Forest Gothic with Simply Be.

Plus size alternative wear is a unicorn. We know it exists, we just have to close our eyes and wish really hard.

A large part of my wardrobe over the years has been finding pieces from mainstream stores and styling them to fit my personal aesthetic because just buying them from dedicated alternative stores isn’t an option.

No matter what my style has been over the years I’ve always had a soft spot for decadent goth; y’ know, the huge sleeves, flowing skirts, the drama. I wore this medieval gown for my 6th form ball for gods sake. How extra.

This is a bit late to the table; the tunic was actually gift from my partner for Christmas and to be honest it probably would have been sensible to wear it then. The material is heavy but comfortable with a gorgeous lace cut out detail. I love the high neckline; something as a busty fat person I’ve avoided for years because apparently a fashion “rule” is that I can’t wear them for fear of looking..fatter? Ha. Who the fuck knows anymore.

I put this with an old New Look Inspire maxi skirt and lots of big rings and a necklace as a head piece. I will say this, it’s inspired me to look into circlets as something to introduce into my outfits.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised with Simply Be time and time again. I’ve found pieces on there that I’ve been searching for and not found anywhere else.

On the website the model wears this with and without trousers. I don’t know if I would wear this without something on my bottom half because it sits much higher on me because of my big belly. But I would love to style it with a mini skirt to give it a bit of a 70’s vibe, which I adore.  But with the maxi skirt it has a gorgeous Gothic feel. When I saw this top I pictured myself wearing this, strolling through a gloomy wood and the incredibly talented Grace made that a reality for me.

You can find the tunic over at Simply Be here.

Photography by the ever incredible Grace Johnston.

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There isn’t enough room for all this bullshit

HelloGiggle.com recently shared this photograph from selling website/app Wish, that were advertising a pair of plus size shorts:

Charming, huh?
As noted in the HG article this is an incredibly cruel way to advertise clothing. Naturally there’s been some uproar over social media. Christina, of Interrobang art, who makes and sells clothing up to a 34, posted this fantastic response on her Instagram account

But this isn’t the first time this sort of cruel marketing has been used. AliExpress were under scrutiny back in 2015 for using this image to sell plus size leggings

The Big Bloomers Company, a site dedicated to plus size underwear use this to advertise their plus size tights

Aye, you keep smiling it up Sally Small.
I don’t doubt there are many more, these are just the ones I was able to find first. So what’s the issue? 
In laymans terms it’s disrespectful as fuck to use this sort of strategy to advertise plus size clothing. 
The photos are utterly ridiculous, verging on comical and circus-esque. “Look how HUGE this product is! You can fit a whole other person with room to spare!”
And that’s the thing, isn’t it? We don’t see fat people as real people but rather bodies that can’t be comprehended without using “normal” bodies for scale. You want to advertise plus size clothing, and demonstrate how big your products are? USE ACTUAL FAT PEOPLE. Use a diverse range of sizes to demonstrate the variety of sizing you offer. “Here’s a body wearing a size 12, and here’s the same product in a 32.” It’s NOT HARD. 

There are so many fat people out there who would offer their services. Look at how plus size brands have tapped into using bloggers to model for them. The sizes are out there: you just won’t use them.
Frankly I am sick of companies humiliating fat people and in the next breath taking our money. If they aren’t using micro-aggresive language like “flattering”, “slimming” and other such crap to suggest our fat can, and should, be magically hidden then they are outright removing us from their brick and mortar stores. 
What is even the logic in this? Do they not think fat people are going to take one look at this and close the fucking tab? Bullying people does not a profit make. Too long have companies tapped into a person’s low self esteem to sell you a product you don’t need, for an imaginary issue you don’t even have. But people need clothes. What we don’t need is being made out to be circus freaks. 

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New Year, Same Old Diet spiel: Is it time we ditched the tired tropes? Trigger warnings for diet talk.

