Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Lana Love In: Lindy Bop Lana in Green

Phew! The last few weeks have been obscenely busy. Every aspect of my life, from work to social to dating, seems to have been in overdrive and something had to give. Sadly it was blogging - and so I've gone two weeks without posting. The longest since I started! It was a necessary time out just to get through this patch, but I really missed it which is a good sign! So no more hiatus, I'm back!

So, on with the show...

Black petticoat - Lindy Bop
Black Freddie cardigan - Collectif
Belt and shoes - Primark

I am a complete convert to Lindy Bob's Lana dress. Like, I flipping love her! She's versatile, she's vintage, she's classy as hell. And she comes in a load of colours. Which means there will be many more Lanas to come! I also love the Lana, because like with all the Lindy Bop dresses, it is really reasonably priced. This is a really great starter brand for those looking to get into vintage fashion but not able or willing to make a big investment. The dresses are cheap and cheerful, in a variety of colours and prints. The quality isn't as high say as Collectif or Lady V, but for the price I am not expecting it to be. 

My latest Lana is one of my absolute favorite shades of green - makes my red/pink headed heart so happy. My first Lana was the Dark Blue Floral version and the major difference between the two is the lack of a lining under the skirt of the green version. Here I am wearing it with a Lindy Bop petticoat, in black, and so the lack of lining is not problematic, however when I have worn it without the petticoat I have certainly missed the lining. It just gives you a bit more structure and a better outline. I think the Lana really comes into her own with a petticoat. It just gives her that structure that makes for a real fifties silhouette, and is perfect with the fullness of the skirt. 

One of the things I love so much about the Lana is she is just so wearable. I wore this to a family function - it was a BBQ (yes, I know for a lot of people this is overdressed!) - and I felt fabulous. But I can wear this to work just as easily without the petticoat, and the first time I wore it was on a night out.

Have you got anything from Lindy Bop? Have you got a Lana? Let me know...


Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Collectif Collective: What We Wore to Pinup Picnic in the Park

The last Saturday in June was absolutely gorgeous, so I was super pleased to be spending it with a bunch of pin ups in Hyde Park. Hosted by the British Belles, Pinup Picnic in the Park was a riot of vintage fashion, hair flowers and parasols, and seeing some of the magnificent outfits on show was like all my fashion Christmases coming at once. I also met up with some wonderful plus size blogger babes, and three of us were rocking Collectif beauties so I figured I would give you a little peak at their outfits too!

Before the picnic I just couldn't decide between two Dolores Doll dresses - the Red Gingham and the Yellow Summer Bouquet Print. After asking for some help on social media (thanks to everyone who helped me out with my major first world problems!) I decided on the Red Gingham - it's such a traditional picnic choice, and I while I wore the Yellow Floral Bouquet to Ascot last year this was my first outing in the Gingham.

Selection of hair flowers - Collectif and Accesorize
White cropped cardigan - Primark (last summer)
Black cut out pumps - Primark
Black wide belt - old, unknown

Those of you who have been following me for a while will know that Collectif's Dolores Doll dresses are an integral part of my wardrobe. I have six different Dolores Doll colourways and I am constantly browsing for new prints. I love the Dolores because it is a brilliant shape for a curvy figure, and is so easy to dress up or down. The Dolores Doll dress was my first ever vintage reproduction purchase. If you are plus size and thinking of investing in a swing dress this would be my suggestion.

Dolores is really easy to wear and super flattering. Dolores is fitted over the bust, pulling in to the waist and then flaring out over the tummy and hips. I always add a belt to my Dolores to further cinch the waist in. I don't have the biggest bust for my size but because the neckline and cut of the Dolores accentuates the bust, and in turn it makes my waist look smaller. The sweetheart cut, ruched at the cleavage, with the sweet double button detail (heart shaped on the gingham - adorable!) draws attention away from areas I am not so keen. The skirt is a full circle - here I am wearing it with a petticoat underneath to really show off that fullness and give me a proper fifties silhouette. If I could I would wear a petticoat every day, but alas I have to keep them for special occasions.

The sleeves (which you can't see here due to my cardigan - bad blogger!) are really cute - elasticated and gathered so they can be worn on or off the shoulder. My only problem with them is that in all my Dolores dresses they are just a bit too tight. I do have pretty chunky arms, but then most plus sized women do, so it would be great if Collectif could just make the sleeves a little looser.

Dolores is available in a wide variety of colour ways, but important to note that while most Dolores Dolls are in stretch cotton (my preference) the Gingham version does not have any stretch, which of course effects the fit. Below you can see my favourite blogger honey, Caroline of Curvy Wordy, wearing Dolores in the Yellow Floral Bouquet print and showing of her truly marvelous proportions. I have this dress and just love the bright cheerful print, which screams summer, and looks particularly gorgeous with Caroline's blonde curls and tanned skin. This dress is just perfect for a wedding, a day at the races or a picnic in the park. Caroline kept her accessories simple with a plain white belt accentuating her enviable waist, and some white pumps. Perfect picnicking gear.

Yellow Floral Bouquet Dolores Doll - Collectif (currently out of stock)

And my Gingham twin for the day was the luscious Mayah from Beautiful Youniverse, wearing the Gretel Gingham Swing dress. Featuring a halter neck and four heart shaped buttons down the bodice, the Gretel has a full skirt just like Dolores and is a lovely alternative if you are wanting to change up the straps. Mayah chose to go with red accessories which worked fab - she reminds me of fabulously curvy Little Red Riding Hood. I think I might need to add a Gretel to my collection now - oh dear Mayah, you're a dreadful influence!

