Kitty Morris

KittyRamblesALot

Plus size blogger, fashion photographer, cat lady and wife.

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Introducing SmartGlamour

SmartGlamour is a brand I’ve had my eye on for a long time. Created by NYC based designer Mallorie Dunn, they sell their totally customisable handmade range in sizes XXS to 6XL, which is the equivalent of a 63 inch hip. Inclusive and fantastic to say the least! They’ve always used diverse models; I’ve seen blind babes, size 30s, plus size women with big bellies, plenty of women of colour, and all the ages you can imagine, but their newest campaign really caught my eye. It uses only non-binary, trans and gender-fluid models, whose bodies fall right across their size range. It made me love the brand even more and I had to get in touch with Mallorie to learn more about SmartGlamour.

Where did SmartGlamour start, and what was your inspiration for it?

SmartGlamour launched on February 22nd of 2014 – we are coming up on our 3rd birthday and 4th year of business. We started, and still are based, in Queens, NYC. I started the brand for a number of reasons. I’ve always been interested in fashion – I studied it in high school and then went on to get a fashion design degree from FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in 2007. After getting a bachelors in Art + Design Education (as a back up plan – focused on teaching design) I went back into the fashion world and worked in corporate fashion design for a little over 2 years. I really disliked it – I was unsatisfied by the lack of creativity (everything is watered down copies of other designs), the ethics (everything is made as cheaply as possible overseas in China and India and we constantly accepted poorly made items because of the size of the order), and the high stress environment.

I spent a year freelancing after that – and had emotional and creative energy to think about how I could make my dream happen of starting my own company. Through many conversations with friends and loved ones – it was brought to my attention that I was super passionate about women + femme’s self esteem issues – and also the fit of clothing, and how that affects our self esteem. This is something I’ve always cared about – but when you are younger, it is more difficult to pin point your activism. In high school – I had to produce a collection, and unintentionally – I cast friends of mine who were all different shapes, sizes, and skin tones to model. Even before coming up with SmartGlamour – I knew I would never make clothing and only offer it to a small percentage of the population – what would be the point?

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I didn’t know body positivity was a “thing”, a movement, a culture, a community – or about to become an even bigger “thing” – when I started the company. I actually didn’t even know the word for it. I just knew – we are being misrepresented, that leaves people out and leaves people feeling less than. On top of that – people don’t have access to well fitting clothing, and they place the blame on their bodies instead of the clothing. What if I aimed to fix those two main issues? So I crowd funded the very first collection and runway show and then took off running from there.

Can you tell us a little something about yourself and who you are?

I am a 29 year old, straight size, cis woman who lives in NYC. I’m married, have two dogs, and have been a feminist killjoy since my older sister taught me what feminism was. If I wasn’t a designer – I’d be a teacher. And I was voted Best Dressed and Most Likely to Succeed in 10th grade. I’ve been told that I am intimidating by boys and men my entire life – and I’ve learned to subvert that by this point. I believe in creating community and standing up for injustice – and I think we can use art (and fashion) as a great way to do so.

Did you start the brand knowing you wanted to showcase different body types, or did that come later?

Oops – kind of already went into that! That was from day one. Without the main concepts of body positivity – SmartGlamour would not exist at all.

Your most recent campaign, #AllMeansAll is so wonderful, how did you come to make the decision to exclusively use trans, non-binary and gender fluid models?

Since SmartGlamour is so, so much more than clothing – we release campaigns in between our collections that focus on specific aspects of our message. (#ImFlattered, #AllBodiesAreGoodBodies, #FitForEveryBody, #SameSizeDifferentEyes, etc) I knew that this year was going to be a tough one – politically – and therefore personally for a lot of people. I knew marginalized people were going to get the brunt of it – so I knew that I would need to be even louder this year in my support. We have always cast models of every sexual orientation as well as gender identity – but different from characteristics like size and skin color, your gender identity is very often not visible to the casual observer. And I never wanted anyone to feel as if they were being exploited for their differences so we never called attention to gender. However – as with size – the best way to show that your products or clothing are for all people – is by putting all people in your products. I decided it was important to discuss how clothing is not gendered – society has assigned gender to clothing – and anyone can wear whatever they like, regardless.

My assistant is non binary – so I ran the idea past her and she loved it. She cast the majority of the models, and I cast the rest with the help of a friend who worked at the Anti Violence Project. I had my assistant, Nikki Padula, look over everything I was putting out there to make sure I was truly representing the LGBTQ community accurately – as someone who is not a part of it personally – but is a strong ally.

How do you find your models? You’ve used so many different people, it’s truly inclusive which is so rare.

The majority of my models are found through social media castings. There are also a few that are my personal friends, and then also friends of friends. Unfortunately – because of our society and because of most brands not actually meaning All when they say All – it is still sometimes difficult to get older people, people above a size 24, people over 40 years old, people with disabilities, etc – to apply to the castings. I don’t blame them for being skeptical! So I sometimes have to seek those individuals out purposefully – whether that is through social media – or through friends. We just held casting for our Spring shoot and runway show which will be in February and I truly, truly hope that more and more diverse groups of people apply of their own accord in future castings!

