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Here are all the posts in our Forum/Blog on the topic of Clothing: dresses...

Julie Campbell    Wednesday 15 June 2016 at 14:25

 Post #475 



 
Subject: Maxi dresses

 
I am interested in maxi dresses in almost any colour except blue. Are there many at this point in the season?

 

 Emma    Monday 11 July 2016 at 01:13

 
Hi Julie,

Thanks for your question -and so sorry for a tardy reply. I have been on holiday (to sunny Suffolk )!

There are a number of long dresses in stock at the moment, but a maxi dress is a very particular creature -it's more than just a long dress. It's a summer favourite -a pretty summer dress -of almost an 'evening ' style, yet it is completely 'daytime '. A good maxi dress says summer, it says easy -dressing, perhaps Boho, and maybe with a 1970s ethos.

At this moment we only have one such dress left in stock -and sadly it's predominantly blue! It's a gorgeous Exelle piece -empire line with a cowl neck, in a lovely slightly ethnic print.

I will be doing my buying for next summer within the next few weeks, and I am beginning to feel the gravitational pull of the maxi dress. I wouldn't be at all surprised if I see some gorgeous ones coming through for spring /summer 2017! Watch this space!

 

 Stylestatement    Saturday 06 August 2016 at 12:02

 
A number of great looking maxi dresses are available at www.luvyourcurves.co.uk
Give it a chance. Great collection

 

diane    Sunday 16 August 2015 at 12:27

 Post #448 



 
Subject: wedding guest

 
hi there. im coming over to south of England 22/08/15. have spied your website online and im coming to visit. im a 49 yr old size 22 5ft 8in brown hair brown eyes swarthy skin and im looking for 1 outfit suitable for 2 weddings. My friends daughter is getting married 02/01/16 and my nieces wedding is 04/11/16 so id like something that could be worn to both weddings. will any of your new stock be for me to try. I really like the photos of the longer dresses that are up on the website.
thanks
diane mcilwaine
larne
n.ireland

 

 Emma    Tuesday 18 August 2015 at 00:40

 
Hi Diane,

Thanks for contacting us. Can't wait to meet you when you come to see us. Sounds like you are looking forward to some lovely times! As a keen auntie myself, I do think that it's enormously important to look fabulous at these affairs!

We've been getting much of our new season's stock delivered, so, although we are a little bit between seasons (ie. We still have our sale going on, & we haven't yet had all our new deliveries ), there is a great selection in your size.

Size 22 counts as a small for us (extra small is a 20, & we stock up to a 34), and you have the advantage of perfect height (our continental clothes tend to be for the taller woman, although, of course, we alter all clothes to fit).

At this time of the season, sadly, our images on the website are a little out of date. We publish those given to us by our suppliers, so they can take a little time to be made available to us, such is the necessary secretiveness of our industry. This means that some new clothes, in all likelihood, have already supplanted those pictured on this website. I think that you will be thrilled with what we have, though.

Please remember that we are closed on Sundays and Mondays, so we look forward to seeing you between Tuesdays to Saturdays!

 

Emma    Saturday 03 August 2013 at 15:07

 Post #364 



 
Subject: Workwear Summer 2014

It’s buying time of year again, and I am up to my neck in choosing the collection for Spring/Summer 2014! When going buying, I like to keep foremost in my thoughts what it is that my customers want. I know this sounds obvious: after all, if I am not stocking what my customers want, then what am I here for? Well, it is possible to argue that I should just buy the most beautiful items that I see, and keep my head completely clear of all other considerations.

In real life, of course, one does not have to be so ‘all or nothing’. I will go out and buy the most beautiful items that I see, but I will also strongly bear in mind the clothing that is being sought and asked for by my customers. And a whole lot of the requests expressed across my counter come under the heading of ‘workwear’.

Before I start to go out to buy, I really don’t have much of an idea about what it is I am going to find. Years of experience have only served to help me know some very small pieces of wisdom, which I use to the best of my ability...

One such piece is that no season comes out of a ‘clear blue sky’, even though it may seem to do so. Each season carries forward themes from what has gone before. So when I am trying to anticipate the new looks, I spend a bit of time contemplating the way the fashion wind has been blowing over previous years.

For instance, one of the very strong influences that we have been seeing for some time now (and which I have referred to before in this blog) is the return to the ladylike looks of the nineteen fifties and sixties. This started some years ago, and mirrored other cultural influences - such as music (the singer Amy Whitehouse was an example), TV (Mad Men is a reference here) and interior design (who hasn’t noticed the vogue for fifties and sixties modernist furniture at the moment?). One of the results of this has been the return to the type of glamorous workwear that used to be ubiquitous, yet which had all but died out a few years ago.

The problem was that the look, in its original incarnation, was not practical or comfortable - not a good thing for workwear, you may think. It was often a pencil-skirt and fitted jacket, or a fitted pencil-skirted dress with jacket. These were uncomfortable garments to wear, as when you sit down in a fitted jacket or dress, they suddenly become a lot tighter around the waist, and when you walk along in a pencil skirt, you soon realise that you are not going anywhere fast. The lighter summer fabrics were fragile, clingy, transparent and had no stretch - so had to be lined, making them very hot. In the winter, in order to be warm enough for the chilly office, these garments had to be made of stiff, scratchy wool. Workwear of the period had to be meticulously laundered, starched and carefully ironed, or continually taken to the dry-cleaners. These were not clothes for the fainthearted!

This didn’t really seem to worry women in our mother’s and grandmother’s generation. These were doughty women who went through the War, and were prepared to spend 18 hours a day in a bombproof corset.

With modern technology the look has become a lot more accessible. Fabrics have a much better handle, and are incredibly practical. Often natural mixes, they nevertheless are far easier to care for - being machine washable, non-iron, non-clingy (even when, as they usually are, unlined). They don’t crease anywhere near as much, and, with modern, warmer office spaces, need not be made out of anything that is either stiff or hot. No wonder so many of us women have wanted to re-imagine those looks again, but this time with comfort and practicality in mind. Because, after all, those wonderful vintage silhouettes were sexy and business-like... a dynamite combination.

So when I have sourced the classic fitted dress and jacket work combo like the one pictured, right, I jump at the chance to get it. It is in the Spring/Summer 14 Sallie Sahne collection, and comprises a navy blue dress and jacket. The fabric is light, stretchy, washable and non-crease, with a lovely diamond-shaped texture running through it. The dress is very fitted, with tiny silver piping at the neck. The jacket is lightweight and slightly boxy. I tried it on, and found that I could stride all over the showroom, bend and stretch, sit down and generally do physical jerks in it in great comfort... ideal for the woman who leaps up from her desk and clears the corridor with a single bound, beating everyone else to the lift.

It’s one of the new breed of workwear that I have been sourcing for next spring. I’m about half-way through my buying now, and I have been delighted with what I have been finding.

 

 Kim P    Monday 05 August 2013 at 19:45

 
Such a lovely outfit and it looks like it was made for you Emma! These investment pieces are worth the extra initial cost, they are classic enough in design to keep in the wardrobe for years.

 

 Emma    Monday 05 August 2013 at 20:48

 
Thanks, Kim!

Yes, it is bizarre how Sallie Sahne manages to get the fit so perfect! I felt as it I could have walked straight out of the Sallie Sahne showroom wearing their sample, and onto the board of some major international company!

It's also true about these being 'investment clothes'. I have a bit of collection of Sallie Sahne items going back some years, and I cannot remember anything actually wearing out.

 

 jamesbrodylevi    Monday 27 October 2014 at 07:06

 
Actually, I am very much interested to purchase the Salwars. The images which you shared was good to buy. Is there any price reduction is available on those dresses.

 

 Eliza Lowrie    Friday 23 January 2015 at 12:05

 
It was great reading your post. I style a tee under my elegant resolution jacket with my fluid pant which I bought from ginger&smart and naked heart heels for an elegant look.

 

Emma    Thursday 09 May 2013 at 14:58

 Post #356 



 
Subject: Top three

So what would be the top three items to have in the self-respecting plus-size fashionista’s wardrobe this season?

