Suitable

Whoops! I’ve been promising you this post for nearly a year now, but, well, life gets in the way (with a vengeance). Better late than never?

Last year I got an email from the very lovely Peter, who heads up the team at Isadora Nim, a Melbourne-based made-to-measure suit company that is dedicated to creating gorgeous custom-made suits for women of all shapes and sizes.

‘Where can I find great clothes for work’ is the thing I’ve been asked most often since starting Frocks and Frou Frou in 2008, and I’ve never really had a good answer. Most plus-size brands don’t venture into business-wear, and I don’t know many professional-style brands that cater for larger sizes either. I have never seen an actual SUIT for plus-sizes in the shops – just boxy blazers in poly-blend fabrics for outrageously inflated prices. What a great, gaping hole in the market!

Isadora Nim offers a bespoke tailoring experience, where you can build your perfect suit from scratch – picking everything from fabric to pocket style – and have it made professionally and beautifully by a team that’s absolutely dedicated to making sure you’re beyond thrilled with the end result.

At the first of three comprehensive consults Isadora Nim’s stylist and fitter takes an exhaustive number of measurements, helps you select fabrics from the range of wool and wool/cashmere textiles, and guides you through the different components of designing your suit from scratch.

It’s a fun experience (you can tell I’m having a ball in the photos on the Isadora Nim website) and the ability to have something custom made to be exactly what you want rather than simply good enough is such a luxury.

After the suit arrives you’re fitted a second time, because the team at Isadora Nim know that measurements are all very well and good but nothing compares to seeing the finished product on the body itself. Once those alterations are complete and you’re blissfully happy with the result, you get to leave with a real investment piece for your wardrobe that will conceivably last you for the rest of your professional life.

Unsurprisingly, it’s not a cheap process, but if you wear a suit for work it’s absolutely worthwhile. Unlike something like a wedding gown, you’ll wear your suit again and again for years… and as your body changes Isadora Nim actually offers free alterations so that you’ll always be as happy with it as you were the day you took it home.

Take a look at this tweedy grey pencil skirt that I’m wearing here: it fits better than any skirt I’ve ever owned, and it really shows what a difference having something professionally tailored makes. It doesn’t pull at my hips or curve under my tummy. It fits smoothly, skimming my figure without adding extra bulk. I wore this skirt pretty consistently at work with a variety of shirts and blouses, and it always looked elegant and put-together.

The full suit that I received is made of the most beautiful berry-coloured wool. A high-waisted pencil skirt teams perfectly with a suit jacket that hits my hips at the perfect height, and fits both my bust and my narrow sloping shoulders (miracle).

Of course, if like me, you’re not really wearing a lot of suits at the moment (yes, we’re getting to that) the good thing about suits is that they’re actually endlessly versatile, and you can wear the different components separately as well as together.

One of my favourite outfits at the moment is a pair of jeans, a tee, and my perfectly-fitting jacket over the top:

It’s a bit cool, a bit casual, and fancies up a tee-shirt perfectly. It’s also a great way of getting a bit of extra weekend mileage out of your weekday investment.

And finally…

Welcome to the world, little E. I’m so glad you’re in it.

The Homestretch

With just over a week until my official due date, I’ve definitely hit the homestretch on this weird and wonderful experience of being pregnant. The reality of what’s coming still hasn’t quite sunk in, so apparently it’s just going to feel like a crazy fever dream from start to finish. I’ve been lucky though. Against all odds, it’s been a relatively uncomplicated and easy pregnancy, though I’ve definitely reached the “oh, I’m uncomfortable” stage by now.

I’ve been on maternity leave for a bit over a fortnight now, which is like the weirdest, laziest holiday you can imagine. I’ve been reading, sleeping, catching up with friends, and just generally mooching about pretending like nothing out of the ordinary is going on.

Things I haven’t done include: pack my hospital bag (it’s all ready to go… I just have some weird kind of mental block about putting it all in a bag), write a birth plan (“have a baby” apparently isn’t detailed enough), cook a bunch of meals for freezing (that would require going out to the supermarket, and I just can’t build up the motivation), or sort out the situation with my embarrassingly overstuffed wardrobe (just, no).

As far as the wardrobe thing goes, I’ve been rather adding to it rather than culling it down, though my priorities have changed from whatever-fits-the-bump to whatever-I-can-get-my-boobs-out-of-without-stripping. Breastfeeding singlets mostly, but thanks to Woolovers I’ve also managed to add this gorgeous new blush wrap cardigan in a trans-seasonal cotton-silk blend.

Woolovers has always been a great resource for basics – especially if you were looking for a specific colour in knitwear – but recently they’ve become more and more fashion forward, and now you’re starting to find the kind of trendy styles in knits that you used to be able to find at Boden, and nowhere else. Add a luxe cashmere line, a local Australian warehouse, a size range that goes up to XXL (a size 26), and if you haven’t tried them before maybe this is the winter to give them a whirl.

Along with this lovely wrap cardigan (which I’ve worn pretty much every day since it arrived) I also received this cute striped sweater which boasts a fun intarsia heart print.

It looks just a little bit awkward with a nine-month pregnant belly underneath (though I’m starting to think Good American has imbued their jeans with some kind of uncanny magic that disappears bumps) but I love it, and I’m impatient so I’m wearing it right now.

Love to everyone who has left comments on my last posts – I read all of them, and even if I’ve been lax at replying to them lately they always brighten my day. What an extraordinary, strong, supportive group of people you are. Thank you so much for supporting me and my journey.