Sunday, March 27, 2016

Fit For A (Pair of) Queens: Evans New Fit with Georgina Grogan


A few weeks ago I spent a wonderful afternoon with my lovely Georgina Grogan (GG), and the team at Evans. After a delicious lunch we headed to the changing rooms at the Evans Marble Arch flagship store to try out their new fit, with great success. 

As a response to lots of customer feedback, Evans have recently overhauled the fit on their sizes 14 - 22, and I can tell you that I can totally see the difference. Many plus size brands (and fashion retailers in general) make the mistake of only fitting on one (sometimes two) different sizes. This means that a brand might fit their clothes on say a size 24, and then just scale up and down to create the other sizes. As you can imagine, this results in some pretty inconsistent fitting. It assumes that measurements increase incrementally everywhere as bodies get bigger and smaller. In order to get a better fit, clothes should really be fitted several times on different sizes. And this is now what Evans are now doing. Customers let them know that their pieces in sizes 14 - 22 were not fitted in the places that they should be. Garments often ended up baggy in the areas where they should be most fitted, and too long across the board. I have to be honest, this was a problem I often found with Evans pieces myself - a lot of excess fabric in places I didn't need it. Well they have listened! Yay for responsive brands that hear their customers. Sizing and fit have been overhauled and you can see the difference! 









GG (who writes She Might Be Loved) and I both fell for this beautiful purple dress and so here we are at Evans twinning it up! As you can see it's a beautifully rich, royal purple, and I love the pleats drape to accentuate curves. Because of mine and GG's very different heights on her it's more a maxi and me it sits about mid calf. I'm not sure on the length for me so I might actually shorten it so it falls just above or over the knee - a length I'm more comfortable with. We're both wearing a size 20 here, and you can see just how well they fit. As soon as I put it on I could feel that the underbust band was snug against my body, while there is more than enough space for my boobs. This works to accentuate my shape. I could really feel the improved fit on my bust and on the arms - correctly fitting where they previously may have swamped me a bit. 








Next I opted to try this black and white striped separates combo. They are part of the Hourglass range, and damn do they work on curves! The top is V necked with a peplum, and the tube skirt features a kind of cross over. Both have a thin black and white stripe. I am not usually one for coordinating items, but these two together are ideal, and the dramatic peplum shape really accentuates the waist and makes for some killer curves! Here I am wearing a 22, and the reformulation of the fit means that the band sits where it should, not too far under the bust. I absolutely adored the shape this outfit gave me. 

Now when I tried this on, I noticed that my tummy was visible in the skirt. More visible than in the things I ordinarily wear. I hesitated a moment, feeling a little more exposed than I'm used to. And then I took another long look in the mirror and decided that I loved this outfit and that I loved the shape I saw looking back at me. It was a pretty powerful landmark on my body confidence journey. I stepped out of the change room and everyone agreed I looked pretty damn fierce and I felt awesome. And proud. Some pictures of me in this outfit were recently posted on the Evans blog - another thrilling thing to happen! And the Evans team posted links on their social media channels, including Facebook. There were lots of likes, which was lovely, and comments as you would expect. Some people had rushed out to buy the purple dress as a result, others loved the peplum. Some people felt that sleeveless wasn't for them, or these weren't outfits that they'd choose. And these are the sorts of comments I would expect on a brand's page. I mean one of the reasons brands have this online presence is that they want customer feedback - good and bad. It helps them to make better clothes (their new fit is an example of this). 

What I, naively perhaps, wasn't prepared for was some really quite personal and quite mean comments about my body and the fit of the outfit. These were mainly about my tummy - my visible belly outline (VBO). Yup - I was pretty much experiencing body shaming from a community of other plus size women online. Here were women (plus size women particularly) policing another women's body and choices, with statements like 'longer sleeves are a must for chubby arms' and that skirt 'makes her midsection look like a huge swollen ball'.

To be honest, personally I'm okay. I am usually immersed in pretty positive spaces and communities, and I try to tune out negative talk about all bodies - mine and other peoples. The journey I have been on has strengthened my confidence and self assurance to the point where the misinformed comments of other women about my body or how I look don't shake my self worth. I know that there are worse things in this world than a bloody visible belly outline, and I won't be letting the haters get me down. But these comments do make me sad. For a number of reasons. 

