Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Cut for Evans

The second Cut for Evans collection has just launched. Working with design students, who were asked to create a 6-piece collection for a plus size woman, the judging panel managed to whittle down the entries to two winners, whose collections are in select stores/online from today.  Eve Turley, a 2nd year BA (Hons) Fashion Design student from Kingston University created a stunning collection of knitwear, taking inspiration from vintage fabrics.  I love the illusion hourglass shapes created by contrast panels and prints.  
Ellie Northway, a BA (Hons) Fashion Design student from Nottingham Trent University used vibrant prints, inspired by inspirational women through history for her collection.  I think the bomber jacket and jumpsuit will be popular among plus-size bloggers and the prints are quite directional for Evans.  
I think a project like this is a win-win situation for all involved. It's a great opportunity for the students to be able to say they've designed something 'real' that's available to women across the country, but also to see what goes into the design process and making of each garment for a high street store.  From a concept in your head to the reality of costing, fabrics, sizing, merchandising, advertising etc It's something you get taught studying fashion (I know I did), but seeing and being a part of that process for real, I'd imagine would be pretty invaluable.  For Evans, I think it's probably stimulating to have fresh ideas and see how others outside your regular design and buying team work and what they see for your brand.  A similar story for customers, who get the chance to try something that may be a little different to the main collections at Evans and support new designers.  Prices range from £35-£55, but there's up to 30% off everything online, until 3rd November.  What do you think?    

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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Bought & Thought

So I've bought dozens more 'wiggle dresses' from ASOS recently (well, maybe a slight exaggeration) and because they're experimenting a little with some of the details and more notably, the fabric, some have fitted and some have not.  One of the best ones for me is the animal print wiggle dress £50 (in a size 18, also available in Tall here).  It's probably most like the original design, as it's made from cotton/elastane which seems to be a more flattering fit on me.  Others cling to the tummy area, but this fabric just skims over, concealing everything and there is that tiny bit of stretch where I need it.  The main difference to the original pattern is the introduction of a front split (instead of a centre back one) and I like it.  It makes it feel more current.  There's the same underarm gussets, though the sleeves are missing their cuffs (instead just hemmed under), not something I was particularly sad to see go.  It's got the same tucks at the waist, centre back invisible zip and glorious pockets!  I don't often wear peach or orange, but the bold leopard print is a winner for me and I can see this dress being worn a lot in the future. Do you like this, have you tried any of the wiggle dresses?     
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Monday, 20 October 2014

Irregular Choice: 'Glissade' Ballerina Heels

Hello peeps, where do I even start with these shoes? Irregular Choice have been producing their 'statement heels' for a good few seasons now and aside from one, I've bought at least one pair from each release. Then came the news that they'd upped their game yet again with the ballerina heel. There's a tiny little ballet dancer (similar to those old cake toppers you used to get-I was ballet obsessed so had them on my birthday cake every single year), encased in a see-through wedge heel.
This would be pretty spectacular on it's own, but like I said, this is a level up on previous 'statement heels'. The dancer actually moves. She pirouettes (on the spot), inside the heel. If that still isn't enough, the shoes play music! There's a key inside the heel (you can pull the ring down to turn, then flip it back up inside the heel to keep it out of the way when using them).
The concept of a music-box heel has just blown me away completely. Shoes can often be a functional item of clothing, but this is more like art or a decorative object. Yet it's still fit for it's purpose, it's just mesmerising.
There were four options available, three named Glissade and a slightly different style Balletomane. That one was more of an ankle boot and covered in varying sizes of pearls. You know I'm a sucker for pearls and initially they were my first choice, but I was more keen on the softer shape of Glissade. The green metallic that I opted for, is such a cool fabric too.
It's got a duo-tone finish, so it flashes between green and purple in the light. You can see the shadowy, contoured sections in my photos are purple and the rest green (sometimes even with blue toned bits where the two colours meet). They lace up with green satin ribbons and have a 5 1/2" heel with 1 1/2" platform. Now for the sizing. I found these extremely small, which I think will catch some people out. I'm so so glad I sized up, because even then they just fit. I could tell whenever I took them out the box, because they look tiny. I didn't have my tape measure handy to measure the inside, but I'd definitely recommend taking the bigger size. I think there will be a lot of returns because of this, so hopefully if yours are too small, there will be a replacement that someone else didn't fit.  Thankfully the metallic fabric feels quite soft and I think it'll stretch out a bit with wear.
I've also popped a little video on my YouTube account, so you can see the dancer in action and hear Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.  She moves quite slowly and by the time I was steady enough and ready to record she was nearing the end of her piece (where she slows down further), but you still get the idea.  The two fingers I needed for turning the key, happen to have quite long nails, so it would definitely be easier with shorter nails and/or smaller fingers.  There is a warning that the shoe is fragile and the dancer can break off with hard/heavy wear, so I'm quite anxious about wearing them outside just now.  Maybe once I've become more accustomed to them, I'll know how strong or weak they are.  For now I'm happy just to stare at them!  What do you think?  Can IC top this in the future?

