Thursday, September 30

Uniform

So this year I have been thinking about a winter "uniform". I can't remember where, but I read on a blog last year about always having a staple outfit for a season. This is for the days when it's hard to get out of bed, when you don't really want to think about clothes, but nonetheless have to wear some. It's something I realise I need as I'm now up at 6am every day, and to be quite frank, I don't really have wardrobe logic going on at that time!

This week I've largely been wearing either a vintage shirt dress with boots, or a uniform attempt of a button up blouse under a v-neck jumper, skinnies, my heeled boots and a blazer (substitute duffel coat or short coat when it gets really nippy), and I think I'm getting there with the jeans combo. I work in archiving - this means that I can dress pretty casually (I don't really, I tend to just dress how I want instead, well within reason anyway...), but it also means I have to dress practically. I can be doing anything from climbing ladders in our vault to lifting projectors or donations, and so practicality is definitely the key.

Anyway! Uniform....


Oh HELLO 6AM IN THE MORNING FACE. (Sorry)

So, basically, it's an outfit made up of my essentials - skinnies, boots, a button up blouse and a thin fitted jumper. I have tons of these jumpers, I always grab a new one in the january sales, so I can easily switch and change to blue jeans, a nice grey jumper and a brown belt. It's interchangeable without much thought... which I like, right now, until these early mornings become more normal again!

So, run down:
Jumper, Dorothy Perkins, £7 sale
Blouse, M&S via ebay, £12.99
Skinnies, Dorothy Perkins, £10 sale
Tuxedo jacket, Dorothy Perkins via a Fatshionista sales post, £10
Boots, Evans £39.50

OH, I appear to be a bit of a Dotty P's fan girl... hmm.

Monday, September 27

I'm back!
Well, at least occasionally... I am now living in Brighton in a shared house, and whilst still internet-less (at home AND WORK, dear god.) I now have some mobile broadband credit to last me a month or so. Anyway, I'm getting up at 6am every morning to commute to Chichester, which is a bit challenging, so my outfit pictures may well involve a grumpy morning face from now on. Yuck yuck.

Er, to illustate said morning face...
I spoke about this Jane BonBon dress a while back, which I scored on a fatshionista sample sale post on livejournal for $40. It's not custom made, but really it may as well be! It's quite simply the best day dress ever, and great Autumn fodder.

I also bought this pair of boots from Evans, as a new job present to myself. I battle with boots every year, as my calves are 19" wide, and most years I settle on a pair that fits rather than a pair I love. These are somewhere in the middle, and I think very reasonable for a pair of boots. They're actually a little big for me around the calves, but I reckon I'll end up wearing them with jeans as well so that's actually preferable.

Yay fall! Though fall on the south coast = a little bit like the last few weeks of August in Leeds. It's all a bit bright and sunny, so I was glad to break out a proper Autumn outfit today.

Rundown:
Black polo neck short sleeved jumper, £7 Dorothy Perkins sale
Jumper dress, Jane Bonbon sample sale via Fatshionista, $40
Boots, £39.50 Evans
Mac, £12 Primark
Bird badge, gifted.

Wednesday, September 15

1910-2010 100th birthday celebration, Duke of York Picturehouse

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. I've just starting working at Screen Archive South East, and I'm currently commuting about two and a half hours each way while I sort out a room in Brighton. I'm shattered! Hopefully I'll be moving in somewhere this weekend, and then normal posting will resume.

In the mean time, here's details of a centenary celebration at the Duke of York Picturehouse in Brighton. There's going to be a selection of films from 1910 shown, with live accompaniment, all from the archive that I work at. I've seen them and they're amazing, and I'll be heading along as long as I'm settled okay and not in Surrey anymore.

Oh, and it's FREE. Free!

Details:

What was it like to see a film show at the Duke of York’s in 1910? This special programme brings together a selection of English films made around 1910. Local newsreels of Brighton include an air-race from Hendon to the Brighton seafront with bi-planes over the West Pier, a Temperance March on Marine Parade and bowling on the Hove Lawns. The Tilly Girl series of comedy films made by Cecil Hepworth from 1910 to 1915 made the teenage actors Alma and Chrissie White the nation’s first film stars. Here we see them making fun of the local fire brigade. The world’s first viable 35mm colour film system was devised in Hove by George Albert Smith and launched around the world in 1910. Very few Kinemacolour films have survived but we have found a number of fascinating test films which reveal the wonder of Smith’s invention.With live piano accompaniment performed by John Sweeney. PLUS an exclusive showreel featuring scenes from the new version of BRIGHTON ROCK starring Helen Mirren and Sam Riley, a unique chance to catch a sneak preview ahead of the film’s release next year.

