This originally began as comments in my post about Damn You Alexis by my friend Diana, who you may remember from here, and who took photos of me a few weeks ago. She’s a complete stunner as well as a fashion photographer herself, and she pointed out how uncomfortable she was that the model used looked significantly smaller than the clothes being sold.

I know there’s been a massive amount of debate on this issue, for example the ASOS Curve models, Crystal Renn for Evans after losing weight, and so forth. For what it’s worth: I have no problem at all with straight size models! What I do feel strange about is the continued use of models who just about, if you squint and tilt your head, could be considered “plus size” modelling for a specifically plus size line, and the ramifications of that.

Apparently, tons and tons of research has been done on this sort of thing – and every time a model size 20 or over gets used, it’s really unsuccessful. Allegedly. The word that gets tossed about is “aspirational” – women want to think these clothes will make them look their absolute best, but a model that is genuinely similar to their size – or, heavens forbid, even larger! – is too close to comfort and apparently puts them off. As for me, I wonder whether they’ve been styled well enough, or shot by a good enough photographer, but what people in the industry say is that no matter what, showing women who actually fit into the clothes is offputting to customers. So they use thinner ones.

Here’s Diana‘s response, detailing exactly why she thinks it’s problematic. Please note there may be some triggering language regarding body image, health and weight.

That notion of “aspirational” advertising is rubbish within this sort of context. There is nothing wrong with using models from the smaller end of a range, as it is a size 6 / 8 which ends up selling a range of clothes aimed at people who will generally sit in a size 14 – 16 because I understand that notion of “perhaps I’ll look like that if I wear it”. And if transplanted, the higher sizes of this range such as the 24 / 26, would work with the model being an 18. Even a 16, pinned slightly. It just makes me angry because the women in these photos wouldn’t be able to buy these clothes to fit in that way, which in my eyes makes it as much of a lie as an insult.

Just want to do a little pointing out here, as a lot of you guys will be like “OMG Crystal Renn for Evans after she got slim!” It turns out that Crystal had a contract with Evans to be the face of the brand for three years, and it expired recently. So if it seemed a little off that Crystal Renn started losing weight and was still modelling for them, that was why.

If I want aspirational images, like most people we all have our ideal selves in our head, whether it’s a bit bigger, a bit smaller, or pretty dam close to where we are but just with a new hairstyle. I don’t need a clothing line catering for a larger size to say “Oh hey, here are some clothes, but you know what, they won’t look that good on you so here’s what you could look like if you decided to put down the cheeseburger and visit a gym”. I find it patronising, annoying, and filled with so much bias and loathing and it sends out such an unhealthy message mentally. We already have people like Tom Ford and Karl Lagerfeld to pass comment and make people feel inadequate. However, their clients are almost entirely made up of people who will to an extent, share or at least adhere to the virtues of their personal asthetic beliefs. Although it’s unkind, it’s a different market so they can, in essence, pass as much judgement as they want and not damage their own market, and upset their potential sphere of customers.

However this style of advertising and thinking within the plus size clothing world is NOT ON. There is enough guilt and shame as it is. People should be allowed to feel beautiful, wear pretty clothes, and not be made to feel abnormal or subhuman in any way. Some people over eat. Some don’t. Some people have hormonal issues which cause weight loss or gain. Some people have wobbly arms, some people have legs which look like they’d break under the weight of a stocking. It is apparently ok to look underweight. Applauded even. But to be a few too many pounds to get rid off that muffin top over those skinny jeans, then ohmygod, you’re Satan in red lipstick to the very people who are selling to you. More than anything, this is what irritatates me.

FASHION IS NOT A QUESTION OF HEALTH. I cannot stress that enough. Sure, being overweight may be unhealthy. Being underweight can be massively dangerous as well. But… and here’s the irony… being in the middle; a healthy body, healthy bmi… it’s still not good enough for fashion. Because, it’s not about health. It’s about HOW THE CLOTHES LOOK. Health is what is pushed in the face of those “unlucky” (and I use that term with my tongue firmly in my cheek) enough to be carrying a bit of extra winter warmth on the body to shame us, but it all comes down to how the clothes look. Or else everyone on the catwalk would be 5’6″ and a size 10 – 14! Not 6’2″ and extremely lean – occasionally to the point of danger. And now, we get proof that plus size fashion feels the same way.

