Not a day goes by that I don’t see or hear a comment or post about what plus-size women “Should” wear. It never ceases to amaze me how we get so caught up in the opinions of others and hold ourselves back from trying something that might actually work for us, if only we could see how we might make it work for us. Way back in 2012 I worked on this project where I blew apart the all time top 12 myths applied to plus-size figures. The styles may have changed a little in 4 years, but the tips still apply.
Bust a myth today and…
Love your shape! Janine x
The myths of plus-size fashion dispelled…
How should I dress my body shape? Where do I go to buy clothes? How do I know what to wear? No, I can’t wear stripes! Oh no, not floral prints! No way, I’m not wearing a form fitting dress!
These are some of the questions and statements posed to me every day in my work as a stylist on my mission to empower the curvy women of Australia. With the change of season comes an opportunity to revamp your wardrobe and turn over a new leaf. It’s my philosophy that dressing a curvy figure is an art, not a science as some believe. Let’s face it, time and time again I prove that the standard, generic formulas given to us by the image and fashion industry don’t take into consideration the MOST important part of dressing a woman’s figure – how she FEELS when she’s dressed.
Take me, I’m 40, I’m a Australian dress-size 20. I’m not tall, but I’m not short and I’m a curvy woman and LOVE to look and feel great. I am NOT a model, I am an everyday woman off the street, a mum, a wife. These photos are untouched, I don’t believe in retouching – full stop. I advocate realistic & identifiable representation of garments on a body they were made for.
There is no doubt that Blush Photography are fantastic photographers (all images below by Blush Photography), and that with the help of beautiful lighting and lovely makeup I look more glamorous, but this is ME, everyday me, untouched.
What do you see when you view these photos? Can you identify with the body and how the clothes might look on you?
I see a woman with confidence, style, great body image AND a woman who feels great in the skin she’s in!
Let’s bust some of the myths I hear every day….
Myth No. 1 – There’s nowhere to shop in Australia for plus-size clothing
As you will discover with this style piece, there are so many options in Australia. I am passionate about not only plus-size garments that are made for our curves, but also positive customer service with passion and I’m proud to support Australian businesses. The labels referenced in this article are a small selection of what is on offer, but a great representation.
There is no doubt that the Australian Plus-size Industry requires some maturing. It is no secret that presently overseas suppliers often provide more choice or sometimes better quality. I work every day with passionate Australian business owners and designers who are striving to meet your needs and are doing so passionately and diligently.
My challenge to you is to SUPPORT AUSTRALIAN businesses, the more we support and show them we are serious about how we look and the money we spend, the more likely they are to move forward and rise to the challenge of meeting our needs more fully.
Myth No. 2 – Never Wear Horizontal Stripes – It makes you look bigger
Myth No. 3 – Don’t wear too much black
Myth No. 4 – Heels – they’re uncomfortable and you’ll walk like a duck
Horizontal stripes look fantastic if styled appropriately. In this case worn with a black base, it adds zest to the outfit, the bling embellishment on the singlet is awesome as is teaming it with a killer pair of red suede boots WITH a heel! These boots are THE most comfortable pair of heels I’ve ever worn, in fact I’ve been wearing them with everything – seriously these are a MUST have for anyone who has given up heels… you feel like you’re walking on air pockets AND they look incredible. Heels also add height and thus elongate the body, and feel so feminine. Basic blacks in the form of well fitted tailored pants (with a boot leg to balance out my shape) and a gorgeous fitted cardigan that accents the waist.
Cardigan, Dress Pants, Embellished Singlet, Bracelet City Chic
Red Boots Ziera Shoes
Myth No. 5 – No Floral Prints!
Being large busted and “older”, my waist is becoming harder and harder to define, but when I saw this gorgeous dress, I knew it was for me. Not only does it accentuate all the GREAT parts of my figure, it cleverly covers the ones I don’t want to draw attention to (my upper arms and tummy). This classic wrap looks and feels fantastic, and worn with my favourite wide calf boots and a shapewear slip dress to mould my curves, I am ready to go in minutes. The ruching over the tummy and the cross-over tie front, along with the ¾ arms and collar are all flattering. I LOVE the loud floral print, but does it knock you over or scream “big woman” because it’s floral? – no, the art is all in the accessories and attitude……….. don’t you think?
