Print Envy

Top: Variety Hour

Skirt: Modcloth

Belt: Sportscraft

Shoes: Chie Mihara

Since 2008 (!) when I first started Frocks and Frou Frou, the offerings available for plus size women has just grown and grown and grown, but there’s still some glaring gaps in the market.

I love local indie designers Obus and Gorman (and Miranda Murphy, and Wolf and Mishka, and about eleventy hundred more hipster-cool brands that pop up at design markets) but one of the main things that they seem to share – apart from great prints and contemporary cuts – is the inability to go above a size 14.

Guy, I love prints, but I’ve reached a point where I need more than polkadots, stripes, and florals. I want abstract shapes, and geometric lines, and textile designs not just prints, and honestly, I’m finding them very few and far between.

There’s a girl who works in my office (with the most magnificent tumble-down, golden-red curls you’ve ever seen – if you know her, her you’ll know who I’m talking about). She’s absolutely lovely, and wears all the amazing kinds of cool prints and cuts that I wish I could squeeze myself into. There’s one particular top that she wears with some regularity, and when I told her how much I admired it she told me it was from Melbourne-based textile designer Cassie Byrne. The name rang a bell a few weeks later when I stumbled across Cassie herself at the Finders Keepers Market.

Cassie graduated RMIT in 2014, and has since worked as a freelance designer for clients including Beci Orpin, Milk and Sugar and Kuwaii. Her own brand, Variety Hour, offers cushions, bags, scarves and clothing printed with her bold and beautiful artwork which is often inspired by rock formations and natural fauna and flora.

I couldn’t resist trying one of the tops on… just in case… and was totally delighted to discover that the XL was forgiving enough to fit the Rack of Doom. It’s a boxy, flowing fit with a tapered waist and cuffed dolman sleeves and I wanted it in all of the prints, but limited myself to one – the Tropica.

Inspired by the sub-tropical rainforest of Gondwana, the print was hand painted using pigment inks, then printed in Melbourne on a lovely silk crepe de chine that drapes beautifully, and has held its colour and shape brilliantly over repeated wears and washes.

It’s has the colour and print that I’ve always loved, but with a bit of uniqueness and maturity that late-thirties-me appreciates. It’s definitely one of the more expensive pieces in my wardrobe, but has already proven itself worth the investment.

It was pretty exciting to see that earlier this year Variety Hour was picked up by US cult favourites, Anthropologie (including this top!), and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next for this wonderful, local designer.

 

Save

Cool weather comfort

Dress: DIY from Colette Moneta pattern

Top: Tirelli

Tights: Sonse

Shoes: Comfortview

There’s something about winter that makes me crave comfort. Also summer. And spring. And autumn, I guess.

This layered outfit is – to the surprise of no one, I’m sure – a Very Comfortable Outfit. It’s snuggly and warm, and shapeless (but, like, the good kind of shapeless), and it’s basically been my unofficial uniform since the weather got cold.

I’ve been living in my Sonsee opaque tights rather than trousers this year. I’ve blogged about my undying love for Sonsee before. They’re a wonderful, local company founded in 2013 by the very lovely Vanessa, and since then they’ve gone from strength to strength. The success of Sonsee is in no small part down to the fact that their tights are – hands down – the most comfortable, long-wearing, stretchy tights I’ve ever, ever tried (and trust me: I’ve tried a lot.) You can read my original review here – It’s worth clicking through just to see me fitting both legs into one side of the tights… Sonsee is really stretchy, guys – and I just want to let you know: That pair of tights I’m wearing in that photo from 2013? I’m still wearing them.

In 2015 Vanessa appeared on the first Australian episode of Shark Tank, and won the support of entrepreneur Naomi Simson. It’s a partnership that’s allowed Sonsee to expand their product range into intimates and activewear, which allows me to live in my Sonsee tights in winter, and my Sonsee anti-chafing shorts in summer.

They’ve also had a bit of a brand refresh, and I’m really liking the elegant new packaging. Online orders come wrapped up like a present in a shiny gift box, which is a nice little addition for shoppers (plus you can save $10 off your first order by signing up to their mailing list).

Meanwhile. Have you ever just blown off an unfamiliar shop because you were sure they’d either be too expensive, or too small in size? It turns out I’ve been doing that with Tirelli, which has a fairly schmick and intimidating-looking shopfront in Melbourne Central. The windows are full of the kind of layered, architectural designs that I’ve been loving lately, but I was so sure their largest size would be a 12, and their prices would have an extra 0 at the end of them, that I’ve never been brave enough to go inside.

A couple of weeks ago I saw this reversible knit in the window, and thought maybe I’d just have a tiny squiz. I ended up being pleasantly surprised – Tirelli goes up to a size XXL, which is supposedly a 16, but the shapes and cuts actually work fine for curvier bodies. It reminds me a little of the kind of fashion coming out of Universal Standard, Elvi and Coverstory, and oh man: I’d love to see more of it in the shops, because that kind of voluminous stuff either works, or it really doesn’t, and you never know unless you try it on.

Necklace: FoxtailBoutique

Finally, feast your eyes and your fidgety fingers on my current favourite piece of jewellery. This faceted crystal spinner necklace was a self-gift from Etsy, and I adore it. The crystal spins freely with a little nudge, and I find myself twiddling with it non-stop whenever I wear it. It’s basically a classy, stylish, wearable fidget spinner.

 

Save

Save

Save

Save