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Here are all the posts in our Forum/Blog on the topic of Emma Plus: alterations...

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

 

Kim P    Sunday 12 January 2014 at 11:47

 Post #382 



 
Subject: NP Trousers

 
I couldn't believe how comfortable the new collection of NP trousers were when I tried them on yesterday. You could forget you were wearing them!

The straight black leg is very flattering and it's nice to have pockets that don't stick out or add bulk. Another winner, I look forward to wearing them once the length is altered.

 

 Emma    Monday 13 January 2014 at 00:11

 
Hi Kim,

It was lovely to see you at our SuperSale yesterday. Thank you so much for your kind comments about your new trousers.

As I mentioned to you when you were having them pinned to the correct length, fabric technology has come an enormous way since I have been working in the shop. I can remember the very first pairs of trousers that contained Lycra in the weave of the fabric (which were supplied by Finnish brand, NP). As usual, the new fabrics took years to make it into the high street brands, being introduced first into the designer ranges. It sounds ridiculous now, but the idea was originally something of a tough sell to many customers who assumed that it would mean that trousers would 'look' stretchy: ie clingy, track-suity, or looking like something Max Wall would wear. There were times when I (in an uncharacteristically bombastic way) threatened to give a pair of the new-fangled trousers to regulars who refused to try them. However, once tried, there was no going back, and now the idea of having trousers without any stretch at all is almost unimaginable for most larger women.

These latest innovations-the super-stretchy, soft fabric, which allows the pants to achieve a lovely flattering, yet comfortable straight, narrow leg, and the clever new waistbands which look conventional, yet are stretch, continue the habit of invention that some of these ranges take as a given (these are also made by NP) which the designer brands do so well. I think you will be delighted by their performance in your wardrobe!

Also, I noticed that you immediately recognised them for what they offered, so I was spared from having to threaten to give them to you if you didn't buy them! Phew!

 

Emma    Saturday 07 December 2013 at 11:25

 Post #377 



 
Subject: Our Christmas Window Comptetition....please vote

Now it is December, officially we are permitted to wish all our wonderful customers a very Happy Christmas, and a Fabulous New Year.

This year, we are incredibly honoured to have been entered by Brighton and Hove City Council into their wonderful 'Dressed For Success' Christmas Window competition.

In our window this year (which marks our nearly 20 years of trading), we have tried to express a lot of our passion. Our theme is personal skill and attention to detail. As regular customers will know, we offer an alteration service, which enables us to offer a perfectly fitted, individually finished garment for every customer, which is usually completely free of charge. Never before have we tried to refer to our alteration service in our window.

Our store dummies have been stripped of their usual covering, revealing that they are not just shop fittings. In fact, they represent a little bit of history: they are very rare plus-size vintage dressmaker's manequins, salvaged from a factory in Brighton which produced fashion for many years. Now that tradition has died out, but we hope we now echo their skills with our own alteration professionals, so the gorgeous Christmas clothes being displayed on them are in the process of being fitted, ready for the party season.

Christmas is represented by snowflakes, which if you look closely enough are all actually hand-made lace and crochet doilies, again from a time when incredibly skilled handicrafts were prevalent locally. In amongst the snowflakes flutter our Christmas Gift Vouchers, this year in a limited-edition vintage design, hand-written and individually embossed. They are available in all denominations for those who wish to bring a little bit of fashion magic into the life of their loved one.

We would be so grateful if readers of this blog would consider voting for our window: it would mean so much for us to win this prestigious event. The voting form is: brighton-hove.gov.uk/dressed2013vote and the category we are hoping to be placed in is 'Cleverest Concept'.

 

 Kim P    Saturday 07 December 2013 at 22:36

 
Just voted!

The window display looks wonderful, I hope you win!

 

 Emma    Sunday 08 December 2013 at 10:04

 
Thank you so much, Kim! That's very good of you....as always!

I do hope you are well, and that you have a wonderful Christmas.

 

 Kim P    Tuesday 17 December 2013 at 19:19

 
Thank you Emma! Happy Christmas and I hope 2014 is Healthy and Prosperous for you and all the ladies who make visiting your store such a pleasure.

I hope to be popping in before the year is out!

 

 Emma    Thursday 19 December 2013 at 11:24

 
Hi Kim,

I can't tell you how much we would like that!

