Jun 092017

Store Name: J. Jill

Size Range: Misses 2-18, Petite 0-18, Tall 4-18, Plus 16-28

Shoes: Yes, but I can’t seem to find wide widths on the site

Trendy: No.  Understated elegance (my words)

Overall Rating (out of 10): 9

Last week we went retro/Goth with Torrid. Now we’re swinging back to the more classic side of the pendulum. This one should be easy for me. J. Jill is my favorite clothing store at the moment. Actually, it has been for the past two years or so. It’s classic, but not too classic that it steps over the line to Frumpy & Dumpy. I love their clean lines. And although I will never look like their willowy models, I love the way I look in their clothes.

The Clothing
OBH on Easter 2017

This is me in my J. Jill “Favorite 3/4 Sleeve Dress.” It’s actually still available in the sale section for $59.99. Super comfy, washes like a dream and I always get tons of compliments while wearing it. I’m wearing a Petite Large.

J. Jill has a really nice selection of classic pieces. You can find dresses, tops, pants, shoes, sleepwear and accessories. Most things come in all their different size ranges although, as usual, if you can fit a regular misses size range you have the most options. I have found the quality of the clothing to be very good and their customer service to be unparalleled. I ordered a dress for a special occasion. Two weeks later it was still in the land of the missing. I called. Turns out the carrier lost it. J. Jill replaced it immediately without charging me, gave me a free, two-day shipping upgrade to make sure I got it in time for my event and a prepaid shipping label to return the first one if/when it eventually arrived. It did show up, a week too late. In this day and age of no or limited customer service, I was, quite honestly, amazed.

Do You Like Linen?

If you’re a linen lover, you’re in for a treat. They have a lot of it in the summer. Personally, I don’t care for linen as every linen item I’ve ever owned has ended up looking like an unmade bed or a pile of laundry in five minutes or less. I have not tried J. Jill’s linen YET. I may in the future. But if you love linen and their styling, you’re in for a treat!


The clothing is pricey, at least by my definition of pricey. Most basic dresses are in the $89-$99 range. Sometimes, it seems like everything is in that range. Some items are considerably more. As much as I love this company and their clothing, I only purchase during sales or when I have some hot coupons. Preferably both! And while I don’t encourage credit card shopping, if you get their card you will get a percentage off your first order and 5% off every order you place after that, even if there are already sales applied.

Beautiful linen shirt from J. Jill

The Essential Linen Shirt. Great summertime piece if you love linen. $79 Reg. Price ($89 in Plus) You can choose this lovely print or from a selection of solid colors.


J. Jill has a full range of misses sizes, up through 18, which is unusual these days. Most regular sizing goes to a 14 or 16 and then they have you paying extra for the plus sizes. Great for the woman who just needs a smidge more room. Plus sizes are about $10 more. This is the only thing I don’t like about J. Jill. Misses, petite and tall are the same price. Granted, they all top out at a size 18 and the plus range at a 28, but a tall 18 takes considerably more fabric than a petite 18 does and they are the same price.

As to fit, I wear a 14-16 almost everywhere and I wear the Petite Large at J. Jill. It fits perfectly, like it was custom-made just for yours truly. I have never purchased shoes, so I can’t say much about them. If my experience with them is indicative of the entire line, you should be able to order your standard size without going up or down. I have two or three dresses, several pairs of pants, a skirt and a selection of tops and I feel they fit true to size. My one slight gripe is that their petite pants are a wee bit long on occasion. I have one pair that actually had to be shortened. I double-checked that I ordered petites and I did. Measured the inseam at 29″. Ummm, no, that’s not exactly petite.

Shipping, Returns and Exchanges

Standard shipping (4-7 days) starts at $5.95 and goes up to $19.95 depending on the price of your order. For $8 extra you can get guaranteed two-day delivery. For an extra $15, if you order before 3 p.m. eastern time, you can have your order in your hands the next day. Good to know if you need something NOW.

Exchanges are a phone call away at 1-800-343-5700 (7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday). Your new item is sent immediately. Then you send your unwanted item(s) back the same way you would return something to the company.

You can return anything purchased online to a J. Jill retail store if you have one in your area. You should bring your clothing item, the payment method used and the receipt that came in the package.

Beautiful layered tank dress from J. Jill

This may be my next summer dress if they run a HOT sale. It’s $119 in that print. Wearever Layered Tank Dress

If you want to return directly to the company, you use the Smart Post return label which is in all shipped packages. It is postage-paid; however, once all is said and done, J. Jill will charge your original payment method $6.95 for the return shipping. Full details can be found on the web site.