What is body confidence to you?

Body confidence to me – is firstly – not the same as body positivity. You don’t need to be body confident all the time in order to be body positive. Body positivity, to me, is the idea that even as your body ebbs and flows, and your opinion of it does as well – it does not change your self confidence, worth, talents, knowledge, or personality. Our bodies are just our packaging – what is inside that counts. But I think that practicing body positivity leads to more and more body confidence. The more you learn to see the beauty in others, the easier it is to see in yourself. And the less importance you give it – the easier it will arrive.

Your anti-airbrushing and photoshop stance is something I’d love to see more of in the fashion industry, how have you found it has affected SmartGlamour? Often brands claim they have to photoshop, or use typical fashion models or else their sales suffer.

Our models, in general – and then their expressions, “un-airbrushed-ness”, glasses, and disabilities are the things we get emails complimenting us on the most. Second is our size range, third is our customizations, fourth is the ethical production model we stand by. People want to see someone they can relate to. And they want to see someone who is just glowing and radiating with true, honest confidence from within. I’d say about 75% of my models have not modeled for anyone before SmartGlamour, and most don’t model for anyone else after (but we always invite back models who are reliable, personable, and who love our message) – about 15% model for a few other indie brands, and about only 5-10% have modeling as any kind of profession of theirs.

As a huge fan of the bralette, I love the diversity of your models wearing them. Seeing plus size babes with large chests in bralettes is so refreshing! What made you decide to include them in your range?

Well – there just was never a question. Once I decided to make bralettes – I knew they had to be for everyone. There is this overwhelming idea in the fashion industry that women’s chests need to look a certain way – sit a certain way, not hang, be symmetrical etc! It is what drives us all to wear incredibly uncomfortable underwire bras everyday. And if you truly, honestly love your bra – that’s great. But a lot of women can’t wait to take them off – so why not be comfortable, and embrace the natural shape of your body as it is without molding. I truly think breast shape is one of the last bopo ideas to be tackled.

I am a straight size woman, with a large – but not very large – cup size (an E) – and I can’t find a bralette in my size. I can buy the largest one and make do – but my chest always ends up falling out of the cups – or the band is too big. So I set out to fix that. I also hear a lot of complaints from plus size babes with small cup sizes – that their size just isn’t even being created. And then always, always from babes with large cup sizes – that bralettes just stop existing past a certain point.

So SG bralettes from in band size 28-60, and cup size A-II. And then, as per usual, everything is customizable – so honestly anyone can order one, even if those band and cup sizes don’t fit yours. But remember! All size charts and sizes are created differently from brand to brand – so check size charts, and measure yourself!

You offer everything from skirts and dresses, to swim wear and even affordable wedding dresses, what’s your all time favourite design?

Ah! I don’t know if I have one favorite. I wear SmartGlamour everyday, and the pieces I wear most are: Jackie Pants, Rose Tops, Allison Pencil Skirts, Ashton Tees, Sylvia Tops, Stefanie Tops, Micah Dresses, Arianna Tops + Dresses. And I think my favorite dressy piece is my DeWitt Lace Dress – its dramatic and sexy but super comfortable!

Who would you love to see in your designs?

Everyone. Anyone. All people.
I love seeing body positive babes wearing SG – Jes Baker and Whitney Way Thore both own some. I’d love to see Virgie Tovar, Roxane Gay, Mary Lambert, and Substantia Jones in some as well!

And finally, what’s next for SmartGlamour?

We will be releasing our Spring collection on February 17th – which will be followed by either a campaign, or a mini collection (like Valentine’s Day, Loungewear, Bridal, etc). And hopefully we will be back on the road hosting pop ups again this Spring and into Summer!

Brands could really stand to learn a thing or two from SmartGlamour. Diversity isn’t about tokenism, but is about true inclusivity, which this indy brand shows is genuinely possible. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what comes next!

All Photos Copyright SmartGlamour

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Plus Size Babes Rocking Work Wear

There are many challenges that plus size bodies face when it comes to fashion. The latest trends can seem just out of reach, and even the basics can be a problem when they all come with cold shoulders! One of the problems we can face daily is finding clothes we like (and that fit properly), that are suitable for work or office wear. In an ideal world, we could all wear whatever we want because clothes don’t affect your an ability to do your job, but sadly that isn’t so. If you’re anything like me, you want to feel chic but still maintain the level of professionalism that is expected in certain environments. I wanted to share some plus size bodies in work wear looks to hopefully send some inspiration your way!

Exhibition Ready!! #worktrip

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Em puts cobalt blue and black together which is a fab way to bring colour into your work wear. Everyone looks good in cobalt blue! Pointy flats with black trousers make this look more on trend whilst still being great for work.

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Stephanie shows that a cute tea dress and opaque tights is an easy way to be on trend but still fit that ‘office’ look. The ankle boots are such a good addition to this outfit.

