Hello everyone!

Before I go on with the outfit, I just want to say a massive thak you to all of you who commented on my last post. There were so many I didn’t really know where to start replying, so please don’t think I was ignoring you or didn’t care – I do, very much, and I’m so bloody grateful. To be honest, that post wasn’t about me giving up – it was about me not giving up. It was me remembering what I blog for, which is difficult when loads of exciting stuff comes my way and can cloud things a little.

Anyway. Onwards!

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Image: me, standing in front of a gated park and a huge tree, next to a black ornate lamppost. I’ve got a red bodycon skirt, black top and cardigan.

Top: ASOS Curve
Skirt: Forever 21+
Shoes: New Look
Cardigan, handbag: Primark

The lovely Isha took this photo for me round the back of where I work. It’s so pretty, like the London you see in Richard Curtis movies. This is a pretty pedestrian “look”, I wanted to be smart and also try out my nice new top from ASOS which I got as a result of a sale splurge. Most of it didn’t look right so got sent back, hehe. I hate myself but I love the Primark bag – I’m hoping that I can cart my proper camera around with me so I can get properly nice pictures for the blog at some point. Fingers crossed…


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By rights, I should never let a photo like this appear on my blog. My un-dyed hair hasn’t been washed since Thursday. My dress is creased from a day’s wear. I’m positioned in a way that you can see my epic back bulge (I have more cleavage at my back than I do at my front). I’m only wearing a bit of mascara and eyeliner.

There are no accessories. No clashing colours. No mixed patterns. Nothing extraordinary.

I recently saw a question posed to Bethany on ask.fm that said most successful UK bloggers were boring and didn’t deserve their success. It was an emotional day (the day my dress launched) and I came away and cried. I’ve little doubt that I was one of the bloggers implied, and I don’t blame them.

The thing is, yes, I’ve done phenomenal things with this blog – but you’ll never meet anyone who thinks I deserve the recognition I get less than I do. I didn’t start blogging because I wanted success, free clothes, invites to events. I didn’t start my blog because I believed I dressed better than other women, or that I had an innate sense of style. I started my blog because there was a conversation, one that excited me, and I wanted to contribute to it. That’s it.

Over the years, I have battled with myself to not delete the blog. I see that there are far better dressed, more intelligent, more politically savvy bloggers arising, not to mention women who are far more attractive than I. There are many times when I feel alienated and outcast from the community. I recognise that I don’t have anything particularly unique to contribute, and I’ve thought about passing the metaphorical baton to the next generation and stepping into the shadows.

But I do have something to contribute. There is point to this blog. And when I remember it, after a while of the purpose getting lost, it’s so visceral and powerful:

I am contributing to the canon of fat bodies and providing a narrative of someone living their life while fat, in an age when we are denied our voices at any cost.

Not fat bodies and lives in abject misery. Fat bodies and people who, despite the attempts of almost everyone, don’t quite despise themselves. Those of us who should stay in bed, hidden, but who every day wake up and get on with their day the best they can.

That’s why I’m still around, even if I’m not adventurous in my dress sense. I hope that people can find my blog, and through me find blogs of other fantastic people, and begin to feel that they aren’t alone. And, I hope that if someone is starting to feel like they aren’t a good fatty because they don’t have coiffured hair or have gone out in a dirty top or whatever, that they can see me on just an average, slobby day and know that they are totally fine.

Or maybe I should accept that it’s time to close shop.


Oh. My. God.

The dresses went on sale Friday. Some of the sizes are sold out already, and Simply Be are getting more stock in to fill the demand. I’ve bought all three dresses and they’re just divine. I’m so happy with mine, and Laura and Em did such an incredible job on theirs.

Thank you so much, all of you who attended the event in Manchester two weeks ago, who have said lovely things about my dress design, bought it, or just been supportive. Thanks to the AMAZING Simply Be team for being excellent.

This has been the best experience blogging has brought me, and I’m SO damn lucky.