Special Deals

J. Jill runs sales at least three times a week. Once you get on the email list, you will be advised when there is a sale. These sales are usually a percentage off a certain class of items, like 30% off dresses or 20% off pants and jeans. There are online coupons out there. My first stop for online coupons is Retail Me Not.

My Overall Impression

As I said at the beginning of this review, I love J. Jill. Yes, I like stores like Torrid for fun clothing but. . . I seem to always come back to J. Jill. I think I wore out two pair of their wool-blend pants this winter! Classic but not stuffy, with a soft easy drape, very easy to wear, quality fabrics. . . I could go on and on. What’s not to love? If you have a retail store in your area and you like this type of clothing, go and try a few things on. I think you’ll be glad you did.

See ya next time!

Jun 022017

Store Name: Torrid

Size Range: 00 through 6 in Torrid sizing, which is standard sizing 10 to 30

Shoes: Yes, in US sizes 6 – 13 Wide Width Only (Sizes 6 and 6.5 wide are very difficult sizes to find!)

Trendy: VERY

Torrid Strappy Peplum Halter Tank Top

This is the Strappy Peplum Halter Tank Top. Yes, you CAN wear this. It’s VERY flattering. Reg. Price $42.90

Overall Rating (out of 10): 9

Torrid is owned by the same company that owns Hop Topic, so that should give you an idea. Yes, it’s young, but please don’t stop reading yet. The clothing is goth, hippy, retro, current and a lot of fun. I was almost afraid to go into the one at our mall, but all the gals love me and show me what’s new every time I walk in.

The Clothing

Torrid has everything from undies and shoes on up to coats in the winter. You can get tops and dresses that harken back to the ‘60s. Like a good moto jacket? They have them. Need some new jeans? Lots and lots of styles and fits. And you can get extra short and extra long, too! Shoes are available in what they call a “true wide width” which they claim ensures that you never have to size up again. I’m using their words as I can’t wear that width. This is one time that I detest my more medium-width feet as the shoes are really cute!

Torrid Ravenclaw Sweater

Me in my Ravenclaw sweater from Torrid, sadly not available at the moment but KEEP CHECKING! (They have the other houses.)

The Collections (Pop Culture)

This, I feel, is what sets Torrid apart from some other clothiers. If you click on the “Pop Culture” tab on the website, you will see branded merchandise for all the latest films and characters. Right now, Wonder Woman is hot. They have a lot of things like Beauty & The Beast, Harry Potter, Dr. Who and more. And if you think these items are more for kids, check me out in my Ravenclaw sweater. 😉 And you get a clear shot of Jabba the Gut as I don’t have my Spanx on. LOL I should note that this merchandise is website only. They don’t put it in the stores because it sells out too fast and creates customer upset.


Torrid used to be a standard 1X, 2X, 3X plus-sized store. However, in talking to the folks there, they told me that smaller girls were coming in with their plus-size friends and complained about the clothes not being available in their size. They were encouraged to write to the company. It must have worked as they expanded the line out both ends. They now carry from a Torrid size 00 which is a 10, up through a Torrid size 6 which is a 30. Nice, wide size range to fit a LOT of different women.


I think their items run true to size. Most of my clothing from Torrid is a size 1 or a 14-16. Now knowing that all manufacturers do not size the same way, I have a few pieces that are not. I have one top cut huge which is a Torrid size 0 and one which is cut tighter which is a Torrid size 2. If you have a Torrid in your area, go try on a few things to get a feel for their sizing.

Shipping, Returns and Exchanges

Torrid has no catalog. Online purchases carry a $6 standard shipping fee in the U.S. APO/FPO addresses carry a $15 flat rate. Express options are available at a higher price.

You can exchange and/or return freely if you have a Torrid store near you, even if you purchased it from the website. Clearance sales are final.

If you return or exchange directly to the company, the postage is on you. It takes 2-4 weeks to process the return back to your original form of payment. There is more detailed information on the website way down at the bottom.

Torrid's Wonder Woman Reversible Dress

This is one of my favorites, the Wonder Woman reversible skater dress! Reg. Price $68.90

Special Deals

There are coupons all over the web for Torrid. Check your favorite online discount site. Mine is Retail Me Not. Get on the mailing list and you will get notified of sales, special offers and, yes, coupons. They frequently offer $30 off a $75 sale or $50 off a $125 sale. Once you’re on their mailing list, you will get occasional style books with these coupons inside, but they’re often at the top of the emails you receive, too.

