clothing

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Product Review: Simply Be

Published May 23, 2012 by sleepydumpling

Recently I was contacted by Simply Be, a UK plus-size clothing retailer to ask if I’d like to review some of their product here on Fat Heffalump.  Always keen to try out new plus-size options on the market and share whether they’re any good, I said yes!

They sent me two dresses out of a selection of pieces that I liked the look of on their website.  The first was this cute teal skater dress, from the Angels and Ribbons label:

I teamed mine with pale blue tights from We Love Colors, the grey suede booties that Autograph Fashion gave me after wearing them in the Women’s Weekly fashion shoot, and a pair of cute long earrings in an antique gold look with pale blue “stones” that I’ve had for ages.  The first thing that I noticed about this dress was the fabric.  It’s thick, soft and solid.  It looks like it will last for ages.  The dress is actually more teal than this photo shows.  It is well made, has good facing around the neckline to make it sit nicely and has lots of shape cut into it with that kind of princess style around the bust.  I can see myself wearing it with pants or leggings as well as tights.  It is definitely a winter dress for here in Brisbane though – I think I’d swelter in it during our summer.

They also sent me this Angel Sleeve Jersey Tunic dress, which has a really cute floral:

Excuse the very dorky photograph of me!  I teamed this one with a cardigan from Target Australia, We Love Colors leggings and my Autograph black riding boots.  Oh and some big old earrings I have from Diva I think.

This dress isn’t made of as high grade fabric as the skater dress, but it’s such a fab print, bright and colourful and something that could be mixed and matched with all colours and shapes.  It’s very soft on, and has the prettiest fluttery sleeves (sadly which are covered by my cardie).  I think I’ll wear this one a lot.  I’m not sure it will last as long as the teal one though.

They stock from size 12UK – 32UK.  In both cases, I got a UK32 in size, which fit me generously and I’m normally a size 26AU.

I found quite a few garments on the website that I really liked.  They also stock Anna Scholz and Zandra Rhodes among other labels.

The only disappointing thing is, it doesn’t seem that Simply Be ship to Australia.  But they have affiliate sites for the US and Europe.

Anyone else had experience with Simply Be?  Share in the comments!

An Open Letter to Leona Edmiston

Published May 19, 2012 by sleepydumpling

Dear Leona,

Thank you.

No sincerely, thank you.  Two days ago, for the first time in my almost 40 years of life, I purchased three designer garments for myself.  And they were from your Leona+ line.

Now I had heard some time ago that you were extending some of your ranges into plus sizes, and I was absolutely thrilled.  I love the beautiful clothes you produce, the fabrics are always delicious, the prints gorgeous and the styles both beautiful and woman-body-friendly.  My boss rocks a Leona frock like nobody else, as a tall, slender woman and I’m always envious of the gorgeous prints and colours she has access to.  But I was dismayed to hear that they only went to about a size 20AU when I did some research.  Yet again I was feeling like I’d been slapped in the face and told “Not for you, you’re too fat for us to make anything for you, you deserve nothing.”

But recently some lovely fellow fatty friends on Twitter told me that there was a line in Myer that went up to an XL, which was about the equivalent of a size 24AU.  So, always looking for more clothing options, I went for a look, but wasn’t hopeful because I’m usually a size 26AU.  And lo and behold, there they were, on a sale rack – these mythical Leona Edmiston dresses that go up to a size XL.  I tried them on in an XL – and they fit my size 26AU body beautifully.  Like they were made for me.

I had to have them.  Being on sale, I could afford to splash out and get three.  It was a tough choice, but these are the ones I chose (apologies for the make-do photos, I haven’t worn them yet!):

The purple in it matches my hair perfectly.

Looks so cute with leggings or opaque tights and boots.

My favourite of the three – love these colours.

I also had a look at the new season stock which has just arrived, which instead of being sized in the S/M/L/XL method, actually has it’s sizes on it (14 or 16 to 24).  These look gorgeous as well, and I’ll be heading back when I’m ready for some more shopping to increase my Leona wardrobe.

But pretty dresses aside, I want to thank you for something very important to me as a fat woman.  I want to thank you for enabling me to participate.  While many people pooh-pooh fashion as frivolous and shallow, the reality is that in our culture, how we present ourselves, and how we participate amongst our peers is incredibly significant.  I have written before about the power of clothing and fashion to mark us as “other” in our society, when we are not able to participate in the fashions and cultural movements of our peers.  From feeling like we do not belong amongst general society, to experiencing workplace discrimination because are not able to dress ourselves as professionally or dynamically as our thin peers.

