Friday, 29 August 2014

Goodbye summer...

Although we're being promised a late summer heatwave, I'm not holding out much hope to be honest! Which in terms of fashion is great because all the AW pieces are starting to come through now and it's the perfect excuse to have a bit of a clear out and refresh the old wardrobe! 

The lovely guys at ELVi sent me a couple of pieces from their new AW arrivals, this sumptuous grey  longline cardigan and this gorgeous all-rounder oversized clutch. I've styled them up with a loose cami top, jeans and heels for a laid back, chic look. 

This season is all about mixing textures and styles, and I love the soft cardigan against the silky cami, the casual jeans and dressy metallic shoes. It's a sexy, romantic, but chilled out date kinda outfit. 

The cardigan is super soft and generously sized. I'm wearing the size 2 (equivalent 20/22) and I could have quite easily gone down another size. It's and edge to edge, so no buttons, but I can honestly say I've never buttoned a long cardi in my life!! It's perfect for throwing on over jeans, or belting over a pretty floral dress, woolly tights and chunky boots.

If you're itching to update your wardrobe I have an discount code for you to use! Enter BLOGELVI at the checkout for a fab 20% off!! 

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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Ladies leave your man at home...

Hope you all had a fab bank holiday? I went out to see my friends band and had a girly night with some old and new friends. I was going to wear this outfit, but as it happens we ended up going out quite casual in jeans, so this outfit will have to be rolled out on another occasion, I'm hoping it will be very soon! 

I'm wearing a stunning jumpsuit* from PinkClove. It has a wrap detail to the front, tapered leg and little short sleeves (basically file under Becky's perfect garment). It's super stretchy, silky to the touch and the print is to die for. 

I'm wearing the size 22 which I found true to size, the leg length is great on my 5'7" self, but I think if you shorter you could easily take it up nor even roll the legs and for those of you taller, there is plenty of length on them and could even be worn ankle grazer style, so there's lot of scope there for all heights. 

I kept my accessories pretty simple, metallic pointy court shoes and black clutch. Looking back at the pics I think it's missing some earrings. I don't think it needs cluttering with a necklace, but definitely a drop earring of some sort would lift it. 

I've moved to my winter backdrop now the weather's taken a turn for the worse! So I apologise in advance for bad lighting and lack of outdoor shots over the coming months! 

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*denotes an item sent to feature on the blog

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Spending the round pound - A Plus Size girls guide to shrewd shopping

It occurred to me, whilst having a conversation about plus size brands with my friend Rivkie Baum, editor of plus size glossy SLiNK Magazine, that the plus size gal needs to be very shrewd indeed if she is to bag that perfect outfit, and spend her round pound wisely. 

There has been much talk in the past month about the plus size woman, how and where she should be spending her hard earned cash and which brands deserve it. Plus size blogger Chastity Garner of Garner style, this month called to arms fellow chubs to boycott American store Target on account of them revealing yet another designer collaboration with, surprise surprise, no plus sizes in sight. For long enough we have handed over money to brands that quite frankly couldn't care less about our needs or fashion desires. At best, we now have access to some bright, bold, fun and affordable fashion. At worse we are still met with a  sea of hanky hem tops and butterfly prints. 

But why? Are we our own worst enemy? Are the brands listening to us? Do they even care? Well, the answer is somewhat complex and a little bit of all of the above and more. 

Lets address the brands first. There's no denying the plus size body is a very different beast to the slim body. Fat presents itself in many different ways, some women carry it on their hips, some in the tummy. Some girls are all boob. So fit can be a huge issue and one that as a plus size fashion blogger myself am told about time and time again by my readers. With so few plus size brands (in comparison to our slimmer sisters) they can often find themselves trying to be everything to everyone. When designing or buying in collections they have to try and appeal to a huge spectrum of shapes, sizes and ages, which means they don't always get it right. Until there is the chubby equivalent of Topshop, Zara, Primark, Gap and the like, brands will always have to lump a whole lot of styles into one store or website. 

