Eloquii-ent

Dress: Eloquii (available here in red)

Shoes: Rockport

It finally feel like spring in Melbourne. Daylight Savings kicked off over the weekend, and with it has come warmer weather, and sun. It couldn’t have come at a better time.

It’s been a long, cold, miserable winter, and a difficult one too. Thank you to everyone who left a comment or sent and email or a message on Facebook. I’m OK. I’ve been dealing with some really crappy health-related stuff in my Real Life which been taking up a lot of my mental space, and has given my hard-won body positivism a thorough kicking. It’s not something I really want to talk about at the moment (I hope you’ll forgive me for the vague-blogging) but rest assured I’m doing fine.

This week is probably the first time in months that I’ve felt like myself, and I’m definitely hoping to start writing a bit more regularly… thank you all for being so patient!

So, on that note: Eloquii is an independently-run online store that specializes in plus sizes. It was started in 2011 by The Limited, who decided to bail out less than two years later. Five of the original staff members, including designer Jodi Arnold, decided to relaunch the company, and in 2014 they managed to do so. Eloquii’s fashion-forward range made it a popular choice for plus-size fashionistas in the US, but it wasn’t until earlier this year that they started offering international shipping.

As soon as I found out I jumped on the site, and trawled the vast selection on offer. Eventually I decided to play it safe, and ordered this short-sleeved midi dress in black.

It’s a simply and flattering cut with fluttery sleeves and an elasticised waistband. The fabric’s a light knit that could probably survive a nuclear blast and come out the other side unwrinkled. It’s perfect for squishing into suitcases, and can easily be dressed up or down.

I was really impressed with the speed of delivery from Eloquii, and the quality of the dress is excellent. The range at Eloquii is enormous and varied. It’s often very trend-based, so there’s a few misses among the hits, but with regular site-wide sales, reasonable International shipping costs, and one of the more inclusive size-ranges on the market, it’s definitely on my go-to list for online shopping.

Necklace: Made by me!

Just a quick close-up of my necklace to finish off.

I mentioned in my last post (oh, er, nearly two months ago) that I’ve been doing a stack of craft short-courses over the weekends. One of the classes I’ve done recently is a polymer clay beading class with Sheree McCready of Polly Collective.

For my dear friend Fiona’s birthday this year I bought us passes for one of Sheree’s jewellery workshops, and we had so much fun, and learned so many great tips that over the last weekend we got together with a couple of other friends and had a crafternoon putting our skills to the test.

I made this black, grey and blush necklace (learning how to do tubular beads hasĀ rocked my world, let me tell you) and also a second bead necklace inspired by the art of Cassie Byrnes (who I’ve talked about before, here).

I would 100% encourage you to check out the Polly Collective workshops if you’re in Melbourne and looking for a fun way to spend a weekend.

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.

 

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