First and foremost I would say a dress. In fashion terms this is the era of the dress, and from a seasonal point of view, this is the best time of year to wear one of course. The dresses around at the moment are a little bit retro; the influence is anything from the nineteen fifties to the early sixties, with a bit of Art Deco-meets-the-nineteen seventies thrown in. There are contradictions all over the place; they can be quite ladylike (or the inverse, girly), with a repressed-librarian look (or an over-the-top sexy minx vibe). They can be closely fitted to the body, or swirl forth with acres of full volume fabric. They can be teeny-tiny-itty-bitty minis, or they can be floor-scraping maxis.

One of the brilliant things about fashion today is that there is plenty for everyone. Don’t like your legs? Can’t bear to wear tights? Then get a long dress, worn with leggings underneath. Not girly enough to wear a dress? Then wear one of the little dresses over trousers; it doesn’t have to be girly - there are some lovely simple tunics out there. Haven’t got a waist? Then invent one with a fitted style that imposes the optical illusion of a feminine, curvy waist, which - unbeknown to the unwary onlooker - you haven’t got! There really is something there for everyone. Never has the excuse ‘but I can never find a dress I like’ sounded so hollow.

This leads us on to out next must-have: leggings and jeggings. Leggings tend to be a jersey, close-fitting pant, whilst jeggings are more or less the same thing, but with stretch cotton woven fabric. Again, excuses need not apply. You don’t think your legs are shapely enough to wear close-fitting styles? Take a good, hard look at your pins. I can tell you (in cold blood; I am a plus-size fashion stylist, so I am a kind of doctor!) that many highly insecure women out there have got perfectly good legs. They just feel negative about them. If this is the case with you, then you might have to think about the fact that every other woman in the country is walking around wearing leggings at the moment, and your legs hold up very well in comparison. Remember, just because a woman is a plus-size (with matching size legs), it doesn’t mean that their legs are ‘worse’ than slim women’s legs. Nature is more democratic than that, and has dispersed the good-looking legs around relatively evenly between women of different body shapes and sizes.

Even if your legs are, after a fair appraisal, slightly - ahem - wanting... so what? There's no need to abandon leggings. It’s just a matter of wearing them with the right accompaniment. There are dresses out there of every length. If your legs are your pride and joy, you can wear quite a short dress. If they are a little disappointing, then a dress just above the knee could look lovely. If they are your bête noire, then a dress worn just below the knee over leggings is perfect. The problem is not with the leggings, nor with the shortcomings in the shape of your legs. It’s all about context.

So what’s the third must-have item in your wardrobe this season? Well, like all of us involved in fashion, I’m going to cheat. I’m going to suggest something that isn’t clothing, and isn’t just one item. But it is definitely a must have! I’m talking about accessories.

This season, accessories have gone mad. It is no longer acceptable to think of yourself as well dressed just because you are well dressed. You now have to be fully accessorised!

And the number-one accessory this season is the necklace. Possibly because of the retro look that is everywhere, these are incredibly important right now. I think a really good necklace is a visual life-saver. Putting a necklace on an outfit doesn’t just finish it off. It can add drama, or make a look more or less formal. It can add a touch of luxury... or whimsy. It can bring the disparate colours in the clothing into harmony. It can put a rebellious tweak on a rather workaday look. It can speak of sophistication or fun. It has the power to twist a whole look into something else.

When you really think about it, the difference that one simple item placed on the body can make is quite extraordinary. Choosing not to wear one suggests an unforgivable lack of imagination: a valuable missed opportunity to express your own personality.

 

askpreeti    Saturday 28 April 2012 at 07:36

 Post #285 



 
Subject: Increasing Trend of Plus Size Women’s Clothes

 
The women of the globe, no matter what measurement, have equal opportunities and the same goes with style declaration. Plus size fashion has spread its wings across the market.In today’s world, the fashion business has recognized that there are a huge percentage of full figured women who are looking for clothing for their type of figure.

Many full-figured women get nervous when it comes to dressing up for any occasion or party. Being attractive is about having self-confidence. Show off what you have and everybody close to you will notice it. Plus size women’s clothing isn’t as difficult to find as it was before. There is a great deal of remarkable plus size women’s clothing accessible today.

Tips for buying plus size dresses
1. Avoid shapeless, over-sized clothes - Don’t choose oversized clothes that are shapeless, baggy and old-fashioned.
2. Don’t choose clothes that are not well fitted or too tight. Clothes that are too tight or bunch up will draw attention to unwanted areas.

To look beautiful and fashionable, you don’t need to be thin-bodied. Plus size women can look trendy and cute by wearing the proper style of dress. Full figured women should never have a hard time purchasing trendy and comfortable clothes that they can show off at parties or any other occasion.

Growing market of plus size clothing

Designers realized that in order to capture a larger share of the market of women’s clothing, they need to come up with trendy clothing for plus size women. With the growing market and demand for women’s plus size clothing, online stores are also enjoying excellent business by selling gorgeous examples of plus size clothing. The plus size market is now outstripping that of the regular fashion industry.

In today’s fashion market, there are many options for plus sized women. From stand-alone stores, to department stores to online fashion websites; women with curvier figures can easily find stylish apparel to fit their lifestyle.

There are a variety of trends available in the present market for plus size clothing. There is great variety of formal, informal and casual wears, swimming costumes, professional attires and a lot more other kind of clothing are available in the market.

 

 Emma    Saturday 28 April 2012 at 11:42

Thanks, Askpreeti, for your views, which may or may not be seen as preaching to the converted!

Over the years I have found that few customers in my store need general tips about dressing... they know what they want, but they need help in finding what they want!

However, I think that your points will very likely be of great help to those customers who do not normally frequent a plus-size designer store, but who may be visiting this website whilst surfing the internet.

I think all comment, debate, views and exchange of information is vital, particularly at this time of change in the plus-size fashion market.
 

Emma    Thursday 03 November 2011 at 16:05

 Post #251 



 
Subject: Dark energy

I was chatting to a lady today about how much black we wear, and in that kind of vague, fashion-brained way that things reverberate in one’s head, the conversation seemed to resonate with something I had heard in a programme on TV. It was a science programme, and it revealed that there was an enormous amount of ‘dark matter’ in the universe: it’s unseen, and went unnoticed for a very long time; no-one really knows what it’s there for, or really understands it, but it is pervasive. It influences everything, and our cosmos would be a completely different place without it. How very like the ‘dark matter’ within my own wardrobe!

Working in fashion, as I do, I find that over the years I have accumulated just about every ‘must have’ item of black clothing (and then some). I’ll tell you a fashion secret that we all know, but which is never alluded to by the fashion writers: not everyone has the time, space nor money to have all these ‘must have’ pieces! However, each item is extremely useful, and ultimately no-one regrets investing their money this way.

For instance, I would always recommend that you have a smart pair of black trousers for daytime. You know the kind of thing... crisp, tailored black trousers which, for instance, can be worn with a contrasting jacket for a job interview.... or teamed with a fashionable blouse to go out to lunch or a work meeting. This is the kind of trouser that is kept ‘for best’ and should last years. There are women out there who can rock the ‘crisp white shirt, gold necklace, smart shoes, handbag and black tailored trouser’ look, and it will take them anywhere!

Then, of course, there are ‘evening’ trousers. These could be any interesting, pretty, occasional trousers. They could be a fluid jersey, velvet, satin - even brocade - as long as they are cool and comfortable. It’s a terrible mistake to buy clothes so smart that they are actually uncomfortable.

Then you have the casual black trousers (dear me, who knew we needed so many pairs!). They may be really casual (black denim, say), or a step up - perhaps a stretch viscose mix with a bit of smart-casual style. Or even ‘leggings’...

Then we move on to dresses. These could hardly be described as ‘must have’ items, because so many larger women have to learn to live without them - as they are difficult to find. A good, plainish black day dress is a fantastic item. It could be worn to work on its own, or under a work jacket. It could be teamed with a smart jacket for a wedding, or it can be worn under a super-smart little jacket for Ascot - or a hundred other summer (or winter) events. It’s a wonderful foil for a superb piece of jewellery or pretty scarf.

