REVIEW: D+K EMBRACE ACTIVEWEAR

Throughout my journey to discover the best activewear available in plus sizes, I stumbled across D+K, an Australian brand dedicated to sustainable and ethical production, and who have a dedicated curve range called Embrace. They have sizes 18-24, and a fairly limited range of staple pieces at the moment though new items will apparently be releasing soon!

I tried a number of outfits from the range over a two month period, so I could give you my full thoughts and feelings! If you like any of the items featured and want to snag some for yourself, you can get 15% off full-priced items (in their straight size and curve ranges) using code KATIEP15

(Disclaimed: D+K provided me with items to wear and review. I am not, however, under obligation to provide a positive review. All opinions contained within are my own.)

Remi Tee in White (Size 20)

As you can see, I tried two full outfits (Sports crop, top, and leggings) from the Embrace range, all in Size 20. I usually wear a 20 in activewear, and you can compare that to my measurements in the About Me section if you want to know how that might correspond for you.

Overall my experience wearing D+K Embrace activwear was a really positive one – I love that they’re providing an ethical, sustainable product at a similar price point to other (non-ethical/sustainable) plus size retailers, and at a similar price point as straight size retailers. While I didn’t love the shiny fabric in the Pace Tights, that’s just a personal preference towards matte-finish activewear. If you’re similar to me in that regard then I highly recommend the Wonder Tights and Unstoppable Crops. The cuts are definitely thoughtful with regards to plus size bodies, and I could have almost sized down to an 18 in the garments, which is great if you’re a size 24/26 and wondering if this line might work for you. I’ve worn them for a variety of exercise types, including high-intensity cardio, reformer pilates, and weights in a gym. They’re great all-round products, that I feel comfortable wearing around the house, to walk the dog, or in the gym.

For me personally, there are minimal cons to touch on with D+K. A downside to the Embrace range is that there are fewer products than their regular sized range, and doesn’t seem to have new products added as often. Additionally, the Embrace range is more of a ‘basics’ line, and I’ve noticed that many of the fun colours/prints/styles in the straight size range aren’t replicated in the plus garments. They’ve got great staple pieces, so this likely isn’t a problem for the regular consumer, but I am always on the look out for pieces that are in fun colours and prints and styles (as I already have a lot of those staple activewear pieces). In speaking to friends and followers, I know that a lot of people just want to be able to buy high quality activewear in black, navy and white – so maybe it’s just a ‘me’ problem, but I thought it was worth flagging!

Have you tried D+K activewear before? If so, what did you think of it? Comment below with your favourite size inclusive activewear!

~ Katie

WHAT I WORE IN EUROPE: AUTUMN(ish) 2019

Like many Australians who struggle to make it through winter (too cold for the beach! only one public holiday in 3 months! have to use the heat feature on the air con!) I went to Europe for an adventure! I wanted to avoid the gross busy-ness of the summer peak season so decided to go in September – kinda autumnal in the UK but got some very warm days in France and Italy.

I am terrible at packing so this is by no means a blog post with advice on how to pack for your Europe trip. However, I thought it would be nice to have one place where I can direct people who ask about what I wore in September in Europe – which is basically white sneakers, loose pants, lightweight tops, and travel-friendly dresses. Everything is linked (with affiliate links fyi) and I’ve stated what size I wear, plus you can reference my ‘About’ tab for more detailed sizing information.

At least one other post will be coming soon, detailing what I did, where I ate, and what my recommendations are for London, Paris, Venice, Cinque Terre, Florence and Rome! Now onto the clothes – I’ve ordered them roughly chronologically, though I obviously wore everything more than once I didn’t necessarily photograph myself in them more than once so I’ve noted where I am in each photo!


BirdsnestSerena Maxi Dress Painted Waratah – Size 22
Cinque Terre and London
Little Party DressFraser Polka Dot Pants – Size 18
London
Marks and SpencerDitsy Floral Waisted Midi Dress – Size 24
London and Rome
ASOS – Vero Moda Curve Raincoat – Size 22
London ( Warner Bros Studio Tour)
Monki (ASOS link for non-Europeans)Belted shirt dress in Artsey Eyes Print – Size M
Hannah is wearing the Monki Belted Shirt Dress in Green Polka Dot
Paris
Little Party DressFrances Blue Floral Shirt Dress – Size 18
In the right photo, I’m wearing the Frances Dress tied up as a shirt over my Black Jumpsuit (below)
Paris
BirdsnestThe Easy Day Jumpsuit – Size 22
Paris
Cotton OnCurve Paper Bag Culotte in Silver Sage – Size 22
Blouse on left is from Marks and Spencer and shirt on right is Cotton On Curve
London and Venice
Marks and SpencerPure Cotton Striped Straight Fit T-Shirt – Size 24
Marks and SpencerPeg Cropped Trousers – Size 24
Fun fact: this is the exact same outfit that all the Gondoliers wear so maybe avoid this lewk in Venice!!
Venice
Shein – Plus Random Tropical Criss Cross One Piece Swimsuit – Size 4XL
Cinque Terre
Monki (ASOS link for non-Europeans)Oversized button-up dress in Artsy Pink – Size XL
Rome
Monki (ASOS link for non-Europeans)Short-sleeved woven top in pure peach – SIze XL
Rome
BirdsnestPrinted Maxi Skirt – Size 22
Rome
Birkenstocks Arizona – Size 39
Saltwater Sandals – Size 6
Bared Footwear – Thorntail White Leather and Gold Stars – Size 39

ALLY FASHION: TESTING THE PLUS SIZE RANGE, YOU + ALL

I’m always really excited when I see brands expanding into plus size lines, especially when they’re an affordable retailer like Ally! A stalwart of the Australian fast-fashion scene over the last two decades (can you believe they’ve been around since 2001?!), in September 2018 they announced that they were releasing a new line ‘You + All’ to cater to sizes 16-22, where previously they only carried up to a size 16, and a pretty small 16 at that!

