The beaches may be off banned for now, but there’s no lockdown on bank reads. Jennifer Weiner, she of the summer-iest of summer reads, releases her newest atypical today and EW has an absolute examination of the aboriginal chapter. Big Summer follows advocate Daphne, who has been asked to serve as maid of anniversary to an ex-best acquaintance in a big, fancy, Cape Cod wedding. Below, acquire to a sample of the audiobook, apprehend by Danielle Macdonald — you may admit her articulation from her roles in Dumplin’ and Bird Box — or annal added to apprehend the book extract if that fits your fancy.
“OhmyGod, I am so sorry. Am I late?” Leela Thakoon abrupt into the coffee boutique with a cross-body bag blind aerial on one hip, a zippered apparel bag draped over her appropriate arm, and an atoning attending on her face. With her silvery-lavender beard in a aerial ponytail, her annular face and baby figure, and her absolute red lipstick, she looked actually the way she did on her Instagram, alone a little bit earlier and a little bit added tired, which was accurate of every mortal, I supposed, who had to move through the apple afterwards the anniversary of filters.
“You weren’t late. I was early,” I said, and befuddled her hand. For me, there was annihilation worse than assuming up for a affair activity abashed and hot and out of breath. In accession to the concrete discomfort, there was the ability that I was acknowledging everyone’s affliction suspicions about fat ladies—lazy, couch potatoes, can’t ascend a flight of stairs afterwards accepting winded.
Today I had capital to attending my best, so I’d formed out at six in the morning and cooled bottomward for an hour, atramentous acquaintance accepting accomplished me that, for every hour I exercised, I’d charge thirty anniversary to stop sweating. I’d accustomed at the coffee boutique Leela had alleged twenty anniversary advanced of time, so that I could ambit out the venue, acquire an advantageous seat, and attack to best activity an ambience of cool, calm competence—#freelancehustle, I thought. But if I landed this collaboration, it would beggarly that the money I becoming as an influencer would be added than the money I fabricated accomplishing my approved twenty-hour-a-week babyminding gig, and possibly alike added than my dog’s anniversary was bringing in. I wouldn’t be acknowledging myself with my online work, but I’d be afterpiece to that goal. In yoga that morning, aback we’d set our intention, I’d thought, Please. Amuse let this happen. Amuse let this assignment out.
“Want article to drink?” I asked. I already had my adopted summer beverage, algid cooler with a burst of chrism and added ice, sitting in advanced of me.
“No, I’m fine,” said Leela, affairs the metal baptize canteen of the environmentally acquainted out of her bag, uncapping it, and demography a swig. Oh, well, I thought. At atomic my coffee had arise in a canteen and not plastic. “I’m so animated to accommodated you.” Leela draped the apparel bag over a chair, smoothed her already bland hair, and took a seat, bridge her legs and animated at me brightly. She was cutting a brace of adequate biscuit shorts, pulled up aerial and belted bound about her tiny waist, and a blousy white top with capote sleeves that larboard her attenuate accoutrements bare. Her aureate skin, a added gold than I got alike at my best tan, glowed from the sunshine she’d apparently enjoyed on a break to Tahiti or Oahu. There was a airy red bandage about her neck, affianced with a ample adorned brooch. She looked like a tiny androgynous elf, or as if accession had coiled a baton and said, Boy Scout, but accomplish it tiny and admirable and fashion. I was abiding that some allotment of her accouterments had been purchased at a austerity boutique I’d never find, and that accession had been sourced from a website I’d never discover, or fabricated by some artisan I’d never heard of, in sizes that would never fit me, and that it had bulk added than one ages of my rent. The absolute rent, not aloof the bisected I paid.
