Petite Plus now at Taking Shape

Hallelujah! Women across the country are rejoicing at the news that Taking Shape has just launched a range designed exclusively for ladies 5’2″ (158cm) and under in sizes 12-24 called Petite Plus.

The Petite Plus Collection is available online and in selected stores across the country and in Wellington NZ store.

Petite Plus Best Friend Jegging Petite Plus Its a Rapt Top

Petite Plus Cora Line Up TopPetite Plus Luna Lace Dress

The collection features garments perfectly proportioned with narrowed shoulders, shorter hemlines and in-seams and reduced lengths.  The fashionable range includes tops, dresses and bottoms. They are the same high quality fashion styles you love from Taking Shape with design alterations to suit shorter, curvy women.

For an added bonus, the range is currently 30% OFF until 22nd August!

Click the banner below to start shopping.

170821-petite-hpbox-dLove your shape!

Janine x 

4 Key Items to pack when travelling

Happy New Year! Wow, what happened to 2016? I recently looked back at my blog and discovered I’d last posted in July!  How did that go so fast? 2016 was super hectic and a wonderful experience of developing the wholesale agent side of my business at United Curves. The year just flew by as I was head down, bum up fielding the enquiries and developing the reach of our amazing Australian Plus-size Designers.  Thank you to all my readers for all your loyal support, and incredible input that adds such significant value to the work that I so love – expanding the boundaries of plus-size fashion here in Australia. I am so excited for this new year and all it promises to be.

Goodbye Sunny Abu Dhabi

In early December 2016, it was time to switch off and take a well deserved break.  So together with my hubby and son, we jumped on a plane and headed to Europe to spend Christmas with our family in The Netherlands. We’ve been planning and saving for this trip for so long we couldn’t believe it had finally arrived! We had the most amazing trip, stopping over in Abu

IMG_4458

Hello Foggy, Cold Holland & France

Dhabi, somewhere I’d never visited before. On past trips I’d always flown straight through on long haul flights, but I have to say that I’m converted to stop-overs now, not only did it make the most amazing difference to minimising jet lag, but it gave us an opportunity to explore another region of the world I hadn’t been to yet. When we left Melbourne it was a balmy 25 degrees, when we arrived in Abu Dhabi it was around 18 degrees each day (it’s their winter there) so the impact of the weather wasn’t too much of an issue, however landing in Holland four days later, we were welcomed with 2 degrees, fog, cold winds and rain – oh boy was that a shock!  It was time to start layering and I have to say given that I’m a real winter girl it was heaven wearing boots and tights and layers.  We had everything from winter sun, hail, rain and beautiful snow. So grateful.

You already know that I’m a huge supporter of Sonsee, but seriously they are AMAZING!  I took 3 pairs of Sonsee 100 denier hosiery with me, as well as a long sleeve body suit, my long sleeve layering slip and seamless bra. I lived in these items and have never been more grateful for well fitting, good quality garments. The hosiery fits like a glove, no rolling or sagging, just fits.  You can hand wash all the items and the next morning (even in the cold climate) they are dry again – ready to go! Simple.  I have never owned a pair of hosiery that I have been able to wear more than twice, we were away for 34 days and I wore all of those garments daily and they are all in the same condition they were when I took them out of the packet – now that’s quality!

4 Key Items Sonsee Europe Trip

I find when flying that wearing an underwire bra is uncomfortable when sitting for such long periods of time so I always wear my Sonsee seamless bra – it’s just so damn comfortable and although it is low support, it feels great and feels like I’m not wearing a bra. Bonus.

The seamless long sleeve slip and bodysuits are so versatile. Slips for layering under dresses or tunics/tops, and bodysuit for skirts and pants – easy. With the challenge of only having a 20kgs baggage allowance – especially during the winter months when you require so many more clothes it’s hard to pack well – not when you have Sonsee!  The four items weighed next to nothing and yet apart from my winter boots, jacket & scarf were the most important items. When it’s cold out – the shops, museums & restaurants tend to overcompensate by warming the buildings too high that you need to peel off so many layers – so this worked beautifully for me and allowed me to be fashionable and functional all at the same time!

We had the most amazing trip and I feel refreshed and tanked up with family time – so important to the work/life balance.  I did do some work whilst I was away and had the opportunity to meet up with a wonderful plus-size advocate and influencer in Holland during my stay and do a little shopping.  More on that in the next post.

It’s time to get to work and plough head first into 2017.

Love your shape!