“Every weight loss program, no matter how positively it’s packaged, whispers to you that you’re not right. You’re not good enough. You’re unacceptable and you need to be fixed.”
― Kim Brittingham, Read My Hips: How I Learned to Love My Body, Ditch Dieting, and Live Large

Fat acceptance and body positivity for some is a hard journey. For some it comes suddenly, for some it can be a life time of work. Discovering the body positive movement saved me. It saved me from the years of self-loathing, the decimation of my self-esteem, and helped me re-discover myself. But it also made me appreciate how complex body issues can be, especially as a fat person whose body is highly politicized and reviled by society.
Social media has provided a means for those in marginalised bodies to share and connect where mainstream media has deeply lacked. Navigating this can be a minefield, however.
Recently on my Instagram I found myself coming across many accounts using body positive tags, and importantly tags created by fat people, on weight loss posts and I’ll be honest, it got my heckles up.

It’s a hotly debated issue whether you can actively lose weight and claim to be body positive. I feel that the two are not mutually exclusive per se; you can advocate for people to be respected and loved regardless of size. But I draw the line at using fat positive tags for weight loss posts. I also resent how, when using said tags, there is then the use of health as justification for this.

Dieting, in of itself, is fatphobic. Despite scientificevidence that suggests long term weight loss is impossible for the majority it is still a practice that is actively encouraged. Why is this?
Many people explain that they are losing weight to be “healthier”. This is a fatphobic statement, suggesting that fatness equates to poor health. It is assumptive and wrong. Thinness does not equal health. You don’t need to lose weight to be “healthier”, nor do you need to lose weight to work on your fitness. There are plenty of fat people in the world who involved exercise and fitness regimes into their lifestyles. There is a difference between making healthy goals; i,e walking more, drinking more water, taking more supplements to “I want to be healthy so I will lose weight.”
Health is different for every individual and there are many factors to consider, such as mental health and chronic illness. Using the size of your body as a framework for something as complex and individual as health is ill-considered.
Personally, if people want to lose weight, that is entirely their choice. But when you are actively participating in fat positive/body positive spaces I think you need to examine your reasons why you choose to participate in diet culture, a culture that actively oppresses fat people; a culture that is used to humiliate and degrade fat people and to eradicate fatness. Consider that assumptions about health in relation to fatness don’t come from nowhere and that we can all be influenced by a fatphobic society.

There’s an increasing attitude within the BOPO/fat-posi movement that when people make criticisms of diet talk within these spaces they are somehow being “negative” or insensitive to other people’s personal journeys or lifestyle choices. Critiquing the content within our own movements is not negative, it’s necessary. We do not move and grow if we can’t examine our own contributions and the ideals we uphold. Weight loss may be a choice but it is unfair to ask these spaces to reassure people that they can stay comfortable in their “choice” to uphold fatphobic ideals.

 

It’s unfair to use fat positive media circles to promote yourself, while systematically upholding the idea that thinness is the standard for beauty and health.
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Christmas Belle: Featuring We Love Colours review and Lindy Bop.

I don’t know about anyone else but this festive period has been oddly hectic for me, hence why I’m only sitting down now and doing my Christmas blog!
Given I’m a little tardy to the party I feel it’s only fair I go super festive to make up.

ruby thunder, Ruby Thunder, plus size alternative bloggers, plus size, fatshion, alternative

I’m so festive I could vomit baubles. Though probably best I don’t. Instead I’ll just enjoy all the colours.

So Lindy Bop had a sale before Christmas and I took a punt on this top. Mostly because it’s the dreaded dual sizing so I wasn’t sure if I’d be comfortable.
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This top is SO stretchy. I don’t think you could go beyond a 26 in it but I fitted comfortably in it. The material isn’t too heavy but substantial enough to feel secure in.

ruby thunder, Ruby Thunder, fatshion, plus size blogger, plus size alternative bloggers, alternative

A couple of months ago I won a pair of tights from We Love Colours on one of their Instagram competitions. I was super excited because I’ve been lusting after a pair from them for so long and now I had a chance to pick a pair for FREE!

I opted for a block colour pair in the Kelly Green.

How’s that for a splash of colour?! I got these in a size EE, which is the largest size they do. Their sizing chart goes by height and weight but as a rule I get the largest size wherever I shop. I’m a size 26 and these fit perfectly. They are huge. Honestly, I could pull them up right under my boobs and I reckon I could have gotten a little more out of them. Very impressed by the sizing.

What I really loved was how the depth of colour was not compromised by my big legs. On my thigh you can see a thin line. This seems to be where the material slightly changes. It feels a little thinner between the legs, and while I didn’t wear them for the full day I could tell they might be an issue, which is a bit of a disaster with the old chub rub so I would highly suggest wearing some little shorts underneath. I know that kind of sucks with tights but I guess if you want longevity out of the product you gotta go what you gotta do.

ruby thunder, Ruby Thunder, fatshion, plus size blogger, plus size alternative bloggers, alternative

While the colour is still thick they do still show tattoos so if you’re trying to cover up you might want something thicker. You can still see a feint outline of my shin tattoo. But then you could always just distract them with this wild colour, right?!

Outfit deets:
Skirt: Modcloth
Shoes: Hush Puppies 
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She’s A Beach: A Farewell To Summer.

That’s it folks. All 5 days of it. /sarcasm.
Summer is over and with it the cooler nights drawing in quicker and leaves starting to tumble around us. Looking out of my window as I write this I see a grey sky and so I wanted to give a wistful farewell to summer. I felt this was also appropriate given a lot of negativity surrounding the plus size community with Nicole Arbour and recent let downs from Lane Bryant and Evans.
This isn’t a particularly ground breaking outfit but it was to me. This summer was the first time in my life that I wore a short skirt and my bare legs out.

Ruby Thunder, plus size
Fat girl with legs out; world falls into anarchy and chaos. Or not.
As someone who’s pretty dang fat, and has been for most of her life, I can’t tell you the fear that comes with baring your flesh. My tattoos have given me the confidence to bare my wobbly arms, and mostly because I loathe being too hot. But legs? My legs have always been a point of weakness for me.

Ruby Thunder, plus size
Strolling along that beach I almost felt angry at myself because the wind and the sun on my legs felt so amazing and I had denied myself it for so many years. But I had to remember that I’d also spent the majority of my twenty nine years being told that my body should be hidden, that it was disgusting to see, so how I felt had never really come into it. Turning your back on many years of learned, toxic self hatred takes time, so I let the disappointment pass and actually enjoyed how my body felt felt for once in my life.

Ruby Thunder, plus size

Sometimes you have to take a risk.
I’m glad I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. To know I can do this, that it’s another step towards loving myself and not punishing myself for looking the way I do, as though I should be ashamed.
Plus that sun feels damn good.
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The Curve Fashion Festival 2015

I’m on a count down. Only three weeks until the Curve Fashion Festival in Manchester!

What’s The Curve Fashion Festival?

Well let me tell ya! CFF is a fantastic new event this year taking place at Manchester Central Exchange Hall. There’s oodles of plus size fashion related fun waiting for you with confirmed brands including Asos, New Look, Boohoo, and Evans as well a bunch of indie brands to name a few!

What can I expect there?

There’s going to be catwalks, celebrity panals, pop up meet and greets, shopping stalls from lots of fabulous plus size brands. Oh and did I mention there’s a campagne bar and afternoon tea restaraunt?

Zoowee mama! You said celebrity panalists. Who’s going to be there?

Tess Holliday, Hayley Hassellhoff, Style Me Curvy blogger Louise O’Reilly, and Nicolette Mason are but to name a few of the faces you’ll see!
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There’s a bunch of information about the event, including information about the venue itself and how to get there. You can find this, and more, at http://www.thecurvefashionfestival.co.uk/

This is a ticket only event! So don’t miss out and grab yours here: http://www.thecurvefashionfestival.co.uk/tickets2.html

I’m super stoked for this event. Will I see you there?
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