Thank you. x


Yesterday's make up, greasy hair... My @cultofcali jumper makes up for it tho. #ootd #plussize #fatshion #psbloggers

Dress: New Look Inspire
Jumper: Cult of California
Ring: David Bowie Is… exhibition (it broke after I took this pic!)
Necklace: Primark

Hello all, I hope you’re well? I’m off to Portugal this week with my pals for Optimus Primavera (I really have to concentrate to not type Optimus PRIME-avera) Sound festival. I ARE EXCITE. Gonna drink port, eat francesinha and if I don’t die from those, see some of my favourite bands. Yay. Let’s hope the weather is a bit better than my holiday in Spain last year, at least.

I also wanted to say thanks for the amazing and thoughtful comments on my last entry. It’s been great to hear your stories, even though some have made me angry that Charlotte’s isn’t an isolated case, but more a systematic failing in the fashion industry. But thankfully, there IS a happy ending! Charlotte got to show her collection, and the models (including some plus size fashion bloggers you know and love) looked wonderful. I really can’t wait to buy some of the designs!

It’s been a while since I did an outfit post, but in the meantime I’ve been making use of my new bedroom mirror to instagram OOTDs before I head off to work! Most of you probably already follow me there, but in case anyone missed them, here’s what I’ve been wearing lately.

Today's dress. See, I don't just wear outfits on the blog once ;) #ootd #fatshion #plussize

Dress: Simply Be (2012)
Belt: Evans (2011)

Nice thing about having a massive mirror - more frequent outfit documentation. #fatshion

Dress: Lovedrobe 2011

Friday's outfit #ootd #plussize #fatshion

Top: Primark (2012)
Cardigan: Dorothy Perkins (2012)
Skirt: Forever 21+

Monday - keeping this chiffon skirt down in the wind is gonna be HELL. #ootd #fatshion #plussize

Dress: Ax Paris Curve* (2012)
Cardigan: Torrid* (2011)
Necklace: Accessorize* (2011)

Unintentionally matching my #ootd to my bedroom #fatshion #plussize

Dress: Yours Clothing (2011)
Necklace: not sure as it was a birthday present in 2012
Cardigan: Dorothy Perkins (2012)

Wearing a skirt under this dress to combat the wind #ootd #fatshion #plussize

Dress: Yours Clothing* (2012)
Cardigan: Dorothy Perkins (2012)
Necklace: Tatty Devine*

Not sure if bopping so wearing my comic skirt instead :) #ootd #fatshion #plussize

Top: ASOS (2012)
Skirt: Primark
Necklace: Queer Riot

Plain #ootd from me today #fatshion #plussize

Top: ASOS (2012)
Skirt: Forever 21+
Necklace: Tatty Devine (2012 sample sale)

Lazy Sunday #ootd - love my sundress from Very last year. #fatshion #plussize

Dress: South by Very (bought in the January sale as it’s from last summer’s collection)
Cardigan: Dorothy Perkins (2012)

PHEW! Maybe I’ll do weekly round ups to spare you all. I’m not sure how I’d even describe my style, it’s a bit safe – pretty dress, black cardi. Maybe I’ll take some more risks this summer…


One of the most heartening things I’ e seen since I began blogging is the rise of my fellow fat women studying  fashion design. In the US there is the phenomenal Ashley Nell Tipton whose collection has just launched (and who I will be blowing my next wage on); our beloved Rosie; the lovely Francesca; and Charlotte. I’ve been twitter friends with Charlotte for a few years now and I’ve always loved her personal style, so was immensely excited to see her final collection. She posted it on her blog this week, and… Wow. It’s incredible. Cheeky, flirty and fresh.

Now here’s where I have to take a different tone. Having followed Charlotte all through her course, I’ve seen how she’s struggled to make this collection a reality. From my point of view, it seems like she had no support whatsoever from her university, for the sole reason that she stuck to her guns and wanted to make a plus size collection. Apparently they were enthusiastic about the idea (when they still felt there was time for her to change her mind and do a straight size collection instead, no doubt) but once she decided her collection would be plus size, was essentially told “you’re on your own”. Charlotte has had to make all her own pattern blocks and source models for the runway show herself –  and has been told she can’t show at the uni’s London showcase.

