Monday, 25 August 2014

Review: Ann Harvey
at Bonmarché

Hey folks. You may have already heard that Bonmarché is the new home for Ann Harvey and they've launched a new collection, which comes in sizes 16-32. The collection is available now and you can view and purchase via their website. I'd describe the overall feel as formal and elegant.

When Bonmarché asked if I'd be interested in reviewing an item from the Ann Harvey collection, I chose the Brush Stroke Floral Wrap Dress (£45.00) in my usual size (22). I love wearing dresses to work and this dress looks both flattering and colourful. When I received the dress I wasn't disappointed, it came in a lovely box with tissue paper and the catalogue images are an accurate representation of the pattern and fit.

I wore it with leggings and a vest top; the latter as I felt that the wrapover part of the dress is a tad too big on me, which is not unexpected as I regularly have this issue due to my small cup size (42B). Easily solved by wearing a vest/cami underneath or adding a couple of stitches, and if you're well endowed on the breast department you probably won't find it to be a problem. The dress is quite roomy so sizing down may have helped, but the rest of it is a good fit.

The wrapover style and rouching at the side gives this dress a flattering cut that I love; it's my perfect style in terms of shape and I also love the print.

I intend to wear this dress for work but I think it could also be worn as evening wear, with a sparkly necklace and/or hair accessory and swapping the leggings for tights. Heels would also go great with it, but unfortunately I can't walk in them!

£45.00 is more than I would usually spend on a dress, but I can tell that you're getting what you pay for in terms of quality. It's fully lined and comfortable.

What do you think of the new collection and, more importantly, 'how do I look'? ;)

Monday, 18 August 2014

Pink Clove's PR Faux Pas

I meant to write about this a month ago but, well, you know what I'm like when it comes to updates! Some of you may have seen this image (left) which was shared on Pink Clove's Facebook page on 8 August. The image in itself caused some controversy, but nothing in compared to that of Pink Clove's responses to the matter. The post has since been deleted, along with their most recent share of 'hot or not' (which you can read more about on Debz' blog here).

I indirectly tweeted about the post when I first came across it, asking  'does anyone else agree that saying one body shape 'is' is effectively saying other body shapes 'are not', even if it's meant positively?' These were my initial thoughts; although I knew it wasn't intentional, to me it said one is therefore another is not. That is tantamount to body shaming and holding one body type above all others; whether it's intentional or not it is, in my view, these kind of thoughts that continue to feed the body hierarchy that 'we' (the body positive) are fighting to eradicate.

You may think I'm over reacting and in the context of one image and one company you could be right. Alas, this is not the first time that I've seen such a thing and it probably won't be the last. Correct me if I'm wrong but fashion companies provide fashion and, whilst it's nice to have a 'personal' approach with your customer base, sharing content such as this is irrelevant and unnecessary. Perhaps I am 'privileged' in having a degree of body confidence, but I don't need a fashion company to make me feel better about my body (I need them to sell me fashion!); especially at the expense of others.

Asides from the content issue, the responses made by Pink Clove to customers airing their concerns was somewhat appalling. Unfortunately I didn't save any of the details and, as mentioned, the post no longer exists, so this is the only quote I can provide: '...you certainly have not read our comments - We said all are good for cuddling, its a quote and we liked it so we used it. If you don't like our post, you have your right to your opinion which we respect which you have given. 59 followers have liked the post so that's their opinion. Please read our comments before you follow up - Thank you! x'. This response is comparatively polite. Reading this I was expecting to see 'so there!' at the end of it.

Content aside, the way in which the issue was dealt with is a PR faux pas in its own right. I have, therefore, made the decision to take my custom elsewhere, until such a time as Pink Clove publishes (publicly) an apology of an acceptable standard and ceases to dismiss the valid opinions of its customer base.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Electric Feel with New Look

Image (Left) © Big Fat Betty | Hi folks. Today I'd like to share with you some fabulous neon tropical fashion, in collaboration with New Look Inspire's latest trends; the aptly named Electric Feel. I'd previously spotted their Inspire Neon Pink Pineapple Bodycon Dress (£14.99, sizes 18-26) and it was love at first bite (see what I did there?); I'd like to thank New Look for gifting me the dress, along with the matching Pink Pineapple Samsung S4 Case (£4.99), to review and share with you.

Images (Below) © Respective Brands | Before I started blogging (two years ago, although it seems like a decade!) I didn't wear a great deal of colour and certainly nothing that would stand out, but I'm so glad that my tastes have changed along with my confidence and I can rock neon and tropical prints with style. I went for a casual look with the dress and wore it with some cropped leggings, as if it were a long vest, but I'm equally looking forward to dressing it up. Take a look at the 'wishlist' below for an idea of what I'd wear with the dress for a night out (along with shapewear for a smoother silhouette; my personal choice, not a necessity by any means - the image further down is without shapewear):
































#1 New Look Inspire Neon Pink Pineapple Bodycon Dress, £14.99 (sizes 18-26)
#2 Black Heart Creatives Fiiiiiineapple Necklace and Stud Earrings, £15.00 and £8.00 
#3 New Look Pink Pineapple Samsung S4 Case, £4.99
#4 New Look Wide Fit Black Chunky Cross Strap Heels, £27.99, sizes 3-9

Image (Left) © Big Fat Betty | The dress itself is quite a vibrant pink whereas the phone case I would describe as faded, although they are the same print; the case looks chipped when photographed but it's perfect, it's just the reflection of the light. It has a clear coating on it and seems quite sturdy, so I don't think it'd chip easily.

