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Designer fashion wishlist – Avenue 32

One of my biggest bugbears when shopping online is stores that have so much choice I fear placing an order in case I miss something brilliant in the process. A girl doesn’t have the three hours needed to look through everything on some of the big online retailers. Choice is excellent if you’re looking for something specific, but sometimes I crave an edit. That’s where sites like Avenue 32 come in. They take the stress out of the online hunt by doing the hard work for you, bringing shoppers cleverly chosen selections from a crop of must-have designers, rather than stocking everything under the sun just in case. With some of my favourite designers like Temperley, Phillip Lim and Giles in stock, this is pure designer fashion heaven. And even if you can’t afford to drop £1k on a dress, you can dream…here’s my current wishlist in action!
snakeskin pashli bag

3.1 Phillip Lim Blush Snakeskin mini Pashli bag £850

I have a tendency to carry really huge bags at most times, but I love the smaller, more compact little sister to the bestselling Pashli bag, a sort of high fashion satchel. It still has the defining details, like the extendable zip panels on the sides and the shoulder strap, but in a smaller size. It’s been updated for Spring with a snakeskin panel – a great way to try the print if you’re not a fan of all-over snake, which I think can look a bit 90s!

Temperley ribbon skirt

Temperley London black satin Freya ribbon skirt £720

I fell completely in love with the Temperley Spring / Summer 2013 collection, full of big skirts, Dior New Look references, beautiful Riviera-esque resortwear, and a fab colour scheme of black, white, red and pale blue. I love this take on the transparent trend, with dramatic volume and a 50s feel. It’d look amazing with pointy heels and a bright coloured top.


Gold Ikaria winged sandals £150

Ever since I first saw these babies pop up on Pinterest I’ve been swooning over them. £150 is a lot to pay for a pair of flat sandals, but look at them, they’re winged! And they are leather. I think Ancient Greek Sandals may be one to watch – think of them as the new Swedish Hasbeens, but with more quirk and less clog!

Thakoon strapless jumpsuit

Thakoon Addition Peacock bandeau jumpsuit £340

I’ve been considering a strapless jumpsuit for a while – I’m such a dress girl that something like this goes against all my normal fashion rules, but there’s something very appealing about a different kind of all-in-one outfit. I love the louche, relaxed shape, which just needs some kind of huge necklace and wedge sandals to dress it up. It would be a real contrast to my usual look.

antonio marras lace dress

Antonio Marras pink floral lace dress £905

Aaah, c’mon, like I’d let a wishlist go by without at least one ‘Gemma’ dress! This baby by Antonio Marras has everything I normally look for. 50s shape, check! Pretty print, check! Nipped-in waist, check! Vintage feel, check! I love that it looks like something that could have been picked up at a tiny little beach boutique or holiday market for just a few quid, but you get the sizing and detailed construction of a designer piece, rather than the irritating ‘one size fits all’ of a cheapie.

Disclosure: Sponsored Post

Lingerie, Websites

The Panache Bra Fit Challenge: Reviewed

Panache, maker of two of my favourite bras in the world (the Tango Luxe and the Zara) has recently added a new section to its website – the Bra Fit Challenge. It’s a simple online tool that asks you a few questions about your current bra and then gives advice on whether you need to rethink your choice. I was asked by Best British Bloggers to test out the tool (with some handy Strictly Come Dancing-esque scoring paddles) to see if it really will help women find the perfect fit…

Take the Bra Fit Challenge for yourself by clicking here

First, let’s talk about ease of us. It’s a pretty straightforward site, with a simple design and easy to read questions. However, even on my fairly large laptop, I had to scroll down to see the full page sometimes. I think there’s a bit of room for tidying up, but the photos and questions are clear and it definitely does the job. A very respectable…

…7 points for the look and feel of the site.