I’ve made two orders since the collection launched in late 2018, and have a made an effort to try most items they carry, including tops, dresses, jumpsuits, skirts, shorts and trousers! Let’s take a look at photos first, then I’ll run you through my pros and cons at the end of the post.

Outfit 1

Get Me Home Frill Sleeve Bandeau (Size 22)
Taurus Tortoiseshell Buckle Pants (Mustard) (Size 22)

I love how this outfit looks, I actually ended up buying both pieces because this is how they styled it on the model on the website. Both the top and pants are a loose and comfortable fit in a Size 22, but you can see in the first picture that the buckle part of the pants is a bit off. It ends up twisting as you wear it, so I think I’ll take off the buckle part and just tie the sash around my waist. (Unless I can think of a way to sew it flat!)

Outfit 2

Isabella Button-Front Cami (White) (Size 22)
Up All Night Double-Layer Shorts (Animal Print) (Size 22)

Again, I’d say the Size 22 fits me in a comfortably loose way, and with the shorts I probably would go down to a Size 20 as there is no way to tighten the waistband. The cami is loose through the body and is quite long (tucked in here), and I like that the straps are adjustable

Outfit 3

Sail Away Shirt Dress (Natural) (Size 22)

I didn’t realise that this was a ‘faux wrap’ style, so you have no control over how tightly it fits (beyond tightening the waist sash). I probably should have sized down to a 20 in this, as it was too large in the bust. That being said, the fabric is lovely and lightweight, and the style is simple and comfortable to wear, though would work in lots of different situations depending on how you styled it.

Outfit 4

Blaire Button Down Dress (Khaki) (Size 22)

Such a sweet and simple linen dress, I really love this one for an easy summery look. Coming in a few different colours, I’m not sure I’d describe this pastel green/blue as ‘Khaki’ but either way I love it! There’s enough room in the dress that the buttons don’t pull, so I felt flirty but secure!

Outfit 5

Roxy Relaxed Fit Jumpsuit (Size 22)

The jumpsuit is the epitome of chuck-on-and-go outfits, and this one is no exception. I’ve worn it on chilly days with a black turtleneck layered underneath, and on warm days with sandals. I love that it can be dressed up or down, and the elastic waist gives me definition without clinging.

Outfit 6

Billie Button Up Dress (Stripe) (Size 22)

This is one of the more unusual offerings from the You + All range, but I really love it. Layered with a button front shirt (pictured) I felt very comfortable wearing it to work, but also think it would make a cute brunch outfit with sandals and a hat! The straps are buttoned in the back and are very long, so I’ve worn it with them crossed here to correct the length. However you could easily just shorten them.

Outfit 7

Faye Frill Hem Top (Dusty Blue) (Size 22)
Anja A-Line Skirt (Size 22)

Another instance where I was sucked into buying both pieces because of how they model styled them. I thought this skirt and top combo were so dang cute, and they translate really nicely into real-life wear. Another versatile outfit that can be worn for work or play, and each piece has slotted nicely into my wardrobe to be worn with other things I already own.

PROS

  • First and foremost, I think it’s fantastic to see traditionally straight-sized retailers expanding into the plus size world. Putting aside the size range for a moment (we’ll come back to that in the con section!), it is only in the last few years that we’ve really seen an acknowledgement from retailers that there is a plus market just waiting to be serviced, so props to Ally for making the effort.
  • They’re releasing new things every fortnight (I believe) so there are always new garments just waiting to tickle your fancy! And they have a variety of lengths, colours and cuts, so there really is something to suit everyone.
  • There is a real mix of products and materials being used for the line, it’s nice to see so many natural fibre fabrics in use, like linen and cotton. A lot of plus size offerings seem to be that slinky polyester, which isn’t always comfortable to wear.
  • I’m normally a size 20 to 22, and I’d say that everything I tried in a size 22 is loose to the point where with some things I could have sized down. So it’s a true-to-size range, in my opinion.

CONS

  • Without a doubt the biggest drawback to this line (in my opinion) is the size range – I’m wearing a size 22 in all the above garments, and that is their biggest size. In my opinion, that’s really not good enough for a plus size range, when you consider that boohoo go to a size 24 (sometimes 26) and Atmos&Here Curvy go to a size 26.
  • They have recently announced that the You + All range will be available in selected stores. However, given that according to their website they have over 130 stores, carrying the plus range in just 13 locations is somewhat underwhelming.
  • There is nowhere near the same product range in the plus section as there is in the straight section. Hopefully this is something that will change over time, but it’s hard to get past the numbers – at the time of writing, there was 108 curvy items on the website compared to 1548 straight sized items.
  • The curvy range is more expensive. When you look on the website, it seems pretty obvious to me that they’re charging more for plus size items than for straight sizes, generally speaking. I don’t know why that is, but I hope they can equalise the prices across their two ranges!

Final Thoughts

All things said and done, I think Ally have made a great start with their curvy line. There are cute pieces for a fairly affordable price, and I find the quality to be quite nice. If you see something you like on the website, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you buy it! However, they need to address the size range, product range, store availability and price ASAP!

Katie xx

[Disclaimer: this post is not sponsored, and all product were purchased by me. All expressed opinions are my own.]

THREE PINK VALENTINES DAY OUTFITS

Though I’m aware that Valentine’s Day isn’t a real holiday (and definitely has a low profile in Australia) it’s definitely the time of the year where people are talking about cutesy romantic things they have planned, and as always, I’m here to deliver you with some cute themed outfits for your cutesy romantic whatever. This is essentially a post to show you a bunch of ways to wear pink, and I’m ok with that. Plus Boohoo really came through with some adorable Valentine’s Day themed outfits and I’m nothing if not a sucker for a cute themed outfit.

I’ve organised my three outfits into arbitrary themes/locations, but honestly, I think these are all really versatile pieces that can be worn year-round and in lots of different scenarios – all of them can be work appropriate, casual or dressy depending on your styling. Even when buying cheaper clothes, I love it when they are versatile and can be worn with many other things I own.

I spent $112 on boohoo and bought five items, all of which can be styled together.

valentines day items

Plus Woven Stripe Midi Dress * – Size 24 – $28
Plus Tie Waist Blazer * – Size 22 – $29
Plus Tailored Trouser * – Size 24 – $22
Plus Rib High Neck Lettuce Hem Top * – Size 24 – $11
Plus Stripe Pleated Skirt * – Size 24 – $22

If you’ve seen my previous post about boohoo, you would know that I always err on the side of sizing up – since that post, I have almost exclusively bought Size 24 from boohoo despite being a size 20/22 everywhere else I shop! I’ve just found that things are more likely to fit comfortably if I size up to a 24, and honestly I don’t care what the number on the tag says as long as it fits well.

OUTFIT 1: OFFICE VALENTINE

Coloured suits are having such a trend moment, and no-one is happier about that than me. This blush pink jacket and pant combo, paired with a soft white turtleneck, could totally be worn to the office, but isn’t so corporate that it couldn’t be worn to dinner or broken down into separates (white top and blazer with cute jeans, pink pants and a patterned jumper or white button-down shirt – heaven!).

Pink Suit.jpg

Blush pink boots are from Marks and Spencer, earrings are from Lovisa.

OUTFIT 2: FROM BRUNCH TO DINNER VALENTINE

No outfit could be simpler than chucking on a cute patterned dress and some white sneakers. Pair it with a trend bamboo or straw bag, and a belt to cinch the waist and this is the perfect dress for a brunch date, whether it’s with your valentine or galentines! This dress has a bold stripe and a cute fluttery hem and sleeves, and the modest v-neck means it could be dressed down for the office with a black blazer, or up for a fancy dinner with some heels and statement earrings.

pink and red dress

OUTFIT 3: THE ALL-OCCASIONS VALENTINE

Midi-length pleated skirts are not only comfortable as heck, but are such a versatile item to have in your wardrobe. Paired with the simple white turtleneck, it’s truly an outfit that could take you anywhere – chill brunch, fancy dinner, or colourful work outfit. Change up the shoes and accessories for a completely different look! I love it paired with the tie-waist blazer from outfit 1 and this sweet merino wool hat from Epitome Hats, which gives it a totally different vibe.

pink and red skirt

 

Which is your favourite? Outfit 1, 2 or 3? Sound off in the comments below, and tell me what you’ll be up to for Valentine’s Day!

 

Katie xx

 

(Disclosure: Asterisk (*) indicates an affiliate link, meaning I earn a small commission if you choose to purchase these items. However this post is not sponsored and all opinions are my own.)

ONE ITEM FIVE WAYS: NYATA, JUNE 2018

Hi all, long time no blog post!

Coming to you with the first in an exciting (well, exciting for me, and hopefully for you!) series of blog posts I’m going to be doing every month in collaboration with Nyata. For those who don’t know Nyata, it’s an amazing Australian-designed, ethically-manufactured line, catering to sizes 8-30! I highly encourage you to go on their website and read about the founder, Amber Gwynn, and their ethos of body positivity and ethical fashion.

I was approached by them to do an ongoing collaboration, where I would feature one of their items every month, styled in a number of different ways. For me, this sounded like such a fun challenge, as I think it can be easy to fall into complacency in reaching for the same items or styling things the same way! So I wanted to show you how versatile one piece can be in your wardrobe, taking you from work, to casual, to night, and everything in-between! So read on and let me know what you think.

The June Item

For June 2018, I was sent the Better Angle Bayi Top ($109) in size ‘Gorgeous’ – this is something I love about Nyata, rather than size with numbers, they size using statements about the kinds of women we all are!! (Handy conversion chart below). The item is definitely intended to be a tunic top, but as you can see in the featured image, if you’re on the shorter side (or just daring!) you could definitely rock it as a dress!

NYATA BAY TOP JUNE 2018

Screenshot 2018-07-01 17.25.04

Style 1: Casual Cool

Style 1

My first thought when I saw this top was that it would look AMAZING with my current obsession, these studded and ripped jeans from City Chic. The blousey style suits being tucked in, and the fabric is fine enough that it doesn’t bulge or bulk out the hip area where tucked. Continuing the studded theme with these white Spurr ankle boots finished the outfit off.

Rock Stud Skinny Jean – Size 18 – City Chic (seems to be unavailable on their website!)
Gorgina Ankle Boot – Size 8 – Spurr Shoes – $25.50 (on sale).

Style 2: Girls Night Out

Style 2

I think this is the perfect way to wear tunic length tops – black leggings, leather jacket, cool shoes. Can’t really go wrong! The silver sequins pick up on the silver hardware on the jacket, and the shiny, chelsea-style boot keep things fun and a bit unexpected. A classic and easy Friday night outfit.

Supplex Full Length Tight – Size 18 – Running Bare – $74.99
Frankie PU Biker Jacket – Size 20 – Atmos & Here Curvy – $99.95 (I recommend sizing up)
Erina Ankle Boots – Size 8 – Spurr Shoes – $25.50 (on sale)

Style 3: Weekend Vibes

Style 3

There is nothing that says ‘relaxed weekend’ as much as a denim pinafore, in my humble opinion. This one is an absolute staple in my wardrobe, looks good with so many different tops, and is really fun and trendy. It makes the top look casual and the sneakers keep the whole outfit relaxed and ready for anything!

Denim Bib Dress – Size L – City Chic (not available on the website)
Kmart Sneakers (unavailable, no tag)

Style 4: Office Chic

Style 4

I feel like grey is such a great alternative to black when you’re looking for an office neutral. There’s a lot of tonal and shade variety to be found in grey, and it looks great worn all-together as a monochromatic outfit. To balance the loose and flowy style of the tunic top, and let it really shine as the ‘hero’ of the outfit, a fitted grey jersey skirt (midi length!) and some patent heeled boots make this a fun but office-appropriate look.

CottonOn Skirt (unavailable, no tag)
Betts Shoes (unavailable)

Style 5: Boss Babe

Style 5

This final look may well be my favourite. Even though black isn’t a colour I reach for too often, there’s no denying that it works with everything. This tight, ruched knee-length skirt is professional yet sexy, and the relaxed blazer keeps it comfortable. Chuck on a pair of classic black pumps, and you’ve got yourself a bangin’ work outfit on days you really need to shine!

Final Thoughts

I really loved styling this top – it’s not an item I would have chosen for myself, but seeing all the different ways I can wear it makes me excited to pull it out of the wardrobe throughout the next few months. I think it’s going to make a great trans-seasonal piece in my wardrobe, and this styling challenge has got me thinking about how I can get more wear out of other things in my closet!

all-styles.jpg

Which was your favourite look? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Love,

Katie xx

 

Disclaimer: While this item was provided to me for the purpose of styling and review, all opinions are my own. I was not paid for this post.

BRAND FEATURE: ATMOS&HERE CURVY

If you’re a plus-size online shopper, I’d say there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Atmos&Here Curvy. Sold exclusively on The Iconic, Atmos&Here has an inclusive size range, with many items sold in both the regular (Size 6-16) and plus size (Size 18-26) categories. They sell casual, professional, and dressy clothes, which suit a broad range of body types and fashion preferences. They’re also one of my favourite brands, so I wanted to show you some of the different items I own, what sizes fit me, and if I’d recommend Atmos&Here Curvy to you!

For each item I’ll include: name, size, RRP, price I paid, and a link to the item if it’s still available. Scroll to the bottom for my final thoughts! (And as always, please head on over to my ‘About’ section to see details on my measurements and normal clothing sizes)

raven.jpg
The Atmos&Here ‘Raven’ Dress on a straight and plus model!

Note:  It’s worth saying that one of the things I like the most about buying Atmos&Here Curvy is that The Iconic has hands-down the best shipping and returns of anywhere I’ve shopped online. If you order before 3pm and live in metro areas, your delivery will arrive next day (with delivery options that include leaving at the front door! Yes!). Returns are as simple as re-sealing the delivery satchel the items came in, filling out an online form, printing the package return slip, and popping it in the post!

CURRENTLY AVAILABLE

Olivia Ruched Sleeve Top – Size 20 – RRP $69.95 – I paid $41.97
Veronica Ponte Pant – Size 22 – RRP $49.95 – I paid $29.97

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Lola Jumpsuit – Size 22 – RRP $89.95 – I paid $53.97

 

Veronica Ponte Pant – Size 22 – RRP $49.95 – I paid $29.97

veronica-ponte-pant-size-22-e1527495887567.jpg

Harlow Frill Sleeve Jumper – Size 20 – RRP $59.95 – I paid $35.97
Priya Tailored Pants – Size 20 – RRP $69.95 – I paid $59.45

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Leila Faux Fur Jacket – Size 22 – RRP $119.95 – I paid $95.96

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Adele Wrap Top – Size 22 – RRP $44.95 – I paid $26.97
Priya Tailored Pants – Size 20 – RRP $69.95 – I paid $59.45

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Margo Wool Blend Cocoon Coat – Size 22 – RRP $139.95 – I paid $111.96
Sandy Check Pant – Size 20 – RRP $69.95 – I paid $62.95 (No longer available)

Margo Wool Blend Cocoon Coat - Size 22

Loriel Longline Blazer – Size 22 – RRP $99.95 – I paid $84.95

img_5300

Priya Tailored Pants – Size 20 – RRP $69.95 – I paid $59.45

Priya Tailored Pants - Size 20

Lydia Belted Pants – Size 22 – RRP $69.95 – I paid $62.95

Lydia Belted Pants - Size 22

NO LONGER AVAILABLE

Haven Eyelet Wrap Dress – Size 22 – RRP $79.95 – I was given this by a friend 🙂

Haven Wrap Dress - Size 22 - 1.JPG

Sandy Check Pant – Size 20 – RRP $69.95 – I paid $62.95

Sandy Check Pants - Size 20.jpg

Marie Wrap Pencil Skirt – Size 20 – RRP $59.95 – I paid $41.96

Marie Skirt - size 20.jpgSugar Me Tee – Size 20 – RRP $39.95 – I paid $27.96

Sugar Me Tee - Size 20.jpg

Frankie PU Biker Jacket – Size 20 – RRP $99.95 – I paid $89.95

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Lani Belted Longline Coat – Size 20 – RRP $139.95 – I paid $69.98
Angelica Tartan Wrap Dress – Size 20 – RRP $89.95 – I paid $80.95

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Raven Pencil Dress – Size 20 – RRP $89.95 – I paid $80.95

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Polly Paper Bag Waist Pant – Size 20 – RRP $69.96 – I paid $69.95

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Darling Wrap Dress – Size 20 – RRP $99.95 – I paid $99.95

Ada Wrap Dress – Size 20 – RRP $79.95 – I paid $39.18

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FINAL THOUGHTS

As you can probably tell by the sheer number of items I own from them, Atmos & Here Curvy are genuinely one of my all-time favourite brands. I love that they have professional items that I can wear at work, fancy items I can wear to events, and cool basics/casual wear that are great weekend pieces.

Some notes on sizing: I’m very consistently a size 20 in tops and dresses – while I do have some size 22 pieces, I find that these are roomy and I could easily have gone down to a size 20. When it comes to pants, I’m normally a size 20, but I should note that I tend to size up on pants because sometimes I buy Atmos&Here Curvy pants in a 20 and they absolutely do not fit. So if I want to be sure that it will fit, I size up. I also prefer sizing up to a size 22 for jackets and coats, because I feel like they fit better, and I like to be able to wear jumpers or thicker layers with these items.

My general suggestion when it comes to this brand is to just be unafraid to buy stuff knowing it might not fit. The returns process is so good that you really have nothing to lose, and I’ve found that the more pieces I buy, the better sense I have of what is going to fit me, what I need to size up in, etc. Sizing is variable between items, so keep that in mind, but don’t let it stop you from trying things! I find that I can very consistently order things I love from Atmos&Here Curvy, so it’s definitely a brand I recommend for plus size women!

Lots of Love

Katie xx

BAXTER BLUE: TESTED

There are very few jobs these days that don’t require some level of screen-time, especially if you work in any kind of office environment, you’re probably like me and spend 8+ hours a day under fluorescent lighting staring at a computer screen. I’m sure I’m not the only one who finishes work at the end of the day and just feels totally wiped, with sore, tired eyes and headaches. While I know that some of this strain relates to my on-going neck and shoulder tension, which I get from carrying stress in those areas, I have wondered whether the bright and harsh lights at work and from staring at screens is partially to blame for my tired eyes and sore head. Enter Baxter Blue.

never click on Facebook and Instagram ads. Generally, they’re just rubbish products like SkinnyTea or Sugarbear Hair Vitamins, but when I saw the ad for Baxter Blue on Facebook I was really intrigued. Glasses that could help with my eye strain, designed for people who work with screens all day? Colour me interested! Taken directly from their website, Baxter Blue glasses are intended to be “a fashionable range of non-prescription eyewear for those who use computers and digital devices, importantly protecting their eyes from the dangers of blue violet light and alleviating the symptoms of digital eye strain”.

Now this all sounds awesome, but I was admittedly sceptical, so did a bit of internet research on blue light glasses and whether or not they work. For all my google sleuthing, I couldn’t find any definitive data either way about the impact of blue-light glasses (Popsugar, The Sydney Morning Herald, and Business Insider Australia all had different views), so proceed at you own caution is the take home message I guess.

Despite this, I wanted to see for myself if this would be something that could help with my headaches and strain, so I purchased a snazzy pair of clark / gloss black for $89 and decided to test them out. For the purpose of trialling them, I wore them for two consecutive days (Monday and Tuesday), didn’t wear them for the rest of the week, and then wore them again for a few days the next week, so I could see if there was a noticeable difference. I also knew I would have to wear my regular, prescription glasses a fair bit during the testing period, and would also be away from my desk at meetings, etc, so thought this would help account for that.

Test Day 1

Baxter Blue - Day 1

My first day wearing them was actually my first day back at work after a 10-day holiday over the Easter long weekend (nothing like using 3 leave days to get 10 days off!) so I figured it would be the perfect time to put my new Baxter Blue glasses to the test. While I’ve been a glasses wearer for almost 14 years, I’m short-sighted and normally only wear my glasses while driving, at the movies, etc. For this reason, getting used to having glasses on that a) didn’t improve my vision, and b) were meant to be worn for close-up work on computer screens, was a big adjustment. They’re also slightly too large for my head, so I found that they slipped down my nose constantly, so that was slightly annoying, although fixable if I went for a different style I guess. It’s too early to tell whether they’ve reduced eye strain, neck/shoulder tension, or were the reason why I didn’t have a headache at the end of the day, since I don’t experience these symptoms every day at work. However, I feel relatively accustomed to wearing them constantly, so I’m interested to see if I feel like they’ve made a difference as the week goes on.

Note: I did take them off for about an hour over lunch while in the lunchroom aka a screen-free environment.

Test Day 2

Baxter Blue - Day 2

I think I’m over the weirdness of wearing glasses for close-up/computer work today, since it felt totally normal to sit down at my desk this morning and pop my Baxter Blue glasses on. As the day wore on, I was still getting a bit frustrated that they were sliding down my face and needed to be continually pushed up, but as I said, I think that would be fixable with a different style. I also found today that I’m a bit over wearing glasses all day – normally with my prescription pair, I’m only wearing them for short-ish stints, and I take them off relatively frequently, so I’m not used to such consistent wear. However, I’m still getting fairly positive results, and have been headache and eye strain-free for the last two days.

Test Day 3 (the next week)

Baxter Blue - Day 3

I put my Baxter Blue’s on at lunchtime (ish) as I had been away from my desk and computer for most of the morning. It felt quite comfortable and natural to sit down and chuck my glasses on, and I do think that my eyes have adjusted to wearing them for close-up work. It potentially helps that they’re quite a bit more bulky and ‘noticeable’ on the face than my prescription glasses, which are wire-rimmed and very light – maybe my brain kinda goes, “thick black rim glasses for computers, thin wire-rims for prescription”. Either way, I happily wore my glasses for the rest of the day, headache free! I noticed that yesterday I wasn’t wearing the glasses and I did have a bit of a headache by the end of the day, which could have also been due to lack of sleep/an early morning wake-up, but either way, I wanted to chuck them back on today to see if they could help mitigate the eye strain.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Aside from the three days I’ve talked about in detail here, I’ve worn my Baxter Blue’s on and off for the last 3 or so weeks. I’m not an optometrist, doctor or scientist, so if you want an opinion from someone qualified in those fields then I’m not your gal. However, as a regular, computer-using layperson, here’s what I think – whether it’s the glasses or placebo affect, I didn’t get a headache or suffer from eye strain on any of the days I remembered to wear the Baxter Blue glasses. While I’m an irregular sufferer of headaches and eye strain, it happens often enough that if these glasses help mitigate or removed those symptoms, I’m happy! However, if you’re really concerned about persistent headaches and eye strain, rather than trying a pair of these glasses as the first step, I’d recommend you talk to your doctor and/or optometrist, as there may be underlying health issues causing that pain.

If you’re like me, and work in an office or tech-industry, I think these are worth the $89 splurge to have a test and see what you think! Plus they have a 30-day return or exchange policy, which is plenty of time to wear and test them to see if they work for you.

What do you think, are you interested in trying blue-light reduction glasses? Have you tried them before or do you think they’re a gimmick?

Lots of Love

Katie xx

Disclaimer: I purchased these glasses with my own money, and this review is 100% my honest opinion. I was not sponsored or paid for this post.

BRAND FEATURE: LITTLE PARTY DRESS

One of my favourite Australian online stores that caters to a variety of shapes and sizes is Little Party Dress, run by the lovely Kelly Purvis. Full of gorgeous items (not just dresses!) in different prints and cuts, Little Party Dress carries sizes 6 to 18 and is currently restocking with new pieces every Monday night – though depending on when you’re reading this, best to check their instagram page for the most up-to-date information!

There are a few things that make LPD unique to me, the first being that Kelly is a “selfie model” for each and every item on the store, meaning that when you purchase anything, you can see it on a real person (she describes herself as “173cms tall & a size 12-14, top heavy. I wear a 12 in my standard fit/big make styles, and a 14 in the small make/small bust styles“).

Kelly.jpg

Under each item, she also links to instagram photos of customers wearing that style, so you can see how the different colours and sizes look on different people (can you spot someone familiar below?)

Screenshot 2018-04-01 21.15.31.png
Screenshot from the ‘Soul Mate Navy Floral Dress” – I’m featured 5th from the left!

Probably my favourite thing is the ‘length, fit, fabric’ section on each and every garment she sells. In this section, she provides information specific to each item on the exact length, and whether it is a ‘small, standard or generous’ fit. As someone who is more of a size 20, I’m always cautious about buying a size 18 from an online retailer, but I can consistently buy any size 18s that are listed as “generous fit”.

Screenshot 2018-04-01 21.26.52

Note: this is not a sponsored post, nor did I receive any of these items for free. I paid for everything listed here myself (with Afterpay, which LPD offers!), and all opinions are honest and my own. I just wanted to help other plus-sized women figure out what things might fit them!

WORK APPROPRIATE (or at least, appropriate at my work. See my ‘About’ page for more information)

Soul Mate Navy - Size 18

Soul Mate Navy Floral Dress – $64.95, polyester, generous fit

This is a newer release, and one of my favourites. I think it’s timeless and could be worn to a wedding or event, thought I felt perfectly comfortable wearing it to work as well.

Arlo Geo - Size 18

Arlo Geo Print Dress – $69.95, polyester, generous fit

This one is borderline too tight across my stomach, but the busy print helps distract from that (just something to note if your tummy area is particularly pronounced or something you’re self-conscious about). I got SO many compliments at work on this day, and I know this print comes in some of their other popular cuts, so if you love it, there are plenty of styles to choose from.

 

Frankie Pink Leopard - Size 18

Frankie Pink Leopard Dress – $69.96, polyester, generous fit

Easily one of LPDs most popular styles (this and the Gemma, which I don’t have) the Frankie dress is comfy, stylish, and appropriate for many different events and environments. I’ve work this to work and also casually a number of times, and I always feel fantastic in it. It’s a go-to dress, and always in rotation.

Green Floral - Size 18

Brave Green Floral Dress – (Sold Out) $45, polyester (semi-sheer), generous fit

Unfortunately this particular dress is sold out (I bought it on sale), but I thought I would feature it anyway since it is a different kind of cut to the others I own. The wrap/tie sections is quite unusual, and I love the retro wide lapel/collar area. Such a fun dress.

Mandy Wrap - Size 18

Mandy Pink Stripe Wrap Dress – $59.95, polyester, standard fit

The two wrap dresses I have (see below) are the two standard fit items I have and while they do both fit, as you can see in the photo, I did have to wear this one with a singlet underneath to avoid flashing a lil too much cleavage at work. However there is plenty of wrap in the skirt, so I felt pretty comfortable on the bottom half (and truthfully wear a singlet under most wrap items no matter how well they fit). Such a great colour combo too.

Frankie Abstract - Size 18

Frankie Abstract Print Dress – $69.95, cotton/polyester, generous fit

Another version of the popular Frankie – I did wear this to work as styled above, but honestly the print just felt too casual for me. I might wear it for a casual Friday again, but probably will keep it for non-work wear. Also, pro-tip, with dresses and tops that have buttons down the front, I tend to get boob-gape no matter how well it fits, so I recommend just hand-sewing a couple of stitches from the bottom button to your usual level of ‘unbuttoned’. Super simple and works a treat.

NOT WORK APPROPRIATE (in my personal opinion)

Fiesta Wrap Dress - Size 18.jpg

Fiesta Geometric Print Wrap Dress – $64.95, polyester, standard fit

As I said above about the Mandy dress, as a standard fit item, this did fit me, but when I tried it on as a dress I felt it was a little too revealing, so thus far I’ve only worn it as a kimono/cape with pants and a top underneath. I think I’d wear it as an actual dress with a slip underneath to an event or something though.

Monique Pink - Size 18

Monique Pink Dress – $69.95, polyester/cotton, generous fit

This is such a cute dress (and another very popular style) which comes in pink and black. It’s very soft and comfortable, and super on trend with the flared sleeves and embroidery. It is also quite short, just FYI (I’m only 165cm and it was short on me) and after I washed it, I found it shrunk somewhat. I think I could iron it back out to a better length, but just be cautious when washing it.

In Love Stripe - Size 18

In Love Stripe Shirt Dress – $64.95, polyester, generous fit

This is definitely a short shirt dress, so if you’re tall or not comfortable in shorter dresses, this might not be for you. I really like how it looks with leggings or tights, so it wasn’t a huge issue for me, but I probably wouldn’t brave it without something else covering my legs. This is probably the only item where I had an issue with the fabric, I just wish it was a cotton or similar, since the polyester just feels unexpected in a shirt-style dress.

 

 

Frankie Xmas Pets - Size 18

Frankie Xmas Pets Dress – (Sale) $40, cotton/polyester, generous fit

The frankie style in a Christmas print was a winner for me – I did actually wear this to my work Christmas function,  but wouldn’t have worn it on a regular December day to work. While obviously not the most versatile since it’s a festive print, I found it comfortable and cute for the season!

Eddie Lemon - Size 18

Eddie Lemon Print Dress – $69.96, cotton/polyester, generous fit

I probably could wear this to work on a summery day or casual Friday, but I personally don’t like spaghetti straps at work. This is another dress where I recommend sewing the buttons shut for more security, though as you can see I like wearing it with the top button undone and folded over. It’s such a cute print, and has ruching on the back to fit people with different bust sizes. It also looks cute with a thin brown belt around the waist.

 

 

So there you have it, a number of different Little Party Dresses that I own that fit a size 18-22. Even though LPD doesn’t go beyond a size 18 at this time, there are definitely plus-size friendly options at an affordable price. If you get anything, don’t forget to hashtag #LittlePartyDress on instagram so that Kelly can see you rocking your LPDs, and you can get 10% off your order by signing up for her email newletter.

Is there anything here you want to get? Let me know which style is your favourite!

Lots of Love,

Katie xx

 

WHAT IT’S LIKE SHOPPING AS A PLUS SIZE WOMAN

If you’ve had a look at my ‘About‘ page, you’d have seen that I normally wear something between a size 18 to a size 22, depending on style, fit, and what store I’m shopping in. You might also have noticed that most of my clothes come from online retailers. Here’s why…

Clothing Racks
The size options available at LOTS of retailers – apparently everyone is a size 8, 10, 12, 14 right?

As far as plus size women go, I’m actually lucky, as I’m what a lot of our community would call an ‘inbetweenie’ (check out this fantastic post by iCurvy where Jo talks about what that term means to her). For me, it means that I can shop in a lot of standard size stores, or at least the ones that go to a 16/18/20 (such as Katies, Crossroads, and Trenery – and weirdly, Gorman Size 14). However I also fall very firmly into the plus size category insofar as I feel MUCH more comfortable shopping in plus size stores, especially for trousers or fitted items.

I want to talk about clothes shopping as a plus size woman for a few reasons. One, I’m a clothes shopping fanatic, and am obsessed with buying new clothes and styling interesting outfits. But beyond just my own selfish enjoyment of buying clothes – I’m part of an beautiful online community of Australian plus-size women called ‘Curvy AU’ (find us on Facebook!) and the most common posts on there is ‘Where can I buy X in a plus size?’ or ‘Has anyone purchased X  from Y store, do they go up to my size?’. It’s conceptually something I’ve found that people just don’t understand if they’ve never been plus size. And I don’t just mean, “I’m bigger than all my other friends at a size 12 while they’re a size 8”. I mean, “Buying the plain undies in Kmart because the cute ones stop at a size 16 but at least I can buy undies here unlike at Bras & Things or Victoria’s Secret”.

Let me explain.


The other day, I really wanted to buy an fitted, but comfortably roomy, white button down shirt to wear to work. I’ve put on a bit of weight and had packed my work outfit without checking that everything still fitted, and lo and behold, when I got changed after the gym my shirt was gaping at the boobs and tight around my stomach. It wasn’t hugely noticeable to anyone who wasn’t me, but I still was feeling pretty uncomfortable so figured I would take an early lunch break and pop out to the city to grab something to wear for the rest of the day. And here’s the issue – in Hobart where I live, there are almost no plus sized stores in the city centre. Most of them are out in a shopping centre called Eastlands, a 10 minute drive from the city. So I try Target, normally a pretty safe bet since they go up to a size 20 and also have an ok plus sized range (if you only want basics); no luck there, the white button down shirts they had weren’t fitting me properly, so there was no point in substituting one poorly fitting shirt for another. I then went to Myer, again, a safe bet for work wear; again, they only had ‘fancy’ white shirts (what is the point of this? I don’t want diamantes on my shirt), nothing that met my ‘plain, white button down’ criteria. Shirts are a tricky beast for lots of women, but I find that being plus size, most of them pull very tight across my stomach and hips, and rarely fit across the shoulders and bust.

And that was it. There wasn’t anywhere else I could go that would have a shirt that would fit me that was also in my price range. (In the interest of transparency, there are two other plus sized shops in Hobart CBD, however they both cater to an older demographic, and have nothing that costs less than $100)

I don’t know how to explain that sensation to someone who hasn’t experienced it firsthand. This wasn’t a matter of me being picky – there was literally no where else I could get to in the Hobart CBD that STOCKED MY SIZE IN A PLAIN WHITE SHIRT.


I (and many other women who wear a size 18 and above) can’t just waltz into any old shop and expect to find things that fit me. I can’t just grab a cheap blazer or pair of jeans in a fashion emergency. I can’t shop for formal wear in the shops that cater to on-trend items or currently popular styles. When helping a friend look for a dress for an event she had to go to, I picked something out for her to try on and when I passed it to her, she said “Oh, I thought you picked that up for you to try on?”. What she didn’t realise was that nothing in the shop we were in would have come close to fitting me. This is the reality of shopping in a world that is socialised to hate fat people – things aren’t made to fit you.

You need to go to a special store, with a limited selection of items, and hope there’s something there that you like. You also need to hope that when you go into a ‘standard size’ shop that the sales assistant isn’t going to look you up and down with that pitying “oh you are SO not going to fit into anything here”. Or wondering if you’re going to rip the seam on pants as you try them on or get stuck with a zipper on a dress. Or worse, having the assistant actually saying to you (and this has happened to every plus size woman I know, including me), “I don’t think you’ll fit into anything here, sorry!”. (Notice how it’s me not fitting into the clothes, rather than the clothes not fitting me? That’s because, if you haven’t figured it out already, society is socialised to demonise fat people. But that’s a topic for another post altogether). Common variations on this theme include “I’m not sure we have anything in that size” and “this is one-size-fits-all so it might work”. Or if they’re really trying to up sell you into buying something, they steer you towards stretchy/loose knitwear, accessories or shoes.

Is it getting better? Yes, I’d argue so. Shops like Crossroads, Katies, Kmart and Big W have extended sizing in lots or all of their items. Online stores like Showpo have started extending their range up to size 20, and using both a ‘standard’ and ‘plus’ model to advertise their clothes.

But to be honest with you? There are few things that make you feel worse, as a plus size, fashion-conscious woman, than to be desperately trying to do up the zip on an item that you know isn’t going to fit you and to hear the sales assistant ask if they can “help you with sizes”. No, you can’t help me with sizes, because everything I brought into the change room with me is in the largest size you stock.  

Here’s what I want to say to all the brands that stop their sizing at a size 14 or 16. You are not doing this whole ‘catering to the market’ thing very well. If you aren’t interested in being a brand with a social conscience, at least be good at your core business of growth and profits and capitalism. Because there are a lot of women out there who make a good or great income, and they want to spend money in your stores – but they can’t. So get your act together and start making things in sizes that everyone can fit into. 

Lots of Love,

Katie xx

WEEKLY ROUND-UP #2

I’m a little late on the round-up post this week, but I feel like Tuesday is still pretty good (once you hit Wednesday do you just give up on the week before)? I missed a few days of outfits this week, plus Monday was a public holiday so I was in pyjamas and painting clothes all week! To account for the missing outfits, I’ve included a few other highlights from my week!

Tues-Wed

Tuesday:
Target – Blazer – Size 18 (unavailable)
Big W – Dress – Size XL (unavailable)
Betts – Autumn Boots (Grey) – Size 9 – $79.99 (unavailable)

Wednesday:
Atmos&Here Curvy (The Iconic) – Ada Wrap Dress – Size 20 –  $79.95
Target – Suede Mules – Size 8 (unavailable)

Thur-Sat

Thursday:
Adrift – Aarna Dress (Salt’n’Pepper) – Size 3XL/4XL – $25 (on sale)
Dr Marten – 1461Z (3 Eye) – $200

Saturday:
Gorman – Curious Ladies Dress – Size 14 – $229
Wittner – Sandals – Size 39 (unavailable)

Desk Project
(L) The desk as a work in progress, with the handles removed. (R) The finished product!

So I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with my spare room since I moved into my house, and it has honestly just been a ‘box I can’t be bothered unpacking’ room. However, I recently decided I wanted to do more sewing, so decided to make at least part of the room into a little sewing corner, where I could store my fabric and patterns, and have my machine permanently set up. I didn’t want to buy a cheap and flimsy desk, but I also don’t have the dollars to splash on a super fancy one either – the solution, of course, was scouring the local tip shops to see what gems I could find! What I ended up finding wasn’t very pretty to begin with (and I WISH I had taken a ‘before’ photo) but after a few coats of white paint, it came up an absolute charm for only $25!

Food
(L) French Toast with Pears and Berries at The Picnic Basket. (R) Homemade pizza with 2-ingredient dough. 

Two little food favourite of last week – brunch and pizza! On Saturday I caught up with some old school friends and hit up Taroona haunt The Picnic Basket for a delicious French toast and berries. I’m thinking of doing a ‘Best Brunch in Hobart’ post, so comment below if that’s something you’d be interested in reading. The pizza is featured because I have been OBSESSED recently with this 2-ingredient bread dough that has been going around the internet and sounds too good to be true. To make a pizza-amount of dough (I usually split this in half and eat the other part for lunch the next day), you will need: 1 cup of greek yoghurt and 1.5 cups of self raising flour. THAT’S IT! Just combine and add flour as required while you knead into a dough consistency. Then just spread and cook for about 5 minutes or until brown, and use as you would any other kind of pizza base! I like to mix smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and mixed herbs into the dough to add a more savoury flavour, but you definitely don’t need to do that. It’s so delicious, and super quick and easy!

 

So that’s it for last week! Hope you’re having a great week, I’ll see you next time.

Lots of Love

Katie xx