30 January 2014

Taking Shape S/S Collection

I was recently contacted by Taking Shape and given the opportunity to check out their Spring/Summer collection in their latest lookbook.
Alla Buinowicz is the head of this brand and she has shared her styling tips for the upcoming season:
"This Spring shoppers should start with a single base colour. This could be black leggings, a top or a dress and then add brighter colour over the top layering items or statement jewellery for a more on trend look. Pieces like a colourful necklace and statement jacket give the outfit an injection of personality without becoming messy this way."
What I love about Taking Shape is that they are not just selling you clothes, they care about how they look on the customer and in fact offer free styling sessions in store.  For someone not yet sure of their own style, someone looking to change things up or even just to get another perspective, this is a fantastic service to offer.
I've had the opportunity to check out some of the clothes in their lookbook and there are some great pieces.  Their collection is full of bold prints and gorgeous patterns, just right for the woman who likes to stand out from the crowd and look confident while she is doing it!
Here are a few images I have been allowed to share from the lookbook, I am sure that you will love the rest of the collection too.


28 January 2014

Steely Eyed

I can let the feelings that I talked about yesterday define me, or I can man up and deal with them.

I refuse to let myself feel like this.  Insecurity is damn irritating; it is like a prison with invisible walls and the rules are always changing.

Today is steely eyed gaze.   Onwards.


27 January 2014

Still Scared

Why does the journey never end? I really thought that I had cracked the confidence thing.  I have confidence in who and what I am now and I feel so much better for it.  I have torn down so many of the walls that I built around me and yet this week, I have discovered another.  An invisible double strength wall guarded by an armada. 
What I have realised is that when it comes to the opposite sex, I am still that scared insecure girl who wants to hide.
The problem is that I am too used to men wanting me but keeping me in the shadows.  Fancying me but yet denying me in public.  Being with me but trying to justify it to others. I allowed it to happen for so long that it feels like the norm and now I eye every guy with suspicion, no matter what the circumstances.
Right now for example I'm talking to a guy via text. It's a friend thing, a reconnection and nothing more and yet I keep saying to him, but have you read my blog?  Not because I want him to read my writing but to make sure that he knows what I look like.  I realised that I was doing this the other night and it freaked me the hell out.

I should say at this point that he has been nothing but nice to me either. 
I'm happy in so many ways now, I can take anything that society throws at me, except it seems when it comes to men.
I'm aware how utterly ridiculous this sounds.  If I saw any of the other bloggers I read saying this I would be shouting "But you're so pretty, don't be silly!" from the rooftops at them.  But when I apply that to myself and then connect it to men and suddenly I am running for cover, wanting to hide.

Do you remember me the post I did about the invisible "fuck off" sign on my head?  Well it appears that it is still there.....
Is it too late to make a New Year's resolution?  Stop putting myself down, even unconsciously....  The only problem in the equation is me, I know that. 

I am more than this.   My image is all over my blog, I have a million "selfie" pictures on Instagram, I've walked down a bloody catwalk FFS!!
I refuse to be so scared that I am making sure a guy friend has seen my picture before feeling comfortable enough to have a conversation.  That is just ridiculous.
I think I should retitle this blog post, "Dear Vicky, Stop Being An Idiot".

25 January 2014

Claire Richards for Fashion World

I was recently asked if I would like to preview a couple of pieces for the new S/S Collection from Claire Richards at FashionWorld  I did of course jump at the chance to have a look and they are some great pieces to choose from.

Unfortunately the beautiful lace dress didn't fit properly on me, but I have the Frill Sleeve Blouse * to show you in a gorgeous hot pink colour.

I confess that at first point I didn't think that hot pink was quite my colour but after wearing it out for lunch, I do really like it!

I have my eye on some other pieces from the Claire Richard's collection and have big intentions to purchase some more!

