Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Curvissa Takes 5 - Knitwear

I'm a big fan of cardigans. They just have a way of sneaking up on you, unassuming and twinset-and-pearls-y, when suddenly you're wearing a cardigan with an ice cream on it and thinking  -  this is ME!. 

**ahem** Sorry, I get a little carried away when on the subject of cardigans. The lovely Maxine Delicious named me her Cardigan Queen!

Thanks to Little Miss Delicious for the collage
So when the Curvissa team contacted me about reviewing some winter knits - I felt like saying yes only if there are cardigans involved!! 

And of course there were! Their plus size knitwear collection is rather varied, but I finally settled on this Shawl Collar Cardigan:

As you can tell from the collage, I'm a fan of the short cardigan, but I was really looking for something a little more relaxed and slouchy:

Which meant it was perfect for dressing down my Junarose dress for a relaxed Sunday doing chores, and then heading out to dinner with my Grandma!

It then made a poorly feeling me feel a little less icky in the office on Monday - where the comfort levels needed to be much higher than normal!

In fact, it is now hanging on the back of my chair at work, as I don't know about you, but my office fluctuates between the heights of summer and the depths of winter in one day - so there is no way to dress accordingly other than layers! So this cardi is a great way to counteract that as it's a neutral colour (although I'm not usually one to let colours clashing stop me!).

I opted for the 22/24, and found the fit to be perfect for the oversized look! My only criticism is the material is a little scratchy, but I get the idea that it would soften with washes. 

Overall, I'd give this a 5 * rating! The roughness of the material really isn't something I would mark them down for!

A perfect piece for the transitioning wardrobe from Summer to Winter - and if you have an office like mine!

Have a look at what my fellow Knitwear Reviewers make of their pieces:

Much love my lovelies, 

K x

 I received this item in exchange for writing this review, however, all opinions are my own

Monday, 21 September 2015

Opinion: The Importance of Plus Size Blogs

You know, when you're headed to a fashion event, and you hope against hope that no one else is wearing the same as you? That Primark special, or that Zara must have, it's a major headache when deciding between shopping your wardrobe or popping out for something new!

Imagine then, just for a moment, having less than 10% (it's a guess mind) of the stores to shop at. Ha, I hear you puff, how is that even possible? There is eBay, online shopping, and charity shops galore!

There may well be, for the glorious size 14. Or the wonderful size 12. Or even the heavenly size 16. But for us fabulous fats out there, we have a struggle. We have far fewer PHYSICAL stores to touch and see and try on clothes at. I live near Newcastle. The high street has one fat friendly store now - New Look Inspire. It has about 20 pieces in it. However, the Metro Centre has an Evans, a Simply Be, and a Yours Clothing. This makes me a very lucky northerner indeed – and I’m aware of my privilege from that perspective.

We might be limited by the high street, so much so that for some the only medium for shopping is online, but that doesn’t mean we don’t look, and wander, and fondle the clothes hanging on the rails. I certainly look at the prices and wonder just how much I could buy at the cost of one dress from one of *our* stores. You see, it’s not just that fatshion is inaccessible to us in the physical form, but quite often it’s priced well out of our price range too.

Now, please don't come to me with 'Well, Weight W****ers worked for...". No. Don't. I love who I am, and what size I am. I do not, for one second, want to change that. I want to celebrate diversity and all body types, no matter the shape or size.

I was at an amazing event last month in Birmingham, called Style XL. There were about 200 amazing women there during the day. I only spotted 2 people in the same outfit. TWO! How? How did we manage this with so few retailers out there? Through sheer style and determination. Which is why, FATshion blogs for me, are more varied, more interesting. Because we have to make styling choices, keep clothes from year to year, or customise them, or wearing a dress under a skirt to create a whole new look!

Over the years of only shopping in Evans, and a little bit from DP, has taught me my STYLE. I think mainstream fashion has a lot to glean from the plus size fashion blogs, because mainstream fashion is handed to you on a plate. You can buy the complete look in one STORE! Plus size fashion hunting involves multiple websites, multiple postage costs and the headache of returning items through the post only.

Finding that perfect outfit is a struggle; looking like you’ve stepped out of a fashion magazine is a struggle. That is why plus size blogs have more meaning, more weight (no pun intended), and more to say that most mainstream fashion blogs, in my opinion.

Much love my lovelies, 

K x

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Brands and Politics

It's been a ranty few weeks for me, if you follow me on twitter that is! It's also been a while since I turned to this space as my opportunity to expand upon the 140 character limit. But here I am, writing this before work starts, with my latte in my hand thinking 'where do I begin'!!

It all started with UK Plus Size Fashion Week, coupled with Evans, taking to the streets of London with the banner of #styleissizeless

Top photoset courtesy of +Lolly Likes 
Bottom photo courtesy of +Toodaloo Katie 

Now, if UKPSFW wanted to show that style was indeed sizeless, then why not engage with the vast number of wonderful plus size bloggers (including the US names which joined the FROW) to create a number big statement?

