Category Archives: Fashion

FatPhrocks give you Wingz  

Red Chiffon Wingz

You know how it is; you’ve spent ages looking for the perfect outfit, and set your heart on a glamorous, sophisticated party dress. The only problem is, it’s a sleeveless dress and you don’t really want to work the bare-armed look at the office ‘do’.

Maybe you don’t like your arms, because you think you’ve got a bit of the dreaded ‘bingo wings’ going on (although I think you should be out and proud, listen to Paloma Faith’s ‘Me and my Cellulite’ and never, ever be ashamed of your body) or perhaps you just don’t think it’s appropriate to be flashing lots of bare skin at a work gathering?

It could just be a practical thing – after all, you can’t always trust the weather….

Of course, you could wear a bolero or a shrug over the top, but why cover up the beautiful frock you’ve spent all that time hunting the high street for? What’s the point of that?

FatPhrocks to the rescue!

All you need is Wingz. There are so many gorgeous styles, fabrics and designs, and as from next week there are four brand new additions to the range, the pretty stretch lace Wingz that will look absolutely spot-on underneath a sophisticated party dress. No more hitching up a cardi or shrug every five minutes, the practical and fashionable Wingz stay in place all night and as an added bonus they even give your boobs a bit of a boost as they fit under your bust.

I love these things! The range features black and white lace, half and full sleeve Wingz, up to a size 28, purple, red and blue chiffon, animal print and even a wedding pair. They are affordable too, so you can match a fab pair of Wingz to almost any outfit for under £20.

You can win a gift voucher for £20 to put towards anything on the Wingz website moment if you pop on over to like their Facebook Page and  enter the giveaway before June 9th – or you can post a picture of an outfit you think would look great with a pair of Wingz (you don’t have to be wearing it, if you’re camera shy) and win a pair to match! Check out the blog, too…

 

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One step forward…

….and three steps back.

That’show it sometimes feels to me, anyway.

This post comes to you as a mixture of thoughts and feelings after reading blog posts, news reports and more and it’s just a hotch potch of my feelings around the issue of plus size fashion and body image.

First of all, I read a brilliant post by Georgina at Fuller Figure Fuller Bust. She’s been called out by some people in the size acceptance crowd because she dares to be freaking gorgeous to look at, and to enjoy using shape wear to enhance what nature gave her. She also admitted that yeah, she’d like to lose a few pounds, which is a bit of a heresy to some sections of the plus size community. It resonated with me; I think corsets, shape wear and hold it all in pants are a wonderful invention. I wore them for my wedding; I was quite well aware that a bit of Gok branded Lycra underpinning wouldn’t make me look thin, but it did hide the VPL, smooth everything out a bit and make the dress look good, so I’m not complaining.

I also don’t see why Georgina should be criticised for the fact she is lucky enough to be pleasing to the eye. It doesn’t detract from the fact that she writes a successful blog and is entitled to her opinion on plus size issues. She talks about ‘militant fatties’ who happily let it all hang out in bikinis and embrace their fat…well, I think they should also be able to do as they please too, fat isn’t disgusting, it’s just fat for God’s sake. But they don’t get to insist that we all do the same, any more than slim people get to tell fatties what they can and can’t wear.  As Georgina puts it:

To be ‘body positive’ when you’re plus size you don’t need to look or act a certain way. You simply need to appreciate that all bodies are good bodies, and short of getting arrested, believe that people can dress how they like.

and, “being body confident does not mean you need to insult women who look different to you in order to validate your own looks. If you want to be accepted for your appearance then you need to accept others, because if you can’t, how you can expect people to accept you?”

It all ties in with the experiences of another plus size fashion blogger, Betty Pamper, who posted this image of herself in leggings from the Yours Clothing Facebook Page and got some less than flattering responses…from other plus size women.

silver leggings

“I think it’s just a hard fact we need to hear: There are just some items of clothing that bigger people should stay away from at all costs. No ifs. No buts. No ‘beauty is on the inside.’ These leggings are included in that list”

Really? Now, I’m not perfect – I looked at the pics of Gabourey Sidibe at the Golden Globes this week, and yeah, I thought the dress she was wearing was just – hideous. It was the dress that was hideous though, and not the wearer. I thought the same about some of the dresses worn by the skinny actresses too, sometimes people wear clothes that make you think “Really?”