Given what Charlotte was up against, that she created a collection of plus size clothes that I and loads of other fashionable fat girls have been crying out for for years is absolutely amazing. In fact, I know of someone else who was forced to make her own pattern blocks and source models after her uni refused to support her: Anna Scholz.

Charlotte doesn’t know what grade she’ll get for her collection. A grade from people who are too feeble to think outside of the very narrow box of the fashion industry? I don’t even think it matters.

 Good news! Charlotte has her six models, and can show on Wednesday! Can’t wait to see the results!

If anyone is able to travel down to Southampton this Wednesday 22nd May, over 5’4″, size 18-24 and can walk in a straight line without falling over, please let Charlotte know and you can actually wear these gorgeous clothes! 

 


So Fabulous Event

This is my fashion face. Also, holy eyebags, Batman.

Dress: Simply Be*
Boots: Evans
Hair clip: “vintage” (aka I bought it when I was kid and it magically hasn’t managed to get lost since 1995)

So Fabulous Event

See, I DO laugh!

For Littlewoods” So Fabulous event all about their autumn/winter plus size fashion, I wore my favourite new dress. I’ve put it in a separate post because I always feel it’s a bit rude to talk about a rival in a post about a brand event? I dunno. ~Blogging politics, haha! This dress was given to me, although not for a review or anything – when I was in Manchester for a meeting about my dress (save your pennies for June 14th, peeps) they let us take something home. I was completely in love with this and had planned to buy it anyway so I was cheeky and went for it. I’ve worn it more times than I can count, and, even though I’m not particularly shapely I love how I look and feel in it. Other lovely bloggers like Sian and Rosie have worn it and look gorgeous, too!

You know why I love this dress so much? All it is is a basic shirt dress, with a couple of bits missing. But those cut outs make all the difference. It adds character. It’s a talking point. It’s the kind of dress you’d find in any young fashion boutique – but it’s plus size.

My beloved Evans boots, after three trips to the menders have finally retreated into that shoe shop in the sky. Parting was such sweet sorrow, but at least the sun’s out now and I can wear pumps.

Also, I really need to sort my hair out. If anyone has ideas for a hair makeover, I’d love to hear it!


So Fabulous Event

So Fabulous glitter cupcakes

I really am a lucky girl – on Wednesday I attended a blogger event run by the guys at So Fabulous at Littlewoods. It was the first event they’d done ever, and I think they did a great job! I feel like sometimes I don’t give them their dues when in fact they are one of the shops I purchase from most, and some of my favourite clothes are from either the South or So Fabulous collections!

So Fabulous Event

One of the SF clothing rails. Peplums, lace, florals and sequins.

So Fabulous Event

Another SF rail, this time with hot pinks and camouflage jackets that everyone loved.

We all had a browse of their latest collection, and I got to try on some dresses I’d been eyeing on site for ages (and which I will probably go and buy now, haha!). They also set us a little team challenge – half of us were asked to come up with a look for a job interview, and the other half – my team – were challenged to come up with a look for a night out dancing.

Becky was on model duties for the team I was in, and here she is working our night out look where we took the “more is more” approach:

So Fabulous Event

Becky working her “night out in the west end” look! I couldn’t fit in the INCREDIBLE heels she was wearing.

Awesome, no? I also loved the other team’s look for a job interview – I’d never have thought to put a blouse under a skater dress (I’d have just worn it as a casual day dress) but Betty looked so smart and gorgeous:

So Fabulous Event

Becky models her “job interview” look – I loved this!

Afterwards we all caught up and also got into a bit of a debate where we talked about which brands we think are doing great things, what we like and dislike about plus size fashion, the size ranges of plus size brands and also the eternal plus size model debate. I always love a good discussion about these things, hopefully I didn’t get too carried away!

I used the event as an excuse to try out my new camera, although I’m still a total novice and half my pictures are a blurry mess. But I got some gorgeous ones of some of the other bloggers in attendence, yay!

