Thursday, 18 February 2016

Beth Ditto Collection SS16 Launch and Review!

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I went to Selfridges tonight. I went for the launch of the Beth Ditto Collection for Spring/Summer 2016. This was an open invite event, and anyone could trudge along... Thanks to a little nudge from my friend Amanda, I couldn't resist. 

First and foremost, despite a two year hiatus of any fashion posts, I still love fashion. When the Beth Ditto Collection dropped, I knew I wanted to see it up close and having been a fan of the clothing Beth did for Evans, I wanted to see if there were fundamental similarities. 

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The event at Selfridges was great. Not because of Selfridges, but because of Beth... She was the main event, but I can tell you now, she was a pretty unassuming one. There was no introduction as Beth arrived, instead, she was suddenly on the floor next to us saying, "HI!!" to everyone she walked passed. And then it started. No formal chats, no introductions, no "this is why I do what I do", this was a meet and greet and thank you to all who had rocked up to support her. It was really nice... Beth took photos with everyone who wanted one, signed items and spoke to (pretty much) everyone in attendance. It was a smallish event, but it is one of the best I can remember from my old days as a blogger. 

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The Collection? It's lovely. The structured pieces are beautifully lined, feminine and interesting. The Lola Dress and Skirt have pleats and pockets and are made of a modal nylon blend... They have SOME stretch, but honestly, I had to size UP. These pieces are fitted and tailored, but run snug! I couldn't get a great image of the skirt, but here I am rocking kisses, baby! This is the dress in a size 26 (UK). In the Lola Skirt I was a 24 (UK).

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(I am editing this post on waking up because I've thought about how snug these pieces are overnight. I am not a size 26. I've thought about this tailoring and how I've had to size up and it really sucks that so many women will be sized out of these structured pieces. I find that difficult to accept as okay).

Anyone familiar with Beth's Evans Collection from AW10, will recognise a similar structure to the Rose Dress and Blue Velvet Dress in the Lola silhouette.

Next up, I tried the Summerweight "Eat Your Makeup" Tee. This is really lightweight and almost buttery to the touch. I am in the size 22/24 (UK) and it was comfortable... I POSSIBLY could have tried the 18/20 (UK) but this piece didn't transfix me... Don't get me wrong, I LOVE this print (it's my favourite print from the Collection), but after seeing the structure and silhouettes from other pieces, I didn't feel a need to keep trying this. It is 100% the best print though and did feel lovely on my skin.

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Another print I liked was the Electric Eye print. I mean look at how cute this detail is... 

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This print is available in the Kim Oversize Shirt and the Leigh Dress. The Leigh Dress is a textured silk and cotton weave that has weight to it and feels luxurious. I tried the Kim Oversize Shirt in an 18/20 (UK). I really like this look. The fabric on this is a rayon/spandex blend and really soft to touch. The loose drape is lovely. Also. Any women who think they might be sized out of the Collection, but still want to try a piece - this is a good one to start with (although I do appreciate that you want access to structured options too and my even mentioning trying an "oversize" top might be infuriating as the same old bollocks you often hear).

Sorry the photo is such crap quality, the stance is deliberate, as I wanted to show the cut and drape from the sleeve. I really, really like this.

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Finally, I had to try the Double Bubble Dress. Obviously. I wanted to try a different print (this is available in my favourite "Eat My Makeup" print), and here I am in the print "Times Squares".

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Fabric-wise, this is so light you can see the texture of my bra! Outrageous. But not really. I LOVE this piece. Now, this dress was really weird and kind of uncomfortable to get into, but once on, it drapes wonderfully from the shoulder and bubbles into an elasticized hem. This hem feature is reminiscent of some of Beth's earlier pieces and I did not find it constricting once I had it on. The dress comes with a tiny rope belt, which I added, although this would be optional if you want to go for a more floaty look. The drape on this is something else. I am wearing size 18-22 (UK). My photos are just terrible, but hella, I ain't even a real blogger any more!

