Clothes! (I’m Excited!)

Published July 3, 2011 by sleepydumpling

It is a rare thing that plus-size fashion promos make me really excited.  Don’t get me wrong, I love clothes, and every now and then I find something that I really love, but it’s not very often that I see a whole story and just go “I love it!”

But I got a sneak peek earlier this week at the lookbook of the newly released July range from Autograph Fashion and almost all of the collection was something that I would wear, and several pieces were really appealing.  I asked the crew at Autograph to send me some images so that I can share them with you all, because I think we’re seeing something quite significant with this collection.

So let’s take a look!

My favourite piece from the whole collection is this animal print dress:

Now I love me some animal print like only a fat lady can, but there are a lot of things I love about this dress.  Firstly… pockets!  Darting at the bustline, pleating and draping along the skirt (a bit hard to see in this photo).  I love the black, white and silvery grey too – I can see it with a jewel colour cardigan and tights, or fishnets and heels.  I can’t wait to get my hands on this one.

Then there is this midnight spot dress:

I love a lot of things about this one too.  The smocking, the indigo colour and the generous gathering.  I think it will look amazing over black leggings or tights, and I am going to find a black belt so I can wear it like this too.  And the people who feel they need sleeves are catered to with this one too.  I love that it’s a different take on spots as well.

How about this snake print skirt:

More animal print (yay!) and I love tulip wrap skirts, they hang so well on many different shaped bodies.  Not too long either – I find they look frumpy on me if they go past the knee.  I am really loving the black, white, indigo and silver of this range too.  I can keep it as is for a wintry look, or jazz it up with more colour.

Another favourite of this range for me is this shoulder top:

Love the cutouts, love the studs, love the drape over the bodice!  I’d wear this one with the snake print skirt.  This is a style that you NEVER see in plus-size fashion, it’s so refreshing to have something that’s different.

Ok, I know that a lot of you love sequins, so check out this tunic:

I confess, I love some sequins myself.  I’d love to see this one in red too, but the black is lovely.  I like the length too.

For another black dress, we have this one:

I love the ruffles on this.  I do love ruffles.  The ruched belt with this one is really cute too, and it’s a great length.  Another one I would wear with bright accessories (but you could leave it monochrome if that’s more your style).

Now this one is listed as a block print tunic:

But you know what?  It’s the white jacket I’m in love with in this shot.  I bought their denim jacket a couple of months ago and wear the hell out of it, and this one is even cuter.  The tunic is nice too, but that jacket… love it!

Next is the satin placket top:

 

There’s that indigo colour again that is really hot this season, and I love that this one is another new style that I’ve not seen repeated everywhere in plus sizes.  It looks like a spring and summer top, but with one of the jackets, leggings or a long sleeved top underneath, it works for winter too.  I’m a big fan of sheer fabrics as well.

And then we have the lace print tunic and drape cardi:

 

 

These two are a bit more traditional of plus-size clothes, and I have something similar to both already.  I still like the silvery-grey with black and white though.

So there you have the bulk of the collection.  You know what I love about this collection?  There are none of the usual fat-lady tropes that show up in SO much of the plus-size clothing we see.  No surplice necklines.  No shark-bite/handkerchief hems.  No “embellished” pants or bustlines.  Not even a baby-doll/empire waist!  Now I happen to personally like surplice necklines and empire waists, but I don’t want EVERY garment I own to have them.

It’s great to see a collection that is modern and fashionable, that is aimed at women with careers and adult social lives.  That’s been the biggest gap in the plus-size market in Australia (though the whole market is a gap in itself still) – clothes that women can wear to work, and to the kind of social life that is outside of nightclubs.

Now I know this collection is not going to be to everyone’s taste (no collection is – we’d all be boring if we liked the exact same things), but I do think it shows that Autograph Fashion are trying to bring in something more fashionable and on-trend, while still providing clothing that will fit a plus-size body with practicality (every garment here will cover my giant ugly “rack of doom” bras that I have no other option but wear!)  In the face of other brands completely ignoring their customers (I am looking at you City Chic, you can keep ignoring us but it’s only going to do you damage in the long run) or cutting the larger sizes out altogether (I’m still here City Chic, and I’ve still got money to spend on clothes, at size 26.)