This is not to leave out the ‘little black dress’, which is all about eveningwear. A good black evening dress comes in many incarnations - from the full-on ball gown to the minimal base over which a beautiful jacket shimmers.

Obviously, we all need a tailored black day jacket (obviously!). This could be a blazer or a traditional suiting jacket. Then there is the smart evening jacket. I know we don’t all really need one of these in order to live, but life is so much easier if you have one! Popped over a little cami, and teamed with the aforesaid black evening trousers, you are good to go at a minute’s notice.

These black items nestle quietly in my wardrobe. They are not the show-stoppers, and (for me at least) lacking in colour, they are always in the background of my look. When I am seeking out the ‘outfit du jour’, I don’t usually notice them; I’m thinking about my coloured pieces. The black supporting acts are just there. They are understated, and their utility and excellence are just taken as a given. Yet they provide my wardrobe with enough ‘dark energy’ to look smart at a minute’s notice, and without any stress. They may not be screamers, but they are vital and pervasive.

 

 Victoria Hollis    Thursday 10 November 2011 at 16:52

 
I read this with interest as I'm sure with many ladies I have a lot of black in my wardrobe. I went through a phase in my late teens/early twenties when all of my wardrobe was black as I had such poor self esteem I wanted to hide into the background.

Not so anymore lol I have a number of black items which I call into service to act as a foil to the large number of brights I have. I also have a love for prints which mix black with brights for example Anna Scholz's lumencent leopard print of a few years ago to this seasons stunning snake print items.

I refuse to restrict myself any longer. With my cool colouring pastels look dreadful on me I need stark clolours.

So (hoping to get a heads up here lol) what kind of prints can we look forward to S/S 2012 Emma?

 

 Emma    Thursday 10 November 2011 at 17:42

Hi Tori!

Thanks for your question, and thanks for, as always, really understanding what I was trying to get at with my piece: the fact that we all wear black items, but they don't have to rule our lives!

Sometimes, it seems that we larger women can go to either one extreme or another.... we drape ourselves in acres of black, or we can rebel against it, and wear no black at all!

Yet the best course is to use black for what it does best....as you say, as a wonderful foil with which to set off colourful or printed garments.

When I do my buying, (I have to admit) I do tend to buy a lot of colour, but mainly in plain fabrics. It's not that I don't like pattern (I love it). It's just that, quite often the patterns that certain companies think are suitable for larger women are mumsy and uninspired.

Over the years, however, we have sourced some wonderful collections that have superb fashion-forward patterns. Next summer has a plethora of such lovely items. The colours are varied: proper 'summer' colours. There're blues, purples, greens and a lot of different pinks.

Many of the prints are rather 'paintily', as if they are original art works, and are not like the run-of-the-mill patterened fabrics, A good example of this is the Marina Rinaldi Spring/Summer 12 T-shirt I am modelling here....to look at it you would think it was individually hand painted. It's gorgeous.
 

 Victoria Hollis    Thursday 10 November 2011 at 20:49

 
That top is gorgeous it looks very impressionist and the colour is gorgeous on you. Umm sounds like we have a lot to look forward to next season. I have to say your heads up on Anna Scholz's AW11 was right as always the black label is to die for this season.

 

 Emma    Friday 11 November 2011 at 15:43

 
Hi Tori-

I noticed that you have been known to wear Marina Rinaldi yourself, and look lovely in it. So I think you will be really excited by what's comming in next season.

This Italian collection (as you know, the plus-size range from the Max Mara stable) really is superb. It isn't cheap, but it is beautiful, is fabulous quality, fashionable, and a wonderful fit.

 

 Victoria Hollis    Friday 11 November 2011 at 19:36

 
I love the Max Mara stable of labels. Marina Rinaldi and Persona are my absolute favorites. I have a black wool and cashmere coat from Persona which is stunning, gorgeous and as warm as toast and I have a feeling I will be needing it this winter. The fact is yes the items are expensive but the quality is VASTLY superior to anything on the high street they are made in the EU and on a cost per wear basis they work out far better than other items I have bought, worn once and then languish in my wardrobe.

 

Marion    Monday 24 October 2011 at 19:52

 Post #250 



 
Subject: mother of the bride

 
Hi, my daughter is getting married in Paphos next Sept. The day after my 50th. I'm top heavy with a 42'' bust but slightly smaller curvy bottom half. I buy size 22 to 24 tops and 18 to 20 bottom half (from shops like Evans). I really want to wear a grecian type chiffon dress in lilac or light purple. I don't normally wear dresses...just leggings and baggy tops. I don't think halter or one shoulder would be any good due to bust. Having the bigger tummy something gathered under bust maybe a good idea?

I can't find anywhere selling this type of dress. There are on-line places where you can give measurements but you can't try on first and can't return.

I know I have 11 months but I'm really worried.

Would this style suit me? Do you do anything like this?

Thank you :o)

 

 Emma    Tuesday 25 October 2011 at 00:52

Hi Marion

Congratulations on the happy event! How lovely to go to a wedding in Paphos, and how exciting for you to be able to celebrate your fiftieth at the same time!

There are so many aspects to your questions that it is quite hard to know where to begin. As usual it’s probably best to start with the clear facts of the case, no matter how obvious they may seem. If you are thinking of buying a dress off-the-peg you will be looking for summer wear, which means that you will have to start looking very early in the year. The spring/summer collections start to come into the stores in January, and they do not stop being delivered until the end of April. By the time the last items have arrived, the first will have sold through. From a practical point of view this means that you will have to spread your shopping over a period of time (it’s really no good just doing a ‘blitz’, because you will not get to see everything). On the other hand, it’s tremendously important that once you have found something you like you buy it. Waiting to see if ‘anything better’ turns up will only result in the item you liked selling out - and you running around at the end of the season in a panic.

Have I seen ‘Grecian style’ dresses in the collections next summer? The simple answer is no I have not. This does not mean you will not find any. But it does mean there is not a strong trend for them next summer - so finding one off-the-peg may present problems... some degree of luck will need to be involved!

There is really only one way to identify whether a particular style suits you, and that is to try it on. Very few mature women buy designer dresses online, and those that do usually go to a designer with whom they have a lot of prior experience - and they know will fit and suit them. There are just too many variables when it comes to the fit and style of a dress, and you have to see yourself in a mirror wearing the garment before you can possibly judge whether it is going to suit you.

I can help you with style tips if you would like me to...? For instance you suggest you have a large bust. If this is the case then there are a few general no-nos. You're right that one such no-no is a halter neck. This will emphasise the size of the bust (a great idea for pear-shaped women, but not for top-heavy ladies).

Again, you are correct about the one-shouldered style. It will make underwear a problem (believe me, it may be all right to wear strapless lingerie with a larger bust for an evening event, but for an all-day-through-to-night occasion, the bra will become an object of hatred before the day is out!). Also, again, the one-shouldered style will emphasise the width of the chest area.

Gathers under the bust will present problems (I’m so sorry to continue with my catalogue of negatives!) because it will make the front look mumsy, and if you have a bit of a tummy the effect may even suggest maternity!

The main problem I foresee is that you, as someone unused to dresses, need to be able to try some on in order to really know what suits you. I would start this process right now. My suggestion would be to go into every plus-size store you can find that has a changing room and start trying on the dresses that they have in stock. It doesn’t matter that they may be hideous, left-over sale dresses for the summer, thick winter day dresses, or black sparkly Christmas numbers. You are not looking for ‘the dress’... you are looking for the style that suits you! By this I mean the shape... the line of the dress. You will instantly see which shapes suit and which can be crossed off your list!

My advice to plus-size women the world over is this: clear your head of all your preconceptions. Forget, for a moment, your Grecian dreams. Just think about yourself. Think about what suits you. What makes you look elegant? What makes you look youthful? What suits your body shape? What makes you look stylish? Then think about what is most vital. Is it important, above all things - for you as you truly are - to look lovely? Or is it the fulfilment of the fantasy of yourself as a Greek goddess on a Mediterranean island that's key?

