Browsing Tag



March Wishlist: Lighten Up

I’m dreaming of Spring, and the time I can finally put my winter coats back in the wardrobe and pull out the lighter jackets, blazers and my beloved beige belted trench (from Gap, bought forever ago). With that in mind, my March wishlist is all about a lighter colour scheme, dotted with my current colour obsession – rust. I just managed to bag the last ASOS pleated skirt 2-in-1 dress in my size and I’m really hoping it doesn’t look too mumsy on a curvier figure. Pleats are hard enough to pull off at the best of times, but I love the colour combo enough to risk it – I can always take advantage of the great returns policy!

Stone stripe dress with belt £40 at Dorothy Perkins
Twisted layered dress £49 by Love Label at Very
Pleated skirt colour block dress (also in Curve & Petite) £35 at ASOS
Butterfly intarsia jumper £14 G21 at Asda
‘Menna’ bow detail platform sandals £80 PPQ for Office
Birdy tie front blouse £22.99 at New Look
Rust frill detail hanky hem blouse £14 Rogers & Rogers at Matalan
Antique telephone long pendant £12 at Accessorize
‘Minnie’ peach suede platform heels with bow £80 Miss KG at Kurt Geiger

Events & Launches, Special Ranges

Exclusive Sneak Peek: Simply Be SS11 ‘Angel Ribbons’ Collection

The team at Simply Be have always been really supportive of Big Girls Browse and I was really happy to be offered a bit of an exclusive on one of their Spring / Summer ranges. The ‘Angel Ribbons’ collection won’t be available until next week, but you can have a little sneaky peek at some of the pieces right here. I saw some of the samples a month or so ago at the launch, and this was definitely one of the ranges that really stood out for me. I do love a bit of girly glam! Keep reading for all the pics…

Keep your eye on Simply Be’s website next week for the launch!

Clothing, Dresses, Tops & Tees, Tried & Tested, Uncategorized

Tried & Tested: INES Collection’s plus size prints!

I’ve been sitting on this review for months (literally) because I didn’t want it to disappear in the middle of all the Dressember madness, so please forgive the fact I didn’t tell you all about INES Collection sooner! The brand (available at, who ship internationally) offers affordable plus size dresses and blouses with an emphasis on prints – a great move as plus size fashion is so often black, black, black, and while some people can totally pull that off, others want a bit of colour!

I was sent the Graphic Pop dress ($72) and the Bird Calling blouse ($49) to try out, so read on for how I got on!

First things first – the smallest size Ines makes is and XS, which is the equivalent US 10-12, and that’s the size I tried. It roughly translates to a UK 14-16, and I’d say even then it’s on the generous side and the dress was particularly big on me. Nothing I couldn’t fix with a belt, but it’s still a bit blousy on my body, and I actually think it looks far, far better on the model, who fills it out much better than I do. This is a great shape if you want to emphasise a good waist (or indeed create one).

But in the interest of Making It Work, I wanted to go a bit further than just throwing the dress on and taking a couple of badly posed snaps, so here are some of the ways I would consider wearing it. I think because it’s quite a loud print, it benefits from being broken up with a bit of solid colour…

I think the dress is great for smart/casual looks. The length is really great (bang on knee length on my 5’7 frame) and it’s super comfy to wear. It looks like silk or satin but it’s actually polyester. Granted, that’s not the most luxurious of fabrics , but on the upside it’s easy to take care of and it barely creases. The dress also has a heavy reinforced hem to help it hang properly, and stop those Marilyn-on-a-subway-grate moments!

The blouse has the same elasticated empire waist as the dress, which is far more forgiving than a tight waistband or belt, making it a lot more comfortable to wear. There’s a little tie that you can use to cinch it even more, and the buttons are well-placed to allow for a bit of flesh-flashing without ever accidentally showing your bra in the process. I love the peacock print, which reminds me of the Matthew Williamson for H&M collection – which I invested heavily in! I tried the top with jeans (yes! me in jeans!) but it’d look great with a pencil skirt for a smarter look too.

Buy INES at now. Until the end of January, if you spend over $75 you can get a massive 40% off by using the discount code jan2011.