The outfit above isn’t one of those ‘oh dear’ outfits though. I think Betty looks gorgeous, and she’s got the sass to be able to pull off silver leggings so fair play to her. If she feels good in that outfit, and the same goes for Gaby too, she should damn well be able to wear it without snarky comments from the kind of people who should be bigging her up for not hiding herself away in ‘media approved’ fat girls clothes.

The thing that annoys the crap out of me isn’t what fat women choose to wear, whether leggings suit fuller figured girls or if plus size bloggers should admit to a penchant for shape wear. It’s that we should be sticking together, accepting that fuller figured women AREN’T all the same, and that yes, it’s OK to feel that you want to improve yourself, if that’s your choice. Bitching, sniping and pulling each other’s fashion and lifestyle choices to pieces just makes a mockery of body positivity. There are no rules. You shouldn’t have to be brave enough to wear a two-piece bikini to fit in, there aren’t any entrance requirements, body positivity is supposed to be supportive, friendly and POSITIVE. The clue is in the name.

Most of the people I’ve come across in my journeys as a plus size blogger and writer have been fabulous.  When it’s good, it works. That’s what I love, the camaraderie, friendliness and non-bitchiness of it. So can we all play nicely, please?

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British Plus Size Fashion Weekend 2014

British Plus Size Fashion Weekend 2014

British Plus Size Fashion Weekend is back  on the 14th & 15th February!

I’m hoping to get up there this year, to the Vinopolis in London, I missed out last year, which was a shame.

Evans is sponsoring this year’s event along with Simply Be and Woman’s Own magazine, and the whole weekend is perfectly placed to help women of all sizes feel fabulous, with high street retailers finally getting to grips with the plus size market including Debenhams who announced they were introducing size 16 mannequins in some stores.

Get ready for four fabulous fashion shows, all showcasing top plus size designers including Evans, Tika Soomak, Dea London, Scarlett & Jo, JANE WATSON and OPhee.

Event day is Saturday 15th February, with shop your shape workshops, a marketplace laid out according to body type and catwalk fashion shows featuring plus size bridal, lingerie, indie designers, swimwear and more.

 

For more info and tickets, go to the BPSFW website. You never know, I might meet you there?

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Agent Burlieque: Paint the town glitzy with burlesque!

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According to Sapphire Rox, the creator of Suffolk-based burlesque outfit Agent Burlieque, Burlesque can transform our vision of ourselves, bringing confidence and an inner sparkle to anyone who takes part – as well as those who watch the group’s fantastic cabarets and performances.

You can find out for yourself if you’re in Suffolk around 6th and 7th  December – the Christmas Burlesque Cabaret is hitting the town and painting it unashamedly glitzy. Starring the internationally acclaimed Hot Cake Kitty and hosted by songstress extraordinaire Lili La Scala and more, the show will be full of Christmas glamour and celebration.

I spoke to Sapphire about why she thinks burlesque is such a fabulous show both for the entertainers and the audience.

agent burlieque

For those of us who might not know, what is burlesque about?

“Burlesque has many different faces. Mainly it’s an art form used to express a theme along with femininity; done well it is a tantalising expression of the female and sometimes male form.

“At Agent Burlieque we like to work with highly expressive performers who can captivate audiences and  keep them on the edge of their seats. Burlesque appeals to women on a grand scale as it inspires and empowers them.”

What was it that got you fired up to start your own troupe?

“I’m a Londoner born and bred, but I moved to Suffolk to raise my young family and I had to leave the creative scene in London behind.

“I expected  Suffolk to have an established burlesque scene and was blown away when I couldn’t find anything like burlesque at London standard. I took it upon myself to do something about it, and that’s how Agent Burlieque started. We’re a burlesque troupe and also a booking agent, an events company that holds hen nights and workshops.”

The outfits are amazing – where do you get them from?

“Thank you! Each performer carefully selects costumes that reflect the themes of their acts; and of course they need to be easily removable! We all scout high and low for pieces, in vintage markets and car boot fairs, burlesque swap shops and high street stores. Then we customise! Burly girls are known to stay up all night carefully rhinestoning and glitzing up outfits, trimming with beads and making props by hand.”

Agent Burlieque is made up of women from many backgrounds – can you tell us a bit about them?

“The core troupe of Agent Burlieque changes, as does the burlesque scene. We have around 40 performers from all different walks of life, most of them with day jobs. We currently have a call centre worker, a hairdresser, a fire fighter, a tattoo artist, a mum, a prison officer and a stay at home father!”