Personally speaking I’m quite lucky that in terms of my size, I kind of slot between straight and plus. I can wear an 18, and sometimes squeeze into a 16 if it’s the right material and I’m wearing an ohmygodcannotbreathcorset. But like many people, I have lots of body hang-ups and, yes, would like to be a smaller size, especially with the nature of my job as a fashion photographer. I am certain that there is at least one shoot in the past that I didn’t get in the end despite being the best photographer for it, not because of my portfolio, but because I wasn’t a cool looking, floppy-fringed, waif-like beauty. And it annoyed me massively. That was enough “aspirational” negativity for me to pretty much stop eating my already low-fat, low-everything vegetarian lifestyle, and add a whole load of other borderline bullimic ellements into the mix to lose weight that was only there because my body can’t get rid of glucose properly, not because I over eat.

I don’t need these kinds of ad campaigns rubbed in my face. And to be honest, if I’d been asked to shoot a plus campaign with a model that’s too small for the actual clothes, I would have told them in no uncertain terms to go to hell. Plus size fashion is far more body conscious than straight size, and has more politics and boundaries that need to be addressed.

I’m not stupid; I understand as a photographer that an idea and perception are being sold, just as much as the product itself. However I am not comfortable that within the confines of campaigns like this, what’s actually being sold is more akin to a lie and a lack of self worth.

Another new fashion brand for you? Damn You Alexis launched a few weeks ago, offering an initial capsule range in sizes AUS16 – AUS24 (approximately UK18 – UK26). Xtina and Marie first brought this brand to my attention a few weeks ago, and I’m super impressed!

Damn You Alex

This debut collection is very simple, minimal and bodyconscious, with muted colours. But I love the detailing and shapes. As you might know, I’m a real stickler for detailing and exagerrated shapes in clothing, something that plus sizes tend to sadly lack. DYA has this in abundance – you can see that nothing has been watered down.

Damn You Alex


Aren’t they stunning?

That said, it’s not without controversy – prices range from $49 – $429, which received a lot of criticism and scrutiny to make sure such prices were worth it. It’s strange. I could post any number of straight size designers and brands and no one would bat an eyelid at the prices, but when it comes to plus sizes, anything over £100 gets balked at!  Why is that?

Personally, I have no problem with paying a great deal more than high street prices for better design, quality and fit (if I was able to afford it, of course) and the more people who realise that the better, in my opinion!

What do you think, peeps?

Hello peeps, I am slowly catching up on the British Style Bloggers poll – please vote for little old me? :)

So, a couple of the more beady-eyed among you may have noticed that I’ve added some new links in the SHOPS section – exciting times! – and I wanted to go into a little more detail. All of these designers and shops have been covered by other bloggers so there’s nothing really new here, but all the same I’m really excited by new options for plus size fashion so really wanted to feature them.


First up is Cali based Domino Dollhouse, which launched this week. It’s the baby of one of my absolute favourite bloggers, Chubble Bubble, so I’ve been waiting fervently for it to open for ages! CB’s style leans towards cybergoth and gothic lolita. She was constantly frustrated about the lack of options for fellow fat women, so set about creating a shop of her own.

I completely love the kooky, kitsch styles that she has on offer. It totally takes me back to when I’d spend hours staring longingly at the goth clothes on Camden Market that I could never fit into! I’ve rounded up a few of my favourite items so far…

dominodollhousefavesClockwise from top right: Cake clutch, £38.82; Dollface coat, £42.55; Comic Betty cardigan, £18.61; Optic dress, £15.95; Bubble Dotty skirt, £15.95; Nautical heels, £23.40; Icing Rose ring, £5.31

I just love it so much, so cute and quirky. I was actually really suprised at the pricing as well, everything is super reasonable. Yay!

The only slight issue I have is that there are only three sizes available, and so it is more tailored for the inbetweenies among us at the moment. But DH have confirmed that more sizes are on their way, and that the sizing is actually very generous so it’s definitely worth a try!

What do you think, peeps? Are there any recovering Camden goffs among you who might be tempted back after looking at these?

Bijou Bijoux

Thanks for all your entries into the Bijou Bijoux competition – so glad to see how much you love Alice’s designs. I finally managed to pick a winner…


Congrats to the lovely Sara of Lions, Tigers & Sara Oh My!