Clothing, Coats & Jackets, Dresses, Tops & Tees

October must-haves: aviators, capes & velvet

My lack of enthusiasm for new season fashion has finally started to wane. Is it because I’m getting used to the Winter trends, or have the latest additions to the virtual rails been better than what we got in September? Perhaps it’s just the fact the temperature has dropped and I can finally see the need for a beautiful coat or a fabulous cape. Whatever the reason, I’m finally getting excited about what’s in the shops, and have picked out some of my favourites from a range of retailers. Top of my list is Miss Selfridge’s super-glam velvet coat with fur trim. It may not be the most practical piece of outerwear, but it’s definitely beautiful, and the rich, thick, stiff velvet is far nicer than the cheap stretchy stuff that can be found elsewhere.

H&M’s fluffy, frilly prom dress had me dancing round the changing rooms wondering if I could get away with it. The final decision was ‘no’ (too much netting in the underskirt coupled with a short hemline looked a bit ballerina-ish on my 5’7 figure) but I can’t wait to see it on others.

Meanwhile, M&S come up trumps in the shoe department, ASOS’s cape (in regular and Curve sizing) is a no-brainer winter warmer, and Louche’s cute Bambi-esque jumper is just the right amount of quirky for my liking.

Check out the gallery for all my October faves – shop by clicking the grey links below the images.

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Accessories, Clothing, Coats & Jackets, Dresses, Shoes, Tops & Tees, Uncategorized

Top Ten: even more ‘buy now, wear later’

There’s no real link between these ten products except the fact I love them and I will be investing in some of them ready for when the Sun finally shows its face! This Summer, I’ll be eschewing the more off-the-wall catwalk trends (jogging pants? Leather shorts? I think not…) for something a bit more flattering.

On the relaxed, bohemian side there’ll be an update on last Summer’s gladiator sandals, pretty maxi dresses, nude wedge sandals, 50s sundresses and vintage-inspired doctors bags. For something a bit more dramatic, I’m thinking chandelier earrings, waterfall frills, graphic print dresses and military inspiration. All these items are available now, so get shopping before they sell out!

Digital gemstone slinky one-shoulder dress £55 at ASOS
With a hint of Alexander McQueen and Peter Pilotto, this dress is perfection if you have the guts to try it!
Cut-out wedge sandals £30 at New Look
A great lattice-style vamp and a comfy but high-rise wedge. Nude lengthens the legs, too.
Waterfall side jersey dress £22.50 at Simply Be
The frills add a distinctive touch to an easy-wear shape. Who said plus size needs to be dull?
Blue swirl print maxi dress £120 YLB at Wallis
Yasmin Le Bon’s amazing, 30s style boho maxi dress is top of my wishlist.
Mischa Barton doctor’s bag £75 at Tesco
Maybe Mischa should ditch the acting all together and concentrate on her fab boho bags?
Maui Atlantis dress £65.99 at Fever Designs
The perfect 50s tiki sundress for holidays and Sunny spells!
Butterfly wing cascade clip earrings £62.50 at The Earring Boutique
Pricey shoulder-dusting chandeliers that look like old Hollywood antiques.
Green thumb blouse £98 Anthropologie
Anthropologie do relaxed beauty like no other – this top is expensive but fab!
Aileen pink tie-dye gladiator sandals £15 at Boohoo
A coloured update on last year’s must have, I lived in the black version last year.
White bird printed military jacket £29.99 at River Island
The feminine way to try the military trend, I love the juxstaposition of styles.
Clothing, Coats & Jackets, Dresses, Uncategorized

Buy now, wear later: five new things for Spring


The nights are getting lighter and it’s pouring with rain outside, which can mean only one thing, Spring has sprung! We’re finally through (the worst of) the freezing cold days of duffle coats and ugg boots, and we can start planning our warm weather wardrobes. Problem is, most shops have had their Spring stock in for weeks already, and if you want to invest in key pieces, you need to move fast.

To help you decide on what you’ll need to revamp your look (or just as a treat) I’ve picked a few key trends that can be adapted no matter what dress size you wear. Just one of these key items will jazz up all those old faithfuls a treat – but don’t wait around for too long. Before you know it the shops will have nothing but gladiator flats, vest tops and bikinis on the rails!


1. A black maxi dress

Last year I searched for ages for an embellished black maxi and never found the perfect one. This time around I’m spoilt for choice, but my top pick is currently this ASOS version with a dramatic gold beaded panel around the neck. The tiered cotton maxi dresses of previous seasons were often too voluminous to flatter a curvier woman, but I think the ASOS Curve model (left) fills out this more streamlined, jersey dress better than the slim model wearing the mainline version. The dress is £55 and available in size 20 – 26 in black as part of ASOS curve, or in black or khaki in sizes 6 – 20 as part of the ASOS Premium range.


