Since I launched the fashion directory within my website in 2002, availability of attractive and trendy fashions in larger sizes, has improved even more than I had realistically hoped for. This is not necessarily a good thing for niche marketers like me (!), but almost certainly wonderful news for my readers.
Drab designs, tents, and ghastly bold prints!
In the 1980s/'90s, a lot of advice for curvy ladies was shockingly bad, and the clothes available seemed to echo this. Typically, loose blouses that were unflattering, and often with "bold prints" that made matters worse. Clothes available for larger sizes were usually aimed at older age groups, which tested the ingenuity of younger curvy ladies if they did not want to emulate their grand-mother's styles! Another frustrating problem was that larger sized clothes were often just scaled up from regular sizes, and so they did not fit the shapes and curves.
Main-stream shops join the fun
In 2002, there were plenty of specialist shops catering for sizes up to UK 32 and beyond, but most of the high-street stores and long established catalogue shops were slow to wake up to demand. The specialists brought younger trendy fashions at last, but it took about another 10 years before many of the well-known shops joined in.
Taking the scenic route
It's all very well having clothes in the correct dress size, but the difference between looking sloppy, and looking 'sharp', is a perfect fit. The larger the lady, the more variety in shapes/proportions one sees, so it is impossible to cater for every shape and fit, but we've seen great strides in the 21st century towards this goal. I like to say that a top or dress "takes the scenic route" from the neckline to the hem, as this path is far from being a straight line. This extra distance has to be catered for in the length of tops. To negotiate curves (especially on an hour-glass figure), darts and seams are the traditional way dress-makers achieved this. A few shops are starting to offer tops and dresses cut for larger busts with a well defined waist-line, as well as for curvy hips.
Curves are "in"
Since the 1990s, cars have become curvy, then CD players, fridges, trains... sooner or later female curves had to be "in" too! Again, car fashion has led the way with "retro" styles, harking back to VW Beetles, Fiat 500s and other classic cars. "Vintage" style then became popular for hair, make-up and clothing for young ladies. "Vintage" in this context referring to 1940s/50s Hollywood glamour, in a period when actresses were curvy and the styles emphasised those curves. Remember Virginia Mayo, Linda Darnell and then Anita Ekberg, as well as the legendary Marilyn Monroe?
And the best thing of all, with early 21st century styles, is that they are feminine once more. Curves are all about being feminine, and whether you are modest or out-going, it is possible to celebrate those curves in a way that will be admired.
The webmaster goes shopping
Having married a tall, shapely plus sized lady in 2013, I do get to shop from my own directory. Some of the most beautiful looking fashions are from brands that originate within Europe, but tend to be pricey. So I tend to end up shopping either with Yours Clothing or at any of the JD Williams brands (Ambrose Wilson, Fashion World, Simply Be, etc.). The latter can deliver really fast and is large enough to do some good deals. I do wish that they (and other UK merchants) would use more plus size models for their catalogues. A worrying trend is to see catalogues that don't use models at all. That seems like a false economy, as good photography sells, while a poor photo does not do the garment justice.
As an artist, I can usually envisage how something will look on my beautiful wife. Yours Clothing is handy for good value items, designed with curves in mind, and often with nice rich or bright colours.
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