* Denotes gifted item

23 January 2014

Childhood Reminders

I saw this somewhere, I can’t remember though whether it was a writing prompt or a challenge but I liked the sound of it, so here it is!
Whether it be a smell, a sound, an object or something else,
describe what takes you straight back to your childhood
Music - Any music by The Carpenters.  My mum always used to play The Carpenters when I was a little girl and their music became the anthem of my childhood.
Books – books will always be tied to my childhood as I loved to lose myself in their pages.  I had a penchant for the children’s books that had been written decades earlier and became lost in stories like The Faraway Tree, The Famous Five, Mallory Towers, What Katy Did and all of the Narnia books; which were my favourites.  They all contributed in some way to the person I grew up to be, turning me into a blend of old fashioned and 21st century values.   
Cherry blossom – my neighbour had a huge cherry blossom tree which was the size of the house.  Its branches used to tap on my window and the sight of the cherry blossom arriving each year was a beautiful sight.
Peanuts – my dad always used to buy a packet of peanuts every Friday night.   There always used to be a tiny eggcup with some in for me left over.  It’s funny the things you remember….
Perfume – I always smile to myself when I am choosing on a new perfume.  The street we used to live on didn’t have any other children on it.  The majority of the houses had elderly people living there. 
Our next door neighbours were an elderly lady and her daughter and I remember going over there a lot, playing around with water and different sorts of flower petals to see what sort of fragrances I could make.  I used to call it “making potions”.  Sadly now the “potions” I wear now are a little more expensive.
What takes you back to your childhood?

22 January 2014

Just Another Blogging Challenge

Today's Challenge is the January sales! 

I have been very good this January and have only bought one dress which I found in the sale at +Very.co.uk which is the zip floral dress

When it comes to floral patterns, I love to wear them but just as Leah said in one of her recent blog posts, I don't want to look like a walking pair of curtains. 
This a very heavily patterned dress and I was a little wary of the curtains look happening but for the bargain price of £17.00 I decided to take a chance and, I love it!  The floral print is so beautiful that I feel like I am wearing an eighteenth century painting.
The zip which runs from the waist to neck helps to add a little edge to what would otherwise be a very girly dress and like many dresses I buy, I will be as comfortable wearing this with a cardigan and tights in the Winter as I will with bare legs in the Summer.
I will add a photograph of me in this dress at the weekend!

18 January 2014

Dressing in the Name of

This week has seen more troll activity than usual on the various clothing brand Facebook pages as well as some personal attack on one of my favourite bloggers Kathryn from Miss Kathryn's Misstakes.

I don't pretend to know the reason why people think that it is ok to insult others.  The rule of thumb is, or at least it should be, if you wouldn't say it to someone on the street, don't say it online.

I was reading Becky's post yesterday on the ace MrsBebeBlog talking about this very subject and one of the comments in response caught my eye.  T from UandMii said "I'm now in my mid forties and have the attitude, "Fuck you, I won't wear what you tell me." 

This immediately made me think of the Rage Against the Machine song, "Killing in the Name of" 

(if you haven't heard it before, listen here as the rest of this post will then make sense, and if you don't like that sort of music, go straight to 4 mins 12)

I'm using part of that song and changing it up to what I actually want to shout at trolls, haters, people who tell you "you shouldn't/can't wear that", the people who want to keep you wearing a black tent, here is what I am singing when I see or hear these comments:

Fuck you, I won't wear what you tell me.
Fuck you, I won't wear what you tell me.
Fuck you, I won't wear what you tell me.
Fuck you, I won't wear what you tell me.
Fuck you, I won't wear what you tell me.
Fuck you, I won't wear what you tell me.
Fuck you, I won't wear what you tell me.
Fuck you, I won't wear what you tell me.

Viva the fucking revolution.  

Cardinal Coat Review *

As a teenager and into my twenties I was never a fan of coats.  Maybe it is something to do with being a Northern girl, but outerwear and I never really agreed and I could never find a coat or jacket that enticed me to wear it.

Now I’ve reached my thirties my attitude has changed.  Quite possibly due to the number of years I have stood shivering at bus stops but these days, warm, cozy and stylish coats are always at the top of my wish list.

Today I have to show you a new grey and black speckled coat from Taking Shape.  I tend to wear a lot of different colours and patterns in my workwear and so was looking for a coat that would go with everything.

The Cardinal Coat has a large collar which keeps me warm in the cold months and the fabric is just the right thickness to be neither too cold or too warm.  The fit comes up a little bigger on me than usual but that said, I always like a little more room in my Winter coats to allow for the inevitably needed extra layers of clothing.

