I don’t need to “become” – I already AM.

I don’t pretend to know everything about being body positive or correctly using the “politically correct” terminology to avoid offending or triggering others, I’m human, I don’t always get it right. I know sometimes we go off on a tangent and mean well, but don’t get it right. Perhaps this is one of those times. But I don’t think so.

At almost 46 years old I’ve learned a lot about myself and my body – lots of it things I wished I had learnt much earlier in my life –  for example; that listening to fad diet advice is not healthy, that years ago I was convinced by the powers that be to not eat eggs every day because they would higher my cholesterol; or that I should eat low-fat everything – the list could go on for pages.  Flash forward a number of years and low- fat suddenly equals too much added sugar and now it’s no sugar I should be touting – but now it’s ok for me to eat eggs everyday. Oh lord give me strength – who do you believe? Let’s face it whatever makes money for those that can benefit drives the media cycles and the marketing of all things.

These days I ignore the fads, eat in moderation, do my best to exercise regularly and know instinctively what is right for me. I don’t get caught up in the hype, I am head down, bum up working on my dream, raising my family and living my life.

Why? Because I listen to me – what makes me happy, what feels right.

Because I don’t need to BECOME, I already am.

Humans are driven by fear.

What would happen if we just stopped listening to the scare mongering when it comes to our bodies and just did what felt right for us?

My personal answer is – acceptance and love. I know, I did it.

Don’t think for a second that I feel perfectly happy with everything 100% of every second of every day, I don’t. Life is a journey, we are an ever changing being.  I’m human. Fear lives within me. But these days, and for at least the last 8 years I’ve happily managed to feel happy, content and love myself and what I stand for and how I look with next to no effort.

So when two nights ago I saw the advertisement for Michelle bridges 12wbt challenge I sat bolt right off my seat and glared at the tv. I was appalled. My 13 year old son was watching with me, and he just looked at me and said “Wow”. Enough said.

The ad aired on prime time channel 9, and I’ve since seen it everywhere. It’s a collection of women living their “dream”, stereotyped of course because what’s depicted is not necessarily everyone’s dream.

The ad includes a voiceover spoken by Michelle Bridges. This is exactly what is said by Michelle in the ad:

“Become Inspired, Fulfilled, Motivated, Energised, Strong Body & Mind

Become your Dream

Become Proud

Become Real

Become Yourself

Become a Team

Become Fun!

Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Training

Become You!”

WHAT???????????????????? Seriously????????  This dialogue is wrong on so many levels.

Immediately I start thinking to myself, hang on, I AM all those things and so much more!

Janine Mison I AM Me

Michelle, PLEASE stop insinuating that our bodies define who we are and I couldn’t possibly be any of these things without being part of your program. Or that there is something wrong with me.

There’s not enough space to write all the things I feel when faced with irresponsible advertising like this. Simply put, if someone chooses to join a program to lose weight, gain weight, exercise, learn, find a friend, create something new in their life – whatever it is, that’s absolutely fine. BUT NEVER should it be insinuated that there is something wrong if you don’t, that’s it’s not possible to be all of these things without joining.

Is it really so inconceivable to others that someone such as me (obviously the type of body that the ad is appealing to) who is a size 20-22, 46 years old with an apple shape and considered obese could be perfectly happy in their own skin, can be successful, liked, loved, happy, inspiring, inspired, fun and living her dream? I challenge you to give me a call and spend some time with me, I’d be more than happy to share some of my time with you and let you see that it is indeed possible, maybe even inspire you to let go of these unrealistic insinuations and images.

It IS possible for women of all ages and sizes to be all of these things – regardless of their size. Being a perfect size 10 (not my ideal, but the ideal portrayed in such advertising these days) and projected as medically fit and healthy does NOT ensure that you are happy, fun, fulfilled or any of the other things. It simply does not. That is a myth and it’s high time that it was understood as such.

Time to rethink the marketing campaign Michelle.

I don’t need to “become” – I already AM.

I’m off to continue living my dream.

Love your shape!

