Buttercup's Frocks

Musings on personal style by a fatshionista of a certain age

  • 16th February
    2014
  • 16

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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.

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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.

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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).

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Lippy was Mac’s Ruby Woo.

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This probably my favourite brooch. It’s made of perspex and sweetie wrappers. 

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  • 12th February
    2014
  • 12

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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…

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…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.

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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.”  

Ookaaay then.

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.

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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  • 9th February
    2014
  • 09

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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*(Unfortunately for me I’m not very good at acting on that one but it totally makes sense).

  • 12th January
    2014
  • 12

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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!

  • 2nd January
    2014
  • 02

Currently coveting…

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(source)

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?

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Toodles!

  • 30th December
    2013
  • 30

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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…

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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).

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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.

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Granted, the lurex-shot tweed is pretty easy to snag, especially if you’re liable to get sat on by one of these…

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… but I do have an über-fine crochet hook to rescue pulled threads.

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I was dead chuffed with this little rainbow-hued perspex bangle I found on a recent thrifting excursion.

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Here’s to a better year ahead, tumblr. 

Toodles!

  • 28th December
    2013
  • 28
Fat Girl Follow List

fatandnerdy:

femmesandfamily:

I would like to create a master list of awesome fat girls to follow.

Here is the catch - each person is only allowed to add ONE name to the list (not yourself). Add the name of your most recent tumblr crush, an old favorite, or just someone who you…

I’d like to nominate Jordane of A l’aurore je suis née because I never see her reblogged anywhere and her style is unique, flawless and awesome.

(Source: femmadilemma)

  • 25th December
    2013
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  • 14th December
    2013
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Oh, tumblr, I have missed you soooo much! Although I’ve had some fun times recently, for the most part I’ve just been totally snowed under and super stressed out with work. Hopefully I will have fulfilled most of my most pressing obligations by the middle of next week and will have a little more time to play with clothes and organise some of the thinkier thoughts I’ve been having lately about body image and such like. Because even when I’m stuck on a train to Colchester at some hideously early hour, my mind is still constantly whirring. I’ll be in the shop for a bit after Christmas, so there’ll be some OOTDs to come but, for today, I thought I’d share a couple of my recent charity shop scores.

First up, a frock…

I originally thought this Roland Klein number, (which is proving well nigh impossible to take a decent photograph of), was gin-u-wine 80s, as did the friend I was with when I found it. Turns out to be a recent Simply Be reject – not that I’m complaining; it’s garnered a lot of compliments. I am on a bit of an 80s colour block kick though. Viz to wit this gobsmacking coat/cardi combo…

You’ll either be feeling this or running screaming as far away from your computer screen as possible. It certainly had that effect on Karen. It actually reminds me of a Bus Stop sweater I had in the late 70s, though that had an appliqué of a lady’s hand in a striped fingerless glove holding a smouldering cigarette in a long holder. Contain your horror. Seriously though, I’m going to have so much fun building an outfit round this baby! Let’s hope Margie’s still reading. And warm? Pure wool and thick as a blanket. No label on it anywhere. It reminds me a bit of Paco knitwear but I don’t remember them doing anything this long. I’ve scoured eBay in vain to try to track down something similar but it’s no go thus far.

But back to my faux 80s dress. Here’s how I styled it today to go and see The Book Of Mormon with my ma and some family friends…

The Book Of Mormon was hilarious by the way. 

Toodles!

  • 22nd November
    2013
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Apparently, to quote a not unpopular series of books/TV show, Winter Is Coming: the UK is going to be deluged with persistent snow and icy winds the like of which haven’t been seen for 60 years. Yet, despite the pressing need to stay toasty, my hair continues to get progressively shorter and more pixie-like.

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What can I say? I’m a rebel and well served for hats. I have invested in a chunky sweater though, as very few of my frocks are warm enough to last a day in the shop without multiple additional layers. 

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Being a child of the 70s, I never thought I’d plump for a brown one but I found myself strangely drawn to this autumnal combo of shades.

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I regret that I can’t remember the name of the person I bought this adorbs brooch from at the Renegade Craftfair a couple of weekends ago. She had some ace stuff and this little fox only cost me four quid. My friend, Sara, (aka Little Miss Plump), and I did find ourselves wondering why the alternative craft scene is entirely dominated by small woodland animals of late, not that we had a problem with it. 

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Get used to not seeing my waist or legs for a while, tumblr. Winter dictates it’s all about the accessories.

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…and darker lippy of course.