2. A pair of OTT sandals

Life’s too short to wear boring shoes, and this season there are plenty of completely over the top options to prove that! From clogs (yes, clogs) to over-embellished gladiator sandals and chunky peep-toe boots, your feet need to be dressed to impress. Tribal sandals (inspired by last Summer’s Louis Vuitton show) are still hot, and this season they’ve got even more colourful. If you need a wide fit, Evans are offering a pair in sizes 4 – 10 EEE for a very reasonable £39.50, meanwhile over at Next, the design team have completely upped the ante this season with the tribal animal sandals for £45.


3. A denim biker jacket

After seeing Diane in Evans’ denim biker jacket, I knew I had to mention this style again. A biker jacket is so detatched from my usual style, especially a denim one, but mixed with Spring pastels it’s absolutely perfect and I’m sorely tempted to try something new for once! For plus size shoppers, So Fabulous! at Very has a £35 version in an acid wash in sizes 16 – 32. I also really like the pale wash of La Redoute’s version, which is also £35 and available in sizes 8 – 20.


4. A touch of lace

Here’s a catwalk trend that’s easy to scale up or down to suit. Stella McCartney showed full-on lace jumpsuits, others went down a more subtle route with lace trims and inserts on black or pale-coloured outfits. The most literal translation of the look comes from F&F at Tesco, whose £28 lace blazer (sizes 8 – 16) is a full-on nod to Ms McCartney. On a more subtle, wearable end of the scale is Evans’ floral lace-effect top with lace trim for £27. They styled it for the catalogue with a lacy cardigan over the top, so fingers crossed that’s hitting the shops soon!


5. In the nude

Much to my chagrin, washed-out, barely there shades are taking over the dark hues we’ve all relied on. Nudes and pastel shades are the key colours of the season, and it’s not a look that’s easy to pull off if you’re pale like me! If you’re blessed with a skintone that doesn’t fade completely into mocha, mink and beige, give one of these dresses a go. Miss Selfridge go simple with a belted tunic for £30 (sizes 4-16) while Curvety pick draped jersey for a plus size option coming in at £49.

News, Rants

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


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]


Why I love Christina Hendricks

Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks is a babe. With that gravity-defying bosom and handspan waist, she definitely embodies the kind of curvy girl many of us would love to be. A dress worn by the star to the SAG awards was recently auctioned off. Back then, her measurements were 40-28-40. Those are some curves! With her Marilyn-esque proportions, she’s a poster girl for the curvaceous woman. Let’s face it, nobody pulls off a wiggle dress like Joan Holloway!

To channel Joan’s look in real life, your best bet is obviously vintage. Pieces were cut much smaller in the waist back then – perfect for hourglass women like Ms Hendricks. The US is the best place to go if you have a bigger waist measurement. There’s much more floating around in larger sizes than you’ll find in Europe. Try eBay, of course (don’t underestimate those ‘bulk’ vintage lots, loads crop up on Australian eBay for some reason) and make sure you know your bust, waist and hip measurements. There’s nothing worse than buying something you love only to find it doesn’t fit (you can take stuff in, but you can’t let it out).

If you’d rather not hunt down second hand pieces, there are some great brands making modern reproduction pieces too. Try Bettie Page clothing, a Vegas-based boutique and online store full of wiggle dresses and retro pieces. They go up to a sze 3X, which has a waist somewhere between 34 and 38 inches.

Stop Staring is also a popular brand, worn by Paris Hilton, on Gossip Girl and modelled by Ashley Greene from Twilight. The figure-hugging Mae dress is very Joan, and again sizes go up to a 3X.

Don’t underestimate the power of decent underwear, too. In the 50s and 60s women sculpted and shaped their silhouettes with girdles, we can do the same with a a lot less pain with modern shapewear (though most of it is nowhere near as pretty as the stuff the cast of Mad Men get to wear). See the Big Girls Browse lingerie section for some ideas on what’s out there.

For more tips on buying retro reproduction, check out . As this look is so flattering on the fuller figure, a lot of the brands featured make their dresses in larger sizes.

[images courtesy of AMC]