Plus size dress review: Sweetheart neckline dress from BGN Workshop

BNG Workshop plus size dress on Mind the Curves_6

I have a thing with frocks. Have you noticed? I’m happiest when I’m in a frock. In all my best memories, I’m wearing a frock. Definitely getting married and giving birth, in a frock. The world is just better, in frocks.

So, when BGN Workshop offered me a dress from their new line to review, I said FROCK YEAH! (guys, I totally just came up with that). :,D

It was hard to pick a favourite to go with – this plus size brand caters for a number of tastes, from my more classic, feminine fit ‘n flair favourites, to summery maxi’s, elegant evening-wear and casual day-wear. It came down to a coin-toss at the end, but I opted for the Sweetheart Neckline Dress both for its shape, and the gorgeous print – and when it arrived, damn am I ever glad I did!

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The dress is super-high quality – there are no loose threads or funny stitching. The top is lined and silky, and the over-all feel of the fabric is luxurious. There is a lovely weight to it that makes it fall beautifully, and no clinging.

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The cut has definitely catered for the plus size figure – there are no funny gaps under the arm, or gaping cleavage due to a bad pattern. I took a size 20 and would say the sizing is even a little bit on the generous side, although I’m very comfortable with the extra room to move.

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There were two awesome surprises that came with the dress:

  1. the most amazing belt. It’s elastic at the back and super comfortable – I think it’s going to get used with just about every outfit I own.
  2. It has these thingies – I’m sure they have a proper name – but basically, you clip the inside of your dress straps around your bra straps so that your bra straps don’t hang out. It’s INGENIOUS. WHY DON’T ALL DRESSES HAVE THIS? WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE? Seriously, even the caps don’t convey my excitement about this revelation.BNG Workshop plus size dress on Mind the Curves_5

Overall I’m incredibly chuffed with this dress, and based on this design, would definitely order from BGN Workshop again. In fact, I already have my eye on these lovelies, here and here.

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It’s worth noting that BGN delivers internationally and offers free shipping, and also that my order arrived, to my doorstep, in two days. TWO DAYS.

So yeah. I’m done gushing. Lemme know what you think in the comments.

XXX

 

 

Plus size pants: bootleg panel pants from Cath.Nic at Queenspark

Plus size Cath.Nic pants

Pants. Me and pants. Pants and me.
Well, the thing is, we have a precarious relationship.
We’re not quite estranged – but we’re not exactly besties either.
I think my first reservation is comfort. I have a pretty tender tummy situation, and can’t stand anything that comes tight in my waist. Pants always seem to do that – jab you in the waist with their buttons and belts and buckles. Urgh.

Then there’s the whole not being able to hide your ass thing – historically anyway. I remember, as a teen, not being able to wear pants without tying a shirt around my waist so that you couldn’t see my butt. I intended it to look casual, like ‘Oh, hey, I was wearing this shirt/jersey/hoodie (the bigger the better) but got too hot and didn’t want to put it down so I just tied it round my waist,’ but really it was co-ordinated like that intentionally, as part of my outfit. And the thought of walking around without my ‘safety shirt’ – well, you might as well have asked me to take a wander in my underwear.

But in recent years, as documented in these very tomes, I’ve become more accepting – nay, appreciative – of my body – even my butt. And then winters like these come along, and you think ‘Heck I love my frocks, but good golly gosh they don’t cover my legs and dagnabbit I’m cold.’ And so you consider pants. Leggings and jeggings have both had a role in my closet, but pants – well pants have remained pretty elusive.

And then on my customary perusal of Queenspark, I discovered these babies:

Plus size Cath.Nic pants

They’re by Cath.Nic – a brand exclusive to Queenspark, which has a younger, edgier appeal (you can see my muchly-adored Cath.Nic leopard print frock here).

I haven’t been so wild about the panel trend in general, but I really liked the print of these guys – a kind of gloss geometric pattern on the matt fabric. And they felt soft – so soft – so screw it. I tried them on.

Plus size Cath.Nic pants

 

Dude! They’re so comfy! The size 18 was a great fit (I’m usually round a 20), and the waist didn’t cut in the tender bits of my tummy – or anywhere, come to think of it. The biggest surprise was I kind of like the silhoutte they cut on me – guys, I like my butt in these pants. That’s pretty big. (Pun intended, smartass).

