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.

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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!

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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

 

Haute Couture… my experience

Every girl has an image in her head of that special dress for her special day. When Pete proposed to me on my 40th birthday in July 2011, I suddenly I realised I had to start thinking about what MY special dress would be? Our plan was for an intimate wedding with close family & friends, in the bush in Western Australia. What style of dress will best reflect me and our marriage?

I started googling dresses, typing in the words “plus size wedding dresses” bought up thousands of options, but as I scanned the images hopeful for some inspiration I didn’t see one dress that looked like ME.

I was keen to have a more relaxed, less formal style dress, I knew I wanted some type of lace detail and I was keen for it to be white, but I wanted something say, boho. So I started googling BohOriginal Ideao wedding dresses.  This image caught my eye. I loved the casual cool cotton with relaxed detail, chic and beautiful, but relaxed. Obviously the dress was designed with a non-plus-size figure in mind, but my mind was adapting the feel and working out how to apply it to myself and what would work for me.

I was grateful for the kind offers of a dress from many Australian plus-size retailers and brands, very grateful. But to be honest, none of the designs were what I wanted for ME.

Then suddenly it hit me, I needed to have my dress made, for my body. Mmmm, took me a while! So I made a call to my girls at Hope & Harvest. Now most of you will know Hope & Harvest have their own amazing plus-size designs, but I was really asking a huge favour, would they do me the honour of designing a dress just for me?

A phone call later and the gorgeous Harvest was almost more excited than me that we were designing a dress together! YAY!

The first step was to share the images I had sought with the girls, and we talked about roughly what I was hoping to achieve. The wheels were in motion and the excitement was building.

Step two was to select the material. I had already decided that I wanted a simple white cotton for the main part of the dress but I was looking for some lace embellishment to make it special. Harvest & Ainsley met me at Clegs in Brunswick one warm Melbourne morning in April and we spent a lovely morning exploring the options.

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Ainsley holding up the lace I chose.

Funny thing is, during this process of choosing material, the original design I’d had in my head had already started to morph into something else. I remember I had butterflies during the whole morning, it was really difficult to pick fabrics for my idea, to be honest, I didn’t even know if it was going to look good on me or not.

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Harvest explaining to me the options within our design with this lace

Reflecting on this whilst I was walking around Clegs, I realised something. When you walk into a store there are usually more than 2 garments you are attracted to and want to try on. Often, I try them all on, and often the one I thought would suit is the one that didn’t or vice versa! So to be smack bang in the middle of a process that was making a dress from an image of a dress style I’d NEVER tried on was really a little crazy! I started to relax a little and went with my gut. Harvest was amazing, she truly understood what feel I was after, and she understood my body shape. Even more impressive (and I wasn’t to truly understand this til further down the process), Harvest has an incredible talent for haute couture, it’s like the design just flows out of her.  The lace I chose that day was calling to me, I fell in love with it, and it became the foundation of the design with the dress evolving around it.

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With my lace – very excited!

There was plenty of time, so we planned the next stage. I would visit H&H HQ for my first fitting a week later.

The first fitting day was quite an experience, not only was it FREEZING COLD, but I really didn’t know what to expect. When I arrived, the girls had made a “toile”, which is the beginning point of a Haute Couture design where you make a “test garment” sewn from the same material. The toile was hanging on a hanger, it looked like a bag or sack with pieces of cotton loosely threaded at different points around the pieces. Quite confusing for someone who had never been through this process before.

I peeled off my warm clothes and subjected myself to the elements. Goose bumps appeared – not only because I was cold but because I was nervous! Don’t get me wrong, these girls are amazing, and I KNOW that they knew exactly what I was after, but I just couldn’t get my mind around this sack of material turning into the dress I had imagined!

Trust the process I kept telling myself… and boy am I glad I did.

The process was amazing. In front of a mirror, the talented hands of Harvest fluttered around me as she placed, pulled and prodded the material into place around me. We tried this and that, gathered, ungathered etc. and finally we all agreed that this wasn’t it! Slowly, I began to see in front of me, with the help of this toile and the talents of two amazing designers, what would look great on me and so in front of my eyes the design evolved into something completely different! I went from wanting an unstructured dress with a boho feel, to a very structured dress with a boho feel! I GOT IT! This process of Haute Couture although quite scary, was truly remarkable. Harvest worked tirelessly and seemingly effortlessly to draw all over the toile and pin here and there, until she was satisfied. Then it was quite an effort to get out of the toile without pricking myself! Reassuringly, the girls told me they’d work their magic and see me in two weeks!