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This was a nice event and experience. I have to say, the fashion here is something else. The pieces have been made with care, by a woman who understands fat bodies. Beth Ditto, in her Collection for SS16, has given Plus Size Designer fashion: beautiful tailoring, floaty oversize, light textures, heavy fabrics and great drape.  That being said, this is labeled as Designer-Wear and it's expensive, therefore this Collection won't be accessible to the majority of fat females.

(On a small tangent, the Lola Skirt I tried in black is better than ANY Midi Skirt that I have ever tried. Last year, I bought 2 Midi Skirts from Simply Be - one of which quickly lost shape. I also bought one from Navabi that wasn't structured anywhere near as well as the Lola. All three were much cheaper and none of them were lined. The Lola Skirt would be able to replace all the Midi Skirts that I already own and at £130.00 - that should certainly be the case - but that fact still doesn't make the price point accessible for most women).

This IS a great Collection. The prints are interesting and with different shapes, colours and fabrics available, this will certainly appeal to many women. I do wish I could see consistency in sizing, but I don't - hence posting the range of everything I tried (18 - 26 (UK)). I do love that I could go to the Launch, meet Beth (who was accessible and unassuming), and then go for cocktails with a friend afterwards.

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I'm no blogger anymore, but someone at Selfridges told me not to take photos. I clearly then had to take a shit load of photos and share them... Even the crappy ones.

I hope you are all so great.

Em. x.

*Adjusted the price on the Lola skirt so it is now accurate! x. 

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Thank you. x.

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This is a long overdue post.

I never meant to stop blogging. It just happened. So this is a post to say hello, tell you I am happy, still loving Mr. Darcy - and also to say thank you.

This blog, for many years, was a really central part of my life. Because of this blog, I have loved myself more, loved my body more and also been loved - by many of you. The community around the world of blogging and the support and friendship we give one another is amazing. I cherish it.

There are a couple of reasons I stopped blogging… but first let me give you a Trigger Warning. This post mentions Cancer and Fear. I am okay - but it would be remiss of me not to warn you of this content. x. 

The Post I Couldn't Quite Write.

There was a post I couldn't write. That post, for a long while, kind of hog-tied my ability to blog any more. You see, at the end of 2013, I found myself a breast lump. A properly real, deafeningly scary, breast lump. The kind of thing you feel and don't query - "is this a lump?". No - this was the kind of thing you feel and think - "this is what the tell us to look for… Exactly this". Up front, let me say - I am okay. No treatments needed as the lump was benign. But. The lump was scary.  So scary - that to say it out loud was too much. But - here I go.

I found the lump one morning as I went to take a shower. Darcy was in bed still. It was late December and the cold water was taking a long time to warm up. While waiting, I thought I'd do a quick breast exam, which I probably do every couple of months. I lifted my right arm up, so my right hand was behind my right shoulder - elbow high in the air. I took my left hand and felt the top of my right breast.

And there it was. Right away. A lump.

Now, some of you may want to know what the difference was between the lump and my normal breast tissue; my breast tissue is soft to touch, while the lump was not. The lump was hard and defined - a very obvious difference and very scary thing to feel. I got in the shower and washed, overwhelmed and not wanting to acknowledge. I got out the shower, toweled off and felt for the lump again... There it was.

I flew into the bedroom to see Mr. Darcy. Darcy could immediately tell there was something serious happening as I sat down next to him and in a measured tone, asked him to feel the top of my breast. I handn't imagined it. Darcy was very careful how he spoke to me. He was gentle and leading, without telling me what to do. He also intuitively knew he had to remain calm for me. It was clear to us both that I had to see a doctor.