Let’s be honest – women who are big, curvy or fat are derided constantly in the media. Do you really think that burlesque can help a bigger woman feel more confident in a fat-phobic world?

“I think it’s terrible that we as humans are made to feel constantly terrible about ourselves. And it’s not about being different; we all know size 16 is the average woman’s size in the UK and yet women of this size and bigger are  singled out and encouraged to be ashamed of our body shape. Burlesque fights that to the very core. The following burlesque has I think is largely down to the sheer love of the human body and the empowerment found by both men and women when they watch burlesque.

“Burlesque has the ability to transform current thinking about body shape and what we should look like.”

What’s your take on the way fat people are bullied by the media?

“You know I really am up for celebrating curves, but also thin people, gay men, everyone. None of us should feel ashamed of who we are simply because the advertising agencies want to make a mint out of us. To be ashamed gives the diet, media and fashion industries a financial gain.

“There is a different way to live and that is to accept and celebrate who you are as an individual; and sometimes it can be hard to do that. But find burlesque and you will find you are happy just the way you are.

“I think it is the only industry I know of that can positively transform the media’s harmful message about the female form.  After shows both men and women thank me for bringing them peace…peace that they are just right however and whoever they are.”

Do you have any advice for curvy girls on looking and feeling fabulous?

“Yes!! Show it off! Be confident in the way you dress, don’t hide. Put your red lippy on, do your hair, wear high-waisted skirts and show of that backside! Put on your heels when you go out and paint a ‘look at me’ expression on your face.

“We’ve been told by the media that people only want to look at us when we are thin and model like, but we want to look at them because they are confident and happy in themselves, not because they are thin.

“Once you start showing off your curves instead of hiding them under loose clothes you will also attract the positive attention you deserve and you’ll be sending out the positive message to other curvy people that curves are sexy!”

If you want to find out more about Agent Burlieque, contact Sapphire via the website, or like on Facebook.

 

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Plus size fashion goes with the flow

VB dress

You know the rules. We’ve been trying so long to bust the stereotypes of the plus size woman in the kaftan or loose flowing skirt, that we’ve got all militant when it comes to our fashion sense and banned anything loose from our wardrobes. We can do body-con, we love a bit of tailoring. What’s wrong with embracing our curves? No more tents, thank you very much!

Except, sometimes it’s just good to, you know, let it all loose. I follow the brilliant Mason Bentley fashion blog, and when questioned during London Fashion Week about what was hot for 2014, loose was the way to go according to Anna Mason and Kate Bentley. These two are my kind of designers – they started their journey making clothes for themselves and friends, but demand outstripped supply and now they are creating their very own capsule collection. You can see them talking fashion sense here:

So if we’re talking loose and flowy, where can we find something that looks good, rather than as if it’s been designed to double up as somewhere to camp at Glastonbury? we want curve-skimming and comfortable, not voluminous. As an aside, I love you, Victoria Beckham, but THAT dress? The one above? Didn’t do it for me.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve found.

Vintage Look Swing Dress ASOS Curve £40

.Vintage Look Swing Dress ASOS Curve in Red £40

This gorgeous swing dress is from ASOS Curve, available in red and black, and would look lovely either as it is, with tights and boots, or over leggings in the winter. At £40, you could probably get both, and it’s easy to dress up or down depending on your mood.

From Simply Be, the Rise Judy Beaded Cuff  Tunic dress – £70 – has a real seventies’ vibe to it – maybe it’s just the turquoise that’s making me think it wouldn’t look out of place on the cover of Cosmo in 1974? If you’re not brave enough to go all the way and wear the jade version, you can dress it down a bit in black instead. Would look amazing with a floppy hat and HUGE sunnies on holiday, but in colder climes it might be best to cinch it in the middle with a wide belt, slip on a pair of skinny jeans underneath and wear it with flatties for a casual and comfortable look. Or you could wear it with a pair of funky tights from Miss Difusa:

Rise Judy Cuff Tunic Simply Be £70 Miss Difusa floral tights £6.99

Long flowing skirts always feel good at this time of year and I’ve found a great buy – the half-lined georgette/jersey maxi skirt from Grazia at Simply Be. It’s currently just £20 if you want to invest in a nice little flowing number.