If you think that the fantasy is the most important, and you really have to have your Grecian dress, then I would strongly suggest you consider having one created by a seamstress. Personally, I would only consider a real flesh-and-blood seamstress, who I would pay once she has fitted the dress properly, and I would have no dealings whatsoever with online dressmaking services - who could never achieve the fine adjustments necessary. Of course, you will not be able to try it on until it is made, and you will be contracted to pay for it whatever it looks like on you. But, on the plus side, you will have already established that whether it suits you is of secondary importance to the fulfilment of your dream.

If, however, you were to take this old fashionista’s advice, it would be to put aside the fantasy for a moment. Do some research into you: your body shape and how dresses hang on it. Your colouring and what makes you radiant. Your sense of style and how this can be brought into play. Then, when the summer collections start to appear, then I would start some serious shopping in real shops with real changing rooms, where you can begin to home-in on your dress. I guarantee that there are beautiful clothes out there that will make you look and feel like a Greek goddess; just not in quite such a literal way!

As I said earlier, it's worth stating the clear facts of the case, even if they are a little obvious. Anna Scholz is the Queen of the plus-size dress (see the library photograph, right, from one of her previous summer collections). Her collection should be carefully scrutinised.

I would love you to come into our shop next summer: although Grecian-style dresses are thin on the ground, we do specialise in dresses and are expecting a superb crop!

I wish you the best of luck with your journey: honestly, it’s going to be fun!
 

 Marion    Tuesday 25 October 2011 at 19:36

 
Hello Emma and thank you for your help and advice. It was really great to read it and you have been really helpful.

I talked to my daughter earlier, before I read your reply and said I would like to visit your shop. I live in Chelmsford so not too far away, she said it was a good idea.

My daughter took me to Evans and MADE me try a dress on lol... It was a plain maxi dress, black, with a band under the bust. I felt wonderful in it. When I make it to your shop I will bring it with me. I just really want to look nice, for myself but also for my daughter, but get really fed up with the pressure on larger ladies.

Thank you again for you help and advice.

Marion :o)

 

 Emma    Wednesday 26 October 2011 at 14:11

 
Hi Marion

Thank you so much for your reply. Your daughter sounds lovely, and, by the sound of it, both of you have really 'got with the programme'. I feel sure that you will have already started to feel happier and less stressed!

I completely agree with what you say about the pressure on larger ladies. However, I know that you will find something that you feel wonderful in, and then the pressure will melt away.

I love the fact that you have already identified a shape that suits you... excellent! Even if you decide to pursue the idea of having a dress made by a dressmaker, then this dress will be invaluable as an example.

I really look forward to meeting you.

 

Julie    Sunday 28 August 2011 at 09:38

 Post #239 



 
Subject: Autumn 2011

 
Has the new autumn stock come in yet? I am particularly interested in stocking up on autumn/winter fabric trousers and short jackets. Also are you having in any of those lovely knitted dresses that you had last winter?

 

 Emma    Tuesday 30 August 2011 at 10:53

Hi Julie

Thanks for your question! The answer is yes, we've already had quite a bit of our beautiful autumn/winter 11 stock in... I will be putting some images on to our website very soon.

Many of our trousers are already in and this season there are some different and particularly lovely fabrics. I have special affection for the Elena Miro pinstripe trousers with clever stretch panels in the sides (on the right of the picture). We haven't had many short jackets in yet, but it's early days!

If ever there was a season for knitted dresses, this is it! We have already had some lovely soft jersey knitted dresses by Marina Rinaldi (pictured on the right), and some proper knitted dresses from Verpass (pictured, with matching gilet, on the left). However, we are expecting loads more designs!
 

Nerys    Monday 22 August 2011 at 12:43

 Post #236 



 
Subject: your fab selves

 
To Emma and her team,
I would like to thank you very much from the bottom of my heart for everything you did for me and my friends on Friday 19th August.
From opening early for us as we only had the spare hour in the morning to your expertise, time, knowledge and most of all the Emma plus experience!!! Which believe me I will be telling everyone about! ( I'm sure if you could bottle it you will have yourself a best seller)
No pushy sales woman trying to sell us everything in the shop and having a genuine interest in us and not the sale.
I am so happy with my Anna Scholz dress and for once will be able to enjoy a wedding without having to worry about an ill fitting outfit.
The biggest shame is that we are so far away but believe as the saying goes I will be back!!!
Diolch yn fawr iawn (Welsh for Thank you very much)
Nerys Willams

 

 Emma    Wednesday 24 August 2011 at 16:52

 
Hi Nerys!

Thank you so much for your kind words, which really are appreciated! I have passed them on to Kim, who really was responsible for opening early!

I'm so glad you had the dress...it really is wonderful. From a retailer's point of view, it is a very frustrating dress because it is so beautiful and sold out almost immediately, and we can't get any more! There are going to be a lot of disappointed women out there! I'm so glad that this one went to someone who really suited it so beautifully! If you get the chance, we would love to see a picture of you at the event, wearing it.....

 

Emma    Saturday 20 August 2011 at 16:26

 Post #235 



 
Subject: Form versus function

When I first started writing my blog I wondered whether there would be enough topics in the area of plus-size fashion to make it worthwhile. I didn’t have to wonder for long; just a few minutes' thought brought to mind a panorama of different angles on plus-fashion that are never covered in the mainstream media.

I was (perhaps foolishly) relieved - because I thought this would give me more than enough material for the blog. However, I have since come to realise that the problem was never going to be finding things to discuss; as ever (with me) it is that there is so much, that it’s difficult to know where to start!

A case in point is the subject of lingerie for the larger woman. I have written on this before, but it is only when you think about these things that you realise they are, ahem, wide subjects - with many different but equally essential angles.

The last time I wrote about plus-size lingerie I vented my spleen on the issue of the paucity of a proper fitting service for larger women. This time I want to talk about so-called 'functional' underwear.

The term functional does not imply that this is the only kind of lingerie that performs a function (hopefully all lingerie does that). Rather, it means that the underwear has a purpose over and above that which is normally expected from such a garment.

It’s worth taking on board the fact that lingerie that performs a certain function can have a major impact on what outer clothing a woman is able to wear.

One example of this would be to do with summer dresses and the larger woman. I hope that no-one reading this will be upset by my frankness; as usual I will address this subject head-on because I believe that the only women who do not understand what I am talking about are small women, and they will probably not be visiting this forum anyway.

From a size-16 upwards (or, if she is a pear shape, perhaps even smaller), women find that their legs rub together as they walk. On bare legs this can cause, at least, some discomfort, but at its worst it can mean serious chaffing - making bare legs completely impractical. This is not a problem when wearing trousers. It can cause a little extra wear on a garment, but we are all comfortable enough once the legs are covered in some way. In winter months, under dresses and skirts, we wear tights - which perform a similar job to trousers.

However, in the summer, if we are wearing skirts or dresses, we are left in a quandary. Women do not, in the main, want to wear tights during the summer. They are overly warm, spoil the summery look of a pretty dress, and look quite ridiculous with sandals.

I have many customers who for this reason have not worn any summer dresses or skirts for many years. Yet we have been able to recommend items to them that have completely opened up this type of dressing. There are many products on the market that do a similar job, but the garment I personally recommend is made by a company called Patra - a supplier of silk items. Patra produces a long-legged pure silk knicker in black, champagne, cream or navy that resembles a very fine cycling short (pictured, right). It is, in some ways, a halfway house between hosiery and lingerie. We have found that it is the coolest thing on the market, and the largest size should fit all of our customers (it is a stretchy knitted fabric).

Now we get to the rub (excuse my pun) of this particular post... how sexy do you feel when you are wearing such a garment under your clothes? Can you bring yourself to slip into some functional lingerie after all?

There seem to be two schools of thought. One says ‘even if I am looking sexy, summery, cool and comfortable on the outside, if someone actually saw what I am wearing underneath (the A&E doctor, perhaps, if I should be run over - or, heaven forbid, my husband), they would realise that I am not, after all, a sexy young woman... That I am in fact, an old crinkly, wearing granny-knickers!’

This school would rather forego all those lovely summery frocks and super skirts, and stick to trousers, shorts and cut-offs for the summer months, until they can climb back into tights in the autumn.