You get to pick a Bijou Bijoux item of your choice, and I will email you deets shortly.

I wish I could have given more prizes away as you all seem to love the designs so much! However Alice is offering FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING until Dec 1st on everything, with the code ILOVEPOCKETROCKET.

Thanks again everyone – until the next giveaway…

Hi everyone! Just a word of warning: as I write this you have less than an hour until I close entries for my Bijou Bijoux giveaway so get cracking if you want to enter!

Also, I’m up for blog of the month at British Style Bloggers – please vote for me? I’m way, way behind, oh dear.

As you may have noticed I’ve not been posting many outfit photos recently. A lot of it is due to the fact most of my winter clothes are about three years old and falling apart, and seriously, who wants to see that? I’ve not been buying any clothes (apart from tights, which I manage to rip within 10 mins of opening) due to lack of money so my daily outfits have all been worn to death and just don’t feel interesting enough to put on the blog!

Here is one outfit featuring Actual New clothes though, and I think is quite quietly smart.

Grey jumper: TU at Sainsbury’s
Black faux fur jacket: Yours (gifted)
Black ‘bandage’ skirt: Yours
Shoe boots: New Look

What’s basically tied me over this season is gifts, which I feel terrible admitting, but there it is. This outfit features two: one from Yours Clothing, a short black fake fur jacket, and a jumper which was bought for me by my mum.

Because my mum works at Sainsbury’s she gets a staff discount, including on their clothes. I find their line a little mumsy usually, but occasionally they have a few gems here and there. This jumper was one of them. It’s also available in red, I believe. It happened to be in the sale for about £8, so she bought it for me. It’s actually a knitted dress, and comes past my knees! However, I’m not mentally comfortable in knit dresses, because I don’t feel my shape really works with knits. But wearing it tucked into a skirt is great.

The Yours skirt I bought back in the summer (when I still had money!) and it was the last in store – otherwise I’d have bought 10. They’re the perfect length on me and so comfortable. I practically live in mine! Funnily enough I had another cropped, black, fake fur jacket by Yours many years ago, which I think I lost or chucked out and have mourned ever since. I was offered something by them and took the chance to fill my black fake fur void. It’s a lovely jacket – I look Michellin-Man like but I don’t care! It keeps me so warm.

I also received my presents from Nefertiti as part of Fashionable Santa this week!


I got a packet of chocolate biscuits, a chocolate coloured bag – although I’m not sure whether it’s a shoulder bag, or a bum bag/fanny pack? – which is very handy since my last bag is on death’s door! My favourite is definitely the “fashionista” necklace pictured below (and check out my crappy DIY half moon nails, too):


Thanks, Nefertiti! As for my presents, because of dealing with all the fraud stuff I haven’t bought mine – but they’ll be on their way very soon, I promise!

Bijou Bijoux

It’s time for another giveaway, guys! I’m really, really happy about this one.

Now before I extoll the virtues of how amazing Bijou Bijoux is, I must declare that I am 50% biased. Alice has been a good friend of mine for many years, so naturally I’ll support her. The other 50% is because her accessories are absolutely stunning, and everytime she debuts a new item I can’t help but swoon!

Bijou Bijoux

Alice began creating headpieces and accessories in mid 2009, “taking inspiration from her childhood in the Devon countryside, stories such as The Brothers Grimm, Hans Anderson, Narnia, The Wizard of Oz ruby slippers, or simply the majesty of the Universe.” Personally I love the mixture of romance and art noveau glamour present in her designs. Alice herself is the model in these shots – isn’t she a beaut?

Bijou Bijoux

Bijou Bijoux

Bijou Bijoux

We’re offering one of you lovely people the chance to win an item of your choice from Bijou Bijoux! All you have to do is leave a comment here stating that you’d like to enter.

If you want to up your stakes though, make sure you add Pocket Rocket and Bijou Bijoux on Facebook (+1 entry each). And if you REALLY want to win, you can tweet the following statement:

I’ve entered the @lapocketrocket & @bijou_bijoux giveaway! Gimmie!

Which’ll give you up to 4 entries in total.

