Product Review: Simply Be

Published May 23, 2012 by Fat Heffalump

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!


41 comments on “Product Review: Simply Be

  • I love some of their ranges like the Joe Browns range but with them not shipping to Australia, and the difficulty in even finding anyone that will mail forward their items, I have to resort to ebay to pick up the off items that come up in my size.
    I would LOVE it if they started shipping to Australia, especially since they actually have a plus size maternity range that I would buy from if it was available here since there is nothing that can compete (in terms of availability and price) over here.
    Maybe they’ll consider shipping here soon fingers crossed.

    • I love the Jo Browns stuff – it’s so cute and funky. It’s frustrating when companies don’t ship to Australia these days, I mean shipping has come so far down in price and there’s a whole market out there now!

  • Love the floral one on you – I think I might order that. I just had my first order from Simply Be a week or so ago – my first foray into Colour (with a capital C) after clearing out my closet of all my ‘thin clothes’. Actually, I placed my order with, but as far as I can tell, this is exactly the same company.

    I got a couple of long-sleeved t-shirts in coral and teal (item no. MB360NF) and would agree that the fabric and the quality were excellent. Have practically been living in them since and my mood lifts a few notches every time I put one on and look in the mirror. I also ordered the floral print crochet tunic (item no. PK163NF), which at £39 I thought was a bit expensive for a summer top, but it looked nice. But when it came, not only was it lovely quality, it was LINED. So not exactly an off-the-shelf t-shirt then. Looks fantastic, kept it, can’t wait to wear it.

    My third item was a pair of beige palazzo trousers. Despite ordering my regular size (20), they were way too big and I returned and exchanged for a size 18, yet to be delivered.

    Overall impression, gorgeous clothes, fantastic quality, flattering, stylish, and really good customer service, ordering and returns processes.

    • Yep, just checked. Even the item numbers are the same between simply be and fashion world.

    • Oh how I love some colour in my wardrobe. It’s so hard to find real colour for fatties. Everything is either black, grey or neutrals. Boring! Even when many plus-size clothing companies do forays in to colour, they either do muted versions of the stuff that is trendy, or they do hideous “fat lady” prints that are really unfashionable.

      • God I hate fat lady prints and horrible material.

        just because I am fat dosent mean I want to look frumpy.

  • Love that blue dress!

    I would also love it if Simply Be started shipping to Australia! I have picked up a couple of the Joe Browns skirts on eBay. I have ebay searches set up to notify me if Simply Be things and their concession brands get listed. It’d be much nicer to just buy them direct. Please, Simply Be?

  • I have several pieces from Simply Be…two pairs of jeans, a pair of olive (though they call it khaki) Joe Brown cargo pants, a pink Joe Brown hoodie, & a long sleeve blue & white striped clothes. I have to adjust sizing because I am in the US, but the clothes fit well, seem to be fairly generously sized, well made, & I get free shipping on every order & get enough catalogs offering 20-30% that I have so far gotten everything I have purchased at a fairly substantial discount, very important for someone on a fixed income.

    The Joe Brown line is my favorite of all the brands they offer, but then I am very much a jeans/t-shirt/hoodie/cargo pants kind of girl. It takes 3 men to wrestle me to the ground & put a dress on me (not literally, but you get my point…I don’t do dresses, last wore one 13 years ago for my son’s wedding.) I can give Simply Be a high recommendation.

  • That would be a long-sleeved blue & white SHIRT, lightweight cotton, a tunic style with elastic which comes on me under the bustline. Sorry for not catching the typo.

  • I just recently made my first order with Simply Be (a Joe Browns skirt and a flowy, lacy top). I’ve also noticed that the quality is worlds away better than some other manufacturers. The pieces, even the lightweight blouse, just feel sturdier and better put together. Both pieces also ran a little large for me. While I’m usually a US18, the two items are just a smidge looser than I wear my clothes. Perhaps not large enough that I can wear a 16, but I need a belt with the skirt, and I don’t even remember the last time that happened.

    My favorite part, though, is that the fashions are so unique from everything else we have over here. If I have to endure shopping at another Lane Bryant clone, I may scream. Generally, plus sized stores are not feminine enough for me, not a problem I had with Simply Be.

    My only complaints are that the price tag puts it a bit out of my everyday reach, and shipping Stateside is a bit expensive as well. I try not to complain too loudly, though, as this is pretty much the only store I have to pay for international shipping, and it seems like the rest of the world always does.

    • Quality is such a rare find in plus-size clothing, isn’t it? One of the things I like the most about both these pieces are that the fabrics are good quality and have a high ratio of natural fibres in them. And yes, there is something a bit different about their styles and colours, which I love.

      But you’re right – international shipping is par for the course for the rest of us, so don’t complain too loudly!

  • I’m wearing a dress from Simply Be right now as I’m reading this. 🙂 I like the Bespoke and Joe Brown lines, but I also like that flipping through their catalog feels like getting a taste of several smaller boutique lines. And honestly, I’d been debating about that skater dress because I wasn’t sure how it’d look on me, but seeing it on you, I think it’ll look faboo on me, so that’s going into my next order. 🙂

    Warning for US residents: Even though Simply Be has an address in Florida and ships from there, most credit card companies will ding you with a foreign transaction fee for your purchase from them, because the company resides in the UK. Check with your credit card provider to find out if they will hit you with this fee. It’s not very much, but it’s still irksome because there’s really no reason for it except profiteering.