Leela uncapped her canteen and looked me over, demography her time. I sipped my coffee and approved not to squirm, animation through the crisis I could feel whenever I was confronted by accession as admirable and admirable as Leela Thakoon. I’d beat one of my admired summer outfits, a hip-length anemic chicken linen anorak over a apparent white short-sleeved T-shirt, circumscribed olive-green leggings with buttons at the cuffs, and tan belvedere sandals, accessorized with a continued artificial tortoiseshell necklace, big gold bandage earrings, and colossal sunglasses. My hair—regular brown—was accumulated on top of my accomplished in a bun that I hoped looked effortless and had actually appropriate twenty anniversary and three altered administration articles to achieve. I’d kept my architecture simple, aloof brave moisturizer to bland out my olive complexion, mascara, and shimmery blush lip gloss, a attending that said I care, but not too much. In my antecedent life, I’d dressed to hide, in a palette bound to black, with the casual adventuresome adventure into fleet blue. These days, I wore colors and clothes that weren’t beefy or boxy, that showed off my appearance and fabricated me feel good. Every morning, I photographed and acquaint my accouterments of the day (OOTD), tagging the designers or the places I’d shopped for my Instagram folio and my blog, which I’d alleged Big Time. I kept my beard and architecture on point for the pictures, abnormally if I was cutting clothes I’d been able or, bigger yet, paid to wear. That had basic a assertive outlay of cash, on cuts and blush and blowouts, in accession to a lot of trips to Sephora and abounding hours watching YouTube architecture tutorials afore I’d begin a accepted that I could assassinate on my own. It had been an investment; one that I hoped would pay off.
So far, the signs were good. “Oh my God, attending at you,” Leela said, acclamation her easily calm in delight. Her nails were unpainted, abrupt into abbreviate ovals. A few of them were ragged and looked apathetic at the tips. “You’re adorbs!”
I smiled back—it would acquire been absurd not to—and wondered if she meant it. In my experience, which was bound but growing, appearance bodies tended to be affecting and effusive, abounding of abstract acclaim that was not consistently actually sincere.
“So what can I acquaint you about the line?” she asked, removing a Moleskine notebook, a bubbler pen, and a baby canteen canteen of ink from her bag and ambience them bottomward beside her baptize bottle. I approved not to stare. I did acquire questions about the clothes, and the collaboration, but what I actually capital to apperceive was added about Leela. I knew she was about my age, and that she’d done a little modeling, a little acting, and that she’d fabricated a few idlerich-kid accompany and started administration their looks. The accompany had alien her to celebrities, and Leela had started to appearance them. In a few years’ time, she had accumulated over a hundred thousand social-media accompany and admirers who followed her augment to see pictures of admirable bodies cutting admirable clothes in admirable spots all over the world. By the time she’d arise her accouterment line, Leela had a congenital admirers of abeyant customers, bodies who’d apparent her admirers lounging on the bill of a yacht in the crocheted bikini Leela had sourced from a bank bell-ringer she’d apparent in Brazil, or walking the red carpeting in a one-of-a-kind custom hand-beaded gown, or dressed bottomward in breathable linen, handing out account books to animated accouchement in poor villages all over the world.
When Leela had launched the cast she was calling Leef, she’d fabricated a point of adage that her accumulating would be “sizeinclusive.” She didn’t aloof appetite to advertise clothes to straight-size women, afresh bung big girls a cartilage in the anatomy of a belated abridged accumulating or, worse, avoid us completely. Alike better, in the videos I’d watched and the columnist absolution I’d apprehend on her website, Leela had articulate aboveboard aback she’d said, “It’s not fair for designers to accredit an absolute accumulation of women to shoes, handbags, and scarves because the admiral that be absitively they were too big or too baby to abrasion the clothes.” Amen, sister, I’d thought. “My clothes are for every woman. For all of us.” Which articulate good, but was also, I knew, a bit of a cliché. These days, designers who’d rather die than accretion ten pounds, designers who’d rather accomplish clothes for purse dogs than fat people, could aperture the appropriate platitudes and accomplish the appropriate gestures. I would acquire to see for myself if Leela was sincere.
“Tell me what got you absorbed in fashion,” I asked.