A pinafore dress with a crisp white shirt is such a classic look for a reason, Natalie gives her monochrome look a little something extra with brown ankle boots.

Fashion Status Update – 22/09/2016 🏊Day 778🏊 Outfit: black @dorothyperkins ballet pumps, black textured @georgeatasda midi skirt, burgundy off shoulder @asos tee and black longline @newlookfashion sleeveless jacket. Accessories: black Bauble by @specsavers frames, silver hoop earrings and @johnnylovesrosieofficial floral watch. Cosmetics: @barrymcosmetics Golden Sands nail polish. @muji_global eyeshadow in pale pink, violet, lilac and pearl, @cliniqueuk High Impactl Mascara in black, Wonder Honey coral blush and @benefitcosmeticsuk Benebalm tinted lip balm. Fragrance: @ritualscosmeticsuk The Ritual of Dao Shower Foam Hair: loose and straight. #psootd #ootd #wearethethey #effyourbodystandards #effyourbeautystandards #iamsimplybeautiful #plusisequal #plussizehottie #plussizefashion #wearepowerful #lovemybody #lovemyself #lovemycurves #hottie #bigandblunt #bebodyaware #bodypositive #selfiequeen #selfiesforselflove #blonde #girlswhowearglasses #stylehasnosize #keeptheplus #beautyisnotgeneric #prettyandplus #whatfatgirlsACTUALLYwear #wewearwhatwewant #celebratemysize #iamallwoman

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A pencil skirt is a work wear classic for good reason. They always look great and can be worn so many different ways. Geri wears hers with flats and a cute sleeveless blazer. You hardly ever see flats with pencil skirts, but they are so much more comfortable than heels for a 9-5!

Summer brings with it the struggle to keep cool, whilst also sticking to a dress code. Nancy looks incredible in this maxi length shirt dress, the fit of it looks nice and airy for those hot days.

A Peter Pan collar can make any outfit feel a bit fancier whilst also being good for work. I love this simple swing dress on Isha, without the collar it might not quite feel ‘officey’, but with it it definitely is. You can buy Peter Pan collars and necklaces these days too, in all kinds of fancy designs and materials, so you can add them to any outfit you like.

Wrap over styles work for work in both shirts and dresses, it’s also an awesome way to bring brighter prints and funky colours into your wardrobe for work like Sharon does here.

Blazers have been having a real moment in plus size fashion, Charli shows off this androgynous look that is so sharp and contemporary.

Work wear doesn’t have to be all blacks and dark colours, Chloe looks sublime in this super bright green and pink combo! Don’t be afraid to bring colour into your work wear if that’s what you love.

You can't blame a gal for being sleepy on another grey day.

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Amber looks so effortlessly fashionable in this sheer polka dot shirt, the blue bag and burgundy shoes are such a lush touch to brighten the outfit up!

Acceptable in the 80's 🎱 new post on the blog (link in bio)

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While Stephanie might be wearing this jumpsuit with trainers here, she’s worn it without the belt and smarter heels for work too. A jumpsuit can be a really good option for work, and it’s easy to change it to a night time or more casual look with a few quick changes! Versatility in your wardrobe with pieces you can wear for work, and outside of work, make investing in more expensive pieces much more worthwhile and affordable.

Who doesn’t love a red head in green? Em shows that you can rock your curves at the office in a wiggle dress and still look like you’ve walked off the cat walk if that’s your thing.

I love me some animal print and mesh, so this was my way of doing work wear in a way that still felt like ‘me’. It’s important to try and keep your identity if you can, even when bound by guidelines and restrictions. You better believe I really do wear my biker boots with everything!

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The Plus Size Trend That Needs To End

In the plus size fashion world, it often feels like we are begging for trends to come over into our clothes that straight size brands are all over. We get them late, if we get them at all. Right now I’m hoping to see more pleated midi skirts in plus sizes, because they are adorable and seem readily available in straight sizes! However, there is a trend that plus size babes dread, a trend that needs to end, a trend so bizarre and inexplicable that it has caused me to utter expletives on many an occasion, a trend that has been around for years that seems to be infinite. That trend is… cold shoulders.

cold shoulder

Cold shoulders seem to be almost exclusively a plus size trend. They make odd appearances in straight size fashion more recently, but usually in items it works with, like a dress with harness elements and other cut outs. If you don’t know what cold shoulders are, they are cut outs specifically on the shoulder area of an item. They seem to crop up in everything from dresses to shirts, and even jumpers and polo necks with long sleeves. Go to any plus size retailer and you are bound to be able to spy at least a good handful of cold shoulders. In fact, my Nanny and I play a ‘cold shoulder bingo’ game on certain retailer’s websites… because it’s so hard to find something without them in!

I’m with Michaela, it’s like watching Gretchen Weiner try to make ‘fetch’ happen, and we’re all Regina George telling her no.

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It’s so unusual for a trend to be a plus size specific trend, and to be so totally dominant across every retailer. However, the problem with this trend is that it has gone too far. It seems almost daily that I see plus size bloggers calling for an end to the cold shoulder trend, lamenting the distress at finding yet another cute dress that has weird missing shoulder sections. Spend 5 minutes on twitter following plus size babes and you’ll soon see how very over this trend we are. Yet we keeping getting more and more cold shoulders shoved onto us, and we just don’t get it!