  • Dang but those are great! May I ask how tall you are, Kath? Just wanting to get an idea of where the hems would hit on my little 5’2″ self. I tend to prefer longer skirts, so I’m curious.

    Now I need to hunt down the US purveyors of this line! I want to wear that teal color. Yum.

  • I love love love love Simply Be! I can easily spend a whole afternoon just flipping through their catalog or browsing the website. Everything I have ordered has been very high quality and it’s so fashionable that I feel like a rock star when I wear their clothes.

    My only issue with them so far has been shipping. I’m in the US and I *think* their warehouse is in the UK. When I order from their US site, I don’t have to worry about size conversions or money conversions or anything, but it takes a LONG time for me to receive an order from them. I’m talking more than 2 weeks in several cases. But so far every single order has been worth the wait!

    • 2 weeks is a standard wait for us for international shipping. You’re lucky!

      You’re right though, their stuff is so cute and fun and fashionable. I want them to ship here!

  • I’m in the UK, so have been able to buy things from them a looooong time. I have an account and I’ve used it. I also buy from a British catalogue, Very, also known as Littlewoods. They have a range called South which goes up to a uk 24. South has a huge range of clothes, some of which are excellent quality. They also have So Fabulous (up to a 32) which is also faily trendy and very good quality and Savoir (up to a 28) which is for older women by very nice quality too.

    Even though I live in Edinburgh, Scotland, the available in person shopping in my size (UK 22/24) is dreadful. Dorothy Perkins is almost exclusively online over a 20 now, Evans is a tiny concession in a much bigger dept store and New Look (with their plus size Inspire range) has also got one store, out of town that has a tiny concession in a bigger New Look. We also have two decent supermarket clothing ranges, F&F at Tescos and George at ASDA (Walmart) that go up to a 24. But online shopping is almost the only game in town.

    I recommend everyone learns to sew, no matter what dress size you are. I started learning 21 years ago and I’ve never stopped. Once my degree work is over for the summer, I have oodles of skirts, dresses and tops to make. Just need to convince my willing servants to do the cutting out for me. That’s what teenage children are for surely??

    • It’s the same here Cherade9 – I have about three options, maybe 4, of “brick and mortar” stores I can go to as an 26AU. It’s bloody offensive!

      The thing is, not everyone has the time, the skill or the desire to learn to sew. We shouldn’t have to learn to sew unless we want to. We should be able to buy the clothes we need from stores close to us at any given time!

  • I found SimplyBe about a year or so ago and have enjoyed many of my purchases. Their price point is a bit higher than some other online retailers, but most of their clothes are high quality — especially the Joe Browns, Anna Scholz, and Angel Ribbons labels. It was also really refreshing to find an online plus-size retailer focusing on more recent trends and funky, young looks. They offer free shipping and returns and usually have discounts running for purchases over $100 or so.

  • First off, let me say ‘waaaaah’, cause it’s been a dream of mine for Simply Be to start shipping to Australia. I often find some great things on their site, but they don’t ship here. I keep asking on twitter if there is any news of them shipping here, and always get a ‘not yet’.

    I LOVE skater dresses, I find them really flattering & comfy. They are such a great ‘blank canvas’ dress. Add a belt, stocking, shoes, jewellery, vest etc and you have so many different ways to wear it. I love the stockings and boots with it. I really need to make an order with We Love Colors!

  • I love Simply Be, although it is usually the sister catalogue Fashion World I use, they have a choice of styles to suit most personality types and they let you know what styles suit which body shapes better (if you are into that sort of thing) they have long length tops which do not all have either huge long sleeves or short sleeves (I’m 5 ft 2 ins with short legs and like tunic length tops). They even have a selection of pretty bras in my size that come in different colours and don’t break the bank. I’m also impressed that the quality of the clothes is better than I can get on the high street while still managing to be cheaper.

    My style is a mix of goth, hippy and grunge, so I generally want simple clothes I can mix and match, with Simply Be and Fashion World I can have that without breaking the bank. I can even indulge my feminine side when I want without having to put up with a ridiculous amount of ruffles, lace or other assorted frou frou that puts me off.

    Add the fact that their models,while on the lower end of the scale, are actually plus size women (as far as I know) rather than plus size models so they aren’t trying to sell me clothes by showcasing them on someone who had to peg them together at the back to stop them falling off. I’d prefer to see more variety on the website, possibly customer shots so I can have a better idea how it would fall on someone closer to my build, but I’ll take what I’m offered for now and hope we take more baby steps toward diversity and acceptance.

    As for the clothes they sent you I love that skater dress and hope it comes in darker colours and the thicker material wont matter so much up here in Scotland, we need that in spring and autumn as well as winter and occasionally in summer too. >.< I'm not so into the floral one, but the cut looks good and it's very you (I'm just not much of a flowery sort of girl) .

  • Hi Kath,

    just read your article in this months Woman’s Weekly and thought your attitude is fabulous!

    Can’t wait to read all you previous entries.



    • Wow Phoebe, thanks for your comment and of course welcome! I haven’t even seen that article yet – I think I’m going to have to go to the Newsagent and get a copy tomorrow!

      • I gave my mum a subscription last year for Christmas so I think she gets it a day or two early.

        What brand is your bike? its so cute!

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