Thursday, 31 October 2013

Changing room post - Clements Ribeiro Swan for Evans A/W13

Finally they have listened! They have taken all the complaints on board! I actually like the fit and fabric of some of the new collection and I'm so happy about that!

My readers who have been with me from the beginning will know how angry the Evans / Clements Ribeiro collection has made me in the past..... lovely looking pieces with great patterns that turned out to be badly fitted with no stretch, crap fabric and a hefty price tag. The first collection broke my heart because I wanted all the dresses, but none of them fit me properly and they were such odd shapes and lengths. 

I ended up getting the matchstick trousers and swallow coat for a snip in the sale and I love them both, but I longed for a Swan dress. I reviewed every piece on the site (along with many other frustrated fatties), we all basically said 'add some stretch and cut off 4 inches'! 

I was almost excited about the 2nd collection, (mainly because of the Aubrey Beardsley dress that had a print that gave me all kind of orgasms!) but sadly in general it was exactly the same collection as the first... odd lengths, crap fabrics and and cuts that made me look like a badly stuffed sausage! I cannot tell you how hard it was for me to return the Beardsley dress. Even with my firmest control shape wear it just clung to every bit of cellulite on my body and looked awful.... the only stretchy dress from that collection and it was the only one that didn't need stretch because of it's loose tunic style. I still think about that dress, it's like the one that got away :( I got the trousers from this collection but ended up selling them because they were too short for me.
By the time the 3rd collection came out I was like meh... finding out the bloggers were modelling was the most exciting part of it, but a much as I liked the prints I just thought it all looked too boxy... I think the boxyness was actually emphasised because it was modelled by plus sized women, some of whom are naturally very curvy (as in hourglass shaped!). Having said this I was excited when so many of the fabrics were described as 'jersey'.
I went for a try on and again... disappointment. What kind of jersey has no stretch?! So boxy, no room for my belly or bottom in these pieces. Just too shapeless for my lumpy body!
I did get one dress from the 3rd collection though, and I do genuinely love it. Well, sort of. I love how it looks because it looks AMAZING! Sadly for a £45 dress (might have been more than that actually, I can't quite remember!) the quality is not good, I've had to completely sew it up and reattach all the buttons... I've had dresses from Primark that are better made, but still.... it looks ace so I have accepted it's flaws and embraced it's beauty!
I didn't realise that there was going to be another collaboration until I saw the Evans blog post with a sneaky peak of some prints from the new range. I thought they looked promising, and I was particularly interested in the glove print because I think it looks like Quentin Blake..... being a massive Roald Dahl fan I have so much love for Quentin Blake's fabulous illustrations! Then suddenly there were new Swan pieces on the Evans site. No big announcement, no fan fare, no gimmicks or marketing campaigns. They were just there, and I kinda liked some of 'em!
Some of the prints above are clearly missing, so I hope there's more to come, but I was up Marble Arch way tonight so I thought I'd go in and investigate! I managed to escape the sales lady who tried REALLY hard to get me to get an Evans card (bless her!) and dragged whatever I could carry into the changing room.... I didn't try everything because I had bags full of bedding and couldn't pick it all up!
 First up is the polka dot blouse, which I actually like quite a lot. It's not exactly stretchy but it does have a bit of stretch, so it's pretty comfy. It's not particularly forgiving because it clings to the old belly a bit, but I just don't care about that, because it's cute! I tried the 24 on, and I think the 22 would have been a tad tight on my belly, but not massively. I think this would be beautiful with a pencil skirt! I thought Chattermonkey might want to see this one on!
This dress has missed the mark for me to be honest, but I genuinely think this could look great on someone else. The pros are that the print is colourful animal print (always good!) and the ombre is pretty cool. I also like the length which is just below my knees. Too long for some I know but for us taller ladies this is a good length and the fact that it falls so well from the waist with a taper really makes the length work. NOT BOXY!
The cons are (for me) the entire top section. I hate dresses with a sort of v-neck with a vest section underneath, they just remind me of the fashion choices I had in the 90s. There was too much of this half v / half round neck style, and I still feel a bit freaked out by them! If this had been a deep ruched V-neck without the extra panel I think it would be much more stylish. I'm also not keen on this length sleeve.... I sort of think they should either be shorter or longer.... again it's a personal thing, I don't like this sort of half-way-house sleeve length on me because it really rounds out my shoulders. The other thing is that from a distance I think it makes me look pregnant, purely because the ombre colours are lighter in the middle... personally I'd always put the darker colour in the centre to avoid a pregnant look! FYI I'm wearing the dual sized 22-24, and the fabric is that sort of synthetic feeling 'jersey' that Simply Be use for the Anna Scholz dresses, so it's really stretchy but slightly clingy (not that it matters with such a busy print of course!)
 I have a confession to make.... I really hate cats! I am very much a dog person, and I find cats snotty and unpleasant, so I would never even consider buying clothing with cats on. I know that Rachel from A Dress is For life is mad for them though, and I know she wanted this cardi so I thought I'd take some pictures! It really does look nice doesn't it? This is the 22-24 and it's a nice fit, only a touch of gaping on the top button but it's got loads of give so I'm sure that would stretch out.
If this had dogs on I would be properly tempted by it! The only cons I have is that the cats eyes are made of zips, and I think it would get caught on things (like my skin for instance!) so you'd have to be careful wearing coats over it. The biggest con for me is how itchy it is though.... I just cannot abide itchy jumpers and cardis. I know this isn't a problem for everyone, it's just a personal thing!