I’m really looking forward to seeing these garments “in the flesh” so to speak, and I hope that Autograph continue to work towards fashion forward ranges that cover the entire size range (14-26).

To see the collection and prices – click here.

*Disclaimer: I am not paid by Autograph and these are my genuine opinions on this range and Autograph’s customer service.
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25 comments on “Clothes! (I’m Excited!)

      • update (since you asked, haha : ) they were out of the midnight spot, as you correctly predicted. so instead i bought four dresses from asos on sale instead! hmmm, not what i had planned to do tonight. shouldn’t online shop after 2 glasses of wine, apparently. thanks again for your awesome review! (and your beyond awesome comments down thread, btw :)

  • Mmm, you had me at the shoulder top! Even though I’m not a big fan of the colour, I would absolutely wear that.

  • Ugh, this post was great until you took YET ANOTHER swing at City Chic. We get it, you’re pissed they don’t carry your size.

    Unfortunately, you need to grasp the reality that retailing is not a public service, and they pulled the size range out because it wasn’t selling enough. Simple. Not enough size 26 customers buying the size 26 clothes.

    Autograph and City Chic are the same business, with the two different brands to target different demographics. Believe it or not, those demographics consist of a lot more than just ‘fat’. Whether you like the concept or not, you love Autograph because it is targeted squarely at you – City Chic is not. It is ONE business, two brands. City Chic will not fight for you as a customer because they already have you. Your dollars are contributing to the very same bottom line.

    It’s kind of like my 80 year old nanna bleating that she can’t find anything suitable at sportsgirl, even though she is petite.

    Please, your reviews are actually really good, if you could just leave the bitterness at the door before you embark on writing them.

    • Oh I’m going to KEEP taking swings at CityChic until they stop calling themselves “plus-size” retailers or actually provide clothing for the standard plus-size clothing range. I’m going to keep criticising them for not listening to their CUSTOMERS, I’m going to keep criticising them until they stop charging an arm and a leg for shitty quality clothing. I’m going to keep criticising them until they realise that retail IS entirely about customer service, and they actually listen to their customers (which I once was, and many other people were who now cannot buy from them.) I’m going to keep criticising them until they treat ALL of their customers as welcome in their stores, not just those that fit a certain size range. It’s not about the style of clothing they provide at all, so your strange analogy about your 80 year old nanna has no relevance.

      Plus-size retailers have a responsibility to listen to plus-sized customers. Whether or not they are of the same parent company, I couldn’t give a damn. And because they don’t fight for me, and other people like me, I’m going to make sure that everyone knows they think so little of the people who WANT to buy their clothes, who WANT to give them money, that they can’t even respond to their feedback. Plus-size retailers might think they have the market cornered just now, but that’s shifting and changing and it’s time they realised that all plus-size customers are their customers.

      And if they’re the “very same bottom line” – ask yourself why so many other sister companies under the same parent just simply disappear when they stop listening to their customers? Because the people they are beholden to, those of us who have the power to spend our money with them, simply get fed up and walk away. We have that power, no matter how much people try to deny it to try make us go “Oh well, I can’t make a difference, I may as well keep quiet and keep giving them money for a sub-par product.” Oh yes every single one of us can. With our dollars and our word of mouth.

      I will be reviewing things on my blog how I please and your little lectures are not going to change that.

      If you don’t like it, the door is that way. The only bitterness you are seeing is your own. Not to mention a whole lot of patronising attitude.

      • I’m not offended at all, nor have you ‘handed me my arse’. I get that ‘fat and angry’ is your thing, but you don’t seem to understand that SFG has you exactly where they want you.

        The nanna comment was completely relevant – CC do not and will not listen to you because your age sits a long way out of their demographic. As personally as you might take it, you are NOT the City Chic ‘customer’.