Seats are FREE but do reserve in advance to save disappointment. Period dress for the occasion is welcomed.

Friday, September 10

Retrospective #2


So I'm still amidst a life in boxes. One night to go! I'm full of a whole cocktail of relocation emotions. Here's another picture from earlier this year in a er... very messy old house. I wore this to play an open mic night (Feline Groovy at the Chemic Tavern) earlier this year.

Black shoulder pad maxi dress, ASOS curve, £36? I got this before it went into the sale, it's that amazing. Seriously the most comfortable dress ever.
Sparkly shrug, £4 tesco via ThriftstoreUK on livejournal.
Black buckle belt, £7 dorothy perkins sale.
Gold flats, clothes swap, £free

Wednesday, September 8


Also, oh my oh my, do I want these shoes. They look like the best kind of old lady shoes (or edwardian dandy), and they're only £62 from Office. Yes, I'm being sarcastic... but I still want them!

Retrospective


Okay, so since I'm spending the next few days in baggy tees and shorts, and spending most of my time packing boxes, I thought that I'd post a few older outfits to keep this alive and going for the time being.

This is in my old house, from about June-ish this year. I scored this skirt from H&M from their straight sized section for £24.99 around Christmas last year. It was a size L, and I don't think it was meant to fit my tush, but it's a pleasantly tight mini. The cardigan was a thrifty score, bought for $5 at a flea market when I went to New York last year. It's originally Diane Von Furstenburg and has serious 80s shoulder pads.

The flea market I went to was the Annex / West 25th Street Outdoor Flea Market at 29-37 West 25th Street, New York, NY 10011, and it was AMAZING.

Cardigan, Diane Von Furstenburg via New York last November, $5
Nude tank, £4 primark
Skirt of pure ruffles - £24.99 H&M straight sized section
Socks - Primark, about £1 for the pair
Brown loafters - £3, charity shop. These disintegrated and I miss them so much!

Tuesday, September 7

Tailoring

I'm sad to say this next week may well be a bit slow on the outfit front. I've just finished packing all my suitcases (though still working on the boxes!) and I've only left myself about four options for the rest of the week! And sadly they're all definitely practical, and not particularly fashion orientated.

But whilst I've still got the free time to perve over clothes I'd like to buy online, I thought I'd try and concentrate more on things I'd love to buy if I weren't currently without income (but only for a little longer!).

Now I am most definitely an impulse shopper. I was bought up shopping in charity shops, car boots and jumble sales, and later on ransacking the sale racks. Both of my parents have bulging wardrobes full of bargain buys, easily disposable. I'm thankful for them passing down their thriftiness to me, definitely, but at the same time I sometimes wish I could be less impulsive and concentrate more on buying staple pieces for my wardrobe. Having spent the past week packing, and discovering that I own approximately four suitcases, one gigantic shopper bag and one overnight bag full of clothes (not counting the shoes!), and what with facing life in a small room for the next ten months, I think this will definitely be my focus.

I'm starting a new job imminently, and whilst I don't know the dress code as yet, I'm spending time thinking about appropriate tailoring and workwear, mainly because I find it so hard to find well fitting tailoring in my size that's not plain and dull. My last job was super casual, and I spent a lot of it in vintage dresses or jeans, but I quite like the idea of having a capsule wardrobe specifically for work, with a few interchangeable staples.

Here are some of my favourites:

Both from Jane BonBon on Etsy. Her shop is currently on vacation, so I can't recall the prices. I have actually scored the jumper dress in brown leopard print from a sample on the Fatshionista sales community, Fatshion Exchange. Even though it wasn't custom made like her etsy listings, it fits like it was! The craftswomanship is amazing, and if I had unlimited funds I'd definitely be back for the grey.

Black peg leg trousers from Very, available here in sizes up to 24 (in two lengths), £22. I can't count how many times I've *nearly* bought these. I'm a great fan of the peg leg, and imagine these would look equally amazing worn with a lace body and heels as they would worn with a nice blouse for a 40s/50s inspired workwear look.

Polka dot skater skirt, as featured here on cupcake's clothes, also on very here for £25 and available up to size 24. Again, fantastic worn with a nice blouse or jumper and some riding boots. Speaking of which...

Knee boots of dreams, by Buckles and Bows, to be found here at Marisota. £100. Available in wide fitting too.