So Fabulous Event

Love Mel. She looked so good in her dress I had not-buying-regret for the rest of the day!

So Fabulous Event

Callie checking out her photographs

So Fabulous Event

Becky and Naomi posing for the camera!

I loved the clothes (especially the dresses, as always) and the team were super positive and passionate about the clothes, which was brilliant to see. I have to say I mostly just loved catching up with my blogging buddies seen above and including Kirsty and Hanna, and meeting Betty and Toni for the first time, finally! Bring on Plus North!


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You know how in my post about ASOS Curve‘s autumn lookbook I said that it sometimes felt like I was waiting for a crush to shower attention on me? Well if I’m the Angela Chase in this story, ASOS’ Jordan Catalano really decided to pull out all the stops and make me feel special a few weeks ago. It was awesome.

A few of us got to preview the selection for spring and summer at the amazing Duck & Waffle, somewhere I’ve wanted to go for ages. It was a really lovely evening and the view and food were incredible, but of the course the clothes were the most important thing, as you can imagine.

ASOS spring summer 2013

Since I’ve been blogging I’ve been lucky enough to attend a few different previews for various brands, and while the clothes have always been nice I’ve often felt twinges of disappointment when they inevitably aren’t particularly fashionable or clearly geared for a different type of woman than me. You can probably guess that ASOS Curve’s spring rail was met with a chorus of gasps and oohs and grabby hands. It’s exactly the kind of stuff you find in their main range – but in size fat! I hastily snapped a few pics on my iPhone and twitter and instagram went slightly crazy. Dungarees! Crochet hot pants! Neon-embellished fairy dresses! Floral cullottes! Monochrome graphic print shift dresses! Broderie Anglaise crop tops and chiffon lemon maxis! Satin patterned bomber jackets!

ASOS spring summer 2013

Some of the items we saw are available on site already, with the rest arriving throughout May and June. I really can’t wait to buy up most of it, so chances are you’ll be seeing it on the blog very soon!


Take 5: Project D London

Image: me, outside(!) wearing a white dress with bright accessories. I have my hand on my head and I’m squinting because of the sun.

Dress: Project D London, Carnegie*
Feminist Killjoy Necklace: Wicked Queer
Lightning Bolt Ring: David Bowie Is… via V&A
Batman ring: Claire’s
Rocket Brooch: Life’s Big Canvas*

Take 5: Project D London

Image: Me, as before, only this time I’m at a funny angle with my eyes closed. Wistful, obv.

Hello my dears!

You know I’ve always seen blogging style challenges and envied everyone’s productivity. I never joined up because I can be so slack with updating that I assumed I’d let everyone down. However, I was invited to do a one off with bloggers I really love: Em, Georgina, Wendy and Amy to see how we could style one of the new Project D London dresses. How could I say no?

I’d actually taken a peek at the collection last year, as at the first Simply Be meeting they showed us pieces asking for our opinions. They kept the bit about it being by Dannii Minogue quiet, though! I bloody love the Minogue sisters, so I feel a bit starstruck wearing it.

Take 5: Project D London

Image: me, to the other side. I’m almost doing a Brucey bonus pose.

I actually really love a lot of pieces from the collection, including this – the Liberty and Madison ones, especially. People have talked about the price points being high, but when I got the Carnegie you could tell the quality was on a different scale. It’s made SO well.

That said, I’m sad to say these shots have me a little disappointed. Not the dress, not the photographs (they look all shiny because they’re from my new camera!), but that my stylings don’t pop as much as I’d hoped. I wanted to wear bright, even neon accessories but they’ve kinda disappeared. Ah well, you live and learn. I’m sure the other women will come up with amazing versions!


Simply Be Shoot

Image: me mid-pose, in my bright prink and yellow ice cream print dress.

This post has been many months in the making, I keep putting it off and putting it off – there’s so much I want to say that it feels insurmountable. But it’s getting ridiculous now, so I’m going to attempt to muddle through what is, pretty much, the pinnacle of my time as a plus size/fatshion/whatever blogger.

