It’s been ages, but I’ve had various things going on – most of all to do with writing! Managed to complete NaNoWriMo for the first time ever this year, then it was my birthday, then Christmas came flying up so fast that it feels anticlimactic now that it’s over. Anyway, I got some lovely presents, both for my birthday on 2nd and for Christmas. Along the way I’ve also picked up a few bargains from Style369 and ASOS Curve, and I’m looking forward to posting more outfit posts in the coming months. I think a lot of it is that I kind of lost my way with blogging here and had to go away and remind myself of why I do it – because there are not enough Fat ladies and guys out there showing the world how lovely we all are and that we deserve to be treated like human beings who love style and having a proper choice of clothing – stuff that fits all sizes and that doesn’t look like a muumuu.
Anyway, for Christmas Day, I wore a red boyfriend cardigan from New Look that I bought a few years ago, and a gorgeous Style369 Polka Dot Dress from Max C – it is lovely, and although a little flimsy, I think it is definitely the kind of dress to be brought out for special occasions – which is pretty much every day, then! I also wore the Tatty Devine Magpie Necklace that my parents bought me for Christmas. Its a bit of a blogger cliche, but I love bird motifs, and the monochrome appeal of Magpies – birds that love sparkly things and adorning their nests with bits and bobs.
Sorry if the photos are not amazing – it was a bit of a hasty OOTD shoot and so the bathroom mirror had to do!
So – hope everyone had a Christmas full of yummy food and nice presents, and that 2012 brings health, success and happiness to everyone reading and passing by.
Mondays can be the worst days of the week. On days like today, I like to do a bit of wish-listing and also get distracted by my favourite things. So I thought it would be a good idea to have a weekly post where I make wish-lists of the things that make me happy, beginning with Polka Dots today. I mean, there is a reason why my blog is called Polka Dots and Rainbows! I’m obsessed with the print. It is both retro and classic, and never seems to date, no matter what decade it is. I love Polka dots because they make me feel both a little rockabilly and a little Mad-Men-esque (apart from the glaring anachronism of Polka Dots first appearing in the 80s).
Anyway, Happy Monday, treat yourself to something sweet and remember Friday is only four days away…
I know I’ve been away from blogging here for most of the summer, and its probably because I’ve found it hard to drum up enthusiam, despite the fact that I still love clothing and style. I really appreciate bloggers because it takes a lot of effort to keep people interested and to create posts. This summer, I’ve dropped the ball for a lot of things, and I’m not sure whether that is just a seasonal thing – I’m not a summer person, and find heat makes me feel a little bit disaffected. Autumn, for me, is like an awakening - as though I wake up from a long mental slumber. This summer was all about reading, recharging my batteries and the first time I’ve written an article for a newspaper (more on that when it’s published in October). I’ve been thinking about what I love to write about, and whether this blog still slots into that. I do enjoy writing about style and body acceptance, about the relationship we all have with our bodies, and how we reflect our personal style. I read a lot of brilliant blogs about plus size style and just fashion/beauty blogs, and they still inspire me. I’m feeling quieter about my own style choices, even though I do make an effort most days to wear something that makes me feel brilliant, I often forget or don’t get a chance to take photos of what I’m wearing. It doesn’t help that I was getting ready to do some OOTDs in the coming days and I managed to break my camera! So it’s gone off to be repaired. Until then, I will have to be creative with my posting, and do more writing as opposed to picture taking/sharing.
I want to share some reviews of products and clothing I’ve obtained and have been testing over the summer. Some of the things I’ve bought have been reviewed and posted elsewhere, but I hope that my opinions and testing will help people make informed purchases. I’ve bought a few pieces from ASOS, such as the Summer Floral dress (now £16 in the ASOS Curve sale section) – which I’ve had to buy twice because the material is quite flimsy and ended up with a few threads dragging – not exactly a rip but it feels a little like one. I also bought the Spring Floral dress because on the site it looked lovely, but it is definitely too short for me. Or at least it feels too short. I also don’t like the material it is made of, very silky, almost satin, polyester. It doesn’t have a lining which was a huge let down. I guess I’m fussy that way – I like dresses to be lined! That doesn’t take away from the fact that I have fallen head over heels for ASOS Curve, because they are doing something that many Plus Size retailers are not willing to do – make their clothes beautiful, wearable and stylish. Though they don’t always seem to be as daring as the main ASOS line, I actually prefer the Curve line.
I’ve also bought a few things from Style369; the Polka Dot Palazzo trousers, White Polka Dot Prom Dress and also the newer Black Lace Prom Dress. I’m mostly impressed with how Style369 seems to be more exuberant and less frightened of stylish clothing than Evans. Although I have a soft spot for Evans, it just isn’t doing anything for me. The clothes are boring and dated – and whilst they are firm classics, they just don’t sing. I’m also disappointed because whilst I wouldn’t buy that much from them, the ‘classic’ pieces are also disappointing – I can’t even find a long, black cardigan that isn’t a kind of ribbed knit. Actually, has anyone noticed that there seems to be a lack of mid-length to long black cardigans around between the sizes of UK 16-22? I’ve looked everywhere.