Hope to see you soon-

 

Emma    Saturday 09 February 2013 at 15:44

 Post #337 



 
Subject: ASD (Anna Scholz Day): 27 April 2013

We now have the best possible news! We have been successful in persuading the fabulous Anna Scholz to create another Anna Scholz Day here in our store!

For those who have already heard about the famous Anna Scholz Days, this will come as long-awaited news. For readers of this blog who are unfamilliar with the Anna Scholz Days (ASDs), this is the most exciting event of the Brighton fashion year.

During the ASD, Anna's latest range is shipped into our store - including many pieces that have never been seen in any store in the UK. We have our superb alteration service on hand to fit the gorgeous clothes to our customers there and then (and items can be sent on for you to receive at home, beautifully fitted, and usually with no extra charge). Anyone spending over £100 will be able to enjoy 2 hours' free parking in the Theatre Car Park adjacent to our store.

But it gets even better. Anna herself will attend, bringing key members of her team. She is a true plus-size fashion icon and is a very beautiful, glamorous fashion expert and visionary, who knows just about everything there is to know about plus-size styling.

During the day there will be refreshments, and a prize draw for all those who attend.

We do hope you can pop this date in your diary, because it really will be a unique and wonderful experience!

 

 Sharon    Saturday 09 February 2013 at 17:53

 
Excellent news and just after my birthday so I can buy presents ;-)

Love the coat you're wearing in the picture too.

 

 Kim P    Saturday 09 February 2013 at 19:38

 
Wonderful news, I would very much like to come!

 

 Kirsten    Tuesday 12 February 2013 at 18:54

 
Wish I could fly over for that day! Love the pic of you and Anna in the AW 13 and looking forward to your blog post about that collection!

 

 Emma    Thursday 14 February 2013 at 14:11

 
Hi Sharon...yes, the coat (from autumn/winter 13) is superb, a lovely soft boiled wool, edged with leather. I particularly loved it teamed with the little co-ordinating tweedy tunic dress. Until you have tried on a coat or jacket with contrasting sleeves, it's easy not to realise how flattering they are. This is because any look that breaks up the width of the body makes you look narrower. In this coat, I only look as wide as my torso: the arms do not add to my silhouette.

Hi Kirsten...how lovely to hear from you! I really wish you could make it to the ASD. If it's anything like the previous ones, it's going to be fantastic.

 

 Nicola Sutherland    Friday 15 February 2013 at 18:43

 
Perfect timing - already have the reason to treat myself - the perfect birthday day out for me!

 

Sam Rosam    Friday 30 November 2012 at 16:28

 Post #323 



 
Subject: Delighted

 
Dear All

Just had to write and say how delighted I am with my parcel of clothes that arrived last Friday. I'd forgotten how much I loved the red knitted jacket and the floral blouse is just beautiful. You'd never know that they had been altered and now fit to perfection.

Both my husband and I enjoyed our visit to your shop, where my husband was offered a chair and a cup of tea (I also was offered tea but declined as I needed to shop!!!) I felt pampered with you all finding things for me to try and without telling you my size until later you seemed to know how do you do that?

Currently saving my pennies for a return visit. See you soon. x

 

 Emma    Friday 30 November 2012 at 18:05

 
Hi Sam,

Thank you so much for your kind words, which are much appreciated.

I think you will get a lot of use out of the items you have had, and I'm particularly glad that you invested in the knit, just as it seems you may be needing it most!

May I be one of the first to wish you a very Happy Christmas!

 

Nicola    Tuesday 17 April 2012 at 20:28

 Post #281 



 
Subject: Spoilt for Choice

Hi Emma

Just a quick message to say thank you. Yesterday I received 2 packages through the post with all the items you altered for me. Last night I didn't know which one to try first!

The black Marina Rinaldi is the nicest linen shirt I have had in years and goes fantastically with the taupe Marina Rinaldi waistcoat - your recommendation couldn't have been more perfect.

The blue Anna Scholz dress looks great with all the tweaks to the length neckline and back, Steve has named it my Wedgewood dress.

The only thing that is now lacking is the weather in order to be able to wear it all (we have snow outside).

