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Here are all the posts in our Forum/Blog on the topic of Customers: fashion emergency!...

Kim P    Saturday 13 May 2017 at 19:08

 Post #493 



 
Subject: Clothing Alterations

 
In case anyone is interested the wonderful Denisa who used to do Emma's alterations is still around. She has just done a superb job repairing a Tomo dress I had purchased but had managed to rip the sleeve before even wearing it! She also did a great job shortening a couple of pairs of jeans.

I posted the items to her as I am not local to Brighton and will definitely ask her to do any future alterations. Her prices are very reasonable and the quality of work first class. She is away at the moment but her number is 01273 696410

 

Jackie    Sunday 08 April 2012 at 06:32

 Post #277 



 
Subject: Thank you ladies!

 
Hi Emma and the team,
Just want to say a huge thank you for all the time and effort you have taken over recent weeks to make sure that I feel like a million dollars at my daughter's wedding on May 5th. You have been so patient, pinning, trimming and adjusting straps, hems sleeves etc. Thank you so much. It is really lovely to shop in a non hurried, no pressure environment. Simply the best shopping experience ever! See you soon.

Jackie

 

 Emma    Monday 23 April 2012 at 14:41

 
Hi Jackie!

Words cannot express how grateful I am that you have taken the time to post your lovely feedback.

It makes such a lot of difference to us to know that we are giving satisfaction!

 

Emma    Friday 09 September 2011 at 16:21

 Post #242 



 
Subject: Snuggle

So what would I suggest are the ‘must have’ items this season? The autumn/winter 2011 collections are flooding into store now (see 'Our range' in the main section of our site), and with every delivery I am reawakening the excitement I felt when I forward-ordered these clothes six months ago. In more ways than one, this is a vintage year for design.

Generally the items that are ‘must haves’ for any particular season fall into two groups: those which you personally have a need or a yen for, and those which the industry has provided that are so good at the time, that just about everyone should snap them up.

Luckily, the rules affecting what you need (or want) and what the fashion industry suddenly comes through with are the same this time. For anyone suffering from amnesia, last year we experienced a very cold winter, where all bets were off as far as our normal wardrobe staples were concerned. Out had gone those trusty yet suddenly inadequate and flimsy cotton jumpers that had been our go-to items when the weather got cold in previous years (I say previous years: actually the winter before was also quite extreme if I remember correctly). Out, also, had gone the notion that you ‘really don’t need’ a winter coat. The rules had suddenly been rewritten.

Many women are normally perfectly warm, no matter what the weather, and to suddenly feel the cold blast of extreme winter was an unexpected and unpleasant wake-up call. It sent numbers of my customers into my shop in the pursuit of all things snuggly. They wanted coats, wool jackets, woollen trousers, jumpers, cardigans... let’s face it, they needed the part of their wardrobe that was missing: the winter part.

This was particularly noticeable because larger women in general tend to feel the heat and do not often feel cold. So some of us have decided to simply ignore warm clothing and rely on the fact that most of the time we live on quite a temperate island. In a nutshell, there was an area of our wardrobe that had been long neglected, and suddenly was desperately needed. To make matters worse, when we really started to think about it, we realised this neglected part of the wardrobe was often quite necessary!

The problem with the fashion industry is that it is always ahead of itself. Regular readers of this blog will know that my advice is always to ‘buy early’. I try to make it a habit not to use saleswomanship or hype in these writings (I can’t expect people to want to want to regularly read this blog if it is nothing better than advertorial for the designer clothing industry), and I try to give honest, logical advice to consumers. So when I recommend buying specific items early, I do so with good reason. Generally speaking, by the time you find you really need to wear the clothes, the best examples will have already sold out. This is as true for winter coats as it is for summer dresses.

So last winter, during and after the worst of the cold weather, we had a stream of customers wanting items that were simply not available for love nor money. I had women virtually crying on my shop floor, so desperate were they for at least one really good jumper, or knitted jacket, or winter coat. Yet the cupboard was bare; they had long since sold through.

So now, the fashion world (which in an uncharacteristic attack of realism, has taken collective note of what happened in the last two winters) has woken up to the possibilities of gorgeous warm clothing. And this has happened at the same time as many of my customers, scarred by last year’s disappointments (please note that I, too, bear these scars; there is nothing worse for me than sending droves of desperate customers away without the very things they had come in for), have decided that they ‘must have’ some really lovely winter wear. For once, we have a lucky and happy confluence of minds. We may all actually get what we want!

The looks this season are soft, warm, fluid, sophisticated and subtle. Everything is about knits or fabrics with a soft, generous handle. Despite everything I have just said, there are still cool knits (mixtures of cottons, silks, cashmeres, etc.), and as many different levels of weight of jersey, plus opportunities of layering, as there are degrees on a thermometer. It’s all about versatility: designer clothes last a long time, and it is necessary to get the maximum use out of them. So items that can be layered in cold weather and stripped back during the warmer times, are key.

