coincided with my end of summer staycation.  Yes!!!

Having spent a very long and demanding summer at my real job I was definitely ready for some rest and retail therapy.  So my first morning off found me tooling down the I-5, the weather glorious and the sparkling ocean crashing away next to me.  Bliss.  In less than an hour I pulled onto on a cute street of boutiques and design shops, the Cedros Design District in Solano Beach, and was greeted by the jaunty brown striped awnings of Curve Couture.   

My first steps into Curve Couture told me this was going to be well worth the trip.  The shop is spacious and gorgeously appointed.  You are warmly greeted and then allowed to soak it in a bit.  Everything here is just right.  The merchandise is not over crowded or eerily empty.  Displays are creative without overwhelming or stretching the bounds of reality.  And they carry not just clothes but terrific accessories and shoes. 

The clothes are fabulous.  Ms. Mick has made a point of finding designers that are not currently carried in the region.  She strove for, and has achieved, a European vibe – a little bit of edgy, a tiny bit of trendy mixed with great basic building blocks.  There is something here for nearly everyone from the classic woman in white shirt and designer jeans to the Boho babe in the layered Lagen look.  And yet the overall effect is cohesive and distinctive.  The stock includes some familiar names like Linda Lundstrom, Mellisa Masse and Neon Budha, with the always delightful All Black for shoes, but there are also brands that are completely new to me but that have me wanting more!

A glass of bubbly offered and cheerfully accepted, I threw myself into my retail mode – trance-like focus on every item, sales assistant shuttling clothes to my dressing room.  The dressing room was clearly designed with the plus-sized shopper in mind.  Proportioned for a size 24 body and furnished with a nice, sturdy bench – no wobbly micro-sized chair or flimsy seat waiting to detach itself from the wall when I sit, bless them.  With good lighting, substantial privacy curtains and even a few tasteful pillows for the shopping weary to enjoy, a girl can strip down and start trying on clothes in comfort.   Which is exactly what I did. 

I had a ball!  The staff was truly interested in helping and wanted to know about fit and my opinions.  They made great suggestions, and best of all gave candid feedback.  That embellished Lundstrom jacket – terrific (and now in my closet;)), the white tunic blouse – not as good.  Helpful and enthusiastic without pushing, these women clearly have extensive retail experience and are genuinely excited about what they do.  As my purchases were packaged (beautifully might I add), I enjoyed a glass of sparkling water, a chocolate and a fabulous chat about the plus-size fashion business with manager, Anne.  Her energy and enthusiasm for Curve Couture is palpable. 

So what did I get?  The embellished jacket, some swingy tunic tops each with unique and fun features – my favorite being a very retro/mod Cheyenne swing top in blueberry with circle cut-outs edged in black, a really awesome medium width calf hair belt in the perfect leopard, and a mixed media necklace. 

This is just what we have been waiting for – a great selection of jeans and casual wear, professional wear and evening clothes, all higher-end, size friendly and truly fashion, not just clothes.  Even if you aren’t typically a plus size, it is well worth a browse as the jewelry is divine, scarves, bags and belts terrific. 

Every detail of this place has been well thought out from the merchandising and staffing to the color scheme that is carried in the décor, the marketing materials, packaging, even the napkins!  The owner’s eye for detail is everywhere, right down to the etched pattern in the glassware coordinating with the murals on the walls.  In the dressing room I was so pleased to find my choices artfully arranged, shoes on the floor unlaced and ready to try.  THIS is how you do retail, folks!  Perfection! 

Curve Couture  415 S. Cedros Ave Suite 160, Solano Beach, CA  848-847-9100    Curve-Couture.com.

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