Janine x

The shift is here…extended size ranges imminent

As you know, I’m passionate about ensuring every curvy woman knows not only what looks good on her, but where to find it. In my journey to help women “Love your shape!” I’ve worked closely with Australian plus-size designers and consulted with Retailers and plus-size Brands for years, helping them to understand their target market, developing their brand and encouraging them to market realistically and identifiably for best results.

My instinct has always been to push the boundaries and deservedly position plus-size fashion where it belongs – readily available in bricks & mortar stores/boutiques across our beautiful country, online and beyond!

In my past work as a wholesale agent for brands such as 17 Sundays, I’ve slogged across the countryside, samples in tow and visited hundreds of boutiques – only to discover that boutique after boutique are stocking the same labels as their competition across the street! Where is the variety? Where is the choice? I’ve marvelled at how some boutiques have managed to make a dollar whilst offering and competing with the same product. This just doesn’t make sense to me.  And not only that, but I’ve watched curvy customers walk straight past boutique doors, as they know that there is nothing for them there. What a missed opportunity!

In October 2014, IBISWorld released their report on the plus-size Industry stating the plus-size Industry is in the growth stage of its life cycle. Annual growth from 2010-2015 stands at 3.7%!! In simple terms, it’s the only retail sector with growth!

These are statistics you can’t ignore! Time for retailers to quit their complaining about how slow things are.. and open their doors to the curvy customer who has been ignored for far too long!

Now I’m not talking those great retailers who already stock plus-size fashion and extended size ranges, I’m talking about those boutiques that you and I walk past everyday, and we walk past them because we KNOW that there is NOTHING in there for us – they stock to a size 14-18 maximum (and we all know that those are not actual true PLUS size garments – just sized up from a mainstream size block!). Sigh.

I have a solid understanding of what the curvy customer wants and equally an understanding of what retailers’ challenges and rewards are, so it was only logical to put myself to work on making a change.

Over the past few months I’ve been busy busy with United Curves, a wholesale fashion agency I created exclusively for Australian Designer brands in sizes 12-26+. Now you might ask, why start at a size 12?  The answer is simple. I wanted to attract the businesses I am talking about above, the boutiques that would benefit immensely from extending their size ranges, as well as the already converted plus-size specialists.

UnitedCurvesWesbiteImage

I spent a lot of time considering my approach, it’s was logical that I would source Australian plus-size designers, and to date I’ve built up a suite of brands including, Beyond The Sea, Hope & Harvest, huudaverti, Sonsee Woman, Lisa Kerr Designs and Plus Maternity Australia, AND I have a waiting list of over 8 more labels.

The opportunities have come at us thick & fast, which is hugely exciting. In March I sat in the Head Office of one our major Australian Retailers, talking to them about these brands.  At the table were buyers and marketing representatives, and I was astounded at how well they knew their customer. Previously the feeling was that it was all about the $’s and not about the customer (which incidentally if you get it right DOES equal more sales!), but I digress.  I nearly fell off my chair when one of the ladies, the head of marketing, said “no Janine, we’ll be photographing the garments on different sized figures”… wait, WHAT?? I was so conditioned at having to debate with these companies about realistic & identifiable representation of garments that I almost launched into my spiel, but instead I was stopped in my tracks – wow that felt good 🙂 YES!

I paused, took a breath, and then asked if she could please repeat that? and she did! My face lit up and I said “Now, that is historic!”.  There was a lot of smiles, laughs and excitement as I explained the usual dilemma I had faced in the past and my joy at finally finding a retailer who get’s it! Seriously, I have spent over 7 years talking to the major retailers about how they market their wares (this one included incidentally), how to attract the curvy customer, how to make her happy… this is the first time that any major brand (apart from the pioneers like Hope&Harvest who have been realistically and identifiably marketing on real size bodies for their designs since forever) has actually got it! There is definitely a shift, and the success of the past few months has reinforced that.

Shortly you’ll be seeing some impressive changes in where you can buy some of these great Australian designer brands, the shift is happening, retailers are opening their doors and finally understanding the benefits of marketing  to, (instead of ignoring) over 50% of the nations women – who ARE curvy…. stay tuned and keep your eyes peeled.

I want to keep this shift moving and have decided to create a campaign to invite bricks & mortar stores nationwide to open their doors, extend their size ranges and usher us, the curvy customer through the doors.

I’ll need your help too – if we can create excitement, and more importantly education, we can create change.

Please feel free to call, email, facebook or post below your ideas on how we can work together to achieve this.

Love your shape!

Janine x