I am 5ft 4 and as you can see the coat falls to slightly below the knee.  There is stitch detailing to the sides and around the pockets and it has an asymmetric hemline.  For some reason every coat I have liked this season has not had pockets so it is a relief to have somewhere to put my gloves and MP3 player; essentials on a cold trip to work!

The only small downside that I have noticed about this coat is that there is only one large button to fasten it and on a windy day the coat does tend to fly open.  Also, due to my large bosom and very short waist the placement of the button doesn't sit well on my body.

I'm a firm believer that fashion should work for you, not the other way round.  I love the coat and would not let the placement of a button stop me wearing it so I decided to see what I could change.  The coat looks fantastic unbuttoned but also I found that by closing it at a lower point, this suited me much better.   As such, I have removed the button and have attached two inside press studs which close a few inches lower.

The result is as you see below.  The Cardinal coat works perfectly for me and I feel brilliant wearing it.  It goes with everything I have worn it with and have had compliments on how it looks.   

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I'm sure on a different body shape the coat will look perfect off the rack, but this is how it worked best for me.  You can find the Cardinal Coat here priced at £125.00 which for at coat that will go with everything and is a timeless shape and colour, is a good investment piece.

* This coat was gifted to me by Taking Shape however the opinion and review is my own.

15 January 2014

I Feel Good

I came up with this challenge because I wanted to share pictures that weren’t all camera ready, those that you just looked in the mirror, whatever you happened to be wearing and thought "I feel good today".
Last time out I wrote a post about how I didn't feel good that day, mentally any way, but that that was ok.  Well today what I am posting is the silly face.
Previously any photographs of me online have always been carefully chosen, at the right angle, certainly no silly face poses would ever be allowed to appear.  Well happily I am finally at a stage where I am happy with my face and so, I give you duck face!

Make sure to check out the other ladies in the challenge!

14 January 2014

Words Aloud

My best friend is training to be a counsellor (probably after having so much practice with me haha).  Over the New Year period she had to write an essay about how she had changed since starting the course.  Since we have both been on a massive journey this past year I decided to do it too.

The idea was that you write down how you remember that you used to be and how you think you have changed.  But then you have to read out your essay out loud to the group, and they then analyse what you have said.

We agree to both read our essays to each other.  I have known my best friend for nearly twenty years so she knows every nook and cranny of the way my mind works and the person that I am, so I have no qualms in reading mine aloud.

What reading my essay turned out to be was something I hadn’t anticipated. 

Writing down how you feel can be incredibly cathartic and I have experienced that many times during the course of writing this blog.  But actually speaking the words out loud seems to release the words and bring them off the page and into reality. 

It makes sense really, you think all the time and you may come to conclusions in your head, decisions are made and you may write those thoughts down, but they are rarely in spoken form.  Those thoughts become tangible the moment that they pass your lips.

I could hear the rise and fall of confidence in my voice.  The passion that I felt about some issues practically sung out of me.  You could hear the conviction and strength behind the words I spoke, but then with other matters I wasn’t so sure about, the voice softened and became quieter.  Things that I thought that I had gotten over completely produced tears that I didn’t expect to come.

After finishing there was such a feeling of release and like absolution of sins, the thoughts and feelings that had been trapped in my head and on paper had been liberated.  I felt free of them.

When I got home from my holiday, the thing that had made me cry, I immediately ejected from my life.  The dead wood has been cleared and I’m ready and excited to see what lies ahead of me.

Try it.  Find something that you have written, something where you are talking about how you feel, something powerful.  Say the words out loud, let them take their own flow and don’t stop.  If you have someone you trust enough to say them to, do that.

It was amazing for me; hope that it is the same for you.    Now I'm aware that this post was a little "deep hippy trippy" so in case you didn't want to read all that, here's a singing weasel.  Enjoy.

12 January 2014

Kaleidoscope Dress Review

Towards the end of last year I was contacted by the lovely Sarah of Taking Shape asking if I wished to have a look at some of their pieces and of course, I jumped at the chance.

Taking Shape is a brand that has branched out from their Australian market over to the UK and I have been impressed with the range that they have available.  I am also told that they offer styling advice in each of their stores which is in a definite bonus in my book.

I chose this dress because I was immediately drawn to the vibrant pattern and the shaping of the dress which I thought would suit my shape.  I tend to be drawn towards dresses that are multi purpose and can be dressed up or down for a variety of occasions and the Kaleidoscope Dress all of the boxes for me.

