On Plus North and the Ever-Impressing World of British Curve Fashion

By Marie Southard Ospina

There’s a lot to be said for fashion shows. The runway is an amazing place to catch new seasonal designs, to make a mental wish list of everything you will be purchasing or pining over in the months to come and to celebrate the self-expression that fashion allows for. Because, let’s face it, fashion is one of the most immediate, day-to-day mediums for showcasing your individuality.

The thing is, plus-size fashion events have all this. But they also have something else. They have this beautiful ability to make you feel less alone. I know it sounds cheesy, but think back to pre-2010 and earlier – when the runway was a place reserved exclusively for women size-8 or smaller. Anyone over that size didn’t really get their voice heard in the fashion industry – let alone their curvy bods shown off on a catwalk. It’s taken a long time, and there’s still a lot of work to be done when it comes to size equality in fashion, but plus-size fashion shows are a beautiful reminder of how things are changing. Not to mention moments like plus-size model Denise Bidot walking the runway of Chromat at New York Fashion Week this season.

Part of the beauty of plus events exists in their diversity. And this couldn’t have been truer of this year’s Plus North. Held at the Baracoa Luxe Bar in Leeds on 30th Aug. (with extra work- shopping on the 31st), curvy-clothing-favourites like Simply Be showed off their early A/W collections. It seems that with every year that passes, we step further and further away from the days when there were only a handful of plus-size brands. Now, the older brands have re-vamped to fit a wider range of ages – a wider range of looks – and the younger brands are doing all they can to offer both on and off trend styles to fit any age, look or occasion.

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Though there wasn’t technically a “catwalk” this year, in the traditional sense of a long, linear, raised stage, the models rocked it on the floor of the bar. And the venue, with its dark lighting and night-life air, only added a sense of mystery and romance to the fashion being showcased.

Amidst the modelling, the champagne and the sense of fun and acceptance, Simply Be also maintained an incredibly diverse stand – decked out with shoes, accessories, handbags, clothing and a beautifully cinematic popcorn machine. Some favourites were definitely the Chi Chi Embellished Prom Dress – which is sort of Maria from West Side Story meets Cinderella. And, undoubtedly, Alice and You’s Blue PVC Umbrella Skirt. It seemed every woman that walked past the stand stopped to fangirl over this work of fashion artistry.

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But it was also pretty brilliant to see plus-size women from all over the country join together for this one afternoon – celebrating size acceptance and the changes in plus retail. Blogger and event model Nancy Whittington looked incredible in her Grid Midi Dress and later at the after party in the Claire Richards Emerald Green Sequin Dress. Simply Be model Shali donned the Fresh Slogan Tee both on the catwalk and off it. And the best part is that the A/W designs that made it to Plus North are only the beginning of the season. Look Magazine for Simply Be’s new range is now out, and the autumn fashion continues to impress. Think Grid Design Check Coats and Dalmatian-esque midi skirts.

Shali works brights in this Fresh tee

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Nancy wearing the gorgeous grid midi!

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There’s something else about plus events that’s just fantastic. Never at high-street fashion weeks do you see rookie designers mix in with the veterans. There’s this unspoken divide that can sometimes feel like intentional segregation. At events like Plus North, though, you get to see fashion favourites like Simply Be. But you also get to see the newbies. And, if you ask me, it’s way better this way. Because for one afternoon, you’re exposed to a dozen brands that all have the same goal: to make a difference. To change plus-size fashion for the better. And to help plus-size women feel far more confident in the process. All in all, it made for a pretty beautiful day.

Gorgeous Simply Be models!

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The 9 Stages of Dress Shopping

1. Desk-Based Research

Big day coming up. Better check the ol’ wardrobe for an acceptable dress. *Knows full well that lovely, worn-once, floral shift would suffice but convinces self that new dress absolutely needed.* Check online for latest trends. End up buying PU trousers, weekend bag and tennis racket. All essentials.

Lizzy Mcguire

 

 

 

 

 

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Trend Alert: Scarlet Woman

By Olivia Watkins

See red this autumn – the colour of passion, lust and rage (wowza) is now the colour of the season.

Perfect for the party period (and just in time too), we’ve styled our favourite must-have pieces for AW14. So whether you go top-to-toe in splendid scarlet or showcase your sizzling style with subtle accessories, you’re guaranteed to heat things up.

