Classic Designs that tick all the boxes…

There’s 3 things you should always consider when choosing garments:

  1. Does it fit and flatter my shape?
  2. Is it versatile?
  3. Is it going to last (more than one wash?!)?

If you can answer YES to 2 out of the 3 questions above, a garment is definitely worth investing in.

Early last month I published a realistic & identifiable garment review which generated a lot of interest and sales of that beautiful dress, in fact many readers commented that the review had helped them see how the dress could work for them on their body shape and helped them purchase where they otherwise might not have taken the punt.

Many retailers and brands offer online reviews of garments to compliment the images provided of each garment, usually on a mannequin and/or garment model.  Of course as we all know, most advertising of garments is done in the “sample” size on a “sample” model (in the plus-sizes a sample size is usually a 14-16 and occasionally an 18) that often doesn’t give us a good indication of how it will actually look on our own figures.  Now you may argue that this is true for all garments, and I would agree, but for a curvy figure things can get a little complicated when trying to determine if in fact a garment is going to work for you with just a “sample” image to decide upon. It gets even more complicated when you are shopping online (but that’s another post!).

I invested the help of my readers and put the call out for interested ladies to submit their interest in “road-testing” a designer garment via my Facebook page, as usual this generated a huge response.

Rachel responded ” I’m a full time stay at home mum and a casual TV/Movie Extra. I’m passionate about fashion and spend my days trawling the Internet for stylish clothing and fashion inspiration. I would love to be part of this project as I love fashion and have slowly developed a love for my shape and knowledge on how to dress it. I’m also keen on new fashion labels that are on the rise. I’ve never been one to put myself out there but since turning 40 I’ve turned a corner 😀. I’m sure you’ve had a huge response and I wish you the best on your search, Rachel”.

I packaged up the beautiful Cleo dress from Alison Dominy Designs, a dress I knew from Rachels’ measurements and photos she submitted of her body shape, would work for her shape.  I had the pleasure of spending some time with Rachel over a Skype styling consultation, and enjoyed hearing about her thoughts and ideas on the dress. Thanks Rachel, you did a fantastic job, and I was thrilled that you had already considered and come up with the options I was going to suggest during our styling session, great work and you look fantastic.


Here’s Rachel’s review of the Cleo Dress:

As like any girl, I love to receive little surprise especially if they come in the form of clothing.  Upon receiving my Cleo Shirt Dress I was not to sure on what to make of it at first as it is not really my style and it reminded me of business attire or even a uniform. The material felt divine and the quality was there, so I quickly tried it on.  To my surprise it fit really well and felt lovely on!.  I was very impressed with the press stud in between the buttons to stop gaping (this showed high quality and attention to design detail). I however was challenged on how I would style this dress as it is grey/charcoal in colour and not a colour I have owned before.

My first though was to brighten it up with what I already own. So I went with the bold yellow rope necklace and yellow shoes, after all it is spring. I used the sash belt that comes with it and also a slim black belt.

Rachel3Then I felt inspired to use it like a trench  paired with white top, white jeans and a long necklace in silver, I just tied the sash belt at the back as you would a trench. This was my favorite look for the Cleo dress and more like me.

Rachel2After playing with ideas I ended up very happy to receive the Cleo Shirt Dress as you can style it in a number of different ways. Would I buy it? Not in this colour but I have however jumped on to Alison Dominy website and Instagram so I can follow this designer and love that this dress comes in a lighter colour.  The price is on point for the quality and cut of this dress and the Australian market. I love that I got to be a part of this project and now have another Australian designer I can look out for.

Rachel, Berwick, VIC

As you can see, the Cleo Shirt Dress ticks all the boxes I listed above, it fits & flatters, is versatile and is made of premium hard-wearing fabric that will last.

Jaylene responded: Having been a plus size gal my whole life I totally get the frustrations of finding awesome clothes that fit and make you feel great, so I am 100% for supporting new ranges/designers in getting their work out there. I myself run an awesome little shop on Sydney rd, Brunswick selling independent/local clothing and jewellery. I totally embrace fashion that is young/fresh/fun and really unique and love coming to work just so I can dress up. I often photograph the new clothes in store on myself, to share on our Instagram and Facebook pages, not because I think I’m a model, far from it, but I think I represent the average Aussie plus size Gal and my customers love seeing the clothes on real people. Ordinary everyday girl next door. Someone they can relate to, who gives them a real idea of what it would look like on them. So that’s why I would to trial the new range. To support a new designer, to share fashion that fits on real people and of course because it’s all so much fun”.