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I feel fantastic in this dress and have actually already worn it twice, once to a party and once dressed down a little to work (you know me, never knowingly underdressed!)

You can currently buy the dress on sale at Taking Shape for the bargain price of £19.00 so I would highly recommend that you and grab yourself a bargain!

*This dress has been gifted to me however all opinions are my own

8 January 2014

Question Time

As I have mentioned previously, once a month I write a guest post on Fashion Worked.  Fashion Worked is a fantastic fashion and opinion site which aims to be inclusive and promote a better body image for all.  As such, they kindly asked me to be their “Plus Perspective” guest blogger once a month.

For my next post with them I wanted to do an open question and answer session.  What I have noticed since starting fashion blogging myself is that there always seem to be questions when it comes to plus size fashion bloggers.  Whether it be about the fashion we choose, confidence levels, or the body image that we have of ourselves.  I know that I was mystified to see confident, happy in front of the camera women when I first started myself, until I grew into one.

For example I was once participating in the weekly #psbloggerschat when I saw someone ask why it was that plus size bloggers felt the need to hold their own separate chat, aside from the regular #fbloggers chat.

If I remember rightly a few different people answered her, my answer being that with only certain stores available to shop in, it made sense to have somewhere where you can pool your information to find the best fashion.  Also for people just coming into fashion blogging or in need of a place to grow your confidence, it was a great resource to have.

The girl asking the question had never thought about it in those terms before and said as much, adding that it seemed to separate us apart when there was no need.  If only everyone in the world thought this way!  

It made me wonder, what other preconceptions/questions/wonderments do others have about plus size bloggers and their fashion blogs?  Are there questions that people want to know but are afraid to ask?  Is it really them and us or can fashion blogging move on to being totally inclusive? 

I certainly don’t have all of the answers and my knowledge in this subject only relates as far as my own experiences, but I would be really interested to find out the views and questions of other fashion bloggers and readers.

So, whether you are a blogger yourself or a reader of fashion blogs, if you have a question can you send it in the below ways.  If you know someone who may be interested in this, I would be grateful if you could share the post.  

Email: thecurvedopinion@gmail.com  
or cComment on this post

This may be an interesting experiment!  The Q&A post will be up on the FashionWorked in early February.

7 January 2014

Magnificent 7th - Statement Jewellery

Hello and welcome to the 2014 start of the continuing Magnificent 7th Challenge!

We will be posting on the 7th of each month, and the aim of the challenge is to create an outfit to fit the theme, using clothes from our wardrobes, and yes that does mean digging deep into the depths and finding those long lost clothes! Hopefully one of us won’t end up in Narnia, but you never know with a bloggers wardrobe!

This month’s theme is the New Year.  I didn’t manage to get a proper photograph of myself in my New Year’s Eve dress (the cartoon print dress from Sorrento Clothing by the way) although I did of course seem to manage the obligatory selfie!
What I have decided to talk about instead is my New Year fashion resolution that I made.   Accessories and jewellery.

I have never been somebody that has been particularly good in putting jewellry together with outfits and adding those extra touches that just pulls everything together.  The perfect statement necklace, the earrings to add the final sparkle, the hair accessory that finishes the outfit, I am useless.

Over the last couple of months I have been buying lots of statement necklaces and you have probably seen a few on my blog posts and via Instagram.  I thought that I would show you a few of my favourites.

The necklaces have been bought everywhere from +Dorothy Perkins to +Primark online to charity shops and Etsy.   I've found a real love for necklaces that I didn't have before and think that they really add to your outfit, often spicing up a boring dress into something fantastic.

Don't forget to check out the other ladies involved in the challenge! x

5 January 2014

A New Year!

Hi everybody!

Hope that you had a fantastic Christmas and New Year.  It has been fantastic to have the break and also had a little cheeky time away from the blog too.  I have lots of things that I want to post but for today I am sharing the guest link to my monthly post on Fashion Worked

I was lucky enough in the closing months of 2013 to be asked to do a monthly post for FashionWorked which is a website that I love reading and was thrilled to be asked.  Body image and confidence is really important to me and I hope that this is conveyed through what I say in these posts.

Today features the so called fashion rules that are imposed by both society and ourselves; and how important it is to throw them away.

Check it out here !