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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Nike enlisted as allies to the glory of obesity, or: Fat People Are Entitled To Clothes Too

I’m back! After a couple of weeks of being locked out of my WordPress due to an update issue a couple of dear friends have helped to get me back in. Aside from having to deal with a hacked blog post, I’m back.

With that in mind I do have a couple of posts lined up that I’ve had ready following on from LondonEdge but I’ve not had a chance to since having my issues. But I wanted to write this out first as it’s kinda current and I just wanted to share my thoughts on the matter.

You may be aware the recently Nike brought out a plus size range, enlisting bloggers Danielle Vanier and Grace Victory to model. Look at these amazing babes:

Source: Cosmopolitan UK

The response to Nike’s plus size range was completely predictable.

As with anything fat people do it’s all for the glory of promoting obesity, apparently, and that is not limited to wearing and using athletic clothing.

Thin people want fat people to stop being fat because “health!11!1” but make it difficult, if not impossible, to access the means to engage in things like exercise. When they aren’t attacking fat people for using a bike , they humiliate people at the gym like that piece of shit body builder Diana Andrews and model Dani Mathers, or when exercising in general. They don’t care about the process, they just want the end result.

See, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Thin people don’t actually care about our health. They don’t like fatness because we’ve all been conditioned to hate it but need to put a palatable face on their hatred that doesn’t make them look like a bad person, because how can a person who’s advocating for your well-being be a bad person?!

There’s also lots of gross assumptions that this clothing range should be embraced because it enables fat people to stop being fat (an actual thing I saw on Twitter). It should be embraced because fat people should have the same choice and opportunities as thin people.

Not all fat people exercise to lose weight.

Exercise should be a decision you make based on what is good for you and your well being and not because you have to meet some fucked up standard thin people think you should be trying to reach.

“At least they’re trying!” GAG.

Exercise can be a source of pleasure, strength, a means of socialising, and well-being. When I was trying to learn roller derby (and failing miserably) I felt amazing. I loved it. It made me feel good, I made friends in a strange new town, and having a hobby was fun.

It just highlights that no matter what you do as a fat person it’s never going to be good enough so do what pleases you and fuck those miserable arseholes.

 

 

 

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New Year, same shit.

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There’s been a trend among brands in recent months that, honestly, is pissing me off.

Christmas and New Year is always a rough time for anyone battling with body issues as it’s rife with jokes about feeling fat/eating everything/feeling gross and associating it with fatness. The usual rude associations with fatness. But what I find most galling with this is it’s a lot of plus size brands doing this. It’s bad enough that we have limited clothing options as it is without further narrowing our parameters to not include brands that are literally insulting their demographic.

new-year-new-you-bullshit

Fat people experience a lot of bigotry, they are more likely to receive inadequate health care due to biases levelled at them, if they even  drum up the courage to go because they are anxious about the fat shaming they know they will experience anyway, fat people see the incessant message that thinness is the ideal in every source of media they consume and now they are being shamed by brands that are allegedly catering for them?

Is there anywhere we can go where we aren’t being shamed?

This need to be relatable with brands often comes across as really corny anyway, but it’s harmless jokes about hating Mondays so whatever, but with then insipid slew of “New year, new you” bullshit is this sewer of fat shaming from brands who should damn well know better.

Here’s an concept: how about you focus on selling quality clothes for fat people and stop insulting us? Put as much effort into your twee and relatable social media as you do taking the time to learn about how clothing works for fat bodies, how to not charge us ridiculous premiums, and make clothes that are on trend and fun to wear? How about that,hmm?

 

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Lumber(ing)jack: Yours Clothing Checked Tunic Dress

yours clothing flannel shirt dress, alternative blogger, plus size alternative blogger, plus size blogger

It’s pretty magical (and lucky) to have a talented photographer as a friend. The weather has been pretty grim here; warm and damp reminiscent of spring, like it’s clinging on to the last vestiges of summer. But as our days off collided the weather brightened, and while still warm, had a more welcoming chill of winter than in recent days.

yours clothing flannel shirt dress, plus size alternative blogger, plus size blogger

 

She very graciously agreed to take some photos for me and so with the good fortune of lovely weather and a dog who needed a good walk we took to Grafton Woods for our amble.