Grazi Maxi skirt £20 Simply Be

I’m not entirely sure why it’s so cheap, but I kinda like it.

Finally, if you want to make a very bold fashion statement, you could hunt down some of these Paper Moon wide legged palazzo pants. I found them on Amazon and I think you can also

Paper Moon Palazzo Pants £13.95 buy them on eBay; on Amazon these pirate-printed beauties were only £19.95 so they’re worth shelling out for and the elasticated waistband makes them perfect for maternity as well as “I ate way too much for dinner.”

What do you think? Will you be embracing the loose and flowing trend this season, or sticking to flaunting your feminine curves in more structured pieces?

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Review: Wingz by FatPhrocks

Wingz2

The Selfie is not my friend…

OK, I have to hold my hands up and confess right now that FatPhrocks are a client of mine. But I’m quite honestly wearing a pair of their darling little Wingz as I type, and I’m going to give them an honest write up.

Wingz are a hybrid underwear/outerwear garment that answers the question “What can I use to cover my arms when it gets cold?”

If, like me, you aren’t a fan of long sleeves, but you know the time’s coming to cover up your arms because goosebumps just aren’t attractive, if you own a pair of Wingz you might be able to eke out a little bit more wear from your sleeveless summer tops, rather than sadly shut them away in a drawer after September.

They look a bit odd when you get them out of their packaging, and then if you’re like me, you might put them on the wrong way around, despite the helpful little tag that indicates where the back is. Ahem. They feel a bit tricky when you first put them on, I had to fiddle with mine to make it hide my bra straps, and sit where I wanted it to.

Once I’d got mine in place over my bra and under my top, though, it felt very comfortable, and less bulky than the jersey top that I’d been wearing under my Joe Brown’s tunic. I picked the lacy sleeves, but I also have a plain black pair and a dressy pair with floaty arms that will look good under a lot of my summer short sleeved tops.

They are the perfect length for me, although I know another blogger has reviewed them and she mentioned that she found the sleeves too short. Personally, I hate sleeves that come all the way to my wrist and I always roll them up anyway, so it’s fine by me. I’d say the lace ones are elbow length, and the plain ones look about the same.

I had no problem getting them to fit my arms either, they feel stretchy enough to accommodate a bit of bingo wingage and they don’t feel too tight on me at all. I did have to pull the band down at the back to get it to stay in place, but once it was there it stayed put all day. I know, don’t remind me, I haven’t done anything more energetic than the washing up in them.

I will definitely be wearing my new Wingz again, and I’d recommend them to anyone who isn’t yet ready to put her sleeveless tops away for the winter…

Wingz1

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The REAL Style Council

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Anyone who’s anyone in plus size fashion knows about Nicolette Mason, Fat Girl in a Skinny World for Marie Claire US and the drop dead gorgeous blogger who is right on the pulse when it comes to curvy girl chic. She’s a bit of a heroine of mine, and even more so now she’s announced that she’s part of the Navabi Style Council.

To those of us who associate the Style Council with one of Paul Weller’s more forgettable musical projects, as of 2013 it’s a genius idea that brings together a group of the world’s most stylish plus-size fashionistas to give us mere mortals wise words of fashion advice via the Navabi website. Nicolette Mason posts about finding the perfect pair of jeans, while the gorgeous Fluvia Lucerda (who has graced the cover of Beautiful Magazine, too) talks about why curves are hot hot hot!

Meanwhile, did you know that we actually have a plus size fashion columnist in UK Cosmo? I didn’t wither, but you can check out Laura Puddy’s advice on the just-right jacket over there now (I still want the gorgeous lace biker jacket from Evans, just so you know) too.

Luciana Scmidt

Luciana Scmidt

Other fashion experts in the know are blogger Luciana Scmidt, plus size model Elisa D’Ospina and Edith Dohman (who talks about a subject close to many of our hearts: in-between sizing)

This is a really clever move from Navabi, a high-end designer store for plus size fashion fiends. I have to confess haven’t been high up on my fashion radar until I saw Nicolette’s blog yesterday morning, but I’m thinking the designs might be aspirational enough to keep me coming back for a good nose around (I absolutely adore most things Anna Scholz and I didn’t even know Roberto Cavalli did a plus size line.)

Have to say I think it’s a genius move here by Navabi, associating their website with some of the most popular fashion bloggers and models from around the world. I’ll definitely be bookmarking it…

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