All the collections we bought have acquitted themselves well this season: my favourite for knits? Verpass (see dress and jacket, right), with its subtle nineteen fifties aesthetic. Now that we have had many of their beautiful jackets, knitted dresses, coats, jumpers and gilets in stock, we are already finding that the fashion-hunters are in, snapping up their must-have pieces.

These women know that in order to get what they really, really want, they had better come before the cold weather hits. Because in Britain, we may sometimes not get a summer, but we do generally get a winter.

 

caroline stevens    Friday 26 August 2011 at 00:55

 Post #237 



 
Subject: Daughters wedding 24th September!!!

 
Help! Im a size 24....apple shape...looking for an outfit. I think I am going to wear trousers.. I do like floaty type tops....just discovered the cowl neck which seems to disguise a multitude of problems ..there is a bit of a 20`s theme going on. Im 60....just! Any ideas very welcome

 

 Emma    Friday 26 August 2011 at 17:13

Hi Caroline

Thank you for your question! It does sound as if you are well on the way to not needing any advice.... As an apple shape, your choice of a floaty, tunic-type, pretty top over trousers is an excellent idea.

I also endorse your views about cowl necks. Anything that will take the eye away from the centre of the body is going to look flattering. Either an interesting neck, or some kind of embellishment on the neck or shoulder area, will draw the eye. The top that I have pictured (see right) is from the latest autumn/winter Anna Scholz collection, and has beading around the shoulders and neck. I am a fellow apple-shaper and I have this top (it's gorgeous).

Even though it is quite early in the season, if you are able to get into the shops quite soon, I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the choice of new items that have already made their way into stores.

With a wedding in late September, it is a good idea to be looking now, so that you can find something lovely, and put your mind at rest. You really don't need to worry; as someone who's a size 24 (our average size), and is interested in getting something with a bit of a fashion look, the world's your oyster this season!
 

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...
 

Emma    Thursday 16 December 2010 at 16:59

 Post #180 



 
Subject: Snow-wear you dare...

With all the extreme weather we have been having lately, I have been thinking about what I would advise a customer to wear during the whiteout. It always makes me laugh when I hear terms like ‘functional clothing’ – as if there were such a thing as clothes without a function! Yet, of course, we do understand what this means. There are particular items of clothing that come in extremely useful, and really earn their living when the going gets tough.

If I were to plan an outfit to be worn out in the snow, I would go full-on. I wouldn’t try to battle on with the kind of thing I'd normally wear, but embrace the situation and revel in it! There are no half-measures when it comes to snow and ice.

Clearly, the greatest level of performance is needed from the outer layers. However, it is not necessary to invest in some kind of specialist snow jacket. A good wool coat will keep you beautifully warm, yet it will not be too heavy. Wool is amazingly waterproof (I say ‘amazingly’ despite logically knowing that evolution has designed wool to keep those Welsh sheep dry – and that’s no easy task!). Wool coats can be really beautiful, with lovely colours and styles (there’s no need to be a slouch just because of a bit of bad weather; we are British, after all). We’ve had a number of lovely items in this season, and we still have some treasures in stock: a notable mention goes to a fabulous cerise wool coat (pictured), made by the German designer Brand. I have a Verpass coat (quite a few years old now), which I have really appreciated on the snowy mornings, and we still have a similar Verpass jacket in stock.

In general the kind of coat that's perfect for this inclement weather is what I would call a ‘car coat’; not full-length, like a smart coat, but a slightly more sporty, shorter length. Around knee-length is perfect, and very practical.

On the legs I would suggest a pair of narrow trousers. I do think that for the look that I am recommending, a slightly narrow silhouette is the right way to go, because it is super-practical and warm. There are very good trouser manufacturers, like Brand and NP, which produce excellent wool-mix trousers that are totally non-itchy and (unlike in the past) beautifully machine washable. These come in a number of silhouettes.

I would tuck these into a pair of low-heeled leather boots. A range I would recommend would be Duo (available online). They deliver boots that are fashionable, and that fit all calf measurements. The boots in my photograph are actually from Clarks, also with wider calves, which were easily available and reasonably priced, but with the added advantage of being waterproof. I would then (on the very snowiest days) fit a pair of crampons to the bottom of the boots. I am completely sold on these little gadgets now. The ones I have (which I bought online: there are countless suppliers) twang satisfyingly over the outside of the sole, providing an extra grip, with chains that span across the underneath. I have had so much more confidence when striding forth on icy pavements (slight exaggeration there... it’s more a case of me gingerly strolling with a mock-relaxed attitude, trying not to build up too much speed when walking downhill).