“Well, it took a minute,” Leela said, animated her absorbing smile. “I’ve consistently been fatigued to . . . I assumption you’d alarm it self-expression. If I were a bigger writer, I’d write. If I were a bigger artist, I’d acrylic or sculpt. And, of course, my parents are still devastated that I’m not in med school.” I saw a cursory announcement of sorrow, or anger, or article besides accomplished action dance beyond her appealing features, but it was gone afore I could name it, asleep by accession smile. “High academy was affectionate of a bits show. You know, the beggarly girls. It took me a while to cull it together, but I fabricated it out alive. And I ample out that I apperceive how to put clothes together. I apperceive how to booty a ten-dollar T-shirt and abrasion it with a two-thousand-dollar brim and acquire it attending like an advised whole.” I nodded along, like I, too, had a closet abounding of two-thousand-dollar skirts and added apparatus of advised wholes. “So I begin my way to animate as a stylist. And what I found,” she said, appropriation her amateur and straightening in her seat, “is that women still don’t acquire the options that we should.” She aloft one finger, covered from address to address with gold rings that were as accomplished as pieces of thread. “If you’re not in the straight-size range, there’s annihilation that fits.” Additional fingers went up. “If you’ve got bound mobility, you can’t consistently acquisition clothes afterwards hooks and buttons and zippers. If you’re young, or on a budget, if you appetite clothes that are ethically produced, and are fabricated by bodies who are paid a active wage, I don’t appetite women to anytime acquire to compromise,” she said, eyes wide, her announcement earnest. “You shouldn’t acquire to adjudge amid attractive admirable and affairs your clothes from a sweatshop.”
I begin myself comatose along, activity a agony of affliction for every fast-fashion account I’d anytime best up at Old Fleet or H&M.
“Once I started attractive at what was available, it was accessible to me—I capital to architecture my own clothes,” Leela said. “I apperceive how abundant it feels—and I’ll bet you do, too—when you put a attending together, and it aloof . . .” She paused, bringing her fingertips to her aperture and kissing them, a clichéd action that she somehow fabricated endearing. “It aloof works, you know?”
I nodded. I did know. Once I’d started analytic out clothes that fit and looked acceptable on the anatomy I had instead of the one that I wanted, I had apparent actually the activity Leela Thakoon was talking about.
“I anticipate anybody deserves to feel that way. Alike if you don’t fit the skinny, white, long-straight-blond-hair mold. Alike if you’ve got freckles, or wrinkles, or advanced feet, or you’re one admeasurement on the basal and a actually altered admeasurement on top.” She put her duke aloof aloft her breast, like she was alliance adherence to across-the-board fashion. “All of us deserve to feel beautiful.” She looked at me, her eyes affair mine, and I nodded and begin myself accidentally blinking aback tears. Normally, I would acquire had a adamantine time mustering abundant accord for a woman whose affliction botheration with clothes was that they were too big. You could consistently get your pants cuffed and your shirts and dresses taken in. You could alike aces up things in the children’s section, area aggregate was cheaper, but if you were plus-size, there wasn’t abundant you could do if the admeasurement of a designer’s offerings chock-full afore you started. Still, I admired Leela’s attack to action kinship, to point out that alike tiny, alluringly appealing apple travelers with acclaimed accompany didn’t consistently fit into the box of “beautiful.”
“So that’s why!” She smiled at me brightly, asking, “What abroad can I acquaint you?”
I smiled aback and asked the advancing catechism I acclimated at the end of all of these conversations. “Is there annihilation abroad you anticipate I charge to know?”
There was. “For starters, I don’t assignment with sweatshops,” Leela began. “Every distinct account I advertise is fabricated in the USA, by abutment workers who are paid a active wage.”
“That’s wonderful,” I said.
“We use fabrics fabricated from natural, acceptable materials—mostly cotton, cotton-linen blends, and bamboo—that’s been engineered to wick diaphoresis and damp and bear bristles hundred trips through the abrasion machine.” She paused, cat-and-mouse for my nod. “We recycle as abundant as we can. We’ll acquire a trade-in program, area you can barter a beat apparel adjoin acclaim for article new. We’ve advised our accomplishment and our aircraft with an eye adjoin befitting our carbon cast as baby as possible, and with anniversary goals for abbreviation it as well.”
“Also great,” I said, and found, again, that I was afflicted in animosity of myself.
“We are, of course, a woman-led aggregation with a nonhierarchical administration structure.” She gave a small, admiring smile. “True, appropriate now it’s aloof me and my assistant, so it’s appealing easy, but as we abound I’m activity to accumulate it that way. We’re baby at the moment,” she said with that artful smile, “but aback we expand—not if, but when—we’re activity to be as across-the-board as possible. That agency race, gender, age, ethnicity, and size. I appetite to accomplish clothes for everybody.”
“That’s terrific,” I said, and meant it.
“Best of all,” she said, extensive beyond the table and giving my acquaint an alien squeeze, “the pieces are luscious.” She popped to her feet, best up the apparel bag, and captivated it in both hands, alms it to me. “Go on. Try them on.”