I went for my usual dress size which is a 22. I sometimes have to size up in bodycon dresses but this one is quite generous and I actually think I could've sized down for a better fit around the arms and hem line.

I think that both of the items are good value; I was concerned with the dress only being £14.99 it might have that slight opaque look if stretched but it doesn't. The only thing I would personally change is the size/length of the arms; I'm sure there's a technical term for this that I don't know of! It's too big/low for me.

I'm devastated that ASOS' pineapple bag has sold out, which I was going to add to my 'wishlist'. Perhaps you can have too much of a good thing though - pineapples, that is! I can't wait to dress this up and show you how it looks!

I think this calls for a pina colada...

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Review: Bras&Honey (ft. Elomi)

Images (Below) © Bras&Honey | Hi folks. The lovely team at Bras&Honey contacted me recently to ask if I would be interested in trying some of their products; their site offers a variety of well-known lingerie and swimwear brands such as Elomi, Freya and Panache. As I have an 'awkward' bra size (42B) I was initially concerned that there may not be anything suitable, particularly as I am aware that many of these brands cater for larger cup sizes. However, their search function came in really handy and I came across the Elomi Caitlyn Black Soft Cup Bra (£27.00) and Briefs (£18.00); Bras&Honey kindly gifted me both of these items to review.

This is the first time that I've tried an underwired bra, as they often look quite flimsy to me and lacking in support. I was pleased to find that the Elomi bra was incredibly supportive and well structured; I did experience a little 'rolling' with the thick elasticated area under the bust, but it wasn't uncomfortable. In fact, I usually experience a lot of 'hangover' under the arms with bras and they tend to dig in because of this; with the Elomi bra this didn't happen at all, the material under the arm and round to the back is much wider than most bras that I have worn and it didn't fold or dig in at all. The straps are equally thick and comfortable.

Image (Left) © Big Fat Betty | Price-wise in the past I've spent between £10-20 on bras (usually around £12-15), but I would happily pay more for the comfort and quality of the Elomi bra. The briefs, however, are pretty standard in my book and don't really warrant the cost; having said that, if I was buying a set that wasn't plain black I would still buy the matching briefs.

I went for size '4L UK 22' in the briefs as I usually wear a 22 and the size was spot on; this is the biggest size available in the briefs but, as I mentioned above, I think any plain black briefs would be a good match. Also, to confirm, I also went for my usual bra size which is a 42B. The bra is available from a B-G cup and a 36-48 back, although the back sizes available for each cup size vary (a B cup is available in back sizes 40-48, for example).

Asides from the items themselves, I was really impressed with Bras&Honey's communication and the ease of use of their website, as well as the fantastically cute polkadot mail bag that my items arrived in! I would be more than happy to order from them in the future should there be more products available in my size (NB: this is more to do with the sizes offered by the brands).

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Outside My Comfort Zone #34

Hi folks. This challenge is 'Show Me Some Skin' and was chosen by Katt (of A Curvy Cupcake) who wrote: 'As summer approaches and the days get warmer, I'm struck with the fear of getting my pasty white legs and the tops of my arms out. Apart from the obvious rudey parts, what areas of your body do you prefer to keep covered?'

So, as per usual, I haven't prepared. I'd love to get in my swimsuit and take some snaps; alas I'm at work and I don't think a 7pm selfie in the mirror jobbie is going to cut it! I very rarely expose my legs bar the odd night out and when I do I'm near enough always wearing tights, primarily as I can rarely be bothered to shave.

Before I started blogging I was incredibly self-conscious about my arms and would keep them covered up until I couldn't take the heat anymore. Now, I don't care. I wouldn't say I like my arms but I'm just not bothered about them or by what other people think which, actually, is probably nothing. Anyway, *drumroll*, here they are in all their glory...

Image (Left) © Big Fat BettyDon't forget to check out the rest of the OMCZ crew (or search #OMCZ on Twitter):

Natalie - http://awheelbarrowfullofstyle.blogspot.co.uk
Nikki - http://www.nattynikki.com

Stephanie - http://www.seeingspots.co.uk
Becky - http://www.doesmyblogmakemelookfat.com
Mary - http://www.marysbigcloset.blogspot.pt
Hollie - http://www.prettybigbutterflies.com
Erin - http://erinslittlebigcorner.blogspot.co.uk
Debz - http://www.wannabeprincess.co.uk
Becca - http://thegirlwiththeplait.blogspot.co.uk
Rebs - http://sullen-hearts.blogspot.co.uk
Katt - http://acurvycupcake.blogspot.co.uk
Leah - http://www.justmeleah.blogspot.co.uk
Mookie - http://muki7x7.blogspot.co.uk
Danielle - http://www.daniellerharris.com
Beverley - http://www.thecurvyword.com
Sam - http://fattyboomtatty.blogspot.co.uk
Gillian - http://www.weegillie.com
Sarah - http://plussizeproud.wordpress.com

What I'm Wearing...

Top: Forever 21+ Crop Top, £5.00, size 2X (similar here and here)
Skirt: Cut for Evans Midi Tube Skirt, £15.00 (in sale), size 24 (no longer available)
Bag: Marisota Beaded Ethnic Print Shopper, £40.00 (gifted from Marisota)
Tights: Evans Black Triple Pack 20 Denier TIghts, £6.00, size 3
Shoes: Primark Wide Fit, £6.00, size 9