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Striped dress
Clothing, Dresses, Skirts, Ways To Wear

It’s Time to Think Twice About Stripes

“Horizontal stripes make you look wider!”

How many times have you heard that? In fact, how many times have you said it?

It’s one of fashion’s biggest myths. It’s been proven time and time again that it’s a load of rubbish, but many people still seem to be convinced that the moment they put on anything striped it’ll somehow completely alter their body shape. Luckily, despite the unnecessary fears, stripes still manage to be one of the most enduring style essentials. This season, the vertical stripe has risen up the ranks, so if you really, truly can’t get it out of your head that horizontal stripes are evil, there’s a look for you too. Everyone should have something fabulous and striped in their wardrobe, so to help you choose your perfect partner, here are five of my favourite striped finds to wear right now.

ASOS striped dress

This ASOS dress (£65) has been haunting my dreams ever since I first saw it. Sadly, it’s one of those dresses that falls into the “if only” camp because the backless cut means going braless, and that is just not something I can do. But would I love it as much if it didn’t have the low back with the bow? Probably not. If you’re able to go without a bra, please buy this and send me photos of you looking wonderful so I can live vicariously through you.

Missguided striped jumpsuit

Combining my two great loves for this month, stripes and culotte jumpsuits, this Missguided number (£35) would definitely make it into my basket if I had any occasion to wear it (I really don’t, I’m an old lady and I don’t get out much any more). Maybe I could get away with it for work if I put a blazer over the top? For those who like a runway-inspired bargain, it’s worth noting this is a dead ringer for an Alice + Olivia number that’s still selling for £150+.

Chicwish Striped Maxi Skirt

I have a couple of Chicwish skirts and they are fabulous, so I’m sure this amazing maxi (£36) would follow suit. Yes, it’s absolutely bonkers and there’s a serious limit to the amount of occasions you could wear it, but given the price, aren’t you tempted? For those wishing to be just a tiny bit more practical, there is also a midi version (£30).


You may not think this is a true stripe but Boden calls it “multi retro stripe” and since I’m basically having an affair with Boden right now, I will take anything the website says as gospel. There aren’t many days of Summer left to wear a sundress like this one (£45) but when has that ever stopped me buying dresses before? Someone please drag me away from my laptop before I do something stupid.

Oasis Striped Palazzo Pants

Wide-leg trousers are a big deal right now, and you don’t get a better way to try the trend than these Oasis trousers which are only £10 in the sale. Everything about this style is leg-lengthening and super chic. The only problem is the fact the hems will get grubby within seconds of putting them on. Also, nude underwear at all times!

panache anya bikini

You thought you were getting out of here without a bikini? Oh no my friends! Panache’s strapless bikini tops are the stuff of absolute wonder for anyone with a larger bust, and the Anya striped bikini is the latest addition. These cup sized styles aren’t the cheapest but they’re really well-made, and manage to be both supportive and comfortable. The above image is from Bravissimo, which has the bikini in the sale. If you can’t find your size there, Figleaves has more options but they’re all low stock so get a wriggle on!

Ways To Wear

Fabulously Festive – the belated Ways To Wear Challenge results

Apologies to all for the delay in putting up December’s Ways To Wear Challenge results…but hopefully it’s a case of better late than never! When moving the sites I encountered a bit of a problem with the uploading functionality for images which caused part of the delay (coupled with the actual move). Everything is now fixed and all traffic from the old URL should be redirecting here, so we’re back up and running. As we’re already more than halfway through the month there won’t be a January challenge, but there will be an extra special one in February which I think you’ll all enjoy!

Now, onto the participants for December. It’s always a busy month and I was missing for most of it, so I really appreciate the fact there were still plenty of entries. The challenge was ‘fabulously festive’, which was a wide enough brief that we have lots of really different takes on the theme. There was plenty of sparkle, a bit of brocade, some bold blue and loads of lace. Here are all the outfits. If I’ve missed you, do let me know so I can add your outfit – I was scrabbling around a bit to find all the entries but I hope I’ve got them all!

Noelle of Tilly’s Notions


Malene of Piece Of My Mind


Hanna of The Wardrobe Challenge


Jocelyn of Fat, Fashionable & Feminist


Becky of Does My Blog Make Me Look Fat?


Stefi of She’s Electric


Tempest of Ellomennopee


And, of course, me!