Thanks again!
Nicola

 

 Emma    Monday 23 April 2012 at 14:36

 
Hi Nicola,

thanks for your lovely comments! I knew you would love the blouse: I think it's gorgeous. To be honest, I can take no credit for the fact that it went so well with the waistcoat, it was the one designed by Marina Rinaldi to do so. If you look at the tiny trim inside both garments, you will see it is the same. Ordinarily, this doesn't mean much to me: I much prefer to mix collections to create a unique look. However, certain ranges (Marina Rinaldi being one) needs no such intervention, because it's already creative and unique.

I love that dress, and I will be wearing it (weather permitting) to the Anna Scholz day. I've managed to find a pair of shoes that exact colour (I can't help it...I'm terrible!!).

I hope you enjoy wearing what you have, and do get in contact with us if you find you need anything else. I also hope the weather's warmer out there now!

 

Kim P    Monday 21 November 2011 at 21:47

 Post #254 



 
Subject: Wonderful alteration service

 
Hi ladies, my Verpass top and Marina Rinaldi dress arrived and the alterations made are fabulous. It's amazing what a huge diference even the smallest alteration can make. I would not have considered the Verpass top but your suggestions worked wonderfully and I know I'll get lots of wear out of it now. Thanks again!

 

 Emma    Wednesday 23 November 2011 at 11:37

Hi Kim!

So glad that you were happy with your alterations...Denisa is a genius with a sewing machine!

Having a garment fitted to you perfectly is the best thing ever, particularly for the plus-size woman. We all have different body shapes, and it is the failure of a garment to fit these that is often to blame for our clothes being unflattering. All of a sudden, we can look more stylish, fashionable, slimmer and more put-together, just by having a garment fitted to us.

It may be worth mentioning that, unlike some stores, we are more than happy to help with alterations to garments provided by other retailers. Denisa is her own boss, and can undertake private commissions,at what I understand to be very reasonable rates. I am more than happy to help with whatever pinning is necessary. We at Emma Plus do not make any charge for this....
 

Emma    Thursday 03 March 2011 at 15:19

 Post #198 



 
Subject: The Fabulous Ms Scholz!

I am dashing to my computer to give my forum/blog readers some super-exciting news! Anna Scholz and her team are paying a special visit to our shop, and they are bringing their current range with them!

The date for this event is Saturday 7th May, on which day we will be open between 10am and 5.30pm (as usual), and our shop will have a different look... we will be stocked with the full Anna Scholz Spring/Summer 2011 range, and will be welcoming the cream of her sales team, who will advise us about the collection. More exciting still, during the hours between 2.00pm and 5.00pm we will be graced with the presence of Anna herself, who will be joining us for the afternoon!

The day promises to be a fantastic experience: we will have the Anna Scholz range in a width and depth that can be found nowhere else. Although we usually have a superb collection of Anna Scholz designs, we could never hope to cover the range in its entirety, so this is a wonderful opportunity. That this is happening during the best-ever collection is particularly exciting!

We will be offering refreshments, showing-off the clothes, and consulting with the designer herself. Our customers will have a unique opportunity to meet their favourite designer, hear her views and inspirations and give feedback. For anyone tempted by the gorgeous items, we will have our own dressmaker on hand to undertake alterations to ensure the clothes fit like a second skin.

For those who would like to register in advance, there will also be a superb prize draw, the winner walking away with £250 worth of Anna Scholz clothes!

Everyone is more than welcome to come along at any time during the day, but customers who would like to enter the prize draw should call 01273 327240, or contact us through our website. We will send you an entrance card... no purchase necessary!

I do hope you will be able to come... our special days are a fun, social way to enjoy a day in town, and this one promises to be the best yet!

 

 Vikki    Thursday 10 March 2011 at 15:28

 
This sounds great, I shall register to come along!

 

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 Wakefield    Tuesday 13 April 2010 at 20:34

 Post #130 



 
Subject: Fab Saturday

 
Just wanted to say thanks again for all your help on Saturday. Not only do I have some FAB new clothes to look forward to, but all my re-vamped and re-shaped old favourites to discover all over again too. I really can't think of ANY other shop that would offer to alter clothes bought 2 years ago!! Meeting Anna was the icing on the cake. Looking forward to seeing you again on Friday (but please don't let me try anything else on!)
Emma

 

 Emma    Tuesday 13 April 2010 at 22:41

Hi Emma

It was great to see you on Saturday. Congratulations on the weight loss... you look fabulous!

It's honestly a pleasure to make your lovely clothes fit you again. I hope you will get a lot more use out of them.

