The Neverending Search for the Perfect Christmas Dress

The title reads just like a fairy-tale doesn’t it? Well, it might as bloody well be. Finding a dress to wear to the work Christmas party is as about easy to find as a Dodo Cocktail.

Believe it or not, I don’t want to spend £150 just so Jim from H.R. can spill red wine all over me which trying to do the macarena. I want cheap, I want cheerful. I want pretty.

So my first choice was this:

Dress, £20 - George at Asda

Dress, £20 – George at Asda

But to be honest, the V-Neck doesn’t really suit me. I’m a round neck if nothing else. Plus, the sizing has come up small. I’m having to buy one size larger than my usual! That, or I’ve piled on a few pounds after eating that curry last night.

Second choice was this:

Dress, £24.50 - Dorothy Perkins

Dress, £24.50 – Dorothy Perkins

But, quite frankly, it looked…… how to put it nicely? Boring as hell. It looked like I was off to the morgue rather than a work Christmas do.

Time is running out, you see. The Christmas party is THIS FRIDAY! Put simply, I’m f***ed.

But all superheroes have a back-up plan, campers. Mine is a skirt and top combo that looks like a dress.

Behold:

Top, £20 - Dorothy Perkins

Top, £20 – Dorothy Perkins

This top is a measly £20 right now in the Dorothy Perkins partywear offer. Teamed with a lace skirt I bought in Marks & Spencer ages ago, it might just work…

Skirt, £35 - Marks & Spencer

Skirt, £35 – Marks & Spencer

What do you think? Am I screwed? Answers on a postcard sent to BigBoldFashion, Screwedville.

Clements Ribeiro Swan Second Drop – It’s HERE!

So, you may remember Clements Ribeiro’s first collection for Evans.. .all pansies and matchsticks. Well, they’re back, readers!!!!!

I think it’s fair to say that the idea of a designer collaboration for plus-sizers was more than well-received by the community. We bloomin’ loved the idea! And the morning that the first collection dropped, I remember waking up at 9 just  to be one of the first to order from it. Oh, those heady, euphoric days…

But after the euphoria settled, I took a step back. What did I actually think of the collection? The only piece I got were the matchstick trousers. The reason I got them was because they were so different from anything I had in my wardrobe – but maybe there was a reason for that.

The first time I wore them, I walked past a kid who muttered, “What the fuck is she wearing….”

Needless to say, my first thought was to kill the child. Then I thought, maybe he’s right? Then I thought, if I was thin, and therefore more beautiful in other people’s eyes, these matchstick trousers wouldn’t be a problem. I’d just be a thin, kooky dresser.

I had a re-think about the whole collection. Had they got it right? The prices certainly weren’t, but c’est la vie.

But the fabrics? The cut? Were they?

Well…. no. Not really.

Take the below dress as an example.

Swan by Clements Ribeiro at Evans

Taking a step back, I don’t think I would look twice at this if it was in an Evans shop in their usual collection. I don’t like the pattern, I don’t like the neckline, I don’t like the lace added as an afterthought. I really don’t like the fabric – it’s shiny. Satiny fabrics are hard to pull off for anyone – let alone plus size women. So would I buy this? No, probably not. Had Clements Ribeiro hit the mark for their customers? A bold and valiant first try, no doubt, but for me….nein.

So, with this criticism in mind, I took a fresh look at the new collection. On first look, nothing stood out. The florals were back (the printed trousers were back!) and cardigans and printed dresses were order of the day. But as I took a close look at each piece… I don’t think it’s perfect, but it’s definitely taking a better direction.

Here are my favourites:

Dress, £95 – Evans

Wowsers. This is beautiful, and a much better shape then the last collection’s dresses have been. I love the mix of colours, the mix of patterns (lace vs polka dot – who’d have thunk it?) and the sleeve length. The price, at £95 lets it down. But in terms of a designer piece, that’s actually nothing, right?

Dress, £65 – Evans

This dress is lovely because it’s so unusual. Using Aubrey Beardsley’s iconic illustrations, this really is eye-catching. I feel the shape lets it down just a little bit – we’d probably need to wear it with a belt, which would taint the pattern somewhat. What stopped me from buying this was the white base. I don’t know how well I can pull off white, and spill tea down myself every morning. It would have been lovely, say, in brown, with a coloured or white illustration – but then I guess that defeats the point. I would be intrigued to see how someone would pull this off.

Skirt, £55 – Evans / Blouse, £55 – Evans

This whole outfit is gorgeous. I love the blouse and the skirt together – it just shows how all black can be made interesting and lively. I love this kind of look for A/W, and have to admit, treating myself to the blouse today ! I like the sleeves, the neckline, the muted shine (take note, Clements kids! No satin here!) and think it will look so lovely as we get into the colder seasons. I think it looks expensive, and matched with the skirt makes it the dream team. I have to admit, I was tempted by the skirt, but this design is ten a penny at the moment, and you can pick up something similar in most shops (take a look at this Marks and Spencer’s one at £20 cheaper)

Like the skirt, some of the designs are beautiful, but too samey to justify the price, such as the peplum Debra dress. Let’s just hope the quality’s there to back it up.