Janine x 

Australia – Plus-size Customer Survey 2016

It’s that time again – I’d really appreciate your voice by completing this important survey which I run annually to compile data and stats which helps me add value to the plus-size offerings here in Australia. The survey is 55 questions long, and you will likely need a cuppa and at least 20 minutes to complete it, but PLEASE do take the time to have your say. PLEASE also share far and wide, the more responses the more significant the data.

Create your own user feedback survey

THANK YOU.

Love your shape!

Janine x

Merry Christmas, what a great year 2015 has been…

What a sensational year it’s been. 2015 has certainly delivered a plethora of opportunities and I’ve embraced them with both hands.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my journey into the Wholesaling side of fashion with the inception of United Curves. We’ve kicked some huge goals, opening many doors and encouraging change amongst retailers. I am so passionate about supporting plus-size designer fashion.  We have big plans to further expand the opportunities into 2016 and beyond.

Styling sessions and Wardrobes revamps were popular, as were my Skype consultations for those unable to meet with me face to face, all of these kept me busy throughout the year. I LOVE working with so many beautiful women from across our nation.  ChristmasPostMy work as a Consultant to the Industry has been so fulfilling with the opportunity to work with same major players and advise and guide them on how to better appeal to their target market. Some of the changes are already obvious, but there is still lots to come, so stay tuned. Equally working with start-ups on Business Coaching has been incredibly exciting, and watching you evolve and grow has been a pleasure.

And then there’s YOU my readers whom I enjoy interacting with via social media, my blog and across so many other platforms. I even set up an Instagram account this year! I love our interactions and support of each other, and I sincerely appreciate your efforts and commitment to completing my surveys during the year which have added significant value to my ability to push the boundaries and create more opportunity to improve the plus-size offerings here in Australia, for YOU and for me!

THANK YOU for a fantastic 2015.

Wishing you all a safe & happy Festive Season and all the best for 2016.

Love your shape!

Janine x 

 

SURVEY: Customer Service needs of the Curvy customer…

As a curvy customer, I know  when shopping for myself that my priority is finding well designed, accurately fitting garments.  However, a crucial consideration in my buying habits is customer service, and this applies to all items and services I shop for. Customer service is paramount to any transaction, way past the point of throwing out that dress I bought 10 years ago, the experience I had when purchasing that dress stays with me.  So if it was an uncomfortable experience, it’s likely that I would take this into consideration when choosing where to shop next time.  What about you?
CustomerServiceI’m curious about your feelings on customer service, what’s important to you.  In my work as an agent for Australian plus-size designers, I work with retailers on a daily basis assisting them on sourcing appropriate product for their stores. In my consulting work within the Industry, I know that retailers, both plus-size specific and general retailers who offer plus-size options, are working on ways to engage the curvy customer and ensure they are comfortable with the level of customer service.
The survey I have compiled asks specifically about IN-STORE shopping in two scenarios, 1. in a plus-size specific store, and 2. in a general retail store that has a plus-size offering/department.  Please read through the questions carefully as there may be a difference in your answer depending on which store you are in.
So it’s over to you… here’s your chance to have your say, and to help shape the future of customer service for YOU.
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This is for YOU, you are the customer, you know what you want and need. YOUR voice needs to be heard, so by taking the time to complete this survey, you can be assured that your opinions will be expressed and put forward. The information provided by you will not be sold or released me, Janine Mison, to any 3rd party and will be reported anonymously.
Thank you for your participation.
Love your shape!
Janine x

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.

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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.

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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

 

Active wear Survey 2015 – have your say…

HAVE YOUR SAY – Plus-size Active wear options in Australia:
To add value to the work I am doing within the Australian plus-size Industry, it’s crucial that I have facts & data to back up my “voice” on all things curvy. This is for YOU, you are the customer, you know what you want and need. YOUR voice needs to be heard, so by taking the time to complete this survey, you can be assured that your opinions will be expressed and put forward. The information provided by you will not be sold or released me, Janine Mison, to any 3rd party and will be reported anonymously. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey.
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As an added bonus, each pacticipant will go into the draw to win a pair of SONSEE Woman Anti-chaffing shorts valued at $49.95! Simply complete the survey and your email address will be automatically entered into the random draw. The winner will be announced on Sunday 18th October.
Thank you for your valued contribution.
Love your shape!
Janine x