I was thrilled to have Anna Scholz in the store (here is a pic of you both together!)- and she was thrilled to hear what you said about her collection. It's lovely for designers to get feedback from their customers...
 

Elizabeth Shaw    Tuesday 30 March 2010 at 01:34

 Post #126 



 
Subject: wedding outfit for lady size 22 in wheel chair

 
Looking for mother of the groom outfit In a wheel chair
looking for trousers and a nice bright top and jacket with out looking like an American football player. As I will be sat in the chair the whole time. The trousers can not be too tight down leg due to tube. The wedding will be in June, i hope you can help by suggesting what to get and what to wear with it on my head Hats get in the way of the person pushing me. Thank you

 

 Emma    Tuesday 30 March 2010 at 12:15

Hi Elizabeth

Thank you so much for your enquiry, and congratulations on your happy event! You will be glad to know that you have come to the right place! We have many customers who use wheelchairs, so we always make sure to have just the right kind of outfits to suit their needs. The size you mention (size 22) is towards the smaller end of our sizes, and all our range is stocked in that size.

If you were thinking of visiting us by car, the good news is that (with your badge) you will be able to park right outside our store - and access into the front of the shop couldn’t be easier. We are an easy shop to navigate, and - should you require assistance in accessing anything at any time - our staff are experienced enough to give you all the help you need.

We have several ranges of beautiful, brightly coloured jackets at the moment - some plain, some patterned. I would hesitate to recommend a particular one to you without seeing you first - the choice is simply too great! From what you say about American football players I’m guessing that you have problems with wide shoulders (like most of us). The good news is that we have sourced a number of items with narrower and/or less padded shoulders. In any case, we usually ensure items are specially fitted to you, so the fit is perfect.

A perfect jacket for a wheelchair user should be soft, with some structure and shape, but not too nipped-in at the waist. It should be of a minimal-crease fabric, and the shape should not be too full. We have a great selection to choose from that meet these criteria.

When it comes to trousers, I have found that three particular aspects should be borne in mind. Firstly, it is best to have a slight 'stretch' fabric. I’m not talking about anything too stretchy and flimsy, but a good medium-weight fabric with enough stretch for them to keep their shape and fall well from the knee. Then I would select trousers with stretch at the waistband for comfort. I would also be looking for trousers that are not too narrow (this can be unflattering on the legs as you rightly observe), but not too wide and floaty (which can foul the wheels).

To match the outfits that we have in the store, we have a fantastic selection of 'fascinators'. These are like hats, but much easier to wear, as they fit to the head like a hairband (see picture). They are light, so do not disrupt one’s hairstyle, and are not too large - so will not get in anyone else’s way. Those we have selected have proportions that particularly suit larger women, and are in colours that go with our range. They have been very popular, so I feel sure you will be pleased when you get the chance to try one on.

I would urge that you try to come into the store as soon as you can. Even if you leave visiting us to later in the season we have so many items that there will always be something lovely for you, but some styles are already selling out. In order to get the pick of everything, it is a good idea to be the 'early bird'...
 

Emma    Monday 22 March 2010 at 23:21

 Post #125 



 
Subject: Fit for life

Many women I know tell me that they have items in their wardrobe which they like the look of, but for some mysterious reason never wear. Very often these are lovely clothes, in beautiful colours, fashionable styles and sumptuous fabrics, which they have owned for years. Yet every time they are put on, they are taken straight back off again.

There may be many reasons for this: the colour might not be correct for the owner’s skin tone, they may be too hot or too heavy to wear. Conversely, they may be too flimsy and revealing. Or the owner may be sensitive to the fabric and start to feel that tell-tale prickle on their skin as soon as the garment is slipped on.

However, the most common reason for ‘rejected garment syndrome’ is fit. Or perhaps I should say, lack of fit.

You know when something doesn’t fit you well. In a nutshell, you don’t feel good in it. It tends to accentuate your bad features, whilst not making the best of your sylph-like areas. You look larger, less chic, less graceful and less sassy when you are wearing an ill-fitting garment.

Bad fitting is probably the number-one problem in the large-size market today. In the past, just getting lovely clothes in our size range was the big issue, but now (if you are prepared to put in the leg-work), with the advent of so many fantastic new ranges, it is possible to find absolutely gorgeous clothes to suit any body shape and skin tone.