Here at She Might Be we have a theory that somewhere along the way plus size retailers decided that a cold shoulder design was ‘flattering’ and made our shoulders look smaller. By suddenly chopping material out, interrupting patterns and lines in fabric, our shoulders will magically no longer exist and we’ll look thin, finally! Except that’s not how it works. We don’t give a damn about flattering at SMB, and instead we’d rather our shoulders be warm in the depths of winter, not left to shiver away in thick jumpers with cut out shoulders. Upper arms are an area many a plus size folk struggle to embrace, so it seems unusual that so many places want to accentuate them with cut outs. Maybe shoulders are an ‘acceptable’ area of flesh for fat people to flash, it’s not too sexy, it’s not figure hugging, so exposing our shoulders is something society decided is A-OK! Our shoulders can’t really be ‘fat’, so we’re allowed to get them out.

Maybe retailers are worried that we all have really warm shoulders and need to release all of our baffling shoulder heat through the missing sections of fabric as some sort of arm ventilation shaft. Or maybe as SBM fave Murderofgoths suggests, we all have spiky shoulders that need to be freed!

There are so many clothes I’d have bought recently, if only they didn’t have cold shoulders. There are lush dresses just ruined by missing shoulders, I’ve even seen work shirts with oddly shaped cut outs that really don’t fit the shape of the garment! I spent far too long trying to find jumpers and long sleeve t-shirts that didn’t have them so I could stay warm this winter. I don’t want literally cold shoulders, I want them to actually be warm in winter.

There’s a time and a place for shoulder cut outs, it can look lovely! Generally it works better when it’s more of a split, than a random cut out, because the unnatural cut out can make clothes lie funny. Take this LovedRobe dress, the split in the arms is a really lovely touch that doesn’t detract from the overall shape of the dress. It works great here! It just doesn’t need to be in every single thing.

cold shoulder

So plus size retailers please, listen to your customers and calm it with the cold shoulders. It’s only a little bit of material, but we’d like it back please.

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Our Favourite Outfits of 2016

I have seen so many plus size babes just absolutely killing it this year in the fashion stakes. I’ve seen so many stunning outfits that have inspired me, and so many different fatshion choices that push boundaries and break all those fashion rules we say screw you to. I asked some of my blogger faves to show with us their favourite outfits of 2016 and why.

Naomi says ‘My fave out of all of my outfits of 2016 by far. Mainly because it’s from a brand I’d never usually look twice at. It’s a Lindy Bop dress and usually I hate 50’s vintagey pin up type style but when I got this dress I just fell in love with it and it’s encouraged me to try more things that I usually wouldn’t bother with. It’s just perfection and it just goes to show that you don’t need to spend a fortune to look and feel amazing I think it was less than £30. It just makes me feel amazing’. She looks so fantastic in these monochrome stripes, we just wish Lindy Bop would expand their size range already!

A red dress makes such a good change to a LBD, and Isha looks lush, ‘I love this dress because it’s simple but can be easily dressed up to really pack a punch. I’m also in love with red so that also helps.’

‘I think it is a great dress by A Rose Like This so supports small businesses and I look good’. We at She Might Be are so with Victoria on this one, gotta love featuring those plus size indy brands in our outfits!

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Alysse struggled to pick her faveourite, so even asked for input on twitter, ultimately she ‘picked this outfit as my favorite of 2016 not only because it’s so reflective of my personal style (bold, bright and in-your-face) but it’s something I actually wouldn’t have picked for myself because of the color and high neckline. My ability to rock anything and everything and make it my own is one of my favorite things about myself!’

I'm loving my winter wardrobe this year!

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This Christmas and leopard print look from Sophie is so cute, here’s what she had to say about it ‘I love that it’s so undeniably ‘me’. The luxury of the faux fur, the corny Christmas dress and the smart boots (which were so comfy and they FIT MY CALVES which is a Christmas miracle) and I liked the big hair that day too 😀 I felt sassy!’

Kathryn says ‘I loved this one, I felt so comfortable in my own skin’, I just love those tights with dungarees.

‘It’s my fave because I was wearing the most comfortable winter transitional outfit, I think I looked fantastic, it made it onto Refinery29 Fashion’s Instagram as well as Asos Curve’s Instagram and it was the first shoot I did with my incredible photographer Kaye Ford. Look out for many more fantastic shots from Kaye and I in 2017’. This look, this photo, Chloe is fire and I love it!

That Katt sent me a picture of her in her undies made me so happy! ‘I love this because I love my thunder thighs being show off, my butt looks AMAZING and how cute are those back rolls? Also, it’s my zombie pants from Nicky Rockets’ and we have to agree that her butt looks awesome.

Becky loved this dress because her husband bought her it unprompted, he clearly has fantastic taste because this dress is killer. That print!

