Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Fabulous Phoebe: Review of the Lady Voluptuous Phoebe dress

My love of the Lady Vintage London plus size spin off brand Lady Voluptuous is well documented. Since I got my Lyra it has been my go to dress for whenever I need to feel the extra bit special. So as soon as I saw the Phoebe I knew I was going to have to have at least two. Possibly more!

The Phoebe has a classic vintage shape, enhanced by the inclusion of a layer of tulle under the skirt to give it that slight bit more structure. It also means you don't have to wear a petticoat as it's pretty much built in. But does not make he dress feel in anyway overly poofy. 

For me this dress pretty much ticks every box - it has sleeves which give great coverage, a scoop neck which is demure but still allows for a hint of cleavage. One of my pet hates is that the large majority of plus size dresses usually don't have a nice back to them, but Phoebe has a lovely V at the back which just shows that little bit more skin. 

Important to note is that pretty much universally Phoebe comes up about a size smaller than usual Lady V dresses. I sized up from my usual Lady V size 20 to a 22/24, and to be honest it could still be a touch larger across the bosom. Phoebe sits just over my knee (I'm a tall 5'8) - oddly it feels longer than that when I am wearing it. I can't explain why, it just does. 

As you can see I bought this beauty in two colour ways - the kingfisher print and the yellow blossom. I love the fact that despite being the same exact style the prints mean they look totally different. I styled both with my wide brown leather belt. The dress also works with a thin belt (I have worn a thin white belt with the Kingfisher which I liked) - the belt just works to define the waist and break up the pattern a bit. 

Me in my Phoebe Longfisher with gorgeous blogger babes at Curvy Con

I wore the kingfisher print to Curvy Con and I got a slew of complements (thanks ladies) which was lovely. I love the pattern, and the fact that it is so multi coloured that accessories wise you have a lot of options. The one thing I would say about the Kingfisher print is it is quite busy and as Phobe is to the knee (at least) and has sleeves and a high-ish bust line there is a lot of fabric, so if you are worried about things being "flattering" I think that this is the sort of print that would look better on a taller person where there is more of you (ie more legs and arms) to break it up. Just my opinion. 

The Yellow Blossom colour way I just adore. I love yellow for clothes, particularly the slightly dirty mustard hues, and it's hard to find a great yellow dress, but this is perfection. It goes great with my red hair, and is such a fab colour for spring/summer. My brother recently got engaged to a wonderfully beautiful girl and there engagement party is in June and I am definitely going to be sporting my yellow blossom Phoebe. 

The Phoebe feels to me like an occasion dress. For an outing it deserves a wedding, a day at the races, a birthday party. I know I am going to be getting a lot of wear out of mine and I am still thinking about going back for the lip print. I can't wait to see what's next from Lady Voluptuous because so far it's been brilliant. 

Have you got anything from Lady Voluptuous? What would you like to see them do next? Let me know in the comments. 


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Filling a Gap: Studio 8 Launch

I recently had the good fortune of being invited along to the launch of Studio 8, a new high end plus size collection in sizes 16 to 24.

Studio 8 is a sister brand of Phase Eight, and they are looking to create a high end high street label which consists of well-cut pieces in quality fabrics. I was pretty excited to hear about this as there are very few retailers currently in this space, and a big demand for it. 

To be honest I expected a few pieces - a tentative feeler into the plus size market in much the same way other brands have launched. However, this is no half arsed capsule collection, but a fully-fledged brand with a very definite direction and aesthetic. What I found upon arrival was six racks of well rounded, beautifully integrated mini collections that all work together but all have a distinctive flavour.

The team are absolutely passionate about what they have created. Speaking to both the buyer and the designer their excitement about the project was palpable and they were thrilled to be describing the realisation of their vision. Darting from rail to rail they urged me to touch the fine fabrics and inspect the different styles.

What struck me most was the variety. One of my major complaints is that plus size fashion retailers so often assume that all plus size bodies are the same. That we all carry our weight in the same places and that all us fat girls will look good in one style (anyone for a hanky hem? Urg!). And so you frequently find collections that are entirely made up of skater dresses, or tunics, or harem pants without any variation of type. Here there were dresses cut in a myriad of ways for different shapes, just like a straight size collection. 

A lot of the collection resonated with me. For starters it feels like a collection for grown ups. Fashion conscious modern women with a taste for fine things. It is also versatile - there are many dresses I would be comfortable wearing to work and out after for drinks or on a date, which is great because I like more wardrobe to work hard, and I don't have that much of division between what I use my clothes for. 