Evette Dress – Styled By Marie
Jessica Boots – Pergoni Boots
Shapewear Dress – my own
(Note: These two brands are no longer trading)
Myth No. 6 – Corporate Wear can only be black suits for plus-size women
Having worked in corporate offices for 15 years of my career, I understand the pressures and challenge to look good and present professionally. It does appear on the surface that Australian plus-size manufacturers only offer the basic black (and if you’re lucky navy blue) suiting, and at best it’s in some pretty scary fabrics and don’t get me started on sizing.
For me, colour is the new black in the office. I’m not afraid to stand out from the rest with my bold colours. If you build from a black foundation it’s easy to inject pattern or colour to change the look altogether. My preference for winter is my comfortable and stylish wide-calf boots, but if you’re a shoe girl, team with a great pair of tights or stockings from We Love Colors – incredible choice in plus-size realistic sizings. It’s ok to wear all black, but I always ensure I add great accessories to add value to the outfit and keep it punchy.
Skirt – TS14+
Tank – Autograph
Jacket – Big In Black
Jessica wide-calf boot – Pergoni Boots (no longer trading)
Belt – Coussinet Green photo:
Skirt, Vest & long sleeve T – TS14+
Louvre Wide-calf boot – Bennetts Boots (no longer trading)
Myth No.7 – Plus-size women should hide under tents and never wear belts
Myth No.8 – Never mix patterns in the same outfit
Belts, belts and more belts, that’s my motto! It is getting easier and easier to source great plus-size belts in varying lengths and styles. A belt is your best friend – it can make or break an outfit and take sizes off your figure.
Experiment with a belt for your shape, sometimes it’s better to hang it loosely as in the image on the left, if the belt was cinched at my waist it would accentuate my hips & tummy, but draped loosely it adds an interesting texture to my outfit and flatters my trouble spots and MORE importantly it feels fantastic!
In winter, layering basic T’s or tanks is a great way to keep warm and add texture and tone to your outfit. In the image on the right a pair of skinny leg jeans tucked into my “to die for” boots and belted at the waist with a flattering soft cardy is just perfect. Again the belt adds definition to the figure whilst the cardy flatters softly over the “no” spots and promotes the “yes” spots!
Mixing patterns, textures and colours is an integral part of building a great outfit. In this case a subtle zebra print in the leather of my boot is played down with the tones of these garments, and introduced to stripes in the jersey cardigan – I love the feel of the clash of these patterns which are minimised with the blending of the tones.
Dress – virtu
Belt – my own
Boots – Bennetts Boots (no longer trading)
Belt, Jeans, Layering Tanks, Jersey Striped Cardigan – Autograph
Zebra Print Boots – Boots For Broads
Myth No. 9: You should always dress your age
It’s so important to go with how you’re feeling, some days I feel like I’m ready to go back to my teens and paint my nails black, put on my industrial shoes and project a bit of attitude whilst rocking out to my favourite Soundgarden tune… on day’s like that I pull on my trusted military boots and style away with black, black and black. This sensational dress from Australian designers 17 Sundays is just so versatile, it looks amazing here in a rock theme with coloured leggings and military style boots, but looks equally fantastic with my Ascension clothing slip dress with red lace detail (from another designer, not pictured) and funky black wedges for a great summer day (not pictured). Clothing that is versatile is a MUST for your wardrobe, go with your mood on the day and be creative.
Dress & leggings – 17 Sundays
Boots – Ziera Shoes
Myth No. 10: Avoid oversized garments – they make you look bigger
Some days it’s just a must to have loose fitting but stylish and flattering garments to wear. The trick is to choose colours, textures and styles to suit you. I absolutely adore this outfit, it’s comfortable and as easy to wear as my tracksuit, yet looks a million dollars! It’s flattering to my figure and each piece is so versatile, wear it all together and it’s fabulous! For those “I just don’t know what to wear” or “I just can’t be bothered trying” days, this is MY ideal outfit. Every woman needs one of those in her wardrobe!
Pants, Frilled T, Cardigan – virtu
Shoes & Accessories – My Own
Myth No. 11: Maxi Dresses Hide Your Shape
My most favourite items in my winter wardrobe are two maxi dresses – these would have to be THE most versatile garments and take me from day to night in the blink of an eye!
Shout it from the rooftops – this is MY favourite dress, designed by the very talented Australian duo Hope&Harvest, this gorgeous grey maxi is just PERFECT with a lot of chunky jewellery and teemed with my Zebra print boots – comfortable, flattering and guaranteed to create a stir every time I wear it. What more could a girl want! Dress it up or dress it down, it’s all THAT.