My Overall Impression

I love Torrid! Yes, some may think it a little young, but I, for one, do NOT choose to dress Frumpy & Dumpy. I don’t wear dresses cut up to Kansas or shirts down to my breakfast, but I do like young-themed, kickier clothing. I’m very happy with everything I’ve gotten from them and the best-fitting jeans for me come from Torrid.

If you like more classic clothing, stay tuned next Friday when I review something that may be more to your taste. But if you like something a little different, Torrid is at least worth a look.

See ya next time!

May 242017

Company Name: Swimsuits For All

Size Range: They claim sizes 4 to 34 (see the commentary)

Shoes: No

Trendy: Everything from old frump to the latest designer swimsuit trends

Overall Rating (out of 10): 7

Last week, we took a humorous look at my hunt for the perfect swimsuit. Today I received a catalog from Swimsuits For All. The suits were beautiful and the sale was hot! There were no sizes listed in the catalog, however, so I hit the website.

Swimsuits For All claims they have suits from sizes 4 through 34; hence the name. They do have a lot of suits! The catalog says thousands and that’s probably accurate. My problem is with the “all.” Read on.

The Suits

Swimsuits For All has every style of suit and cover-up imaginable. You want a tankini? They’ve got ‘em. You want a bikini? Tons. You want a one-piece? Tons of tons. You want a size 34? Not so many.

The Sizing
Extended size bathing suit from Swimsuits for All

Molokai Classic Shortini, comes in a size 34, $54.60

Now before I start this, I have to tell you that I did NOT look at every single suit on their extensive website. I did search for about an hour looking for extended sizes specifically for this post. I have ordered a swimskirt from this company and it is nice for what I paid for it. It’s a size 16. I’m a very short size 14-16. (I didn’t order the 14 because of Jabba the Gut.) Most of the really good suits are up through size 22, some go up to a 24. Above that, it’s iffy and you have to hunt.

Swimsuits For All has a search-by-size bar at the top. Nice, right? You click on your size and it brings up available suits. It worked when I put in size 16. Putting in size 34 brought up mostly suits available through a size 24. I got ONE suit in size 34, pictured here. Admittedly, they are having a hot sale and a lot of sizes were sold out. Quite honestly, a decent tankini in size 34 for only $54.60 is a good deal, not to mention you can choose your top and bottom size separately. But still, I only found the one.

The Fit

The one item I’ve purchased fit well. The size charts seem to be standard ladies sizing. I would double-check the item description before ordering, though, in case there are special sizing instructions for that particular suit.

Larger size bikini by Ashley Graham

Condesa Bikini up to size 22 by Ashley Graham x, $61.60

The Price

If you wear a size 6, you can get a reasonably-priced, fashionable swimsuit pretty much anywhere. But if you want a fashionable suit in a larger size, you’re going to have to pay for it. Larger is relative. Some suits are the same price through a size 14, 16 or 18. Some brands charge more for 18 through 24. The price can increase even more for sizes above a 24.

That being said, the pricing that I saw on the Swimsuits For All website is really good. There is a sale going on right now (I suspect these are frequent) and there is also a coupon across the top of the site. The current special is free 3-day shipping with a $100 purchase plus 30 to 50% off. Not too shabby.

Special Deals

There is a coupon banner at the top of the site. There is also a “Share-A-Friend” referral form on the top of the website. When you submit someone’s email and they purchase, you both get 40% off. Nice!

Poppies swimsuit from Swimsuits for All

Beautiful Poppies sarong front through size 24, $44.80

Shipping, Exchanges & Returns

Shipping via FedEx Standard is $8.99. Other higher-priced options for expedited delivery are available. Watch for shipping specials!

Exchanges are easy. There is a prepaid label that comes with your package and you will receive an E-gift card for the price you paid (minus original shipping) that you can use to purchase a new suit or the same suit in a different size.

If you want to return for credit, you have to ship it back yourself and pay for it. Note that the suit MUST have the panty protective strip intact and be in original, as-shipped, condition with tags attached. Once your return is received, the purchase price (minus the original shipping) will be refunded to your original payment method.

My Overall Impression

Swimsuits For All has a big, flashy website with gorgeous photography! It’s definitely a fun shopping experience for something that is a nightmare for many of us. The fact that you can choose top and bottom sizes separately on two-piece suits is a big plus. Their price points seem very reasonable. Their strength lies in the variety and sheer number of suits they offer.