Nikki sent me a really cute and casual outfit that is so comfy – outfits like this are adorable, ‘I love this outfit as I spend most of my time in dresses but I rediscovered my love for jeans this year!’

Donna simply says ‘this made me feel good’, which is always a wonderful thing. She looks fantastic in this polka dot mesh.

Charli looks so lovely in this white outfit, here’s how important this look was to her ‘this is my favourite outfit, possibly because it’s the first time I’d felt chic and confident and bouncy and happy after all the surgeries at the end of 2015. I think it’s reflected in the fact that this is one of the first photos I had with my crutch on show … also, I think I’m proving that fat girls can wear white outfits!’

Throwback to this gorgeous getup by @gatsbylady #vintage #1920s #sequins #deco #psblogger

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This flapper look from Bailey is just so good! ‘I love this dress because it feels luxurious on. I first put it on and just felt amazing. Definitely need some more of these frocks.’

‘I was out of my comfort zone. It made me feel brave and empowered during a difficult time in my life.’ That an outfit could have such an impact on Hanna is so powerful.

I absolutely adore this @boohoo plus size dress, GUESS how much it was.

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Kellie’s curves are everything in this dress! But it wasn’t such an easy mission to look so good, ‘This dress was for a red carpet event. It’s not always simple when you are a size 18 plus to find a red carpet dress that you don’t have to sell your car to afford. This was £29.99 and fits like a dream. Boohoo has a terrible reputation for delivery and I had to really push the customer service team as it went missing for a while but when the dress arrived, it was worth the stress. Cheap, fits well and looks good. LIVING THE DRESS DREAM.’

Natalie had trouble choosing her favourite outfit which made me so happy! So I picked my personal fave from the links she sent me instead. That she had so many looks she loved this year is kick ass!

‘I finally got into sports luxe this year, it’s another way I can mix up classic and contemporary styles and it allows me to show off my love for fancy trainers and decadent fabrics!’, love this unique look from Nancy and we definitely want to try and work some sports luxe into some of our outfits in 2017!

Kate actually sent me a photo I took which is so neat! ‘I love this Anna Scholz dress, it always looks amazing and I just felt so special in it at the Curve Fashion Festival. I also bumped into Anna Scholz and she said “you’re wearing my dress”’

Steph has been absolutely on fire this year, so I was so excited to see what she picked! ‘I love this outfit as I had a lot of fun putting the look together. normally I don’t really tend to *think* about how an outfit would go together – i just chuck stuff on and hope for the best, but with a piece such as the palazzo pants, I had a lot of fun trying on different tops, outerwear and clothing textures to see what would look best. I also think it’s a v v strong look!’. We totally agree!

And finally, my favourite outfit of 2016. This was an easy choice, my wedding dress. I got to marry my best friend, and I did it in a dress I never thought I’d have the guts to wear, inspired by the Guns n Roses music video for November Rain. I got my fat knees and my thick thighs out on my wedding day, and I felt more beautiful than I ever had before.

Here’s to an amazing 2017!

 

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Ashley Graham Is No Role Model Of Mine

Ashley Graham was everywhere in 2016. From the cover of Sports Illustrated, to America’s Next Top Model judge and so much more, she is so hot right now. She’s a girl with curves who loves to show them off…but she isn’t my role model. She may be curvier than the average fashion model, but Ashley isn’t an icon for the plus size community, and here’s why.

ashley graham

Ashley Graham has called for an end to the term ‘plus size’, she doesn’t want to be labelled and just wants to be called a ‘model’. At a UK size 14/16, Ashley is on the smallest end of the plus size spectrum. She can pop into pretty much any store she likes, knowing she’ll fit into something they sell, without having to look for a plus size section. This isn’t reality for most plus size bodies. We can’t go into any store we want and buy clothing in any part of the store. We need the label plus size so that we can find clothes that actually fit us. Without the term plus size we can’t shop. It would be total guess work in every shop as to whether or not they even sold anything that fitted us! Ashley has the privilege of being a very small fat that can shop anywhere, most of us do not.

Ashley Graham would rather use the term ‘curvysexylicious’ than plus size. The level of ridiculous in this one is strong. Being plus size and curvy are not mutually exclusive, being sexy and plus size are not intertwined. We need to stop focusing on making plus size bodies sexual, bodies are not inherently sexual.  I am plus sized, but I would never call myself curvy, that’s not my body shape. Some plus size bodies are curvy and hourglass shaped, but it isn’t all of us. Suggesting the term ‘curvysexylicious’ instead of plus size is like my suggesting we switch and call ourselves ‘Lumpy Space Princess’ shaped, because that’s more my shape and aesthetic. Plus size covers all bodies over a size 16, curvy does not. Focusing on plus size bodies as a sexual commodity is so problematic. Plus size bodies belong to every type of person and being seen as sexual isn’t what we want, we just want to be treated with respect like everyone else. Our self-worth should not be tied into our appearance as a sexual being to others.