Bijou Bijoux

In case you don’t win, Alice is kindly offering worldwide (yes, I said WORLDWIDE!) free shipping to readers of Pocket Rocket until December 1st – all you have to do is enter ILOVEPOCKETROCKET at the checkout of her Etsy shop.

The winner will be announced on Friday 26th November – good luck everyone!

Thank you so much for your amazing comments on my last post. I’m glad you managed to understand what I was trying to say – I wondered whether I’d waffled too much.

Moving on from Evans, I also nosed round Arcadia’s other brands to see what they’d come up with. For your information: Topshop and Miss Selfridge run to UK16 (though Miss Selfridge had a capsule range on Very that included UK18); Wallis runs to UK20; Dorothy Perkins runs to UK22, although they never seem to stock above an 18 and have begun to make their more fashionable garments stop at 18, GRRRR! But I digress.


Arcadia Press Day SS11
I’ve always found Wallis a more mature and womanly brand, but they had some great looks in their collection. It was divided into sections dedicated to different seventies style icons – one was Jerry Hall I believe, and was reminiscent of Marc Jacobs‘ sultry 70’s/80’s bohemian disco. They had this incredible dress that was a plum and pink colour-blocked kaftan – the model stretched out to show the sleeves were part of the same sheet of fabric . It’s hard to explain but I adored it! They also had an entirely white section that was influenced by Bianca Jagger, again with the luxury, disco aesthetic.

My favourite was their selection of re-imaginings of original 1950’s Wallis dresses for their heritage range, 1923. That was the year Wallis began trading, so they have lots of archives! The purple floral dress at the back is a genuine Wallis dress from the mid 50s, and it’s gorgeous. I would happy take home all of these, especially the red rose print – straight out of Oscar de la Renta and Erdem!


Arcadia Press Day SS11

Arcadia Press Day SS11

Arcadia Press Day SS11
I haven’t paid much attention to Miss Selfridge in recent years, though I was OBSESSED with them in my teens (not that I could fit into their clothes, even back then). I think in the 90’s Miss Selfridge were kinda what Topshop are now, it was THE high street shop for fashion.

Fast forward to now, they had some cute pieces although overall it felt very eclectic. I was taken with the sequinned jumpsuit and grey maxi!


Arcadia Press Day SS11
I have to say… wasn’t feeling Topshop‘s preview much. But that’s probably because I am counting down the days ’till the 90’s are over, and these guys aren’t ready yet! I did love this print though – winged horses on flying over space desertswith a neon sunset? YES. PLEASE.


Arcadia Press Day SS11

Arcadia Press Day SS11

Arcadia Press Day SS11
Dorothy Perkins had gone for the colour pops and appliques – as a result they were very much my favourite preview on the day. But then I should have known that. DP has always been the brand that seems most aligned to my tastes – probably because as much as I hate to admit it, I am a bit preppy at heart. And DP can do quintessentially British prep like no other.

I briefly spoke to their lovely knitwear designer who noted Jonathan Saunders and Marc by Marc Jacobs as the most influential designers on the overall look, and I can definitely see the influence. Everything was citrus coloured, light and breezy and covered in kitch patterns. My absolute favourites were a denim pencil skirt that had tiny hearts sewed on individually, and a white jacket emblazoned with giant daisies that fluttered. Absolutely loved it. I just hope they make it to the shops – and in my size! Although, I won’t hold my breath…

What do you lovely people think?


Hello you lovely, lovely people,

Apologies for the lack of activity on the blog of late – had a very stressful job interview which included me having to research for and give a 10 minute presentation on something I hadn’t known much about! I didn’t get the job in the end but I’m glad to have gotten through it and not run out screaming or anything. (Although immediately after I made my friend who works for the same company take me to a burger bar and get me an alcoholic milkshake to calm me down. It was 11.30am, haha.)

ANYWAY. I had been kindly invited to Arcadia‘s press day for their womenswear chains’ SS11 previews. Topshop, Wallis, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins presented their collections, though obviously my main focus was on Evans.

Arcadia Press Day SS11
I managed to talk with the lovely Evans team, including head designer Lisa Marie Peacock, who explained about the influences of the collection – although they stressed that this was “only a very small part of the story”, and that it was only a tiny selection of what will be available. As well as that, high street retail is a constantly running machine with new pieces being brought in and developed all the time.


