Lace top, £24.99

My Plus Size Not Curvy Basics

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. 

This sort of slim fit often doesn't translate to larger sizes, but on these it does
This sort of slim fit often doesn’t translate to larger sizes, but on these it does

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.

Yes, bonkers I know. But I had to show you the slimness of the fit!
Yes, bonkers I know. But I had to show you the slimness of the fit!
Yeah, I really do apologise for the quality of some of these snaps
Yeah, I really do apologise for the quality of some of these snaps

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.

Lace top, £24.99

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 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.

I'll ask someone to take photos, I promise!
I’ll ask someone to take photos, I promise!

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.

I don’t know whether this shot shows the top at all. I will do better.

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.

Category: Style

Plus Size but not Curvy

I have been thinking about this post for quite a few weeks, and about plus size fashion for significantly longer.

Back in January 2015, I wrote about my New Year’s Resolutions. There was every chance that none of them would stick for more than a couple of weeks, but two of the three have: I make an effort to hot-cloth-cleanse my face every night, and I have read lots of fantastic non-fiction books since pledging to do so. I have not, however, lost weight. Quite the opposite.

The fact is that I love our life together, mine and M’s. We go to gigs, and comedy, have weekends away in Brighton and random Northern cities where there’s a Strongman event on, eat great food and have too many beers at the fighting and the wrestling. I can’t imagine making the sacrifices  I would need to in order to get back to where I was two and a half years ago. And I am sad at my wardrobe of COS tops I can’t quite fit in, and I don’t love that I can’t shop in mainstream high street stores anymore, but not quite enough to feel bad about it. I have made the decision to look straight ahead, mindfully and intelligently, and not waste my days obsessing over my weight. As long as I can still find items to wear that I feel represent me and my personal style, I’ve resolved to accept myself as I am.

I like how my lashes look in this pic, even if it is a bit low-res.
I like how my lashes look in this pic, even if it is a bit low-res. And this necklace is exactly the sort of thing I’ll be banging on about from now on

[As a side note, I do realise that all these beers and fun times have to be balanced with sensible, positive changes. More walking, more vegetables, better sleep are all being tackled. I just refuse to conflate being healthy with being skinny.]

So, over the last few months I’ve been supplementing my wardrobe and beginning to follow some truly inspiring plus size bloggers. I particularly love Georgina Horne’s Fuller Figure Fuller Bust blog, although she’s well worth a like on Facebook too.  I enjoy seeing what bloggers have found, how they style the items they wear, and how unafraid they are to try things that aren’t automatically considered ‘flattering’. Is pretending to be slimmer than you are what nourishes the soul? The problem for me is that I don’t have their figures. Georgina Horne looks incredible but I’m a B-cup athletic apple- if you can imagine such a thing- and skater dresses, belts and a retro pin-up look suit neither my personal style or my figure.

This H&M + dress is great quality for the money. Full post to follow.
This H&M + dress is great quality for the money. Full post to follow.

There is no easy way to be a woman in the world, let alone one over a size 10. I am not for one moment suggesting that Ms Horne doesn’t get abuse and lewd comments- Christ, does she- but there is a traditional, curvaceous, sexy femininity to the way she styles herself and the way most of the plus size bloggers dress in their posts. They embrace their curves and enhance them, but I barely have them at all! At almost six feet tall, my limbs are long and slim (at least to mid-thigh). I have a high waist, and my weight is carried in the tummy (and the arse, but the tummy is what shows changes in weight immediately). My hips are rounder at the moment, but when I’m slimmer the weight comes off the hips while the stomach remains. At a 14-16, I look long and trim, but with a tummy. An athletic apple.

Future posts will have actual outfit shots! This is a preview; excuse the monster arm.
Future posts will have plenty of full outfit shots! This is a preview of a top I’ve worn way more than I thought I would; excuse the monster arm.

