Customised dresses – game-changer!

How often have you found a dress that’s “almost” perfect – where you’ve loved the shape but wished that the neckline was different or it had sleeves? Often!

That is now over – I’ve found my perfect dress and I want to share it with you. Marketing Banner Camilla Jayne

Camilla Jayne Couture is an Australian plus-size designer who has a lovely shop in Dubbo NSW where she stocks her own label amongst others up to size 28.

In my work in United Curves Wholesale Fashion Agency specialising in sizes 12-28+ I am often asked about special occasion wear and dresses for corporate wear.  Whilst many of the labels that I carry have one-off garments that fit the bill, I struggled to find the perfect option, until now.

Camilla Jayne Couture uniquely offers you the ability to customise their classic 1950’s inspired dress range. Each design offers superior fit and elegance with a range of feminine prints or classic colours to choose from. These styles are available in sizes 12-28.

Enjoy the flexibility to choose what you know is going to work best for you, choose from classic plain colours, or dabble in a feminine floral or print – these dresses cater to the customer who is talk short, wants a sleeve, or doesn’t want a sleeve – likes a deep neckline, or a high neckline – it’s never been easier to choose your perfect style.

FULLY CUSTOMISABLE – colour/print, neckline, back, length and sleeve.

Round Neckline V Neckline

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All Camilla Jayne designs are MADE IN AUSTRALIA from quality Ponte and Cotton Sateen.

Recommended Retail Price $149.95-$239.95 (depending on level of customisation).

I’m so happy with my dress – it’s my go to for business, special occasion and pleasure. It’s so easy to wear, feels amazing as it hugs my curves in all the right places and is simple to dress up or dress down.  I selected the Elizabeth Style with pleated skirt in plain black with deep V neckline, plain cap sleeve  and added length customisation (hits to mid-calf – perfect!).  Here’s a pic I took just before I did a wholesale showing in Adelaide recently.

Janine Final

I highly recommend you jump onto the Camilla Jayne Couture website and take a look at how you too can design your very own perfect dress.

To receive 20% OFF your perfect dress, simply enter the code AUTUMNSALE when ordering to receive your discount valid until the 20th April, 2017.

SHOP CAMILLA JAYNE NOW

I’d love to hear from you about your perfect dress.

Love your shape!

Janine x

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Need some inspiration?

$50 Off Winter Special

I can delve into your wardrobe and help put some order into it – imagine if you just opened your wardrobe door and KNEW what to wear – bliss!  (It IS possible), or I can tailor a shop & style package just for you!

Wardrobe Revamp & Style

Personal Style & Shop

Phone or Skype Webcam Consultations

I’m reasonably priced and lots of fun… and I have LOTS of experience…

The $50 discount will be applied at the time of booking.

P: 0405-319-691 or email janine@janinemison.com.au

‘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

Plus size guide to shopping in Bali

I’m a winter girl, I love to dress in boots and jeans, vests & cardigans, so who would have thought that I’d take to Bali like a fish to water and embracing the sweat that poured off my body day and night in the humid heat?

I first visited Bali in 1989, I was 18 and it was my first overseas holiday alone. Back then Bali looked quite different, Kuta was tiny, a couple of streets of shops and boutiques and the fantastic market by the beach, but apart from that there was very little western about Kuta. I had a great time exploring what was then a very different Kuta. Today Kuta is a place I work hard to avoid, the hustle and bustle and westernisation of the town is just too depressing, and I have to say that I am not too proud of the shenanigans of some Aussie travellers I’ve seen behaving badly and really not in my mind appreciating what Bali has to offer. For our honeymoon in September 2013, Pete and I decided to give Bali a shot and we spent quite a while sifting through information and vetting opinions on where to visit. Ubud was our location of choice, and it’s my new favourite place in the world. The peace & tranquillity, enough tourism/westernisation to be comfortable (read: great cafes with amazing coffee!) but in Ubud and surrounds you get a true sense of the REAL Bali. We loved Bali so much that we booked 3 weeks last June and took our two boys Zac & Jeremy with us for a family holiday, this time though we had a week in Ubud and then 2 weeks Lovina, Northern Bali. That visit was quite different, the north of Bali is spectacular and has minimal tourists, but so much to offer. We all fell in love with Bali all over again. So now that my mum has successfully recovered from stage 3 aggressive breast cancer, I knew it was time for us to have some mother and daughter time, and so off we went together for 8 days in Ubud, we just got back on Monday – it was fantastic! How lucky am I, 3 trips in 2 years.