My first question was, of course, to ask for reassurance that what’s being shown will actually make it store, and why that kind of thing has happened in the past which has saddened me and many others. Because obviously they must have intended to sell these pieces at some point, otherwise they wouldn’t have designed them in the first place. So what happens? Lisa Marie explained that everything in the collection had been ordered from the suppliers with every intention of eventually getting to store, but between ordering the samples and having it mass produced sitting in shops, there is a lengthy process with lots of revision on the garments. As a result there may be problems, such as with fabrics or (more likely) with fit – they use fit models in a range of sizes and take a lot of pain on having the garments fit well and admitted that if it looks bad on their fit models, it either gets modified until it does – or it gets dropped completely.

It is really disappointing when that happens, especially when some of those pieces have been their most fashion forward. One thing I will say is that this sort of thing doesn’t only happen in Evans – almost all high street chains create samples that are picked up by the press, only to never make it to the shops. I think we as a community concentrate on Evans more because they are the only plus size retailer that this happens to and we don’t know why. It’s actually very common in fashion retail, but Evans are the only plus brand that follow the same  fashion calendar as everyone else and create collections in advance. When you consider that pretty much all other plus size fashion retailers create their clothes on an ad hoc basis, it’s then kinda understandable that these errors only occur in Evans’ clothes. I’m fairly certain a lot of what I saw in Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge Topshop and Wallis might not ever see the light of day, it’s just that we tend to be less concerned with those stores as they don’t cater to us.


But back to the collection itself! Evans‘ collection has been six months in the making – I initially believed everything would be quickly turned out after the fashion weeks, but Evans (and the rest of Arcadia) have been working with trend predictors – what a job THAT must be! – to create cohesive brand collections. In Evans there were two main looks showcased, two “stories”: one focusing on the minimal trend as seen by designers like Phoebe Philo’s Celine, Chloe and Calvin Klein; another that concentrated on florals, sheer fabrics and denim which owed a lot to Alberta Ferretti and both ranges by Dolce & Gabbana/D&G. I also noted touches of Emilio Pucci and a teensy bit of Rodarte‘s china blue patterns, though obviously in a rather more mature and subdued way.

As for my personal feelings on the collection, I’m quite torn. I was a bit overwhelmed by the whole experience as it was my first ever press day, I got filmed for the blog and met with Evans‘ creative directors who are incredibly inspirational ladies and I could genuinely see designer references that I found really exciting and AAAAHHHHHH. And it’s true that there are lots of individual pieces I loved. For example, the very first thing I clapped eyes on was this:

Arcadia Press Day SS11
A maxi length, fully sheer white gown with embroidery detailing which I thought was just stunning. There were also two kaftans (yes, really!) I adored – one a maxi length, sheer brown, and another short, sheer, black, pleated number. They also had a black lace shift the same cut as the velvet and rose print Beth Ditto dresses. I was pleased with this as it was such a great cut – although I’d love to see it in white lace, or perhaps in a cute citrus colour. Here were two other things that caught my eye:

Arcadia Press Day SS11
A leopard print draped shift dress.

Arcadia Press Day SS11
My favourite (I’m so typical!): A peachy-cream coloured lightly shaped tunic with polka dot ruffle detailing.

But having come home, calmed down and looked back over the pictures, I must admit that the collection is much older and plainer than I’d have liked, especially compared to the straight sized collections. I guess this is mostly because the designers and trends they’ve emulated most weren’t my personal favourites this season. I’d have liked to see more bright colours and preppiness like Fendi, Gucci or Marc by Marc Jacobs for example, or even sultry art deco like Zac Posen. (I mean in an ideal world they’d be ripping off Pugh, Queen Viv, Balenciaga etc – but that’s WAY off!)

The thing with me is, now that I can see just how much work and consideration has been put in to making sure all of their customers are catered for I am willing to give them more lee-way and not write things off straight away, which is why I’m probably more positive about the collection than a lot of people, and probably more positive than I myself would have been had I  just seen pictures online. I feel this way with most plus size fashion brands, but I’m aware this post might make me look like Evans‘ bitch, and if it does then I am truly, truly sorry! But honestly, I really wish I could… I dunno, record some of the things that were said so you could hear them. Believe it or not the team are SO dedicated to breaking down boundaries, and finding answers – they know they are failing more people than they are helping at the moment, and they are trying to get back on track and give customers what they want – although it’s not an easy or particularly fast process, despite the internet sometimes making everything feel super fast and instantaneous. Does that even make sense? I’ve obviously been typing for way too long.