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ashley graham

As a plus size woman, Ashley Graham has a huge amount of privilege. She is a small fat, she is hourglass shaped, she has a flat stomach, she is white, she is conventionally attractive, she is straight. And she doesn’t tend to acknowledge any of this. Many of her interviews focus on how hard her modelling career has been because she is curvy, yet she has been in Vogue and is a darling of the catwalk. There are incredible plus size models out there who have had to fight so much harder to be seen and to be respected. Ashley Graham isn’t something new pushing the boundaries of society’s conventions, instead she has just pushed them a teeny bit by being a curvy body that still very much fits in with what society tells us is acceptable.

If Ashley Graham doesn’t want to be a plus size role model, let’s stop holding her up as one. Instead let’s celebrate the hard working models out there who love and embrace the plus size label, and speak out for body positivity in an inclusive way, not just in a way that includes them.

olivia campbellolivia campbell Olivia Campbell by Darnell Temenu

Let’s celebrate Olivia Campbell, who celebrates her thick thighs and plus size body. Let’s share her message of self love and her embracing of our community. Let’s celebrate brands like Ready to Stare who use real plus size bodies in their fashion photo shoots and show us dimpled and big bellied and beautiful. If Ashley Graham doesn’t want to be a plus size model, let’s stop applauding when she takes jobs from proud plus size models and encourage brands to use those models instead!

Ready to StareA Ready to Stare Collab Collection With Proud Mary
Photography by Stevie Anderson
Hair by Eileen Noda
Makeup by Tifani Blakely
Styling by Jessica Hinkle & Alysse Dalessandro
Modeled by Alexandra Villalba & Megan Kimberling

Ashley Graham is no role model of mine, and I would ask you to consider whether she is the role model you want or deserve.

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My Colourpop Lip Obsession

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So the first thing I have to admit is that I am not your traditional beauty blogger. I love makeup, I just suck at it. The extent of my makeup skills is limited to just very basic eye makeup and a bright lip, it’s my signature look… because I can’t do anything else! I might be terrible at makeup, but I do know a good cruelty free brand when I find one, and my newest obsession is Coloupop’s lip products.

Colourpop are a US based brand, who only sell direct from their website, so getting them to the UK does involve custom fees, but considering the price of the products, the fees have been really reasonable. Colourpop are a budget beauty brand, their lip products retail from $4 to $6 for singles, and they also sell their lip products in value bundles too. They also sell eye and cheek products, I haven’t tried any of those yet, so I’m just here to tell you about the lip goodies today.

In terms of customs fees, you will get them. Currently they offer free UK shipping on orders over $50, and on an order of that size you’ll get around £15 in customs fees. I’ve placed one huge order of over $130 and the fees on that were about £32, so it made it cheaper to buy in bulk. All the women in my family went in together on that one!  There are different boundaries that apply for customs fees, and you can read all about the specifics on the Royal Mail website. They ship through USPS, so Royal Mail deliver it once it gets into the UK. I usually find it takes about 3-5 days for my order to ship, and about 2- 3 weeks total to have it in my hands after paying the fees.

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They have a mixture of different types of lip products, the lippie stix are their versions of traditional lipsticks, matte and satin liquid lipsticks, metallic liquid lips, lip liners and glosses. I’ve tried everything but the lip liners and the glosses. Glosses just aren’t my thing and I’ve been so overly excited by all the different lip products that lip liners were low on my priority list.

The lippie stix comes in different formulas, including matte, matte X, sheer, glossy, crème and pearlised. I am totally obsessed with these –  the matte and matte X formulas are my favourites. While they are both matte, the matte X is more of a velvety finish and it is divine!  They are really comfortable and soft to wear, and for a regular lipstick are very long lasting. They have a huge range of colours in these and I treat them like Pokemon, gotta buy them all!

lippie-stix-swatches

The satin and matte liquid lipsticks are the real Colourpop classics. Once you have these on, unless you eat oily food, they are not going to budge! I’ve found the colour range to be really consistent, often the really dark colours, especially purples, can be really lacklustre in matte liquid lips, but these are fantastic across the whole colour range. I can’t tell much of a difference between the satin and the matte finishes, but I know some people find the satins more comfortable for regular wear. These are my go-to products for a night out, because I know I don’t need to worry about them wearing off until that late night trip to the local pizza place before we go home. These are kiss and touch proof, and will need an oil based remover to actually get them off your lips. I have to admit I’ve used whatever cooking oil I’ve got in the kitchen to get them off when I’ve run out of my actual oil based makeup remover…

liquid-lip-swatches

The newest products I’ve tried out are the metallic liquid lipsticks. I’ve tried a lot of metallic finish products, and these are the first ones I’ve tried that are genuinely metallic, rather than a glittery finish. These don’t dry down like a matte liquid lip, so they aren’t touch or kiss proof, but they are so incredible I’m willing to give them a pass on that. They last really well, I’ve worn them for a full day and only had to reapply when I’ve eaten oily food. These add so much dimension to your lips, and I think they are amazing for the holidays and parties.

metallic-swatches

I’ve become a bit of a Colourpop addict since I placed my first order, I love finding  new cruelty free brands to explore. If you love Colourpop too, what are your favourite shades?