To help with this, I have invested in a snow-stick. Mine was manufactured in Scandinavia, but actually they are widely available from many different suppliers, and are usually found in winter sports shops. I know that sometimes a woman (particularly if she is of a larger size) can feel a little sensitive about using a walking stick, because she doesn’t want to give the impression that her mobility is in some way impaired. However, I am happy to report that during every day of the last period of snowy weather, I sallied forth with my trusty snow stick (with a metal spike on the end for extra grip), and the only response I had from friends and strangers alike was jealousy and admiration for my wonderful seasonal preparedness. Several people shot out to buy one after seeing mine.

Under the coat I would suggest a good long jumper, again of wool if possible. We’ve got a number of ranges that supply good long knits. Verpass produced my favourite this season: a lovely knitted dress/top, with matching waistcoat (also pictured, under the jacket). Wonderful.

So, if you will, imagine my ideal of a woman wearing her snow outfit. A lovely colourful wool car-length coat, worn with a fabulous new longer-length jumper and gilet (set off, perhaps, with a toning hat and scarf). The fashionable tighter-fit trousers tucked into leather boots, with the Artic look reflected in the functional crampons and snow-stick – essential on snowy pavements even in town. She only needs a gorgeous handbag to totally rock the look: sporty, snowy, snug and chic.

 

Emma    Friday 03 December 2010 at 12:04

 Post #179 



 
Subject: Gift vouchers!

It’s December, and the thoughts of many people are turning to the exciting, yet sometimes thorny subject of Christmas presents.

At this time of year we usually see friends, partners or family members surreptitiously entering our shop, discreetly seeking out the perfect gifts for their loved ones.

Some people worry that buying clothing for a larger woman can be a bit difficult. Most of us do not like to reveal our size to all and sundry – even our nearest and dearest – and, of course, there is the issue of fit when clothes are bought without having been tried on. So there are many people who would love to buy clothes from Emma Plus or elsewhere for someone special in their lives, but find the prospect of it somewhat complicated!

The truth is, buying a present from us is actually quite problem free! Although (as a true English person) I hate to blow my own trumpet, I can’t help mentioning that I think we are passed-masters at helping with the selection of the perfect present. We have items of clothing for just about any larger woman, and we have a lot of experience in asking the right questions. We are also very adept at remembering the requirements of many of our established customers.

To put it mildly, our sizing can be very discreet, often with husband only aware that we have sold him a ‘size small’ for his wife! Unsurprisingly, many in the know make the pilgrimage every year to our shop to pick up a present from us, in the knowledge that we will recommend an array of lovely items from with to select their perfect choice.

As a fail-safe, anyone who buys items from us is welcome to bring them back within the season in order to exchange them, should they need to, and our alteration service extends (of course) to items bought as gifts. Many of our customers are really touched that someone has really paid attention to them to the extent of specially seeking out ‘their shop’ from which to buy their present.

Another great favourite for a present is a gift voucher. It is a real delight to watch a customer stride purposefully through the door in the New Year, with a glint in her eye, and a gift voucher in her purse! Our vouchers come in denominations of £10, £25, £50 and £100.

Because we are aware that some people are a little behind this year in getting their presents (due to the inclement weather), we have decided to do something we have never done before... a special offer on gift vouchers! For every £50 in vouchers bought this December, we will give an extra £10. At an unprecedented 20%-off, we have produced a limited edition of gift vouchers, which are being sold strictly on a first-come-first-served basis, and you will need to quote this Blog when you purchase. We will happily supply these vouchers by post in time for Christmas. You only have to telephone us on 01273 327240.

How pleasant to be able to find a thoughtful, appropriate present (with added value!), without even having to leave the house!

 

 Kim P    Friday 10 December 2010 at 13:17

 
This is a fabulous deal! My vouchers arrived this morning and they are a gift from me to me!

 

 Emma    Friday 10 December 2010 at 17:04

Hi Kim

Yes, it is such a good deal that we have had to do it as a 'limited edition'! The truth is that a wise woman (but only one who reads this blog regularly!) can end up getting 20 percent extra off her sale purchases after Christmas, or from new season's stock!

It's a special treasure reserved for our blog customers... and they don't even have to come into the store!
 

Rachel Hawes    Sunday 19 September 2010 at 18:11

 Post #163 



 
Subject: Need Help

 
I am getting married in December, a fairly small do but i want to look special and wear a long dress (cover up my arms) and look at least a bit bridey without going for the huge dresses that seem to be available. I am quite a long way from you (in Peterborough) but just wondered if you could contact me and let me know the types of things you have in stock that may suit, I am a 5ft 9 size 26/28 and am stuck!

Cheers, Rachel

 

 Emma    Monday 20 September 2010 at 14:17

Hi Rachel!

Congratulations on your lovely news!