Like it or not, fat people are part of the community.  We have lives that we need clothes for.  We want to be able to express ourselves through fashion like everyone else.  And we also like to shop and spend the money that we earn on nice things.

So when a designer like you expands their range to include us, it enables us to participate culturally where we have not been allowed to before.

Now I know that this isn’t your primo designer range – this is a range that you have released with Myer.  But that’s ok – it’s an option that wasn’t there for us before.  Like your affordable Ruby range, it gives another group of women an option to participate in fashion and expressing themselves through style.

I hope that you continue to offer beautiful Leona Edmiston dresses to women of all sizes, even those of us at the upper end of the range.  I hope that sometime in the not-too-distant future you start showcasing this range on your website.  And I hope that you sell lots of these beautiful plus-sized dresses to fab fatties everywhere, and expand the range to more fabulous and fashionable colours, prints and styles.  We’re tired of hiding away in drab, shapeless, dark coloured clothes.  We want to be out there expressing our fabulous selves with up-to-date, on-trend fashions.

We want to participate.

Best wishes

Kath aka Fat Heffalump

These Boots Were Made for Fatshion – Boot Review

Published March 20, 2012 by sleepydumpling

Hey hey!  I know, I’m not blogging as much as usual, but with the new library project I’m working on coming to fruition next week (shiny new library, so close to opening it!) and the fact that I have to move house in the next month to six weeks, the old energy levels are low.  But I’m back here with you tonight to do another of my blog reviews, since Autograph Fashion were so kind as to send me two pairs of their new season boots.  Plus I know you all love some outfit posts right?

So, remember last year when I bought the tall riding boots in brown from Autograph and I was SOOOOOO excited because it was the first time in my 38.5 years of life that I could find tall boots to fit my fat calves?  I wore those puppies until the soles wore through.  I still reckon I should just go and get them resoled, as the rest of the boot is just fine.  They also sent me the brown buckle boots, which I love even more and wore right through summer, and will continue to wear this year right through again.

Anyway, Autograph sent me through two pairs of their new season boots to review – the black tall riding boots and the tan suede ankle boots.

First the black riding boots, check ‘em out:

I like bright colours, what can I say?

Autograph got a lot of feedback last year that the soles of the tall riding boots weren’t the best of quality.  I did wear mine out, but I also wore them a LOT when I first got them, so I wasn’t sure if it was the quality or the frequency of wear.  But this year they have apparently improved the construction of the boot, reinforcing the sole.  It certainly feels sturdier than those on the brown ones.  I also like the addition of the buckle detail, it just gives them a bit more detail than last year’s boots.  Now I have 19″ calves (48cm for metric) and they fit me well, with room to spare.  I can actually slide my arm down inside the back of them.  So those of you with plus-sized calves – these are going to fit you, I promise.  The price is $99.99, which is actually at the lower end of the boot scale.  CityChic are offering a very similar thing (though there was some debate about how much leather is in each pair) for double the price.  I haven’t found any other wide calf boots anywhere else in Australia to compare the prices with.  Regular calf size boots in places like Payless or Target are about the same price as far as I can see.

There was a question on one of the Autograph Fashion Facebook page threads about whether or not “big women would want to wear chunky boots – they wouldn’t be very flattering” (paraphrased).  Well, here I am at a size 26 in the boots:

Dress and boots: Autograph Fashion
Leggings: We Love Colors in "Scarlet" - yes, they are hot pink!

Dress and boots: Autograph Fashion (my favourite black dress ever.)
Tights: We Love Colors lycra blend in "mint"
Flower brooch: Sussan

Y’all know I don’t care about flattering, but seriously – these add NO bulk to my legs at all.  They fit all the way up close to the contours of my leg.  Don’t believe me?  I wore them again today:

See, even goofing off for the camera they’re still firm and close to the contours of my leg.  Folks – don’t let the fashion “rules” stop you from wearing the things you love – just work them into your wardrobe however you like, and rock the hell out of them!

Oh wait, here’s a detail shot of them with my mint green tights from We Love Colors:

Mmm… minty!

Now, onto the tan ankle boots.  I’ve been holding off on this post for the past two weeks for one reason – the ankle boots are faux suede and I needed a non-rainy day to wear them… and we haven’t had one in WEEKS!  I don’t want to ruin them by getting them wet or muddy, and I don’t think even water proofing treatment could protect them in the current squelchy weather we’ve had here in Brisbane.