sorry for the wobbly picture! this is the glove print jersey top in a size 22. IT'S PROPER JERSEY! WOO HOO! The section across my boobs was going a little bit white when stretched so I would probably size up to a 24 to avoid this. It's too short for my liking, but I wasn't planning to wear it on it's own....
.... oh god..... I LOVE THIS SO MUCH! Size 22 skirt, exactly the same stretchy jersey as the top, with an elasticated waist. I really really REALLY wanted to buy this outfit. It took some mega self control to leave the shop without these pieces.
My issue is this - this top and skirt should have just been a dress. Don't get me wrong I don't mind separates, but when it comes to costings, a £45 top (which I'm sorry, is way too pricey for such a tiny top!) plus a £45 skirt (a more acceptable price 'cause of the expanse of fabric I guess) means that you'd basically be paying £90 for a jersey dress. If this were a dress I think £60 would be as far as they could push it. I wanted this so bad but I just couldn't justify spending so much on two little jersey items, even with the current 10% off..... if I made more money or had a sugar daddy I would have taken this straight to the till and flounced home on a cloud of joy, but alas, I am not a rich woman and my Mr is certainly no Rockefeller! I PRAY that these go into the sale or that I can get a better discount code, because this is by far my favourite Clements Ribeiro style to date. LOVE LOVE LOVE! Please only buy this top and skirt if your getting a bigger or smaller size than I need because I don't want them to sell out! Ha!

Overall I think this is the most accessible of all the Swan's, the added stretch means that theses pieces will fit a much wider range of body-shapes than the previous collections and that can only ever be a good thing. Thank you for listening Evans!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Quick one

 So my George order arrived in super quick time, and it's such a nice dress that I wanted to do a mega quick post to show you ('cause I feel sure this will sell out in the big sizes pretty fast!). This is a lovely stretch jersey dress by Barbara Hulanicki and is only £18! I got the size 24 but I really didn't need to size up as this is pretty good sizing. If I could change it for a 22 in store then I would but I can't really be bothered to send it back for an exchange so I'll stick with the 24, but I advise you to get your normal size! I'd even go so far as to say that a size 24 would be okay for size 26 too because of the stretch!
The neck and the shoulders are what sold me on this dress, I love this classic deep v (it's so deep i might have to pin it actually!) with structured shoulders, it's such a flattering shape... and look how pretty and autumnal the print is! I recommend it is a big way! Get it here in sizes 8-24!

Monday, 28 October 2013

Taking shape part-1

Have you ever heard of Taking Shape? No, me neither until I got a rather nice email from them asking if I'd like to review some clothes! I was really quite excited about this one, because not only are they a new brand for the UK, they are actually coming to the HIGH STREET! They're an Australian brand who are expanding in the UK, they sell sizes 14-26, (although typically I managed to choose items from the Eplisse range that only seems to go up to a 24!) so it seems that we may have somewhere that we can actually visit and try clothes on!

I was 100% straight with them and explained that I give very honest reviews - you guys know I speak my mind, and I'm not going to change my blog any time soon I promise! - and lots of what they sell isn't really my style, but they were cool about that so I chose some of my favourite items from the website and they very generously sent them to me! 