My thoughts about the collection in general is that it is incredibly well thought out. There are some key staples included like jeans, a beautifully fitted cropped black jacket, some statement LBDs, and there are some show stopping pieces. There are dresses that you will wear year in and year out, and there are a few with definite nods to current trends (gorgeous 70s print dress for example). The palette is beautiful - lots of jewel tones, bold prints, photographic florals. And most of the pieces will happily see you through both autumn and winter. 

The only disappointing part for me was the casual collection. I am, as we know, not very good with casual clothes anyway, but it just felt a bit safe and mumsy to me. But again I will hold my hands up and say I am not the expert on these things. 

Back onto the positives, I have detailed some of my favourites below. 

My very favourite piece has to be this green dress. It has a fabulous fifties silhouette which makes my little vintage heart sing, the colour is made for red heads and the net lace overlay has stretch meaning it would be incredibly comfortable to wear. I have a wedding this summer it would be perfect for! 

I am very partial to the navy jumpsuit. Jumpsuits and I have a love hate relationship. When I am slimmer they look absolutely killer on me, but at my current weight it feels like there is just nowhere to hide my tummy (which is a very big deal for me). This one has a swathe of loose-ish fabric in the waist which I think might just do the trick, so that's very exciting. 

I am really excited about a particular black parka in the collection with a black fur collar. It is the first parka I have ever seen that I can actually imagine myself wearing, and this London girl seriously needs a waterproof coat of some description. 

Perhaps the most exciting was the occasion wear. I just love the idea of being able to walk into a shop and try on a beaded evening dress, and I hope this is something they expand in coming collections because there is just such a demand for good quality, well fitting evening wear for plus size women and I draw a blank when I try to think of a stockist that is not solely online. 

The prices are very much in line with Phase Eight pricing. You'll be paying more than you're used to on the high street, but then almost everything I picked up I could see would have longevity in my wardrobe and for pieces like that I think it's worth it. 

All in all I think this is a very exciting collection. It has promise and big ambitions but it's what a lot of women have been crying out for. I can't wait to get in a fitting room with some of these pieces, and I am looking forward to what more the team at Studio 8 might have in store for us. 

(Apologies for the rubbish pictures - my iPhone was not behaving and so I have had to rely on taking photos mainly of pages in the look book. Bad blogger!)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Asos Curve and My Casual Conundrum: Review of the Asos Curve Acid Wash Skater Dress

As I have mentioned before, I am constantly in a casual clothing conundrum. From being a bit of a skater girl in uni who always wore jeans and tees, suddenly I seem incapable of finding anything casual to wear ever. I have a million dresses for a special day out, and nothing for those super casual days when you are mooching around or popping to the park.

I am a true believer in the idea that it is better to be over-dressed than under-dressed (an almost religious belief passed on by my mother) so turning up to something a little fancier than everyone else is not a problem. But I am always on the look out for some chilled bits and pieces to supplement my pretty sparse casual collection. 

Big 70s style sunnies - Primark
Brown woven leather belt - Primark
Brown leather boots - Evans

I was overjoyed to find this casual dress on Asos Curve - it looks like acid wash denim but in actual fact is t-shirting. Essentially this is a skater dress - so still has the structure that I like in my clothes, yet looks like a casual item of clothing and is super comfortable. 

You may have noticed, I am not a fan of plain. Where possible, I like a little extra (clearly). And this dress has a few accents that make it a little special, while still not making it dressy. A bardot neckline (yes another one - I am going to be wearing these all summer, I warn you), and that sweet little lace trim means this dress could be a prairie staple or straight out of a 1980s teen film. I can imagine Molly Ringwald wearing it with a little pair of lace gloves and some Madonna jewelery. However, here I decided to style it a little more 70s, with the big glasses and brown leather.

I ordered this dress in my usual 22, and it fit true to size. I styled it here with a skinny belt, but I would like to try it with a wide belt as it might give me a little more waist definition. The dress, including the lace trim, sits just over my knee (I am 5'8") which means this is a good dress for those of you who dont't like to show too much leg. It also means that come proper summer this will be great without leggings or tights. 

The sleeves are comfortable and give a little bit of coverage but I would prefer them to have been a little longer (closer to elbow length) just because I am not a big fan of my arms. The neckline is flattering for the busty among us, but (unless you are uber booby) it's still pretty demure.

All in all this dress is comfortable, casual and pretty. It's a great weekend outfit - great for a picnic, beer garden outing or a music festival (I plan to take it out to all three). Do you have a go to casual outift? What are you wearing on the weekends?  Tell me below...

