Jewel in the crown of a hustle & bustle market

Living in the Bayside suburbs of Melbourne I’m really lucky as I am within range of five sensational fresh fruit & vegie markets. My favourite would have to be the Dandenong Market. It’s so multi-cultural, I can buy my fruit & vegies and enjoy the thrill of chasing down the best produce for the best price, amongst the hustle & bustle of so many different cultures all mingling and enjoying the experience. Everyone is happy, and I love hearing the vendors call out their specials in loud confident voices whilst trying to grab your attention away from the other enthusiastic vendor next door.

Dresses Dandenong MarketThis morning I was walking through the selection of stalls offering clothing, technology, homewares etc. when I spotted a stand that had dresses in Indian Cotton. For years I have coveted Indian Cotton clothing, it feels so nice on your skin, especially in the warm months we experience here in Australia, but it is also the most beautiful quality. I love the random patterns, and my most favourite is the patchwork fabrics bringing so many opportunities to accessorise a dress differently each time you wear it.

I was warmly welcomed by Amin, who told me I was his lucky 1st customer of the day! (reminds me of my trips to Bali where that indicates that they’ll bargain fairly with you). Amin is from Afghanistan and came to our country 16 years ago. He is really passionate about offering “something different to everyone else”. I was admiring a couple of the dresses when he pointed to a pile of bags on the ground that he was busy unpacking when I walked into his stall. Out of the bags he pulled at least 8 different designs of maxi dresses that were made of the most incredible Indian Cotton. LOVE at first sight!

Indian Cotton Fabric 2Indian Cotton Dress Fabric

I fell in love with one dress in particular – this one – oooooh! Unfortunately it was too tight around my arm, so Amin reassured me that he had “lots more at home” and that he will be bringing more over the next few days and there is definitely one larger there. This one was noticeably smaller in cut than the other maxi dresses (typical of me to pick the one that isn’t in stock!) so I’m hanging out for a call from Amin to come in and try on the other ones in the next few days. Oh and did I mention the prices? The dresses in the pic at the top are $30 each or 2 for $50! And the one I’m after below, $35! WOW, quality & affordable :-)

Indian Cotton Patch Dress

While I was there at least 4 other curvy ladies popped in to have a look. It was clear that Amin’s mission is to make his customers happy, and they were :-)

If you’re in the area, I highly recommend you drop in and have a look. The store is called “Plus Size Outfit & Bollywood Fashion”. The sizing goes up to 6XL. You won’t be disappointed, and Amin’s customer service is top notch – please tell him I sent you.

Love your shape!

Janine x

I need your help… this is for YOU

It’s been awhile since my last post, I’ve been busy developing something that I believe is important for me and for YOU!

Over the past 6 years of working in Australia’s plus-size Industry, I’ve strived to connect you the customer to  valuable resources within the Australian and International plus-size market. I’ve achieved this via my website/blog, social media and in person with personal consultations, Skype sessions, group events and so much more.

Most recently I developed an e-book – The Curvy Girl’s Guide to Shopping, which has been hugely successful, yet is still only the tip of the ice-berg when it comes to resources for curvy girls.

My dream to is have all the information you need in one place and in real time.

United Curves

Imagine, right in the palm of your hand, you hit a button and open an App that will indicate your closest plus-size store and how to get there? and not just in Australia, but anywhere in the world. Upload your personal measurements and be guided towards garments that are perfect for you!

This is not just a dream, this is a reality. I am working hard behind the scenes to develop this possibility, and now I need your help.

YOU are the ultimate users of this app, and YOUR opinions, wants & needs are what will make it successful.

Please take a few moments of your time and invest in feeding back to me via this survey your opinions and thoughts on how this should work for you.

PLEASE HELP ME HELP YOU BY COMPLETING THIS SURVEY – click here

I appreciate your time and can’t wait to reveal more about this exciting development.