However, fit is a perennial problem. It is so difficult for most women to find clothing that really fits them well, it’s possible for them to get very frustrated. With all the advances made in our industry, why-oh-why can’t they simply get the fit right?

Regular readers of this blog will probably find themselves anticipating what I am going to say, which I fear is along the same lines as what I am always saying: this is a very complex subject because women are very diverse in their physicality. We are not all the same, and with larger women, our differences are exaggerated.

When you think about it, it's fairly obvious that it is not up to the manufacturer to produce garments that automatically fit all of us, all of the time. That's clearly never going to happen! With each of us being such a different size and shape, it is not possible. If a garment actually fits us straight off (and it happens to be something we like), then we are happy and lucky. Otherwise the item will have to be made to fit.

The best a really good designer collection can do is sort out its own fit, so that their customers know where they are. A collection like, for instance, the Irish company, Personal Choice, is very reliable with fit. I would call it ‘spot on’ for an average-height woman, who has a well-proportioned frame. This can be contrasted with, for example, the Italian collection, Elena Miro, which tends to be a little small for its size, especially on the bottom half. But once you know of the fit, you can tell what to expect and what size to seek out. The trick is not to get too hung up on the size as it is marked on the label. After all, if it fits, why would it matter if you take a larger size in this particular collection?

So say you have sorted out your size in one of these ranges. You may find that in a certain style, you take a Personal Choice size 26 skirt. That is to say, in order to get this skirt on, this is the size you will take. But does it actually fit?

What is a fit? Is there a regulation tightness or looseness that constitutes ‘fitting’? Where does the hang of the garment come into it? Do all parts of the garment have to fit the same? Do all fabrics need the same kind of fit? What are the aesthetic requirements of a fit, and are practical concerns a priority? What is the psychology of a good fit?

Fitting is an art, not a science. It takes patience, observation and an open mind. When it comes to fit, fixed ideas will not help the process of getting it right.

It’s good to start with practical issues, which do indeed take priority. When you are talking about the physical requirements of fit, it is important to think how the garment is expected to perform. For instance, with larger women there are particular issues with movement. When we bend or alter position, our bodies - which are softer and have a far more flexible shape - will need extra fabric or stretch to accommodate this. During movement, fabric can be drawn over our bodies to a greater degree. If, for example, a size 8 woman wearing a knee-length skirt sits down, her skirt may still be knee length. If, however, a size 30 woman wearing a knee-length skirt sits down, she may - to her alarm - find her skirt disappearing like a blind being pulled up. However good her legs look, this may well be the last time she chooses to wear a skirt this short, and she may find herself deciding to remain standing on the train all the way home!

Stretch fabrics react completely differently to static fabrics, and bias-cut garments have a different character - offering a different type of flexibility: so-called ‘mechanical stretch’. Thicker, more textured fabrics can often take a tighter fit than fine, shiny or clingy ones. A good fitter will automatically alter stretch and bias fabrics in different ways to other fabrics, and will always keep the look of different weights, textures and surface effects in mind.

But it is with the aesthetics of fit that things really start to get complicated. If I were to be simplistic about it, I would say that we are back to our old friends diversion and concealment. If there is one ‘problem’ area that we are particularly sensitive about, then the fabric should be slightly looser there. This means that the fabric can flow loosely, not describing the body shape too fully. If there is an area of the body that one is particularly pleased with, or is rather smaller than is proportional, this can have a slightly tighter cut of fabric, drawing the eye toward it, and revealing the shape in more detail.

Women with a firm, toned figure, and/or young women, may well have a different aesthetic. Self-confidence and a well-proportioned shape may do away with the need to disguise areas, and will lead a closer fit being sought.

For the rest of us, we rely on a little subterfuge. For example, I, as an apple shape, may want to have tops that are not too tight across the tummy. Yet I could go for a really close-fitting pair of trousers. But it is not as simple as just buying a large blouse and a smaller pair of trousers. If I bought a blouse large enough to flow effortlessly across my ample tummy, it would be too large on the bust and shoulders. And if I bought a trouser that was tight enough on my legs, I almost certainly would never be able to do it up around the waist. And I don’t want shapeless garments: even the areas of looseness should have a defined, feminine form.

This, in a nutshell, is why we do so many alterations in our store. In order to get the perfect look, and something that is practical and comfortable, we have to alter most garments to fit their individual owners perfectly.