This opinion held sway for many years... but has now started to fade away. It may be of interest to know that younger women do not balk at the possibility of functional lingerie in that way that their mothers do. I believe this sea-change is due to the likes of TV stylists, such as Trinny and Suzanna (who used their BBC clothes-advice programme to introduce women to a better way of dressing), or Gok Wan, who is remorseless in his pursuit of a more flattering silhouette for all women. These presenters have tried to introduce the public to a fact known to celebrities for generations: that there are two types of underwear. One type is pretty, feminine and minimal, and it is meant to be seen. The other can be somewhat (shall we say) unglamorous in itself, but creates the perfect base for clothes. Wearing the latter does not mean that a woman has ‘lost the plot’ from an attractiveness point of view.

Celebrities have stylists to help them grasp the nettle; they need to be photographed looking good, and they do whatever they have to in order to achieve this. It’s not for nothing that Gwyneth Paltrow is rumoured to wear not one, but two pairs of Spanx knickers under some of her close-fitting red-carpet gowns. I have little doubt that most A-listers have lingerie that was never designed to be seen on its own.

The irony seems to be these days that the very fear of ‘looking like granny’ is the preserve of the middle-aged (or older) woman, whereas younger women are embracing the stylists' techniques to achieve the comfort, utility, style and silhouette they want.

And in the process they are opening up a new world of garments, such as summer dresses and skirts, which have long been out of bounds to them.

 

 Victoria Hollis    Tuesday 23 August 2011 at 15:15

 
Emma,

You have done it again - it's spooky how much we think alike.

Thighs rubbing together is a nightmare scenarion. The shop on the high street beginning with e (I won't name them) has in their godawful hoisery range a thing called "comfort shorts" these are basically nylon doulble layered tight tops) thet feel revolting on hot sweaty and nasty and as has gone with the shops tights and stocking for the past 4 years the sizing is totally wrong. I have recurrently contacted this shop in respect of their hoisery over the years to no avail and this included me sending them a video of me struggling to pull their stockings for a size 26/28 over my elbow let alone past my knee. I now order levee stockings and tights online (they are a great german brand) but anyway I digress.

Underwear can both havee style and form - gok wans collection for simply be has a very retro 1950's feel and looks great as well as providing the S factory. I think I may look at getting some of those knickers you mentioned but another tip thrown in free is to get some of solid stick deodarant and rub that on your thighs and they wont chafe anyway....

 

 Emma    Wednesday 24 August 2011 at 17:04

 
Hi Tory!

Yes, what I really like about the Patra ones is that they are 100% pure silk. Obviously having any 'extra layer' of clothing is not going to make one feel any cooler; however, I do think the natural fibre really helps, and I never feel hot and perspiring in mine.

We used to sell the Levee tights here in our store, until the agent seemed to disappear. I'm guessing that they simply gave up on marketing them to the UK (there are so few specialist stores that would stock them here that perhaps it was not worth their while).

Other ranges were My Size hosiery, and the American range, Hue, which does lovely, very good quality, gorgeously-coloured legwear. I think all three of these ranges are still being made, though not marketed through stores in the UK any more.

My Size were a Dutch hosiery company, whose items were very well sized. Unfortunately their infamous English label read: 'Oversized Tights for the Corpulent Woman'... that may have been why they abruptly stopped selling in the UK!

 

Aidam Higgins    Friday 12 August 2011 at 10:40

 Post #230 



 
Subject: Sensational Smart Clothing

 
Physical activity and the close atmosphere, i.e. humidity and temperature play major role for thermal insulation of the garments. The amount of heat generated by a person depends much on the physical activity, ranging from 100W to 1000W. In the cool atmosphere, the thermal insulation is defined to make the body warm.

In the case of winter sports, the temperature of body raises with more heat. In order to pull down this raised temperature in a bearable limit, the body perspires to extract energy by evaporative cooling. In thermal insulation, a part of the increased heat can be eliminated, thus the body does not perspire so much.

The density and thickness of component fabrics would govern the insulation in clothing against cold and heat. Lower density and more thickness are recommended to enhance insulation. In many cases, thermal insulation is produced by air gaps between the layers of the garment. But, the outer temperature also affects the insulation. Consequently, a garment is equipped with an ability to safeguard against cold and heat, selected temperature by the wearer.

 

 Emma    Sunday 14 August 2011 at 18:16

 
Dear Mr (or may I call you Professor...?) Higgins,

Thank you for your input into our forum! I am aware that by mentioning certain subjects (like 'smart clothing', for instance), I may be inviting spammers, whose computers send out endless messages extolling the virtues of their pet projects. We've had a large number of these mechanical contributors, and I look at those that do get through our automated spam filters carefully before deciding whether or not to remove them.

If the subject is worthwhile, however, then I don't mind discussing it, even if it does come from an automated source! So, regardless of whether the Mr Higgins in question is a real person (and my apologies if you are!), I am more than happy to leave this post in place.

For us larger women, the subject of 'functionality' of clothes is an important one (how can clothing be anything less than functional you may ask?... yet I mean by this, clothing that performs a particular function over and above what is normally achieved). I am obsessed with finding new clothing that helps us feel more comfortable and look smarter.

I've spoken in the past about fabrics with extra stretch, or with special cooling properties. There are also wonderful fabrics that resist stains, and clothes that offer you support and smooth the lines of the figure.

I've been in the plus-size fashion business long enough to know that the progress in fabrics and technical advances in our industry can make a real difference to us, and I am very grateful for them. Anything that allows the boffins to understand the interplay between our bodies and the clothes we wear on them, is going to help us in the future.

 

Elizabeth    Tuesday 21 June 2011 at 11:04

 Post #221 



 
Subject: Outfit for Cartier polo in july

 
Hi. I am a pear shaped plus size, looking for an outfit suitable for the Cartier polo hospitality tent. Needs to be comfortable ! Have you any suggestions? Thanks

 

 Emma    Wednesday 22 June 2011 at 18:24

Hi Elizabeth!

Yes, we have reached ‘outfit’ time of year! This is when we spend our time sorting out different looks for the differing events that are stuffed into our busy summer season.

We all know it’s terribly important to get the right level of look for an event. Here at Emma Plus we provide outfits for lots of different occasions: visits to Glyndebourne, Buckingham Palace garden parties, Ascot... there are sometimes obvious, sometimes subtle, shades of difference between how we are hoping to look during these activities. These intricate little puzzles are the stuff of our working lives.

In fact I think some clever academic could express it as a mathematical equation. It would be something like: A (a woman’s physique, her body shape, size, height, colouring etc.) + B (the smartness or casualness of the occasion) + C (the expected weather or temperature) divided by D (the budget available) x E (fashionability) = G (gorgeous outfit!).

In this case, and without knowing your size, style, colouring or age, it would be rather difficult to be specific. However, we could talk in general terms about what would be a good idea for your event.

A little bird tells me that Polo match looks are quite flexible, from a smartness point of view. Because many of the spectators will spend much of their time outside (and sometimes on a somewhat muddy field), the look can even be casual. However, I cannot imagine the Cartier hospitality tent is going to be entirely casual!

I would recommend something pretty, yet comfortable - like, for instance, an Anna Scholz stretch silk dress. This would look super-smart, but the stretch silk is entirely comfortable.

Another option would be a good trouser set. The advantage of this is that it would be easier to find smart, appropriate outdoor shoes or sandals to go with this look (should this be necessary). We have a fantastic Elena Grunert soft jersey trouser set in a soft grey, which would be incredibly chic, yet eminently wearable. This particular outfit (pictured above right) would also be ideal for the pear-shaped woman, because, although the jacket is long enough to skim over the bottom, it is also softly fitted at the top, so as not to swamp the upper half of the body.

It would be a good idea to come into the shop soon, if you are able, as we have plenty of items that could be ideal...
 

Caroline Abram    Monday 24 January 2011 at 13:39

 Post #192 



 
Subject: Miranda Hart

 
Hi Emma,
Did you spot Miranda Hart's Anna Scholz dress that she wore when collecting her Comedy awards at the weekend? As soon as i saw her i turned to my husband and said ''i bet that's an Anna dress'' and of course, i was right!!! I am a huge fan, of both ladies, and can't wait to see the new spring collection in your shop. Any news on a date yet for the fashion show?
Look forward to my next visit very soon,
Caroline

 

 Emma    Monday 24 January 2011 at 14:17

Hi Caroline

Thank you so much for your message - which hits the bullseye of two of my obsessions!