So I’m carving out my own style: plus size but not curvy. I’m taking the elements of my slimmer style that I still love and adapting them for my new figure. Clean, Scandinavian-influenced lines; an abundance of fabric worn with super-skinny jeans, leggings, or close-cut trousers; architectural lines and texture. Buying a size up for style but also so the items look better quality. Flowing dresses with statement jewellery and striking make-up.

More clothing than ever before is offered in size 16+, and the rise of online shopping has meant that companies don’t have to play it so safe, providing much greater competition. Navabi offers a wide range of high-end plus size clothing and my love of Carmakoma is well documented. ASOS offers over 1300 items in its Curve and plus size brand section, offering safer items alongside bodycon dresses and fashion-led pieces not traditionally considered flattering or acceptable for fuller figures. Evans hasn’t been able to rest on its laurels when River Island brings out a plus-size range, although I am yet to be entirely convinced on the latter. I can get the silhouette I want- I’m just learning that it might mean buying every top in three sizes to see what works. I shall report back soon.

Category: Style
Me in a jacket

Let’s look to spring with a new jacket!

I don’t know why we keep writing about coats, I really don’t. I guess it’s because they’re an investment, a considered purchase, so it’s good to know what’s out there and it’s brilliant to see where you can find a style and save a few bob. But I also love the way that a good jacket can really finish an outfit- coats are great but they cover your outfit, whereas a good jacket can complement what else you’re wearing and really become part of the look. Like my beloved military jacket.

One thing I’ve been spotting as the online retailers start trying to sell us spring 2015 are longer styles with a lot of nice movement to them. There’s still loads of beautiful coats to buy too, because it’s still bloody cold at the moment, but thinner jackets that you can layer are making an appearance, and they’re perfect for marrying casual and formal in that way that fashion has been for a few seasons now. The sort of jackets that you can put over a dress and block heels, as well as jeans and sneakers.

I love this & Other Stories Cotton Parka (£125) as I can see chunky jumpers fitting under it as well as being able to sling it over a dress and sandals on cooler summer nights too. Vaguely sporty but the drawstring adds shape: sold.

& Other Stories Cotton Parka (£125)
& Other Stories Cotton Parka (£125)

This ASOS jacket in denim taps in to one of the key trends for early 2015 as denim will be big. Yes, for most of us, denim is less ‘2015’ and more ‘our entire lives’ but this trend is all about layering denim and choosing pieces that showcase the fabric. I don’t know who came up with the awful idea of calling this a shacket but I do like the structured look and longer length- just so versatile in a way that a formal coat just isn’t always.

I refuse to call this a shacket- denim long-line jacket (£75)
I refuse to call this a shacket- denim long-line jacket (£75)

I usually would avoid mentioning J Crew because I love their stuff so, so much but it’s really quite inaccessible for the majority of us. I feel a certain amount of brand loyalty to them in that their clothes are aspirational and very stylish, but the company doesn’t stop at a size 12/14 like so many in a similar position could and would. I have been lurking and lusting after this resin-coated cotton twill jacket for a number of months as it has just the write level of Scandi-inspired cool and a touch of nautical influence. I can see it in April showers and sunny-but-cool spring days.  It’s topped only by my beloved Thorjsa brand, which at €299 is a little bit out of my price range.

J Crew Resin-coated Cotton Twill jacket (£198)
J Crew Resin-coated Cotton Twill jacket (£198)

As things warm up a little, I’ll keep my eye out for other transitional pieces that can work in both spring and autumn, with a variety of outfits as there’s bound to be loads in the shops. But for now, it’s nice to gaze upon some swish new outerwear and believe that there is an end to the rain, cold, snow, and slush…

Category: Style
My pretties

Post-maternity fashion awaits!