So going back to your size 26 Personal Choice skirt... Does it actually fit you? Is the waist a little tight (the waistband may need some attention)? Are the hips somewhat wide? Would they benefit from shaping to fit your slightly narrower hips? Would the length be correct with the shoes you had in mind?

If you were buying this skirt from us, we would not want you to leave the store without having these issues attended to by our alteration service.

Some people are daunted by the idea of all these alterations, yet they can be the making of a garment, turning it into the wonderful wardrobe staple that you really look and feel fabulous in.

So it may be worth looking at that rejected garment in the wardrobe, and thinking about seeking out a good alteration service. It really could make all the difference...!

 

 Kim P    Thursday 25 March 2010 at 20:31

 
Hi Emma, we have become so used to accepting poor service and "it will do" clothing from other retailers that you are having to point out the benefits of wearing clothes that fit properly. Would seem obvious but I suspect a quick rummage through our wardrobes will suggest otherwise!

 

 Emma    Thursday 25 March 2010 at 23:23

 
Hi Kim

How right you are! The other thing that I think has happened is that we have forgotten that clothes are manufactured items which are supposed to be made to fit us, not the other way round!

When we as larger people find that clothes don't fit, we often blame ourselves, which is barmy if you think about it!

 

Emma    Monday 26 October 2009 at 01:08

 Post #85 



 
Subject: The journey

 
As many women reading this will already know, you don’t always go to a designer clothes shop just to buy some clothes. That’s the main purpose, of course; even with recent improvements in the high street brands, the independent store still remains the prime source of fashion.

You can simply go into a shop, quietly select the clothing of your choice, try it on in a peaceful environment, make the purchase, then just go home. There are many women who choose to do exactly this, and are very happy.

Most women, however, whether they know it or not, are actually using another service provided by this kind of store... the service of a skilled stylist.

What does a stylist do? Most of us have seen a certain type of fashion stylist at work on television. This kind of stylist will normally take a woman who has avowedly no interest in fashion (and, often, shocking taste) and do a makeover on her - seemingly turning her into a completely different person.

Often this changeling not only ends up looking different, but also ‘benefits’ from a complete emotional overhaul, usually (apparently) against her will. She ‘goes on a journey’... No region of her body is held sacrosanct from prying eyes, cameras and often hands, and all areas of her psyche, no matter how private (or apparently irrelevant), are probed. The all-knowing stylist will brook no opposition, and by the end of the programme the transformation is complete. It has to be said that the participant usually looks younger and much more stylish as a result of the process - but often more than a little shell-shocked and browbeaten.

It’s not for the fainthearted - and that’s just the viewers! I do enjoy these programmes, and I feel they fulfil a purpose. They give ideas and advice that we women can put into practice in our own lives.

The enjoyment is a rather guilty one, however. It’s a kind of fashion blood sport; a modern take on throwing Christians to the lions for public entertainment. The original woman, shown in all her bad fashion and 'old hag' hair, with 'mad woman' makeup and gnarley teeth, is cruelly exhibited for our titillation and disgust. The stylist is seen as the all-powerful force for good. And the transformation is magical.

This could not be further removed from the work of the stylist in her everyday life in a fashion store. For a start, the women who call on her advice and help are far from being fashion-challenged. They are usually the most stylish women in any given population. This is, after all, one of the locations where all the most fashionable women buy their clothes, although by no means are these the only people that frequent the fashion store. Most customers have a less maintained look than the diehard fashionista (and are real women who actually have a life, after all), but they don't have hag hair. And their makeup does not scare small children.

The customers of a designer store emphatically do not need a makeover... so why do they require the services of a stylist? These are women who know what suits them and get a lot of joy out of dressing well. By and large, if they could not find a stylist to help them, they would still look great.

However, there is no denying that a really good fashion stylist is a very useful tool in the important task of looking fabulous. She is the 'go-to' person when you are looking for something particular that you really can’t live without. (Need that little black dress for your pear-shaped figure? Or that pair of velvet trousers? Or the business suit for the important interview?) Even if it is not in stock anywhere, your friend in the store will move heaven and earth to obtain it for you.

Perhaps you just aren’t sure about something... does your bum look big in this pencil skirt? You know that she will subtly steer you clear of fashion faux pas.