Bali is a place where you can relax, enjoy and indulge in pampering. We had the most amazing one-hour relaxation massages for a mere AUD$10! Yep, I could have had 11 massages for the same cost as one massage at my local professional massage practitioner. And the quality of the massage was just spot on! We also indulged in a pamper afternoon where we had a one hour facial (clean, exfoliate, honey mask, face/neck massage and moisturising), one hour pedicure and one hour manicure – this 3 hours of pampering totalled AUD$31! In between this we toured Kintamani, the most incredible volcanic area of Mt Batur, the rice paddy terraces, Bali Bird & Reptile Park, lots of countryside and so much more. And then there’s the market stalls, streets and streets and streets of them, offering the most incredible assortment of garments. Unfortunately, as is the case in most of the world, the majority of the clothing is aimed at smaller sizes, usually up to a 12-14. There are styles that are “one size” and are kaftanish, so will fit to up to a size 18-20 but for me I found it difficult to find something amazing – it would fit, but then say it had a high neckline which of course doesn’t suit my body shape. So it was always a challenge. The obvious solution to this is to have things made for me. Just about every second sign you pass says “custom made also available”.  The tailoring industry is just huge, and every town/village has a plethora of women who have their own sewing machines and fabrics and can make or copy just about anything you can throw at them.

This visit, I got smart. I pre-planned what I wanted to have made, and I pre-bought and pre-washed (VERY IMPORTANT!!!) my fabric to take. I bought two cotton/rayon fabrics and some embellishments for the ties that I wanted. I pre-washed in cold water and dried naturally on the line, then ironed the fabric.  (Note: I had another two dresses made once, purchased the fabric from the tailor, and the dresses were made perfectly to size, one wash back home (even in cold water!) and they both shrunk at least one dress size 🙁 so please even if you buy fabric from them, make sure you wash it first before getting your garment made up).AFabric

I decided on a dressmaker, Made, who was located just off the main street of Ubud, she came highly recommended by our driver and friend who has had many years experience helping tourists source services.

AMadesShop a

Made’s shop was really neat and clean and she had oodles of beautiful local fabrics. Her smile lights up the room, she is gentle and sweet and “got” exactly what I was after. I gave her two dresses that I had already and asked her to copy them for me. She was a little confused when I presented her with the embellishments I wanted for the ties on the dresses, but once I cut them off the twine they are sold on and explained she got it, and the dresses were exactly as I’d asked.

ABaliDressAsWinterFullLengthABaliDressasWinterA2ndDressWinter aA2ndDressWinterLookingDown

Didn’t I say I’m a boots & cardigan kinda girl?! These dresses are perfect for dressing any season, summer with sandals and winter with boots & cardigans. LOVE

And here’s the dress on it’s own for summer

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So the total cost for these to be made was a mere AUD$65, that was for 3 dresses! (There’s a 3rd one in cheesecloth, but I didn’t photograph it). Bargain.

Don’t forget if you’re lucky enough to find something in the markets that is “almost” right for you, and a simple change would make it “perfect”, consider buying the garment and having it altered at a local tailor/dressmaker. It will cost the smallest amount to do this and you’ll have exactly what you want.

Now as I mentioned I am a huge boot lover. About 4 years ago when Pergoni Boots came onto the Australian Market I had a launch party and bought myself the most amazing pair of boots EVER. They were called the Jessica Boots, they were perfectly tapered to my leg, wide-calf and just bloody brilliant. I begged the girls at Pergoni to repeat the style, but alas they could no longer produce that style 🙁 So, because I couldn’t bare to throw them out, I wore them literally to death! Here’s what they looked like when I dragged them in my suitcase to Bali:

ABootsBeforeABootSoleBeforeYep, Ipretty worn out right?! I asked around when we arrived in Ubud, and so did our friend Made, and then he heard about Ardy, apparently the best in Ubud. So off we went, my pathetic worn boots in hand. Ardy was so welcoming, he sat me down, had a good look at the boots (which incidentally weren’t leather) and presented me with a huge bundle of leather swatches and said “choose colours”.  WOW! Seriously there were like about 30 different options. I had my heart set on brown and black, so I picked the (fingers crossed) just right brown and black. Ardy then went on to show me some examples in his shop of sole options, I opted for rubber non-slip. We bartered on price and agreed on the delivery time, 4 days time. I left the store feeling positive but a little anxious, as you just never know what to expect.  Four days later I arrived to pick up my boots. I entered the store to be welcomed by a huge smile and a very proud Ardy handing over his handy work. WOW WOW WOW, I was absolutely floored – they are stunning. The leather is just beautiful, the detail and finish, second to none, in fact, dare I say it, they were even better than the originals!

