PROMINENT in the headlines over the past few weeks has been the trial of size 16 mannequins in Debenhams.
Sixteen is now officially the average size of a British woman and while wheeling out curvier plastic models to adorn large department stores might be the fashion world’s acknowledgement that larger ladies do exist. I’m not sure I quite believe this token gesture.
So how does well does the fashion industry look after is the more voluptuous and curvier fashionista?
Not very I am afraid and many retailers, both in the high street and online, have some fabulous fashions for women up to a size 18, but once you become a size 20 this is where the problems begin.
It’s difficult enough when you are larger than the ‘average’ size to find outfits to flatter – and anyone who is less than 5ft 4in in height will struggle to buy skirts and trousers which don’t drag on the floor, or tops which don’t reach the knees.
Plus size fashion retailer Taking Shape has arrived in the country with the motto ‘Celebrate Your Curves’ and is set to set the women’s plus-size clothing market alight.
Currently in the high street in selected towns and cities across the UK (Leicester is the nearest store), the retailer has also launched its collections online at takingshape.com/uk
With more than 28 years’ experience, Taking Shape has a great understanding of what fuller figured women are looking for and have a fabulous range of weekend, evening and active wear in sizes 14 to 26.
The retailer offers women clothing which is fashionable, has personality and flatters; a fun, relaxed and friendly shopping experience; and real advice from in-store stylists on how to dress for your size.
Alla Buinowicz, managing director of Taking Shape, told FeMail:“We’re excited to have arrived on the UK high street and into such a strong plus-size fashion market. We believe that there is a great demand here for both our garments and commitment to providing a unique and caring shopping experience. Everything we do is about you, the customer, what makes you look good and what makes you feel great! We’re more than just a retailer; our goal is for women to enter as customers and leave as friends!”
Here are some top tips from Alla which will help us curvy girls make the most of our figures.
GIVE COLOUR A CHANCE
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard a customer say ‘ooh no I never wear that colour’ but then I get her into the fitting room and trying on all kinds of colours she wouldn’t normally wear and well – the rest is history.
My tip is: have a play, step out of your comfort zone and try on new colours. The right colours for you can make you look healthy and glowing – people will notice and tell you how good you look.
LAYER, LAYER, LAYER
Many of us have parts of our body which we aren’t fond of – an ample derriere or a pudding tummy are complaints I often come across.
My tip is: if you layer a long line body tank over trousers it skims lumps and bumps and creates a lean foundation to build an outfit from. Add a printed tunic, vest or top and a piece of chunky jewellery and you have an attractive outfit that you’ll feel confident in.
DIVERT THE EYE
Straight lines across your body can be less than flattering and accentuate your middle. Mixing the lines, lengths and textures of your clothing creates interest in your outfit and distracts the eye. My tip is: try asymmetrical hems, crushed fabrics, and textures such as mesh and lace to create stunning outfits.