Visit three saw me arrive to a more complete toile, which was sewn in the structured design we’d come up with. I was amazed at how a sack with lots of pins and pen marks had been transformed into a toile that fit like a glove! I turned toward the mirror and realised this was IT! Hooray, the design was taking shape. I gave the ok to go ahead and MAKE the dress! That felt incredible. The next step was to work the lace into the dress once the base was complete.

Fitting four took place the morning after my Hen’s Night. We were all very tired but excited to weave some magic with the lace.

Arms

Harvest working on the sleeve with the lace. This part of the process was all about looking at what worked and how I felt.

Fish Tail

Harvest & Ainsley working on applying the lace to the skirt. I just LOVE how they made it flatter me, there was a beautiful “tail” at the back where the lace kicked out, and it draped over my hips to a point at the base of my back.

WOW, This was looking amazing. I was so excited, and couldn’t believe how different, yet how perfect this had all come together. Off the girls went with my dress pinned and ready to be completed.

The final stage was another visit to H&H HQ where we had the big reveal.

One of the important steps to having a dress that is made well and fits well is to chose correctly fitted foundation undergarments. I did a lot of research on foundation undergarments and spent a lot of time trying to find the right fit for me. In desperation I even purchased two control wear garments online from overseas, but when these arrived I had to contort myself into such strange positions to get them on that I just knew that that wasn’t going to cut the mustard! Interestingly, even after visiting some specialist stores I still couldn’t find THE perfect fit – that was until I visited my local Autograph store. I know right, not where I was expecting to find what I was looking for in undergarments, but I was wrong. I’m happy to say that I found exactly what I needed and left the store with a beautifully fitted Rita Lace Underwire Bra in Pearl (oh and I bought one in red too because I loved it so much – but that was for the honeymoon!), and the Essentials Panty Girdle in Café. Now I ummed and ahhed about the Girdle as I just think it’s not that attractive right? But I hate having separate garments with shapewear, I’m a bodysuit girl (but that’s another story). The Girdle is beautifully made, very comfortable and the wide elastic silicone trim on the waist sat perfectly under my bust and bra band and didn’t roll, not even once (and the lace detail at the top of the leg made it feel a little less ugly)! It felt as though I was wearing a bodysuit and it worked well to create a great silhouette under my dress. So for me, this combination worked a treat and added value to my dream dress. Having the foundations in place BEFORE building the dress was an important part of the process.

Two weeks before our wedding I very excitedly drove to H&H HQ and picked up my dress. The feeling I had when the girls helped me put it over my head and zip it into place is indescribable! We put everything into place and then I turned around and looked into the mirror – HOORAY! I felt amazing, I felt beautiful, this was my dream dress! All three of us cheered and hugged with tears of joy.

 
Ainsley, Harvest and I celebrating – the finished product!

JANINE WED

Mum gifted me a beautiful citrine & diamond pendant for my birthday this year, it’s just stunning, exactly the same setting as my engagement ring but it’s oval instead of diamond shaped. I found my string of pearls and the pendant clipped perfectly into place, the most gorgeous adornment for my dress.

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The beautiful pendant given to me by my mum for my birthday and as a wedding gift.

Flash forward to our special day, surrounded by family & friends, I walked down the “bush” aisle with my gorgeous son Zac and beautiful mum Dianne, I felt amazing, special, beautiful, curvy and loved, but most of all HAPPY. I did my own hair & make-up (and after many hair trials with curls, and all sorts of do-dahs, I decided I wanted to look like ME so I went for my usual style!).

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Entering the ceremony walking down the aisle with my son Zac and mum – so happy! (Image by David Entz)

Bottom of Dress & Shoes

I loved the detail of the tail of my dress! We stood in a heart shaped with rose petals (Image by David Entz)

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Married to my Superman Pete and wearing “Janine” by Hope & Harvest, Dryandra Village, Western Australia 14th September, 2013.  My bouquet was specially made for me by my sister-in-law Donna out of native flowers from my parents-in-laws’ garden. My shoes were purchased on e-bay and are Beige Leather Bernardo Farfalla – just loved them! – Perfect x (Image by David Entz)

I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to have such an amazing wedding dress made just for me. THANK YOU Harvest & Ainsley, you were both incredibly amazing during this whole process and I am forever grateful for the experience and honour of wearing one of your designs.

Thank you.

Love your shape!