 

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Coveting CowCow Clothing

Arguably one of the biggest new brands to hit the plus size scene in 2016 was CowCow. Plus size bloggers discovered them on Amazon store and shared their bargains, and their popularity spiraled like nothing I’ve ever seen before. CowCow embraced the plus size community right back, extending their sizing, increasing their designs availability in plus sizes, and even getting themselves a whole bunch of plus size brand ambassadors (Disclaimer : I’m a Plus Cutie for CowCow!). They’ve found a gap in the plus market and have run wild with it, quickly becoming a blogger favourite. They have some incredible dresses and designs, as well as some issues, so here are some CowCow faves, and some handy hints!

So first of all, my absolute favourite style from CowCow is their classic skater dress style. On their website and Amazon store it can be a little tricky to tell which style is which, but the skater style is the one with the model holding her full skirt out to elbow height, not just flaring a little bit out. I have this style dress in a bunch of different patterns and they have become my go to night out look. They are super stretchy, so if on the Amazon store you are sized out, you might be able to get away with a size smaller. The fabric is nice and lightweight making it perfect for dancing the night away and still being comfortable and cute! I’ve only tried the sleeveless styles, but need a long sleeve version for winter ASAP! Look how good Sophie looks in hers!

CowCow Clothing

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The other style dress is more of an A-line fit. I have a couple of these but don’t tend to reach for them as much as the skater style because at 5ft 11, I am definitely pushing the boundaries of decency in terms of length when I wear one! If you love to get your thighs out and are comfortable with a more figure skimming look they are great fun. They are made of the same stretchy fabric as the skater dresses so are just as comfy and easy to wear.

CowCow Clothing

The skirts! I’ve tried one CowCow skirt so far and I absolutely love it. It’s a great length on me and I get compliments every time I wear it. The elasticated waist isn’t pinchy and like all the other pieces I have from them, it washes so well. I got a size down than my usual in this because it was what was in stock, and it was a great fit on me. The one I have is a waffle texture fabric from their own website, but I know the ones from the Amazon store are the normal stretchy fabric.

CowCow Clothing

And the one fail I’ve had so far, has to be the leggings. I had so much hope for them because the prints are stunning, but it was not meant to be. They are very obviously a straight size pattern that has just been made bigger to try and fit a plus size body. It doesn’t work like that. They didn’t cover my butt and were just desperate to slide down, not what you want in leggings. I don’t recommend these as they are right now, hopefully they’ll fix this soon!

CowCow Clothing

One of the big questions I see is asking what the difference is between their Amazon store, and their own webstore. Their Amazon is all pre-made designs of their own, so the pieces are ready to go and mass produced, hence the cheaper price point. The pieces on their website are printed to order, and the prints themselves are designed by independent artists who upload their work to CowCow. When you buy those designs you are not only getting a fun outfit to wear, but are supporting an indy artist which is awesome. They are pricier, but the prints are incredible and well worth it. I’ve never been charged custom fees so far with my orders (they ship from China), and I haven’t known anyone else who has been either, so I can’t comment on how much they might be. I haven’t had any problems with their sizing, but I know other people have found it a little bit hit and miss, with the fabric being so stretchy most things can be made to work though!

CowCow Clothing

CowCow are a plus size blogger obsession, and it’s easy to see why. I can’t wait to get my mitts on more!

 

 

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She Might Be Spotlight: Plus Equals

Every now and then, a plus size clothing collection comes along that makes me squeal with delight and literally clap with joy. And those rare times this happens, it is almost always an indy company that makes said collection, and they are always US based. But not this time. This week, Plus Equals released their new collection and I could not control my excitement. It is a veritable flurry of sequins and faux fur, bright prints and co-ords, and there isn’t a hint of being discreet in sight. It is a collection that screams to be seen, and promises that your plus size body is beautiful and deserves to be on show. It is attention grabbing and utterly delightful. I fell in love and promptly emailed my Mum to ask for pieces from it for Christmas, such is my adoration of the collection.

The new range is available up to a size 32, and even includes a made to measure service at no extra cost. Truly size inclusive and inspiring! The models for the look book are real plus size babes with brazen bellies on show in crop tops, and in a rare turn for any fashion look book, all the models are of colour. The plus size world has a long way to go with showing real fat bodies and more than just white faces, and Plus Equals get it all in one. And this isn’t a one off, every campaign they’ve ever done has been a sea of inclusivity and positivity. I got in touch with Plus Equals to find out more, and to introduce you to the face behind it, Jazmin Lee.