ABootsSolesNEWABrownBootsSitting aSo, for 2 pairs of premium leather, beautifully handmade boots, I paid AUD$170. Yep AUD$170. I’m so thrilled it’s ridiculous, and I’m just a bit pleased too that the weather has cooled down in Melbourne now, so I can wear them!! Hooray!

AArdyHIGHLY Recommend you get in touch with Ardy, I’ve seen other copies of boots and they just don’t compare to the workmanship and leather quality that I got here. Ardy can take orders via email or phone and can ship express to Australia for around AUD$30. Please tell him I sent you.

ArdyBootMaker

 TIPS for shopping in Bali:

Barter! It’s expected. There are many fixed-price stores in the towns, usually upmarket boutiques or galleries where the prices are fixed. But the street vendors, markets and many market type stalls around the streets are all expecting you to barter. I’ve found from experience that what works best is to take the first price the vendor gives you, and drop your first price in the negotiation down to less than a third (yes less than a 1/3!!). Don’t be afraid, it’s an art to negotiate and quite fun. For example a sarong should cost you approx. AUD$5 (IDR 50,000) in the markets and street stalls. The vendor will say IDR150,000, to which you say “no, my best price is IDR 35,000”, to which they’ll respond “no no, too low. I give you special morning price, IDR 70,000”. “No! My best price IDR50,000”, to which you’ll normally get a response “ok, ok, IDR50,000, special good luck price for you”!  The other guide is to be aware that they will never not want to sell you the product, so if you refuse to go higher after a few minutes of back and forth, then you can be sure that the price you are offering is too close to their wholesale buy price, and they literally can’t sell it for that price. It can be quite tricky, especially if you’re new to the prices, but after a few goes you’ll get the hang of it.

Try to pay with Exact Money. I’ve been caught out a few times, gone through the bartering process, agreed on the price, let’s say IDR40,000 for this example, tendered IDR50,000 only to be told that they don’t have change! Then it becomes uncomfortable as you insist on your change. This has only happened a few times, but I try to keep the notes broken up into denominations to avoid any added stress.

Speak their language. It’s pretty simple really, I’ve travelled extensively over my lifetime, and it’s been my belief that when visiting another country it’s only polite to be aware of their laws & customs, AND to have a few simple words in their own language to show your respect. It’s appreciated by the Balinese and will always raise a big smile.

Good Morning        Selamat Pagi

Good Afternoon     Selamat Sore

Good Evening       Selamat Malam

Thank you             Terima Kasih

No thank you         Tidak, terima kasih

You’re Welcome    Sama Sama

Be Clear. When arranging to have something made, ensure that you are extremely clear with instructions to avoid disappointment. I’ve found most people in business speak reasonable English and understand well, but I’ve also benefited from the help of our trusted friend and driver assisting with any instructions.

Don’t be Insulted. It’s important to realise that in Bali the culture is quite different. I saw one poor girl in tears after a market stallholder was trying to be helpful and yelled out “I’ve got big size for you”. Truthfully, they are just trying to be helpful, not hurtful. It’s not unusual to hear “I’ve got big sizes for you”, “Dress will fit you miss” etc. Just take it in the tone it’s meant, to try to sell you something and smile 🙂

Keep your sarong handy.  In Bali to enter a temple you need to wear a sarong. The markets are full of options in beautiful fabrics and you can expect to pay around AUD$5 for a sarong. Make sure you have it with you at all times as you just never know when you’ll want to visit a temple where you’ll need it. I also found (just like in Australia) that most spa’s don’t offer gowns that are large enough and this can often lead to embarrassment. A sarong is a great option as you can just wrap it around and tie it in so many ways!

OTHER PLUS SIZE OPTIONS IN BALI

There’s a huge list of stores that specialise in plus-size in Bali. There are three that I particularly like and recommend:

Goddess on the Go – 2 stores in Ubud and 1 in Sanur

This store specialises in eco-chic fashion for goddesses petit to plus-size! There’s a huge range to choose from and some gorgeous accessories too. All of the garments are high quality and are lightweight easy to wash & wear. They go up to a 3XL (around a 24-26 but I found a lot of styles could fit slightly larger too). Click on the link above for the website and the image for facebook page.