Janine x

Are you a curvy bride? Here’s my top 6 tips for brides to be…

TOP 10 Things to consider when shopping for clothing for your curves…

A carefully edited wardrobe will simplify your life and help you create a look all of your own! But before you hit the shops, it’s important to consider these points:

  1. WHAT TO BUY: It’s a good idea to shop in your own wardrobe BEFORE you hit the shops. Many women wear 20% of their clothes 80% of the time! So the balance of clothing that is in your wardrobe you’ve probably forgotten about or haven’t considered for a while. Once you’ve shopped in your own wardrobe, you can establish a list of “Must Haves” and you’ve got a plan on what you need and how much it may cost. Need some help?
  2. WHERE TO BUY: Always remember that there ARE lots of options for plus-size clothing. Do not be duped into thinking that what you see at your local Westfield is all that is on offer, it’s not true! My Curvy Girl’s Shopping Guide is a great resource.
  3. GOOD FOUNDATIONS: Nothing is going to look good on your figure if you don’t have the right undergarments. A correctly fitted bra is crucial as is an appropriate pair of underwear that allows the garments you choose to shine (without seeing your panty line or creating a muffin top). I recommend a bra fitting at least once a year. Every woman’s body changes as we mature. Invest in correctly fitted foundations and you’re half way to a wonderful silhouette.
  4. THE FIT: Is crucial. Don’t be tricked into buying a garment that is ill fitting because it is the only one of what you want that you can find in your size. The fit of a garment makes it or breaks it. Look for garments that flatter your curves without tugging or pulling, and that allows your body to breath comfortably.
  5. LONGEVITY OF THE GARMENT: Always consider the quality of the fabric and the construction of the garments you are buying. There’s no point buying the “perfect” dress if it is made of a fabric which makes you sweat and feel sticky and hot.
  6. WHO YOU SHOP WITH: is crucial! If you’re in a hurry or you’re with someone who is impatient or not invested in giving you honest and real advice, you a more likely to make poor purchase decisions. Set aside time to shop for your wardrobe in a structured and calm timeframe, this will reap positive results. Need a shopping buddy?
  7. HOW MUCH TO SPEND: It’s easy to be blinded by a bargain – but seemingly cheap garments are not always a good investment. I’ve been caught out too many times buying a great fitting t-shirt for $6 only to find that it is ruined after one wash! Invest in quality and you will enjoy your garments for years to come.
  8. 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.
  9. IGNORE THE MYTHS: Curvy girls shouldn’t wear stripes! NOT! This is a myth. I encourage you to ignore the myths, like everything else in life, each individual has something different that works for them. The same applies to bodies, we are all unique, and different things look good on different people. I dispell the myths of plus-size fashion here.
  10. THE SECRET INGREDIENT: Of course you can have the most amazing outfit, perfectly fitted, great quality but if you don’t have the body confidence to go with it you’re missing the secret ingredient. How we feel about ourselves is mirrored in our eyes and in our body language. Always check your self-talk, you are beautiful, love and appreciate your unique body, there is no other like you and love your shape!

Personal Shopping with Janine Mison

And one last thing, don’t underestimate a garment – sometimes a garment doesn’t have “hanger appeal” but looks great on your curves!

Love your shape!

Janine x

Curvy clothing on a budget = A+

A few months ago I was contacted by a lovely bubbly lady called Erin. As a new-mum to her gorgeous son Clancy, she was researching the plus-size market with a fresh idea – a second-hand clothing market exclusive to size 16+ women right here in Melbourne!

Over a cup of coffee (or two!), we had a wonderful chat about the challenges of dressing our curvy figures on a budget. As a mum myself I understand the switch in thought process when you don’t come first anymore and your clothing budget goes out the window!  But, like Erin and I, women still want to look great and feel great, just not fork out the same amount of dosh that we may have done before we were changing nappies. Buying recycled or second-hand garments is a great way to save some money and to buy some unique pieces for your wardrobe. Whilst op-shopping is fun and popular, it can be quite challenging with limited numbers of garments available, and usually requiring that you visit more than one store to put an outfit together. A+ market’s cater exclusively to curvy figures which equals – all the options in one place! Bliss!

Erin says ““Years of shopping disappointments left me discouraged. I found myself wishing for a place where I could find bargains and one-off pieces in my size – but there just wasn’t anywhere – so, I’ve decided to do something about it.”

A Plus Markets is Erin’s business baby. Her market will showcase local designers, makers and sellers who celebrate “plus size” women. Ladies from the community will also offer their pre-loved clothing & accessories. Erin says “there are an astounding number of locals designing and making clothing and accessories in the Darebin area and so it made it logical to launch my first market in Preston”.