I selected the packaged up the beautiful Emily Cotton Sateen Pants which I felt suited Jaylene’s body shape from the measurements and photos she submitted of her body shape.  Once she’d received her package we enjoyed a lovely Video Skype Styling Session to discuss the review.


Here’s Jaylene’s review of the Emily Pants:

A  few weeks back Janine put the call out for any size 18’s interested in reviewing a garment from a new Australian plus size designer. There were a few things that appealed to me in that call out. I’m a size 18, body positive plus size gal and someone who actively strives to support Australian designers. So of course I expressed my interest in a heartbeat.

I am such an advocate for plus size fashion, working in both design and retail myself and I happily spend money on clothes that make me look and feel good today, because you only live once! The item I received for reviewing was the ‘Emily cigarette pant’.

Sadly the 18 was just too small and we had to organize one size bigger.

Alison capri pant 2

There is always an uncertainty ordering a garment online as to how it’s going to fit and knowing these are a pant with a fitted waistline I should have really taken my measurements to compare against the size chart when choosing.

Sometimes you can get away with a few cm’s here or there, when you are shopping for a t-shirt or dress made out stretch fabric, but the ‘Emily’ pant has no give around the waist, so you need to make sure you find a measuring tape and get the right size.

I carry my weight around the middle and found that I was in between sizes on the chart.

I needed a 20 for the waist and an 18 for the hips. So in this situation, and quite often when shopping for a fitted garment I need to decide if I’m going to squeeze myself into the smaller size and risk a muffin top or go bigger for ease around my waist at the expense of it being not so figure hugging on the hips and thigh.

Alison capri pant 7 Alison capri pant 1Personally I prefer a pant to be shaped but not hugging, so I opted for the size 20. The ‘Emily’ pant is a medium weight cotton sateen. A little thicker than your average work pant and with a lovely soft sheen making it suitable to wear at the office and for a night out on the town. The pockets are fully lined and the darts and shaping at back give it a really nice definition. The waistband is an optimum thickness, so it doesn’t cut in or fold over, sorta holds its own.

I would usually wear my tops out loose over my waist, but the tailored finish of these pants deserve to be seen so I went for a belt and tucked in top, to show them off.

On me they sat just above the ankle which I find is the perfect length for Spring/Summer. They were so easy and comfortable to wear and I can see me living in them, not just for work, but on weekends too.
Alison capri pant 4

How great would they be with sandals and a tee for a casual look, out to coffee with friends.

Alison capri pant 5

These are such a versatile pant, an absolute classic style that every girl needs in her wardrobe.

I’m delighted to have a pair of my own.

Jaylene, Reservoir, VIC

There you have it, realistic & identifiable clothing reviews of an Australian plus-size designer brand that ticks all the boxes.  THANKS to all the ladies who took the time to submit their interest in being part of the review. There will be more review opportunities coming.  If you are a brand that would benefit from my help, or would like to tap into my incredible readership of ladies size 16+, please contact me.

Love your shape!

Janine x


Realistic & Identifiable Garment Review

In my mission to empower curvy women to love their shape, I have the pleasure of working with some amazing Australian plus-size Independent designer brands. Recently, Alison Dominy Designs entered the market offering classic cuts with premium fabrics. Alison and I were chatting about the challenges of being visible to her target market of women size 14-24. I recommended to Alison that we put a call-out online and choose 3 deserving ladies to receive a garment to review, and keep!  The call-out generated over 50 responses and it was certainly difficult to choose (those of you weren’t selected this time, fear not – there are more of these opportunities coming your way soon!).

I spent some time working through the personal information and photos that the applicants had submitted, and selected what I felt was the best garment for their body shape. Of course, this is a challenge when you’re not working with a customer face to face, but I blitzed it :-)

Three packages were sent out to the reviewers and I then scheduled styling sessions with each of them via skype to work on the review.

The purpose of the review is to give realistic and identifiable information to you the potential customer, to help you see how a garment looks and feels on a non-model body.  It is clear from my data that women want to see and hear how garments “really” fit and feel, and it’s our mission to engage you on this level.