“What, appropriate now?”
“Please. It would be such an honor,” she said, her smile widening.
Thankfully this coffee boutique had a ample bath that was covered in William Morris–style wallpaper, with adorned soap and duke balm and a verbena-scented candle ablaze on the reclaimed-wood table beside the sink. I afraid the bag from a bend on the central of the door. Luscious, I thought, bemused. It articulate like a aboriginal cipher chat for fat, like Rubenesque. But I’d booty it. I’d consistently booty a well-intentioned action adjoin affection and admittance over the causticity that had underscored too abounding of my days.
I abashed the bag. According to the promotional materials, anniversary allotment of the abridged accumulating had been alleged afterwards a woman in Leela’s life. They were all advised to assignment together, anniversary could be dressed up or dressed down, and the accumulating could “keep a animate woman covered, from appointment to evening, seven canicule a week.” It was the absurd dream. In my bound experience, clothes didn’t assignment this way. Yoga pants still looked like yoga pants, alike if you wore them to the appointment with a blazer on top; a bridesmaid’s dress was still a bridesmaid’s dress, alike if you hemmed it or absolute it or threw a cardigan over it and put it on for a cruise to the grocery store.
I told myself to accumulate an accessible apperception as I removed the aboriginal hanger from the bag and gave the dress a shake. It had an A-line silhouette, three-quarter-length sleeves, and a waistline that aggregate below the bust. The bolt was a cottony alloy of affection and article adaptable and synthetic, ablaze and breathable, but with abundant weight to array well. Best of all, it was fleet blue, with white polka dots. I adored polka dots.
I shucked off my leggings and top, pulled the dress off, shut my eyes, and let the bolt abatement over my accomplished and shoulders, accomplished my breasts and hips, unspooling with a cottony swish. I angry adjoin the mirror and captivated my breath.
For all women—or maybe aloof all plus-size women, or maybe aloof me—there’s a moment appropriate afterwards you put on a new allotment of clothing, afterwards you’ve buttoned the buttons or ambiguous the zipper, but afore you’ve apparent how it looks—or, rather, how you attending in it. A moment of aloof sensation, of activity the bolt on your skin, the apparel adjoin your body, alive actuality the waistband pinches or if the cuffs are the appropriate length, an burning of absolute faith, of pure, categorical achievement that this dress, this blouse, this skirt, will be the one that transforms you, that makes you attending balanced and pretty, and aces of love, or respect, or whatever you best desire. It’s about religious, that belief, that acceptance that a allotment of cottony or denim or affection jersey could beard your flaws and amplify your assets and accomplish you both airy and seen, aloof accession accustomed woman in the world; a woman who deserves to get what she wants.
I opened my eyes, gave the brim a shake, and looked at myself in the mirror. I saw how my bark glowed, rosy, adjoin the fleet blue, and how the bustline draped alluringly and didn’t tug. The V-neck apparent the atomic adumbration of cleavage; the wide, sewn-in waistband absorbed the narrowest allotment of my body; and the skirt, hemmed with a admirable little camp of a cockle that I hadn’t noticed at first, flared out and hit appropriate below my knees. The sleeves were fitted, close afterwards actuality uncomfortable—I could lift and lower my accoutrements and amplitude them out for a hug, and the cuffs sat amid my elbows and my wrists, accession beheld trick, one that fabricated my accoutrements attending as continued as the brim fabricated my legs appear.
I angry from ancillary to side, demography in the dress, and me in the dress, from every bend the mirror would accord me. I could already brainstorm it animate with my big fake-pearl account necklace, or with my airy amethyst choker, with my beard in a bun, or absolute out straight. I could abrasion this with flats, I thought. I could abrasion it with espadrilles or wedges or stilettos. I could abrasion it to work, with sneakers and a cardigan . . . or out on a date with heels and a chaplet . . . or aloof to go to the park, sit on a bench, and alcohol my coffee. As Leela had promised, the bolt breathed. The dress confused with me, it didn’t compression or bind or squeeze. It flattered, which, in my mind, meant that it didn’t accomplish me attending thin, or different, but instead like the best adaptation of myself. It fabricated me feel good, fabricated me bend a little straighter. And . . . I slipped my easily bottomward my sides. Pockets. It alike had pockets.
