Monthly Archives: March 2010


It has featured naked women on the cover and even actresses without makeup. But now a leading fashion magazine has created a real shock for France’s fashionistas by tackling the last taboo: plus-size models. The latest edition of French Elle is arriving on newsstands this weekend with a picture of model Tara Lynn wearing a white jumpsuit on the cover. Lynn is a plus-size model who sports, it says, “adorable belly fat” and inside appears with three other larger models for 32 pages of a “special edition” dedicated to plus-size fashion. It comes a month after Italian Vogue launched an online section called “Vogue Curvy” dedicated to fashion and beauty for larger women.

In January US glossy magazine V ran a plus-size-themed edition featuring Lynn and other models under the headline “Curves ahead”. And last September the issue was again in the spotlight after British designer Mark Fast’s London show caused a storm when his stylist allegedly walked out over a decision to use larger models. Some see French Elle’s decision to challenge the national stereotype of slender, chic Parisian women as breaking down the last bastion of a super-slim aesthetic that has gripped the fashion world. However, many doubt that the French will ever accept a larger body as an acceptable look and several fashion insiders told the Observer that the French Elle shoot was simply a “gimmick”, not a trend. Others disagree. Velvet d’Amour, a US model who lives in Paris, has conquered both fashion and TV at size 28. She has been a catwalk model for Gaultier and Galliano and is now a popular TV commentator.

Shops and websites for larger women are becoming highly visible. Parisian fashion writer Sakina, whose blog Saks and the City is widely read, told the Observer that the Elle cover was a “wonderful initiative”. “It’s almost unbelievable to see such a huge magazine cover a real plus-size woman. Along with Vogue dedicating a section to curvy women, it’s the most shaking news I’ve seen,” she said. “Fashion has created a gap between itself and real women. From skinny, to curvy, to fat, the population is made of very different bodies and the contrast between the women represented in fashion or advertising has been so important that most women don’t feel good about themselves. I, too, have had body issues: I tried to fight what I genetically am because I always thought that being beautiful could never mean being curvy.” She added: “The fashion industry is evolving, but slowly. Elle is considered as a magazine that steps out for women, so I want to believe this is not only a one-off.

The famously Parisian chic is a fashion spirit, certainly not a weight or a body shape.” Although far behind the US and the UK, the French are getting significantly bigger. Statistics show that 42% of French women are now classified as overweight or obese, while more than half the male population – 51% of French men – are officially overweight or obese. But one Parisian fashion industry insider, who did not want to be named, said French Elle was acting less out of desire for change than “to respond to the criticisms directed at them for showing only thin models”. He told the Observer: “It’s a gimmick. Having one edition that you fill with big girls is like world women’s day: one day a year is reserved for them and the rest of the time you go back to normal.” The capital’s fashion elite was far from changing its mind about bigger models, added the insider. “You know why? Because clothes don’t look as good on bigger people.” Size is now a hugely contentious issue across the developed world.

This month a row erupted in Australia when designer Rosemary Masic said she would cap her clothes range at size 14, as anything bigger “endorses an unhealthy lifestyle”. “I am very passionate about life and serious about health,” said Masic. “Size 16 and size 18 are not healthy sizes to be.” But she was criticised for stocking clothes at the other end of the spectrum, size 6, which some see as equally unhealthy. The German magazine Brigitte this year said it would no longer hire professional models because staff were tired of retouching photographs of bone-thin models to make them look bigger.

German designer Karl Lagerfeld, 76, who attacked chainstore H&M for producing his designs in all sizes instead of just for the “slim and slender”, stepped into the row, saying what many in fashion believe – that no one wants to watch larger catwalk models. “Fat mummies sit there in front of the television with their chip packets and say skinny models are ugly,” Lagerfeld told Focus magazine. He said fashion was about “dreams and illusions”, not reality. Critics, however, say it is also about eating disorders and pressured young women, but he is not alone in that view. Others feel Elle has dragged behind the curve. Glamour magazine published a small photograph of model Lizzie Miller, showing a natural-looking stomach, last September. A deluge of responses declaring it “the most amazing photograph I’ve ever seen in any women’s magazine” led the magazine to commission Dutch fashion photographer Matthias Vriens-McGrath to shoot plus-size models Miller, Crystal Renn and Kate Dillon, among others, in a style similar to that made famous by US photographer Herb Ritts with nude supermodels in the 1980s.

This month designer Michael Kors, US Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and model Natalia Vodianova were at a Harvard forum to discuss changing body types in fashion. Vodianova talked about her postnatal anorexia, and Kors called waif-like models an “army of children” and announced he would no longer book models aged under 16. “The fashion industry is starting to address real women again,” Kors said. “The emphasis in fashion is shifting toward an emphasis on real women who are women, not girls.” If the fashion magazines do not lose readers by using a diversity of models in all shapes and sizes, then the designers could find that change makes commercial sense, even if some steadfastly refuse to accept the aesthetics.


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For those up and coming brides I thought I would add some gorgeously sumptious bridal gowns from plussizebridal. Glamour doesnt have to be an issue just because we not a size 8-10! Which is your favourite?

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A recent study by Arizona State University, the University of Cologne in Germany and Erasmus University in the Netherlands shows that using plus-size models in advertising doesn’t make a difference to consumers, ASU News reports.