 

So first up, who is Plus Equals and how did you get started?
Plus Equals is run by me, Jazmin, a fashion stylist based in Brighton. I got started with the idea of Plus Equals in late 2014, it was an idea to pursue my creative outlet, styling and fashion, with the view to make it a career instead of commuting to London to work for free. It grew (in my Grandpa’s living room I should probably add, thanks Gramps), and eventually in May 2016 it came to launch as a selection of 14-26 vintage & upcycled clothes. It’s aim was always to be really quirky, off the wall but effortless – I wanted to give some fun and frivolity to the plus size community, as I felt it to be so lacklustre. Six months later, Plus Equals has just launched it’s first ever collection of 14-32/Made to Measure garments, which are all handmade and custom designed. I was suffering with a lot of upset, anger, emotional stress and grief, it was a channel for me to put everything into, and try to make change in the world – it’s been so well received so far, it’s changed my life. Truly.
Plus Equals
When did you become interested in fashion? Did you study it?
I grew up in a very creative household, my grandparents and mother were artists and writers, and all their friends were similar, fashion just happened to be the thing that grabbed me. Eventually growing up it became my outlet and expression, and something that I just have loved ever since. I love how it entwines art, music, emotions, politics. I studied Fashion Promotion at University after a year of deciding between music and fashion, I was very self conscious and low in confidence which held me back for a while, until I began to meet people like me and start to express myself more creatively. I got involved with my hometown’s (Brighton. Fashion Week for a few years, and then worked my way into Casting Director which was incredible, I met so many amazing people and worked on a truly fabulous project, and from there I was able to freelance. 

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Did you always want to be a fashion designer?
I knew I always wanted to be creative – I don’t think I ever saw my future in any particular way other than working in fashion, I’ve always been sure of that. No-one can change my mind now, I’m very determined. I’ve always been keen on working on my styling portfolio and skills but Plus Equals has launched me into a new stratosphere that I didn’t see myself in, but it’s amazing. I could sum it up as ‘if you want a job doing, do it yourself’.
Why did you decide to design for plus size bodies? Your size range is wonderfully inclusive, and unusual in a UK based indy brand!
As a plus size woman myself, I know this market. I’ve shopped this market for long enough, and I’m tired of this market. Fashion to me, is the all inclusive, all loving and all embracing thing that I fell in love with, and that runs in my veins, but the industry is so far behind that. I’ve been a size 26, I’ve been a size 16, I’m the vivacious kid that wants to wear the most outrageous thing I can find, but hey, we’re stuck in a world of mushroom on beige on camel. Plus Equals became an infusion of many angers at my distaste in the world and the fashion industry, and I really wanted it to stick two fingers up to any kind of norm or dictation. It’s for the chubby girl that wears a fierce dress but people are laughing at her, or the other one who’s being shouted at for being overweight in the street.
Plus Equals
Your new collection is a dream of sequins and faux fur and bright colours, it’s so refreshing! Where did the inspiration for it come from?
Watching a lot of my favourite icons pass away this year was definitely a defining moment for the world. I grew up inspired by the same people my mother was, David Bowie, Prince, and that bought me a lot of time of listening to that music again and again. I lived through a David Bowie era when I was growing up, and it brought back the ideas of clothes I always wanted to wear, or even just have the option to wear. I felt a lot of presence from the strong women (both here and not) around me recently too, I felt lifted and empowered, I wanted to pass that on through this collection. So that was a big part of it for me, but also the idea of wearability – it was important to introduce in some things that are more staple but a little quirkier – the hoody dresses and the striped dresses were a bit of a homage to that era, but also something that we, as plus sizers, can wear daily and feel great in.
Who are your ultimate style icons?
Wow this is a hard one! David Bowie, definitely, Rihanna and Solange are walking art, I love the work of designers like Vivienne Westwood, Charlie le Mindu, Alexander McQueen, Alexander Wang, photographer David LaChapelle – it’s one big ol’ confusion ball of style, but man I think the world has some serious talent. And I think that because a lot of my inspiration lays in a world that the plus size fashion retailer world doesn’t seem to bring to the market, that was another huge influence behind releasing this collection.
Plus Equals
Who would you love to dress?
Beth Ditto for bloody starters! I love love LOVE her. Danielle Brooks and Dascha Polanco are slaying right now, they would be a dream team to work with.
What is your dream for Plus Equals?
I want this to be a brand with a message, something that can change things in the industry for good – I want it to encourage diversity and send  a message to our next generation that being you is perfect. I want it to promote the talent of new creatives around the world, to showcase the artistic flair in being quirky, and really to be a fully inclusive line including a menswear range that will shake things up. I want this to head towards a fully sustainable company too – the industry has enough of a carbon footprint and it just can’t be maintained at this level. I want people to know that sustainable fashion isn’t a hessian bag – it’s more about making good choices, both business end and consumer wise, buying less and wearing longer. Plus Equals is a brand that stands for something, and if it can make change for the good, dream goal ticked off.
Plus Equals
 
And finally, what’s next?
Currently, I’m working hard on orders, it’s a one woman show right now. I’ve got new ideas to add into the collection which is something that is going to grow and grow, this is the very very beginning – and it’s taken months longer to launch than anticipated! The drive for this is off the scale right now, and I’m determined to give the plus size community inspiration, fun, fairness and some damn sequins! 2017 is going to be a great year, it’s time to get creative.
I don’t know about you guys, but I know I cannot wait to see what comes next!
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Plus Equals
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