Plus size Cath.Nic pants

I also like that they can be dressed down for a casual, more edgy look, or up for work or a night out. (HAHAHAHAHAHAH LIKE I EVER GO OUT AT NIGHT.)

Plus size Cath.Nic pants

(Let’s just pretend you can’t see my comfy sports bra peeking out in the below pics – it’s what happens when you have your blog pics taken by your grumpy instahusband half an hour after you’re already meant to be at friends for dinner).

Plus size Cath.Nic pants Plus size Cath.Nic pants

Worn above with my trusty Isabel de Villiers coat.

So whaddaya think? Do I pull them off?

Plus size dress: Joolz Fashion V Dress in Lemon and Lavendar

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My fella will be quick to tell you, if the house is quiet and he’s not sure where I am, I’m likely to be snuggled up somewhere on Instagram looking at dresses.

I’d list “looking at dresses” high up there among my favourite things to do to relax (right next to playing a boardgame or watching The Walking Dead).

One of the reasons I like “looking at dresses” so much is the amazing style inspiration, but I also love seeing beautiful women of all shapes and sizes across the world feel beautiful in what they’re wearing. Another reason is that it’s a great way to discover up-and-coming plus size designers – as was the case with Airdrie – better know as Joolz of Joolz Fashion.

I followed Joolz on Instagram for quite some time, always admiring her funky style – colourful and whimsical, feminine, fearless and fun – before I one day realised so many of the outfits she wore that I loved were of her own design. Dude, how cool is that!?

Joolz Fashion plus size V dress in lemon and lavendar

In her bio on Etsy, Airdie explains that she has been designing and making her own clothes for as long as she can remember. “Mum had a sewing machine & made many of our clothes when we were kids (thanks so much for those matching outfits with my sister, Ma!), so it’s never been an unusual choice to sew for myself.”

As a plus size lady herself, she was frustrated by her limited clothing options, so started her own line. “I love dressing up, and I think fashion should be fun, not frustrating! I hope you enjoy my designs as much as I do,” she says.

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I discovered that while Joolz is based in Australia, she retails on Etsy, which is basically the best news ever as it means – guess what? – you can order her stuff from just about ANYWHERE.

If you like quirky patterns like I do it’s definitely worth checking out her line of leggings (THOSE FLAMINGO ONES WILL ONE DAY BE MINE), but at my heart we all know I’m a frock girl through and through, and when I laid eyes on the V Dress in lemon and lavender I knew we were meant for eachother.

Joolz Fashion plus size V dress in lemon and lavendar

The dress is made out of of a lovely cotton. It’s light enough to be worn in summer, but it can also be worn on a colder day with a cardi (made to match by Joolz) and stockings, making it quite a versatile piece.

I totally have a thing for dips on the back, and the V neckline – front and back – that the dress is named after is incredibly classic and flattering. The pleats gather beautifully in the waist to enhance your shape, and the skirt is the perfect fullness – flowy, without making you look like a giant cupcake (although, personally, I don’t have too much of a problem looking like an oversized confectionary).

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My (rude) man says that the pattern makes him think of pyjamas, but personally I like the incongruity – the dress is a little bit unexpected, and I really love that about it, it gives it an edge for me. In a dream world where I could open my closet and anything I pictured would the there before my eyes, I would love to wear this dress with a lavender belt and heels – and ooh, ooh, imagine it with little glovesies!!

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The sweet little cover-up also shouldn’t go without mentioning – it adds just enough warmth to get away with the dress on a sunny winter’s day, without dominating the dress. I think it comes to the perfect length to make it extra flattering – I suspect this won’t be the only outfit it gets incorporated into 🙂

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Did I forget to mention that it has pockets. GUYS, IT HAS POCKETS!

Joolz Fashion plus size V dress in lemon and lavendar

So, if you feel a little shopping spree coming on, go on and support an indie plus size designer – I know I, for one, will be keeping close tabs!

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Plus size active wear: Mermaids and Unicorns

Sometimes, despite the very best intentions, we fall flat.

Take, for example, my ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ for 2016. Towards the end of 2015 I reached a point in my body acceptance journey where I was over rebelling against what I was told I could and couldn’t wear and pulling my middle finger at the diet industry, and felt ready to move into a phase of nurturing my body. I felt – and still feel – that loving your body means looking after it as best you can, by eating healthily and exercising. (The key to my belief here is that – different to what they had meant to me before – diet and exercise was to nurture a body I loved, not punish and alter a body I hated). And so, I got it into my mind that with the new year, I would start a new routine: one filled with frequent exercise and healthy meals.