However, most of the choices are in sizes 4 through 22. If you wear above a 22, your choices become more limited. Still, you will find things here in larger sizes that you will probably not find anywhere else, especially if you live in a small town. Except in the larger cities, the likelihood of finding a decent swimsuit above a size 16/18 in your local brick and mortar is not good. And let’s be honest, who wants to hit the beach in an ugly swimsuit? Swimsuits For All can help you avoid that. If you don’t have your swimsuit(s) for this season yet, I think they’re at least worth a look-see.

See ya next time!

May 192017

Company Names: Simply Be and JD Williams

Size Range: Simply Be 8 to 28, JD Williams 6 to 28, all one price! (US sizing)

Shoes: Yes, in US sizes 6 – 10, E and EEE fit (regular and wide) Great Boots in season!

Trendy: Simply Be is. JD Williams is a bit more classic.

Overall Rating (out of 10): 8

A nice basic baby doll dress from Simply Be

Simply Be baby doll dress $40.99

The British are definitely coming and it’s about time! I first heard of Simply Be a few years back on The Curvy Fashionista blog. I went to the website, fell in love with it and soon began getting catalogs. Catalogs for Simply Be’s *older sister* JD Williams followed. They are the same home company, but they cater to somewhat different tastes. Simply Be is younger, kickier. JD Williams, while quite fashionable, is a bit more laid back and they have absolutely gorgeous formal clothing.

The Clothing

Simply Be, as I said before, is kicky, young, spot-on fashion trendy. While I don’t get all of my clothing from them, I’ve gotten quite a few pieces. I may be Old Busted Hotness but that doesn’t mean I prefer to look old. LOL Here you’ll find all kinds of jeans, hot tops, jackets, cute dresses, swimwear, intimates, sleepwear, great shoes and some of the currently hot Brit designers like Lovedrobe and Scarlett & Jo.

JD Williams is a little more classic. The clothing is still fashionable, but it’s geared to a slightly older clientele if you go by the models and the styles. The clothing is beautiful and not quite as country club classic as, say, Talbots. However, if you need a gawjeous mother-of-the-bride-or-groom dress, take a look at JD Williams. You will also find nice day dresses, slacks, lots of tops, intimates, sleepwear and shoes.

Joe Browns vintage tie top

Vintage-look top from Joe Browns, $67.50

Joe Browns

Both companies carry the Joe Browns line. Joe Browns is kicky, youngish, boho, vintage, 60s. . . call it what you will. If you like a more retro look, Joe Browns is for you. Available in the same 8 to 28 size range, same one price strategy. I have a few Joe Browns summer dresses that I simply adore!


Sizing is 8 to 28 and ALL AT THE SAME LOW PRICE! Sorry to scream, but this is a feature I love. I tend to patronize more stores that offer one size range and price for all. Both Simply Be and JD Williams carry some petites and talls (called short and long), mainly in jeans, pants and longer dresses. Carefully check the item description for individual lengths. Sizes are US on the links provided so no conversions necessary! One more. . . Simply Be uses models larger than a soup bone, too! (But not so much JD Williams. . . sigh.)


In my opinion, having purchased from both stores, their fit is true to size. Now that being said, I have returned one or two items to JD Williams as I purchased packages of tops and the sizing in the package wasn’t consistent. I understand retailers nowadays get things from more than one manufacturer, not to mention that sizing in women’s clothing is all over the map. (More on this in a future post.) Other than this, I’ve been pleased to find that their sizing is rather consistent throughout.

Returns and Exchanges

Shipping is free over US$40 and your order will arrive in 8 to 12 business days. Expedited tracking is available at an additional charge. Both companies offer F-R-E-E- returns, making them extra convenient to purchase from.

Beautiful Joanna Hope lace dress

JD Williams, Joaanna Hope dress, $79.99


I always want to say not cheap, but compared to what? If you compare these clothing retailers to Walmart, yeah, NOT CHEAP. Guidelines are hard to give. Dresses are in the $50 to $100 range, but there are lots of coupons and ways to get things for a better price. Also, the quality and style is much better than anything you may find at Wally’s.

Jeans are in the $40 to $80 range. Both retailers have a gazillion different styles of jeans. Get on their mailing lists for coupons and sales. And don’t forget about my fave coupon place, Retail Me Not. Their credit cards give you extra discounts and rewards for dollars spent.

There are less-expensive offerings, $30 to $50 dresses and jeans from $25 to $40. Look around. You may be able to find just what you want at a very reasonable price!

