My first real fashion memory came when i was 7 years old. I just had to get my long hair cut just like Lady Diana’s . It was the summer of the royal wedding, and Diana, with her pretty piecrust collars and romantic dresses was quite frankly the most beautiful woman i had ever seen. I just had to have that haircut. And although it turned out to be ill advised incidently, as the hairdresser I visited in West Brom gave me something similar to the effect of a pudding bowl on my head and i proceeded to cry all the way home, my love of clothes and of style was awakened, and has never really dimmed.
Diana was the first of a whole stream of fashion icons who I tried to emulate in my own way. Next came her polar opposite, Madonna, in lacy gloes and rows of cruxifixes that could be picked up cheaply from the market.Madonna remained a fashion icon to me right up until the moment she wore her confessions leotard just a little too often. Next came Kylie Minogue, i confess that i copied the pocket prostitute look from ‘the word is out vid’ for my 18th birthday party, complete with fishnets and 30’s style patent t-bar shoes. Marianne Faithful’s 60;s look came next, with weekends spent trawling charity shops and Birmingham’s rag market for a-line suede skirts, skinny rib sweaters and knee high boots. I copied Courtney Love, wearing torn vintage nighties with Doc Marten boots for nights out in indie clubs.
Kate Moss came next, and still remains my faourite fashion icon, although the days of being able to emulate her look have long gone. Which really brings me to the point of this blog. Whilst Kate may have a nanny to help with Lila Grace, I know find myself dressing in a few minutes, een when going out, due to my toddler being at that clingly stage where mom leaving the room gives baba licence to wreck havoc in it. This means having to forward plan, but can also mean picking up something from the bedroom floor. Shopping has become something to be savoured, something sacred, on the odd days when dad or nan take over and mom can escape and turn into Emma again. Fashion magazines are poured over late at night with coffee and a relax at the end of another long day.
I love being a mom, don’t misunderstand me, but me time for shopping and Vogue aren’t the only things that have disappeared. As the blog title suggests, I am now proudly in the realms of plus sizing. Models may be able to snap back to their original size like and elastic band after just six weeks(I mean you Vodianova!!!), but I found that putting on weight was easier than loosing it, and am now safely in the world of size 18. On some happy days I can fit into a size 16, (have one miraculous Wallis skirt that fits in size 14!!), but also have days when i cry that I just cannot fit my large bust into the size 18, and have to ask for a 20!
Money is also not so plentiful since I made the decision to become a full time mom. So the high street is defineitely my street. Just love looking at designer labels in the glossies, but in the real world just wouldn’t get my big toe into them and would need to remortgage to buy them. Hence I really love Wallis, Monsoon, Evans, Dorothy Perkins, Next, New Look and H&M. For real bargains I love Peacocks, Primark for accessories and Ethel Austin for cheap knits. Handbags are my major passion – probably have more than two hundred, but would deny this if it was mentioned to my husband!
My other great passion is for second hand clobber. Note that I said second hand and not vintage. As a size 18, I strongly feel that vintage is for the slimmies- I have yet to find a fab vintage dress in size 18, or dare I say it…gasp…size 20. Feel that these must be the holy grail of clothing! But that doesn’t stop me loving the bargain of second hand clothing. I have found amazing bargains in the most unexpected of places – a tods red leather bag for £3, a baby pink pair of BCBG Max Azria shoes for £4(a size too big but too good to miss) and a Missoni wrap dress that was £3.75. Only problem was that it was a size 12, so I sold it on ebay for £50. My favourite recent buy was a pair of square toed, t bar shoes from Mui Mui from Putny High street for £20.
Whenever I visit new towns I head straight for the Charity shops. The best shops are definitely outside London. The Midlands, where I live are a goldmine, apart from the Mui Mui shoes, all aforementioned bargains were sourced in the midlands, as were a Moschino dress for 32.99 and LK Benett flats for £2.50. Have recently started to spend lots of time in Wales and found it is a treasure trove of tiny, cluttered, unorganised charity shops hiding bargains.(Reiss shirt for £1.50 anyone?). I am a ruthless charity shopper, ‘if it doesn’t fit me could I sell it is my motto’ and i could spend happy hours trawling charity shops for just about anything.
My blog is going to track more of this, what I wear, the bargains I find both in charity shops and on the high street, good looks that I see in the provincial towns that Grazia doesn’t ever get to, sources of inspiration, from tv, film,books and the street.
Remember, Style is not solely the possession of the young, rich and slim. It is not merely found in the cities that host fashion weeks. It only improves with age|(although Catherine Zeta Jones seems hellbent on disproving this!) And finally, it has a sense of being unique. Consider style icons Lauren Hutton and Marilyn Monroe, completely different, completely unique, completely stylish.
- The Insider’s Guide to Clothes Shopping (lifescript.com)
- Vintage Fashion Forward: Vintage Fall Neutrals for the Business Woman (vintageindie.typepad.com)
- Create Your Signature Style (lifescript.com)
- A retro revolution: Why do we love all things vintage? (independent.co.uk)
- 10 Tips to Shop Bargain Stores Effectively (quazen.com)
- Designer Clothing Sample Sales Are Stylin’ (lifescript.com)