On a slightly cheaper front, I bought this blouse from ebay earlier this week. Sorry I can't seem to get hold of the image link, but it's a vintage style button up blouse, ex M&S. It cost about £14, which is steep for me, but it seems impossible to find button up shirts or blouses that actually button up to the collar! So definitely a score for me. The seller has lots more in different sizes also.

So yes, perve perve perve.

Monday, September 6

Casual

Okay, so I definitely struggle with casual. For many a year "casual" to me has meant whatever dress I can find thrown over my head. Trousers and jeans only really entered my wardrobe over the past two years.


My best trousers are most definitely this pair. They entered my wardrobe last Autumn, and I loved them so much that within a month I owned three pairs! They came from tesco, and cost £13 if I recall. They're supposed to be a harem style, but fit me more like a skinny peg leg. They have super cute ruching up the back and pleated around the hips. I love them because they can be casual and more formal. They were also staple workwear for a good while, teamed with a bright jumper, grey waterfall cardi and wide belt. They're basically skinnies with more tailoring and detail, and which can be worn to work. YAY.

Anyway, I trotted off to get my hair cut this morning, and this is a before photograph. It's now shorter, but basically the same style, so I'll save the after picture for when "hairdresser" syndrome has worn off and my hair is no longer blow dried into oblivion.

T-shirt, primark £can't remember, but about £6?
Trousers, tescos, £13
Shoes, Primark, £2

Sunday, September 5

Sewing project!

So the other day I attempted a new sewing project. I'm very new to "proper" sewing - I've had a sewing machine for years but nothing much came of it apart from lots of jammed thread and about one half decent skirt. However, earlier this year I got sent a link to this DIY couture pattern for a pleated skirt. Now I really can't recommend this pattern enough - in terms of instructions, it's easy to understand without being patronising, and results in a quality of tailoring that's hard to find in plus size shops.

More importantly, what I loved about the instruction book was that, unlike sewing patterned which are strictly sized and hard to adapt, it was size-less. You work out your own measurements, so it's a guide that really can be used by anyone with access to a sewing machine. You can pick up some fabric from a market (my local has stalls that I've gotten fabric for £1 a metre before) or buy some curtains or a duvet from a charity shop or car boot and make something which is truly lasting and well fitting from them. It's revolutionary!

The skirt I made can be seen here on my flickr stream. I had some old 60s curtains, bagged for a reasonable £2 from a charity shop, and decided to dust them off for a more public viewing.

DIY couture have a whole bunch of books available for a reasonable price, including books for capes, kaftans, dresses, jumpsuits and trousers, and when I next have pennies, I'll definitely be buying one.

Anyway, since discovering that pattern, I've made another skirt from an old tartan wool skirt bagged for £2 from a charity shop. Since both were successes I decided to spend some pennies on a proper pattern and try to make a dress. I found vintage vogue pattern V8615, from Vogue's easy range, in my local haberdashery shop, which looks like this:


The pattern only went up to a vintage 24 (which equates to about a modern UK 20), but because of my smaller boobs and the full skirt, I thought it would be possible to work with even though I'm about 5" bigger than the waist and hip measurements. I didn't enlarge the pattern, but I did work with smaller seam allowances to leave me with more fabric left. This was a bit of a haphazard approach, but I'm definitely not experienced enough to be redrafting it entirely!

The pattern consisted of 6 separate parts which were cut twice each. I decided to forego the sleeves and the pockets, as I felt the fabric I had was more suited to a sleeveless style (and the pockets were a bit unneccesary). The pattern also called for lining, but I scrapped that too. Oh, and the zip, because when I got to the point where I needed to insert one, I realised that it was easy enough to pull it over my head without needing to zip.

So here is the result:




The fabric was a pair of curtains from a charity shop, which I paid £4 for. It's a heavy duty cotton, so comfortable and sturdy. I paid about £8 for the pattern, so in total paid £12 for what is pretty much the perfect summer dress for me.

The bodice was made of four pieces from two different pieces of the pattern, and involved two darts on the front and two on the back. It was my first time working with darts, and it was challenging but ultimately definitely worthwhile, as it looks like the 50s sundress of my dreams! The skirt is a classic circle skirt, with four panels and a fitted waist. Whilst it was definitely a step up from anything I'd made before, this was definitely a lot easier than anticipated, and I'd recommend it for anyone with some basic or average sewing skills.

Yesterday evening, I dressed it up to go to see Inception at the cinema.



