Steff

Blogger and plus size model with a passion for music and vintage style. Loves anything cosmic, charming, or cats.

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Sequins and Sass – Gatsbylady Top 5

Oh my 1920s! Be still my beating heart! Gatsbylady has to be one of my most favourite brands of late.

Incredibly size-inclusive, showcasing a variety of sizes on their site, social media and catwalks, it’s brought 1920s fashion to plus-size women in a way that for me simply wasn’t there before. Plus, I am a sucker for anything sequins and fringes.
It’s dangerous to leave me alone with their website for more than 5 minutes, and I’ve been going through the site and selecting my favourites! Totally socially acceptable to have all of these dresses … right?!

gatsbylady

Dolores Vintage Inspired Maxi Prom Dress in Champagne

Pure. Elegance. This is a very elegant, light colour with gentle beading, and would be perfect for a wedding. Probably best worn with a strapless or nude strap bra, as this has sheer shoulders. All of these dresses are hand beaded, which is further impressive when you zoom in on the detail on this one.

Francesca Vintage Inspired Flapper Dress in Black Gold

I adore the detail on this one, the lines and patterns seem to encourage you to look further, like a work of art. Looking at the models on the page wearing it, this dress is designed to hug the figure in wonderfully beautiful ways. Exquisite.

 

Carolyn Vintage Inspired Maxi Cape Dress in Navy Blue

Such an understated design, but with sweet embellished edges. This looks ideal for an evening do, particularly with the sheer shoulder cover. The shape is so very typical of 1920s evening wear too, with swathes of fabric enveloping you.

 

Angel Sleeve Vintage Inspired Flapper Dress in Emerald Green

The sleeves on this one are truly gorgeous. I happened to look at the video amongst the images on this one, and clocked how the sequins glitter as it catches the light. This is a great colour too, a real statement piece. A great party or occasion outfit. Or, wear it around the house and feel a million bucks!

 

Hollywood Vintage Inspired Fringe Dress in Black Navy

*fanning self* This is where my willpower starts to falter. The colour is incredible, the length perfect, the detail utterly outstanding. This one is actually living on my bookmarks as one to watch, for when funds allow or I cave and use my credit card; whichever comes first.

Go have a look for yourself; Gatsbylady’s dresses are a must see, must wear, and must do the Charleston in! If anyone wants me, I’ll be lusting over my #1 pick.

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Winter Blues: A January Survival Guide

I’ve been a little absent and this has been due to a severe drop in mood and motivation levels; otherwise known as “The Winter Blues”.

The nights are still long and the days are still short and cold and you are not alone, as it’s estimated that 4-6% of the population suffer from winter depression and a further 10-20% suffer from a mild Seasonal Affective Disorder.

We’ve hit January and therefore we’ve also hit “New Year, New You” and the need to make resolutions. Statistically for those in a low mood, the odds are stacked against us. Here are some ways that I like to use to cope. Everyone is different, but I hope you may find something of use here.

winter blues

– Self-care
Do what is good for the soul. A long soak in bubbles with candlelight. Favourite food. An extended lie-in or a full blown duvet day. Self care comes in a variety of different ways.

 

– Outside
It doesn’t have to be a country walk or a marathon, but I find even just stepping outside for a second (providing it’s not raining) to take in a lungful of fresh air is useful, especially when depression prevents me leaving the house for long periods of time. Depending on your mobility, this may not work, but the idea is reaping benefit from the sun. There are also mood lights designed to do similar.

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– Fun
What do you enjoy doing? I love writing, and I love singing for example, but I can find both hard sometimes. If I can, I try to push myself to do it anyway, but I don’t beat myself up if it’s not working as normal. Sometimes the act of writing something or singing a favourite song can lift my spirits a little.

 

– Support
Talk to trusted friends. It’s tempting to not talk to people when you feel low but it can, in fact, increase thoughts of isolation and make it worse.

 

– Mood boosters
Chocolate is a well known mood booster, as is fish, coconut, almonds, and TEA.

 

– Ask for help
If self help isn’t helping then try speaking to a professional, seeking therapy, perhaps talk about medication. Nobody has to cope alone.
There is no shame in feeling like this, or in struggling, whether it’s the Winter Blues or any time of the year, you’ve got this.

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Hopeless in Heels: 5 Flat Shoes To Complete Your Look

5 Flat Shoes To Complete Your Look

All hail the flat shoe!
Are you like me, and utterly hopeless in heels? It has been rather a long standing joke with me that I simply can’t do them at all. But what do you do when you have an event or a party to attend, and you want to look your best?

Do not despair, for I have rounded up five favourite flat shoes, proving that you can complete your outfit in comfort and still look glam, on any budget!

5 Flat Shoes To Complete Your Look

1. Irregular Choice Altruism – £79.99

This unbelievably adorable design packs glitter, glamour and fringe trim all in one! Teamed with the lovely shape, a pair of these (also available in red and black) is bound to add something special to any outfit and keep you going all night!

2. Dorothy Perkins Black ‘Hula’ Glitter Heel Pumps – £16.20

If you don’t fancy going for an entirely glittery shoe, and instead fancy a flash of sparkle, these are perfect. A small and sturdy heel means you get a teeny bit of height without compromising on balance!

 

3. Clarks Hamble Oak in Gold – £60.00

I can’t resist a good pair of brogues, and this is a good pair of brogues! I own a pair of this style in black, and find this a very comfortable and smart look to complete my most-worn outfits. Sturdy and built to last, and beautiful in this colour, too!

4. Deichmann Ghillie Lace-Up Ballerinas in Peach – £17.99

I think this is a really pretty shoe style and the laces REALLY give it a feel of a ballerina! I would perhaps even go one step further and replace the laces with matching ribbon to give your outfit an elegant feel.

5. George at Asda Leopard Print Ballet Flats – £12.00

If you’re a leopard print gal then these are perfect for adding interest to your Little Black Dress! Perhaps team with a leopard print hair bow, bag, or bolero and you’re good to go.

So there you have it – flats to suit both your feet and your budget. Your shoes might be flat but that doesn’t mean you have to be. You might not be in high heels but don’t be fooled into thinking this means you can’t step out in style and stand out!

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Flapper Fashion and Frippery with Gatsbylady

I love the styles of the 1920s, and I love the culture and style behind the Flapper girl. I just thought – once upon a time – this wasn’t a style for me. After all, the silhouettes fashionable at this time were boyish and straight – something Coco Chanel called “garçonne“. And I, well; I am not.

I am as womanly as they come and I have that stereotypical hourglass shape that meant I just immediately gravitated towards the 1950s in my vintage styling, with full skirt, petticoats and wasp waist. Not that I’m knocking this style at all, as it still remains my favourite style era. It certainly knows how to dress my big boobs and large posterior with panache and flair!

I know where I am with a ’50s silhouette but the 1920s flapper style is something completely different. Instead of accentuating femininity it conceals it (and the traditional notion of feminine curves) and introduces a more androgynous shape.
This was a direct act of rebellion against the tight-laced and long-haired “Gibson Girl” preceding it from the late 19th century.

There are a lot of plus size ladies that shy away from this style for fear it will make them look bigger in a society that is constantly encouraging them to look smaller!
So, it did take a bit of inner persuasion to try something a little different. Was this a style that was going to suit me?

Hint: Absolutely YES.

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I collaborated with Gatsbylady very recently for a model editorial and piece in Vintage Life magazine (due out in December). I can’t say much, except that the woman behind Gatsbylady is an absolute genius. Here are two images from the shoot I can show now, but the rest – plus the words – are under lock and key!