AGoddessOnTheGo

Ketut’s Fixed Price – Last shop on Gang Sorga off Jl Sahadewa (Garlic Lane), in Kuta. It’s the 1st lane on the right after turning in from Jl Melasti. Ketut doesn’t have a facebook page or website! But it well worth the visit. Ketut has literally hundreds of options. Her store isn’t anything special to look at, but it’s seriously a treasure trove, she’s a warm and friendly lady who is passionate about offering plus-size options. Her dresses are between AUD$5 and AUD$10 each and you just have to say hello and ask and she’ll pull out bags and bags of options and take you around to a side lane where she has another mass of options hanging up to look at. Ketut goes up to a 4XL (26-28) and you will find a lot of same or similar styles to what’s available in all the markets around Bali. Please tell her I sent you x

AKetuts Fixed Price 2013 a

Divine Diva – This store is just Ace! It’s located in Seminyak and they specialise in resort wear. They export worldwide but the boutique is just lovely, nice and cool inside (with a comfy chair for your travelling companion to wait). You’ll find it at Jl Laksamana No.1, Oberoi in Seminyak. They stock up to a 3XL (24-26) and fit to a larger size in some styles.

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There are a host of other options too, but this blog post is getting so long! I’ll save that for another time. Feel free to share your experiences with us all by commenting below. Oh and if you’re heading to Bali let me know as I would highly recommend our driver Made who has become a family friend and just makes the visit that much more special and I’d love to ensure yours is too.

Enjoy – Selamat Menikmati

Love your shape!

Janine x

Jeans – my butt feels good in these :-)

I want to introduce you to a new brand that was recently launched at the A+ market, and I’m really excited about this brand because it’s not often that as a customer we have the opportunity to add value and invest our thoughts and ideas into the development of a product.

Crazy 4 Jeans founder Keyma is really passionate about curvy fit for jeans.  We recently met in a café over a cup of coffee where we spent a couple of hours discussing the challenges women have with jeans and how important a great fitting pair of jeans is not only to your wardrobe, but to your self-esteem. Crazy4JeansLogoKeyma is from Venezuela and immigrated to Australia four years ago. After the birth of her little boy, she noticed a change in her body, and struggled to find comfortable fitting jeans that shaped her figure. This began a hunt for the perfect jean for herself. Being passionate about her native South America and her new found home here in Australia, she decided to look to Columbia to source jeans in denim that she knew was not only ethically manufactured, but was also of the highest quality. Her website and brand Crazy4Jeans has created quite a stir, promising to improve your body image with butt lifting jeans (she had me at butt lifting!) and available in a range of styles offered in sizes 6-26.  Keyma is working hard to develop her reach and understand the market, she’s frequented some local markets, had a pop-up-store at Westfield, networked with Industry bloggers and customers and all in all made a huge effort to understand the market.  She was amazed when she realised that there was a huge interest from the plus-size customer and decided to focus her attention on developing jeans for that market.

When we met, I’d taken some time to look at the website beforehand and I noted that there were only 2 styles in the “plus size” section showing as available online. When Keyma arrived with her suitcase, she opened it and it literally exploded with choice! Keyma bought out style after style, all with individual embellishments and nuances. As we talked more, she explained that she is keen to develop a more “Australian” version of the jeans in plus-sizing. The feedback has been that some of the embellishments are a little too much for our taste, but it is definitely an individual choice. Further, her customers are loving the quality of the denim and the fit with the specialised butt lifting design winning lots of fans, as is the high waisted option with the choice of 3 or 4 buttons.

c4JFrontSmall

C4JJeansBacksmallI had a lot of fun in the 35 degree heat and a small bathroom trying on six different options/sizes and getting the fit right.

I opted for a high waisted (with 4 buttons) pair in dark blue denim and false pockets with embellishments. The denim has a gentle stretch but feels firm and gives good control. The high waist makes my tummy feel less obvious and minimises the need to check if my top is positioned correctly to cover my tummy – WIN! In addition, I have a pretty flat butt, so the cut and design of these jeans gives me a curvier looking butt – yay! Another win is that the jeans are slightly longer than normal – I’m 169cms, so not tall, but not short. I often find that a “regular” length is just ok and have to opt for a “long” length to hit that sweet spot on my boots/shoes that elongate my body. These jeans are perfect, and as I’m a boot girl, I can tuck my boots under the jeans or tuck my boots into my jeans depending on my mood and my outfit.

