The Curvy Couture Roadshow 2015

Did you hear it? The thunderous applause emanating from the ACMI lightwell at Federation Square on Saturday night? Or perhaps you heard the excited chatter of guests as they queued up at the steps of the Collingwood Town Hall to gain entry to the designer market on Sunday morning.  I’m guessing if none of the above your newsfeed on Facebook and Instagram has been humming with all the goss, images and video feeds of the weekend.

The weekend began for me at the Bloggers Brunch. 11 lovely ladies met at a café in the CBD, excited and ready to go. Jess & Erin from CCR hosted our brunch and we were given an outline of the events over the weekend, invited to come backstage to meet the designers and models as they prepped and rehearsed that afternoon, and of course to stand in the media pit, front & centre at the show. The bloggers brunch gave me an opportunity to finally meet some of my fellow writers, we were a merry bunch and all bring something different to the Industry. Thanks for the opportunity to meet and chat about the event prior to the show, it was fantastic, and so was the smashed avocado & feta toast, coffee and fresh juice – LOVE

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There was much debate on social media about what everyone was going to wear. I chose my comfy Autograph Jeans and kimono with a blast of Red with my favourite boots.

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Organisers Erin & Jess chatting to the bloggers over brunch about the event.

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Our Media passes and the yummy juice!

Bloggers

(Left-right) Erin, Jess, Me, Melissa, Lily, Natalie, Omega, Ashley, Olivia, Elyse, Sam, Hayley

The Curvy Couture Roadshow blew us all out of the water this past weekend. You may remember me writing about the 1st Roadshow that was held in Perth in 2013, it was my wedding weekend, and although I was in Perth I couldn’t make it 🙁 Last year I was overseas and missed it again, so this year I was determined to be front and centre, and boy am I glad I didn’t miss it. By all accounts this year was bigger and better than ever.

You’ve heard me banging on for over 6 years now about “realistic & identifiable” representation of plus-size garments and how ONLY doing this will truly sell to the target market. The CCR proved this point – ten fold!

From the minute you entered via the red carpet out the front, the excitement was undeniable.

Sarah & I

Sarah & I

I was lucky enough to be gifted a ticket and invited Sarah from Body Positive Australia as my guest for the evening, we loved the chance to grab a photo together before we entered the venue. I was proud to wear my beautiful kaftan by Kaftans by Annalisa, a Melbourne designer, I love it, I felt comfortable all night, but also felt fabulous! (Wish I could say the same about my shoes, my feet were killing me! but hey they looked nice right?!)

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Miss Scarlet Did It

The catwalk show began with a BANG – BOOM Suzie the gorgeous red-head stormed out of the curtains to begin the show in Miss Scarlet Did It lingerie, followed closely behind by a bevy of beauties of all shapes and sizes – not one body shape was missed – everyone in the room could identify with at least one of the models. To start the show with lingerie was a stroke of brilliance, it proved to the crowd that CCR is serious about making their mark, and more importantly making the point that plus-size fashion is relevant, it’s now, it’s shaking and that curvy women love their bodies and want to wear sexy clothes. It wasn’t only the catwalk that was full of body positive women, the room was full of incredibly beautiful women, inside & out.

The next 2 1/2 hours were a mesmerizing plethora of designs, I loved that each brand represented had something unique to offer, they all had their own unique spin on representing their garments, and the passion of the designers, the quality of the designs and fabrics made you want to run so far away from what I call “The Usual Suspects” (you know, the brands that are available in the shopping centres) that it wasn’t funny. In fact, the CCR was a chance to be convinced (If you weren’t already that is) that spending your money at any store BUT these designers was just, well, it’s just crazy!

Being a preacher of “love your shape!” and a firm believer of identifying your own personal style and dressing for YOU, it only makes sense to buy from these brands, not only to support local Australian businesses, but to take advantage of some seriously amazing garment options. I have a “must buy list” that is a mile long (and will take me years to afford), but the fact that I have a list now, is just sensational. I can’t remember the last time I went shopping and wanted to buy EVERYTHING!

My personal favourite was Hope & Harvest, this label is on fire! The H&H anorak and animal print bomber jacket just begged me to buy them, but seriously EVERYTHING that came out on those amazing models, and to the beat of the jungle theme just wooed me in 🙂 The styling and choreography was brilliant, H&H are already a front runner in realistically & identifiably representing their garments in all their marketing, and this flowed on through their segment with streets models wearing all their designs. BRAVO!

Hope & Harvest

Hope & Harvest

Hope & Harvest

Hope & Harvest

Meri by Design/Eder+Berk were amazing, stylish, stylish, stylish. The cape jacket will be mine! This seasons’ range is a serious option for those of you who are looking for great options for corporate attire too, I only wish they were around when I was in the corporate field years ago. Sigh.

Meri By Design

Meri By Design

I hadn’t seen Lisa Kerr’s range before the night, my first reaction was LOVE for their marketing, the models came out with signs “I am Inspirational (which is a size 18-20) and another “I am Confident” which translates to a Size 14/16 – their Measurement guide is wonderful and brilliant marketing to me, their target market. The designs were chic and fun with great accessories. This is a label I want to know more about.

Lisa Kerr

Lisa Kerr

huudaverti appealed to my gypsy side, my need to look and feel unique & extraordinary. Whilst one of the designs I felt belonged in my kitchen (I just can’t get my mind around a dress that looks like an apron), all the other designs blew me away! The fabrics are incredible, so unique, just like the designs, and although the styling was more “unique” than I would style them, the beauty was I could see lots of key pieces I could incorporate into my own wardrobe that would not only suit my style, but finally allow me to express it more, as there truly isn’t another label that is coming at fashion from this angle in the plus-size market. The Designers (3 sisters) behind this brand are so fantastic, and I loved how they acknowledged their mum in the front row beaming proudly at them at the end of their segment.

huudaverti

huudaverti

I love the quirkiness of Misty Belvidere, her show made a big impression with bold colours and fun, exciting patterns. This is a brand to watch!