One of the things I was most excited about was the activewear. In my ‘previous life’ gym garb had consisted of ratty old tracksuit pants, and scruffy t-shirts. I died a million deaths at the thought of anyone recognising me on the way to, during or at gym. But now, in my new body positive reincarnation, I would dress up to go to gym – a device that I hoped would make me feel excited about exercising. So, when I stumbled across Mermaids & Unicorns online and spied their funky and whimsical active-wear, it was love at first sight. Quirky prints, dinosaurs, unicorns, mermaids – and it was a South African brand. It was as if it was made for me! I jumped at the chance – the honour – to feature them on the blog.

Except that now it’s almost the end of June 2016 and can you guess how many times I’ve been to the gym? Yeah, it’s less than that. As disgusted and ashamed as I am of myself for not doing what I know is good for me, it’s all the more worsened by the fact that I let a brand that I admire and that has supported me down.

My gorgeous, funky, fun leggings have sat in my cupboard, unused. This is not what gorgeous, funky, fun leggings are designed for. These leggings are designed for for making you feel good, for making others feel good when they see you in them feeling good, and then in turn making you feel good again after you see other people feeling good at seeing you feel good in them.

So today I decided to get over myself, get over sucking it big time, to put on the leggings of awesomness I didn’t deserve to wear, and to break them in with some yoga.

This is how it went:

plus size activewear on Mind the Curvesplus size activewear on Mind the Curvesplus size activewear on Mind the Curvesplus size activewear on Mind the Curvesplus size activewear on Mind the Curvesplus size activewear on Mind the CurvesI couldn’t touch my toes like I used to, but it was a start. And I feel good, because I did something good for myself.

The leggings fit me beautifully – not to be weird here, but how great does my ass look in them? I’m usually pretty petrified of anything tight on my ass. They are super high-quality and robust – both in the assembly of the garment and the heavier-weight fabric – and I suspect will stand up much better to the toll of chub rub in the groin region than my other leggings do.

Mermaids & Unicorns has a ton of other spectacular prints, and the entire range is limited edition, so check them out here.

And also heed a lesson I had to learn the hard way:
Don’t put off doing something because you feel you won’t be good enough at it. We’re often not good at it the first time – in my case I didn’t become an instant devoted gym bunny because the clock struck 2016. And the longer I left it, the more I hyped myself up about how much more I’d have to do to make up for what I wasn’t already doing, until it was easier just to forget about the whole thing. I didn’t need to become a pinnacle of plus size athleticism to be deserving of these awesome leggings – I just need to put the damn things on and do something. In this case it was half an hour or trying to touch my toes and balance on one leg, but maybe tomorrow I’ll go for a brisk walk. And if someone sees me, in my multicoloured wonderpants, they’ll smile and think ‘Oooh, good for her, maybe I should get out there, and where did she get those spectacular pants from?’

And then both my job and the legging’s job will be done.

Plus size OOTD: Black maxi dress from Captive8

The black maxi dress is a classic wardrobe staple – it can be dressed up or down, and easily modified to the season.

This one from Captive8 is made from the most wonderful slinky fabric – it has a great weight, and is not too clingy. I also love the V neckline, and the knotted feature at the waist – I find it super flattering. I feel like this dress could be style 1 hundred million ways – here’s my first go:

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Dress: Captive8
Lipstick: Revlon
Hair flower: Hell Razor 
Shoes: Queue from Spree
Photographer and Stylist: Simone from Yellow Papaya

Plus size OOTD: Watercolour shift dress from Captive8

If this shoot looks a little seasonally inappropriate it’s because these images lost themselves – and  I just unlost them. Unfortunately a bunch of the looks I shot aren’t available in stores any more – but this one is! Woohoo!

I fell in love with this comfy shift dress from Captive8 for its colours – it reminds me of that Monet painting with the lilies. It’s light and breezy for the warmer months, but for the colder seasons you could pair it up with navy leggings and gold shoes, with a cream-coloured cardi and/or scarf.

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Dress: Captive8
Nail art: Hallo Pragtig
Lipstick: Catrice
Earrings: Zuri
Photographer and Stylist: Simone from Yellow Papaya

Plus size OOTD: Black and white stripe dress from Captive8

Another gem revived from a lost shoot!