Now the questions themselves. It asks your current bra size, then goes through a series of fairly obvious questions about fit (how are the straps, how does the band sit, how are the cups). As you answer each question, you’re given a bit of feedback on what this means in terms of fit. My big issue was that you couldn’t choose multiple answers. For example, if the underwire sits away from the body at the centre front, it’s highly likely the whole wire moves away when you lift your arms, but you can only choose one or the other of those options. You *can* go back but it’s a bit fiddly. For this reason, I give the questions themselves…

…a bit of a stingy five. For me, these questions were a bit obvious and can easily be found on most lingerie websites. They do get to the point quickly but I feel a few things were left out. For example, on the question about how you bra straps feel, if you choose ‘straps often fall down’ it doesn’t really given any explanation as to why this might be except ‘they are too loose’. Why are they too loose? Probably because the band is too big so the straps are too wide set, but this is not clear! This is a big bugbear for me because this issue with straps falling down is often what I find really hammers home to women that they need a smaller band. You probably don’t have sloping shoulders or bad posture, you’re just in the wrong bra!

Now to the results. When you’ve answered all the questions, you can fill out your details (or leave the boxes blank) and receive your results. The actual ‘prescription’ the site gave me was spot on. It told me I’m wearing the right size bra – which is lucky given how frequently I get measured. The fit challenge recognised I knew my stuff and told me exactly what I expected. I also gave the tool a go as if it were 5 years ago, when I was in a badly fitting 36C. I was honest with what that bra felt like – band rode up, cups felt ok, straps fell down – and it told me exactly what my Bravissimo fitter told me – I needed a smaller band and a bigger cup to compensate. It then advised me to go and get fitted asap. With this in mind, the score for accuracy has to be…

…top marks! A score usually reserved for things like Mark Ramprakash and Karen Hardy’s Salsa. I couldn’t fault the results, so there’s no reason to knock off points here. As far as I’m concerned it doesn’t matter how you get to the results, so long as they’re right, that’s the most important thing.

Overall, the fit guide is simple, easy to use and will help anyone who’s not sure how a bra will fit. For me personally, it didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know, but due to this blog and the amount of time I’ve spent working with lingerie brands or attending their events, I’m probably a lot more knowledgable on bras than your average shopper. I like that they don’t suggest you measure yourself at home and try and calculate your new size with a tape measure and calculator – A good fitter and trying bras on is the only way to get the right size so I have to praise Panache for recognising that.

If you’ve not been measured since your teens and you don’t know about modern bra fitting techniques, I strongly suggest giving the tool a try to see if you learn anything new. If you’re a bra obsessive who knows all the tricks, you probably won’t get anything out of it except the smug feeling of being right all along. But it is fun, especially if you take stupid photos while you do it…

Now for a bit of silliness to finish! I spent quite a lot of time taking photos for this, so I had to share the outtakes. GIF TIME!

one to ten with a complete idiot
Sponsored Posts, Websites

Make your plus size dress hunt a bit easier

One of the biggest problems women face when hunting down the perfect dress if they don’t fit the average high street sizing chart, is the time it takes to find what you’re looking for. More and more stores are limiting their in-store sizing, so online is often the place to go. But often you’re either forced to scroll through loads of inappropriate styles due to bad navigation or site organisation, or you keep coming across things that aren’t available in your size as you hunt down the few that will work for you.

So I was interested to discover the range of Plus Size Dresses at Essentially, this site aggregates the best dress styles from various stores, to make your search that little bit easier if you’re size 12+.

As the selection grows and the site develops, I can see this becoming a really useful tool for saving time if your shopping time is limited. Right now, it offers up styles from brands like Anna Scholz, Jeffrey and Paula and Joe Browns, with (I hope) lots more to come.

There’s also body shape advice for those who’re not sure what will work for them (though I operate a ‘if you love it, wear it’ policy – life’s too short to live by the rules!) and also a great filtering system by size, style, designer or occasion that will quickly narrow down results to help you find exactly what you’re looking for really easily.

Keep an eye on this site if you have limited time to shop – it could just help you out!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

Lingerie, Websites

Tried & Tested: Panty By Post

If you’re a longterm reader you’ll know I write loads about underwear. I think all good outfits begin with the right foundations, so I love browsing the web for innovations in lingerie. Panty By Post is my latest discovery, a Canadian company which sends out monthly lingerie treats to subscribers across the world.