Love your shape!
Janine x

My Winter favourites for my curvy figure…

Living in Melbourne it’s easy to be confused about what season it is. Technically we’re still in Autumn, but earlier this month the weather was so chilly that I dove into my wardrobe and started my wardrobe revamp for the new season. Out came my beloved boots, knits and stockings, and away went the summer staples. About a week later, the weather changed and we have been experiencing some beautiful mild weather with 20 degrees consistently. Frustrating, but I’m not complaining.

My secret to a versatile wardrobe is simple. Ensure that your wardrobe selections are trans-seasonal and mix & match for all types of weather. Whilst I readily admit I am much more comfortable and feel better in my winter wardrobe (I’m just a winter girl), over the years I’ve also learnt to become just as comfortable in my summer wardrobe. Living in a region that offers sporadic weather just ensures that a good trans-seasonal wardrobe will take you a long way.

My philosophy is that dressing a curvy figure is an art, not a science. 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 in what she is wearing. I’ve written about this is my Top 10 Tips when shopping for your curves…

ESTABLISH YOUR OWN STYLE: Don’t be overwhelmed by current trends, it’s easy to feel like we’re not “trendy” if we’re not wearing the latest and greatest, but let’s face it, not everyone looks great in bright yellow and black! (I certainly don’t). It’s important to establish your own style, make it unique and let it reflect your personality. Choose garments that add value to your image and flatter your body shape, whilst staying true to what you love. For me it’s vests, jeans and lots of accessories with a bit of a boho feel. Don’t be afraid to experiment, but don’t be fooled into thinking that you must be wearing the latest trends to look great. This is simply not true.

My style is all over the place, I love colour, I love black, I LOVE boots, I want to be comfortable yet stylish, sometimes I just want to dress down but not look like I haven’t made an effort. I’m classic, yet relaxed, boho yet structured… either way, I’m just ME.

DenimVestJust the other day Pete and I we were heading out for dinner and I grabbed my trusty Igigi wrap dress (a classic maxi wrap that I’ve had for years and just adore) and paired it with my old favourite Autograph denim vest. Trends didn’t come into it for me, for me it’s always about what looks good and feels good on my figure.

This season I’m grateful for my new wide-calf boots. I have 4 pairs in my wardrobe. I often get enquiries about Wide calf boots and where to find them. A few years ago I found THE perfect boot, the Jessica Boot from Pergoni Sisters. I wore those boots to death (and yes I admit they are still in my wardrobe, with holes in both soles from so many wears, but I just can’t bring myself to part with them, they were the perfect fit, perfect length and perfect heel height which I’ve never been able to find since). I’ve asked the girls at Pergoni to PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE repeat that style, but alas no luck :-( I have another pair of Pergoni Boots and I love them but they are just not my Jessicas.  Of course I have some gorgeous black Louvre Bennetts Boots which I love too, but alas, as I wrote in a previous post, Bennetts Boots have gone into liquidation and they will be no more :-( My Louvre’s have lasted 3 years with lots of love and care, and lots of wear, but it’s time to inject some NEWNESS into my collection. I started hunting and have found lots, but have to admit that as they are all available online only, I’m a little nervous to assume that they will fit correctly.

Whilst I was trying to overcome this fear, I was also hunting for a wind breaker/rain jacket to replace my old favourite that I purchased at Autograph many moons ago, and regrettably left on the back of a chair at a café some months ago – I’ve been lost without it, until… a beautiful friend and I spent a weekend together for some girl time and she pulled her own jacket out and I screamed – “that’s it – where did you get that???”

We were in rural Victoria at the time away, it was after 5pm and I was away from my PC, but I jumped onto my iPhone and started started searching for the garment immediately…The Sara Spray Jacket – YES!