Grey Dress – Hope & Harvest
Zebra Print Boots – Boots For Broads
I am a real vest girl (the 2nd most perfect accessory to “make” a waist – more on that another time), so my staple Igigi Claire De Lune maxi wrap dress is a great choice for those days when I need to go from casual/dressy day wear to a more dressy/evening – during the day add the vest and chunky jewellery, a great pair of boots and off you go… then transform it for the evening with a sexy pair of killer heels and a beautiful slip dress with coloured detail………. Stunning, versatile and so simple.
Slip Dress with Lace Detail – Ascension Clothing
Shoes – My Own Casually Styled: Jewellery – My own
Black Igigi Claire De Lune Dress Denim Vest – Autograph Boots – Pergoni Boots
Shoes – My Own
Myth No. 12 – You have to spend big $’s to look great
Want to look great on a budget? Would you believe this outfit cost $65 (excluding shoes & hat). Who says curvy women can’t look great on a budget!
I live in my jeans, dress them up, dress them down… the key again is in the correct style for YOU. For me, to balance out my figure I love boot leg jeans. I wear jeans autumn/winter/spring/summer. Based in Melbourne we are used to 4 seasons in one day and the key to dressing for Melbourne weather is layers! These gorgeous boot leg jeans (a steal for $19 a pair at KMART!!) are great wearing and fit my curves beautifully. Teamed with a long-sleeved pink/red T, and chunky knit I was ready to go. Oh and if you’re having a bad hair day, or you’re like me and the foggy cool weather makes your hair frizz, team your outfit with your favourite hat & scarf– a winner every time!
Jeans, Long Sleeve T & Chunky Knit – KMart
Boots – Ziera Shoes
Hat & Scarf – My Own
When purchasing jeans, it’s important to have a selection in your wardrobe. Short boots or heels look great in boot leg, but when wanting to tuck your jeans into your boots, it’s essential that you select “skinny” leg jeans – no unsightly bulges at the ankle from stuffing too much material into your boots.
P.S. Remember those incredibly comfortable heeled boots I was raving about earlier, here they are again!
SNUGGLE TIP for AUTUMN/WINTER: Natural Fabrics
In winter I want to be warm but not restricted, I personally am not a fan of 2 piece PJs, so for me this gorgeous and comfy heavy cotton nightie is perfect for the cooler weather, grab your teddy and snuggle up – colour adds life!
Available from Jacaranda Lane.
So there you have it, 12 Myths busted – and so simply.
(This review was done in 2012)
Would you or someone you know benefit from some styling & shopping guidance? For all bookings made on my Wardrobe Revamp & Style or Personal Style & Shop Options, booked before the 24th December and held in January/February or March 2016, I’m offering 20% OFF my normal rates.
This is a great time to experience how easy it is to look great and love your shape!
Still not sure, check out what others had to say about their experience.
Happy & Safe Festive Season.
Love your shape!
Here’s what other’s have said about their experience:
“Hi Janine, Just wanted to drop you a line and say a big ‘thank you’, after our Skype styling session which I know wasn’t made easy with our internet connection! Your advice has been so valuable I have cleaned out the wardrobe, gotten rid of all my wrong clothes, and have added color and style to it now. My teenage children didn’t recognize me when I saw them recently after not seeing them for a few months, they were taken back with the ‘trendy ‘new me ( their words not mine). As you know when I got your help I was off to a couple of high end events, using your advice I found the perfect outfits for both occasions and for the first time in my life I looked good and was complimented by many people. My boyfriend of 8 years is blown away with the new me his head is spinning. I now know what to buy and know I’m not throwing away dead money on wrong styles and color. You have given me the confidence to hold my head high and embrace my shape – to use your words, Love my shape! Any women who is struggling should use your service, you are a inspiration to us all and such a fountain of style and knowledge. I also wish to say thank you for the help with my wedding dress its not something I would have considered before speaking to you but on your advice I now own the dresses of my dreams! (I’ll send pics later) PS: I don’t mind if you want to forward this on or put anyone in contact with me that is not sure about using your service, even though they would be mad not to, I’m happy to sing your praises. Loving my size 26/28 shape”.
Bron B, Sydney, NSW.
“I wish I had have met you years ago, my approach to how I dress and see my body would have been a lot different”.
Deborah F, Manager & Publicist for Shane Jacobson, Daylesford, Vic
“You’re an inspiration truly. What you do for women who have image issues, u make the image no issue…”
Jo J, Melbourne, Vic, via facebook.