At the risk of sounding somewhat smug, I can't help remarking that you have found exactly the right store at the right time (although with no time to lose)! We have many, many brides like yourself (see post no 160) who choose not to try to resemble a giant marangue on the most important day of her life!

I would advise you to phone us on 01273 327240, and speak to either Jaq or Kim. I suspect that you may end up with an Anna Scholz beautiful dress (many brides do). Your size and height go in your favour...this is our speciality!

Many women travel as far (and a lot further) than from Peterborough, but it's very important to speak to you first, before travelling such a distance. We may even end up ordering in items especially for you, so it's good to get organised first.

We really look forward to seeing you in the store!

 

Emma    Thursday 26 November 2009 at 00:58

 Post #95 



 
Subject: Fussy?

 
So I found myself in the nightwear department of a well-known chain store, looking for some new pyjamas. You may be able to guess the store I was in - it’s the one that supplies undies to the nation! Unfortunately, for me, the experience was bringing on ‘shopping rage’. I just couldn’t find what I wanted, even though there were hundreds of pyjamas on display. Why on earth was I being so fussy?

It was an odd set of circumstances that had brought me into this store. After having a bit of a health problem, I found that I needed an operation (I’ve since had it, and some of you may have realised that there has been a bit of a hiatus in my blogs whilst I have been recuperating). True to any surgical procedure, the operation seemed to require a massive loss of weight, so I have recently lost 4 stone, and gone down from a dress size 24 to a teeny-weenie size 18. This brings me into the very smallest size in our range - so I’m the Emma Plus version of size zero at the moment!

For my five-night stay in the hospital I wanted some nice pyjamas, and although I have collected some beautiful ones over the years (I haven’t worked in a large size store for nothing!), they no longer fitted me. I needed new ones. In our store we do sell pyjamas (although we don’t always have them in stock) but we certainly couldn’t be relied on to have a size 18 pair available. Most of our range goes from a size 20 upwards, with a smattering of 16s and 18s. My colleague, Jaq, ordered some beautiful ones from Nanso, which does lovely colourful jerseywear, but they had not arrived, and it was just a couple of days before my operation. In my new smaller state I felt confident that for once in my life I might be able to find what I wanted on the high street, so I strode forth.

On that particular shop floor there were so many different pairs of pyjamas; it was enough to make your head spin. Thick ones, silky ones, flimsy types and fleecy. Bright and dull coloured. Traditional and jazzy. There was just one problem... I didn’t like any of them. This was because each pair had a very short top. Held up against me, I could see that the jacket part of the nightwear ended just below my waist, at about navel level. They did not cover either the tummy area, or the bottom.

Bizarrely, this was the case for every style, no matter how they differed in other ways. Not a pyjama in the entire store had a top that would cover one’s derriere. Someone had taken it upon him or herself to decree that a longer top just wasn't allowed.

Now, pyjama trousers are not a thing of beauty around the bottom region. Why would anyone spend their hard-earned money buying a garment that was so incredibly unflattering? Honestly, who, other than Jennifer Anniston, would actually look good with their bottom hanging out of the back of their jym-jams?

However, this problem is particularly irksome for larger women. It's my belief that if one asked just about any woman over a size 16, she would confirm that, if she is wearing trousers (either during the day or at night), she will need a top that covers her bottom - it's hardly rocket science! So this is yet another example of a range of items being bought by a major store with inadequate knowledge and no consultation about what larger women want.

I roamed the department with my friend, getting more and more angry. The lone sales assistant I managed to wrestle to the ground (as she tried to dodge her way across the shop floor) obviously thought I was being incredibly fussy. But I wasn’t, actually. I just happened to know what I needed, and was not prepared to put up with something less.

In our store customers often apologise for being 'fussy' when they are merely being prescriptive about what they are looking for, and it usually makes me smile. These are women who have spent ages trying to find a specialist designer store. They have managed to track Emma Plus down. Then they have quite often travelled some distance to get here. They have been prepared to pay higher than high-street prices to buy our wares. Finally, they have often been happy to wait until the item has been altered to make the fit absolutely perfect, and sent on to them by mail.

In short, they have built the Emma Plus business in the likeness of what they really, really want. And they have kept us successfully trading for 20 years. If they had not been so 'fussy', then they would have given up and just bought items from the high street that they were not happy with. And the result would be that we would not exist.

Call it what you like, but fussiness is not a word I would readily use. I would prefer to call it taste.

Well, I had the operation and it was a success. I’m hoping to get back to work by Christmas – just in time for some very exciting new developments that I will discuss in a subsequent blog.

And, as luck would have it, my gorgeous Nanso pyjamas arrived just in time. They even had a beautiful matching dressing-gown (which Jaq had kept as a surprise). And the style of the top was long enough to cover my bottom - and then some!

 
 

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