Are brands listening to plus size women? Well, yes and no (see, I told you this was complex). By labelling every woman above the size 16 "plus size" you lose individual voices. Straight size stores (the name for non-plus size in the industry) have their set demographic. On the whole, the Topshop customer is very different to say, the Phase Eight shopper. So when researching, marketing and trend predicting they have a specific customer in mind. Plus brands don't have that. Some plus size women are vibrant and fashion forward and want to see bold prints, sexy cuts. Some are more understated, they want chic tailoring and muted colours, I could go on and on. The point is, asking what the plus size woman wants is about as effective as asking what shoe size the nation is. The answer is endless and ultimately different from person to person. 

Blogger loveliness - Clockwise -
Me! Betty at Pamper and Curves, Rosie - A Rose Like This, Naomi - Diamonds and Pearls. 

Are brands doing enough to publicise their plus size ranges? No. I can honestly say as a someone who has been shopping plus size for the last 20 years, it would appear that brands do very little to promote themselves. The worst culprits being those who are a predominantly straight size brand, with a plus size section. In physical stores, they shove the plus size range at the back of the store, residing next to the maternity section (yes, didn't you know fat and pregnant are the same thing?) and there, in a dark corner, you might find 3 sad rails of sad looking polyester. No signage, no mannequins, no effort made. H&M being a prime example. I vividly remember their plus size range launching in 1996. I was 16 years old and already a size 18. Back then my shopping options were severely limited. It was Evans or nothing. Simple. When the BiB (as it was called. It's now simply H&M+) range launched I begged my mum to take me to London so I could try it on. But to this day I still have people telling me they didn't know H&M had a plus size range. Thank goodness for stores like Simply Be and Yours who are making a concerted effort to improve the larger ladies shopping experience. 

Despite their best efforts, you do indeed have to be a shrewd shopper if you want to seek out the very best plus size clothing has to offer. Fear not, I have some top tips I hope might help.

Google is your friend - Trawl the internet, spend time looking on websites, look at brands you wouldn't have thought of (Gap now stocks up to a  UK24, as does the regular range of H&M. Supermarkets like Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury's also go up to a 22/24 and some have dedicated plus size ranges up to a 28). Change up your search terms. If you're looking for something a bit more special, be specific, use terms such as "plus size designer clothing" or "plus size occasion wear" 

Use the search function - If you have a specific item or occasion in mind, don't spend hours aimlessly searching through hundreds of dresses, ultimately ending up frustrated and angry. Narrow down your options by searching for your size, first and foremost, then look at options colours, style and length for example. 

Utilise blogs - Plus size blogging is huge right now and ever growing. There's a blogger out their to suit everyone's style and taste. Lets face it, most plus size models look nothing like us mere mortals and are usually a size 14/16. If you want to see how something will look on a size 26 girl then head to the fatshion scene. I promise you will thank me. 

Try things on - I have items in my wardrobe ranging from a size 14 to a size 26. Pick things up, feel the fabric, does it have stretch? What is the cut like? Is it oversized? Don't be afraid to walk into a straight sized shop and pick up a garment. You have as much right to be in there as the next girl. Your money adds to their profit margin in just the same way as a slim woman's.

Think outside the box - Don't be afraid to order clothes from different countries. The American plus size market is far wider and more varied than that of the UK. Use a dress maker, a special occasion requires a special dress, make alterations or have something made specifically for you. Accessorise; start with a basic outfit and add some show stopping extras. Never underestimate the power of an accessory. 

And finally, just have fun. Don't stress so much about it, it's only fashion. If you've found a style for you that makes you feel great, and comfortable then go with it. You should dress for one person and one person alone. You. 

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Thursday, 21 August 2014

OOTD: Grunge regression...

I can't even pretend I was cool enough to be into grunge the first time round. I was and will always be a major pop tart. I'm a Take Thatter for life and in the years to follow, Steps filled the void left by the devastation of their break up. I did however kind of dip into the whole checked shirt, ripped jeans vibe. So it's 20 years later and there's nothing like a 90s trends coming back round to make a 30-something gal feel terribly old. So I figured,  if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

Channeling my inner 90s kid I rocked a checked shirt today, although I fear I look more like I should be hanging around with Richie Sambora rather than Kurt Kobain. But sod it, I liked it!

