So since my first post on being plus size but not really particularly curvy, I have been thinking about how to represent my personal style. In looking at the outfits I put on I realised that there are a few things that I base my outfits on and that are recurring themes. These are skinny workwear trousers, super-skinny jeans, and (to a lesser degree) leggings.
One thing I didn’t mention when writing the previous post was how tall I am- I expect that’s obvious, but it does really add another dimension to the challenge of dressing a plus size body. I’m 5’11″ with a 36″ inside leg so Tall ranges are essential for me when buying jeans or trousers. I also find that having slimmer limbs and a larger waist size can mean getting drowned in trousers. Which is why I am in love with New Look’s Black Bengaline Slim Trousers. And when I say ‘love’, I am not messing around; I currently have four pairs of these trousers in circulation with another four pairs in reserve to rotate in.
They have a super-flattering slim leg throughout (yes ‘flattering’ is a problematic concept, but it happens to be true of these trews) and a high waist that sits comfortably. In these, I’m a comfortable size 18. They have a tendency to eventually stretch, and they’re £15.99 a pair so they won’t last forever. YES, MY FAVOURITE TROUSERS IN THE WORLD ARE SIXTEEN POUNDS. I never want to be without them and at that price I’d be an idiot to not stockpile. These trousers used to be on ASOS, which is where I first took a chance on them, and when they went down to £7 in the sale I both wept and rejoiced. I’m extremely relieved to see that New Look still sell them.
In a similar vein, my jean of choice is good stretchy super-skinny. ASOS Tall Ridleys to be exact. High-waisted (you may spot a theme), comfortable, and very, very skinny. They come in an extraordinary range of colours and washes, and I have quite a few pairs… The brilliant thing about them- apart from the fact that I’ve had pairs that have lasted 2 or 3 years quite happily- is that they are around £30 and always come down in the sale. ASOS Tall only goes up to a size 20 (or 38″ waist for jeans) but do not make the mistake of going for the comfortable option with these jeans; if they feel just a little bit tight then they fit just right! I have two pairs that I bought in a 38″ waist when I put on weight- they’re comfy but they bag, which is very sad. Buy two sizes and see what fits, they do stretch and settle.
Along with good leggings to put under dresses- a subject for another time- these New Look trousers provide the base of my workwear, and the Ridley jeans do the same for my free-time outfits. So what do I put on top? Well, despite making decent strides in the direction of body confidence and acceptance, I do prefer to camouflage my tummy. It means that I shy away from anything too fitted- which is potentially a bit of a shame- but as my favourite silhouette is volume on top and tight underneath, it’s not too much of a hardship. I like to channel a ‘Scandinavian’ vibe- I put that in inverted commas because I do realise that this is a stylistic contrivance and that not everyone from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland (depending on your definition of Scandinavia) dress the same- so anything with structure really appeals. I also really like- and I cannot emphasise this enough- to go up at least one size when buying tops. Additional fabric adds structure, it looks more expensive, and if you’re not aiming for a tailored look then a size often doesn’t make that much difference. One site I visit on a weekly if not daily basis, is hm.com. I will bang on about their plus range until I’m screaming, alone, into the abyss, because some of the pieces are so great, and you would never know from the way they style the pieces. Where ASOS Curve features sexy, confident models, current accessories and catwalk videos so you can get a better idea of how the garment hangs and moves, H&M is really quite poor. Even their gorgeous models look a bit bored. But the range is well worth a look.
I have worn this top so much since I bought it, at work and with jeans. At £24.99, with a lining and in a cracking navy, I find it an awesome bargain. I bought it in a 3XL so it hangs nicely, and it nods to the lace trend of this summer without being insubstantial. I love it.
A word of warning: H&M sizing is as bonkers for their + range as it is for the main line. The L-4XL sizing is kind of ok, but when it’s numbered it’s insane. I bought a blouse in a 26 the other day that barely fit and I certainly wouldn’t have worn it in the length and how close it was to the body. Went straight back! My most recent purchase- a pyjama-style blouse with an abstract dragonfly print- has been worn to work and for fun and has gained many compliments so far. I will feature it in another post because it’s just the cutest and was £14.99, but it is a size 28. and it’s not even as floaty and over-sized as I would usually buy; it’s kind of a nice shirt fit. I can’t even imagine if a UK size 26 or 28 ordered it and received the shirt I did- it’s just mean. So beware, and remember: it’s not you, it’s H&M.
Ok, so next steps. I mentioned leggings, and for comfort in this weather I am a huge fan of a dress and leggings so I shall showcase a few of my favourites. And I’ll find someone to take some dang photos of me! That will help. I need to show off my lovely H&M £15 shirt, and I’m also going to start tackling some of the things that I do to feel fashionable and confident as a plus size lady.