This was my office Christmas party outfit, and I forgot to take my proper camera so apologies for the bad quality phone pic. I wore a Carmen Marc Valvo dress that I picked up in Neiman Marcus Last Call on my last trip to Vegas. This is probably my best outlet bargain ever. The retail price was $550, but I think with all the discounts it ended up costing me about $80! The brocade fabric is really lovely and heavy and the fit is so good it could almost be custom-made. No need to add my usual belt to make the waist fit. It has a voluminous tulip skirt, and black jewels all around the neck for a bit of bling. The finished look is very 60s, so I had to go for a beehive in my hair to match! I added cheap costume jewellery earrings from Primark, and my red jewelled t-bar shoes are Poetic Licence from TK Maxx.

Thanks to everyone for taking part in this challenge – I promise for Feb we’ll be back on schedule!

Ways To Wear

The Ways To Wear Challenge #2 – Fabulously Festive

It’s time for the second Ways To Wear challenge – sorry it’s late [insert illness, dentistry, various other excuses here] but hopefully you’re all still up for the challenge!

But first up, I need to announce the winners of the first challenge! Congrats to our top three: Tempest (1st), Noelle (2nd) and Mrs Bebe (3rd) who got the most number of votes in the poll. Ladies, I’ll be in touch about posting out some treats to you, but if you see this before I get round to emailing, please drop me a line with your postal address!

Now, onto the December challenge. As I’m late in setting the challenge (and also because you may well wish to submit something worn at Christmas) I’ll be extending the entry time just this once. You have until 30th December to send in your pictures, and I’ll do a round-up in the first few days of the new year.

The challenge could only really be one thing, couldn’t it? The theme is…


How you choose to define that is totally up to you. It could be a reindeer onesie, it could be your fave party dress (like me above, in a pic from last year), it might be something red and green, something sparkly, something warm and cosy…or perhaps it’s just something that you love wearing in December. The point is to get into the festive spirit, and tell everyone a bit about what and how you celebrate at this time of year.

As always taking part in the challenge is as simple as blogging your Fabulously Festive outfit and letting me know you’ve done it (by email, tweet or carrier pigeon). Obviously I’d also love it if you could link to this post or the Ways To Wear category so other people can find out about the challenge. After the closing date I’ll bring all the entries together and show the world your amazing outfits. There may be some prizes for the best, but really it’s just for fun, and a way of giving anyone with blogger block a bit of inspirations.

For more on the idea behind the Ways To Wear challenge, click here.

Ways To Wear

The LBD Ways To Wear Challenge – the results!

As we hit December it’s time to see the results of the first Ways To Wear Challenge! I was so excited to see the entries come in as the month progressed, and though the challenge theme of ‘Little Black Dress’ was possibly a bit of a easy one to start with, I think everyone did an amazing job of putting their own spin on the look. I love that the entries cover such a wide range of ages, body shapes and personal styles – not one of these outfits looks like another, which is pretty amazing given that the LBD is such a classic and could be quite boring!

I think I’ve included everyone that submitted an outfit but if you don’t see yourself here please let me know and I’ll add you straight away. Please forgive me for missing you! I was collating tweets, emails and comments as best I could but on some busy twitter days I may have let something slip through the net!

At the bottom of the post is a poll for you to vote for your favourite and I’ll be sending out some little prizes!

Tempest of Ellomennopee

Malene of Piece of My Mind

Amy of Amy Elizabeth

Claire aka Chattermonkey of A Monkey Fatshionista

Hanna of The Wardrobe Challenge

Noelle of Tilly’s Notions

Emily-Jayne of Emily-Jayne

Steph of Fashion Asylum

Eclectica of Fat Fit Fine

Mrs BeBe of The Ramblings of Mrs BeBe

Becky of Does my Blog Make Me Look Fat

And of course, yours truly…

There are three prizes up for grabs for the first challenge…but I’ve found it difficult to pick winners. I know some of these ladies personally, so I don’t want to be biased, so I’m opening up the decision to YOU. Vote for your fave and in a week’s time I’ll announce the winners. Needless to say you can’t vote for me – I’m excluded from this. It doesn’t show numbers of votes, just percentages, as I don’t want this to turn into a big ‘I’m 30 behind X, please vote for me’ competition – it’s just a bit of fun as I’ve found it hard to pick!