Misty Belvidere

Misty Belvidere

Bombshell Vintage opened with the incredible green emerald dress, I can still see the luxury of the colour and fabric in my mind, and teamed with the gorgeous red tresses of model Suzie with her smooth moves on the catwalk, I was in love! Vintage isn’t my thing, but if it’s yours, you NEED to visit Bombshell Vintage.

Bombshell Vintage

Bombshell Vintage

Harlow, it struck me is a true Melbourne brand as us Melbournites are known for our love of wearing black. Harlow didn’t disappoint with some great styles in black, monochrome and deep reds with some pretty cool accessories.

Harlow

Harlow

Oh my goodness I could just go on forever about each brand that showed on Saturday night, but I just can’t fit it all in!, so here’s of list of the other incredible brands that showed, please show them some love by clicking on the link and subscribing to their mailing lists to stay up to date.

Seraphim, Pho Sizzle, Nyata, Camilla Jayne, Big Blossom PJs, Icelandic Blue, The Professors Daughter

Sonsee Woman made a huge impression too, suddenly out strutted models in their underwear, tights and crop Sonsee T-shirts – full of confidence and fierceness! It was an incredibly empowering segment of the event. I personally own a couple of pairs of Sonsee, and wrote a post about them last winter, if you haven’t tried them yet – get on it! They are the ONLY tights I will ever wear again!

Sonsee Woman

Sonsee Woman

Beyond The Sea, I wish I had seen this range before my recent Bali trip – I would have found my new swimsuit straight away! LOVE that Beyond The Sea not only understands design, but offers fantastic quality fabric in DESIGNS! Yep, not just plain old black. Loved the fun presentation of this brand on the catwalk.

Beyond The Sea

Beyond The Sea

The reaction from the crowd during the show was fantastic, there was clapping, cheering, gasps, squeals, you name it, it kept coming as thick and fast as the realistic models pounding the catwalk. The buzz during the intermission was so great, and the show finished with a bang, with one look from every brand represented on the catwalk which was greeted with thunderous applause. And then it was over. Sigh.

I was lucky enough to head upstairs to the after party where I got to talk some more with the other bloggers, meet some of the models and speak to the designers. It was hard to sleep that night, the buzz of excitement was infectious and kept my mind and body going for hours and hours. Sunday was the Curvy Couture Designer Market at the Collingwood Town Hall where as a Media VIP I got to meet and greet all the designers with a glass of champagne in hand an hour before the general public arrived. I took full advantage of that hour to scoot around and see as many people as possible, I made it half way before the doors opened and the stalls & designers were inundated with people eager to do the same!

The VIP guest for the Runway and Market this year was Tess Holliday, an inspirational woman who has made history this year by being the first plus size model to be signed to Milk Management Agency. Tess was front and centre with her man at the Runway, she was clearly enthralled by the brands on show and hugely supportive. She was so humble and generous, happy to pose with guests for photos and speaking with them. I finally got the chance to say hi to Tess myself at the Market, and I bought one of her fantastic t-shirts with #effyourbeautystandards on it! I wore it for 3 days straight, I just LOVE it and what it stands for. My 11 year old son said to me on Tuesday morning when I pulled it on over my jeans to do the school run “Mum, you really love that t-shirt don’t you!?” LOL

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I think my only criticism (for want of a better word) in relation to this event was that there was no MC. I wanted to hear a welcome, an introduction, someone to work with the excitement and anticipation that was building in the room as we waited for the event to start – to bring it for us and at the end, after the fantastic finale walk by all the models and brands, I wanted someone to thank us for being there, and to tell us to mark our calendars for next years event. That was missing for me.

I’d like to take a moment to congratulate the organisers of this years event, it was fantastic! Congratulations to Jess, Erin, Kate, Teresa & Karyn. I know the huge hours and effort that it takes to pull something like this together, and you should be congratulated. Thank you for raising the visibility of our Australian Designers, for giving them an important platform to showcase to their target market and to the public in general. I just know that this event will go from strength to strength as it is an important vehicle for fashion for curvy women of Australia.

Congratulations to the designers who put in a huge effort to have incredible & show- stopping designs to showcase, for all the long hours you put in to be there all weekend and for being so welcoming and sharing your brand with us. You did us so proud! I hope that you’ve felt the love and pride from all of us, your customers.

BRAVO to the models, the Industry Models from Bella Model Management, and to the street models who worked hard to practise, practise, practise to ensure a smooth performance. It wasn’t just smooth – it was AWESOME!

BUY AUSTRALIAN, SUPPORT AUSTRALIAN, we have so much to offer.

LOVE YOUR SHAPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Janine x

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

Costumes – for curvy girls just in time for Halloween…

I often get asked “Where can I find costumes for my plus-size figure”? This week my in-box is overflowing with requests on where to find plus-size Halloween Costumes…

If you’ve left things too late and you don’t have time to scout around the local op shops or order from e-bay, I highly recommend Costume Box. They have a selection of over 150 styles to choose from, everything from female Ghostbuster, to witches, to Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz!

The styles come in a “true-to-size” range up to Australian size 24 and in most cases it’s next day delivery! How easy is that.


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Happy Halloween and happy costume shopping!

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.

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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.

Ainsley Janine

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.

Harv and Janine

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.

Janine

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