I haven’t been on holiday abroad this summer, although the man and I are jetting off to Barcelona in mid-October for a week. I’m looking forward to it – we haven’t been on holiday abroad together since 2006 when we went to Nice (South France) for two weeks. It was almost on impulse – booking the flights to Barcelona whilst the BA summer sale was on, then booking an apartment via Friendly Rentals (where you pay a deposit then the rest of the money upfront when you get there). So it is do-able if you manage to save up the money, and we’re busy saving whatever we can. I guess that’s why I’m so annoyed about the camera breaking – at least we still have the warranty but if they can’t fix it then it might be that we’ll have to buy another camera.
Edinburgh this year was an interesting experience – we went up for Access Week where they have more BSL interpreting than usual and also a few captioned shows. It was disappointing that there were only about three shows captioned this year because we went there for Access Week and the BSL was difficult for my Sister and I to follow – all signers have an ‘accent’ depending on where they’re from. Scottish BSL accents are difficult to follow! It is all to do with how some signs are different according to the region the interpreter is from. It is like a different spoken accent…anyway, we got the gist of some of the comedy performances we went to see (Daniel Sloss and then Craig Hill), but it could have been clearer. I guess it was appropriate considering that the comedians were Scottish and they had a Scottish interpreter?
Another thing is that I’m now trying to make a huge effort with intuitive eating as opposed to Weight Watchers. Whilst I found that WW gave me a little kick to start being more healthy – eating well and moving more – I lost enthusiasm for the calorie counting, Pro-Points following, etc. It just isn’t sustainable for life. That is why I’ve been re-reading Linda Bacon’s Health At Every Size (please give it a read, it is so inspiring and also educational), and have been thinking about the foods that make me and my body happier and more full of energy. I found myself sinking into a guilty relationship with food with WW, which is definitely not a good thing. My goal is to change the way I think about food – not as good or bad, but as something that gives me sustenance, that fuels my body. The movement part is also important – I’ve never been one for gyms or running. I prefer walking in the woods, or swimming or dancing. It is important to me to find joy in movement, rather than feeling like it is a huge effort because I’m not enjoying it. I’ll let you know how it goes, anyway!
Talking of food, I’ve been trying different recipes recently – and I have to say that Nigella Lawson’s Sunshine Soup is beautiful, especially if you like sweetcorn and need cheering up on a bad day. I love her more recent recipe book Kitchen, which I was given at Christmas. Its taken until now for me to start using it, and I’m hoping to try more food experiments in the coming months. I’ll probably talk about it over at my other blog (Cats and Chocolate), if you’re interested!
What else is there to say except happy Autumn/Fall – this is one of my favourite times of the year. Being a writer, it helps if the weather is a little cooler and moodier, and you can feel the nights drawing in. I love wrapping up and going for walks stomping through leaves and the fresh wind blowing through the cobwebs.
A woodland in full color is awesome as a forest fire, in magnitude at least, but a single tree is like a dancing tongue of flame to warm the heart. ~ Hal Borland
…in the past two years:
- Buy what you love, even if its not ‘in’ fashion. You make your own style and choices. Style isn’t about following, although some fashion is beautiful.
- Throw out the rule book when it comes to ‘flattering’ shapes and so on. I’ve worn lots of things that wouldn’t be recommended by the likes of Gok Wan or Trinny and Susannah. Like – bright colours, baggy jeans, clingy dresses, stripes, skinny jeans, leggings – try them, and if you like them, wear them! Nobody else can dictate what you want to wear, it doesn’t matter what size you are. Clothes should be fun.
- Never buy anything full price. Unless you can definitely afford it. Keep your eye out for discounts, sign up for newsletters which often feature discounts, check twitter and ask around for discounts.
- Experiment with re-working clothes and outfits. I’ve used Polyvore (how did you guess?!) to mess around with what I’ve got in my wardrobe and create different looks and get inspiration. It is hard when you feel like you don’t have a lot, but remixing and looking for inspiration is fun, and you might come across something you love, that you want to try out. Less choice sometimes means you can be more creative.
- …that leads me to: don’t be afraid to experiment and step outside of your comfort zone. It might be a resounding success, or it might be a resounding flop. But that’s the point – to have fun and try things out. If all those “fashion gurus” had their way, all fat and curvy ladies would be wearing top to toe black. I’m not happy with that, as much as I love black. So I make it a habit to routinely try different things, and to be more fearless, even if my style experiments don’t work as well I was expecting!
- Styling gets easier as you go along. At the beginning, I was tentative and wasn’t sure how to style things. I’ve learnt a lot from reading other women’s fatshion and fashion blogs, looking at the way they style things, and soaking up the general fabulousness. This has taught me even though you can be as fun and fearless as you want to be, wearing polka dots with, say, animal print is a little mad. Maybe a print needs something a little more neutral to make it pop more. Sure, there are no ‘rules’ as such, but it depends on the print (especially loud prints…).