This is definitely not the first company to offer monthly pants by post. A few years ago I won a competition to get a year’s worth of Coco Ribbon pants by post. But they were rather dull one-colour thongs. Where Panty By Post excels is in the styles that are available and the quality of the knickers themselves. The company imports French lingerie, so it’s incredibly well-made and there are lots of style options, from frilly thongs to hipsters and classic briefs and boxer-esque French knickers. Some items are even photographed alongside suspender belts. I’m not sure if you get the whole set as part of your subscription, but if you do I think that’s pretty fab!

The panties come packaged up in a small cardboard envelope that’s big enough to fit through most standard letterboxes. This might seem like a small thing but when you receive as much post as I do, the fewer times you have to pop down to the delivery office at stupid AM or profusely thank your neighbours for taking in yet another parcel, the better. It arrived quickly, despite an apparent postal strike at the other end. So far, so good! Inside the envelope is a prettily packaged pair of knickers and some promo material showing what other items the site offers.

For my one-off trial subscription, I was sent the Sweet Dreams hipster brief (size L), which is a pair of sheer pink and grey printed chiffon knickers with a tiny cutout and bow on the back. When I first opened up the package, I wasn’t quite convinced. Of all the styles I’d seen on the website, these wouldn’t have been the first I’d have chosen. They’re pretty, definitely, but I wasn’t wowed when I looked at the style. This kind of ruffled, scrunched pants has a tendency to show through clothes a bit.

But then I put them on, and I can safely say I don’t think I’ve ever come across a better fitting, more flattering pair of hipster briefs in my life. I was absolutely blown away (and I’m not being incentivised to say that in any way, I promise). I usually find that knickers dig into every little bit of flesh, accentuating every bulge and bump. But these, because they’re so light and soft, just sit perfectly where they’re meant to be, never rolling up or down. There was no digging in, and they were incredibly flattering for my pear-shaped figure. I honestly don’t know if that’s down to the quality of the knickers themselves, or just pure luck with this particular style, but I cannot fault the fit in any way and it has tempted me into considering a subscription, just to see if other styles are as good.

That said, a 12 month subscription costs $198, which is the equivalent of about £10 per month give our rubbish £ at the moment! For one pair of knickers, that’s pretty expensive, and though the options are gorgeous I’m not sure I’d splash out that much on myself. I usually only spend that much on knickers if they match my bra, and the fact that Panty By Post don’t sell matching sets is a bit of a shame, but I bet that’s the next step!

However, as a special treat, I think a subscription to this is a perfect gift and I’d absolutely recommend it to anyone who’s stuck for a pressie for the lady who has everything! It’s a novel, sweet idea, it’s quite romantic, and it means that you’ll always have new pretty knickers to wear. There’s even a bridal subscription which would be a lovely engagement / bridal shower gift for a female friend if you have the cash to splash!

Panty by Post ship worldwide, offer one-off treats, 3, 6 or 12 month suscriptions, and stock up to size XXXXL.
For more info visit

Disclosure: I received a pair of knickers from Panty By Post for review purposes. However, all thoughts are my own and I was not paid to publish them.

Sale shopping, Websites

Save 25% at

Style369, Arcadia’s younger and more stylish plus size store is currently offering 25% off their new Spring 2011 stock. This includes dresses from Max C, tunics from Lovedrobe and all manner of basics, trends and footwear. To help you spend your money wisely, I’ve picked some of my favourite pieces from the New In section. Just click the links below to shop – you don’t need a special code, the discount should be applied automatically at the checkout. Only some items on the site are included in the promotion so double-check before you put in those credit card details…

Lovedrobe Pearl Neck Peach Tunic £36
Max C Black Frill Detail Dress £45
Animal Print Peg Leg Trousers £27
Max C White Lace Dress £55
Black Heeled Clog Style Courts £29.50
White Sling-back Wedges £25
Black Wedge Ankle Boots £39.50

See the full range of items that qualify for the promotion by clicking here.