SaraBackJacketSaraFrontJacketThis jacket is amazing, it’s so light weight it scrunches up into my handbag, pocket or backpack, it buffers me from the wind on those squally days and keeps light rain off me (note: it’s not waterproof, but it does a good job in my opinion). I love the cuteness of the little white ducks on navy, but I opted for the animal print :-) And if that’s not enough, it’s stylish and can be worn open, closed, cinched or not cinched – in a nutshell – it’s DA BOMB! It retails for $49.95 (I would have paid more it’s THAT good!), but to my surprise it was (and still is today) on sale for $29.00! Bonus

Bootts2Boots1Whilst I was placing my order I decided to check out their boots too, just in case. I’ve looked at Sara’s boots before, but have never been compelled to try them. This time was different. I found a large selection of wide-calf boots (be careful to check your calf measurement to ensure they are a correct width as they do vary a lot) and fell in love with these ones… The buckle trim boots for a tidy $79.99. I’m a big believer in buying quality, BUT, the style also needs to be right and to be honest I haven’t found the correct style in the higher-end offerings – yet. $79.99 bought me a style I’m really happy with in a synthetic material boot. I know they won’t last long, but I was extremely happy with the quality of the finish and they are super comfy too. I especially love the detail at the back of the boot and it’s flattering to my leg.

Colour is also important to me, I’m a big lover of black, but it’s rare that I wear all black. I find it important for me especially during the dark & dreary winter months to add a splash of colour, it helps lift my mood. A simple way to do this is to invest in some great accessories such as scarves.

Some of my favourite accessories (as you’ve read before) come from Coussinet a fashion accessories company that believe in beauty inside & out. This season my winter selection of accessories include another two beautiful Coussinet choices, the Italia Scarf and the Val Gloves. 

VAL_GLOVES_FUSCHIA_largeThe colour of the gloves sets off the gorgeous complimentary colour in the scarf, so I can accessorise with reds (as in the photo below) or I can wear a black outfit with my gorgeous scarf and bring out the fuschia colour instead of the red in the scarf. The gloves fit – well – like a glove! They are soft and warm, and feel just right. I want to wear them all the time!

Scarves shouldn’t be tricky, there are literally hundreds of ways you can tie your scarf! Here’s a great video I’ve referred to that is a great resource for getting the most of each of your scarves.

Janine1Janine2

I could go on forever about my favourite winter garments & accessories but let me end by raving about a new product that I KNOW you’re gonna LOVE!

photo

Hosiery. My experience (and I know from the hundreds of questions I get each season, yours too) is that hosiery is a tricky subject. I have scoured the globe for the perfect hosiery over the years and I have to admit that I’ve always been happy with my super stash of we love colors. They’ve served me well over the years. However, new to the Australian market is an amazing brand called Sonsee Woman. Sonsee Woman have actually cracked the jackpot! Their hosiery is Australian designed, made in Italy. Apart from the fact that they fit, the thing that stood out to me was that they are supportive, without that uncomfortable feeling of being restrictive, they’re stretchy whilst being supportive and not rolling down or sagging, AND they last much longer than usual – in fact I’ve worn the same pair three times so far! Here’s some key points about the brand:

• 3D & 360 degree elastane stretch technology allows Sonsee Woman hosiery to fit the lower legs, thighs, hips and waist without sagging, bagging or the dreaded “muffin-topping”.
• An Anti-Roll Waistband so hosiery can be worn high or low on the waist.
• Extra reinforcement at the thighs for greater durability.
• Unlike shape-wear – this product is both comfortable & smoothing with broad ranges in sizing, products and seasonal colours.

With options from a basic sheer 20 denier right up to 100 denier, and in both normal or footless, they have it covered. WOW! The price tag is around the AUD$25 mark – but take my word for it, they are a super investment (these aren’t your wear it once and throw them out type tights!).

meetsonsee1Oh, and if I wasn’t already convinced by trying the product for myself, a quick visit to their website sold me on the spot. I LOVE a company who knows how to market to their target market (yep you got it, real size curvy women in tights – completely identifiable). Yep I know, you know how passionate about that I am already :-)

So ladies, there you have it, my loved items for the winter season.

Love your shape!

Janine x

Need some help with where to shop for your curves… check out my e-book “The Curvy Girls Guide to Shopping” with everything you need to know