I love Miranda Hart, and I have been following everything she has done for years. There's something about her that just tickles my funny bone. I know it's really sad, but I have been toying with the idea of writing to the BBC to see if they will let me send her an invitation to come and visit our shop... any time, day or night! I think she would like our style...

Our fashion show with Anna Scholz is happening in April (another source of great excitement and enthusiasm for me). I will give out the exact dates just as soon as I get them. I really think it is going to be the event of the year. I just love what Anna has got in store for us this summer... On the right you'll see another showing of the photograph taken of Jaq and me (with the Anna Scholz model, Anna, and their sales director, Penny) trying on some of her gorgeous stretch silk dresses that will shortly be coming into store!

Miranda obviously likes Anna's clothes (she looked fabulous in the Triangle Anna Scholz dress receiving her award at the Comedy Awards), so who knows, she might even turn up!
 

MRS JUDITH A LANE    Sunday 23 January 2011 at 12:45

 Post #191 



 
Subject: wedding outfit

 
Hi,
I am looking for a wedding outfit for the end of may this year as my son is getting married, and l wondered if you have anything available for me to look at, l am beteen 28/30 size at the moment as l have just started trying to loose weight.
I would be grateful if you have any ideas.
MRS JUDITH LANE

 

 Emma    Sunday 23 January 2011 at 13:40

 
Hi Mrs Lane

Congratulations on your delightful happy family event.

You are a wise woman indeed! This is the best time of year to start to look for your outfit. Many women believe that they should begin looking for something just a few weeks before an event. Sometimes the reason for this is due to on-going weight loss, which can complicate matters. No-one wants to be wearing something too loose after they have gone to the effort of slimming down!

However, with designer clothes the deliveries tend to concentrate at the beginning of the season. Competition then sets in, and customers will attempt to pip each other to the post when buying the best outfits. And with such individual clothes, once something has been sold it very often cannot be obtained again.

So it really is an excellent idea to make a start to look for your outfit at this time of year. It is still a little early for some of the deliveries (many have started to come in, and we are expecting consignments every day next week). You do not say where you are geographically. If you live nearby, then it would be a good idea to come into the shop to discuss with us your perfect outfit. We would then be able to see how you fit into the different ranges, and we will be in an excellent position to give you the 'heads up' when things come into store.

If you live some distance away, I would suggest you telephone us on 01273 327240 and have a chat about your preferences. We would then contact you when something gorgeous is available.

At Emma Plus we offer a special service for women who are in the process of losing weight for an event. After years of experience, we recommend that ladies buy clothes that fit them straight away, so there is no pressure to lose weight. It's one of the ironies of life that, without pressure, a woman will often slim down considerably for her 'do'. But if she feels psychological pressure (ie. she won't fit into her dress if she 'fails'), weight loss can become a bit of a strain.

Another complicating factor is how a woman's body shape changes (or does not change) when she loses weight. Trying to slim into an outfit without knowing whether the finished shape will fit one is a risky business!

With our free alteration service, we recommend that our customer comes back to us two or three weeks before the wedding, when we would fit the dress perfectly to her new size and shape. I emphasise that this service is normally provided completely without charge.

The size you mention (28/30) is in our mainstream size range, so you will inevitably get the pick of the crop if you come early in the season.

I'm so glad your son has chosen this year to get married. The designs (which are fluid and soft, yet shapeley) and colours (which are a wide palette of hues: something for everyone) make it a super season for special occasions.

We look forward to either speaking to you on the phone, or seeing you in the shop soon....

 

 Emma    Saturday 29 January 2011 at 11:09

Hi Mrs Lane!

I thought I would mention that some stock has come in that is lovely, and would be great for a wedding.

There are a number of things that have come in that may be suitable, and the ones I have chosen to picture are from the Kirsten Krog range. You do not mention how tall you are: these particular items would be excellent for the taller woman. There is a dress, jacket and skirt, all with lovely long, fluid lines. The jacket is picked out with subtle lace along the edges.

The colour of the photograph is slightly misleading: this is not black and white, but rather a kind of light taupe/stone shade.
 

Emma    Wednesday 19 January 2011 at 14:37

 Post #188 



 
Subject: Weddings, weddings...!

Our thanks go to our lovely customer, Yvonne, who has kindly allowed us to reproduce one of her wedding photographs on our forum.

She said: ''[here is a picture] of me in the wedding dress that you and your staff helped me with last year.

The wedding went really well on the 18 December.

Thank you for helping to make me feel glamorous on the day.

Best wishes

Yvonne ''

Yvonne looked lovely in her full-length Anna Scholz stretch silk crossover dress, and we at Emma Plus wish them both great happiness.

 

Emma    Wednesday 13 October 2010 at 21:43

 Post #170 



 
Subject: Barbie

Many little girls have a Barbie... that iconic plastic doll with the impossible figure, blond hair and vast wardrobe. And for a lot of those girls, their vision of how they will look on their own wedding day is very similar to the way Barbie looks when she marries her boyfriend, Ken. The white satin and lace dress, adorned with beads and sequins, nipped-in at the waist, with big puffed-out full-length skirt and bare shoulders.

The image that women have of themselves on their wedding day is often carried unchanged from girlhood through to womanhood, and quite often owes much to such toys, but also to a scrapbook of ideas from Hollywood, fairytales, celebrities and history. Very often the style of dress chosen for the 'biggest day in a woman’s life' has little or nothing to do with her everyday life, looks and style. It is the iconography from a different world than her own.

This is all great fun. It’s lovely to get a big dressing-up box and play at being Barbie, or a fairy, movie star or princess. However, if you are going to have to be on display in this get-up, in front of family, friends, your in-laws and your future husband, it has to be a little bit more than play-acting. You are going to have to look seriously fabulous!

But when a woman is over a size 18 it becomes more and more difficult for her to find a ‘traditional’ wedding dress that is going to make her look seriously fabulous. There are a number of obstacles in the way.

The first one is the most simple of all: finding a dress that will fit. Not all collections will be available in larger sizes.

However, let us suppose that she has managed to find a shop that will make a dress in a larger size. The problem then is with the selection of the dress. With most samples being shown in a smaller size, it can be extremely difficult to try on a dress. Very often they have to be ordered (and paid for – and we are talking about many hundreds of pounds) without having been properly seen.

This exacerbates the worst problem of all: that most traditional wedding dresses have certain stylistic features that render them unflattering to larger women.

They are usually white or cream for a start, and this is a difficult shade for a larger woman. White is not a recessive colour, so will not shrink the body size. It also describes the body shape in some detail, and can showcase the contours of the body to an unflattering degree. Shiny fabric accentuates this, often quite cruelly. Fabrics with a sheen have a problematic relationship with flash photography; quite a serious problem when the photograph in question may be on display for a lifetime.

Any extra volume, when worn by a larger-size woman, can also cause a problem and should ideally be avoided. So a puffed-out skirt is not normally to be recommended.

Many larger women do look lovely in a corset; especially those who already have an hourglass figure. Sadly, apple-shaped women who (as I know from personal experience) would love to wear a corset, just look uncomfortable because it showcases their least attractive feature.

A nipped-in waist is not always a good look for a larger woman, even one with a lovely waist. This is because it can, by contrast, draw attention to nearby larger features of the body. A cinched waist will showcase a large bust or bottom as much as it displays the waist itself.

On the plus side, a covering of lace, and a sprinkling of embellishment – be they beads or sequins – can add weight to the fabric (drawing it over the body) and will help to break up the texture, and so create a kindlier and less revealing surface. Also, many young larger women have superb shoulders and décolletages, which can carry the off-the-shoulder look beautifully.

If you're able to find a style that suits and try it on to see it properly, in order to make an informed decision; if you have a figure that looks good in a wedding dress; and if you are clever with texture and embellishment – then you can look knockout. These are, however, rather a lot of ‘ifs’.