        There is an awful lot of money to be made in plus size retailing for someone who can get it right. SFG is doing very well from their model (targeting a broad cross-section of the low-price/high volume female fashion market and separating by demographic into various brands). It would be great to see others give it a go, because god knows I personally would like more choice. If I had the money behind me, I’d give it a go myself. However, no amount of ranting will change the reality of business, a game where emotions are left at the door and the sole objective is to profit.

        • Oh yawn, are you still here?

          A) You get nothing about me. You kid yourself if you think you do.

          B) There is no such thing as a “target demographic” because you’re assuming that there is an age limit to how people want to dress. I don’t care if the customer is 16 or 86, all retailers have a responsibility to listen to their customers, provide products that are priced to their quality, and provide products that are not shoddily made or poorly constructed.

          C) ALL plus-size women are the City Chic customers (or were, or have the potential to be) because the plus-size market is small and specialty. Any company stupid enough to not realise that is probably going to see themselves go right down the toilet. If they want to profit, they have to understand this. Just because you think you’re important enough to go “You’re not the customer because I say so.” doesn’t actually make it so.

          D) Here’s your arse, there’s the door. Again.

      • Kath,

        You are right, retailing should be all about customer service. Unfortunately for everyone (not only us, plus-size shoppers) it’s not. It’s all about business.

        I know someone who has a boutique and they refuse to have plus-size clothing because they say it’s no business. I’ve been tying to convince them forever and they just refuse to do it because they insist they won’t make any money out of it according to their “market research”.

        The real truth of the matter is they prefer to make smaller clothes so that they can use very little fabric and have a greater income.

        As you said people CAN make a difference, every single one of us. You’ve made a difference already, thanks to you and other people who complained about Autograph’s boring catalogues, they’ve changed them to something way more appealing and fun!

        Having said that, as much as I support people dressing in any way we want, not “according to age” because no one should tell us what to wear… big companies don’t agree with us on that one and they DO have “demographics” according to age brackets and don’t get me wrong, I think it’s stupid, but that’s how they work.

        I have to say, personally I think it’s not such a loss I’m not able to buy clothes at City Chic because their quality is crap and the prices are on the roof.

        • Romijna – I disagree with the thinking that customers have no power over businesses to change them. If it’s all about profit, then it’s all about making the customer spend their money. If they want me, and lots of other people, to give them our money, then they are beholden to us to make their product and service worthy of our money. Big company or small, every single one of us has the power to change it – we’ve seen that in lots of other businesses.

          To clarify again, I am not talking about style. Style is personal and each brand/company is different and has a different audience. I’m talking about quality, price and customer service. These are the things that we have to speak up about and force these businesses to change. Just saying “That’s the way it is.” and not bothering is pointless – you’re never going to see products, prices and service improve if you just swallow the steaming turd they’re trying to feed you.

          To everyone else, keep speaking up. Be clear, be constructive and don’t let the “You can’t change these things.” crew sway you. We can. We have. In less than 5 years I have seen a massive change in the plus-size clothing market, it still has a long way to go, but not that long ago all you could get were sacks in black or navy. If a business doesn’t offer decent quality, price and service, say so. Take your money elsewhere. It’s YOUR money. Pool your resources with other fatties and buy things online if you can. Lobby other businesses who do listen to offer better online options, or to open stores closer to you. You have that power.

          Believe me, I once owned a retail business, and the reason my customers came back is because I went out of my way to appreciate the fact that they were spending THEIR money in my shop.

          We will get there. We will see businesses recognise us for the buying power that we have. Or we’ll see them disappear.

  • Some of those things are super cute for Autograph. I never used to shop there, but over the last couple of years they have had some real gems.

    I agree about the City Chic thing too-if you are plus sized then sell ranges 14-26, and maybe consider checking what your demographic wants to wear. I fit into city chic XL but all I see when I go into their stores is row upon row of strapless, shiny and reduced to clear.