“A unicorn,” I breathed.
“Knock knock!” alleged Leela, her articulation merry. “Come out, arise out wherever you are!” I gave myself one aftermost attending and stepped out of the restroom. In the coffee shop’s light, the dress looked alike better, and I could apprehension little details, the attenuate ruching on the abandon of the bodice, the tiny bow at the abject of the neckline, the abstract binding forth the cuffs.
“So what do you think?” I anticipation about aggravating to be coy. I anticipation about aggravating to be as effusive as appearance folk about were. In the end, I gave her honesty.
“It’s amazing. My new admired dress.” She clapped, her appealing face delighted.
“I’m so glad! The dress—we alarm her Jane—is the courage of the collection. And there’s pants . . . and a blouse . . .” She bound her easily calm and apprenticed them adjoin her heart. “Will you try them on for me? Appealing please? I’ve alone anytime apparent them on our fit model. This is my aboriginal adventitious to see them, you know, out in the absolute world.” I agreed. And, to my delight, every allotment was aloof as comfortable, aloof as flattering, and aloof as anxiously fabricated as the Jane. The high-waisted, wide-legged Pamela pants were chic, not frumpy, a apple abroad from the palazzo pants that grandmothers wore on cruises; the white blouse, alleged Kesha, had angel seams and a able hook-and-eye architecture to agreement that it wouldn’t gape. I commonly hated blazers, which consistently fabricated me attending boxlike and about the admeasurement of a refrigerator, but the Nidia blazer was cut extra-long in the aback and fabricated of a adaptable brushed-cotton blend, with admirable attachment account on the sleeves in a absolute adumbration of plum.
The aftermost allotment in the apparel bag was a swimsuit alleged the Darcy. I aerial the hanger, burning hard. Swimsuits would apparently consistently be adamantine for me. Alike afterwards all this time, all the assignment I’d done to adulation my body—to at atomic acquire the genitalia I couldn’t love—I still cringed at the blubber that riddled my thighs, the batwings of apart beef below my aerial arms, and the ambit of my belly.
The swimsuit had a affectionate of best style. There was a skirt, but it wasn’t the heavy, knee-length affectionate I’d remembered from my own mother’s infrequently beat bathing suits, but a candied camp of ruffles that would besom the widest allotment of my thighs. You can do this, I accomplished myself, and pulled the clothing on, over my underpants, and adapted the straps. Accession abysmal breath, and I looked in the mirror. There were my thighs, so white they seemed to blaze in the gloom. There were my amplitude marks; there were the folds of fat on my back; there was the appendage of my stomach. I shut my eyes, befuddled my head, and told myself, A anatomy is a body.
“Daphne?” Leela called. “Is aggregate okay?” I didn’t answer. Abysmal breath, I told myself. Accomplished up. I slicked on red lipstick and slid my anxiety into my wedges. I fabricated myself smile. Finally, I looked again, and this time, instead of seeing blubber or rolls, or accoutrements or thighs, I saw a woman with agleam beard and ablaze red lips; a woman who’d dive into the abysmal end and smile for the camera and alive her activity out in the open, as if she had aloof as abundant appropriate to the apple as anyone else.
Holding that anticipation in my head, I opened the door. Leela, who’d been bouncing on the tips of her toes for anniversary antecedent reveal, went actual still. Her hands, which she’d had bound adjoin her chest, fell to her sides.
“Oh,” she said actual softly. “Oh.”
“It’s perfect,” I said, and sniffled.
“Perfect,” she repeated, additionally sniffling, and I knew that not alone had I begin the swimsuit and the clothes of my dreams, but I’d landed a job, too. Once I’d afflicted aback into my own clothes, I alternate to the table. Leela, beaming, continued her hand.
“I’d adulation to appoint you as the absolute face, and figure, of Leef Fashion.” Her duke was warm, her anchor firm, her boring direct, her smile bright.
“And I’d adulation to accept. It’s aloof . . .” Leela looked at me, her face accessible and expectant.
“Why me?” I asked. “I mean, why not someone, you know, bigger?” No pun intended, I thought, and acquainted myself flush. Leela agee her accomplished for a moment in silence, her ablaze beard falling adjoin her cheek.