So the upshot is that not all larger women can look seriously fabulous in a traditional white wedding dress. I think it is the realisation of this that brings so many brides to our door. More and more women seem to be getting married in ‘non-bridal’ wear; we see those seeking beautiful dresses, just not ‘wedding’ dresses.

This year we have sold stretch-silk dresses, jersey dresses, chiffon numbers, even full-length cashmere dresses. They have been in gorgeous prints, full-on colour or subtle shades. They have been long, ballerina length or knee length.

There have been the romantic, the glamorous and the subtle. But none of them have been ‘bridal’.

None of the women who have had dresses from us this year has ended-up looking like Barbie in her wedding outfit. And afterwards, when I have been shown the photographs of the happy events, I have noticed that none of the husbands have looked like Ken either.

Phew!

 

Emma    Sunday 26 September 2010 at 21:53

 Post #166 



 
Subject: Fantasy fashion

We’ve all heard of fantasy football, but how about fantasy fashion? Very few people ever get the chance to design their own fashion range, but that shouldn’t stop us dreaming...

What if I were to formulate my own unique collection of larger-size clothing? Say that somehow I was given the resources and talent to produce my own designs from scratch. What would I create?

Of course there are an infinite number of answers to this question, so if I am to develop this idea I had better concentrate on a single criterion: what kind of clothes have I always wanted, yet never found to my own personal satisfaction in the shops?

In other words, what are the clothes that I have been longing for? This, of course, is a very different collection of clothes than I would be creating if I were a real designer - where I would be producing a look that was fashion-forward and relevant to one particular season.

Instead, I’m talking about the eternal wish-list items that I have wanted but always been denied; a kind of clothing anti-autobiography, whose title would be ‘The Clothes I Never Wore’.

So, with so many items to choose from, I will edit my choices and just throw out a few random ideas...

Let's get the ball rolling with casual trousers. I would love to produce a pair of super-soft stretch leather leggings - the sort that one never sees in larger sizes but which would be incredibly useful under long tops or short dresses.

I would also love to get a really gorgeous long stretch-denim dress. Comfortable and practical, it would be a wardrobe staple that would still be fashionable decades after it was produced. When was the last time you saw a larger-size garment like this in the shops?

For outerwear, I would design a top-fashion raincoat. It would be 100% waterproof with a proper hood. And I’m serious about it being waterproof; mine would be functional enough to sail across the Atlantic in, yet incredibly funky and in a lovely colour... deep Atlantic blue, perhaps.

But I would go really nuts with my knits! In fact, I find the whole subject of knitwear in larger sizes both a great inspiration and a cause of real frustration. It’s true that one can get wonderful larger-sized designer knitwear this season, but there are still huge gaps in availability. Why, for example, is it so difficult to find patterned knits in our sizes? I would take Missoni as an inspiration and create gorgeous stripes in subtle yet unusual colour combinations. And I would design a line of soft, super-long dresses, supported by plenty of stretch (so there would be no sagging), with luxe layers of jackets, coats and capes.

One of the wonderful things about fantasy clothes design is the incredible optimism it engenders. I have been in the large-size fashion industry long enough to realise that many dreams do actually come true. Wait long enough (admittedly in the world of plus-size fashion, often rather too long), and you will eventually find items like these.

This is what the job of the clothes designer is all about: making people happy. For example, I have written in a previous blog about how I dreamed for years of a gorgeous sheepskin coat - and then James Lakeland created one so much better than I had ever desired. And this is far from an isolated case. Many times I have looked at an Anna Scholz item (like her long stretch-silk wrap dress from last winter) and thought ‘at last’!

Somehow, by osmosis, our personal clothes wish-list seeps into fashion’s collective subconscious. Keep looking long enough and you may well surprise yourself. And the deep satisfaction of finding the item that you always wanted, rendered in such a way that it exceeds your wildest expectations, is a source of great joy.

In fact, one of the things you have always wanted is probably in a store somewhere right now!



 

Caroline Abram    Tuesday 14 September 2010 at 15:33

 Post #162 



 
Subject: Shop Visit

 
Hi, I just wanted to mail you to say how wonderful it was stumbling across your shop on Saturday. Totally unexpected, and to find such a unique selection of plus size clothes,excellent customer service and what a great time my friends and i had with the banter! It makes a change for them to have to sit and wait for me to try items on, and very comfy there were to on your lovely sofa! I am very pleased with my Anna Scholz top, and in the sale, great! I am also very excited about the new designs we discussed in the shop and cant wait to try them on! When is the next fashion show? (my offer still stands if you need a model...!!) I have already recommended you to two of my lucky friends so i hope to see you again very soon.
Caroline.

 

 Emma    Tuesday 14 September 2010 at 19:01

Hi Caroline!

Thank you so much for your kind comments... I hope you will not mind that I have put them on to our 'Testimonials' page (accessible from the Homepage).

It really was so lovely to meet you on Saturday... a real piece of luck. Some people spend six hours on the road travelling after tracking us down online, yet you happened across us when you were passing!

We will tell you when we will be doing the next fashion show. I know you will enjoy it – they really do go down so well. It is just a chance to see some lovely clothes, have a laugh and a chat, some champers and some nibbles... really, a perfect way to spend a Saturday!
 

Yvonne    Friday 23 July 2010 at 16:40

 Post #147 



 
Subject: Visit to your store

 
Hi Emma,

I was in your store yesterday and loved it, I was the Scottish girl who loved purple. I absolutely love the top that i purchased it was perfect for flying home last night.

I would love a couple of dresses for the summer, but most i have seen are maxi dresses which being 5ft3 are not ideal. Any suggestions?

P.S. thanks for your help yesterday, fancy opening a branch up here?

 

 Emma    Saturday 24 July 2010 at 12:08

 
Hi Yvonne

Thank you for your lovely post! It was great to meet you yesterday.

Your question about summer dresses is an interesting one. I would suggest that a woman like yourself should consider the current fashion of 'short dress/long top' with leggings.

There were quite a few examples of this style around this summer (as you know, it's now a little late in the season to find summer dresses), and there will be more coming in for the winter collections.

These are usually jersey, but can be made of any fabric - including knits in the winter. They are normally knee-length, and many of them have a somewhat high waist. Care should be taken not to get them too baggy and shapeless, or the body will look disproportionate when this top is teamed with close-fitting leggings on the bottom half.

This is a great look for tall women and shorter women alike, as the trouser or legging shapes can be tweaked to alter the silhouette for different bodies. Don't be put off the idea of this style... when you get used to the slightly different look, you'll grow to love it.

The other thing I would suggest is not necessarily to dismiss the maxi-dress for the shorter woman. If it is shapely, if the proportions are right (and there are so many different permutations that it may take some time to get the correct one), and if the dress is shortened to a flattering length, this look can appear to lengthen the body, creating a sleeker look.

 

Emma    Wednesday 26 May 2010 at 22:39

 Post #137 



 
Subject: Dressing-up

I was lucky enough to have a mother who had a wonderful attitude towards clothes. My mum was a very stylish lady: fascinated by colour and with a natural, sophisticated ability to pick out good quality in all things. She was very much the ‘county lady’, not at all fashion-forward (at least in her later years), but always highly appreciative of good design.

When I was a child she was happy to let me play ‘dressing-up’ with her clothes. I don’t think I was told that anything was out of bounds in her wardrobe, although I can remember I did not seek to try on her smartest outfits; I knew some of them were delicate and expensive.

My sister and I still have some of her dresses today. I can’t help feeling that my mother had an uncanny ability to capture the fashion zeitgeist for each decade she lived through - summed up in at least one perfect dress. There is a cotton satin dress with a wide skirt, for example, emblazoned with large blue roses, that could only be from the fifties. There is a cream, gold and turquoise beaded column dress that epitomises the glamour of the sixties. And there is a patterned chiffon evening gown, complete with long, fairytale sleeves in gorgeous Monet water-lilly colours that shouts the best of the nineteen seventies.

Actually, come to think of it, it was probably the fact that I would not have dreamed of taking these gowns out of their wrappings that permitted my mother to let me get at her wardrobe!