- Have some trusty basics you can fall back on. Like – a black t-shirt (or beige, whatever you colour preference), black or plain coloured flats, a neutral cardigan, etc. Again, I’ve also learnt that people’s basic wardrobe varies, according to what is most important to them or what appeals to them – to have a neutral dress or to have a neutral pair of brogues.
- Don’t hold on to things that don’t fit, and haven’t fit for a long time. The other day I had a wardrobe clear out and needed to be ruthless with it because all my clothes were jammed in and cramped against each other. I let go of things that I haven’t worn for ages, for a variety of reasons – they don’t suit my style any longer, I haven’t worn them for ages, they’re either too big or too small, or I just don’t love them (like them, maybe, but feel ambivalent about them). Letting go means there is more room for things that you love to wear. I understand that it is really hard not to be sentimental about clothes, but that is why you’re allowed to keep things you love (even if they’re falling to pieces)!
- Learn how to let go of judgement with other women and yourself. It has been a long time coming for me, because I’ve had a battle with self esteem and learning to accept myself, but I’m trying and as a result I don’t compare myself to other people and women so much any more. Everyone’s style is different, everyone is unique, and this means you are unique and different too. Be proud of all your little quirks and accept that perfection is a myth that we’ve been fed from a young age by people who want to sell us stuff.
- Accessories can create new looks better than adding a new piece of clothing to your wardrobe. I love to play around with jewellery, and like to look for interesting things on Etsy and support independent retailers (such as Hannah Zakari, Hannah Makes Things and Rock and Rose). You can find pieces of jewellery that express things about yourself more than some clothing can. They are extra layers of self expression! Scarves, hats, shoes, bags, jewellery – accessorizing is another way to have fun.
- I don’t wear heels unless I know I’m going to be sitting around most of the day. I’ve always wondered how other women manage walking around town in skyscraper heels. It must be so painful. As much as I love a pair of heels, I don’t wear them that often at all. I guess it depends how used to walking in heels you are? Maybe there’s a secret to it that I haven’t yet cracked? In the meantime, I just covet them all and wear them to special occasions.
Take risks: if you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise. ~ Author Unknown
I’m already dreaming of summer and days spent in the garden with a cool drink and a pile of books to read, despite the changeable British weather. There are so many books I want to read that sometimes I wonder how I have time to do anything else!
There are also a few items of clothing, shoes and accessories that I think of as Summer essentials. For example, the perfect white summer dress – white doesn’t absorb heat like black does so it’s cooler (in more ways than one!) to wear in the summer. I know sometimes it can seem scary to wear white – it’s such an easy colour to spill things on and get stained. It’s also not a colour that people feel they can ‘hide’ in, if that makes sense? It took me a while to realise that white is actually one of those colours I like wearing. Crisp white reminds me of summer and sunshine, sheets drying on the clothes line in the summer breeze. It makes me think of white flowers and perfumes that have white flower notes in them like Issey Miyake’s L’eau d’Issey.
What makes one white dress perfect for you varies from person to person. For me, it is texture and detail. I bought a broidery anglais dress from Dorothy Perkins in their sale recently – it is the right shape for me as its got a square neck and it flares out from the waist – 50’s style! I’m not sure how short it is, hopefully not as short as some Dotty P dresses tend to be.
Another essential on my summer wish list is the perfect pair of sandals. I’m not completely sure what I want from a good pair of sandals, because for years I’ve been in love with Birkenstock. Lately I’ve been looking at Swedish Hasbeens, but they’re expensive and I would have to take out a loan to be able to afford them! My sister also thinks they’re ugly, so I’m not sure what I like so much about them. You could say Birkenstocks are a bit ‘ugly’ too, because they put comfort over style, even though I think they have a certain sturdy charm. If I really want a pair of Swedish Hasbeens I’ll have to save up – only time will tell if I’m really sure about them!
In my previous post, I also talked about floral summer dresses – always something that I fall for every season! I like midi-dresses because I just don’t like anything too short, in case of drafts or windy days…although you can avoid this panic if you wear short leggings or leggings. I think this is one of the reasons I don’t wear dresses or skirts more often because I panic about windy days! This is why I’m in love with all the trouser styles around at the moment.
I’ve also been coveting cat-eye sunglasses – there are some lovely ones at Dorothy Perkins at the moment – in mint green, pink, orange and black. I think the mint green and black ones are the ones I’d go for. In the summer I tend not to wear metal accessories so much – they’re heavy and a bit cumbersome. I’ve been loving the Fox pendant from Hannah Zakari for a while now too – it doesn’t look too heavy. Plastic or wood seem to be good bets for summer.
My other summer essentials are light cardigans – both in colour and in material. I like H&M at the moment – they have some lovely colours and I’d probably go for blue and beige-pink. Cardigans with prints are also something I want more of this summer! It looks like I’ll be a bit retro/feminine this summer, although I could never give up wearing my baggy boyfriend jeans…