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I’m heading orf to the countryside this evening for my friend Karen’s 50th. I expect there’ll be a fair bit of eating, drinking, making merry and trawling charity shops as per usual. Which reminds me, I can’t wait to share my latest chazza find: a fab crepe 80s-tastic geometric frock, that’s begging to be accessorised with the biggest pair of earrings I can find…

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  • 16th November
    2013
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Get in my wardrobe now! (Part Two)

Why is is when one is at one’s most impecunious that one sees the most droolworthy clothing, like this geometric A-line Gudrun Sjoden tunic from their new Northern Lights range? The berry-coloured one on the right has my heart in a vise. How perfect would it look with the Orange Coat of Awesome and my Boysenberry Shakes and a Lea Stein cat brooch placed just so.? I’m also loving the grey polkadot tights teamed with the monochrome one. It comes in navy as well but meh.

Freelance employment Gods, I beseech thee to smile upon your humble servant, Buttercup, at the earliest possible opportunity!

  • 15th November
    2013
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  • 14th November
    2013
  • 14

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Very, very overdue post, tumblr, for which I apologise. I have been run ragged work wise. I’ve literally been traveling all over the British Isles over the last couple of weeks, (Swansea! Dublin! Stoke!) and am now totally knackered. In fact half an hour after taking these pics I started to feel rather run-down and flu-ish, which takes some doing since I had a flu-shot some weeks ago – but I digress.

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Lovingly reconstructed for your viewing pleasure, this is what I wore to Plus London two weekends back. Funky duds in plus sizes being somewhat thin on the ground, I half expected to see several of my fellow fats rocking this Scarlet and Jo number. Indeed I’m pretty surprised not to have seen a single fatshion blogger modelling it to date. But it seems I am alone, though heaven knows why. Unlike most of the Scarlet and Jo stuff, this frock isn’t polyester! Aside from the sheer bit at the top, (which is of course nylon or some such), it’s made of a lovely thick glazed cotton and it has a most satisfying rustle when you walk.

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I got some very positive feedback on these tights, which I’m chuffed to bits with. They’re a DKNY Tall and they fit me pretty well. According to their original label they were $25 for two pairs in the US. I’m delighted to say they cost me £2.99. I bought one pair, as is my wont, tried them on then rushed back to buy another two before somebody else snapped them up. They’re a tad more neon than they look in the photographs but still a lot nearer the mark than the Halloween costume glow-in-the-dark comedy tights I ordered off eBay, thinking they were a regular lime green.

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I’ve had hell’s own job photographing these hexagonal perspex ‘n’ bling earrings, I don’t mind telling you. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Debenhams Blue Cross markdowns totally rule. These are from their Mood range, and cost me around four quid. I’d originally planned to wear an armload of perspex bangles to match but the print is so bold, it looked a bit much so I stuck to my mirrored one in shades of grey, black and silver instead. On the day, my nails matched my tights but alas I’ve bust three since then. Now they’re all different lengths and I don’t really want to draw attention to them.

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  • 3rd November
    2013
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OMG tumblr! This is my first review, which is to say a review of something I didn’t buy.  But, lest you think I’ve taken the King’s Shilling and joined the ranks of the heavily sponsored to fake-swoon over a dull procession of mediocre clothing, this is more of a bail-out than a sell-out situation. And, furthermore, what follows is my actual honest-to-gosh opinion. So now the disclaimer’s over and done with, how did this even come about, I hear you ask?

Long story short: fellow UK fatshion blogger, Claire, from Monkey See, Monkey Do, Monkey Wear emailed me shortly before Plus London to ask me if I fancied reviewing this here posh frock from Eplissé, which she’d been sent by Australian chain Taking Shape, as she felt it would be a better fit on me. So I thought I’d give it a go…

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It’s called the Highland Rose dress and is way prettier than it looks on the website. It’s silk and the print is as amazing as is its placement is unusual. However it’s also an AU 22 which makes it a UK 24 and, much as I loves me some oversized action, I think I probably needed a smaller size. It’s an interesting shape though, (if a bugger to iron), and while it is beltable, (as kindly suggested by Bethany), it’s hard to know exactly where to belt it owing to the unusual way it’s cut.

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See? 

Also, these days I tend to prefer garments that are slightly more fitted, or at least show off my legs, but I do love its opulence and it was great fun to accessorise.

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All this aside however, can I just draw your attention to this?!! Yep, Taking Shape are opening no less than thirty bricks and mortar stores in the UK as I write! Finally, after the predictable demise of the godawful Ann Harvey and the removal of the high street from Elvi, Evans is going to have a proper competitor for my fat favours and there’s even a branch I can get to by bus. Furthermore I was already familiar with the brand and have often wished the TS range was available over here.

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While the output is a bit too polyester-heavy for my taste, (but hey, whose isn’t these days?) I really like a lot of their prints and they don’t shy away from colour, even in the winter, which mades a bloody change. From what I can see they’re also catering to a slightly more mature market (which means they make dresses with sleeves thank God) and not trying to spread themselves too thinly.

I have to say I’m particularly taken with these three items:-

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So while Highland Rose proved to be a bit of a curate’s egg, I’m very glad I took the gig and can’t wait to check out the clothes in person.

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