Stars & Stripes

Frocks & Frou Frou Frocks & Frou Frou Frocks & Frou Frou Frocks & Frou FrouTop: Princess Highway

Blazer: Zara (no longer available similar here)

Jeans: Levi’s 512 Skinny

Scarf: H&M (no longer available – similar here)

Shoes: Naturaliser

I was reading an interesting article in the paper a few days ago about how Levi’s was trying to evolve to keep pace with a changing market that put a lot of value in comfort. The “Yoga Pants Effect” is a bit of a pat way to draw a parallel between the fall of profits at Levi’s with the rise and rise of Lululemon (no link, because of their history of disrespecting plus-size consumers), but it certainly holds water for me. I like to be comfortable, and jeans (let’s be honest) aren’t comfortable.

I’ve been wearing my Rockstar jeans since coming back from the US the last time, but as with a lot of Old Navy‘s product the quality reflects the price, and they’re becoming a bit saggy and a bit baggy and rubbing thin between the ol’ thighs.

Anyhoo, the gist of the article is that Levi’s has been working on a new kind of denim to appeal to the “athleisure” market: comfortable, forgiving stretch denim that accommodates a variety of body types, but has a high recovery rate so that the stretch doesn’t result in saggy knees and rumps. So, jeans that feel like leggings, but look – you know – like jeans (And no, I don’t mean these).

Frocks and Frou FrouSo have they succeeded? I’d have to say “yes”! I bought these jeans – they’re the 512 Skinny style – in the post-Christmas sales, and since then I’ve retired every other pair of jeans in my wardrobe.

They’re soft as soft and stretchy, but don’t feel at all syntheticky or unpleasant. They fit beautifully and don’t stretch out at all – I’m not constantly hoiking them up, but they definitely don’t cut in or muffin-top me. They’re comfortable to sit in for long stretches (I’ve flown to and from Perth in them a couple of times) and even though there’s supposedly a “tummy shaping panel” I don’t feel constricted or squeezed at all.

Frocks and Frou FrouI teamed it with a stripey top and blazer. I think I’ve decided that the secret to blazers is not to necessarily try and find one that does up, and rather to look for one that fits snugly around the shoulders. In the past I’ve always bought blazers that fastened around my bust, which invariably meant that they were boxy and shapeless around the rest of my body.

Also, the rare appearance of a scarf! I’ve never really been able to grasp the art of scarf-wearing, despite being inspired every time I see my scarf-master friend, Adele. I think probably my boobs are too big and my neck too short, but this one seems to work fine so maybe it’s all in my head!

FFFWEEK – Day 1

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Top: Zara

Jeans: Old Navy

Belt: City Chic

Shoes: Easy Spirit

Hello from New York City!

I arrived safely on Friday night, and spent a lovely weekend catching up with The Sophisticate. It’s wonderful to see my husband again (Long distance sucks sincerely; don’t let anyone tell you it’s easy with modern technology. It’s really, really not.)

It’s been close to six months living apart now – much longer than either of us anticipated – and it doesn’t look like anything’s changing in the short term.

The good news is he’s made himself a really tight network in New York, and is surrounded by some great new friends. It was wonderful to be able to meet in person the people who crop up in his conversation so often, and to thank them for taking such good care of him.

Come Monday I donned my Official Blogger Hat, and headed into Manhattan for the first day of the 2013 Full Figured Fashion Week.

First thing on the schedule was a blogger breakfast hosted by plus size brand Ashley Stewart to profile some of their new lines for the upcoming Fall Season.

Ashley Stewart has been around since the early 90’s as a line of fashion specifically designed and targeted at women sized 12 to 26. They’d sort of dropped off the radar over the last few years, as their attention turned to growing their store-front business and away from the online Plus Size Community, but it looks like that’s changing now. They’ve got a highly successful Facebook page where fans can get sneak peeks of upcoming pieces and exclusive discounts.

It looks like their upcoming season is going to tap right into the current androgynous trend, with lots of jumpsuits, camouflage print, vests and frayed denim. Here’s a sneak peek at what we got to see showcased at the breakfast.DSCF1650_2 DSCF1646_2 DSCF1638_2 DSCF1648_2Ashley Stewart’s also a good resource for plus-size accessories, and they brought along a kind of buffet of sparkly goodies for their “Arm Party” – a huge range of bangles and bracelets suitable for larger hands and wrists.

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The bloggers in attendance were invited to help themselves to a set of bangles. Dani from Danimezza scored this great set with a stand-out hot pink bangle that suited her outfit to a tee.

DSCF1655_2I picked up an elasticised diamante cuff, that would be perfect for that evening’s official launch party.

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The theme for the evening’s festivities was “Denim & Diamonds”, so I brought out my new favourite jeans – Old Navy’s “Rock Star” jeans. Officially they’re jeggings (eek!) but all that seems to mean is that the denim is lighter and stretchier than regular jeans. Perfect for the hot, muggy weather in New York this week.

I teamed the jeans with a starry printed top from Zara, and an outrageously sparkly necklace that I bought on sale from Forever New before I left Australia.DSCF1661_2