She makes her living by being your secret weapon in outshining the thin girls in the office at the Christmas do - just when you were about to feel a bit intimidated about finding the right thing to wear.

She will also tirelessly dig through all the tops to find the one that goes with the skirt you love. And she will magic-up a colour that goes perfectly - and is on trend.

She has no other agenda than to make you look good. After all, if you look good, she looks good. Your psyche is none of her concern, and she will keep her hands and eyes off your private areas. She’s in your corner. She does not compete with you, judge you or browbeat you.

And the only journey she will expect you to go on is into the changing room for a jolly good trying on session...

 

 Liz Rylance    Monday 26 October 2009 at 09:18

Good morning Emma
I just had to respond to your comments on the 'stylist' Emma. Before I found your wonderful shop I wouldn't have been able to relate to this at all but for the last 15 or so years that has all changed. Whenever I come into Emma+ I KNOW that I am going to have a wonderful time both socially and as a shopping experience. You and Jaq find a fantastic selection of clothes for me to try on some of which are well outside my 'comfort zone' but thank goodness for that! Thanks to your knowledge I have worn so many more colours and styles - even - shock horror - a white linen long jacket (one of my absolute favourites)! Me? In white? Surely not? Oh yes, and it makes me feel fantastic :-)
So thank you both for opening up the world of fashion to me. Long may you reign!
 

 Emma    Monday 26 October 2009 at 09:36

 
Hi Liz

Thank you so much for your kind comments. When I referred to stylish women who get joy out of looking good you were just the kind of woman I was talking about!

 

 Lara in Melbourne    Friday 30 October 2009 at 15:13

 
Hi again from the antipodes.

Emma, Jaq; please consider a relocation. The weather's lovely :) Sitting in the lounge with the aircon charged, and it's only October. Time to get the lighter gear out for comfort.

Reading your discussions on stylists was intriguing; I'm bordering on a career change, and a land purchase (with a view to dropping a house on the block at some stage; all too scary to deal with :) )

It's makeover time. I need to drag myself out of the "special pieces are for special times" mindset that my current job, working from home, has allowed me to slip into (well, and that I've allowed myself to fall into), and get back to "I want to look fabulous every day!"

Odd how the prospect of additional money makes me want to present myself at my best, when at the moment I'm prepared to have only one or two "special" pieces which are brought out only for "good". Why should I not feel "good", every day?

To be honest, I have no idea why I've let myself bumble my way into only owning one or maybe, at a push, two outfits I'd be pleased to be seen in in public. The rest are "acceptable", or "not embarrassed" to be seen in. Not a great start. I need to be more brave, and ditch the stuff which makes me feel less than fabulous. I need to make the effort. For me.

I'm looking forward to the transformation my change in circumstances and responsibilities will bring. I've started with the basics: nails and hair. Next is a full rework of my makeup. After that, it's time for the "real world" clothes . And then I can adjust the hair, nails and makeup to match the package. I can't wait :)

Wishing I was in the UK, because I know exactly where I would be spending my next Saturday. Hell, I'd bring the bottle of bubbles for effect.

Best wishes, and hoping everything is running smoothly,
Lara

 

 Emma    Saturday 31 October 2009 at 15:53

 
Hi Lara

Thank you so much for your post. I don’t know whether you realise this, but to the reader what you have written comes over as very inspirational!

All the time I see women in similar positions to the one you describe. This is often what brings a customer into our store for the first time.

There is sometimes a moment in life when things start to move forward and change, and you realise that you have the opportunity to shape the kind of person you are going to be in the years ahead. To use an Aussie analogy, it’s a wave that has come along, and you can choose to catch it and ride it for a while.

These are really precious moments - and can be the source from which a lot of different opportunities spring. If your instinct is to develop an aspect of yourself, then I would definitely go for it.

Fifteen years ago I was made redundant from a job I loved. I had little money, and the economy was tanking. For some unknown reason, instead of being depressed I felt liberated. I took over the shop and reinvented myself into the kind of person that I am most happy with.

It was a scary time, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me.

I wish you the very best, and I hope that you move forward towards where you want to be. I only wish I was there to see it...

 

clare    Friday 19 June 2009 at 16:31

 Post #58 



 
Subject: So happy with the alterations!