The best part, however, I’ve saved until last. By typing the code LUCKY20 into the checkout, you get 20% off until tomorrow. That took my blouse down to £44! And you get free delivery over £50. No excuses, guys!

To make up the numbers, I managed to pick up Clement’s Ribeiro’s last season dresses in the sale, at £15 a pop. The reviews of these ones weren’t too fresh, but with a belt and a mother who can sew, I maintain you can make anything beautiful.

Dresses, £15 – Evans

£15 for a £95 dress? That’s a bargain I can get on board with. Happy shopping!

Olympic Fever, Bikinis and Maxi Dress Bonanza

So, the last couple of months have been pretty bloody hectic, haven’t they?

For me, the Olympics coming to London was like telling Tony Blair that his parents-in-law were coming to stay. Forever. It meant that my journey to work would be totally ruined, like a cake in the rain – and people waxed lyrical about leaving 2 – no, 4! – extra hours a day to get to work.

But what was the transport really like?

Well, I’m pretty sure that some people had a right ‘mare for 2 weeks – but my journey was glorious. Trains empty, seat every morning. I was living the kind of life I had always dreamed (I have quite low expectations of life, by the way).

I did cheat a little bit though, because I wasn’t technically here for both weeks. I abandoned my beautiful home in favour of a place which wasn’t dreaming about the discus, or getting hot under the collar about javelins. I booked a holiday, you see. To South West France.

And that was pretty bloody fantastic, too.

But before I went, I did have the familiar holiday-clothes-terror hit me. What would I wear? Anyone who had read my previous posts (hello to the both of you) would know that I had been shopping for this holiday well in advance. But I was going with three blondes who were all below a size 12 – how was I going dress well when I was losing a bucket of sweat every half an hour?

Despite my thin friends, I decided to really go for it, and buy a bikini for the beach. Obviously, having never worn one before, I needed one with a lot of coverage that didn’t make me look like a walrus.

And I found it!

Bikini – £28 (full price), Evans

On the first day, actually removing my clothes and just standing there in the skimpiest outfit I’d ever worn in public, was terrifying. But after that I just kept thinking…… if you don’t like it, don’t look. Plus, I actually got a proper tan for the first time in my life, and my friends kept complimenting bikini, bless ’em. I must be paying them too much.

But I kept thinking: Maxi dresses – yay or nay? At 5 foot 4 and a size 18, can I pull one off on holiday?

In the spirit of throwing my logic down the toilet, I found a nice one in H&M which was literally £12.99, and decided to take that. It was dark, patterned…. exactly what a maxi-Virgin would like. And here’s me wearing it!

Dress – H&M, £12.99

Please excuse my friends elbow leaning menacingly into me. With regards to the dress, I was the only one wearing one on holiday, and my friends thought it looked really nice. One said it made me look taller rather than shorter, and another said that she always had never wanted to try one, but after seeing me in it, she was going to get one. Obviously, they could have been chatting bollocks – and they probably were – but I liked wearing this dress. So who gives a crap if I was too short for it?!

I also ended up buying that lovely George at Asda dress too. Winner!

I wore it to a barbecue the other day. Here’s another picture of me looking like a smug git.

Dress, £10 – George at Asda

I don’t know why I look like such a goon. Just look at the dress.

It was a bargain at £20, but for £10 in the sale, I was laughing!

Wow, bit of a long post. Hope you liked my essay. All 612 words of it.

You’re trash!

Today I want to talk about Trashy Doll (http://www.trashydoll.com). I’ve ordered a few things from them in the past, which have always been really cute and different.

I think the thing I like about Trashy Doll is that it’s not afraid to have a sense of humour. Why should jewellery be bland?!

Necklace – £6, Trashy Doll

How great is this Circus Freak necklace? On the right side of kitsch, this would really suit you – probably because your face belongs in a circus.

I recently contacted Jodie at Trashy Doll regarding two bracelets I wanted for my friend’s birthday. My friend likes beaded bracelets and is one of those people who ALWAYS has something on her wrists (you know the kind of person… the ones who are still wearing Isle of Wight and V Festival wrists bands ten years after they went. And they never wash their wrists. Get over yourself! Take off that stupid wristband! Everyone’s been to a festival! It’s not like you were in Alcatraz or anything!)

Anyway, wrist-band-douchebags aside, my friend loves bracelets. And so I ordered two bracelets from Trashy Doll’s website. Trashy Doll do loads of great pieces that look like real sweets (see what I mean here) and I spotted a lovely dolly mixture bracelet which my friend would love, along with another which had cute miniature fruit beads.

I also saw that the website offers to make bracelets bigger or smaller depending on what you need. I asked if she could make them both slightly bigger for my friend – she did this at no extra cost and was really helpful :)

And here they are! Sorry about the lame background. I had the builders in and the only thing not covered in plaster and rubble was my retro sofa.