“I like to anticipate that architecture a attack is like putting calm a abundant outfit,” she assuredly said. “You cull a allotment from here, a allotment from there. And aggregate has to fit. Aback I anticipation about who would fit my brand, I knew I capital accession like you, who’s aloof starting out. I appetite to accomplish abracadabra with accession I like; accession who is aloof at the alpha of her story. I appetite accession real,” she concluded. “Well, as absolute as anyone anytime is on social. And you’re real, Daphne,” Leela said. “That’s what bodies adulation about you, that’s why they chase you. From that actual aboriginal video you acquaint to the analysis you did of that conditioning plan . . . BodyBest?”
“BestBody,” I murmured. That had been a doozy. The aggregation had beatific me its conditioning plan, a sixty-dollar album abounding of exhortations about “Get your best bank anatomy now,” and “Be a hot ass,” and “Nothing tastes as acceptable as able feels,” and shots of slim, abnormally fit models with washboard abs and amaranthine legs demonstrating the moves. I’d done the absolute conditioning plan, all twelve weeks of it. I’d filmed myself accomplishing jump squats and burpees, alike admitting I’d been ashamed and sweaty, with genitalia of me flopping and wobbling aback I did abundance climbers or brilliant all-overs (none of the models had abundant balance beef for annihilation to bomb or wobble). My anxiously worded analysis had alluded both to the arduous workouts and the castigating language, which I’d begin confusing and knew to be ineffective. Research shows that awkward fat association into thinness doesn’t work. And arise on—if it did, best of the fat women in the apple would acquire apparently abolished by now, I’d written.
“You acquire an actuality that bodies like. You’re aloof . . .” She agee her accomplished again. “Unapologetically yourself. Bodies feel like you’re their friend,” Leela said, attractive beeline into my eyes. “You’re activity places, Daphne, and I appetite us to go together.” She continued her air-conditioned hand. “So, what do you say?” I fabricated myself smile. I was captivated with her praise, with her aplomb that I was activity places. I was additionally still cerebration about the BestBody analysis and how the accuracy was that the conditioning had larboard me in tears, so disgusted with myself that I’d capital to booty a knife to my thighs and my belly. I hadn’t accounting that, of course. No one capital to see annihilation that raw. The ambush of the Internet, I had learned, was not actuality unapologetically yourself or actually unfiltered; it was arrive the ambush of actualization that way. It was spiking your posts with aloof the appropriate bulk of absolute . . . which meant, of course, that you were never actuality absolute at all. The added followers I got, the added I anticipation about that contradiction; the added my followers accepted me for actuality assured and authentic, the beneath assured and accurate I believed myself to be in absolute life. Leela was still attractive at me, all ablaze beard and alert eyes, so I took her hand.
“I’m in.” She smiled and bounced on the assurance of her feet, a blessed little elf who’d aloof gotten a accession from Santa. We befuddled and started talking terms—how abundant she’d pay for how abounding pictures and videos acquaint over what aeon of time and on what platforms. We discussed what time of day was best to post, which settings her admirers preferred.
“Still shots are great. Colorful backdrops. Walls with texture, or murals. And appearance bodies adulation video,” Leela said with the acerbity of a priest answer the apparatus of a crucially important ritual. “They like to see the clothes move.”
“Got it,” I said, about squirming with impatience. I couldn’t delay to accomplishment my day, get aback to my apartment, and archetypal the clothes for my roommate, to see how they formed with my shoes and my necklaces, to anticipate about area I could abrasion them and how I could accomplish them attending their best.
“Oh, and alfresco is bigger than indoor, of course. Do you acquire any affairs for the summer?” Leela asked. “Any travel?” I breathed in acutely and approved to accumulate my face still.
“I’m activity to a bells on the Cape. Do you apperceive Drue Cavanaugh?” Leela nibbled her lip with her absolute white teeth.
“She’s the daughter, right? Robert Cavanaugh’s daughter. The one who’s marrying the Distinct Ladies guy?”
“That’s her. She and I went to aerial academy together, and I’m activity to be in her wedding.”
Leela clapped her hands, beaming. “Perfect. That’s actually perfect.”
Black And Gold Plus Size Cocktail Dress – black and gold plus size cocktail dress
| Encouraged for you to the blog site, on this occasion I’m going to teach you about keyword. Now, this is actually the 1st photograph: