That is all.
That is all.
Considering I’ve had the week from hell work-wise with next to no time for myself, I don’t quite know how I managed to make two outfit posts in the space of one weekend – but hey, they say if you want something done, ask a busy person. So, any road up, there’s a bit of a cat-centric theme this time around, not least since my two were hell bent on photo-bombing the proceedings.
In and out, up and down, on and off like a couple of furry hyperactive pinballs. I don’t know what got into them.
Of course the moment I shut the door after her, she was scratching to come straight back in again.
Anyway, the outfit…
Apart from my re-mixed shoes and my vintage Scandi pendant, the whole lot was thrifted. The ASOS Curve dress is actually a size 26 but I really love the way it fits. It reminds me a lot of the loose, low-waisted dresses I wore in the 80s. The longer length gives it a vaguely 30s feel, especially with the addition of the cardi. I’ve never thought to pair the two together before. I feel like I should be swanning about on a golf course in Le Touquet with a Pimms and a cad in plus fours.
I’m especially pleased with this white bangle which is the most recent addition to my ever expanding collection. I suspect it found its way into the Northampton branch of Mind because it weighs a ton but I love the asymmetrical shape of it and, for a quid, I certainly wasn’t going to leave it there.
I haven’t worn these catfish earrings for a while. They’re a little bit dainty for me but they’re also light and one of my piercings is unaccountably sore at the minute so I’m erring on the side of less-ouchy.
Still on the theme du jour I thought you might like to take a gander at my new bag too…
I was alerted to this by my facebook friend Lena in Norway. She offered to bid for it for me as the seller didn’t ship to the UK so although the bag itself only cost eight quid, by the time I’d paid the postage from China to Norway and Norway to here, it ended up being a hell of a lot more. But I think you’ll agree it needed to be mine and I don’t splash out on bags very often.
So, tumblr, I cracked and bought the Monsoon frock I featured in my last outfit post because it was giving me sleepless nights. And, as I’m sure you’ll agree, a frock that causes one to toss and turn is clamouring to be bought. Even if one is vastly overdrawn. In fact, especially if one is vastly overdrawn. Funny how that works.
I am insanely in love with this print, which puts me in mind of Russian lacquerware with its intricate patterns and dramatic, jewel-like punch. I am incidentally of Russian extraction myself on three sides. Regrettably of the peasant not the Imperial variety, hence my build, soulful eyes and hereditary diabetes. Well, can’t win ‘em all.
(Image cheekily stolen off eBay. Please don’t sue me, eBay seller!)
(Ditto. Actually I tell a lie; I nicked this one off Pinterest. They nicked it off eBay. Whatever. I’m sure you’re getting my drift).
I sized down to a 20 with this one as the 22 really hung off me. So, larger fats, if you fancy it, I reckon a 24 – or even a pear-shaped 26 – could well be in luck. It’s an A-line shift, like a less exaggerated version of the AOS Curve swing dress and is made of medium-weight viscose jersey.
Hah! Not Russian Red! (It would have clashed).
When I was little, my paternal grandmother used to have some Russian lacquerware and I was fascinated by it. I’ve been thinking about her a lot lately, and how much she has influenced my taste, particularly the elements of my taste which some folks might find a little questionable. I have a post about her in the pipeline.
Asked by: Anonymous
I once saw a gob-smackingly chic fat woman waiting for a vaporetto in Venice. I was in my late 20s and still taking baby steps to learn to love my body, and I guess she was late 40s/early 50s. She was wearing a long black coat and a matching turban and apart from her immaculately made-up face, her only adornment was a mahoosive jewel encrusted brooch. Pre-internet, one could go a decade without seeing a positive representation of a plus-sized woman and she instantly became a role model for life. The moment I unwrapped Kate’s gift, I thought of her.
So today’s post is primarily about my side-plate-sized brooch, which was a Christmas prezzie from my lovely friend Kate, who can read me like a book. Kate and I met online on a “fat ambivalent” forum eight years ago, where we were regularly baited by trolls who were anything but ambivalent about the ol’ adipose. In addition to forging a lasting offline friendship you won’t be surprised to learn we gave twice as good as we got. Neener neener, trolls!
Here we are in New York on the roof of the Met Museum, the weekend we posed for Substantia Jones’s Adipositivity project, visited Lee Lee’s Valise in Brooklyn, discovered an amazing Italian restaurant, and bought half of Macey’s.
Best. Holiday. Ever. But I digress.
Kate didn’t know the brooch was going to be quite as huge as it is, (it was an eBay score from China), but if there’s one thing a woman with ample frontage can rock it’s a piece of fuck-off statement jewellery.
…which is kind of what this outfit needs, as I feel it could be a tad frumpy otherwise. This thrifted Chesca number is the only blazer I own. Mainly because I hate blazers with a fiery passion. Not only do they remind me of my school uniform, which I looked like crap in, they also evoke corporate drag, which I despise and praise God I’ve never had to wear. But this one fitted so well and looks great with anything polka-dotted, and it was only a tenner so I cracked. Don’t go thinking it’s the thin end of the wedge though.
My dress is an oldie from Elvi, (worn here over an M&S cami because it’s suddenly freezing again), and my Biba scarf was drastically reduced in House of Fraser a couple of years ago. I adore the print and lusted after it for months. It does however have a design fault, (which I suspect is why it ended up being reduced by so much). The beaded fringe weighs a ton, which means I risk choking to death every time I wear it. I’m quite tempted to remove the fringing altogether because I think I’d get more wear out of it, but it’s so pretty I can’t bring myself to bite the bullet.
The cut of this dress is fab. It’s very elegant and comes in dead handy for formal occasions. I do wish they’d made it in another colour though. Purple or turquoise would be good. Or even emerald green.
My minimalist readers will be no doubt horrified to learn that I’m seriously considering this vintage brooch we currently have in the shop.
Yes, they are almost interchangeable. But I kind of want to wear the two together.
Despite the nip in the air, the sky’s been (mostly) blue today, and I can almost – but not quite – sense spring. I’m sure it’ll be a few more weeks but, frankly, I’m stoked it’s not getting dark at 3.30 any more. It’s going to be a while before I can cast off the ubiquitous woolly though – so, here’s another second-hand fave, courtesy of my mum.
She found this Italian knitted coat in a car boot sale about twenty years ago. I’m not quite sure how I ended up with it and the buttons could do with replacing, but it’s dead cosy and I love it. It’s also got a rather stylish half-belt and a long vent at the back but I forgot to take a picture of those.
In the spirit of re-mixing, you’ve seen my dress, boots and all the jewellery before.
My boots were the only part of the outfit that cost me proper money. The rest of it cost under thirty quid all told.
And, yes, my tights aren’t quite the right shade of blue. I couldn’t be arsed to keep rummaging.
The frock is also a little too big but I loved the print so much I didn’t care. I think it works well enough as a loose-ish shift. Speaking of which, I tried this on yesterday…
I was surprisingly taken with it. In fact I’m rather hoping Monsoon will send me a discount voucher for my birthday again.
And, alas, it’s not the Cut for Evans range. Which is to say I don’t like it on me. I adore the print on Alice Farrow’s blue abstract print trousers but the fit didn’t work on me at all. If this skirt had been available in that colourway I’d have been all over it but the pink just didn’t do it for me. As for the scuba cut-out frock, at my time of life one does not want to be wearing neoprene bodycon anything. Just looking at the fecker gave me a hot flush. This worked pretty well as a dress on me and I love the balloon inspired print on the back…but, cute as it was, it just wasn’t fifty quids’ worth of cute and I didn’t really dig the background colour against my skin.
What I did like, unreservedly, unequivocally, and a whole lot, was this Scarlet and Jo number.
This made me look – and feel – like da goddamned bomb. Seriously those colours just glow like exquisite retro embers against the black. Too bad it’s almost identical to this one and equally dressy. I have no shortage of posh frocks and not enough posh occasions on which to wear them but oh, be still my beating heart!
Asked by: idol-hands
Thanks so much! I would truly love to write a book, but sizeism and stigma is so bad in the UK I doubt I could persuade a publisher to back the project. I keep trying to think of an angle but always fall at the first hurdle.
Re the colour thing I come from a graphic design background originally. And weirdly my design aesthetic is quite pared down with lots of white space! (What can I say? I was taught by folk who attended the Bauhaus). Where clothes and interiors are concerned however I’ve come to realise I was highly influenced by my paternal grandmother, Sadie, who also had a tendency to wear All The Things Simultaneously. My love of shiny and loud prints definitely owes a lot to her – plus I worked my way through all her 50s and 60s clothes in the 80s and love anything that evokes those eras. In the january sales I bought a gunmetal lurex dress from Evans and a Monsoon grossgrain frock with a pouffy tulle petticoat and a huge 60s-style floral print. My mother laughed because I was so obviously channelling my gran.
Keeping it short and sweet this time around. I had my bestie staying for the weekend and we had rather a busy time of it. Attended the Armistead Maupin Guardian interview in Notting Hill on Saturday night, (he’s my fave author), and a friend’s memorial service today. So pretty much ran the gamut of human emotion, and now looking forward to a good night’s sleep.
So, here, at long last, are pics of me rocking my vintage coat/cardi in the shop last week. And very warm it is too. Last time I wore it I paired it with a red dress but I think I prefer it with the black.
I was chuffed to find this skirt in the TS sale - a mere £15.00 and I love it. You can’t really see it properly here but it’s got this weird blistered texture. If you squint you can just see it in the picture on the right below. Please excuse my resting bitch-face, (aka my “cheer up love, it might never happen” face).
Lippy was Mac’s Ruby Woo.
This probably my favourite brooch. It’s made of perspex and sweetie wrappers.
Another shop day, another outfit, heavy on the re-mixing. The only things you haven’t seen me wearing before are my new devoré jeans jacket, scored for six quid in a charity shop, and my fabulous, fine wool scarf, which came from the shop and was a Christmas prezzie from World’s Loveliest Boss®. We have several variations on the theme, some silk, some wool, but all with amazing digital floral prints…
…lush or what? And, in all their sumptuous too-muchery, also a good springboard for a companion rant to my previous one. Yep, I’m still pondering minimalism and bridling over the sanctimony it seems to breed in some of its stauncher advocates. While I’ve never been a fan of the aesthetic, I was hitherto oblivious to this until an (otherwise quite pleasant) lady of my acquaintance clued me in by example.
She’d popped into the shop one day last summer, as she happened to be passing and spied me behind the counter. After a brief chinwag, during which time she revealed that she’d hitherto never set foot inside the place, I said, “Well, now you know where to come next time you need to buy someone a tasteful present.”
"Oh, I don’t do gifts," she said loftily.
"What, never?" I asked, "Not even for your other half’s birthday?"
She let out a derisive snort. They were patently above and beyond such mawkish folderol.
I persevered, “But what about your mum and dad?” (who, incidentally, live miles away and are getting on a bit), “You see them at Christmas, don’t you?”
"I might occasionally buy them a nice bottle of wine, but I don’t buy them stuff. They’ve got enough stuff,” she pronounced, her voice dripping with disapproval, “They don’t need any more…stuff.”
Now, she’s not a minimalist in the classic sense. In fact, her gaff permanently looks like a bomb went off in it, with work-related books and papers everywhere. But the house is utterly devoid of soul. With the exception of a small painting that hangs over one of the fireplaces (a wedding present from the artist), there’s no colour or discernible personality anywhere. Just acres of white woodchip, spartan furniture that looks like it was handed down by someone who hated it, and those shite Habitat paper lampshades you always get in student accommodation. She gets her jollies from being out in nature, which is fair enough if you’re that way inclined, but why not bring some of it inside your house since that’s where you spend the majority of your time? Paint a wall green or a ceiling blue for pity’s sake. Frame some of your travel photographs. Stick some twigs in a vase, some driftwood on a shelf, a handful of pebbles scored on a memorable hike in a bowl. Show the place some love and enhance the quality of your day-to-day existence instead of sneering at lesser mortals’ fondness for “stuff”.
Yeah, I have issues. Quite a few as it goes.
In case you hadn’t guessed, I’m not the hiking type. My indifference to the countryside is as legendary among my family and friends as my loathing of aimlessly traipsing through vast swathes of it. A proud Londoner born and bred, I’m firmly with Samuel Johnson. And on the rare occasions I’m tempted to escape my problems and/or fabulous city, you’ll find me by the sea every time. But I don’t think my preference for art galleries, cinema or combing car boot sales for bargains makes me a more highly evolved life form than someone who climbs rock faces of a weekend. And I resent the inference that my wish to surround myself with things that gladden my eye somehow renders me emotionally stunted or blind to the true meaning of life.
Lest you think me paranoid, it’s everywhere. From Time posing the question, Do You Love Your Stuff Too Much? Maybe It’s Because No One Loves You, to Be More With Less, the site that spawned Project 333, suggesting:-
Give away 50% of your stuff and discover mental clarity to choose how you really want to live your life.
Give away 50% of your stuff so you discover that you are not your stuff.
Give away 50% of your stuff because it will never love you back.
Oh please. I know exactly how I’d like to live my life. Sadly I also have the mental clarity to recognise that reducing the number of ornaments in my display cabinet or digitising my entire CD collection is not going to facilitate it. Nothing, short of winning the next Euromillions rollover, is. In the mean time I choose to live my could-be-better-could-be-a-whole-lot-worse life with my fabulous collection of 1930s china all present and correct thanks. Though I’ll admit if I was the kind of person who was plagued with the urge to dust every five minutes it might be a different story.
Secondly, I kind of am my stuff, or maybe it’s the other way around, especially when it comes to my clothes. In a climate where fat women are expected to embody certain negative characteristics, having the freedom to present myself in ways that confound those is a privilege I haven’t always enjoyed; likewise the ability to dress in ways that certain social or professional obligations may require. I fail to see how recreating a situation that made me miserable for years would improve my life one jot. Ditto this sterling piece of advice, gleaned from Becoming Minimalist:
Wear fewer colours. Most of us already have a few favorite colors that we wear most often anyway – usually because we like the way we look in them. Choosing to intentionally wear fewer colors means less accessories (shoes, belts, jewelry, handbags, etc.). It also makes too much sense not to try.
Yeah, come back to me when you’ve had hell’s own job finding clothes that weren’t black, navy, charcoal, claret or chocolate brown for over a decade - then see how much sense it makes.
Anathema as this may be to the minimalist, I also find expressing myself through my clothing and my environment creatively fulfilling. I’m passionately interested in how other creative people dress and display their belongings too. Even beyond clothes my stuff is still me. The objects I choose to collect are an expression of my taste and my taste is as much a facet of my personality as my sense of humour or ability to string a sentence together. And, while my stuff obviously doesn’t love me, much of it is a warm and constant reminder of my loved ones – which, together with my cats, is what makes my house a home.
Oh, tumblr, I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since my last post! I have been wearing clothes, obviously. The trouble is it’s been so relentlessly rainy and overcast it’s been almost impossible to take decent photographs of them either inside my flat, (which gets tons of light during the summer months but very little during the winter), or outside. Plus I’ve also been having a stressful time at work like you wouldn’t believe. (I won’t dwell; I don’t think my blood pressure could stand it). So a couple of days in the shop, during which the sun showed its face long enough to take some reasonably okay pictures, came as a pleasant, de-stressifying respite.
So, Thursday’s outfit saw a mixture of new and old. Re-mixing my beloved Steve Maddens and my trusty Vicki Vi tube skirt, (which you first saw here), with a couple of newer additions to my knitwear drawer. You’ll see some more familiar items in my next outfit post too. Obviously, in my day-to-day life I re-boot old faves constantly because I’m too old, too arsey, and not high profile enough to be a sponsored blogger and certainly can’t afford to be buying new outfits every five minutes, though I don’t always reflect this on the blog. And I totally should, if only to defend my avowed anti-minimalism stance.
Much as I loathe it, (and because it is so very alien to me), I find minimalism endlessly fascinating. So needless to say I found this a highly entertaining hate read. The interweb abounds with bloggers, (mostly women, mostly eco-types, mostly thin-to-average-sized) extolling the virtues of Project 333 with missionary zeal.
Don’t get me wrong. I can absolutely see the wisdom of culling your belongings if you are traveling, downsizing or making room for an additional person or two in a place where space is at a premium. Likewise I can see the sense in going cold turkey with spending if you desperately need to save, are *running on empty, or repeatedly compelled to buy stuff you inevitably regret. And believe it or not I am utterly brilliant at planning capsule wardrobes for the purposes of travelling light. But, picking thirty-three items to wear for 3 months, just for shits and giggles? Get outta town.
There are a number of reasons Project 333 makes my teeth grind. Firstly, on a practical level, accessories count, and sod that for a game of soldiers. I’d need at least thirty-three additional accessories to make the whole veil of tears even remotely palatable. Secondly, if you only have thirty-three items, they have to be mix’n’matchable, which explains why most of the capsule wardrobes I’ve seen are largely made up of coma-inducing neutrals and feature next to no prints. There’s also the (highly variable and unpredictable) UK climate to take into consideration. A couple of sweaters is not going to cut it in the transition from autumn to winter on my side of the pond.
There’s also the whole eco-guilt trip aspect that comes with this sort of territory. When scrutinising the numerous endorsements I came across in my albeit casual research, there was no end of smugness:-
“I have less laundry, which is easier for me, and better for mother earth”
(Really? because I find that having a plethora of clothing means I can go weeks without having to do a batch of laundry).
"I have better educated myself about the horrors garment industry workers face, and my responsibility to the planet."
(Remember when I said these women were mostly slim-to-average sized? While it’s a highly laudable attitude to have, that stuff goes right out the window when you have a paucity of retailers that cater to your size. Add to that the link between obesity and poverty, and that’s some pretty repellant middle-class privilege speaking. And don’t get me started on the time-honoured mantra, “if you haven’t worn it for six months, give it away”. That’d be thin privilege talking).
"It’s sort of pathetic how much of my morning agonising over my outfit for the day caused".
(Really? I have to say I agonise about what I’m going to wear two or three times a year, tops. The rest of the time I either think about it when I’m in the shower or I just open the wardrobe door and busk it ).
But there was something else that was sticking in my craw and it wasn’t till I came across the following two comments that the penny finally dropped:-
"I no longer think of Project 333 as a clothing diet or even as a “project.” It has become a lifestyle for me".
"Window shopping is like sniffing a donut and thinking you’re not going to want to eat it. If you don’t seek out the donut then it’s less tempting".
Ohhh, so it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change. Yeah, count me out.
*(Unfortunately for me I’m not very good at acting on that one but it totally makes sense).
Now I’ve finally seem to have shaken off the two week cold from hell, this looks like a fun thing to be doing next Friday night!
ETA It so was! I had a blast. So lovely to see so many awesome fat ladies laughing and chatting while scoring some funky new duds!
I love the conceit of this Tatty Devine printed brooch. However, since my friend Kate just sent me a fiiiiine sparkly green brooch of Epic Proportions for Christmas, I’ve no pressing need for such a bauble. I was quite taken with the earrings mind until I realised they were comedically huge. Contrary to popular belief I do sometimes think you can have too much of a good thing. Great idea though.
At present I’m sale-stalking a Monsoon frock I saw back in September and want with an all-abiding passion, (it’s been reduced but not by enough for my liking. I’m banking on a further reduction because it’s made of cotton grosgrain, isn’t black or sparkly, and looks like a bridesmaid’s dress), but if I was hankering after bijouterie I have to say Tatty Devine’s definitely doing it for me. Cheap they ain’t, even in the sale, and they’re definitely not paying me to big ‘em up, (if only!), but such fun and definitely in keeping with my current 80s revival kick. How cute would this little Modernist robot brooch look on the lapel of the Striped Colour-Blocked Coat of Awesome?
The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year be bollocksed, tumblr! This Christmas has been an epic disappointment and I don’t enjoy it at the best of times. Right now I should be in Hampshire seeing in 2014 with my besties but, instead, I’ve succumbed to a throat virus which, even as I write, is descending into my chest and giving me Fenella Fielding Voice. This would be miserable enough had last week not been spent running back and forth to my mum’s with Lemsip, throat sweets and nourishing soups owing to her being felled by a horrendous cold and fever. Obviously I offered to cook the Christmas dinner, (we take it turns), but alas she was too poorly to taste it, let alone eat it so, by mutual agreement, we spent the day in solitary splendour – me with Dr Who and Downton and her binge-watching two seasons of Rome in bed. What’s more we even managed to buy each other the same Christmas gift, (the final season of Dexter), which briefly gave us something to laugh about. There was more but, frankly, it’s too depressing a catalogue of disasters to impart. Suffice it to say Dexter just about sums up my mood.
So here’s an outfit from the week before everything went pear shaped…
I wore this to meet Deanne for a gander at the Club To Catwalk exhibition at the V&A which, despite being born a decade apart, was a brilliant trip down memory lane for the pair of us. All the usual suspects were there: Body Map, English Eccentrics, Westwood, Melissa Caplan, Scott Crolla and Georgina Godley, Sue Clowes, Pam Hogg… though, sadly, nothing I wore back in the day. (I so wish we’d had digital cameras back then. Regrettably there are few pics documenting my finer alternative 80s fashion moments).
Do you remember when I was lusting after this dress? Well, this one was part of the same collection but I never tried it on because I thought the shape wouldn’t suit me. Well, blow me down if it didn’t fetch up two years later in T.K.Mxx for £14.99 and, as you can see, it suits me pretty well.
Granted, the lurex-shot tweed is pretty easy to snag, especially if you’re liable to get sat on by one of these…
… but I do have an über-fine crochet hook to rescue pulled threads.
I was dead chuffed with this little rainbow-hued perspex bangle I found on a recent thrifting excursion.
Here’s to a better year ahead, tumblr.