Dolly mixture bracelet – £6; Fruit salad bracelet – £4.95, both Trashydoll.com

Aren’t they cute? Even though I liked the website and had ordered before, I was really surprised at how willing Jodie was to adapt her pieces to suit my needs.

So, if you fancy going to a jewellery website that’s a little different and with great customer service, check it out! :)

BigBoldFashion’s 1st Ever COMPETITION!

‘Competition’. The word screams Olympics and sweaty men to me.

But put that aside for now.

Because we’re actually running a competition! To win something!

Hurray!!!!!

The prize today is a Baggu bag! Baggu Bags are a simple and effective design – they fold up really small and are made of fabric strong enough to carry the entire contents of your wardrobe! (May be a slight exaggeration…)

There are loads of colours to choose from too. Oooooo!

To enter, simply post an answer to the question below:

What’s your favorite color and type of bag to wear with ladies dresses this summer?

(Personally, I like cross-body style, and ANYTHING but black :D)

I’ll then pick my favourite answer next week (on Tuesday 19th June) and the winner gets a Baggu bag!

Get posting! :)

Why, George, why??!

Why have George at Asda taken all of my money? It seems unfair. My paypal account was screaming at me not to, but I did it anyway.

I’ve booked a holiday, you see.

To the South of France.

It’s hot, and apparently I melt like a snowman.

The problem is, I don’t do sleeveless, either.

But I’ll have to. Or I’ll die.

So, with this in mind, I went on a sleeveless hunt to George to see if they had anything I could take away with me.

And they did! Here it is!

Dress – George at Asda – £12

Animal print can never fail. And I like the blue hues of this number. As an added bonus, it hides my non-knees!

Dress – George at Asda, £8

I’m not saying I fully understand this, but it was £8, and looks so cute on! It’s made from light jersey material, so will help me keep my cool when my friends are driving me nuts.

Top – £8, George at Asda

Gotta be honest, this one’s for work rather than the holiday – but if I am to embrace sleeveless, should it not be in all conditions?! This is an absolute steal at £8. You’d pay more in Primark! And it’s lovely and soft with gold buttons. Aw!

Dress – £10, George at Asda

This isn’t even the last of the animal print….

This one makes me look skinny because it goes in under your boobs. It fitted me a LOT nicer than I was expecting. And it’s 100% cotton. Au naturelle FTW.

Shorts – £8 – George at Asda

I’ve wanted something like these for ages. I saw some in Dorothy Perkins but they were £20, which I thought was a bit steep. These fit like a dream and were exactly what I wanted. 100% cotton again, so won’t get all hot under the collar about it. These are £8… you can’t grumble about that, can you? I got them in blue too…. shhh! Don’t tell my bank manager!

Top – £8, George at Asda

So it’s dip-dyed, neon and animal print. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT, PUNK?

Dress – £20, George at Asda

I haven’t bought this, but am seriously considering it. It’s beautiful, isn’t it? I’m only 5 foot 4, and can’t really work maxi dresses, but George have such a lovely collection of them out at the moment, I’m so tempted…

As you can see, I’ve gone overboard on animal print and I’ll have absolutely no spending money left BUT I DON’T CARE BECAUSE I’LL LOOK LIKE A TROPICAL QUEEN.

Most of the items here are available in sizes 8-24 (some 8-20). If you like anything, my advice is go for it – everything fits really nicely and it’s good to find some clothing that isn’t all 100% polyester. I’ve never really thought about it too much before, but I think in the sun, this will really matter.

Happy shopping, kidderinos.

And end to the Radio Silence

Bloody hell. Talk about all quiet on the Western Front. I’ve been off radar for a month, starting a new job and alienating myself from society. Overall, it’s been lovely.

For this, I apologise. But this also means that I have an absolute pig of a backlog of things to review. I’ve gone bananas with spending recently, so you can all rest easy safe in the knowledge that I will have plenty of things to babble on about  in the coming weeks.

Pigs…bananas…radars… this post is thus far cliché-tastic, isn’t it?

May as well start as I mean to go on…

And so, just as Jim Davidson has somehow revived his stand-up career, I have risen from the ashes with a review of this wonderful jersey blazer from George at Asda. Isn’t it startling?!

Blazer, £14 – George at Asda

Florals on a dark background are wonderful for us buxom sisters as they mute down an otherwise gut-busting pattern. The fact that the seflorals are bigger than-your-average-bear is also a plus – tiny patterns can sometimes make a curvier figure look like Godzilla on holiday. The jersey also means that no ironing/coat-hangering is required, and, trust me, it fits perfectly over the twins.

Overall, it’s comfy, stylish and loud – three of the most important things, I think you’ll agree. Oh, but wait, I hear something… It’s my bank manager, asking how many pennies this little number has cost me….

It’s only £14, kids.

That doesn’t even buy you a nice joint of beef these days.

Well, maybe not in Waitrose, anyway.

The blazers available in sizes 8-24, but, at the time of writing, it was selling as fast as Tulisa’s home video, so get yer skates on.

More reviews to come soon. Please stay tuned :)