Holiday Style: Be Extra Fabulous

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Beauty doesn’t have a size.
Whether you’re a 10 or a 22, you can look and feel fantastic this season.
Chantal Sarkisian is the Ottawa trendsetter behind Mode XLusive
, a popular curvy fashion blog. She tells us how to make it happen.   

Why did you start your blog, Mode XLusive?

I’m a curvy woman, who loves fashion. I found a passion for beauty and fashion at a very young age, and have been keeping up with trends ever since.

When I see other stylish women my size, I always ask them where they got their outfits. It’s hard to find fashionable and high quality clothes that are made for larger women. There is this secret society of well dressed women, and I want to be part of it.

That’s the spirit of Mode XLusive. People have always complimented me on my clothes and my style, and it’s my turn to give back. I want to share my fashion secrets with other women who, like me, want to look great no matter their size.

What is its focus?

Although Mode Xlusive focuses on plus-size and curvy fashion, it’s truly about embracing a body-positive mindset and giving a voice to all women. In my blog, I focus a lot on shape and body type, not size. I share tips on wearing flattering clothes that will enhance your assets and conceal your flaws. I try to post lots of outfit photos to inspire women.

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It can be a challenge for moms to get out the door, let alone get out the door looking good. How do you do it? Any advice?

I am not shallow by any means, but my advice to all moms is this: “Please, don’t let yourself go after having kids” Because, when you look good you feel good.

When I was on maternity leave, I got some great advice: “Every morning, get dressed and put your best face on.”  When you do this, you’re ready to tackle the day looking your best, even if it means slapping on a bit of lipstick to grab diapers at Walmart. (True story.) It’s the small things that make us feel good.

After giving birth, our bodies change. Some of us bounce back quickly, some get the weight off slowly, and others keep incrementally gaining weight. Regardless, we all need to figure out how to dress our new bodies, and quickly!

My time-saving tips:

  • Wash your hair as little as possible, but blow-dry or curl your clean hair often. This lengthens its wear. When your roots get greasy, use dry shampoo at the base to lift them and tie it all in a ponytail.   
  • Establish a morning beauty routine. At minimum, it should consist of a good day cream, eye cream, spot concealer, mascara, blush, and lipstick. (Although, I would die if I left out bronzer, brow pencil and liquid eyeliner.) My makeup routine takes five minutes and I usually do it while my son brushes his teeth. #multitasking
  • Choose your outfit ahead of time to avoid wardrobe malfunctions that make you late. (Guilty!)
  • Google outfit ideas and keep them handy for when you are feeling uninspired. Sites like Pinterest and Fitbay are awesome.

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What are the go-to outfits for this festive season?

This year is all about leather. Everyone should invest in a leather moto jacket, pencil skirt or leather leggings. Dark tones are flattering for any shape and also offer versatility in your closet. For example, you could wear a fitted leather jacket as a blazer over your favourite dress or skirt combo. You can wear an oversized sweater with your leather leggings or a fun top with your skirt. Pair either outfit with some heels or booties and a great bag.

It’s worth noting vegan leather has come a long way. It can be an affordable and sustainable option.

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What are the most flattering accessories?

I love long chains; it’s a trick to elongating your neck. The chains should hang below your chest to create this lengthening illusion. I also love V-neck or scoop necklines, which do the same.

There is nothing cozier and more practical than a scarf. A scarf should be your fun accessory, since it can be full of patterns and colour! One size does fit all and it will help camouflage problem areas. You can wear it as a statement piece around your neck, or drape it as a shawl over your shoulders.

Do “all the trimmings”— makeup, hair and nails— matter?

Of course! Sometimes these details are what really matter. The lights on your Christmas tree, the icing on your cake, that gravy on your mash potatoes: everything has a purpose!

I’m not talking about full-face makeup and prom hair. Sometimes all it takes is a bit of mascara, blush and lip gloss to give your face a bit of colour. A sleek ponytail or top bun is very mommy friendly and only takes a few minutes. If you like wearing your hair down, pin back one side or both to change up your look. For nails, I am all about Shelac! You can do dishes, bath time, cook a full turkey dinner and your hands still looks flawless. For DIY manis, I swear by Seche Vite. It dries your nails in seconds and lengthens the wear.

How do you take your look from day to evening, if you don’t have time to change and primp?

Lipstick. I am addicted to bright and colourful lips. I usually carry over 10 colours in my purse (not kidding) and will slap some on before I get to my destination.

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What’s the most important advice for looking your best?

Do what makes you happy, what makes you feel good and beautiful! I never pressure anyone to get dolled up. That’s a personal choice an often depends on your mood.

If you’re not sure about your holiday style, start by choosing clothes that accentuate your favourite body parts. If you have great legs, wear short skirts or dresses. Next, find ways to hide what you don’t like. If you carry weight in your tummy, opt for a long, loose-fitting top.

Lastly, find a stylish person with your body type, and get inspired! And the next time you see something you like on a stranger, don’t be shy to ask where they got it!

Photos provided by Kristy Chapman Photography – www.kristychapmanphotography.com

Chantal Sarkisian is to social media what the perfect day cream is to a face: all over it. Here’s where you’ll find her:
www.modeXLusive.com; info@modeXLusive.com; Facebook.com/ModeXlusive; Twitter.com/TheChantsy;
Instagram.com/Chantsy; Youtube.com/TheChantsy; Pinterest.com/Chantsy; Fitbay.com/chantsy.

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