Evans Clothing

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All I Want For Christmas…

Published November 29, 2011 by Fat Heffalump

I’ve been working on a massive audit in my day job that is frying my brain (all those numbers!!) so let’s have a little fun tonight and look at some fabulous and fat friendly things that we might like for Christmas.  Who knows, we might get some gift ideas for other fab fatties in our lives too.

Let’s start with something that I’ve already ordered for myself, but I think EVERY fab fatty needs one of these in preparation for the new year.

Yes, it’s Marilyn Wann’s 2012 Fat!So? Dayplanner!

It’s a mere $14 (plus shipping) and all proceeds will go to building the Weight Diversity Action Lounge, a community center for fun, food, fitness, and fabulousness somewhere in Oakland, California.  I mean… it’s Marilyn Wann!  Plus it’s chock full of other contributors, inspiration, tips and art… including yours truly!

How about this adorable Lovedrobe Teal Heart Print Dress from Evans?

I love anything in chocolatey browns with teal, and a heart motif is one of my favourites.

Then there’s this pretty butterfly print top also from Evans.

And this GORGEOUS floral top, again from Evans.

How about a fat positive colouring book?  I want at least three copies of Fat Ladies in Spaaaaace: a body-positive coloring book!

How awesome is that?  Colouring in fat ladies.  IN SPACE!

Then of course, what fab fatty wouldn’t want a copy of Hanne Blank‘s “Big Big Love”?

(Can you guess that my Amazon wish list is pretty long?)

How about Substantia Jones’ 2012 Adipositivity Calendar?

The Adipositivity Project has been pivotal in my journey to fat positivity and strong self esteem.

More clothes!  I long for beautiful dresses from eShakti, these are my favourites (click on the images to go to the page on eShakti):

The Artist's Wife Dress

Singing In The Rain Dress

Dzilla Brass Rings Dress

The Birds Who Gossip Dress

Aren’t they all gorgeous??  I would LIVE in dresses like these if I could.

How about some amazing shoes?  I dream of Fluevog shoes.  They are the absolute pinnacle of shoe heaven for me, and they’re very fat friendly, with their wider fittings and excellent craftsmanship.  How about this selection (again, click the images to go to the website):

Splendid in Stripes

Caspian in Black and Off-White

Zaza in Red, Pink and Grey

I think we need to wind up with some accessories.  Let me see:

How about an ice-cream charm, from Georgina at Cupcake’s Clothes, and her cute label DollyMixx:

I love the radical defiance of wearing food accessories as a fat woman.  Fat women are policed about food all the time, so let’s chant Fuck Tha Police by wearing food as accessories!

What about a cupcake ring?  This one is from Etsy store Dolly-Tastic:

And while we’re on Dolly-Tastic, I absolutely adore this Hello Kitty charm bracelet:

Another one of my favourite sources for accessories is Sick for Cute (who have a plus-size range too), and I think I really, really need these whale socks:

Whale socks on a fat woman!  I love it!

And finally, I just spotted this bag and completely fell in love.

How’s that for a Christmas List?  Of course, there are loads of other wonderful goodies out there that would also be a delight to find under my Christmas tree, but these are some of the things I’m drooling over currently.

What about you?  What fat-friendly goodies would you love to find in your Christmas stocking?  Dream big in the comments Heffalumpies!

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On Shopping and Shaping a Wardrobe

Published December 30, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

In my lunch hour today I went shopping with my friend Nadia.  Originally I just went looking for a pair of black Mary-Janes, my old pair had died and I realised that other than ballet flats, I didn’t have any flat, black, comfortable shoes that I could wear with tights.  I really, really need some good quality shoes that I can be on my feet all day in, so that was my goal.

We popped into Rivers and they had all of their sandals and casual shoes for $20 a pair, so when I found both a pair of very cute patent leather and suede Mary-Janes in black, and another pair of cute leather Mary-Janes in a kind of olive colour, I bought both.

Then since the Rivers store is only two stores away from the Autograph store, and Autograph were having a 70% off sale… well, you know Nadia encouraged me and all.  SHE DID!!  Anyway, I came away with 3 tank tops, 2 dresses, a chemise, a bolero and a pair of swimmers, all for $93!  Weeeee!  I do love me some shopping.