I've been loving the reappearance of ankle socks this year, and scored some cream and gold sparkly polka dot socks from Primark the other day, so it seemed like a good night to try it out!

Dress, handmade - cost about £12 to make including pattern
Tan belt, my old stock, £free
Ankle socks - £1 per pair, Primark
Nude brogues - £12, Primark

Saturday, September 4

FASHION ON TRIAL


My most wonderful friend Caroline told me about this event which is happening soon in London. Caroline, who is queer kink academic extraordinaire and a very well dressed fatty, will be speaking about fat fashion. I will be trying my best to make the trip up from Brighton for this, unless my new job makes it impossible. It sounds amazing!

Info:

Fashion on Trial is a fancy dress event and will open at 6pm on Wednesday, September 29 at the avant garde Resistance Gallery in east London’s Bethnal Green with speed debating followed by discussion, entertainment and general mayhem.

The fancy dress is being held after London Fashion Week and promises to cross examine the impact the industry has on our lives, from the pressure on young women to conform to impossible Size Zero images to the exploitation sweatshop labour.

Comedian Josie Long, feminist academic Susie Orbach and the campaign organisation War on Want have already been invited to take part in the pub-table style discussion which will be at the heart of the Fashion on Trial event.

Early bird tickets have today gone on sale at £3, representing a 40 percent discount on the full waged price, and are available online at PayPal. Organisers are asking supporters and regulars to book up now to avoid disappointment.

Clare Solomon, ULU president and founding member, said: “Mutiny is now calling for activists, artists, academics and troublemakers who which to contribute films, art, talks and presentations for the three central debates, which are titled Consuming Fashion, Producing Fashion and Reclaiming Fashion.”

The bi-monthly “on trial” events are organised by a rag-tag of socialists, anarchists, environmentalists, LGBT campaigners including trade unionists, students, campaigners and general troublemakers.

Previous Mutiny events have been described as “the foundation of a whole new political model” by a leading university trade unionist, “majestic” and “incredibly impressive” by the Marxist academic and author Gareth Dale and “both cerebral and carnivalesque” by The Sauce blog.

Mutiny is a mutlimedia event with film showings, art exhibitions and live streaming. Footage of the most recent event, The Media on Trial is now online. A 5-minute short introducing the Mutiny project is now in production.

You can book your tickets online, follow us on Twitter, join the Facebook group and read our blog. But for the real Mutiny experience you have to not only attend Fashion on Trial but also speak, present, provide poetry or photography, cut films, conduct interviews or DJ – you have to join the Mutiny.

If you would like to perform, speak, attend, submit art, design, photography or film email jointhemutiny@gmail.com or attend today’s Mutiny organising meeting at 7pm in the bar of the Institute of Education near Russell Square in London (probably on the roof).

Read about and watch previous events HERE

Join the Google Group for involvement HERE

On Twitter here.

…the Facebook Group HERE

…and make suggestions as a comment anywhere on this blog and we will try to incorporate them

Looking forward to it.

We are looking for artwork, musicians, poets, visual artists, films, speakers and, of course, participants for the evening.

Join the team or send us any ideas & suggestions by emailing us at jointhemutiny@gmail.com

Friday, September 3



So this is a late post. Last night I went to see Mother at the National Media Museum in Bradford, which is incidentally my former place of work (and one of my favourite museums). I caught up with two former colleagues from the Collections team, and went for a curry. Mother was really good, and so beautifully shot.

This dress was an unbelievable score earlier this week, £1.04 from ebay! It's originally from Dorothy Perkins, and I tried it on years back in the size 20 which was too tight on me. I was very happy to discover a badly photographed version of it up for grabs this week, but, even then, never expected to score it for so little. It's fantastically fitted, with a lace trim sweetheart neckline, pleated pencil skirt and short cap sleeves. It could work for professional wear, but it's also the perfect little black dress for glamming up. To conclude, I bloody well love it.

Teamed with sparkly butterfly earrings also DP, black eyeliner and chanel rouge noir lipstick, recently traded online on Thrift Store UK which is one of my oldest online bargain hunting grounds. I don't tend to wear much make up, but liquid eyeliner and this lipstick are both definitely staples.


And last but not least, my favourite thrift find ever. This is ruffles/wruffles the bag, tentatively named by my boyfriend who doesn't appreciate it's genius. This was scored for 99p at Oxfam in Dalston (which I used to live pretty much next door to in my London times), and is leopard print with a tapestry dog and fair too much lace and pearls. It must've been DIYed because it's just too amazing not to be. It used to have a little bell on the pearl collar, but sadly that got lost over the years.

