plus size not curvy

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