5 ‘Plus’ Floral Frocks

Here in Vancouver we are more than familiar with the old saying “April showers bring forth May flowers,” living in a rain forest on the West Coast….here are a few beautiful floral dresses perfect for those of you who wear ‘plus’ sizes to look sunny and bright even when it’s pouring outside.

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Above: Kimmy Floral Illusion Midi Dress, found here.

This dress is SO perfect as the long sleeves will keep you wearing it into cooler seasons, and for now is perfect for warmer days and cooler nights–you can go out and not have to worry about quite so many layers. The dress is great with a nude heel as shown, and the many different colours give you so many options of which colour to bring out when you wear it.

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Above: Joe Browns ‘Days Gone By’ Dress. Found here

Love the painterly quality of this floral print. It looks like a watercolour masterpiece that should be on display in a museum!

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One thing about florals is that more often than not they err on the side of sweet, dainty, and slightly more on the youthful side. The Shania Painterly Print Dress above dashes all those common floral pitfalls–you’re ready for a night out of fun with this bright, curve-hugging number.

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Above: Joe Browns “Vintage Flower” dress, found here

The muted colours on the black background is so polished, and so versatile! With a wicker hand bag and flats it’s good enough for a weekend brunch, with patent pumps and bright accessories you could be ready for a wedding. We also  love the nod to vintage with this neckline-very Sophia Loren.

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Above: Floral scuba knit dress by Forever 21, found here.

For those of you who loathe vintage, this pick is for you. The scuba fabric, the subtle overlay of the geometric shapes, and zipper keep this flowery dress in modern territory.

5 Fresh ‘Plus’ Picks

Exciting things have been happening in the world of ‘plus’ size clothing with brands making their size diversity more accessible than ever. Here are a few of our current faves in a variety of styles that would be perfect for spring. Click the picture for shopping details!

Excerpt: On the Conspiracy Against Plus-Size Women

 

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Above: From the JIBRI Spring 2010 lookbook. Image found here.

When well-meaning editors want to feature body diversity in fashion, they run into another set of problems. In order to include items of clothing in a fashion editorial, an editor has to request samples from brands (or their PR agencies) for the photo shoots, which happen several months before the issues are on stands. But for most young indie labels, producing samples a full season in advance isn’t financially viable. And though a major label like Calvin Klein or Michael Kors may create clothing in sizes up to 24, they typically produce just one set of samples each season to lend to editors for photo shots–and they’re created only in a fashion-world-friendly size 2 or 4. So even if an editor books a plus-size model for a story, she’ll have to struggle to find plus size clothing for the shoot or somehow locate the very rare designer who makes editorial samples larger than XS.

-from “The Invisible Woman” by Nicolette Mason in BUST Aug/Sept 2013

Fashion Blogging is not Dead. Our Conversations are.

By: Arij Riahi

With each passing season, a new writer adds a nail to the fashion blog coffin. The critiques are plural, but they seem to be articulated around two major ideas.

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Image above on R29 via NY Times here.

First, there are the likes of fashion journalist Suzy Menkes who, with a hint of elitist nostalgia describes the fashion blogosphere as a “circus of people who are famous for being famous.”

Second, there is the thoughtful ex-blogger who’s been on the scene since its pioneering year of 2006, and who now laments the directionlessness and sterility of the current fashion blogoscape.

Historically, an increased frequency in the use of the “… is dead” expression signals not a death, but the transformation of a cultural phenomenon. Nietzsche and paperless gurus are a testimony to that. To put it plainly, fashion blogging – like religion and the paperback – is not dead, but evolving. Devolving, maybe. But it is changing.

Speaking on this change, Jennine Jacob, fashion blogger and founder of the Independent Fashion Bloggers network, writes :

Whatever it was, I noticed there was a trend of general decline in interest in personal style blogging. People aren’t leaving as many comments, and the commenting on the big ones are mostly blogger-spammers promoting their own sites. Content on personal style blogs had become minimal, some just listing their clothes. Others just talking about what they ate for breakfast, or how they were so excited to work with this brand or that brand. Bloggers who “make it” aren’t just cute anymore, they have business plans, niches, a specific purpose other than broadcasting their own vanity.

