Unexplored Territory

Top: Sunny Girl

Skirt: Asos

Shoes:Β Chie Mihara

As a size 16 to 18, with an f-cup rack to boot there are dozens of shops in Melbourne that I just don’t bother to venture into, no matter how enticing the outfits in the window.

Because, quite simply, it makes me cross when I see clothes that would look amazing on fuller figures, but are limited to those of a size 14 or under.

And I hate the feeling that I’m being judged by my size; that the sales assistants are looking me up and down and thinking “you WISH you could shop here”.

They’re right. I WISH I could shop at Cue. I wish I could fit clothes at JigsawΒ and Witchery. These are stores that consistently win Best Fashion Retailer awards, but I (fashionista that I am) don’t get a look in.

It aggravates me a whole lot less since I discovered online shopping, but I still get a twinge of disappointment when something amazing catches my eye, then I realise it’s from a label that doesn’t cater to my size.

Anyway, I didn’t mean for this to turn into a ranty-pants post about how the fashion industry in Australia sucks (which it does) but I was working my way toward saying that the other day I was wandering through the Walk Arcade, and saw racks of a quite cute blouse outside Christopher Ari.

I wouldn’t usually pause, because Christopher Ari stocks mostly cheapie brands like Sunny Girl and CKM that wouldn’t come close to fitting someone of my dimensions. But I liked the art-deco style print on the blouse so much that I thought I’d give it a whirl anyway, and was pleasantly surprised to see it zipped up quite comfortably.

The blouse is probably meant to fit somewhat looser, and the Β cape-like sleeves don’t sit perfectly, but the cut on the body is great, and I loved the teal and mustard hues. Extra points for the fact it doesn’t crease around my middle when I sit down for long periods of time.

40 thoughts on “Unexplored Territory

  1. I know exactly how you feel with those shops; but isn’t it just great when something fits you? It’s why I love the oversize jumpers/tops trend at the moment; I’m a UK 16-18 and it feels a little like cheating when I’m wearing an ‘oversize’ UK10 jumper as a normal size πŸ˜‰ the blouse is really pretty too! And I love your glasses x

    • Thanks Rai! The glasses are cool, aren’t they? The Sophisticate found them in a vintage dress shop in Kansas City a few years ago & I had my lenses put in. They’re great!

  2. I really should try other shops – a friend of mine goes and gets stuff from Gap, Topshop etc because she’s not afraid to walk in and try on stuff. But like you I don’t want to be judged and I’m a fair few sizes bigger than you!

    Love the top – the sleeves don’t look odd, I love the shape the top gives you. I too have a wrack of doom (40JJ at last count!!) so I struggle to get stuff which looks good with the whole chest area…

    Gorgeous outfit as always!

  3. Looks fab. I spent my afternoon surrounded willowy art fashionistas which made me feel frumpy to say the least, but then I look at your blog and I remember that style and beauty do not correlate to size. Your posts are such an inspiration. Thank you.

    • LOL @ willowy art fashionistas.
      I am an artist too, and not the willowy type. Seriously I can’t stop laughing. Most of my days are like these..I am usually the *biggest* girl in a room/gallery/museum etc. And I am only 12/14. Sigh.

  4. I once boycotted a local Jeans shop after “the look” I was given from the sales assistant. Yep, they should stock more sizes (at the time I was an 18-20), but what also erked me was that I may not of been buying for myself. Anyway, 5 years and a few sizes smaller I still haven’t been inside (and neither have bunch of my colleagues that work across the road). This elephant has a long memory and a big mouth. Customer Service isn’t that hard and even if their designers are blind, the retail staff should be more courteous (now I sound like my nanna!), just because I don’t fit into the clothes doesn’t mean I don’t buy for people that do. Oh, and I love love love those glasses!

    • Quite right! I spent eight years working in retail, and nothing makes me angrier than dodgy sales assistants. Especially with internet shopping being SO GOOD you just can’t afford to alienate your customers. I don’t know if you heard about it in NSW, but a store down here “GASP” got into hot water after a sales assistant (the PR morons at GASP called him a “retail superstar”) had a go at a size 12 customer. Apparently GASP now caters up to a size 24… I can’t verify that, because I’m damned if I’d ever go into one.

  5. I agree with you. I used to go into a panic if I had to go some where and wear nice clothes because there is not much in shops here that fit me. Each shopping trip would end in tears. Thanks to me finding your blog more than a year ago I shop on line where i can get my size. You have opened up a new world for me, for one I wear dresses every day because I can and they fit. So thank you.
    I did see you in the city and I did want to tell you how you changed my life but I did not want to flood like a crazy stalker.LOL. My girls and I thought you were stunning.

    • That is lovely feedback, Edel – thankyou! I’m so glad you’re enjoying reading & that you’ve been able to express your own sense of style without being limited by Australia’s dreadful clothes industry. Give me a wave if you see me again – I always love to meet readers πŸ™‚

  6. Love this top, I have something a little similar that I found in a vintage store and again I don’t think it fits me like it’s supposed to (it’s fitted on me but I’m pretty sure it’s meant to be loose!) but it looks cute and it works!
    I am also a 16 and I get frustrated that in some shops I am too big to fit in the clothes and in others the 16 is too big. I seem to be in between! I love h&m but they frustrate me as I can be anywhere from a 14-20 in their clothes because they seem to differ so much!!!