Oh God, the guilt I feel at admitting this, but I cannot wait to get back into my old clothes once the bubba has come along. Of course I am excited about the baby himself arriving, please don’t believe that he is in any way secondary. But bubba, naturally, comes along with the other feelings that first time mums are likely to have: fear, trepidation, joy, wonder, terror……

The thought of getting something akin to my pre-pregnancy body back is one of unfettered joy. I know my body works and is capable of great things, hence having been able to carry this baby with the unequivocal joys of fatigue, asthma and gestational diabetes. I know I may not care two figs for clothing once I’m knee deep in nappies and crying with tiredness but right now, knowing that I have exciting things to wear is a quantifiable pleasure because I already know how it feels to feel good in an outfit. I can’t remember the life where I was regularly out on a Saturday night or eating carbs in a laissez-faire fashion, despite being just over 36 weeks ago, but the clothing stuff? A beautiful stamp on my otherwise squishy brain.

I wrote some time ago about the Clements Ribiero Portobello cashmere and cotton jumper, and that is still top of the can’t-wait-to-wear list. Next up has to be the equally as blogged ripped utility trousers from Topshop. Both have been waiting patiently for me in my wardrobe (read: squashed in a drawer under the weight of maternity leggings).

Come to mama!

Next up is a rather fabulous pair of faux leather joggers from ASOS (now in the sale!), a Christmas present my ace sis G. Aren’t they marvellous? These plus my Peter Pilotto for Target sweatshirt and my grey felt skater shoes from Next (as blogged about by The Frugality) and I will feel the very yummiest of mummies.

The ASOS faux leather joggers

An oldie but a goodie next: my ASOS ripped jeans. These have been worn to death, being equally as perfect with a slouchy t-shirt and trainers as with heels and a going-out top (God, is that a thing anymore? Do women have going-out tops or am I relic from the days where being able to go to a bar with some flared jeans, a sparkly top, and heels was a luxury because jeans had been previously outlawed? Wow, I am OLD.). These jeans are simultaneously “Whatever, I don’t care”, and “Look at me, I made an effort!”. Ooh the excitement!

These jeans make me very happy!

And to stay on a jeans theme, my much worn patchwork jeans from H&M are another love of my (trouser) life that I can’t wait to slip into. These with a loose sweater and boots are just calling to me……

H&M patchwork jeans as seen on Wearing It Today’s Laura Fantacci (

I clearly shopped at H&M a lot before pregnancy as their rather famous full skirt is next. This won’t be worn immediately as the waist was a slight challenge pre-bubba bump but the notion of a t-shirt being tucked in with a statement necklace and this gorgeous skirt is such an idea of sartorial excess in comparison to my present state that I can’t quite believe I ever had the opportunity to dress like that previously.

H&M full skirt with nipped-in waist
The inspiration: this silhouette shall be mine again!

Finally, the last item on my list is a bit of a cheat, for it comprises my beloved sweatshirt collection that I have had to relegate for fear of stretching into incomprehension. My little green utility number from ASOS, the aforementioned Peter Pilotto for Target, the little grey marl from the Vogue Festival 2013…. Ahh my pretties, I shall be with you soon.

My pretties

And the best part in all of this? Once I’ve gotten to dress me, I get to dress bubba in his magnificent array of beautiful grows and rompers gifted from his already adoring fans. What a stylish pair we’ll be!

Come on, baby!

P.S. Aren’t these the best baby shoes EVER? A little Christmas pressie from Loz and M, these will be bubba’s first ever slippers. I love them so much I almost can’t look at them. Thanks Loz and M!

2015-01-02 17.56.51

Category: Style
Too much of a bargain! Neoprene bomber jacket: £23 in sale

Kin by John Lewis- how have I missed this?

Over the last year, I have been trying to evolve my style a little, investing in pieces that are better quality and carry a timeless element of design with them, and which fit in with existing pieces that I own. I love adding in elements that are ‘of the moment’ and ASOS is my absolute go-to for a quick fix, but my aesthetic has been changing from the bright-and-garish of my 20s, to a more Scandinavian-influenced, monochrome look. As a tall woman I really feel that buying good quality trousers is almost impossible; far too often they’re overpriced, with underwhelming fabric, so I tend to stick to Next and ASOS’ tall ranges and then spend a bit more on tops and dresses from COS. My uniform is usually a boxy or oversized top, with skinny trousers or ASOS Ridley high-waisted super skinny jeans. In the winter I throw some Uniqlo heat-tech tops on underneath and a Whistles coat on top, in the spring it’ll be a military or Gap jacket and a voluminous scarf.