They make me sad because I remember when one of the main reasons I chose outfits was on their ability to make me look smaller, slimmer.  I neglected many of the wonderful ways fashion could be used to express my personality, my creativity. For some it's about total camouflage. Like there's a magical combination of garments that will convince people that you're not fat. Long sleeves to hide meaty arms and black tunics to hide all rolls, bulges, bumps. Look, I get it. I've been there. What I don't get is the desire to shame others for their choices. And, essentially, their bodies. 

Unfortunately, we live in a super bitchy culture, particularly online. Under the cloak of anonymity people feel totally comfortable, hell they find it imperative to share their negative judgements on other people. They decide to say whatever comes into their minds, the meaner the better, and they either believe that they are not responsible for the effect of these words, or don't believe they will have any. But they do. Fat shaming, body shaming and all of those nasty things are incredibly triggering, particularly for people (like me, and perhaps you) who have spent their entire lives being told that there body is wrong, and that I should be doing everything in my power to change it - regardless of how unhappy or unhealthy that might make me. 

Well, I call bullshit on this. Our words have an effect on others. And we are responsible for them. The world is full of dicks trying to bring us down. Trying to tell us what to wear, do, eat, how to feel. And it seriously bums me out when that happens in a space where I would hope to actually feel safe, and positive. It makes me sad that there might have been other women looking at me in that outfit and thinking 'Hell yeah, I wanna try that' only to read the comments and lose there nerve. There are loads of spaces online where positivity is the name of the game. Where women lift each other up. So my mission is to keep being positive, particularly in spaces where I know other plus size women gather. Because we are really tired of people trash talking our bodies. And telling us what we aren't allowed to wear FFS! And I hope you will join me in this! Create new positive spaces. Join already existing ones, and introduce new members. Remind others of the importance of speaking kindly about your body and the bodies of others. And when you see a place that has gone negative, try and spin it back to the good stuff. Because that's what we need! Viva le Revolution! Okay, rant over!

You can read GG's write up of the day here, and the Evans blog post featuring me and GG here. Have you tried out the new fit yet? What do you think of the above outfits? Let me know... 
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15 comments

  1. All I see when I look at these photos is you looking utterly fierce and fabulous! Yeah, maybe there's some VBO, but a) I think VBO is super cute and b) it gives me a more realistic impression of what an outfit will look like on me. I particularly love the top and skirt: defo trying that out for work! xx

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    1. This comment made me grin, and get a little misty! Thanks so much hon x

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  2. Lovely dresses, Hayley and they both fit very nicely.

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  3. It's weird how some people choose to tear eachother down rather than build them up! I think it generally comes from a place of low self esteem and poor self image. I used to hate my body too, because society told me I should... So I'd find myself policing others in order to draw attention away from myself as a form of protection. I'm so pleased I've realised how poisonous my thoughts were. It's so liberating being part of the body positive community and encouraging people to feel confident in their skin! I'm also pleased to see Evans reviewing their fit... You look fabulous in both outfits! I'd love to try the stripes - It's a shame my local store has closed down!x

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    1. It's so so true what you say honey. Deffo comes from own internalised hatred for sure. So sad!

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  5. I absolutely love that peplum outfit on you! I was so disappointed to see the comments from other fat women, being so awful about other fat women who dare to wear what they won't. It's projection at it's worst xx

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    1. Isn't it just! And thanks hon, I love it too x

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  6. Ugh, the venom from plus size women on plus size retailers' sites makes me FUME. You look banging! Instead of bashing you, those uptight women might try reading a few plus size blogs and learn how to slowly start loving themselves. When that happens they might not be as keen to try to drag other women down to their level. xx

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  7. Looking good ,perhaps Evans can just improvethe fit on all the sizes though quality can also be an issue. I recently bought trousers that after one wash were 2 sizes bigger. I don't have a choice of retailer. I have to put up with what they deign to stovk

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    1. I'll be sure to pass on your feedback. Perhaps let them know via their website, facebook or twitter. I know they're always keen to hear feedback x

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  8. Well said! I love that purple colour and the shape and styling of the peplum top and skirt look very chic. As long as you are comfortable and happy - up you to everyone else ;)

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