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changes
News

Changes for 2013 – excuse me while I’m getting ready!

rollersinhair

UPDATE: Hopefully by now you’re seeing this content on the new domain. Please bear with me as I fix any final issues and start tweaking content to suit the new domain. But hopefully, you’ll be as happy as I am with this new home!

The start of a new year is a good time to make changes, so I’ve decided to do something that I probably should have done quite a while ago. As of some time this month or early next (depending on how quickly I can get all the boring technical stuff done) Big Girls Browse will be no more.

But don’t get too excited. I won’t be going far, and neither will my content. I’ll simply be moving everything over to GemmaCartwright.com and ditching this URL.

I’ve decided it’s time to lose the silly pun-based name that has, to be honest, caused me nothing but problems since I launched this blog. It’s time to stop trying to be a character and do what I should have done a very long time ago – be myself.

I will still be writing about all the stuff I do here, and all of Big Girls Browse’s three year archive will be following me over to my new blog. Even the layout won’t change very much, so if you are a fan of this site I hope you will continue to follow me at the new URL. Things like Frugal February and the Ways To Wear Challenge will continue in their new home too – apologies to those who entered the challenge in December, the round-up will be slightly postponed while I sort this out, but I haven’t forgotten you beautiful people!

By moving, I’m hoping I can broaden the appeal of the site and give myself a little more freedom to talk about stuff other than clothes for curves. There are so many things I want to share online, and it seems stupid to do it across multiple blogs, tumblrs and tweets when I could just do it all in one place. Under my own name I can and will still write about curvy clothing, DD+ lingerie, shapewear, retro dresses, killer swimwear and everything else this blog is known for. But I want to remove the restrictions of this site and its name so I can talk about other stuff I love – travel, sewing, recipes, films, beauty, hair, money saving and my favourite finds outside of the world of fashion.

I hope you’ll come with me when I move and enjoy all the new stuff to come, but if you don’t, I’d like to say thank you for all your support so far. I really love this blog, but it’s time for a change of pace – after all, I do turn 30 this year!

evans_aw_toppic
Events & Launches, News

Gallery: Evans Autumn / Winter 2010-11 Press Day

Today was press day for Phillip Green’s Arcadia, which owns Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge and Evans (among others). I joined the fashionistas to take a look at what some of the high street’s biggest players have in store for Autumn / Winter 2010-11, and was pleasantly surprised to see that Evans more than held its own against it’s ‘trendier’ sister brands.

From biker jeans to shearling coats, faux fur to boho dresses, all the key trends were covered. There was some brilliant footwear (put me on the list for the Victoriana-inspired lace-up calf boots) and great bags (look out for the blue one in the pics). Other key items to look out for included a Balmain-esque t-shirt with stud and chain covered shoulders, a coral dress with cut-out shoulders, and a great sheer jersey top with angel wings front and back. Right now these are all early samples, so who’s to say if all of them will make it into local stores come September, but it’s still worth making that shopping list now. There should also be some surprises to come – apparently the ash cloud meant some samples were stranded abroad!

There are 26 photos here so apologies if they take a while to load. Don’t forget to click over to the next page for the shoes!

[nggallery id=6]

debsplussizemodels
News

Debenhams start using size 16 mannequins

debsplussizemodels

If you walk past Debenhams on London’s Oxford Street in the next few days, you might spot something a bit unusual. They’ve just added two size 16 mannequins to the display, with a board below reading “I’m a size 16. Do you want to see more of me?”

This is part of a trial by the retailer to see if customers would like to see these mannequins rolled out across more stores. Traditionally, Debenhams use size 10 models, but with 42% of sales coming from size 14 and 16 garments, these new mannequins represent the average customer far more.

Launching this trial is a savvy move on Debenhams part, particularly on the eve of London Fashion Week when everyone’s eyes are on the fashion industry. Far from being shoved into a specialist 16+ range, the mannequins wear the new Principles by Ben de Lisi range, which has had loads of press recently and is one of the store’s key collections.

Hopefully, if enough of us give positive feedback, the mannequins will become a permanent fixture across the country.

If that happens, I’d love to see them continue this good work and add some other sizes to the mix in the future. As much as I think this is a fantastic move forward, I don’t think you can truly represent British women just by adding a couple of plus size mannequins to all those size 10s. How about some petite models, some size 12s and so on? Let’s really push for diversity and a true representation of who is shopping on the UK high street.

[photo via the Debenhams Flickr page]

evansblog
Featured, News

Gemma for Evans

evansblog

No, I haven’t been given my own Beth Ditto-esque fashion range (yet) but I am very honoured to be the first guest blogger on the brand new Evans blog.

As the market leaders in the UK when it comes to 14+ fashion, Evans are hugely influential. But theirs is a mammoth task; as one of only a handful of brands catering for the plus size market in this country (and the only one to have a truly significant number of stand-alone stores on the high street) they have to do a bit of everything, from trends to workwear to classics to formalwear (plus shoes, lingerie and so on). I think it’s great that they’re adding another place for customers to interact and discuss what they like, what they want and how they want to be involved, and I’m sure the blog will be huge news as it grows.

I’m the first of many guest bloggers, and having seen the plan for the next few months, I’m definitely going to be reading long after I sign off and hand the baton over to another blogger! They’ve got some huge names involved, and there’ll be plenty of great content about all aspects of the industry – not just what’s in store at Evans – which is great from a corporate blog.

Read it here, just don’t forget who sent you!

asos_plussize
Clothing, Events & Launches, News

ASOS to launch plus size range – ASOS Curve

asos_plussize

The wonderful girls from ASOS broke the brilliant news on Twitter today that ASOS – the folks responsible for the fab (non plus-size) items above – will soon be branching out into the plus size market with new called ASOS Curve. It’ll cater for sizes 20 – 26 and they’re currently looking for fit models, so if you’re a Big Girl who fits the criteria, you could be one step away from ensuring an almost custom-made collection!