I think this is generally a shop aimed at a slightly older clientele, but they have some really quirky dresses that I was excited to try and tell you guys about. I'm happy to say that I was genuinely impressed with the quality of what I was sent!
I have three dresses to review, and this first one is just so very lovely! The storm was just beginning when we took these pictures so I'm a little wind-swept but you can still see how delicious this dress is!
This is the 'Minted Rose Dress' and when I saw it I was just so taken with the print, it's sort of like a trellis with flowers growing up it and it's so pretty!
I was trying to work out what this would look like on me because to be honest I think that as with many plus size retailers, the model used is just too slim to fit the clothing properly! I saw the potential though, and I think this fits me nicely!
I requested a 24 because I didn't know what their sizing would be like but was sent the 22. This is perfect as the top section is stretchy (viscose & elastane), so I'd say you could safely get your normal size.
One of the reasons I wanted to try this dress is that it is so classic and graceful - my reasoning was that it would be a perfect dress to wear to see my 90 year old grandma. I know she will love me in this, because it's so demure and pretty!
Taking shape are a bit pricey in comparison to Evans (the only other plus size retailer on the high street) but there is quite a difference in quality in my opinion. The skirt of this dress is made from a cotton & silk mix, and it feels wonderful. I don't think I've found nice silk mixes anywhere other than Anna Scholz and I'm appreciative of silk in my old age, it's breathable and light. I think this dress will be wonderful in warmer weather (I'll need to layer up if I want to wear it any time soon though as it's quite thin.... bless the Australians; not quite such a forgiving climate here!).
The model in the pictures is wearing it with a big petticoat so I didn't really notice until it arrived that it has a scalloped hem, but I think this is my favourite element of the dress. It adds that slightly unusual and original feel to a classic shape.
Can you tell that I feel good in this dress? I really did feel feminine and beautiful! My boyfriends response to seeing me in this was 'you look pretty', which is a big thumbs up (and basically means that I look super girly... trust me he doesn't say this when I'm dressed all masculine.... sexist!).

This dress retails at £110 which I know will be a bit to pricey for some of my readers, but I was happy to see when I went to get the link that it's just gone on sale and is now £60! Get the Minted Rose Dress from the Taking Shape website!
One of the things I like about taking shape is that they seem to make a mini range of some of the prints, so if you like the cute print of the dress I'm wearing but don't think the shape will suit you there are other options, like this super cute Minted Rose Puff Dress (also in the sale, now £49 down from £90)......
..... or the Minted Rose Tunic. There's also a cotton & silk scarf in the sale for £15.

Look at how lovely the package Taking Shape sent me was! Make sure you check back for my review of the 2nd dress soon... it's a quirky one, and is completely different to the minted rose dress!

Taking Shape are new to our shores so lets welcome them with open arms! You can follow them on twitter @takingshapeuk or follow their facebook page here

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Wardrobe weekly

 I knew from quite early on that Monday was going to be a shitty day!
I generally try to plan my outfit the night before work, but occasionally I don't remember and that some times leads to a 'nothing goes with these trousers' situation. When I wake up feeling really shitty and don't have an outfit planned, I generally go for something I've put together and worn on a previous occasion so that I don't have to think about it too much. This was well comfy when I wore it a few weekends back so it seemed like a good option.
Dress 22 - Marks and Spencers
Cardi 24 - New Look inspire
Boots & socks - Primark
Ring - Ziska

On the plus side my MUA order arrived on monday and I finally have the 'undress your skin' highlighting powder I've been after for months!

 I always feel sexy in this dress (errrr... can you tell?!).
It hugs my body so well, and the fabric is so slinky and delicious... my friend patted my shoulder and then ended up stroking me and ooohing at how nice it feels!
Dress 22 - E1 from Simply Be
leggings 20 - Primark
Boots - Primark

 My original intention was to wear this dress with my maroon loafers, but the weather had other plans. That's why I'm wearing my witch booties and am looking a bit Beetlejuicy!
Dress 22 - Dorothy Perkins
Bangles - vintage
Tights XL - Primark 100 denier
Witch booties - Primark

Thursday was a mad day (with added work fury!) so this is a quick snap of me on the way out to lunch.... old outfit, old favorite!

Cardi / top 20 & bag - Primark
Jeans 22 - Dorothy Perkins
Ring - ebay
Brogues - charity shop

 I like a bit of rock chick chic now and again... particularly when it's a £10 dress!
 Dress 24 - George
Leggings XL - H&M
Boots - Matalan (mens)

 Had a fun day charity shop trawling for an 80's outfit for my boyf. We had a lush day in which I had a vegetarian sausage that was so much like a real sausage in texture and flavour that it blew my mind, and not only did we find a rather fetching silk shirt and pleated slacks for him, but I got myself a couple of nice old lady pleated midi skirts.... something I've been looking for for ages! To quote my beloved sister 'you wear our grandmas clothes, you look incredible'!
 Out for a Friends birthday on Saturday night.... I'm still suffering the effects as I type....
 Dress 22 - Beth Ditto for Evans
Tights XL - Prikmark 100 den
Shoes - New Look