    • Thanks Mia – I do like the oversize trend because it means I can find more interesting items in stores. It’s definitely frustrating to fall between the cracks of regular and plus-sizes. Why they can’t just have “size” and go up at at least an 18 is beyond me.

  7. Hiya. I recently made a complaint to Madison magazine about their sponsorship of the Witchery White Shirt campaign. It is such an important cause – buy a shirt and a proportion goes to support ovarian cancer research – and I should know as I lost a parent to cancer. Anyhoo, the campaign shits me because Witchery only stock to size 14 (and a small 14 at that). So those of us who require a larger white shirt cannot participate in the campaign. Too fat for charity. I complained last year and received a standard reply: ‘thanks for your concern, we will pass your feedback on to our designers’. Yeah, yeah, blah, blah. Anyway, this year my complaint to Madison mag received a response to the effect that Witchery will be stocking size 16s from August this year. So there you go. Finally a store coming to terms with things. Perhaps a sign of the economic times, and a company feeling the pinch deciding to suck it up and take our size 16 dollars…

  8. I recognize that feeling and those looks from wandering into one of the small-size shops…the “what are you doing here, you’re ruining our reputation” looks. Still, it’s worth it for the odd catch.
    You top looks lovely, great shape. And extra compliments on the shoes, they make me green with envy πŸ˜‰

    • Thanks Eva – There’s a few shops *coughAlannahHillcough* that I wouldn’t go into even IF they expanded their size range, just because the designer and/or the staff have been so revolting in the past.

  9. YOu look splendid! This whole look is a little Madmen, and I love it! You seem to have the perfect pair of shoes for every top!

  10. I love the blouse Lilli. Looks really good on you.
    You know when I am shopping for clothes I always try to imagine whether you will buy anything from that shop. Yesterday I was at Spotlight and there was some beautiful fabric (lawn), in beautiful teal and mustards. I could totally imagine you in those dresses.
    Apart from online, what are some of your favourite stores in Melbourne (if any)?

    • Oh, Spotlight does the BEST fabrics, don’t they? Makes me wish I had more time & talent for sewing!
      In Melbourne I probably spread my love around equally. I like to window shop at Leona Edmiston, Country Road, Barkins, Jacqui E, Sportscraft and others. I don’t buy an awful lot anymore though – even if it fits, it’s SO expensive!

  11. Great outfit – love it! I love that skirt too, you wear it very well. I wish I could wear something that length, it’s not an easy length to pull off, so go you!

    I used to shop at Glassons quite regularly, as their sizes went up to 16 and were quite a fair sizing. In recent years though, I’ve found not all their pieces go up to a size 16, and I told the sales assistant there, who was lovely, that it was frustrating because I would have totally bought a number of things had they just expanded up one size! I also find that they have plenty of 6’s and 8’s on the shelf (of their cardi’s in particular), but when it comes to 16’s, there are next to none. Is that telling them something? I remember you’ve done some OOTD posts with Glassons stuff, would be keen to hear what you think of them!

  12. I have been battling the stores looking to update my winter wardrobe to no avail, so I am glad it’s not just me! I am a 16-18 with a DD and have the added bonus of being short! I went into a shop in town called Cinnamon Blue and the sales assistant said ” We probably won’t have anything to fit you”! ( Needless to say I will not go back..)
    It can be kind of depressing when you can’t find anything, and I know some days I have returned home feeling like I am some kind of “giganto freak”…but then I buy some shoes. They don’t discriminate based on size!!
    Your post made me smile. It’s like I was meant to read it this week so I can remind myself that bigger is beautiful and that I will eventually find something to wear – so thank you!

  13. Ok, long(ish) time reader, first time poster (commenter?). Just had to pipe in and say amen, sister friend. I’m probably the same size as you and actually have quite a similar style (I don’t know how you’d describe it exactly, but I’d say it’s equal parts feminine, quirky and preppy – and totally fabulous!). I would LOVE to shop at Witchery and Cue. Love, Love, Love. Unfortunately, it’s not going to happen until I drop a dress size (or two!), and that totally sucks – I went into Witchery a few months ago and was getting a few suspicious looks until they realised I was only there for the wedges. It’s such a shame, because the shoes have become my instant go-to shoes when out for the day/night, and I know their clothes would look ace on curvier figures if they’d expand their size range a tad.

    Sorry for the essay, just had to pipe in! But love the blog – every post is a great read and you’ve got a killer sense of style. x

  14. You look fab! I love this outfit.

    I hear you too on the frustrations of shopping. Even online shopping, which is amazing, there are tons of things I would love but are not made in my size. Its tough to be in the busty brigade, but my biggest frustration is finding bottoms. Ugh. Pants shopping is one of the most depressing things. I can generally finds nothing that just plain FITS. I guess I’m in between sizes.

    I remember when I was just hitting puberty and I got chubby. There was a store in the mall called 5-7-9 that all the cool girls shopped at. They only stocked up to a size 9. NINE. I never had a prayer of fitting into their clothing. I will always remember that bitterly.

  15. This is the story of my life! Im size 16-18 size G cup rack and have the sae problem! Oh i wish Australia would get with the times! My wardrobe is 98% purchased from online, just can’t find anything decent here that is tailored to my size πŸ™ It’s so irritating!

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