    • melhoneybee I actually really like a lot of the styles at City Chic, and would love to buy and wear them. But they’re ridiculously priced, shoddily made, dodgy fabrics and not cut to fit actual plus-size bodies. Not to mention their atrocious customer service – both online and in store! (There are some real horror stories going around about things CC staff have said to customers in store… eep!)

      And you’re absolutely right – there are always piles of stuff reduced to clear – mostly the stuff that is small sizing and really badly made. They might actually sell it at original price if they sized it right and got some decent manufacturing in there.

  • Wow. 24 and 26 sold out online of the midnight spot dress already!! That’s the one I want but I don’t have the money this week. I might have to see if they have one in shop to layby. All the tops and dresses with sleeves sell out so quick. You think it might give them a clue to stock more of those styles!

    Also, love the pockets on the leopard print dress. Looking forward to seeing a pic of you wearing it:)

    • Thanks sarah, I’m not surprised that those sizes are disappearing quick, what with the already narrow market narrowing further (looks towards City Chic again). And yup, the sleeves are a factor too. I like that they provide both options though. Despite many saying that fat women shouldn’t expose their arms, or that fat women over 30 don’t fit the “target demographic” of a certain style, lots of fat women of all ages want all different kinds of garments… just like straight sized women do. It’s ridiculous that anyone thinks they can prescribe a style to someone by size, age or any other arbitrary measure.

      I hope you find a midnight spot dress in your size somewhere!

  • While the Autograph range isnt to my taste I totally agree that it is 100 times better than their previous offerings! At least this time I was interested enough to actually stop and have a look at the items in store!

    And City Chic piss me off because their sizes are on the small side at the best of times. And they also don’t keep their online items stocked, the larger sizes are always sold out. The nearest City Chic is over 2 hours from where I live which is another issue. I guess seeing as they are ‘City’ Chic they don’t care about us country chicks.

    • Bri I don’t think they even care about the City ones. They seem to be getting a big overseas market these days, either that is their bread and butter or the other sister brands are supporting a drowning arm of the company.

      I noticed a couple of weeks ago that Autograph had quite a bit of casual and corporate stuff, which is fantastic too. It’s good to see them adding the fashion bit as well and really looking at the quality of their garments as well as what people are asking for.

  • There’s some nice styles amongst this collection, but I do wish that Autograph (and plenty of other online retailers too while I’m on my sturdy hobby horse) would put more information about the fabrics in the product descriptions. I really want to know how clothes will feel before I commit to buying them.
    For example the Autograph animal print dress description gives no more than this:
    “MID LENGTH CAP SLEEVE ANIMAL PRINT DRAPE DRESS”
    There’s no indication of whether this is a woven fabric or a knit. Is it cotton or viscose or polyester? Is it cut on the bias? Is there any stretch in the fabric? I want to know these things before I buy online or decide whether it’s worth going to a physical store to check them out in the flesh.
    *end rant*

    • I do too Paisley! I don’t buy from Autograph online (cos I have a store within 2 minutes walk from my office) but when I do buy from online stores, I need to know at least what the fabrics are (if not more details). I’ll definitely make I pass that on when I’m next talking to the folks from Autograph.

      I can’t help you with any of this range yet because I haven’t seen any of it “in the flesh” so to speak. But if I pop up one lunch break this week and see any of it, I’ll let you know.

  • I love these clothes and I love how confident she looks modeling. I would love to see more of this in a wider range of body types.

    I love loud colors and ornaments as much as the next person, but I’m really glad to see some cool, soft colors on plus-size models for a change. Something you can wear to formal events.

    The only issue I have is that she is probably plus size to the modeling industry, but she really doesn’t look plus size to the average person. She just looks average and it would be nice to see some true deathfatz someday.

    Then some others will say that this alone is encouraging us all to be fat.

    • I agree joanna – I’d love to see more super fatties represented in plus-size modelling. So often “plus-size” models are only a size 12, if that! Ridiculous.

      Fiona (in the photos above) is a size 18, but she is very, very tall, and of course very classically proportioned. She’s not the same shape as many of us who are buying the products, that’s for sure!

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