Gatsbylady Gatsbylady

 

 

The original plus size ladies of the 1920s were encouraged to wear ‘safe’ colours, cuts and cloths. Nothing too shiny that caught the light. You could say that’s changed, looking at these sequins, fringing and silky fabric. We’re almost a century on and you could say another rebellion has taken place.

Perhaps an interesting modern-day comparison to make is Ready to Stare’s controversial cupcake dress, which caused some backlash on social media. Many saw it as unflattering or even ugly because in society we are used to “flattering” shapes. The cupcake dress rejected all of it and challenged ideas of what a plus size body should and should not look like in clothes. Much like the flapper girl, it was a big “eff you” to the status quo.

There is a sea of swing dresses out there in ’40s and ’50s styles, all flattering to all sizes. This is why I like what Gatsbylady is doing. The 1920s isn’t just for the garçonne any more.

So, to summarise: don’t feel bogged down by social conventions. If you want to wear it; wear it. Oh, and definitely check out Gatsbylady!

Credits:
Model – Steff/Bye Bye Bailey
Photo – Griffin Photography
Hair – Elliegant Hair
Make-up – Stacey Cremin Makeup Studio

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The Long Journey To Self Love

The Long Journey To Self Love

In the words of the magnanimous drag queen RuPaul; if you can’t love yourself, how are you going to love someone else?
They’re sound words to live your life by, but just how easy is it? How do you turn on the self love switch? It’s a different journey for everyone, but here’s mine.

As a plus size babe growing up it wasn’t always smooth sailing, especially getting to grips with growing up and joining the world of adults (I still haven’t done that last one, I don’t think).
I’d already experienced how cruel other children could be, but by the time I reached my late teens, I had more or less got it covered. I developed a larger than life personality and a good sense of humour to boot, and was ready to take on the world, ready for university and working life. I broke into modelling for the first time, and was having an amazing time. My self esteem was growing fast!

The Long Journey To Self Love

Sadly, aged nineteen and at UK size 24, I learned a hard and valuable lesson about visiting my doctor on a routine appointment. Sometimes, they treat your size and not you.
I sat in front of this man – this qualified doctor – who laughed at me. He accused me of lying about my eating habits and activity levels, then signed a load of sheets for diabetes tests, all the while making certain I knew the NHS was wasting a lot of money to do so. I left, both in tears and without the tablets I’d gone in there to get.

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In short; within a year, I developed an eating disorder, and became preoccupied with meagre calorie intake and excessive amounts of daily exercise. No matter what I did, nothing was ever enough and eventually I hit a UK 10 to 12.

The Long Journey To Self Love

Closest friends and family warned me I was going too far but I viewed them as saboteurs. My mind had convinced me I needed to keep losing, no matter what. It wasn’t until I collapsed at university from malnutrition that I began listening to them. Thus began the slow recovery of mind and body, and it almost cost me my degree.

This story has a happy ending, I promise! Fast forward six years and this is me now, at a UK 18-20. For me, this is where I am comfortable:

The Long Journey To Self Love
Furthermore, the doctor I saw has left the surgery and possibly even the profession. Oh, and I got the degree.

Would I say I love myself now? Not always. There are some days where it can be hard, and if I’m not careful I start comparing myself to others and getting critical of myself. For a long while, I felt a fraud for telling others to love themselves when I couldn’t.
For me, the key is to retrain my brain.
I fill my life with fellow plus size babes who empower me and keep my inner dialogue positive. We are all bombarded with media images of what’s “acceptable” so I fight back with empowering and body positive hashtags. I make sure that when I look in the mirror I pick out something I like. If I can’t do that on a particular day, I remind myself that my body has been with me my entire life, battled through illness and neglect and continues to love me even when I don’t love it.

Think of what makes you, YOU. Perhaps it’s your witty sense of humour. Maybe you like your eyes, or maybe you like your bum! Or, if nothing else, thank your body for keeping you alive, thick or thin.

 

Photo 1: Graham Sessions
Photo 2: Light and Darker
Photo 3: Graham Dean

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