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Bought & Thought

I've had a little re-jig of Bought & Thought this week, because my Mum came home with this today and as it's on offer, it's important I share it now. It's the Boots 'Star Gift' (yes the countdown to Christmas has proper started!) and runs until Thursday.  It's the Joules Blooming Brilliant Weekend Bag and is better than half price, reduced from £45 to £22.  I have to admit I wasn't overly fussed with this when I saw the promotional images, but in the flesh it's much prettier.  The bag is a really substantial tote, with the distinctive Joules floral print on the outside and striped inside.  It closes with a stud fastening and has two thick handles.  Inside you get full sizes of 6 products; hand wash 250ml, foaming bath soak 250ml, body wash 200ml, body scrub 125ml, hand cream 125ml and body lotion 125ml.  The packaging is typically Joules, with that lovely vintage feel.  As if that's not enough, there's a couple of vouchers inside too, one for extra advantage card points when buying bathing products and £10 off at Joules (if I remember correctly, it's when spending £40), something my Mum will definitely use.  She has announced I can give this to her for Christmas (think that's the way the Christmas shopping will be going this year with me not getting out and about), so that's one down, a gazillion to go!  Like I say, the offer changes this week and the set will be back up to £45, so act fast.  Should I even ask if you've started your Christmas shopping yet or is it a touchy subject?
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Monday, 13 October 2014

Lipstick Boutique Curvy: Georgia Floral Dress

Last month I spoke about the welcome expansion of plus-size ranges at House of Fraser and today I'm featuring another one of those brands, Lipstick Boutique. LB's main range comes in sizes 8-16 and features celebrity collaborations with the likes of Amy Childs, Binky and Jessica Wright. The 'curvy' range comes in sizes 18-24 and very much adopts the same ethos as the main range, with bodycon silhouettes, lots of floral and lace and that same party-girl feel. That's not to say there's nothing suitable for daywear, I find the range easy to wear and it can definitely be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion.
I was sent the 'Georgia' floral print dress* £65 to try. It's got a lovely bright, multi-coloured floral print on a black background, featuring an assortment of flowers. Around the waist (on the front of the dress only) is a wide black band of lace. The dress itself is 'scuba' fabric, so obviously stretchy, but fear not, the lace section does have a fair bit of stretch too. There's a low cut v-neckline, centre back zip and puffed, cap sleeves.
I was sent an 18 and while it fitted without too much stretching, I would've been more comfortable in a larger size. There was no VBO (visible belly outline) until I sat down and it didn't 'cling' but I would've liked a little more room in the tummy area. I favour being able to breathe over feeling 'glam' these days!  It fits true to size though, so I would just opt for your usual size.  If you're between like I am, then it's down to preference of liking being 'sucked in' or opting for something a little comfier and less revealing.  I've not had much experience with clothing made from 'scuba' fabric, but I know you can find it on just about anything right now. I can see why it's so popular, because it feels nice and smooth and thick, so doesn't cling yet fits to the body. It has stretch, but the print doesn't become distorted or faded when pulled. I actually managed to get this on and off no problem, without even realising the zip was there!  Plus it doesn't crease...always in favour of dresses that don't need ironed!   
The bust area is usually where I find dresses too small, but this one felt alright.  The bodice of the dress is lined, but the skirt section isn't.  I'm not sure if the lace is supposed to sit solely on the waist but you can see it just beginning to creep up onto my chest.  The neckline is reasonably low cut and you can see flashes of my bra in some of the photos, so if I'd jiggled about in the boob area to try and 'fix' the lace issue, a lot more of my bra would be showing.  You could simply fix this by wearing a camisole/vest underneath and I think I'd be more comfortable with that for future wear.  The length of the dress felt exactly right for me, hitting just below my knee and no more.  I wasn't afraid of it riding up at the back, but it doesn't go into that midi-length territory (for reference I'm 5ft 5").  The slightly more 'demure' hem length felt right with an exposed neckline like this.     
I like the little puffed, cap sleeves and the armholes themselves didn't gape on me.  They were just ever so slightly more cut-away than I'd have liked, though it has to be noted, no bra showed.  The good part being, my arms were able to move freely, without being hindered or restricted by the sleeves.  Overall I think it's a cute wee dress.  I love the print and the colours in it.  I like that the range echos the main collection, because quite frankly there's no size limit on wanting to feel bold and glamorous.  I think for a long time the plus-size world was lacking variety and choice of styles and even just a few years ago, a 'floral bodycon dress' would be unheard of in anything over a 14, so that's always good to see.  What do you think?