Links à la Mode: All kinds of everything

All Kinds of Everything

Edited by: Florrie Clarke of Intrinsically Florrie
There’s such lovely variation amongst the links submitted this week. We are fashion bloggers – of course we like things that are pretty things from expensive handbags to quirky DIY jewelry- but the dedication to great content and a passion for good causes is what really stands out with this week’s posts.

Links à la Mode; December 9th

  • 55th Street: A new take on Street Style through my eyes
  • Analogue Chic: Drama with my mama: being my mom’s personal stylist.
  • Any Second Now: Remembering the fashion of 1980’s Duran Duran and how it inspired a fashion pictorial that includes giant Rubik’s Cubes. Gotta love the 80’s!
  • ashley4emergy: Tea Party and Vintage Fashion Exhibit with Socialite Ms. Lana Turner!
  • Awakened Aesthetic: Six Impossible Things…by BirdQueen Designs.
  • Big Girls Browse: Dressember begins – a different dress every day for the whole of December
  • Broke & Beautiful: Jeffrey Campbell goes pink…but for what cause?
  • de la pen: Balenciaga: The Spanish Master by Hamish Bowles
  • For Those About to Shop: Callous comments can be life-threatening
  • Haute World: Not your average designer collaboration: Fashion giants show their charitable side by creating dolls for UNICEF
  • Independent Fashion Bloggers: Tips for Holiday Gift Guides & Giveaways
  • Intrinsically Florrie: On DIY customising my own unique rings
  • lowefactor: Ever notice why pre-fall collections get lost in the holiday shopping press shuffle?
  • Lust Love Lose: An easy guide to applying red lipstick that will last all day.
  • Mrs Bossa: Blogs with Soul: Mrs Bossa raises a glass to the talent of the blogging community
  • Oranges and Apples: Interview and GIVEAWAY with photographer and jewelry designer Marie Bee of the Blue Balloon
  • Pocket Rocket Fashion: Debating with fashion photographer Diana Thompson the problems of plus fashion brands using models smaller than their range to promote them.
  • Searching for Style: Fashion 101: Why Luxury is Expensive. The making of an Hermès bag.
  • STREET STYLE: PICS BY POLKA DOT: One woman’s journey to get credit for a piece Spanish Elle did using her photographs without her knowledge, or consent. A cautionary tale!
  • The Coveted: Winter Vacation Tory Burch Resort 2011
  • two for the clothes: Our second “Freaky Friday” post, in which her outfit for him turns out badly.
  • The Fashion Pawn: What a business card can do for you


Shopbop Jeans by: DL1961, COH, Siwy, Juicy, MiH, 7’s, Joe’s, Hudson, Charley 5,Cheap Monday, & AG Jeans


Clothing, Featured, Websites

Shop by body shape at Joy of Clothes


In general, brands and shops tend to organise clothes based on occasion or style (unless we’re talking H&M, in which case there’s more of an irritating jumble sale approach) but I’m sure many of us would appreciate more attention to what suits certain shapes. Imagine walking into a shop and having a whole section devoted to pear-shapes, hourglass figures or apple shapes, alongside the tall and petite section.

Then rub your hands together with glee when you discover that it now exists – online at least! Some friends of Big Girls Browse have created the perfect solution for shopping by shape…

Joy of Clothes is a new site that brings together clothing from across the web (in all price ranges) and sorts it by body shape and colour. It allows you to find the perfect pieces without having to sift through loads of unsuitable shapes and styles, and then links directly to product pages on retailers website.

The chosen body shapes are all-encompassing and far less patronising than the ridiculous Trinny and Susannah offerings (I don’t want to be a skittle, brick or goblet, thanks). Most interesting for women like us is the addition of ‘full hourglass’, for those lucky women who’re curvy with a great waist.

It’s early days for the site (it’s still in beta) but it’s amazing how quickly you get sucked into it. The shape-to-product matches are chosen manually and not by a piece of software which means there’s little room for error, I was really impressed at the choices for my body shape, and the option to narrow by product and colour as well as sorting by price is useful.

But why am I telling you all this? Go and take a look for yourself, and see what you think!