ASOS need someone who can spare a couple of hours a week to try on ASOS Curve clothing. They’re looking for someone who’s 5ft 5″ tall with the following measurements:

Bust: 116cm
Waist: 98cm
Hip: 124cm

If you fit the bill, check out the listing on ASOS for details of how to apply. I’ll keep you posted as soon as I hear more details about the range. Judging by the mainline collection, this should be a trend-lead, stylish and affordable range so I can’t wait to see what they come up with!

karllagerfeld
News, Rants

Once-fat Karl Lagerfeld has another anti-fat rant.

karllagerfeld

Karl Lagerfeld has once again conveniently forgotten that he used to be fat and decided to moan about the use of normal women in magazines. “No one wants to see curvy women,” said the designer, on hearing the news that Brigitte, one of Germany’s top-selling magazines, was making a move to include ‘real’ women on its pages rather than professional models. This isn’t the first time the Kaiser has whined about bigger women, either. When he created a line for H&M, he complained about his clothes being made up to a size 16, stating he designed only for slim women. Well, Karl, we seem to remember you cosying up to Beth Ditto at one of your shows not so long ago…

So where to begin addressing this pile of nonsense?

Firstly, and most importantly, people do want to see curvy women. This website – started up after I worked on a mainstream fashion website and was constantly approached for help for dressing curves – proves that. And as I have said time and time again, curvy does not always mean fat. It definitely doesn’t mean ugly. It means natural, shapely, normal. Curvy can just as easily be attributed to a UK size 12 as a UK size 22. Nobody’s suggesting that Brigitte are suddenly going to fill their pages with obese housewives in high fashion (though if they did, good on ’em), despite Largerfeld moaning that “You’ve got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly.” The magazine is simply taking a stand against the impossible ideal that the fashion press has promoted up to this point. Brigitte’s editor-in-chief told The Guardian, “For years we have had to use Photoshop to fatten the girls up, especially their thighs and decolletage. But this is disturbing and perverse, and what has it got to do with our real reader?”

I think this is a fantastic step forward, hot on the heels of Glamour US’s use of a plus size model in an article about body confidence. These magazines are recognising their audience and targeting them (something that will undoubtedly shift more copies in a recession, and who can blame them for that). If just a handful of magazines started using healthy UK size 10 – 16 models on their pages instead of emaciated size 4 ones, the world would be a better place. If we start seeing some more women in magazines who look like the women we see in real life on a daily basis, perhaps all of us will get a much-needed confidence boost and be inspired to live a healthier life. As someone who is only slightly overweight, I look at women in magazines now and think “I could never look like that”. I would love to look at them and think “Hmmm, maybe one day!”

Lagerfeld argues that people don’t want to see curvy women because fashion should be about “dreams and illusions”. Fair enough, I’m not going to pretend I don’t love a catwalk show full of ethereally beautiful women in frocks that could never be worn in real life. But I can safely say that this is not my dream, nor will it ever be. My dream looks a hell of a lot more like this; someone who is curvy, healthy and beautiful inside and out.

Unlike Karl Lagerfeld.

[Lagerfeld doll via Dazed Digital]

bethdittoevans1
Celebrities, Clothing, Events & Launches, News, Special Ranges

Beth Ditto at Evans – buy it tomorrow!

bethdittoevans1
Gossip singer Beth Ditto launches her highly anticipated range of clothing for plus size retailer Evans tomorrow. The range will be available online, but we’ve just heard about some exciting extra stuff that’ll be happening at the Marble Arch flagship store if you’re in London. In a move that mimics the hysteria of Beth’s mate Kate Moss’s launch at Topshop, those generous folks at Arcadia will be offering up prizes, gifts with purchase and refreshments for people in the queue at 9am…

According to those in the know, “Evans are offering the first 20 lucky shoppers through the doors of their Marble Arch flagship store in London at 9am, the chance to receive an exclusive lips handbag from the collection. In addition there will be lots more treats in store such as style advice, gift with purchase (while stocks last), limited edition badges, branded water bottles and sweets by hip London confectioners ‘Suck & Chew’.”

I got to preview the collection a few weeks ago, and must confess I was surprised by what’s on offer. Most of the emphasis so far has been on ‘show’ pieces like the purple sequinned tent dress, 80s style jumper and the fitted domino dress. However, for me the real stars are the leggings (with extra-deep double layered waistbands to hold in your tummy) and a great little cropped jacket. There are also some fabulous winkle picker shoes and some great bags (I’ve been carrying the domino-lined studded suede hobo every day since that preview and I adore it).

Rumour has it Kate Moss has already snapped up a kitten print oversize t-shirt dress (one can only assume she’s got a 14 and plans to wear it very loose!) so bear in mind when you’re planning your shopping trip that you’ll probably have to get in there quick. It looks like even slim women want a piece of the action, despite the range being made for Big Girls!

Beth at Evans – What you need to know:

– The collection is launching in the following stores: Marble Arch, White City London, Bluewater Park, Birmingham Pavillions, Glasgow Argyle St, Liverpool, Nottingham Clumber Street, Brighton, Leeds, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Manchester Trafford, Meadowhall, Cardiff, Dublin Henry Street, Plymouth, Belfast Castle Court and Bristol.

– The full collection is also available online at www.bethdittoatevans.co.uk from July 9th 2009

– The clothing range is available from a size 14-32 and footwear from a size 4-10.

– Prices range from £18 – £65