Now let me just clear something up here.  It has been suggested in a few quarters (including one abusive email that I received) that I am somehow “selling out” to Autograph because they have sent me clothes to review.  Yes, they have been very generous, and I really appreciate that they’ve chosen me to do this with.  But that does not mean I’m doing some kind of “blog for product” thing here.  I will be the FIRST to speak up when Autograph don’t get it right.  In fact, there is a woman who works in their Brisbane Myer Centre store who is bloody awful at customer service, it would kill her to be pleasant and friendly.  (Though the other lady that works there is really nice, I don’t want to tar them all with the surly lady brush).  Autograph are in no way perfect when it comes to plus-size retail, (prices are still a bit steep for some things, still a whole lot of crossover busts and still far too many scratchy, non-breathing synthetic fabrics) but right now, review garments or not, they are getting some things right.

Not to mention that I also still BUY from them, because they’re also the one store that I can get to easily that have a) clothes to fit my death fatty, apple-shaped body b) prices I can afford, though usually on their sale racks and c) something that I like, even if I don’t like all of it.  If they want to send me clothes to review, I’m going to bloody take it and give honest reviews.  When I think they do good, I’ll say so, when I think something sucks, I’ll say so.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I was having a little think about all the shopping I’ve done lately.  For the first time in my entire life, my wardrobe is bursting at the seams.  I actually have more clothes than I have space for them and that I’m able to wear.  Not only have I bought clothes (and yes, received clothes) from Autograph, but I’ve also had a bit of a spree from Evans, Yours, thrift sales, Target and when I can get to them, Big W and Kmart.  So I’ve added to my wardrobe quite considerably over the past few months.  I’ve become adept at finding marvelous bargains, mostly through the word of mouth online, so that I can afford a whole lot more than I once would have been able to as well.

The reason it’s so stuffed is because I’ve actually not removed anything much from there for the past decade.  I still cling to clothes I bought ages ago.  Marianne and Lesley have talked about this in one of their early Two Whole Cakes fatcasts, the phenomena of fat women buying clothes that are in their size simply because they fit, and are affordable, and then hanging on to them forever because they might never find them again.  As I looked through my wardrobe, trying to make room for the new stuff, I realised that this is exactly what I have been doing.  What if I can never get a decent pair of black pants like these again?  But I loved this skirt so much, it doesn’t fit me any more, but it was so beautiful, what if I never owned anything this beautiful again?  This is one of the first dresses I bought after I got my first decent job, I just have to hang on to it, it’s SO significant.  I bought this when I was in the US, and I’d never seen anything like it back here, I can’t let it go.

It is time for me to shed these things that I never wear, that don’t fit, that aren’t appropriate for my current lifestyle.  Not only because they take up too much room in my small flat, and not only because I can no longer wear them, but because they are representative of an old way of thinking about myself as a fat woman.  They are the things I clung to because they flattered me, because they were the few crumbs of what I could find to fit my fat body, because I might not find something else.

I clung to these clothes like one clings to a dying relationship… because I was scared might not have another one.

Things have changed.  I have changed.  Where once I waited for the clothes to miraculously appear for me to buy, now I have the power to tell retailers what I want and tell them that they can have my money when they provide it.  Where once I wouldn’t have dreamed of wearing things without sleeves, or high waisted skirts, or fairly body-con dresses, or dresses at all, now thanks to fabulous fatshionistas who have gone before me, I will be bold, wear things that please me, try new things, be proud of my body.  Where once I would have hidden in black, shapeless sacks, now I look for colour, for shape, for style.  Where once I had the option of one or two budget department stores that had a small selection at the back to fit my body, I now at least have a couple of solely plus-size clothing retailers and some fantastic overseas retailers selling online at an affordable rate with shipping that is reasonable.  Not to mention the smaller, independent sellers who are cropping up as well.  The internet has not only opened up a world for them to sell to, but it has opened up a world of contacts to share and network when it comes to finding plus-sized fashion that is affordable and desirable.

Not to mention that I have built a career over the past decade and through bloody hard work and passion for my field, can now afford to shop when I feel like it, as well as when I simply need to.

I can say goodbye to the garments that I have clung to for so many years.  Because I’m ready to move on to bigger and better things, clothing-wise.  Because I don’t have to stay in that bad relationship any more for fear of not being able to find another.  Even the fabulous garments that I have metaphorically outgrown, or desired but never really connected with can go, remembered fondly but bid farewell, perhaps for another to love, as a better fit than they were for me.