It was all really scary. My G.P. felt the lump and sent me for a day of testing at our local hospital. This is a day where they ultrasound, then mammogram, then biopsy ALL IN ONE DAY, as needed. It was actually really good to know that most of the testing would all happen in one day and even now, I feel lucky that my local hospital has a specific Breast Care Clinic. It was a scary morning. Just getting to the hospital was hard. We (all of us) know someone who's had breast cancer. Hopefully, most of the people we know have survived. In my head, I wasn't thinking about dying from Cancer, but rather losing my breast(s), undergoing chemo and having radiation therapy. I have lived through Cancer very closely with family and also with friends, and while they all showed great strength, the prospect of it happening to me was still very, very scary. I desperately wanted to know how bad my lump was so I could know what course of treatment I would have. I felt like KNOWING would make things better or clearer for me. But still, my friends; I nearly passed out when I was taken in to be examined. Such great fear.

I want to add, that in the lead up to my hospital visit, I did set my fear out of my mind as much as I could. I focused on other things - work, life, family. I even went on a road trip (!!), but, when the day of testing arrived - I didn't mean to be so fearful - rather, the fear was just there.

Needless to say, my testing went well. The lump I found was real and showed up on the ultrasound, but did not show up as malicious. The conclusion was made that I had a ridge of compacted glandular tissue at the top of my breast. NATURAL - but a hard and defined lump, nonetheless. A year later (today), and that ridge has migrated back into my natural breast.

I did have to go back and see a Consultant a few days after my testing… She confirmed the all clear. I left the hospital and sat outside and cried for about an hour. For weeks afterwards, this actually plagued me. Such horrible fear. Even now, I feel uncomfortable to really think about the fear that my lump caused me, and I feel somewhat ashamed knowing that there are many women out there NOT so lucky as I was. For support, I did end up calling Macmillan Cancer Support and of course, had my wonderful Darcy by me. AFTER the fact I told my mum and a couple of my girlfriends about it - but still held it very close. Fear is crippling, huh? And I didn't even HAVE Cancer.

After this experience, trying to get back to blogging about clothes seemed frivolous. Finding a breast lump is what I wanted to tell you about. But this was a hard post to write, and my fear was a hard thing to confront - but THIS, was all I wanted to say. I wanted to share this experience as I feel, as women, we NEED to share these experiences with one another. And as this post got harder to write and more distance was set between myself and the experience, I got busy doing other things. Work (always!!). But also, in my down time - I just wanted to be with Darcy, be with friends and be with my dog. I thought about blogging, of course I did, but my heart wanted to be filled with other things. Offline experiences, as such!

I have, to some degree, passed my time for blogging. I still love the blogosphere and our world and our community, but I have moved to a different place, an offline place, and I feel happy. I would LOVE to tell you that I am back on the blog for 2015, but with a contract from now until November, I know that taking photos and writing posts will fall wayside, as I spend my downtime doing tangible things that warm my heart.

I am still around, just not on here.

So thank you, my loves, for your support and friendship these last five years. Thank you for your messages, affirmations, critiques and comments. You have helped fill my soul and I love you for it.

Stay true to yourself and love yourself always… or, on the "off days" just love yourself the best you can. Remember, we all have the "off days".

Have a great 2015.

Much love,

Em. x.

For advice on how to check your breasts, please follow either of these links: - Self Exam.
National Brest Cancer Foundation - Exams.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Curvy Couture Roadshow in Australia!

Last year, I became friendly with Kerry Pietrobon who's the designer and owner of the Harlow Brand in Australia. Harlow quickly became a fast favourite of mine, and I've posted on the brand several times. I LOVE it. The quality is amazing and the brand pays attention to Curvy women and our bodies.

I am PROUD to say that Kerry is one of the people setting up the Curvy Couture Roadshow in Australia. This is an event that's aiming to give a platform to independent and emerging designers within the 14+ Arena. The Roadshow will be a place to showcase designs, whilst also being a PART of Melbourne Fashion Week. Ah. Amazing. 

There are loads of brands onboard and the aim is to let plus women know that there are loads of great options in the fashion world downunder. If you're in Oz - you should really, really try and get along. Tickets here.

I *bet* that if this goes successfully - it will become a yearly staple, which is amazing and wonderful!

For more information, head to the Curvy Couture Roadshow site now!