So tonight I came home and whacked them on my feet with the mint tights and took some photos indoors, and walked around with them on for an hour or so.  Here, have a look:

I tell you what, it’s REALLY hard to photograph your own feet from the side.  I wanted to show off the heel and snub-toe shape of these cute boots:

I wasn’t really successful, was I?  Let’s try another angle:

Well, you get the idea right?  They are very cute, a great colour and style, and they would fit a wide foot really well (I have a standard width size 10 foot and there is width to spare in them) and very comfortable.  The only real criticism of them is that heel.  It’s super tiny and I did feel quite teetery on them.  Other fat women might be more successful with them than I, but I wonder if they’re going to be strong enough to support this fatty.  But I’ll have to wear them out and about a bit to get a real indication of how they’ll hold up – if it ever stops raining!  I also think they’re going to crease up a fair bit with wear (you can see the beginnings already) but I personally like that kind of body-formed look.  I know other people hate it though.  These are $89.99, which I wouldn’t pay, because I don’t need wide fitting shoes and can buy ankle boots anywhere and have them fit me.  But if you’re struggling to find boots to fit you, these might be the ticket for you.

So – how do you feel about wearing boots?  Those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, I know you’re on the downward run out of the cold months now, did you wear boots much over the winter?  And my fellow Southern Hemisphere buds – are you looking for boots for winter?  If so, what kind are you looking for and have you found any fab ones that fit fatties?

*Again, these boots were gifted to me by Autograph Fashion but all opinions are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Thoughts on Being “Othered”.

Published February 28, 2012 by sleepydumpling

A few days ago I was writing an email to a friend of mine about fat, fashion and marginalisation, and while I was doing so, quite a few things kind of went “Ping!” in my head, and I realised I wanted to expand upon the subject in a general sense here on my blog.  We were talking about how many fat women feel about clothing and fashion, and the desperation so many of us feel when trying to find clothes that fit us, suit our lives, we like, make us feel good, and that are fashionable.

Those of us who engage in fatshion, the act of dressing/styling ourselves with pride and personal expression as fat women are outside of the acceptable cultural meme for fat women.  Fat women are expected to constantly be expressing their shame at having a fat body and doing everything they can to hide those fat bodies.  Regardless of whether or not that suits our lives, our needs or our personalities.

That’s the thing with inhabiting a fat body.  People see you as just that – a fat body.  They don’t attribute anything else to you, like a career or family, hobbies or convictions, let alone sense of humour, or intellect, or talent, or kindness and caring, or passion, or dedication… the list goes on.  The world sees you as FAT.  It’s the first thing people use to describe you, even if you have other more noticeable traits.  In my own personal case, my fat even trumps my candy coloured hair and tattoos as the most noticeable thing about me.  People notice that I am fat, before they notice a single other thing about me.

But of course, if you identify as fat and actually own this quality about yourself that the world constantly reminds you of, then the vitriol intensifies.  How DARE any woman not be ashamed of being fat.  She must be reminded that she is of lesser value, she must be brought down to the level that she belongs.

Clothing, indeed fashion, is one of the ways that society does that.  By restricting the options to fat women, it is another reminder that we are other.  That we don’t deserve the same things as “normal” people.  It serves to make us look even more different to general society, and then of course it is very effective in making us FEEL different to general society.

Having access to clothes that are fashionable and on a par with general society is both empowering and deeply emotional.  Because it takes away that demarcation of being socially other, and brings fat women to a point of being able to not just dress like, but BE peers to others in society.

I’m old enough to span a few decades of awareness of clothing and fashion.  I remember what it was like in the 80’s to try to find clothes to fit my fat body.  It was agonising.  So as a consequence, I spent most of my teens through to my early 30’s hiding.  Hiding in black, navy, burgundy.  Hiding in shapeless boxes.  No personal expression, no style, no fashion.  I never got to engage in fashion as a social event, so I was distanced from other girls/young women.  Therefore I never felt I could be friends with girls/women – and consequently only had male friends until my 30’s.  Of course, I didn’t know back then that this was institutionalised misogyny – teaching me that if I couldn’t “compete” with my peers, I couldn’t participate with them.

See how this shit works to push fat women further and further down the cultural hierarchy?

Then it came to work, and I couldn’t find clothes that matched those that my professional peers were wearing.  Instead, more shapeless, sloppy, dark sacks – which in turn made others (and myself) believe that I was less capable, less committed, less able than my thin peers.  After all, if you can’t dress yourself confidently, surely you can’t do anything else confidently right?

It just keeps going on and on and on.