Dress, Dorothy Perkins via ebay, £1.04
Bag, Oxfam Kingsland Road, 99p
Shoes, Priceless, £13
Earrings, Dorothy Perkins, £4

Notes on a body

So I'm fat. I weigh around 18 stone, though I weigh myself rarely. I'm 5'9" tall, and my measurements are about 48-43-53, though these vary also. I'm a death fatty (meaning that my BMI is considered to be morbidly obese). I generally fit a UK size 22 or 24, and I have large wide size 8 feet. I'm a card carrying member of the itty bitty titty committee, but I love my B cups (they are so much easier to dress than DDs). I am a definite pear shape, with a big belly that people often assume contains a baby (nope, just a lot of good food and drink). When I was younger, I went through many a bout of fad and yoyo dieting, but I gave this all up about three years ago (with occasional lapses). Even though I fully believe in fat acceptance and consider it to be a massive part of my life, I still struggle with my body image, although now at least in my bad patches it is rage and anger I feel towards those that taunt me, and not sadness and anger directed inwards towards myself.

Fashion is a huge part of my life, and it is through fashion that I began my journey to body acceptance. First, when I started university, I endeavoured to dress to "flatter" my shape. This, for me, was an oppressive notion based on dressing what I felt was an unacceptable body. For those years, my thighs and arms rarely saw the light of day, and everything I wore skimmed over my hips, tummy and emphasised my (admittedly fairly lacking) cleavage. I shopped with a strict set of rules, gained mainly from a teenage addiction to makeover programmes, and I never tried anything that contradicted these roles. I looked good, and always got complimented. I attracted the usual fatty taunts, but not nearly as many as I do now, because the way I dressed made me socially acceptable. Shopping was still fun, but it involved so much less spontaneity, fun, laughter and general enjoyment.

The best thing I ever did was decide to REJECT FLATTERY.

Don't ever decide to not wear something because you are fat. In fact, I try and do the opposite whenever I go shopping. Wear something ridiculous because you are fat. Wear something you shouldn't wear because you are fat. Now, when I shop, I try on the most absurd items in the shop, sometimes because I want to own them and sometimes just for fun. What's the worst that could happen? You laugh a bit, and put it back on the hanger. What's the best thing that could happen? You feel fantastic, sexy, empowered, and you discover new ways to express yourself.

I am a fatty and I have worn mini skirts, hot pants, high necklines, low necklines, pencil skirts, wiggle dresses, bustiers, corsets, short shorts, spaghetti straps, high waisted, drop waisted, muu muus, shift dresses, kaftans, see through everything, sequins, spandex, lame, pvc, body con dresses, jumpsuits, leggings, mesh, unitards, knee socks, dungarees, ruffles, pleating, draping, vintage dresses, skinny jeans, leather.... I have worn everything that I have wanted to wear, regardless... no, not just regardless of my body, it's more than that now. I wear the clothes I love because of my body. Because I love the way that these things look and feel on my fat body, and your fat body. Because I want the world to see my tree trunk thighs, my door frame wide hips, my broad shoulders, and because I want to see a variety of body shapes and sizes, visible in public spaces.

The only person that should tell you what you should and shouldn't wear is yourself. Not external disciplinary agencies, not your friends, family, lovers, not the magazines, makeover shows, and certainly not the anonymous hater in the street (or on the internet).

I wanted to end this post with this video of Divine that Charlotte recently reminded me of on her blog. There will always be haters, unpleasant stares, comments, confusion, laughter, and out and out hatred. However, it doesn't make us any less fantastic. In fact, it only makes us more so. And for every snarky comment, every stinkeye glare etc, I will only make myself bolder and more ridiculous. I will revel in the unruliness of my dress sense, and the unruliness of my fat body. This is why fat fashion is revolutionary, and this is why I know that it is so important within fat acceptance and activisms.

Wednesday, September 1


This is my best clothes swap score ever. Until it stopped over summer, I regularly visited the Leeds Community Clothing Exchange near Hyde Park. As with all swaps, the quality of clothes varied a lot, but things like this made any unfruitful visits worthwhile.

60s vintage M+S dress - £free, LCCE
Belt - Dorothy Perkins, £7
Shoes - you've seen them all before far too many times (bring on winter and proper shoe wearing time)

I'd love to hear from any fatty locals in Brighton who'd be interested in holding a regular swap of our own? I will miss swapping times up here.