Evidence of me wearing voluminous scarves, and also being really quite tall...
Evidence of me wearing voluminous scarves, and also being really quite tall…

I think COS is well worth the money in most cases as the design element is just brilliant, the fabrics are lovely, and the only real downside is that you have to have a good knowledge of COS’s product to buy from their website as the plain nature of the clothes tends to make it a little bit tricky to know what you’re buying sometimes. I would also argue that the sizing is quite unforgiving- I’m eternally thrilled that their clothes go up to a size 18 but it’s not generous, and I couldn’t fit into certain styles in an 18 as a size 16, since the cut is very androgynous. That’s fine for my small chest, not so great for my womanly hips.

Anyway, I am utterly amazed that a range of clothes that evokes a similar reaction in me to that of COS, that I can see fitting in to my existing wardrobe, and that is affordable in a ‘considered purchase’ sort of a way, has escaped my attention for over a year. But googling leather backpacks today, I came across Kin by John Lewis and it’s magic. Fair warning: I haven’t bought anything yet so I will report back later on the quality, but it being John Lewis, I don’t foresee any issues. And I have high hopes for the John Lewis size 18.

One of my favourite things in the collection is this Reverse Seam Jumper, which I can really see with blue jeans or cigarette trousers. It’s effortless, tasteful, and at £49 it doesn’t break the bank for a beautiful bit of design. I don’t love it in black or green, but the charcoal looks great.

This is just timeless. Reverse Seam Jumper, Charcoal (£49)
This is just timeless. Reverse Seam Jumper (£49)

Two pieces I love that are currently in the sale are this neoprene bomber, which is £23.00! If I didn’t have a whole host of birthdays coming up and a nephew about to spring forth into the world, I would be buying it right now and frankly I still might.

Too much of a bargain! Neoprene bomber jacket: £23 in sale
Too much of a bargain! Neoprene bomber jacket: £23 in sale

This oversized textured jumper is also an ace piece on which to build, and is £48 from £69. It works in spring, autumn, and winter- which is exactly what I want if I’m spending fifty quid on one jumper.

A great all-rounder. Oversized Textured Jumper (£49 from £68)

A great all-rounder. Oversized Textured Jumper (£49 from £68)

I also like that Kin does splashes of colour to cut through the neutrals and darker winter palate. I don’t think this dress would suit me at all, but I like the fact that it nods to Whistles but would be double the price there. With a blazer and ankle boots you can go from meeting to drinks, and that’s another requirement for my purchases, when I’m not in Nike and a boyfriend-cut sweatshirt. The print is available in a top too, which is kind of cute.

 Artwork Print Dress (£89)
Artwork Print Dress (£89)

Finally my favourite item in the current collection: a diamond print jacket. Part smart, part off-duty, quite a lot impractical: I love it! I’m unlikely to spend £79 on something I couldn’t fit under my coat but I can also imagine about 40 different outfits this would go with, and navy is so ridiculously 2015 that it would update everything.

I COULD NOT LOVE THIS MORE! So versatile.  Diamond Jacket (£79)
Diamond Jacket (£79)

The range’s big selling point, according to The Guardian is that it stretches across men’s, women’s, and children’s ranges, selling neatly to middle class families who want to co-ordinate presumably. A quick look confirms that it’s a very nice range all-round, but that means bugger all to me. The women’s range is clean, vaguely Scandinavian-looking, and has great everyday pieces at less than you’d pay at the shops it’s directly competing with for customers. It’s only a matter of time before I’m clicking-and-collecting my first item of Kin.

Category: Style