So there you go. If you made it this far – CONGRATULATIONS! I’m sorry everyone. Do you have any thoughts on this, the collection, or how Evans could improve?

Courtesy of

Hello all,

Thanks so much for your awesome comments on my last post – it was so interesting hearing all your views on how you dress! I’m actually in the middle of an image crisis, hilariously. I think recently I’ve been experimenting so much I’ve gotten myself a bit lost, and as a result never feel like I look like myself any more, which is sad. Also, I REALLY need to cut my hair.

But I digress. On Monday myself, Devon, Georgina, Carla, Steph and Kat travelled up/down to Peterborough, to visit Yours Clothing HQ for a meeting. To be fair calling it a meeting sounds far too serious – it was actually a really informal afternoon out that was a lot of fun. It was also just lovely to see everyone again and meet Georgina for the first time!

Yours are in a very interesting position at the moment – having been going for around 10 years, starting as a market stall and growing through word of mouth (I first discovered them 7 years ago, when one of my godmums took me and my mum to a Size Up in Rayleigh) only to find their worldwide popularity suddenly soar due to blogs and the internet. They recently went over to Paris to meet some fabulous French bloggers, and they felt it was only fair to talk to a few bloggers in the UK as well. Having spoken to Leigh on the phone it was clear that they’re really interested in developing their online community – so while only a few of us went up to meet them this week, eventually it’ll be more widespread. So please don’t feel left out!

After giving us a lovely lunch, we all took it turns to speak about our blogs – why we started them, what we write about, etc. It was really interesting to hear everyone’s stories and just how different all our approaches are. At the end of the day this is our hobby, so we just do things the way we feel most comfortable doing them. Although Carla and I admitted we might have to take off our “no ads” button because we’re so poor! Then we were taken on a tour of the office – everything is in the one building: office, customer service, warehouse, buying, and even a little photographic studio:

Courtesy of

Me pretending to be a model is getting beyond a joke now, seriously.

Lastly, the team let us try on bits and bobs for a couple of hours, which was really nice! We all loved the cropped fake fur jackets – I own the black one already, but the camel colour was just as lovely. Kat looked especially lovely in a sequin dress that was very flapper-esque, and Steph snuggled in a leopard print dressing gown, haha.

I had a great time, though the most interesting thing to me was hearing about how the company works. It really dawned on me the freedom an independent and practically family-owned company like Yours Clothing has. Because they have no higher bureaucracy to square with, their apparent passion for providing plus sized women with great clothes allows them to take risks and do things other retailers aren’t always able to. Their willingness to accept potential profit losses shocked me, in fact – for example they’ll order only 50 so of a particularly daring item, just so their customers who want it are catered for. Think about that for a second. That level of individuality and regard for the varied tastes of their customers is unbelievably impressive to me.

That’s not to say other brands aren’t passionate about plus size fashion or their customers –  not at all. I’ve not encountered anyone so far who isn’t as committed to making women of all sizes and tastes feel and look amazing. But brands that may be part of a group, or an offshoot of a straight-size high street retailer, tend to be cast aside and treated as a commodity, not being given the budget or even time to develop as fully as they would like. For example one retailer with a plus size offshoot is hosting their press day today, and, naturally, the plus size section isn’t included. I can see the frustrations and it’s so sad, you know? Yours Clothing (and Simply Be, to an extent) are lucky in that they don’t have to deal with any of this, as plus sizes are the main focus of the company.

Oh my god, I’ve gone on a one way ticket to Tangent City! I suppose if I have any qualms with Yours Clothing, it would be that I’d like for their clothes to interpret the runway more often – their general inspiration comes from the UK high street and celebrities, which isn’t bad in itself but since they tend to emulate the catwalk anyway, it can come across as versions of a version – if that makes sense.

I would also love for them to open a store in central London. Believe it or not, there is barely anything for the plus size shopper in London, and a store there would be very well welcomed.

Phew, I’m done. Apologies if that was a bit TL;DR, you guys! If you have any thoughts please let me know, I’d love to hear your views!