My sister in body politics Sharon, has blogged about this in more detail here.

And after the dust settled on that battle ground, the team behind Lane Bryant (a very expensive plus size fashion brand in the US) started with their campaign, questionably called #plusisequal.

Now, first off, to what? To each other? To straight sized fashion? What Lane Bryant, WHAT? 

The lets look at the models chosen to represent this rally cry, shall we?

According to this then, #plusisequal to curves, hour glass figures, with a flat stomach, and Amazonian in stature. The 'pretty' end of the plus size spectrum, if you will.

Okay, so they're professional models, and you don't get many models signed to an agency that are outside of the 'normative' fats. But again, use bloggers, use smaller model agencies. In the UK, we have the UGLY model agency - which caters for those who don't want the standard model. Therefore 'it's model standards' is no longer a good enough answer when looking at a campaign who is trying to show that plus size bodies matter. 

But I might have given then the benefit of the doubt, hey, they're trying right?

Oh, but no.

Lane Bryant also brought out a tee shirt, to allow the general population to show that they support this body positive (sic) campaign.

Photo courtesy of +Debz A 

Erm... The people who are meant to be empowered by this, end up being marginalised. Again. Like we're not marginalised enough. 

And so, I took to twitter, along with Alysse Dalessandro's (@readytostare on twitter) hashtag #ifpluswasequal, to express my concerns with this campaign:

Photo taken from Bustle's article on #Plusisequal

With it being a US campaign, I wasn't expecting much interaction or commentary - the joy of twitter is throwing the tweets out there and watching to see if it makes any ripples in the water! The #ifpluswasequal tag was filled with examples and reasons that the campaign was exclusionary (which Sharon also covers very well here) - not venting at the brand, but taking their anger to a place when it was phrased around educating why it was problematic, instead of just shouting it from the rooftops. 

I know prominent bloggers were asked to take part in the rally in Times Square, or join in with selfies in London, and that's okay - but we also need to listen to the criticism, and listen to our inner voices that whisper "I've a very bad feeling about this" - and which Virgy covers in her article here. Don't judge us for getting involved - but judge us if we don't throw the critical view on the situation. 

Now, if you're a brand, and you've read all this and thought - HOW CAN I DO THIS RIGHT?! Take a look at Murder of Goth's post here.

In summary, I'm not sure if brands have a place in body politics - I think they can support existing campaigns, existing hashtags - but if you're setting up your own in order to drive traffic to your site, or for people to pay over the odds for a statement tshirt: you have no place in the political arena. 

Much love my lovelies, 

K x

Friday, 4 September 2015

Sprinkle of Glitter for Simply Be

The Sprinkle Of Glitter for Simply Be
 collection hit the (online) shops recently, and I'm not going to lie, I really liked the collection. 

It fits in with what I would class as my 'go to style' - while I may flirt with other looks, I know that a good full skirt is waiting for me at home!!

Yes, I would like to have seen some variation with the silhouette, but this is Louise designing clothes she would want to wear! It's an interchangeable capsule collection!

When my order arrived (not of the whole collection, just my favourite pieces) I took to instagram to share my immediate thoughts, including those styles which didn't quite work!

And that reminded me how I used to share what was going back, as much as I did what I was keeping - and I missed that. I miss explaining why something doesn't work, or isn't what I was expecting.

Now, lets talk material - the top is a lovely cotton feel - and has some stretch, although not much difference between the 22 and the 24 in the top - and while this is the 22, I've opted for the 24 in the top so I can wear it with the bib!

Now, lets talk about this dungaree dress shall we? 

The skirt is a short skater number, which means (for me and my 5'10 tallness) it's leggings only. The waistband does have some give in it, and the pockets are good, deep pockets. There is a side fastening (zip) but I just pull it over my head!! 

Now, the bib. The bib itself just doesn't seem wide enough - like it's not been sized up with everything else. However, I do like that the straps have two lengths available to allow for varying bust sizes!!

Again, I wasn't expecting it to be this good a quality skirt - the heavy nature of the material means it hangs well, the netting puffs it out, and the lining means your tights don't get clicked by the netting! Win! 

I ordered it in two sizes (again, a 22 and a 24) as depending on the give on the waist I may have needed the smaller size. There is no give in the waist band. So if anything, you might need to size up in this. 

The ballerina wrap top was a last minute decision to be added to my basket, so I stuck with the 24 - and as we can see, the bust area doesn't really fit me!! 

I'm tempted to size down and see if that improves the fit at all, but anything like a stitch or a pin would ruin the way the top lies. 

I do, however, really like how these colours go together and may just have to look out for this in a smaller size! 

The Sprinkle of Glitter collection is a slice of femme joy, and I get that it only speaks to some style aesthetics, but me and my wardrobe are very happy with the pieces I'm keeping: Dungaree dress in a 24; rose coloured skirt in a 24; breton top in a 24 - and I can't wait to see how I can incorporate them into my corporate dress code!