So, as you can see the plus size blogger babes were representing Collectif in full force at the picnic. What a ravishing array of beauties - I am already looking forward to next year. 

Have you got any summery faves from Collectif? What would you wear to a pinup picnic? 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Six Months In: A Nomination and Some Reflections

I got some really exciting and unexpected news about 10 days ago. I have been shortlisted for Best New Blogger at the British Plus Size Awards! I am absolutely thrilled, not least because there are some other wonderful bloggers in this category. There is going to be an awards dinner and the chance to mingle with fellow bloggers and members of the plus size community which I am very excited about - this is a chance to wear a pretty, fancy dress - eeek! And meet some of my heroes - double eeek! But winning would be pretty incredible too, so it would be amazing if you would vote for me here.

Today I have been blogging for six months. This, coupled with the news of the nomination has made me a little reflective. I am just overwhelmed that in six months so much has happened to this little blog of mine and I feel really grateful and quite blessed to be honest. I have met some wonderful people through this blog and my interactions online, I have already had some great opportunities, and I feel myself growing with the blog.  In what has already been a tumultuous but exciting year, blogging and what I've done as a result of it my blog has certainly been a highlight. So please indulge me as I reflect a little on what I've learnt so far on this short but eventful journey...

It's been a busy six months...

It's good to have a hobby
I am one of those weird people who really actually loves my day job. Sometimes to my detriment. I get sucked in, and kind of let the rest of my life suffer a bit sometimes. I get really dull and talk about work a lot, and my hours become super anti social. So, this year I figured I'd get a hobby. And that's what this blog is. It's already grown much quicker than I might have hoped, and I am so pleased that other people enjoy it, but it started for me. In typical Hayley fashion I have blogged to the max, and I've probably traded talking about work for talking about my blog so not sure my friends are really feeling the benefit here, but my work/life balance is a lot better. Having a hobby

Make time for it, until it becomes a habit
In the beginning doing something new is really exciting, and then after a little bit when you are not feeling super inspired or life is busy it gets hard. You just have to push on through until it becomes a habit. I found scheduling in some time for my blogging (and the social media that goes with it) really helpful. My working life is quite busy, so I actually write a lot of my posts on my phone on the bus (having taking the pictures whenever I can find someone willing to take them) and then lay them out and proof read them usually on a Sunday evening. I also make sure I always have a note book handy - I should really make notes on my phone but in that way I am really still a paper gal - for when inspiration strikes.

Rely on the kindness of your friends
With any undertaking in life, if you don't the have support of your nearest and dearest it's gonna be a struggle. For me actually letting people know I was starting this project made me feel quite vulnerable - I was putting a piece of myself out there. Some of my posts are of a personal nature and other posts detail hang ups that I have spent a lifetime hiding. I also worried I might look a little vain - all these photos and talking about what I like about myself and what I look good in. Eeek! But what wasted worries - pretty much everyone I care about was super supportive and amazingly helpful. They were my first followers and likers. They were the ones taking my blog pictures (still are, and very patient about it too! I need to get a tripod!) and my best friend designed my beautiful blog banner and helped me make my site navigable. They have really made this endeavour so much easier and enjoyable. So use your friends and family - they're your very first fans!

Do what you love
Okay, this is obvious, and on everyone's list of hints and tips I'm sure, but it can be really tempting to copy what other people have done successfully. But do what comes naturally to you. Write about the things you love, wear the clothes that you like and make you feel good, and write in your own voice. Sure, learn things from your favourite bloggers, but make sure whatever you are writing is authentically you, because being anything else will get old and tired quickly. I write about the clothes I love, and write the sorts of posts I would want to read. Sometimes I blend in other things I care about, because that's what's important to me. It might not work for everyone but this is my blog and something I have committed to, so I better enjoy doing it :)

A sense of Community
Sometimes you don't realise you are missing something until you find it. Over the past few years, prior to starting this blog, I found myself getting more and more involved in body positivity online. It was something I went looking for as an alternative to the diet and body shaming culture I saw pretty much everywhere. One that made me see my body for something it was - pretty amazing - rather than as a flawed, shameful burden to carry and hide. When I found this community of women who were also sick of the way we berate any body that doesn't fit the ideal (even momentarily - think of the cellulite shaming of celebrities every summer!) it was with a sense of relief I began to unburden myself of all these feelings of inadequacy. I didn't matter that the things I was reading were written by people with experiences from across the world. They were telling my stories. I was instantly a part of this group. My tribe. For me there are still things I want to change about my body, but it is important to be at peace with what you have now instead of constantly focusing on what you want to be different.

Be kind
I find that getting along as a blogger, much like getting along as a human being, is just easier when you're nice. Being new to any community comes with its challenges - you're feeling your way, and learning about all the people who have recently become your peers. A big draw to becoming a blogger was the people - their journeys to body confidence, their amazing personal styles, the incredible support and help they give their readers. The blogger sisterhood (that's what it feels like to me) and plus size community has been one of the most positive and life affirming groups I have ever interacted with. Compliments flow, advice is freely given, and people have been genuinely really supportive. So thank you to all of you - my blogging heroes, my readers, my friends - you have made this an awesome and worthwhile six months.

Anyway, that's that little ramble. I hope some of it was interesting, or at least not too dull. Back to fashion next post. And if you do get the chance - GO VOTE!

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