“We found that overweight consumers demonstrated lower self-esteem – and therefore probably less enthusiasm about buying products – after exposure to any size models in ads (versus ads with no models). Also, normal-weight consumers experienced lower self-esteem after exposure to moderately heavy models, such as those in Dove soap’s ‘Real Women’ campaign, than after exposure to moderately thin models,” said Professor Naomi Mandel.

Mandel showed ads featuring a wide range of model sizes to females with a wide range of BMIs. The women with low BMIs experienced a self-esteem boost after seeing any model, while higher-BMI women experienced a self-esteem drop after seeing any model.

But the normal-BMI women were back-and-forth:

If they viewed a moderately thin model, they felt similar and good; if they saw a moderately heavy model, they worried they were similar and overweight.
And this, researchers found, impacts their willingness to buy the product in question.

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Is there a time when dressing trendy is not in the best interest of a plus size fashionista? If you would have asked me that question a few weeks ago I would have said there is always a place for trendy fashion. Considering for decades the clothing available to plus size women was drab and boring the break out of designers and merchants focusing on the plus size fashion world has been a breath of fresh air.

My recent trip to Washington, DC showed me that in certain environments trendy fashion, even for plus sizes, is not the order of the day.  You guys already know about my wife and how she loves blue, green, fuchsia, yellow, you name the color she wears it.  On our trip to the nation’s capital we were introduced to many back offices of high importance such as the Pentagon, Supreme Court, CIA, Senate, and the House of Representatives were these colors are considered out of bounds.

There were plenty of lovely large women in all of these places in positions from secretaries to clerks running the entire office.  There was one thing common among all of these ladies, plenty of muted colors.  The major color theme was grey followed by black, brown, and navy blue.  Pants suits were also scattered about as well as knee length pencil skirts and black tights.  Of five days in DC, the only color I saw outside of this spectrum was one red jacket worn by the Senior clerk of the Senate majority leader

Does this mean that color should not be allowed on larger ladies in the workplace?  Absolutely not.  What it illustrates is that even with all of the steps plus size fashion has taken to buck the trend and live on the edge when it comes to some work settings tradition still rules meaning that when it comes to building your workplace wardrobe there are a few things you should keep in stock.    To give you a head start Jones New York has 50% off sale on plus size apparel in classic styles and colors and 30% off on all dresses.

Items every wardrobe should include:

  1. Suit jacket (grey, black, brown, and navy)
  2. Skirt in the same colors
  3. Houndstooth – you can break things up without being totally boring
  4. Black tights (in this case no fish or fencenet stockings)

Even with the conservative look there is always room to show off your individual spirit with shoes and accessories.  I saw the gambit in this regard meaning that just because you are wearing traditional colors does not mean that you have to look like your about to attend a funeral. Keep the amount of accessories to a minimum but play up on color, theme, and style to show the true you in a sea of traditional palettes.

Really, you could say that dressing classically is something every woman should do regardless of size, but as the office becomes more casual classic looks actually standout making a statement that regardless of the setting you will not just be one of the unwashed masses.  Do you have any classic fashion tips for the office?  If so feel free to comment and share!

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I wanted to update you with the latest looks from ASOS’s new section, Curve, catering for sizes 20-26, bringing you the hottest styles and newest trends. I’m loving the cream lace shrug, which is bang on trend combining the nude hue and the lace design for only £30. The black dress (£38) will work wonders for the fuller figuer with it’s babydoll style, either teamed with tights or flat gladiator sandals and a denim jacket for summer. And lastly, this halterneck maxi dress with gold embellished neck line would be great for a summers evening drinking wine with the girls.

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Beth Ditto, songstress of the super group The Gossip, showed her fashion credentials by showing up to Paris Fashion Week. The singer was on the front row of Karl Lagerfelds runway show and sat with Nancy Shevell on the front row of British designer, Stella McCartney.

For Lagerfelds show, Beth wore a gorgeous black number with a black studded, metal chocker and eye makeup to scare young children. For the McCartney show Beth was a vision in turquoise with a stunning statement necklace. The only thing I’d change about this outfit is maybe some better supporting underwear. If Gok Wan saw those bangers Beth, he’d have a fit. I’d suggest maybe wearing a corset such as this one from to create some kiler curves. The website features corsets from size 8 right up to a size 30.

Images courtesy of

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Glamour at the Oscars

How gorgeous does Precious star Gabourey Sidibe look at yesterdays Oscar awards? I cant get enough of the blue colouring with her skin tone and the embellished neckline.

It shows her curves off to perfection. Sadly, Sidinble lost out to Sandra Bullock (a deserving winner however) but she managed to look flawless on the night. She seems to have a passion for blue, the last three dresses I’ve seen her in have been that colour. But when you work it as well as this then who can blame the girl?

As for the presenter on the AP network who said best actress nominee Gabourey Sidibe would “have to have her dress specially made” and how “hard it is for people like her”, he will come back in his next life as a dung beetle. And for the record, Sidibe looked completely gorgeous in her blue dress. A simple, sophisticated beauty.

Queen Lafita rocked the award ceremony in a gorgeous pink, satin floor-length gown. The 39-year-old singer and actress was a presenter at the Academy Awards.

She introduced a clip for the Governor’s Award ceremony that honored achievements, exceptional contributions to Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and outstanding service to the Academy.

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