I don’t know why I don’t come here more often. I miss my home and all the easy access to amazing scenery it brings and sometimes this affords me an opportunity to ‘get away’.

 

yours clothing flannel shirt dress, plus size alternative blogger, plus size blogger

 

I had recently purchased this tunic dress from Yours Clothing and I felt like it would be a crime not to traipse around the woods and not wear plaid. Not to be a cliche, but growing up in the 90’s I always coveted flannel but being fat and not having ready access to the internet I wasn’t able to own any. Now I get to live my grungy 90’s grrrl dream in my 30’s. Better late than never.

yours clothing flannel shirt dress, plus size alternative blogger, plus size blogger

 

I sized up with this because I wanted the oversized, baggy look. I was drawn to it because of the unusual colour combination. I’ve never worn rust before but it seemed to be a perfect match with my new hair colour.

yours clothing shirt dress, plus size alternative blogger, plus size blogger

The material is so soft, it’s gorgeous. Very comfortable to wear and not too heavy without being flimsy. It has rolled up sleeves secured with a silver popper, the same detailing down the front. This is great because you can wear it as a dress or open as a shirt with a basic t-shirt (or any kind of top you want!) underneath.

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As much as I love this I did have a little disappointment with it. I washed it before wearing it and in doing so it caused one of the poppers on the arm to come away, which I will have to sew back on. Disappointing as this isn’t a cheap item.

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I wore my lovely NYX Lip Cream in Copenhagen. I’m a real fan of them and I’m hoping to start building a collection.

plus size alternative blogger, plus size blogger

 

I’m wearing:

Tunic dress: Yours Clothing sizes 16-36(I can’t find this colour combination on the website. I bought mine instore so you might have more luck there.)

Boots: Dr Martens

Leggings: Evans sizes 14-32

Lippy: NYX in Copenhagen

 

Photography courtesy of ever wonderful Grace Johnston 

http://www.gracejohnston.co.uk/

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Another bopo bore.

Body positivity seems to be the new media buzzword these days. Gosh, that sounds cynical of me doesn’t it? Bear with me.
It’s no secret that our media promotes the insidious message of thinness being the archetype of beauty, success, and worthiness. This ultimate goal affects everyone who tries it: be it those who seek to attain it, or those who fight to maintain it. Every which way there is a problem for people to fix; trying to measure up to body types that, realistically, don’t even actually exist thanks to the power of Photoshop.

Everyone out there is battling with this toxicity that surrounds us. We’re all trying to come to terms with who we are and what we want for ourselves. But here’s the thing: some of us experience vastly more oppression and discrimination than others. That’s not to say that the expectations thrown at women are not harmful and painful for many but the oppression and discrimination levelled at fat people far outweighs that of thin people.
Body positivity, as a movement, is virtually unrecognisable anymore. Where it was once a tool to create spaces for the marginalised; be it fat people, disabled, POC, trans folks, and other groups, now it is a means for brands and media to appear to be sympathetic without having to actually acknowledge or cater for those marginalised groups.

Campaigns like #iamallwoman use the token call of body positivity to appear to give the middle finger to body policing while simultaneously upholding beauty ideals by using models who are typically attractive and –you guessed it-all thin.
Any criticisms levelled at these campaigns us met with disbelief, as though these meagre crumbs, that do not represent us are supposed to satisfy us. Promises of more inclusions to come, as though the radical inclusion couldn’t have just come in the first place.
This isn’t the fat community demanding that it be all about us, or that thin woman can’t be involved, but rather they, for one minute, take up the least proportion of representation. There are so many groups that can and should be represented that simply never are.  This is a movement for all but has now been co-opted for those with greater privilege to hijack a movement that doesn’t place them at the centre and call it unfair.

We are sick of being told that our turn is coming when it never does.

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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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Photoshoot with Velvet D’Amour

Back in November I bumbled my bumpkin’ butt down to London to meet with Velvet D’Amour for a photoshoot. 