I have such a soft spot for the nautical look, which this dress totally pulls off, and all the bonus points that it’s soft and comfy too. The slightly wider neck-line and lower back gives it a classic look, which I really love – plus for all those pocket fans out there, guesss whatt ittt hassss?

This one’s for anyone who’s ever told a plus size girl they can’t wear horizontal stripes.

Striped plus size dress on Mind the Curves

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Dress: Captive8
Photographer and Stylist: Simone from Yellow Papaya

 

My Superbalist Winter Wishlist

The chilly winter weather is setting in, and it’s time to celebrate those favourites of the winter wardrobe – boots, coats, hats and scarves.

Superbalist invited me to take a peek through their latest winter-wear, and I was thrilled to find some great plus size options to share with you.

Here are some of my favourite items:

1. Missguided plus size embroidery dress

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Not even the nip in the air can deter my love affair with dresses. Can you even deal with that gorgeous embroidery? I’m totally smitten. Would love to pair with some opaque black tights, booties and a big, black felt hat.

2. Liliana Midnight ankle boots

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It’s fair to say I’m a boot girl to my core. Boots with buckles, boots with studs. Combat boots, cowboy boots, shitkicker boots. I don’t discriminate. But when I saw these grungy velveteen beauties – I realised my collection was incomplete. I WANT TO STROKE THEM. Plus, how great would they go with the afore-mentioned embroidered dress?

3. American Apparel circle scarf

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 11.02.41 AMNow we’re starting to warm up and tie things together. How these match the boots is just symmetry. I LOVE IT.

4. Vero Moda Samantha Wool Hat

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 11.06.14 AMThis black wool hat just brings the chic that is the final touch. Head warm, style HOT.

5. Missguided plus size belted wool coat

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The final piece for heading out is a warm winter coat to bundle up in. I adore the classic cut of this woolen beauty, and love coats that you can tie at the place that flatters your shape the best. I’m sold!

Which superbalist items are on your winter wishlist? Share with me in the comments below.

 

 

Win one of 3 outfits with Isabel de Villiers A/W 2016

Isabel de Villiers is probably the biggest name in South African boutique plus size fashion, and the amazing lady behind the brand was one of the very first contacts I made when starting this blog and my plus size fashion journey.

I look back now and realise that when Isabel asked me to model for her A/W 2015 range it was something of a turning point – or maybe the springboard – that has lead to so many exciting opportunities since then. Suffice it to say that I owe a lot of the high points of my journey to Isabel.

Anybody who has had the good fortune to meet this talented designer will know that she gets it. She gets the beauty of bodies in different shapes and sizes, she gets how important it is for confidence to come from inside, from how you feel, and she gets the plus size fashion scene – that us larger ladies want to be edgy and fashion-forward sometimes too.

So when Isabel asked me to be a part of her A/W 2016 lookbook I didn’t hesitate for a heartbeat – I knew something good was in store – and I definitely wasn’t disappointed.

Now I’ve chosen five of my favourite looks from the range to give you a little preview – but you can see the whole thing here. Isabel has also kindly offered 3 lucky Mind the Curves readers an outfit of their choice from the collection, so get on entering below!

My five favourite looks from Isabel de Villiers A/W 2016

1. Drape Maxi DressMind the Curves for Isabel de Villiers plus size fashion South Africa

2. Wrap Dress

Mind the Curves for Isabel de Villiers plus size fashion South Africa

 

3. Drape Dress

Mind the Curves for Isabel de Villiers plus size fashion South Africa

 

4. Polo Shift Dress

Mind the Curves for Isabel de Villiers plus size fashion South Africa

 

5. Mesh Inset Jumpsuit

Mind the Curves for Isabel de Villiers plus size fashion South Africa

 

In order to win one of these gorgeous outfits, or another from the A/W 2016 lookbook, enter via the Rafflecopter widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Plus size ‘super model’ Ashley Graham stars in music video

A huge win for body diversity in mainstream media today as a music video by popstar Joe Jonas landed starring plus size ‘super model’ Ashley Graham.

While pop isn’t exactly my cup of tea, I totally love how Ashley’s beauty is celebrated in the video for ‘Toothbrush’ – every inch of it. She prances around in her underwear like it ain’t no thang (not that it should be!) and it’s totally gorgeous. She’s not treated any differently than I imagine they would have treated a thinner model, and that sends such a powerful message. Yay for Ashley, yay for Joe, and yay for everybody who celebrates bodies of every shape, size and tone as beautiful.

You can watch the video here:

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