Christmas OOTD and A Review

Published December 25, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

Merry Christmas lovelies!  I hope you’ve had a fab and groovy Christmas, I know I certainly have.  I spent most of today with my friend Teresa, her hubby Craig and Teresa’s family.  It was an absolute joy to spend Christmas with such awesome people.

So, what did you wear today?  I wore a mostly new outfit.  Check it out:

Christmas OOTD

My buns are lopsided.  The ones in my hair smart arses!

I bought the dress from Evans and fell in love with it the minute I got my hands on it.  It’s the most beautiful soft fabric that breathes beautifully and drapes so well.  It’s this one:

Evans dress

It’s really wet in Brisbane at the moment so I needed a wee cover up to keep the arms from getting too cool, and the orange cardie that Autograph Fashion sent me to review  works perfectly with the orange in the tartan of the dress.  They also sent me one in a kind of mid blue, and both of them are really lovely.  Soft fabric, not very thick and breathes fairly well, so good for that kind of in-between weather where you just need a little something of a layer.  It’s also good to get some more colour into my wardrobe as well – plus-size clothing is usually an ocean of black.  At full price they’re marked at $49.95 which is a little more than I would happily pay for a cardie.

I’m still absolutely boggled though that I would need a cardie in Brisbane on Christmas day!  But it’s not exactly normal weather here, that river behind me in the photo is VERY swollen and full of silt and debris.

The other bits in my outfit are a pair of leggings from Autograph (I wear those a lot, they’re a great colour), shoes by Novo and my lovely fox brooch from Thousand Island Dressing.  Here he is in detail:

Fox Brooch

I have one other product to review tonight, but sadly it’s not good news for this one.  Autograph sent me this red bandage dress:

Red Bandage

Which looks great here in this picture.  Looks great on the hanger as well.  I saw the black version on someone else the other day (waves to Jenn) and it looked awesome on her.  I planned to wear it to work yesterday for a bit of a celebratory Christmas outfit, but sadly when I put it on, while it looks great on me, it is the most horrible fabric.  It’s REALLY hot.  Not a little bit warm, I sweltered in it.  It’s a very plasticky synthetic (polyester viscose) that does not breathe at all, and feels like sandpaper or steel wool to wear.  I couldn’t stand it against my skin.  I will admit that I am uber-sensitive when it comes to textures, but there are few things I cannot wear against my skin.  This I’m afraid is one of them.  Which is really, really disappointing because it is such a beautiful looking dress.  I don’t know if it will be any better in winter when the weather is cold, but somehow I don’t think so because it is just so prickly and hot against the skin.  And as they’re selling it for $80 (psst, it’s on 50% off sale on the website right now), I would highly advise that if you want one, try it on first.  Because while it looks gorgeous, no use buying something you can’t wear.

It would be really lovely if they could get this dress made in a better fabric.  Because it really is a beautiful looking dress.  And would make a PERFECT Christmas dress!

Quickie Post: Wanna Buy a Cute Dress?

Published December 18, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

Just a quick post to share the link to a cute Evans dress I’m selling on eBay because it didn’t fit me.  Sob!

It’s tagged as a UK28 but it’s smaller than the other UK28 dress I bought from them.  I usually take an Australian Size 26 in tops/dresses, and it’s about a size, maybe two, too small for me.  I’ve actually re-ordered the same dress in a UK32 from Evans.

Look how cute it is:

Photobucket

See? Adorable!

Anyway, all of the details are up on the eBay listing (click here to go there!)  I’m happy to ship anywhere in the world if you’re willing to pay the Australia Post cost to do so, and feel free to ask me any questions.

Perfecting the Plus-Size Clothing Game

Published September 25, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to see some really interesting things happening with a few of the clothing companies that sell plus-sized fashion lately.

Many of you will be aware of the huge wave of interest and discussion the new Beth Ditto collection at Evans Clothing created last week.  It was an absolute frenzy on Twitter amongst the fatosphere tweeters, that’s for sure.  Women all over the world set their alarms and logged on to shop as Evans released the items bit by bit.  Facebook status were updated to reflect the shopping frenzy, ant Twitter was abuzz with wails of frustration as we collectively crashed the Evans website, and cheers of triumph as orders were confirmed.  It was a phenomenal thing to watch, as I could only watch because they haven’t released the zigzag dress that I REALLY want yet!