So the times that I spent trying on her other, more everyday clothes and matching them up with her accessories were very happy ones. I would find scarves, necklaces, bags, blouses and colourful knits, and team them up; parading each look through the house for my own little fashion show.

I had almost forgotten the simple, childish joy of this, but I have been reminded of it while organising our recent set of fashion shows here in the store. How fantastic it is to be trying-on outfits and selecting combinations. Not with a view to actually buying anything - or even to find something appropriate for someone else. No, the joy is in being a different person for a while and seeing the models putting on looks that were not about themselves, but simply about the look.

When you are doing fashion shows like ours, you have carte blanche to explore a large, beautiful wardrobe, with no ego - no reason to be sensible or adult. You can experiment, and just try to look different and lovely.

This may be one of the reasons why the fashion shows have proved to be such fun. We will definitely be doing more of them in future.

Our next fashion show (the last this year), however, is on Saturday 12th June at 2.30pm.

 

 Kim P    Friday 28 May 2010 at 20:17

 
Your mother's wardrobe sounds wonderful. I was picturing each decade's outfit as you described them.

I really want to come to the event on the 12th, depends how I'm feeling after an evening at the 20/20 cricket the night before! Please let Jaq know that she really does know what is best for me. The blue flower Nanso top I had passed over is a joy to wear and has received several compliments.

 

 Emma    Saturday 29 May 2010 at 14:28

Hi Kim!

Thanks for your kind words about your top... I have passed them on to Jaq. We do think these Nanso tops are lovely (I don't know whether you saw this one when you were here?). There's something about them that is so smart, and yet easy to wear.

I wish I could have showed you some of the dresses I had kept from my mum's wardrobe - I had them here in the store for years! They have since gone to my sister's house, where her daughters may be interested in making some use of them. All of my nieces have keen fashion eyes.

I suppose it isn't difficult to see where I got my fascination with fashion from!

I hope your night of 20/20 cricket goes well... and that we are able to see you on the 12th!
 

Emma    Friday 16 April 2010 at 18:07

 Post #131 



 
Subject: Gorgeous!

Hi Emma

It was lovely to see you back today, collecting your alterations. Thank you so much for letting us show this picture of you looking lovely in your new Anna Scholz dress.

An expert eye may be able to see that we have adapted the fit of it (and made a tiny tweak to the design of the sleeves) to suit your petite frame...

 

Emma    Tuesday 02 March 2010 at 00:00

 Post #118 



 
Subject: The New Look

Tomorrow we complete the very last of our buying for Autumn/Winter 2010. It's always exciting to be buying for a new season, because there is something unexpected to be had every time.

Fashion is an extremely competitive business, and the designers know that they are only as good as their last collection - so every item counts. In the really good ranges, the designers will not just reflect the latest fashion; they will innovate and push the look forward.

Every now and again a season shows a sea change: a time when the silhouette changes, and Autumn/Winter 2010 is one of those times. In the past few years we have been seeing tops growing longer, more interesting in shape, or with a different shape of shoulder, and - arguably - all the alterations to the silhouette has sprung from these developments.

There are three basic new silhouettes to be seen. The first and major one is that of the dress and legging. We've been seeing dresses getting shorter for some time now, just as tops have been getting longer. These looks has now met in the middle, and the short dress has emerged that will need to be worn over trousers or leggings. I know it sounds alarming for many women to hear that they are being invited to wear leggings! There are many worries in this area, which can be encapsulated by the phrase 'Does my bum look big in this?'

The fact is, though, that these new short dresses are extremely flattering. They usually have plenty of drape, flowing from a high waist. They end just above or on the knee, so there is little worry about visible cellulite. There is now a comprehensive selection of good quality coloured leggings to complete the look. When the 'dress/top' is a sweater (and there are plenty of these!), one may want to wear it with leggings and boots, which are now widely available in the required calf widths and interesting colours.

I tried on some lovely shorter dresses at Anna Scholz - including a magenta tulip-skirted jersey one that was to die for. I was also extremely taken with an incredibly retro long top/dress from Dominique, complete with a pearlised peacock printed down one side. It shouldn't work, but it really does!

The second new silhouette is that of the cocoon. Tops, dresses and jackets have been showing a tendency towards interesting and innovative shapes for some time now. Next winter, this will emerge as a succession of variations on a cocoon shape, where the garment is allowed to flow out with extra volume, only to be draped and pulled in at some point towards the lower part of the body.

Years ago when these cocoons, puff balls, draw-string bottoms, welted tops, etc., were last in fashion, they were often a disaster for larger women. Badly executed, they can add unnecessary bulk. Now, however, they have come of age and flatter the body, whilst adding an arty, directional edge. Exelle showed a particularly gorgeous puff-ball coat in pale grey, which Jaq is planning to spend her wages on this autumn...

The other silhouette is one which has also been developing for some time. It's what I call the 'Parisienne' look. This is the trend for incredibly neat, cinched-in tailoring - often with the emphasis on the shoulder - which can be much sharper with added detail. Anna Scholz, of course, was all over this look. She produced some lovely dresses and jackets with that incredibly sexy, sophisticated style.

Elena Miro and Personal Choice also went in for some lovely jackets reflecting this aesthetic. One in particular from Elena Miro was the classic Channel-style jacket that every woman should have in her wardrobe. It was in loose-weave black tweed with silver sparkles, and the edges of it were trimmed with frayed fabric. It was as perfect and delicious as a little very dark Parisian chocolate.

On a practical note, after the incredibly cold winter we have just endured in the UK, we are seeing some gorgeous coats coming through. Everything from soft wool coats, to raincoats, to the softest and most cuddly fun-fur coats, to fitted puffer coats are going to be on sale this autumn.

My favourites were spread far and wide: in the fashion business, one develops an eclectic taste. I loved the little dresses, the cinched-in jackets, the coloured leggings. I'm sorry to say my wardrobe is going to be bulging even more at the end of this autumn!

And after the winter we've had last year, one of the very first things I am going to invest in is a really lovely, warm coat. I have my eye on one from NP - surely one of the best examples of a puffer jacket. And it is in the 'must-have' colour: violet.

 

Emma Wakefield    Wednesday 20 January 2010 at 14:28

 Post #107 



 
Subject: dresses

 
Hi Emma. So sorry to have missed your clearance sale, but I hope to pop in to see you soon. I'm after 2 dresses - something fabulous for forthcoming hunt balls and a sexy but warm and comfortable jumper dress for cosy nights in with my boyfriend. I expect I have missed the season for both of these but thought I would check. I'm a size 20.

 

 Emma    Wednesday 20 January 2010 at 19:41

 
Hi Emma

Thanks for your post. There is good news and (a little) bad news in reply to you.

The bad news is that the winter collection tends to sell through by Christmas, so any warm and snuggly clothes that are still in the shops at this time of year tend to be few and far between - we have not now got any cosy dresses or knits in general, I'm afraid.

But it is a very good time of year to be thinking about getting a gorgeous going-out dress. Although it is a little early (we are just beginning to get our first deliveries in), we are expecting some absolutely stunning dresses this season, and some of them should be making an appearance very soon. It might be a good idea to phone 01273 327240 and chat to Jaq about what you are looking for. She could keep you updated when your perfect dress comes in.

In the summer season (i.e. the collection that is presently coming in) we do also often stock lovely comfortable jersey dresses. Obviously, these will not be in the same vein as the snuggly knitted dress you desire. But the weather won't be cold for ever (I have to believe that!), and a lovely, chic and stylish jersey dress may end up being a good substitute...

 

 Emma    Thursday 11 February 2010 at 00:07

Hi Emma

Just a quick note to tell you that you were right on the money about the need for a jumper dress! Visiting the fashions fairs (that are showing the collections for Autumn/Winter 10), it's interesting to see how the look is all about knits, and the sweater dress in particular.

We have chosen some beautiful ones. The good news is that there is a tremendous variety of them, so we are bound to have one you will love. The bad news I'm afraid is that they won't start to come in until July at the earliest.

The image is from the Sallie Sahne Fall 10 collection and features a fabulous printed cashmere sweater dress (it's far longer than this in real life), which is available with either an animal print or plain matching long jacket.
 
 

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