October 2, 2014

Plus Size Style in SF: Yuliya Raquel’s IGIGI Holiday ’11

The Leigh Lace Dress in gold ties at the waist and features a v-back.

A below-the-knee skirt paired with a bright teal top makes an impact for everyday wear or an evening out.

The Rebecca Gown in evergreen is punctuated with a bronze-toned belt for added holiday shimmer.

To us, great style knows no boundaries, especially not the ones determined by sizes and seams. So we were eager to peruse the just-released Holiday 2011 Collection by IGIGI, a San Francisco company that makes fashionable and flattering apparel for sizes 12-32 right here in the Bay Area.

Plunging v-necklines, cinched waists and jewel tones stand out among the collection’s dresses and separates, all of which are designed by Yuliya Raquel and produced here on home turf. An accompanying array of sparkling, bold accessories available from the label brings versatility to the pieces, many of which can be classic basics by day, but dressed up for nighttime and out-and-about adventures. The price points are also within the realm of reason, with pieces ranging from $65 to $250.

We recently caught up with Raquel for her take on plus-size style, great basics that will maximize your wardrobe and style tips you can put to use whatever your size.

What advice do you have for a professional woman who wants (and needs!) to look polished and on her game during the day, but doesn’t want to completely abandon the fun side of fashion?

I would suggest for a professional woman to have classic tailored pieces, like a skirt or pant suit in a nice, stretchy gabardine; crisp, button-down shirts, and dresses in solid colors complemented with trendy pieces that she likes. For the FALL ICONIC Collection, I paired a black, shape-defining tailored jacket with an elongated pencil skirt that hits below the knees, which is very hot this season and added an abstract animal print top to spice up the look. I would suggest picking the tops that have a flattering professional cut with a fashion-forward, on-trend print.

One complaint I hear from women who wear plus sizes time and again is how few stores there are out there for them – you go to the mall, and there are like two choices. For the number of women who wear sizes 12 and up in this country, there certainly seem to be a disproportionately small number of accompanying stores and brands available. Is this a fair observation? Any thoughts on why this is?

It is certainly a very true observation. Unfortunately, full-figured women do not have the same options that the slimmer women do, especially when it comes to shopping in the brick and mortar stores. It takes a certain know-how to serve the diverse tastes of the plus-size customer, and it is possible that the industry is still in denial about her needs.

What new ideas, materials or themes were you experimenting with for your latest collection?

I wanted to be more adventurous and played with asymmetry, draping, color blocking and added sumptuous winter fabrics, mixed with textures and prints. The Holiday Collection was a very fun collection to design.

Do you have any style “rules to live by” that you can share with readers?

It starts with knowing your body shape and dressing specifically to flatter the individual figure type. I would also suggest not being afraid to take risks and have fun with fashion. Mix colors, especially mixing lighter shades of browns with black, greens with browns. If you are wearing a monochromatic look, than add a punch of color to make it look contemporary and modern.

What key pieces can women add to their wardrobe to maximize their outfit options? Are there certain versatile, must-have pieces that you’d recommend for those of us who really want to get great mileage out of our fall and winter buys?

Classic little black dresses like the Francesca dress are great investment pieces and could be styled up by adding all sorts of belts, necklaces and bracelets. It can look casual or it could be styled as a chic cocktail dress. Also, a tailored classic suit in black or brown can be spiced up with a printed or solid color blouse or a top.

More San Francisco plus-size style….

Photography courtesy of IGIGI

Big Buys: Local Sources for Plus-Size Fashion

IGIGI Boulangerie Wrap Dress in Merlot Grape

As providers of local fashion content in a town that’s seven square miles and packs a population of over 800,000, we realize that not every person in this diverse city will look the same—let alone share the same body type. For those seeking sizes 12 and up, we offer this list of independent Bay Area-based retailers that focus on fashion for plus-sized urbanites.

  • First up, San Francisco’s Eliza Parker makes shopping for plus-size threads as easy as possible.  And we mean easy.  As an online retailer that sells everything from dresses, skirts, tops and accessories with curvier frames in mind—ranging from size 10 to 28— Eliza Parker doesn’t just focus on one body type.  Click on the “Perfect Fit” category to find a selection of five different frames, select yours, and violà: a shopping experience tailored just for your individual shape. Making online shopping even more practical, the site offers a video of a model wearing each piece, free shipping and free returns with their “Try and Buy” feature. Peruse the website for designs starting at $34 up to $229.
  • Shopping for a dress to wear to a wedding (or even one for your own wedding, for that matter) is a difficult task for anyone. Throw in serious curves and the task can become even more daunting. A solution comes from San Francisco-based IGIGI, a plus-size retailer recently named About.com’s Readers’ Choice Best Plus Designer for 2011. The site offers dresses in categories such as Bridal Party and Wedding Collection, that features gowns with lace, beading and sheer fabric alongside matching earrings, clutches and scarves. IGIGI also offers suits to wear to the office and casual garments for strolling around town – all in sizes 12 to 32. Prices range from $48 to $295.
  • For those who prefer to snuggle up in a comfy sweater or cruise around the city in a casual top, there’s Harper Greer. The San Francisco boutique recently closed its location’s doors to instead focus exclusively on selling through its online shop, where you can find knitted pullovers, LBDs and Not Your Daughters blue jeans, all priced between $89 to $228.
  • Lastly, take a trip across the bridge to Oakland’s Isha Couture to find celebrity-inspired “skinny” designs that are translated into sizes XL to 5XL.  From an off-shoulder charcoal polyester dress ($19.50) to a pair of white lace leggings ($23.00), the on-trend designs bring contemporary, youthful style to the plus-size market.

For more local retailers, visit our San Francisco shopping section.