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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Purple haze...

After last weeks declaration of bra hate, you'd think lingerie brands would be giving me a wide birth, but the lovely people at Bras&Honey sent me this beautiful set over to try and I'm glad they did.

This beautiful magenta coloured set is the Melissa from Fantasie

Sorry for the gratuitous bum shot but I wanted to show the lovely detail to the back. The briefs only run up to an 18 in this range, but they were a great fit on my size 22 bum, so they're definitely worth a try. The bra itself is a lovely fit. I'm wearing the 40E. It sits really nice and isn't too restrictive.

The bra gives me a nice natural shape and good lift. The fabric is soft and I love the navy detailing and the way it contrasts against the magenta colour. 

This set is so pretty and comfortable. And although I'm still not convinced about wearing a bra all day, but this would be great for a night out or even a night in ;)

Please excuse the super white belly but I still have my holiday tan, which makes my tummy look even more extreme lily white than usual!!

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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Crisp n Fresh...

Fashion and food are just about my two favourite things. So when they come together I get very excited. Store cupboard favourite Ryvita are going through some bright and bold changes and to celebrate, they've collaborated with internationally acclaimed fashion designer Ben de Lisi who has created a limited edition Ryvita storage tin*. 

I'm an absolute sucker for limited edition homewares and this fresh funky tin is right up my street, the bold, geometric pattern has a modern feel about it. 

Ryvita will have been around for a staggering 90 years next year. All their products are made in Devon with British ingredients and are free from chemicals and additives. My personal favourite is the pumpkin seed and oats variety. I'm a little bit old school when it comes to toppings, I still favour the classic cottage cheese, but with my new found love of avocado, I'm thinking maybe a nice chilli chicken and avocado combo?

As someone who's body seems to reject bread, Ryvita's fresh crunchy texture seems to sit better with me and I find them a great alternative to the boring old soggy sandwich at lunch time. We were also sent one of the sweet varieties which Poppy is making her way through rather rapidly. If I can get my hands on them I will let you know what the verdict is!

Have you got a favourite topping, can you inspire me to move away from the traditional cottage cheese?

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*denotes an item sent to me to feature on the blog. All opinions and words, however, are mine. I wrote them I did and everything ;)

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Student Style: ASOS Curve

So I'm heading back for my second year of uni in a couple of weeks. Poppy will be full time at school and Michael has the shop to open up. Mornings are going to be chaos! I need to arm myself with a capsule wardrobe of stylish, comfortable easy to wear outfits that I can just throw on and feel comfortable in. I also need them to be functional and easy to adapt for our changeable weather here in the UK.

I'm going to do a series of posts in the coming weeks some in conjunction with brands and some from my existing wardrobe. The first one is from one of my go-to brands. If I need it on-trend, quick and on-budget, ASOS is usually my first port of call. 

I've been searching for some great ripped black jeans. These supersoft skinnies are perfect. They've got a good amount of stretch in them and the legs are just as they say they are - super skinny. I'm wearing the 22 (UK) and they are true to size. These are going to be a super versatile piece in my wardrobe. 

I teamed the jeans with this gorgeous bright floral T-shirt. It's a really light weight, soft jersey. I'm wearing the 24 as I like a bit of space in my tops. Even though it's starting to cool down it can get really hot at uni, so it's important I layer. A hot and sweaty Beebs, is a grumpy Beebs.

I wore: Black skinny jeans* - ASOS Curve// Yellow floral T-shirt* - ASOS Curve// Grey Jacket - New Look Inspire// White trainers - Converse// Black bag - Osprey// Headscarf - Vintage// Sunglasses - Selectspecs

I teamed the jeans and tee with my grey New Look jackets, white converse and black osprey bag. I topped it off with a headscarf I picked up from the charity shop next door. 

Print lovin'

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A * denotes items sent to me to review.