Monday, May 11, 2015

My (last few) Weeks in Outfits

What you may not know about me is during the day I am a civil servant, and work for a government department. That means that the last couple of weeks have been pretty crazy, and I've had little to no time to take regular outfit photos. So I figured I would just do a round up of everything I've take lately...

Lyra dress in Teal - Lady Voluptuous
Brown leather heels (old) - Marks and Spencer

While I await the delivery of my two new Phoebe dresses from Lady Voluptuous, I took my fave out for a spin. Especially love it with my big gypsy earrings. 

Black suede wedges - Primark

I'm a big fan of a blue green with red. This Lady V dress is another beauty, however it does need a tank top underneath, just cannot be worn without it. 

Brown Leather Boots - Evans
Skinny Brown Braided Belt - Primark

Like the freshness of this outfit - feels very seventies which is on trend at the moment (quite unlike me to be en vogue) and I think it works for work even if it is more casual than usual. 

Brown leather heels (old) - Marks and Spencer

I have been eyeing this Scarlett and Jo dress for a while. Very similar to another S&J dress I have in my wardrobe, this also has a forties flavour, and loads of lovely details which make it quite special. I will be reviewing this shortly, and it is another dress that I know will become a staple in my working wardrobe. Scarlett and Jo smashing it as per usual! This dress if currently on sale for the ridiculous amount of £15 - go and GET ONE!

Black belt with gold clasp - Primark

I just adore this shot of my beloved Dolores going all Marilyn on me. Too pretty! Another example here of how you can wear 50s styling to work and still look professional. 

I've got a review of this dress coming up later this week, but needless to say it is effortlessly comfortable and I feel like it is casual but I don't look slobby or sloppy which is sometimes my issue with casual clothes. Paired with the shades this is another totally seventies look. 

What have you been wearing lately?

Have a good week lovelies :)


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Oh Oh Oh Ophelia! Review of the Lindy Bop Ophelia Dress

I have no idea what took me so long to order something from Lindy Bop. With their reasonably priced vintage reproductions they are right up my alley!

They have loads of lovely styles on offer, and each one they produce in a wide range of colour ways, which means you're pretty much guaranteed to find something to your taste. I have been eyeing out the Ophelia for ages, having seen many a blogger look quite delicious in this sexy style. A few weeks back a work colleague (who I have recently converted to vintage style dresses) came in sporting an Ophelia and I knew I had to have one!

Black Belt and Black Suede Wedges - Primark

The colour and pattern choices had me deliberating for days. But I settled on this red and white polka dot delight, with black boob scallops (I'm not sure what else to call them?!). I think I picked it because it reminded me of sexy Minnie Mouse - is that weird?

I ordered the Ophelia in my usual size 22 and it is a snug fit. I like how fitted it is, but if I was carrying anymore weight on my upper tummy or was any wider across my back it would not fit, and my giant control pants were very much needed to keep me feeling svelte. So if you like a bit more room to move I would certainly size up. It comes over the knee which I sometimes find a bit frumpy but the rest of this dress is so fitted and sexy that I appreciate the coverage that the full skirt gives me. Please note this dress is actually sleeveless and here I am wearing Wingz - more on those further on.

I would describe this as a medium to heavy weight stretch cotton, which is not clingy and so quite forgiving on the lumps and bumps. I added a skinny black belt here because I felt it drew attention to my waist (which is looking more pronounced here than usual) and just broke up the pattern a little bit.

The Ophelia is super sexy. It really plays to your assets - the scallops enhance the bust (on the day I wore this someone actually asked me "have you always had those?!") and the very vintage shelf like design gives support to the more chesty among us. It did sort of make me feel like I was offering them up, but not necessarily in a bad way!

My arms are not my favourite feature. What it is boiling hot I will get them out but if there is a way to cover them up I am all for it. Enter Wingz, this brilliant little invention that allows you to add sleeves to almost anything.

So you can see what they look like underneath - from the website...

This is honestly a revelation for me. And so I tested my Wingz out with Ophelia for the first time and I was incredibly pleased with the results. They stayed put, looked pretty seamless with the dress and we're cool and comfortable. I will certainly be investing in a few more styles soon - probably some in lace.

All in all the Ophelia is a damn foxy dress, which makes me feel like a million bucks and for £34.99 that ain't half bad! I shall be investing in more sexy little Ophelias soon.

Got any Lindy Bops? Tell me about them in the comments...
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