I’ve also been the fattest person at the lunch table while everyone else talks about how disgusting their own, much thinner bodies are.  That’s always a special feeling.  I’ve been the one that the person with the fucked up food obsession uses for thinspiration.  I can’t tell you how it feels to have someone in a position of power use you as their metaphorical piggy-on-the-refrigerator, stalking your every move around food… and because they’re in a position of power, you can’t say “Fuck off.” or if you say anything to anyone else you get told you’re imagining it or over-sensitive.

I understand.  I know how it feels.  I live it every day of my damn life.

My only way of coping is to take it on and try to change the world.  I did 35 years of trying to change me to fit the world, and it didn’t work – it almost killed me.  Now I intend to devote the rest of my life to changing the world to fit everyone.  After all, the world is a big diverse place, there is room in it for all of us, no matter who we are, what we look like or what our lives are.  And we fat people have as much right to it as anyone else.

Chub Republic Brisbane Presents – Wardrobe Revamp: Fab Fatty Clothing Swap!

Published February 27, 2012 by sleepydumpling

I promised you I’d be back with more information on our fab fatty clothing swap for Brisbane peeps.  Check out our super cute flyer:

Here is a downloadable version (pdf) if you want to put one up somewhere that you know other fab Brisbane fatties will see it.  Spread the word my lovelies!

I really hope that we can get lots of you there – the more folks we have, the more variety of clothes we’ll have to swap.  I know I’m bringing some clothes to swap that are brand new (some with the tags still on them), from Torrid, Autograph, Asos Curve, Yours, Evans, Lane Bryant… that are just longing for a fab fatty to love them.  Some of them I wish I didn’t have to part with, they just don’t fit me.

If you can come along, here is the Facebook event for it, or email us at the email address on the flyer above.  Please RSVP so that we can get a good headcount of all of you for organisational purposes.

Also, we’ve started a Brisbane chapter of Chub Republic (founding chapter is in Melbourne).  We have a Twitter, a Tumblr, and a Facebook.

I’m so excited to be part of all of this, I think it’s going to be AWESOME!

Fab Fat Fashion Feedback Session

Published February 20, 2012 by sleepydumpling

I am a very lucky fatty.  I do know that.  I was invited again by Autograph Fashion to spend some time in my local store reviewing their new product lines and giving them some feedback.  Of course I leapt at the chance – what’s more fun than trying on clothes and playing with fashion?  Not to mention getting to share them with you all once I have too.

The kind folks at Autograph gave me a list of garments they wanted me to try on, and then let me go nuts with whatever else in store interested me.

I tried on a LOT of stuff.  I lost count with how many.  We didn’t photograph all of them, but here are the ones we did.  The first item they asked me to try on was this half sleeve foil print top.  I knew before I even put it on that it wasn’t my cup of tea, but the girls gave me a pair of jeggings (also not my cup of tea) and I had a go anyway:

Definitely not me.  I’m not one for slogans or anything on tops, and I wear almost no t-shirts at all.  It was made of a really soft fabric though.  The same goes for the jeggings – well made and a nice fabric, but not my cup of tea.  I felt really naff and uncomfortable in this outfit.

I then went on to try a floral print button through top that I had been eyeing off online for a bit.  I love a floral print, and anything loose and breezy has my vote in summer:

I found it super cute, but it just didn’t fit me at all.  It was kind of loose around the armpits, but sat weird on my hips and tummy.  A pity, because I just love that print.

Another outfit that the folks at Autograph asked me to try were the snakeskin print leggings and this frill hem voile tunic.

This top fit WAY better, but I wasn’t fussed on that hemline – it just hung all weird.  It’s a gorgeous colour though and a lovely soft, cool fabric.  But I can’t tell you how much I love those leggings.  They’re awesome!  Soft and comfortable and breath well, and y’all know how I love snakeskin print.  Those went on the “Yes” pile straight away.

I also tried on this black shirt:

It wasn’t really my cup of tea – it’s a bit plain for me.  But again, another great fabric, and if you’re looking for a wardrobe basic, it would be a good one.

Then it was time to try on some dresses.  This one jumped out at me straight away because of it’s blue print – blue is one of my favourite colours to wear:

But sadly, it didn’t work.  It looked frumpy and bland once I put it on, and the slip underneath was actually longer than the dress.  It’s a pity because I do love blue.

The ladies in store asked me to try this mono print one on, as they wanted to see it on a body rather than just on the hanger.  The print didn’t appeal to me at all (a bit old lady feeling for me) on the hanger, but it was better when I put it on:

It hung really nicely and was beautifully soft as well.  I think if it had been a different print I would like it a lot more.