Crazy4JeansSwingtagI think the only negative I can think of is that I had to size up to a 22 (I’m usually an 18-20 in jeans) and for some women this can be a deterrent. For me, I always go with what fits correctly and don’t worry about the size label.

I am really happy with my jeans, they are comfortable, flattering and the quality is fantastic. I encourage you to try them for yourself.  There are more than the 2 styles available, Keyma has a huge range, some one offs and if you give her a call she will talk you through them. Alternatively she is also available to make an appointment with and head on over and spend an hour trying them on! And don’t forget, Keyma is offering a chance to give constructive feedback to help her design a jean for our market…so please get in touch with her and tell her I sent you.

Love your shape!

Janine x

How many more can we afford to lose?

This week marks the closing of two important brands who have serviced the plus-size industry here in Australia (and overseas)… really?

Yes, really 🙁

Can we afford to lose such businesses?

Bennetts Boots have been around for years, an Australian company offering wide-calf boots in 3 different calf sizes. The first time I tried on a pair of Bennetts Boots I was in love. They fit! bennettsbootsNot only did they fit but the quality was second to none and everything had been thought of – anti-smell, quality leather, extra cushioning and beautifully presented in a box with instructions on how to care for your boots. I have 3 pairs in my wardrobe, and 5 years on they are still in excellent condition! Now that’s quality (and the argument I always use when convincing someone to invest $300+ in boots!)

Not only plus-size women have wide-calves, in fact a friend of mine is a runner and she too (even at a size 10) requires wide-calf boots, I know she’ll be saddened by this news too.

Plus HQ run by the gorgeous Amanda, face of the brand, started just over 2 years ago with a fabulous website dedicated to gorgeous, stylish and stunning garments for ladies size 16-26. Amanda’s website became so popular, that she expanded to a bricks & mortar store which opened in Eltham, Vic just over a year ago. PlusHQI was a huge fan of her store, in the quaint “village” of Eltham you were always welcomed with Amanda’s huge smile and welcoming spirit, she was a whizz at styling and nothing was too much trouble, but her customer service was also second to none – she just got it, you know! She had a keen eye for picking gorgeous styles to feature in her store, as well as the most amazing bags and accessories this side of Texas! I’ve never heard a bad word about her brand, only rave reviews.

Plus HQ hosted two incredible VIP nights where I was amazed at the turn-out, so many supporters, and all there to shop too! I shared a lovely dinner with her a few weeks ago where together we discussed the pros and cons of running such a business, and the difficult decision that had to be made to close the doors.

Both Amandas’ are extremely passionate women who saw a niche and went for it and they both made an important mark on our Industry. The challenges of business in the current economic climate, coupled with the explosion of internet shopping and keeping a solid cash flow have proven too big a hurdle. I know that these ladies did not come to this decision lightly. It’s just so sad that as a Curvy girl I can no longer look forward to their offerings.

As always, I want to encourage you all to SUPPORT AUSTRALIAN BUSINESS. It’s so important to recognise that businesses can only survive if we are actually buying, not just talking about how great they are. Both businesses have blitzed their final day’s sales, it’s sad that we are prepared to buy only when things are “on sale”.

(Incidentally, both brands have HUGE sales on right now, so visit their websites by clicking on the links/images above to grab a last minute bargain – and hang on for as long as you can!)

Just the other day, my hubby Pete and I were discussing issues with retail these days. He actually put the problem into a nutshell, he said “People just do not value quality anymore”. In fact we realised that the focus has shifted from quality completely. Such a shame.

It’s easy to buy cheap anything these days. I’m guilty of it too, don’t get me wrong. I can buy a kazillion pairs of “ankle” boots from the “cheapo” stores, but I can’t buy a kazillion pairs of quality wide calf boots from these stores. I need to invest in, and look after my quality boots. Equally, investing in key pieces (such as those always on offer at Plus HQ), equates to a quality wardrobe, not just a kazillion pieces of cheap nasty Chinese rip offs.

It’s time to re-think our buying patterns. I personally don’t feel we can afford to lose any more Australian brands – do you?

Amanda & Amanda, congratulations on your achievements and THANK YOU for providing me with quality & choice. Good luck with your future endeavours.

(SOB).

Love your shape!

Janine x

Want to know where to shop? I’ve got it sorted… The Curvy Girl’s Guide to Shopping