P.S. I felt like I wanted to wave to you all in these images because it's so long since I've posted regular outfit shots or 'shown' myself.  Headless waving might have been a bit strange though.

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Thursday, 9 October 2014

Wallis: Live Unlimited (Plus Size)

It's always exciting to see brands expanding their ranges to cater for plus-size ladies and high-street chain Wallis are the latest to do so. It comes after much interest and demand from customers and I'm really glad they've listened to that. The Live Unlimited range comes in sizes 16-24, designed exclusively with curves in mind and to celebrate that shape. There's quite a bit of talk about "flattering" garments and silhouettes, which I know a lot of plus-size ladies take offence at or don't like to hear. Personally I buy what I like and what I think will suit me and don't pay much attention to specific product information regarding how it should be worn and why it was designed this way, so it doesn't bother me.  I'd ignore the words and concentrate on the garments instead!
For the most part I actually love the way they've styled the pieces and though not everything is to my taste (some of the tops especially veer into stereotypical "plus size" territory that I'd avoid), for a first collection I think it's rather good. I really like the use of the bold, watercolour-like floral print, which features on several items. Individually, I love the shape of the figure hugging scuba trousers £55 and the curved, back-split top £50, but I love even more that they've paired them together (as above). It makes the look feel very current, ticking that "co-ord" trend and it's bright and bold and attention grabbing, rather than the 'try and blend into the background' theory some plus size ranges favour.
The black drop hem top £40, isn't a shape I'd usually go for, but seeing it on the model here (again with those gorgeous floral trousers), has me lusting after it. It's got slim fitting jersey sleeves, then a sheer back, which flows beautifully.
Alongside the floral trousers are these grey jacquard ones £35. They look and sound like stretchy leggings to me, I think they'd look awesome with the black top above too. I also really like these animal detail trousers £45. They are made from thick jersey with a contrast snake print waistband and side panels, finished off with zip details. They look great with the printed items including the floral tunic top £45 and floral back cardigan £55 shown below.
Another really trendy item I'm pleased to see included is the kimono. There are several styles and prints to choose from and another (fringed one, below) that hasn't been released yet. The snake print one £75 looks great with the black trousers mentioned above and here is the beautiful purple patterned silk £65 and patterned lurex one £75, which is also available in the same print in a dress £55 and kaftan £55.
In a similar print to the snake trousers is this panel pencil skirt £35. I just know it's something I'd wear again and again. This time the pattern is reversed with the jersey fabric down the sides (and back) and the snake-print in the centre, giving the illusion of wearing a leather skirt without the restriction.
My favourite piece of the collection though, has to be this foil patterned skirt £45. It also comes in a shift dress £65, but I just love it in skirt form. It's a midi length and the lovely gold pattern is fancy without being too glitzy. I'd wear this with pretty much anything; t-shirts, jumpers, close-fitting cardigans, blouses, anything!
Overall I think it's a decent first collection, that fits with the rest of the brand and with the exception of a few of the tops is well designed for plus-size women. While I don't see myself in every item, I just know there are other plus-size bloggers out there that would rock them. I think the prices are on point with the rest of the site and until midnight tonight, there is 20% off (prices shown here without discount). An added incentive, is free express delivery (order before 9pm for next working day) when spending over £30 with the code WKEND30. So if you plan on buying, do so as quickly as possible : ) I'd love to see what you get.  What do you think?