 
Hi Emma and ladies at Emma Plus

Just wanted to say thank you for the cream top that I received last week. What a difference alterations make. It is now like it was made for me. I have already received two compliments this morning on my outfit. I am wearing it with my cobalt blue trousers also from Emma Plus.

Looking forward to my next trip down to Emma Plus.

Clare

 

 Emma    Friday 19 June 2009 at 16:56

 
Hi Clare

Thanks so much for your comments - I'm glad you were happy with your alterations!

The only thing missing from your post is a lovely photo of you wearing the items...!

 

Christina    Saturday 28 March 2009 at 18:45

 Post #22 



 
Subject: Young, Short and Curvy

 
Hi there,

I found your site some time early last year and always tried to make it down to Brighton, but I have never managed it. I think part of the reason is that I am afraid I will not find anything that I like. I am 33 years old, short (5 ft 1) and very curvy - size 18, big boobs, defined waist. I always struggle in stores that cater specifically for plus size because the clothes are too long and not really suitable for someone in their 30's as the styles are more for older women.

Can you recommend any items from your collections for a young and modern girl? I would also LOVE to wear jeans. I only tend to wear them when I have lost weight, but rather than hold off for weight loss again, I would love to find some nice, flattering, comfortable jeans for my short legs and big bum - any suggestions?

Many thanks
Christina

 

 Emma    Monday 30 March 2009 at 23:02

 
Hi Christina

Thank you for your post. I totally understand your predicament, and get behind where you’re coming from!

I think that you are suffering from several disadvantages. One is that really beautiful clothes in larger sizes do tend to be geared more towards women in their late thirties and upward, and the another is that many larger-sized clothes are designed for taller women.

Your problem is compounded by the fact that you are curvy, by which I mean that you have the kind of shape that really benefits from fitted clothes, rather than drapy ones.

Many companies that sell mail order specialise in more drapy styles, which are easier to fit a wide range of women, so minimising returns. To be honest, though, even if you were able to buy fitted styles by mail order, they would probably not fit you properly. This is because you would need to get the correct waist-to-hip ratio in the right place - not a particularly easy thing to do when you have to make your choice by looking at photographs of the clothes on six-foot tall, straight up and down models!

What really annoys me about your situation is it is not as if you are alone! The average size of a British woman is 16 (not a million miles from your size), and the average height is 5’4” - closer, in fact, to your height than it is to the aforesaid 6’ model. There are literally millions of women like you!

We have many customers who are in your predicament, although you may be a little small for us. We tend to specialise in size 20 or above - we do some 18s, but the selection is not so great. It’s true that we do have many middle-aged and older customers, but we also regularly have women in your age group, and younger, shopping with us.

The most important thing that we do is to offer an alteration service. This means that when you have selected the clothes that you want, we will fit them to your shape, and then send them on to you. This service is usually completely free.

I know that in the beginning some women don’t really want to have clothes altered. I can understand this. If it were possible to walk out of the shop with all your gorgeous clothes straight away, we would all wish to do it. Also, the first time that you have this done there is always an element of concern. What is involved in the alteration process - will it really work…?

However, after having clothes altered to fit their shape most women are completely hooked, and it’s one of the major reasons why women travel miles and miles to come to us.

I think that over a period of time you will come to find a selection of ranges that will suit your personality and body shape. The obvious choice for you would be Anna Scholz. Her look is young and sassy, and it is also fitted and sexy. It’s not cheap, though, and it will almost certainly need alterations (Anna Scholz herself is about 6’2”, and some of her clothes are long). Virtually every week that we have Anna Scholz items in stock we sell one to a curvy woman, and alter it to fit properly. This is how our seamstress earns her living!

When it comes to jeans, I would just find a pair that you like the look of, and get us to alter them so that you really like the fit. Then wear them every day until you get another pair altered for you, because when you have a pair of jeans fitted to you, you will not want to wear any other jeans.

I would always suggest that you - and women like you (i.e. young women who want plenty of choice) - should come in early in the season if you are able. Right now is a good time, and for the winter season, September/October is also good. What people don’t realise about small shops like ours is that we tend to get most of our collection in all at one time, and as the season goes by it sells through. This leaves a much-diminished choice later in the season. If independent designer clothes retailing were a game, the object of the game would be to sell everything before the end of July, and have a completely empty shop just before the winter season’s stock was delivered! Obviously this doesn’t happen, but the choice in July cannot be compared with the choice right now.

 
 

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