Alison Dominy, founder of Alison Dominy Designs Pty Ltd, made her fashion debut in March 2015 with a collection of classically edged designs with an understated elegance attached. In December 2014, Alison Dominy was selected and attended the PURE London tradeshow in February 2015 and was the first dedicated plus size designer to ever be accepted to the show. Alison has also been accepted to show case her designs this year at the UK Plus Size fashion week in September. Alison’s main focus however is to sell and become known in Australia as she feels there is a real lack of classic clothes in the plus size field. Coming from a Human Resource background, she only knows how hard it is to find premium, hard wearing attire that can be taken from the office to night and struggled to find appropriate professional wear.


From an early age Alison has drawn and sewn. In approx. 2009, Alison starting learning from Margaret Adam’s Sewing School. Margaret is an ex TAFE fashion design Teacher, and Alison had the privilege of working one on one with Margaret and subsequently learnt as much as a studying student.  Alison also studying fashion design on-line.

Alison has a dedicated team behind her with a pattern maker and garment consultant based in Brisbane. She pays particular attention to grading for plus size and curvy women.

Selling on her own website and, Alison has a 100% success rate with 0 returns and or exchanges. Alison puts this down the cut of the garment and quality of the fabric. Alison strongly feels her customer get what they paid for and more as her ethos is that these items should last 10+ years.

Alison knows her garments well and understands her customer has a keen eye for detail and who will incorporate her tasteful designs into their daily life. Alison doesn’t like to state or ‘box in’ the age of the woman that will wear her clothes, however when appealing to the more mature market she feels her garments would suit as well as women from their mid 20s.

“Fashion is about feeling confident in the skin you’re in. My vision is for every woman of all shape and curve to feel compowered by what they wear.” Always be your best self.

Alison Dominy


Garment Reviewed: The Angel Dress – RRP$149.00

Alison Dominy 3/4 sleeve, mid-length dress. An effortlessly elegant and sophisticated dress designed to flatter your curvy inner Goddess. This dress has been designed to perfection with beautiful draping around the bust and asymmetrical neck detailing; it can be left to flow loosely over the body or belted to accentuate your waist. So soft you will never want to take it off, so make it your own personal statement by accessorising, pairing with strappy or pointed heels.

  • Colour – Grape
  • Pull-on style
  • Cool wash, dry flat
  • 92% Modal, 8% Elastane



Hello Janine,

I’m Jo (short for Johanna), I’ve been around for 30 years, and wear anything from 16-20 (my measurements are 45-39-48).

By day I am a clinical audiologist and PhD student who is trying to launch a biotech startup with a couple of friends. By night I am a board game enthusiast who sings soprano with the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic. I have three cats, and a dozen beleaguered houseplants.

My interest in plus-size fashion stems from a firm belief that fat visibility is incredibly important. To be beautifully, unapologetically fat is a fiercely political act, and we can’t do that without access to fashions that we are happy wearing. I’m so glad that we’ve come very far from limited, shapeless options (see: Curvy Couture Roadshow!), but you and I both know how much further we have to go on the fatshion front. Jo.


Johanna received her package and spent 30 minutes via Skype with me relaying her thoughts and showing me the fit of the dress on her shape. I asked Johnanna to put together a review in her own words and here it is:

I love receiving packages, particularly if they hold the promise of a lovely new dress. When this one spilled out into my hands, I let out an involuntary gasp: the fabric felt like it was made of spun butter. I couldn’t wait to try it on.

I slipped into it the moment I got home, and bounded excitedly out of my bedroom to show it to a friend. “Oooh no. No no no no no,” he said, “you can see all your belly rolls.”

I looked down, dismayed. He was right. The lovely soft drape of the fabric meant that it skimmed each of my bumps and furrows. Worse, the unstructured fit meant that I looked both shapeless and lumpy. Still, the feel of it against my skin was so wonderful that I kept it on for the whole evening. Afterall, we were just watching the latest Project Runway on the couch.

Staring down the barrel of a long day the following morning, I decided to give the dress another go – I wanted to carry the comfort of the fabric with me. I fastened a narrow belt around my waist and suddenly the dress was transformed. The belt gave me a defined waist, prevented the fabric from weighing itself down and against my belly, and made my hips pop. When my friend saw me again, he asked if it was the same dress, because he was now happy to be seen in public with me. With friends like these…


Now that I know how to make the dress work for me, I have to say that it is my new go-to piece for just about everything. The drape-y detail across the chest is flattering, even though I have a rather ample bosom. The asymmetrical neckline is a bit sexy (evokes an off-the-shoulder silhouette, even though it’s not really), yet completely work-appropriate. Above all, it feels fantastic. I’ve worn it nearly every day since I’ve received it, and I’m looking forward to wearing it on the plane this Friday for an 8 hour flight (without the belt, it’s practically a nightgown).