My Overall Impression

Up top, I gave them an 8 out of 10. I can hear you now. . .  if you like them so much, OBH, why not run up the 10 paddle? My one not-so-happy thought is that I feel their websites are difficult to negotiate. If you get an ad from them in the email and click on a specific item, it brings you to the front page of the store. You have to hunt. Admittedly, this is a pet peeve of mine. It’s inconvenient. Searching for items is a bear, too. It feels to me like you get anything other than what you put in the search box. But if you like to browse, it’s an easy time of fun shopping. And, yes, I do love both stores!

See ya Monday!

May 122017

Company Name:  Woman Within  (a few pics at the bottom)

Size Range:  12 to 40, sizes above 24 are approximately $5 to $10 more depending on style

Shoes:  Yes, in sizes 7 – 12 W, WW, with wide calf boots also available.

Trendy:  NO

Overall Rating (out of 10):  7

For those of you who lived out of the old Lane Bryant Catalog back in the day and know that the current Lane Bryant stores have nothing in common with that catalog any longer, allow me to present Woman Within. The catalog changed its name approximately 9-10 years ago. It is now a part of Full Beauty Brands, which also includes plus-size catalogs Roamans, Jessica London, Ellos and Swimsuits for All.

The Clothing

Woman Within sells basic, non-trendy clothing. It’s a little fuddy-duddy to me, but I do occasionally purchase basics from here, including tee shirts, undies and the occasional odd garment. You won’t find anything super stylish here but you WILL find good basic pieces for your wardrobe.

They have a few cute dresses scattered throughout, but most are maxis which make my short stuff look. . . learn the term. . . F&D or Frumpy & Dumpy.  😉 Swimsuits tend towards the granny look. They have a large selection of underwear, sleepwear, basic pants, shorts, jeans, tops and shoes.  The shoe selection is where I feel they excel. Woman Within, Roamans and Jessica London carry a huge selection of large, wide and stylish shoes. (More on this in a coming post.)


As I said, they have sizes 12 through 40. Not all clothing comes in all sizes. They have a decent number of petites. I haven’t seen many talls, if any, but their regular clothing, to me, is very long. Most descriptions give the length of the pieces somewhere in the description. I admit that I’m not crazy about the fact that a catalog geared to plus-size women charges more for extended sizes, but that’s the nature of the beast for most retailers.


I always thought their shirts ran a little snug. Some items ran big.  My point being there seems to be little to no consistency in sizing. They DO, however, offer free exchanges so, if you like something and it doesn’t fit right, you can exchange it for a different size.

Speaking of Returns and Exchanges

Exchanges are free. Returns are accepted for refund of purchase price to the original payment method within 90 days, minus $7.50 for return postage (usually through UPS drop box). After 90 days, you can still return an item but you will get a Woman Within gift card, minus the $7.50, instead of a credit to your original payment method.


It’s hard to give you a guideline here because every day brings a new deal so you have to check the site. Most dresses I looked at were in the $25 to $60 range. Tops go $25 to $40 regular price. Tee shirts are cheaper. Jeans are basic and in the $40ish range. Personally, I think they are expensive for what you get. Their quality is better than Walmart, but. . . not as good as I think it should be for what they’re charging. Now all that being said, check the next section on getting a better price.

Special Deals

Oh my goodness, there are ways and ways and ways to cut the price at Woman Within and earn benes. There are coupons out all over the internet for this catalog. (Check Retail Me Not) If you sign up for their emails, you will get an immediate 40% off coupon and you will continue to get coupons. They have big sales on all major holidays, too. And they also have a refer-a-friend program. There is a page on the site where you can refer friends. When your friend purchases, they get $25 off and you get $25 in your account to spend as you please. If you sign up for their credit card, you earn $10 rewards which can be spent like cash. You can sign up on the site for a free catalog. Every time you get a new catalog, there is a discount or free shipping or a freebie on it.

My Overall Impression

The Woman Within Catalog used to be the one place a larger woman who liked mildly conservative clothing could get everything. It still is, but it is no longer the only place. While I occasionally purchase from them, much more stylish clothing can be found in lots of other places. However, if it fits you well, the price agrees with your budget and you like what you see, give them a try. The company **is** reliable and will work with you to iron out a dispute, if necessary.

See ya Monday!

Woman Within crinkle dress

Floaty, mid-length, crinkle fabric dress, $39.99 to $49.99 depending on size


Woman Within Stretch Jeans

Straight Leg Stretch Jeans, $29.99 to $39.99 depending on size

Woman Within Silas Sandal

Cute, up-to-date sandal in a full range of sizes, 7M to 12WW. $39.99 to $49.99 depending on size