Evans clothing really “get it” when it comes to marketing to their audience.  They create a line with a high profile celebrity who appeals to their market, create lots of anticipation, seed social media and get their customers involved in spreading word of mouth marketing, target a global marketplace and then release the collection in stages to create further anticipation.

These marketing tactics are exactly what regular-sized fashion retailers do for their market.  It shouoldn’t be significant that a plus-sized retailer approaches their target market in the same way a regular-sized regailer does, but for so long, plus-sized clothing has been treated like it is something to be ashamed of by it’s retailers.  they have approached plus-sized clothing as utilitarian, comfort driven, low fashion priority and relegated it to the back corners of shop space or a tiny band of “specialty” in an online store.  Few have understood the power of online shopping to provide a fully global marketplace either.

Another company I have noticed really starting to understand their market is We Love Colors.

We Love Colors have a wide variety of sizing, from childrens to mens, to regular womens sizes to a fairly comprehensive plus-sized range as well.  We Love Colors have a significant portion of their products in plus sizes, but not all.  I follow We Love Colors on Twitter, and on Facebook, where they have a standard profile and a plus-sized one called We Love Colors Curvy.

Recently on We Love Colors Curvy, they asked:

How can we make our plus-sized tights better?  What items do you want to see in plus sizes?

and invited customers to either respond there on Facebook, or to email them with the subject line “Make it Better”.

On Facebook at least, the clear response was that customers wanted ALL of the We Love Colors products offered in plus sizes.  Their plus-sized customers want to close the gap between the regular range and the plus-sized range, and wear the same styles as the regular sizes.

Yesterday they asked on We Love Colors Curvy:

It’s come to our attention that some of our customers are unhappy we have a Curvy Facebook Page and a standard Facebook page, feeling as though we segregate the two. It was suggested that we should eliminate the Curvy Facebook page altogether and change our Curvy Girl of the Month contest to simply the Girl of the Month contest. We had initially created the Curvy Page and started the Curvy Girl contest to get the word out about our selection of Plus Size tights, since so many people were unaware we carried them. We also use the Curvy Page as a tool to get feedback on these products and find out ways to improve our selection. So, please let us know what you would like us to do with regards to the Curvy Page and Curvy Girl contest. Whatever the majority of responses is for, we will move forward with. Thank you so much for your help!

The overwhelming response from customers was to keep the two versions, as plus-sized customers don’t want to wade through pages of regular sized products, and that they want to see plus-sized models showcasing the plus-sized range.  One customer expressed concern that combining the two sections may result in body policing and fat hate, with concerns that there may be some nastiness around “fat girls in tights” – which is a valid concern, we’ve seen that before.  Today We Love Colors Curvy announced on Facebook that they would keep the second profile for their plus-sized range.

These are just a few examples of plus-sized fashion retailers listening to their customers, and providing something that their customers actually want.

As I said earlier, it shouldn’t be noteworthy that retailers are starting to do this for plus-sized customers, but when you think about the experiences of shopping for plus-sized clothing over the years, these things ARE unusual.  From offering poorly made clothing, to cheap fabrics, to unappealing designs and then not making it easy or interesting/fun for the customer to shop for their product, retailers have told us in the past (and still tell us now) that they are not interested in our money.  They’ve either assumed that plus-sized customers don’t have any money, and are therefore unworthy of putting any effort into decent marketing and customer service, or they simply have a clear disregard for their customers by not giving a damn whether or not they actually made any money from them.

To many the frenzy over the Beth Ditto range at Evans, and excitement over other good plus-sized clothing retails seems like consumerism, vanity and vacuousness.  But when you’ve not had the opportunity to engage in the same activities around clothing and shopping like other people, this takes on far more significance.  It’s a way to show retailers that should they provide something we want, and market to us positively, not only will we hand over our hard earned cash, but we will also provide some of the best word of mouth advertising that money cannot buy.

We need to support the retailers that do this.  And we need to talk about why we support them, and why what they do is significant.  Only when other retailers can see the benefit that these companies reap from the products and services they provide, as well as the positive marketing they engage in, will they start to realise that the plus size clothing market is one that they can make very, very lucrative.