A+ Markets Flyer

Erin also has dates planned at other locations for later in the year:

Saturday 31st August 2013
9.30 am – 2 pm
Darebin North West Uniting Church
399A Murray Road, Preston

Sunday 29th September 2013
10 am – 3 pm
Box Hill Community Arts Centre
470 Station St, Box Hill

Saturday 30th November 2013
10 am – 3 pm
Darebin North West Uniting Church
399A Murray Road, Preston

Sunday 8th December 2013
10 am – 3 pm
Louis Joel Arts and Community Centre
5 Sargood St, Altona

Stalls start from just $40 per stall, giving you a 2x2m area, flyers to distribute to advertise the market, support & advice on setting up your stall and a well publicised and patronised market to sell your wares – targeted at 16+ customers!

What a perfect reason to clean out your wardrobe and get some $’s to spend on your new-season needs. Need some help with a wardrobe revamp, I’m ready to help!

There will be lots of giveaways and specials on the day too, including a chance to win your own copy of My Curvy Girl’s Guide to Shopping valued at $19.99!

I’m personally looking forward to visiting a few of the upcoming markets, I look forward to seeing you there!

Love your shape!

Janine x

 

Janine Size…

A few months ago, whilst researching fashion and styles for my wardrobe, I stumbled across an amazing designer based here in Melbourne. I was compiling my Curvy Girl’s Guide to Melbourne, and I got in touch with her about her designs to include details in the guide.

Annalisa Trembath is a Melbourne based designer. Her label Kaftans by Annalisa are handmade, using the highest quality fabrics and most amazing prints from around the world.  The design is elegant and simple, but simply stunning.  Each kaftan is produced in only limited amounts, so the chances of running into someone in the same gorgeous design is small! Her range includes sizes 8-26 and also maternity kaftans.

I have to admit that the word kaftan brings an image of Demis Roussos to mind, a great voice, but not a snappy dresser! LOL – NOT ANY MORE – I love kaftans now I’ve discovered the perfect design.

I was thrilled when I received my own kaftan, it arrived beautifully wrapped with instructions on how to look after it. The fabric I had chosen is simply stunning, a statement in itself. The tag however was thrilling – Janine Size! Now that’s a size I can relate to!

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I tried my kaftan on and was immediately in love! With my Hen’s night coming up it was the perfect outfit.

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Just look at how the design flatters my figure! I felt so amazing, a goddess! I styled my kaftan with footless tights from City Chic and my wedges from Joanne Mercer.

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Every part of my body felt hugged, the clever design showed my curves and shape and flattered my arms and tummy – I felt a million dollars and got compliment after compliment. When you wear something that adds value to your shape and stays true to YOUR own fashion style, it shows. Kaftan3

 Although I know that my new kaftan is a statement piece in it’s own right, I felt I needed something amazing to compliment it. I went searching for THE perfect piece to set off THE perfect kaftan, and this is what I came up with – the Venus Necklace by Coussinet. The timing couldn’t have been better, Coussinet had just sent me their new season look book and this piece just jumped out at me! I love my pieces from Coussinet, they are big and bold and feel just oh so right.

My Hen’s weekend started off wonderfully, my gorgeous friend Erika flew down from Queensland especially for the weekend. She arrived at lunch time and after a catch up in the sun on our balcony with Pete and my boys, Erika and I headed off for an afternoon of pampering at my local shops. Our first stop was the Body Shop where I was treated to a makeup session. I’m a lover of minimal makeup, and so I struggle to find a good foundation that gives me good coverage (especially for photos) but doesn’t feel like I’m wearing a mask. The Body Shop offers great options and the trial session resulted in me purchasing a great foundation for my wedding, with the added bonus of not needing to do my makeup for my special night! I have to say I felt a little silly walking around the shops dressed casually in jeans (and with my thongs on – in readiness for a pedicure!) – and bold eye makeup, but it was fun. Erika and I stopped for sushi and coffee, then it was off for a mani and pedi. Oh the bliss of being pampered and preened. We giggled like school girls and enjoyed the opportunity to just kick back.

I’m not a fan of the traditional hen’s nights with crazy stunts, and walking through crowds dressed in strange attire… my idea of a hen’s night is some of my nearest and dearest friends sharing a meal and enjoying a laugh together. My wish came true.