In November of last year, I got an email from Simply Be. This isn’t unusual as I’ve been to a few of their events, and am in contact with the team there (they’re all lovely) – but this time, they wanted to know if I was interested in taking part in a blogger collection, and designing an outfit.

SCREAM!

From there, I went up to Manchester for a meeting with the team, which included their buyer Natalie, and Mark the designer. Everyone was so lovely, as you can imagine! They emphasised that they wanted us to be as bold as we could – they didn’t want us to water anything down or worry about whether things would sell, etc. Then each of us (myself, Laura and Georgina) talked about what ideas we had. I brought up a sketchbook I’ve had for years, which I sometimes doodle designs on that I swear I’ll make when I learn to sew. I also created a mood board on pinterest here:

Simply Be Shoot

Image: a screengrab of the colourful and kitsch inspiration I had for my dress.

I wanted something kitsch and colourful. I have a real problem when it comes to prints, as you can probably tell. If anyone hears of a Prints Anonymous group, by all means, let me know! I wanted something that the badass babes of tumblr and in my own real life would be proud to wear and put their own stamp on. At the same time, I wanted it to be accessible and wearable in every day if needs be – a knit fabric (also so it could stretch and those above a size 32 could wear it), light and an easy shape. I considered an a-line shape and initially was against the skater shape – but I suit that shape so much, and so eventually I decided to go for it even if it’s a bit ubiquitous at the moment!

After the meeting, I kept in touch with Mark who sent me over possible print options. We’d talked about heart print, lightning bolt print and lip print, but nothing seemed quite right. And then he sent me this:

final

A mock up of the dress shape and possible patterns, including the final ice cream print in pink and yellow.

As soon as I saw it, I knew. As much as I liked the green and pink, the pink and yellow just popped so much more. It was just… perfect! I mean, look at the fabric swatch from later! ARGH!

fabricswatch

Image: a close up of the fabric swatch.

After that was finalised, we were kept in the loop of how things were progressing manufacturing-wise, and later myself, Laura and Em (George sadly had to drop out – we missed her, but it was so she could do the awesome Evans campaign so yay!) for a follow up to try the test garments and iron out any changes that needed to be made before final production.

The next time we all met up, it was shoot day. With the final dresses. Aaaah!

Simply Be Shoot

Image: left to right Laura’s dress; my dress; Em’s dress on the rail.

Each of us was made up then shot individually over the course of the day. I have to be completely honest here: the team were absolutely lovely and wonderful, but I found shooting really difficult. I know that might sound odd since I have a website full of photos taken of myself, but the difference is that when I take outfit photos I’m in my bedroom by myself. My camera’s on a self-timer and that’s it. So to go from that to having a team of people photographing me in the middle of Hoxton was quite a departure! Em also touched on abuse she received, and I also got nasty comments from men in vans, schoolboys and various office workers. I’m not strong like Em, so I didn’t answer back. To the one girl who whispered “you look beautiful” as you walked past though, whether you meant it or not, thank you!

Simply Be Shoot

Image: getting “touched up” in the street by the lovely MUA.

Simply Be Shoot

Image: the crew. Look at all that equipment!

The shoot and how I look in it isn’t really the point, though – what I’m most excited about is seeing other awesome fatties wearing it and how you’re all going to style it! There’s also going to be a launch party that bloggers and possibly customers can attend, so more info on that when it comes. I can’t WAIT!

I really still can’t get my head around the fact that this has happened. It’s SO mind-blowing! Hannah, Natalie, Mark and the Simply Be team have been so, so amazing. I literally can’t thank them enough. And I’m so happy I got to do this with women I consider my friends as well as fellow bloggers: Laura, Em and George. I love Laura and Em’s dresses as well, and I’ve seen their photos and they look stunning! I’ll be buying both of them, for sure.

The dresses will be available in June. It’ll be in sizes 14-32 (UK). I really hope you like what I’ve come up with. <3