I am very enamoured with this dress. It is versatile (work to evening transition depends on the choice of shoes and earrings), skims the curves (mid-section aside, it makes my bum look fantastic), and oh, the fabric! I’ve not worn anything that feels this good that isn’t fancy pyjamas.

Johanna Tan

So there you have it, a realistic and identifiable review. To shop Alison Dominy Designs simply click the link here.

Love your shape!

Janine x


Hope & Harvest heading for NYFW+

I’m so darn proud to be a curvy Aussie girl today, one of my favourite Australian plus-size designers, Harvest Powell, Head Designer and Owner of Hope&Harvest has today realised her dream and announced she has been invited to show at New York Fashion Week in September 2015.  It’s been my pleasure to support the label over the past few years, and this year as their Agent. What you don’t see until you’re privy to the intricate workings of a label, is the literally hard work, sweat and tears that goes into designing, marketing and manufacturing a label. This goes doubly for all those Indie brands who are for the most part, self-funded and busting their butts to deliver clothes that we covet and deserve. As you can see from the press release below, Harvest has an impressive resume and history of accomplishments, so this is a natural progression, but not one that’s easy to achieve. Having seen the inner workings first hand, I know how much of a big deal this is and just how talented and deserving Harvest and her team are of this honour. Please join me in congratulating and supporting them on their journey…

Love your shape!

Janine x

PRESS RELEASE for immediate distribution – 9A.M. EST, 9th July, 2015.

11696006_887827771264547_3537679877927260520_nBallarat based plus-size fashion designer invited to show at New York Fashion Week…

Fast on the heels of the their stellar contribution to the success of this year’s Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival at the Curvy Couture Roadshow, comes the highly coveted invitation for Hope & Harvest to show at New York Fashion Week Plus.

New York City is the forefront of the Worlds’ fashion and it is the highest honour for a designer to be invited to show at such an event. In fact, Hope & Harvest are one of only three International labels to be invited to show and the only Australian label.

Hope & Harvest are no strangers to the International stage, having been named one of the top plus size labels in the world by Madison Plus N.Y.C & Essence Magazine.

Hope & Harvest were recently asked to dress Rebel Wilson for the latest edition of Hunger magazine US and featuring in a 22 page spread in Volupt2 magazine in Paris.

Head Designer, Harvest held her first runway show when she was just 18. Harvest grew up around the theatre and cinema industry, and has been working on runway shows from the age of 9. From building her own sets to choreographing her own sound and lighting, Harvest is a veteran of the runway and her shows never disappoint.

It’s this same level of experience, detail and involvement that Harvest weaves into the Hope & Harvest brand. Each piece created intimately reflects Harvest and her team’s tireless determination to bring high-end fashion to the sisterhood of curves. Harvest is committed to exceptional quality. She is personally involved in the pattern making, grading and manufacturing of the brand’s clothing which is proudly made here in Australia, with a few select pieces manufactured offshore via fair trade agreements.

Winning seven industry awards before graduating from design school, Harvest has already accumulated some impressive accolades, including a collaboration with world-renowned jeweller John Calleija and Aston Martin for the release of the new Roadster in New York City.

Hope & Harvest brings an innovative and fresh approach to the Plus Size Fashion Industry.  A Young and Modern label offering directional designs inspired by todays’ top fashion trends for beautiful women in sizes 14 to 26.  Designed for modern urban living, Hope & Harvest are dedicated to the use of exceptional fabrics and quality.

The brand is also recognised for being at the forefront of body positive image within the Industry as they depict their clothing on models that are realistic and identifiable to their target customer.

This coveted opportunity to showcase their talented designs on the International stage at New York Fashion Week Plus creates not only an opportunity to build their already steadily growing business, but enables the label to expand their local workforce and create opportunities for their local community of Ballarat, as a lot of their garments are locally made and created from local fabrics.

IBISWorld stated in in October 2014 that the plus-size Industry is in the growth stage of its life cycle with annual growth from 2010-2015 stands at 3.7%. It’s clear that the fashion world is embracing designers who design for extended size ranges and ensuring they receive the recognition that they deserve.

One of Australia’s favourite singers Casey Donovan is also a fan of the brand and recently wore a fabulous Hope & Harvest outfit during one of her shows.

Hope&Harvest are transitioning from a small, self-funded and passionate team who have worked hard to move from Indie brand to experiencing large growth and opportunities.