And therein might lie the main difference in fashion blogging from its early days (think LiveJournal and MyStyleDiary, circa 2005). There is a definite move away from conversation and towards strict consumerism. The average personal style blog is a list of purchased items and retail locations. Fashion blogging in general has been commodified, and the success of a blog is measured through entrepreneurial lenses.

A good example of this is the evolution of fat-fashion blogging, from the early Fatshionista conversations to its current days. An article aptly titled  “Fatshion Police : How Plus-Size Blogging Left Its Radical Roots Behind” discusses the idea at length. In a nutshell, “…while fat fashion blogging has cracked into the rarified world of the trend piece, fat activism is struggling.”

I’ve noticed a similar evolution in “do-it-yourself” fashion blogs. I see some of them selling DIY kits to create an item at a price comparable to the retail value of the item…new. The idea of spoofing this by creating a step-by-step DIY-DIY-kit did run through my mind. I also saw a blogger feature a completed DIY project they created on their site, but linked to a paid publication to view the full step-by-step tutorial. The point here is not to ask DIY-ers to be faithful to the punk origins of the notion. I question, though, how an idea that grew out of a rejection of mainstream capitalist consumerism could turn so easily into mainstream capitalist consumerism.

I understand the reasons for monetizing a blog. The choice of compensation (why and how) is a personal one. I also understand how access to high-profile gigs and fashion job prospects might ease some frustrations about acceptance and representation in the industry.

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Above: Picture by Gunnar Larson, found on R29 here.

What I don’t understand is how or why it erases critical thought about that industry. I worry about the trend of fashion bloggers who were initially nurtured by a political community or driven by radical incentives, but end up turning their back on it once they “make it.” In this context, it seems unsurprising that the most important/popular fashion blogs are painfully straight, white, and upper-middle-class: why is it that fashion is “just fashion” only to those who feel included in the industry?

Scholar Jo Reger notes in an essay* how contemporary feminists use a, “consciously constructed look as a way to live out, on an everyday basis, their politics and ideologies.” Examining the ways in which young feminists construct fashion, she adds that the, “body becomes the location where larger issues are played out.”

I do find that there are a lot of larger, political issues in fashion– I like your camouflage coat, but I’d also like a conversation about the ethics of wearing military apparel. I don’t mind your luxury items, but I want to find out if it is craft(hu)manship or branding. I prefer a full tutorial, because I enjoy the agency that comes with wearing my own skirt. I have questions about second-hand clothing and the effect it has on African textile markets. I want to have these conversations, but I can’t find many spaces for them online.

I think that by narrowing down our fashion conversations, we miss the opportunity of reclaiming the body -the individual and the collective one- and highlighting how its presence, movement, and adornment is as an act of political resistance– not a commodity.

*Reger, Jo. “DIY Fashion and Going Bust: Wearing Feminist Politics in the Twenty-First Century.” Fashion Talks: Undressing the Power of Style. Ed. Shira Tarrant and Marjorie Jolles. SUNY Press, 2012.

Arij (Twitter: @arijactually) is a writer based in Montreal, Quebec. Favourite topics include law, colonialism, and pugilism. 

Fashion x Feminism: Major Fashion Stories This Year

We do a lot more in addition to producing original content daily here at The Closet Feminist–we also keep track of and promote fashion media relevant to our vision and values. We figure that recognizing good work where it is done is important, and helps to open up conversations that the fashion industry would rather brush quietly under the carpet.

From celebs declaring their feminism, to fatphobia with fashion’s major CEOs, we use our Pinterest boards to catalogue articles related to fashion and feminism that catch our eye–if you’re looking for something we tweeted or posted on our Facebook group and can’t find it, chances are we have pinned it to one of our sixteen boards.

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It’s also been interesting to see what kinds of stories have risen to the top of our radar this past year–see for yourself below.

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Background image from Elle Canada May 2013.

 

 

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