Much love my lovelies, 

K x

**Disclaimer** Please remember that these photos were taken as part of the immediate trying on session!

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Funky Laser Blogger Workshop

Friday was a good day! 

It was a rush-round kinda day, with a slight panic of impending car related disaster, but when I got home to find my Katnis, Voodoo Vixen dress for Simply Be, had arrived, those things were a thing of the past:

A photo posted by Kathryn (@misskathryn84) on

The green in the dress even inspired me to (badly) play with eye shadow - something I rarely do!

A photo posted by Kathryn (@misskathryn84) on

Even better, I was off to a blogging event hosted by the relatively new company Funky Laser (try not to sing that in your head! I DARE YOU!), which was set up as a jewellery making workshop, but I'd've classed it more as Glitter and Gossip, as we chatted about a number of issues, including the up coming North East Blog awards, and how Funky Laser are getting involved (but shhhhh, don't want to spill too much information!!).

A photo posted by Kathryn (@misskathryn84) on

Due to said car issues, I was a little late to arrive (the event was held in their industrial space in Hartlepool, which is a beaut of a complex and sounds almost commune-esque from what I gathered from Leah!) which is a major source of social anxiety for me - being late and getting lost - so I may have been a little uncensored with my views! Even gave a little lecture on cultural appropriation but hey! 

The room was the perfect size for the 6 of us to get a-crafting and turning pre cut acrylic feathers into individual pieces!

A photo posted by Kathryn (@misskathryn84) on

Yes, I know mine does NOT go with my dress, but you get the idea! 

After a bit of a break eating some lush and moist Gluten Free SPONGE cake:

After our energy was topped up, we headed over to where the magic happens - the workshop which housed Big Bertha, the acrylic cutting laser machine which produced:

A photo posted by Kathryn (@misskathryn84) on

It is clear that the team behind Funky Laser are passionate about what they do, and what they have to offer the market - putting the customer and their commissions first, including making cocktail stirrers, cake toppers, and even hats out of acrylic! There really seems to be no limit to what the Funky Laser team and Big Bertha can achieve together!

Much love my lovelies, 

K x

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Social Shopping Trips with intu MetroCentre

After StyleXL, and my rare wander round a plus size shop (Yours), I have tried to replicate that feeling with some soulless online shopping. And I missed the tangible-ness of real place shopping. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm the queen of the online shop, searching for voucher code, using collect plus, and (sometimes) forgetting what I've actually ordered!!

But sometimes, you want the community shopping experience, which is what is missing from the world of the online. 

A few weeks back, I had a catch up with an old work pal at intu Metrocentre, where we both tucked into a 'cheeky nandos', and went off in search of a dress for her wedding vow renewal happening at the end of August. 

As we were up in Debenhams (where she tried on a beautiful Jacques Vert number), I managed to wrangle a sneaky trip to Simply Be!

I got lost in the rails of pretties, which I'd been stalking on line, feeling the scuba material which I may have otherwise ordered, or seeing the length and knowing it really wouldn't work. 

I snapped up this beaut Juna Rose dress in the sale

A photo posted by Kathryn (@misskathryn84) on

And as I was walking out, spotted this Alice and You shirt (no longer available online) on a rack and bought it without trying on!

A photo posted by Kathryn (@misskathryn84) on

I picked up the 26 as I wanted it oversized, but probably should have gone for 28 for the proper oversized look:

Both of which I'm not sure I would have ordered, seeing the online item alone. 

It's been so long since I 'popped in' to see the Simply Be MetroCentre team, and it was great to catch up, and lust over the new collections heading our way! 

Much love my lovelies, 

K x

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Hanky Hems & Me

The first rule of Fat Club is stay away from hanky hems, butterfly prints, and elasticated tops. They are the staple of the Plus Size Fashion world, and for those still unaware of the delights which await them if "they just let go of their fear" (to quote the lovely Daisy), they're perfectly acceptable - if hiding your body is your principle aim. 

But once you begin the journey of self love and body confidence and F*CK THE SHAMERS, you realise that there is so much MORE out there, that you don't need the hanky hems to hide this bit, or the butterfly print to show you're cute, or that black isn't the only colour. 

But just as you slink back to the colour black, because the first rule of Fat Club is really that there are no rules, you realise that there are other styles you can try again. 

Stand back ladies, I'm entering the world of the hanky hem:

No, not the oddly shaped t shirts that meant your bum and crotch were on display, but the sides of your legs were hidden (as above).


I'm talking a proper hanky hem, courtesy of Yours Clothing.

I wore this beaut to the second day of Style XL, and I wasn't kicked out of Fat Club, so YAY! It was also super comfortable for my 3 and a half hour train journey. 

These were the 22, but I ended up sizing up to a 24 for comfort and it really didn't effect the cut or the fit of the dress that much.

Just remember ladies, the first rule of Fat Club is that there are no rules (other than don't be a dick).

Much love my lovelies, 

K x