Another one of the garments the Autograph folk asked me to try was this peplum dress:

I love it!  I love it!  I love it!  I’m going to change the belt up for one in red or bright yellow, to bring some colour into it.  I would LOVE one in the same blue as the top on the wall behind me in this photo, and I’d wear that with a yellow belt too.  Or red would be awesome.  Or purple.  I put this one on the “Yes” pile even though I have a dozen plain black dresses.   It’s such a cute style.

There was also this zip detail dress, which I really liked on the hanger:

I really liked the look of it, but it just wouldn’t sit right on me.  I think I would spend all my time adjusting it – and you know how annoying that is.  But I love the style and the print.

Now you know I’m not so much of a corporate wear kind of woman, but I thought I would give this dress a try (no longer on website):

How cute is that dress??  I love the just on the knee length, and the splash of colour in the top half.  It’s made of a beautiful weighty knit in the skirt and a light viscose in the bodice.  Since the dress was such a hit, I thought I would try a couple more of the garments from the workwear range.  There was this lace print tunic:

Love it.  I think I will go back for this one.  I love the soft peach colour and the pretty lace print.  I wear a lot of tunics and leggings, so this one would integrate into my wardrobe just nicely.

I also tried on this fluttery bow print top, and liked it so  much, it came home with me!  I wore it to work today, check out how I wore it:

Yes, I did have a hair cut over the weekend!

And this apricot spot top (with grey maxi skirt):

Despite the squinchy face I’m pulling, I really did like it.  I may also go back for that maxi skirt, I love that it’s straight through, no tiers or frills or fuss.

Leaving the skirt on, I tried this pretty floral top:

Which I really did love (I’m a sucker for a floral), and this gather neck print top:

Which didn’t quite work for me, though I love the colours in it.  Looking at that maxi skirt again, I REALLY like it.  I think I’m going to have to invest in that one!

Finally, I tried on a few more tops, from this rust coloured stripe top:

Which to be honest, I didn’t feel at all comfortable in – you can probably tell by the photograph!  I don’t really do t-shirts, but this colour and the stripe really called my name.

Then to this red and grey top:

Which really didn’t work for me at all (it felt like a pajama top) and finally, to this striped top with pockets:

Which I absolutely loved to bits, so much that it also came home with me!  It’s so soft and comfy and I love the pockets.  I am such a sucker for stripes too.

Finally, there was this awesome zigzag print tunic, which also came home with me, and I wore it to work on Friday (pre hair cut!).  Check it out:

I think that’s my favourite piece of the whole day.

There were a WHOLE lot of other things I did try on, but for several reasons they were rejected.  Some were just sold out in my size, some didn’t quite fit, some I didn’t like the fabric and some just weren’t my taste at all.

But overall I’m really impressed with how far Autograph have come in the past year or so.  I always find something I love, there is always something in on-trend colours, there is now some really good variety and mostly, it fits, even my size 26AU super fatty body.

1. In the interest of openness, Autograph Fashion gifted me 5 garments of my choice, but all opinions are my own and are not influenced by this gift.
2. Thanks to Lauren Gurrieri who took all of the in store shots for me.

 

Brisbane Fab Fatty Clothing Swap!

Published February 18, 2012 by sleepydumpling

Ok fab Brisbane fatties – I’m so excited, I’m in the thick of co-planning a plus-size clothing swap!  We have booked a date and a venue, and are just in the final stages of planning the logistics and organising the final details, which I should be able to share with you within a few days.

I can tell you the basics though:

Date: Saturday, 10th March, 2012

Time: 12pm – 3pm

Place: Graduate Centre Function Room (Queensland

College of Art [QCA] Griffith Uni, 226 Grey St, South Bank)

So if you’re in or near Brisbane, now is the time to be going through your wardrobe and pulling out all those garments that don’t fit you, or that you don’t feel comfortable in, and getting them ready to bring along to swap for some that are perfect for you.

Make your wardrobe work for you, not you work for it!

The more items you bring, the more items you can swap them for.  I already have a big box full of clothes, some new with tags still on them to bring along.

This is a great way to revamp your wardrobe, and it will also be a fat positive event where you can meet lots of other local fab fatties.  We will have change rooms and mirrors set up so that you can try things on, and I expect it to be a fun, body positive event of fatties sharing fashion tips and socialising.

And personally, I am hoping that it will be enough of a success that we can hold more fatshion swaps and other fab fatty events in Brisbane.

More details to come soon, but it’s only 3 weeks away, so put the date in your calendars now.  It’s going to be an awesome event.

So start sorting your wardrobes now, and getting those unloved garments ready to be swapped for some that you will love, and so they can be adopted by other fab fatties.

 

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