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Saturday, 4 October 2014

New Look: Novelty Clutch Bags

Hello my lovelies, today I'm talking handbags! I've been bag OBSESSED lately. I guess for years the bag trends weren't to my taste, but now I see loads I love and can't stop buying them. At this rate, I need a dedicated room for them, never mind my shoes ; )
New Look have had a great selection of novelty clutches, especially their foody ones (shown with my Moschino Cheap & Chic 'Menu' bag (black version available here), I'm sooo taking this the next time I'm in a restaurant just to mess with them)! I bought the pink doughnut, hamburger and milkshake from ASOS and love them all. I know they aren't going to fit oodles of stuff inside, but for someone like me that just needs a phone, tissues, purse and lipstick, this is ample. Each one is fully lined with a nice weighty zip pull and dare I say they feel rather good quality! There's a mixture of textures and finishes (plain, patent, suede-like) and embroidered details on each one.
Hamburger clutch (£12) available from ASOS here or New Look here and purse here (£4.99).  
Pink doughnut clutch (£12) available from ASOS here, New Look here and purse here (£4.99).  Milkshake clutch (£12.99) available from ASOS here or New Look here.

All of these clutches are online exclusives.  I'm sure I mentioned to you in another post that I'd seen some new designs due instore in October (er now!), so I thought it was time to share them. I don't have a more specific instore date, so I'm checking every day! Each one is £12.99 and there's Christmas themes and OMG unicorns!! Obviously I'll be getting both colours and maybe a couple of the others.
The pale one is my fave, but the glossy black is pretty cool too.
Chocolate bar available from ASOS here and New Look here and purse here.
Chocolate coin at ASOS here and New Look here and matching purse here.
Gingerbread man.
Christmas bauble ball.
Snowman bauble head. Champagne Bottle.

I'm excited for these new releases.  Do you like these, will you be buying any?

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Thursday, 2 October 2014

Bought & Thought

I had a rather massive splurge at ASOS the other week, so I've got plenty of new buys to keep you amused with over the next couple of months.  I have to admit to typing 'unicorn' into clothing website search boxes just to see what comes up.  On ASOS, I do it daily.  Maybe even more than once!  This white unicorn t-shirt came up and I sulked immediately, thinking it wouldn't fit.  I've never had anything from Monki before, but when I clicked on it, I was pleasantly surprised to find 'large' was a UK 18.  I usually only need a 14/16 in t-shirts, but thought I'd best opt for the 18 as it looked quite slim fitting.  It actually fits perfectly, not too clingy but not big either.  It feels really soft, has a nice scoop neckline (usually the first thing I do with t-shirts is chop the high neckline) and it's short but not cropped.  Personally, I'd be tucking it into a skirt, so I don't like added bulk/length anyway.  The unicorns I'm sure you'll agree are adorable, they've got real cutesy faces.  It's a little see-through, not the worst I've seen and I was wearing a dark bra at the time, so I'm not sure if I'd want to wear a vest top underneath or if it would be fine with lighter underwear.  I was super impressed at the price too, only £8 and I had 20% off, so £6.40 for me. Do you like this?  As for the quote below, I wasn't feeling very inspirational or motivational this week.  It's been one piece of bad news after the other regards my health and now a close family member is extremely ill (can't really say too much just now), so that's completely rocked us all and left us feeling rather drained and uncertain of what's to come.  I'm guilty of 'glass half empty' far too often (I like to think of it as being realistic rather than pessimistic), so I like the analogy of this spin on it.  I think we could all use a field of wishes at some point.  Hope you're having a good week, let me know.      

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