I met with Velvet, and MUA Rachel Williamson, in a swanky apartment in Central London. They were immediatly warm and welcoming, with compliments and conversation flowing straight off the bat. I was so nervous because I’d never done anything like this and this was so out of my comfort zone. I was clueless as to what I was supposed to do. Velvet was so vivacious and her energy was infectious, and I soon started to loosen up a bit.
ruby thunder, Ruby Thunder, rubythunder.com, Velvet D'Amour, plus size alternative blogger, plus size blogger, fatshion

ruby thunder, Ruby Thunder, rubythunder.com, Velvet D'Amour, plus size alternative blogger, plus size blogger, fatshion

ruby thunder, Ruby Thunder, rubythunder.com, Velvet D'Amour, plus size alternative blogger, plus size blogger, fatshion

ruby thunder, Ruby Thunder, rubythunder.com, Velvet D'Amour, plus size alternative blogger, plus size blogger, fatshion

ruby thunder, Ruby Thunder, rubythunder.com, Velvet D'Amour, plus size alternative blogger, plus size blogger, fatshion

ruby thunder, Ruby Thunder, rubythunder.com, Velvet D'Amour, plus size alternative blogger, plus size blogger, fatshion

ruby thunder, Ruby Thunder, rubythunder.com, Velvet D'Amour, plus size alternative blogger, plus size blogger, fatshion

It goes without saying that I was floored with the results. Red and I had such a time choosing from the contact sheets. The experience was difficult at times; London is a hard place for me and because of my inexperience I felt I inconvenienced people at times but Velvet was gracious and understanding throughout the whole thing. I’m really glad for the experience. Sometimes it’s worth stepping out of your comfort zone and making fun things happen!

Images courtesy of Velvet D’Amour
Hair and makeup by Rachel Williamson
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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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The Curve Fashion Festival 2015 (part 2)

In this post I wanted to focus a little more on the festival itself. It’s more than obvious I had a great time. But what was actually going on?

The event was held at the Manchester Central Convention Complex. As the space is designed to hold events like this there was a noticable different to previous events I had attended, mostly the space. There were wider areas to walk around. However a lot of the stalls were bunched together and it felt a bit like a Christmas market. If you stopped to talk to someone there was soon a bit of a jam with people struggling to get past.

There was a great mix of brands; high end and high street to independent companies. Not just clothing either! There was jewellery, a photography studio, artists, and my favourite: a spa treatment tent offering massages, manicures, and pedicures from as little as £5! After a long day on my feet my foot massage was a life saver!

Andrew Wood Photography had a little pop up studio for you to strike a pose!

With it being such a long day seating and refreshements are pretty important and these were provided with a pop up shop offering sandwiches and hot pasties, as well as fresh fruit, and hot and cold drinks. The seating was ok, but given that this was an event catering to bigger people I think it might have been appreciated to provide better seating than flimsy metal chairs with arms. Not so easily accessible for everyone. But it was certainly appreciated to have a space to take a breather and catch up with friends.
 
Also importantly was everything was on one level, including the toilets, and they were situtated just outside the conference room which was better for disability access and not wandering around a labyrinth and missing out on all the fun! 
 
The catwalk felt quite inaccessable for many that had paid. It was situated quite far back and unless you were lucky to get the side seats you were standing up at the back just to get a look. This was disappointing as attendees were charged to view the catwalks and I felt the layout should have been fairer. 
 
Speaking of the catwalk, this part of the event was the only real disappointment for me. Considering this was an event to celebrate plus size and curvy people the models used by every single brand were thin (and predominantly white too.) Very disappointing that brands who are happy to take our money refuse to use our bodies to represent them. 
 
 

No shade to the models who were all beautiful and just doing their jobs, but I felt it was inappropriate and a bit of slap in the face to have a whole day dedicated to the plus size, only to be let down this way.
Needless to say I didn’t attend the second catwalk.

Thankfully this was the only real let down. The day was a roaring success and a great time had by all. I hope it continues to be a bigger, better event for years to come.

Did you go? What did you enjoy most?

 

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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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