If you’d like to take part in the next Ways To Wear Challenge, visit the site on 5th December for the next challenge! It’s open to absolutely everyone so get involved!

Ways To Wear

The Little Black Dress – my Way to Wear!

When I originally decided to put together my own outfit challenge, I thought maybe one or two people would be up for joining in. I know a lot of us have had blogger’s block recently, and sometimes all you need is a little push in the right direction to be inspired again. It seems like the challenge was the push quite a few people needed – I’ve had dozens of people show interest. As I post this, I’ve had a handful of (brilliant) challenge entries in already, and I’m hoping that there are a few more to come. You officially have until around the 20th to get your post up, but I’ll probably put together the final post over the weekend so if you’re a day or so late don’t worry – I’ll still make sure you’re included. I’d love to see some more entries!

So how excited am I about the first Ways To Wear Challenge, the Little Black Dress?

…um, this excited!

After going on about how much you can accessorize a LBD in my original post, I actually ended up keeping mine quite simple. I have a tendency to overdo it with the accessories, so I deliberately tried not to do that this time. I went for a heavy jersey peplum dress with an above knee hem and inch-wide straps. I know a lot of people are tired of the peplum but I’ve always loved them – they draw attention to the waist but hide the tummy – what’s not to love?

The dress is one of my finds from my recent trip to the USA. I bought it in Neiman Marcus Last Call, it’s an Alice + Olivia design from the ‘To Work’ range, though I don’t think it’s at all work appropriate – it’s a bit too short and low-cut for that on me. I paid about $80 for it, which is a far cry from the original $250+ price tag. It’s definitely not worth the latter, but it is a lot better made than the cheaper ones I’ve tried. My only bugbear is that the peplum sits a tiny bit high on me. I usually add a belt to keep it from riding up but with the accessories I chose for this, I thought a belt would be overkill.

Speaking of accessories, I teamed the dress with my new Zara studded and leopard print sandals, possibly my favourite buy of the year, and a necklace I found in the Primark sale for £3. The clutch bag is by Coast but won’t be in stores for a while (it was in the press day gift bag). Here are some detail shots…

I hope everyone who’s taken part in the challenge so far has enjoyed getting to grips with the LBD. There are some prizes this month so if you haven’t yet taken on the look, do so in the next couple of days and send me the link and I’ll make sure you’re included! All the details can be found by clicking here.

Ways To Wear

The Ways To Wear Challenge #1 – The Little Black Dress

I’m so happy about the number of people who showed an interest in the Ways To Wear Challenge, and I can’t wait to get started on the first outfit challenge.

As this is challenge number one and we’re all finding our feet, I wanted to keep it really simple and easy, so this month’s challenge is a very obvious one. But that doesn’t mean you have to be boring with your outfits – as it’s such a classic item, it leaves all kinds of great opportunities to accessorise and add other clothes.

This months Ways To Wear Challenge is…



I hope most of you have some form of black dress in your wardrobe so this doesn’t have to cost a lot to take part in. But if you don’t have a LBD yet, at the bottom of this post are a few options you might want to try in order to take part (from £5!). The dress doesn’t have to be COMPLETELY black – maybe it has a trim, or some embellishment, or is a textured fabric like lace or jacquard – this is fine, but black must be the main colour. Add your own spin by way of shoes, jewellery, knitwear, jackets, bags and so on, and submit your picture to the challenge!

How to submit your outfit:

– Take pictures: please include your face and DON’T take a photo in the mirror – proper snaps please!
– Write a blog post talking about the look and the clothes you chose including a link back to this post so others can take part. If you don’t have a blog but still want to submit a pic, email or tweet me and we’ll talk!
– Submit the link to me by 20th November at the latest either by email, tweet or just by posting a comment below with the link.

You can show your support for the challenge by adding this button to your blog sidebar. Just copy the code in the box below and paste it wherever you’d like the button to show up. It links to the ‘Ways To Wear’ category here on BGB so will always show the most up to date posts.



At the end of the month, I will post ALL the challenge looks, with links and photos, here on BGB so everyone can see the amazing looks the Ways To Wear Community have put together. There will be some special prizes for this month’s challenge – I’ve got MAC makeup, soem gorgeous perfume and a few other treats stashed away for the best entries.