Well red

Mix pretty and preppy for an understated take on this bold microtrend. Pair oxblood skinnies with these Catwalk Collection loafers and a peplum tee – an AW14 wardrobe staple – for a faultless laidback look. For a hint of glamour add a 3D daisy necklace – the ultimate in fun, feminine style.

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Retro Fashion Trends to Bring to your Lingerie Drawer!

By Cheryl Warner

Just like high street and interior brands, the lingerie industry is heavily influenced by high fashion trends. You’ll see echoes of the catwalk in the lingerie ranges of Simply Be just like the fashion pages. Retro influence? No problem. Neon highlights? Of course. If there’s an outerwear trend you can’t get enough of there’s no reason why it can’t find a home in your lingerie drawer too.

Keen to hear some of the trends available this season from Simply Be? You’ve come to the right place.

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Trend Alert: Wordplay

By Olivia Watkins

Let your tee do the talking with this season’s wordy microtrend. Loud logos and shouty slogans have stormed off the catwalk straight into our wardrobes – and we have welcomed them with open arms. Whether you want to get if off your chest or let your accessories get literal, wordplay is as easy as ABC to wear. Dress it down for a relaxed look or go full-on glam – only one thing is certain – the less said the better.

We’ve picked out our favourite wearable wordplay styles…

Say what?

No, really, what? You may be feeling confused but you definitely won’t look it in this on-point outfit. Give a sweater a glitzy makeover with the addition of a glitter slogan, not forgetting to liven up your legwear in these check print skinnies. Quilted Catwalk Collection boots and a matching backpack complete this off-duty biker look.

Say What?

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Bust Friendly Clothing

By Georgina Horne

‘Flattering’ is an opinion, as is your choice to ‘flatter’ your figure. Some women like to dress in clothes that make them look slimmer, that hide their perceived flaws and show off the parts they are more comfortable with.  And some like to wear clothes that they like and disregard the idea of ‘flattering’ and ‘rules’.  And you know what – neither way is right or wrong.

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Everything but the dress: 5 of the best bridal accessories

When it comes to perfecting your wedding day look, the dress tends to hog your focus. But while your gown will spend its fair share of time in the limelight, the way you style your dress can be just as important as the dress itself. For a beautiful frock to really shine it should be framed with equally beautiful accessories – those thoughtful little details that add real style and elegance to your look.

Take a look at five of our favourite bridal accessories from the Simply Be Wedding Boutique…

Jon Richard pearl clutch bagThe bag

Keep your Big Day beauty essentials close at hand (…or palmed off with a bridesmaid) in a gorgeously glam handbag. Stylishly combining modern chic with roaring ‘20s retro, this pearl-adorned beauty from Jon Richard is the perfect way to add a vintage feel to your look. Continue reading

Trend Alert: Gridlock

By Olivia Watkins

This season we’ve gone gaga for gridlock – no, not of the miserable, tear-inducing traffic jam kind – we’re talking oversized checks, window pane prints and boxy patterns. With a multitude of colourways and stylish takes on the look to choose from, this hot-off-the-catwalk microtrend is super versatile and easy to wear.

We’ve chosen our top three ways to wear the trend…

Check Mate

Want to work bad girl biker vibes but still look pretty in pink? This simple yet stylish drop waist dress gets an attitude makeover when teamed with our Joe Browns buckled boots and a leather-look jacket.  A statement necklace and slouchy duffle bag makes this the ultimate in casual cool style.

Check Mate

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Getting To Know…Simply Be Make-up Artist Lou Box.

Working full-time as a hair and make-up artist for almost 5 years, Lou Box works as a freelance make-up artist across a broad spectrum of commercial clients and fashion magazines. Most notably she’s worked for Italian Vogue and Vivienne Westwood. She said; “I absolutely love my job and I count myself incredibly lucky to be able to do what I love and make a living out of it. I’ve had a couple of ‘breaks’ over the years but I think the real turning point for me was signing with my agency Me&CoThey nurtured me from the very beginning and absolutely enabled me to become the artist I am today.”

Lou (pictured right) next to our fashion stylist Karen.

LouBox Make up artist May

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