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My gorgeous friend Erika and I ready to leave for the evening. We headed off to a restaurant I had never been to before, but came highly recommended from a friend, and boy was it a great recommendation. Kamel Restaurant in Albert Park is da bomb! The food is Middle Eastern and North African inspired and is the perfect food to share in a group. We had a private room with a fire place, a huge table surrounded by seats, it was like being in our own home but with fabulous service and I didn’t have to cook!

I was joined by my gorgeous mum, my daughter Nikki and 8 of my closest friends. Women are so important in your life, and as I sat and enjoyed the company and the food, I marvelled about the story of each of the women in the room. All so beautiful, talented and warm. I love every one of them and am grateful for each of our stories.

We laughed, joked and ate and had a wonderful time. I enjoyed sitting next to everyone and taking “Selfie’s” together, but with just my iPhone as a tool and in the dimly lit room with the glow of the fireplace the photos came up quite grainy. I used the photo to send a thank you to each of my friends individually. Here are two I LOVE so much, my mum and I sat together and we were trying to wrangle the camera to get the right angle, and were pressing the buttons and took about 6 images, here are two that tell the story:

Mum1 Mum2

Can you see how we have the same smile, and the same crinkle next to our noses? Ha!

It was a wonderful night and I felt so beautiful in my gorgeous kaftan and necklace, surrounded by my dear friends. When I got home, Pete was up waiting for me and I shared some of the stories. The next day Pete made us pancakes (a Sunday ritual for our family) and Erika and I sat with my boys for brekky and shared our stories (the boys had a movie night together!). Then Pete took the boys out for the day and Erika and I spent the day together. I was thrilled that she was able to be there for my final fitting for my wedding dress. The girls from Hope&Harvest arrived with my dress in a suit bag, so very exciting. We spent a couple of hours umming and aahing, pinning and cutting and we now have the final design complete. The girls will complete my dress and I can pick it up late August – I am so excited and am so grateful to have such talented designers working with me. Of course I have photos of the fitting, but they will have to wait until after the big day (only 33 more sleeps to go!)

YumCha

Afterwards, Erika and I headed out for yum cha. I just LOVE dumplings! A couple of pots of Jasmine tea and a LOT of dumplings later, we sat and chatted and enjoyed the day. The beautiful Amanda at Plus HQ gifted me this gorgeous necklace as a wedding gift, I just LOVE the accessories she has in-store, they really are my style. Thanks Amanda x

When we got home, Pete and the boys had just arrived home too and there was a gorgeous bunch of flowers waiting on the bench for me, from my Superman Pete – what a guy! That just topped off a wonderful weekend.

Life is good. THANK YOU to everyone who made this weekend so special.

Love your shape!

Janine x

An invaluable resource for plus-size women of Australia

Over the past five years I’ve invested my energy and passion into providing styling advice, education & empowerment tools, a safe social media environment for discussion and I’ve been a loud voice for plus-size women.

I receive hundreds of emails and social media messages per month requesting assistance with sourcing garments or styling advice from women curvy women Australia wide. You are constantly wondering where to shop for clothes and how to put it all together. I’ve spent wonderful hours working with you one-on-one and in groups, but I thought it was timely to put together a resource that you could have at your fingertips, a one-stop guide to shopping!

Welcome to the Curvy Girls Shopping Guide to Melbourne, Australia. This guide is exclusively designed to provide you with resources for curvy girls in our gorgeous city.  This Guide contains information that has been compiled from my own research and personal experiences. It will be updated on an annual basis to ensure its relevance as stores and labels appear, evolve and change. Everything you need in one place!

CurvyGirlsShoppingGuideMelbourneImage

“Hey Janine got my copy and even though I’m in Brisbane like you said GREAT resources that are Australia wide!  Being American it has been difficult navigating beyond the ‘usual suspects’ for a more boutique shopping experience.  LOVE IT!  (Encourage any AU based people to get it!) I’ve read cover to cover & browsed every shop already! (Online that is)” ~  Kenyeal

The guide features detailed listings with all relevant contact details and clickable links directly to retailers and service providers. Fully printable or viewable in PDF.

Topics include:

  • Curvy styling options
  • An overview of plus-size fashion in Australia
  • Sizing Guide
  • Australian plus-size designers
  • Factory Outlets
  • Department Stores
  • Second hand markets and online resources
  • Bridal
  • Corporate Wear
  • Activewear, Lingerie & Sleepwear
  • Maternity
  • Specialty Boutiques specialising in Size 14+
  • Big Brands
  • and so much more…

Donation

Remember, if you need styling assistance or have a special event coming up, I offer lots of options for shopping & styling.

Love your shape!

Janine x