Remember, this challenge is all about having fun, showing your style and proving that one look can be worn a multitude of different ways depending on your personal style. For full details of the concept behind the challenge, click here for the original post

Stuck for inspiration? Here are some fab LBD’s I found online in loads of sizes, starting at only a fiver!

Boucle dress with collar (sizes 8 – 20) £18 George
Black sequin neckline belted dress (sizes 16 – 32) £40 Yours Clothing
Velvet dress with spot mesh trim (sizes 10 – 22) £65 Long Tall Sally
Love Label scuba belted sress (sizes 8 – 18) £25 Very
Jocelyn lace dress (sizes 8 – 14) £14.99 Prodigy Red
Lace cowl neck layer dress (S-M / M-L only) £5 Everything 5 Pounds
AX Paris studded cuff tunic dress (sizes 14 – 32) £35 Simply Be

Ways To Wear

Join me in the Ways To Wear blogger outfit challenge

There’s nothing like seeing other people trying out a trend or testing a hard-to-wear item in real life to inspire us, and seeing the many bloggers I love doing outfit of the day posts and taking part in blogger challenges has spurred me on to set up something new here at Big Girls Browse. I thought it was time I started my own outfit challenge!

So I’m happy to introduce The Ways To Wear Challenge!

Originally, I intended to keep this small and just get together seven or eight bloggers who’d join me in a monthly challenge. But the more I thought about it, and the more people showed an interest on Twitter, the more I thought it made more sense to make this a completely open, inclusive challenge for anyone who wants to take part.

Each month, I (or another challenger or sponsor) will set an outfit theme. It could be based on a trend, a silhouette, a specific piece of clothing, a celeb or pop culture inspiration, a type of event or anything else timely and interesting. It might be strict (eg. ‘red pussy bow blouse’ but it’s more likely to be a very wide brief so it’s easy to do with what you already have ‘eg. ‘dresses with sleeves’). Your job is to create an outfit post based around that theme. You’ll need to wear the look – you can’t just do a collage of the items. You can be as creative as you like so long as you stick to the brief (so if it’s ‘Winter coats’, you do need to be wearing a coat). The most important thing is that you post pictures of you wearing the outfit, and you tell us what you’re wearing.

What you need to take part:

– A blog
– A camera
– Clothes & accessories
– An imagination!

It’s as simple as that. This is a completely open challenge. I don’t care if you get 1 hit or 10,000 hits a day to your blog. I don’t care if your photos are taken with your phone or the best DSLR in the world (though they should be clear and a decent size, and not taken facing a mirror). I don’t care what you look like, how old you are, where you live, what your dress size is or how ‘fashion forward’ you are. As far as I’m concerned, the more diverse this challenge is, the better! The way I style an outfit is going to be completely different to how many of you would, and that’s the joy of it! I want to see just how many ways a look or trend can be made to work for different people.

If you’d like to be part of the Ways To Wear community all you need to do is get involved. I will pull together all the challenges each month and share the links here on BGB. I obviously encourage everyone taking part to link to other challengers, get to know each other, comment on each others blogs and support the group as well, so we can really share the love.

The timeline:

– Challenges will be set by the 5th of the month here on Big Girls Browse.
– You have until 20th of the month to take your pics and post them on your blog, then send the link to me.
– Before the end of the month, I will collate all the posts and share them here.

What if I can’t do / don’t want to do a challenge?

That’s fine! Obviously I’d love everyone to do everything but I know sometimes the challenge won’t work for some people. Perhaps you don’t have the right stuff in your wardrobe to make it work. Maybe a specific look just isn’t your style or doesn’t work for your body shape. Perhaps you’re on holiday – it’s fine, you take part only when you want to.

What about sponsored challenges?

As the challenge grows, I’m hoping I’ll be able to get some exciting brands to collaborate and offer up products to use in the challenges, or prizes for their favourite looks. When and if this happens, I’ll probably have to change the rules slightly. Obviously when sponsors are involved there may be limitations regarding size and availability of product, so not everyone will be able to take part every time. I will try my best to include as many people as I can, but I will always prioritise those bloggers who take part every month and really get involved. As and when these kind of opportunities arise, I’ll contact people individually.

Interested in taking part? Leave a comment below to let me know, keep an eye on Twitter (@GemmaCartwright) and visit this site at the beginning of November for the very first challenge!

(If you work for a brand and would like to know more about sponsoring a challenge, drop me a line –