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

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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 myths of plus-size fashion dispelled…

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.

Black&Bling2

Stockists:
Cardigan, Dress Pants, Embellished Singlet, Bracelet City Chic
Ring Volupture
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?

WhoSaidICantWearFloral

Stockists:
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.

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Stockists:
Orange Photo:
Skirt – TS14+
Tank – Autograph
Jacket – Big In Black
Jessica wide-calf boot – Pergoni Boots (no longer trading)
Belt – Coussinet
Corporate1
 
 
 
 
 
 
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.

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Stockists:

Dress Photo:
Dress – virtu
Belt – my own
Boots – Bennetts Boots (no longer trading)

 
 
 
 
  
 
Jeans Photo:
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.

ConcertAnyone Yeah
Stockists:
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!

ThatGreatFeeling2 ThatGreatFeeling1

 
Stockists:
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.

Hope&Harvest Dress
Stockist:
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.

BlackDressResized

Stockists:
Evening styled:
Black Igigi Claire De Lune Dress – Volupture
Slip Dress with Lace Detail – Ascension Clothing
DressCasual1Shoes – 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!

ThoseCoolDays2

Stockists:
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!

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Available from Jacaranda Lane.

So there you have it, 12 Myths busted – and so simply.

Want to know more?… let me help you… Book your own personal style session with me, email me janine@janinemison.com.au or phone 0405-319-691

(This review was done in 2012)

‘Tis the Season for Giving…

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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!

Janine x