What this post’s techincal title should be is ‘What I did on my day off a week last friday when I got paid’. Yup, thats right, I’ve had this post in my head for all that time and havent done it because I seemed to have lost the blogging mojo.
But yeah, after getting my hair cut short and dyed brunette (yup you heard that right, I did two of my 30 before 30 list….brave girl I am!), I went on a trip to Meadowhall in Sheffield with Jem. Why? Because I’d asked Evans if their stores were stocking the new collection, and if so, where; and when their reply came via twitter, Meadowhall was the nearest to me.
Now, I’d been lusting after this collection since I saw it in various publications and mostly after Chattermonkey had tweeted about her favourite bits and pieces too. Having seen the colours and prints I just knew that the range had me all over it….alot of it was the sort of items that I’d been longing for and dreaming of for a while….how wrong I was!
So, it was conviently placed right at the front of the store, and on the rails it looked as lovely as I’d imagined….all satins, chiffons, and patterns and colours galore…..basically the dream clothes I’d been wanting since I’d started having to shop at Evans at age 16. I thought all my girly wishes had been granted and these would be the show-stopping clothes to get me the job, the man and everything else to boot (yeah, I put far too much empathisis on what clothes are going to do for me!)
I picked up the grey pleat dress, pink pleat skirt, pink rouched dress and rose tunic top….to get an idea of why I wanted them, and what I’d thought I’d look like in them, I’m being generous and giving you the promotional pictures Evans produced for the range and the items I liked. I’m not going to start on the model, because well most plus size retailers use models that are fashion plus size and not proper plus size and thats not what the post is about either.
So yeah, couldnt snag a picture of the rouched dress, but as you can see, gorgeous photography, styling etc….at least imho. So, you’re wondering what happened next right?
Well, I tried the stuff on….
First up my favourite combo of the top and skirt. Now, Evans currently has a big ‘shop your shape’ thing going on, and if we’re following the rules, detail on top, keep it simple on bottom should work for a pear shape, right?
WRONG! Seriously, I came out of the changing room, and Jem burst into laughing, as did I….want to see why?
Now, in this picture I look taller than normal, but I think thats the angle! I’m aware at a size 26-28 I’m not going to look exactly like the girl in the picture, but what you cant see is the fact the skirt is puddling around my feet and the top was so tight on the arms and shoulders I couldnt move properly. And I’ve definitely lost a little bit of weight recently as my clothes I’ve had a few years have become looser over the last few months….odd how this stuff didnt actually fit….but anyway, I look like a maiden aunt…..I’d imagined that the skirt would have been a floater fabric and skim off my hips and even my bottom half out, and that the top would have fitted nicely and draw attention to my smaller upper body….instead it looked just frumpy! And I’m 5ft7, so its not like I’m short and thus the proportions would be entirely out.
So, would you like to see what I can only call ‘Sara does Victorian Workhouse chic’? Well, you’re going to anyway!
So, the length was the most unflattering I’ve seen in a long time, and whilst my middle to bottom half is my bigger parts, I’ve never looked bigger than in this. I will say that I think if you’ve sizeable lady lumps, this may look alot better on you…..it might drop off that part a bit more, but btw, none of this collection had any labels or advice to tell us what we *should* be wearing for our shapes, so Evans, if this was meant for Busty folks, then my bad, but I went with what I thought would suit me, and what I like.
You want to see the last look now, right? Now, this dress was the one that I was completely and utterly certain would make me look as good as I sometimes feel…why, well because I’ve a dress of a similar cut from about three years ago from Evans, in fact have two
Again – WRONG!!
Apologies for the blurry picture! I was starting to worry that I’d get rumbled as I was in the changing room right next to the bit where the sales assitant stands! Anyway, what’s wrong with it, I hear you cry, well I’ll tell you! The boob bits make me look very saggy in the chesticals, and I’ll testify to the fact I wear properly fitting bras so my boobs werent like that in my own clothes. The line of the chest should, imo, be waist height rather than empire line…..I’ve never known a plus person go ‘Ahh, yes, empire line please’ given that its the most unflattering of cuts to the majority of body shapes. Then it flares out at the wrong place, drawing your eye right to my stomach….which is what we’d all want to do, right? The length of it again was an unflattering one, and I’ll point out once more that I’m taller than the average Evans customer……I did work as a sales assitant for them for about oh, two months, and most regulars are a couple of inches shorter than I!
I was going to include a picture or two of me looking good in previous Evans ensenbles, but I cannot find a picture that is full length or at the least I dont have either a drink or some food in my hand! Apparently I seem to only let people take pictures of me sitting down and from the chest up!
Anyway, when I came out of the changing room and got asked whether anything was good, I could help but speak my mind….especially as she’d have overheard me disparaging how I looked and seen Jem laughing her socks off along with me! The assitant in question was about 5ft4, 5ft3, and held up the outfits to her, showing that they’d be an even worse length on her….
I was so dishearted by the experience…..I’ve been a fan of Evans for the last 13 years, and as it was the first place I shopped as a plus size, it had a special place in my heart….until now, I’ve always been able to find stuff I like and suits me….afterall I know what suits my body and what colours and patterns work on me, so why wouldnt I? I had such high hopes for this range, and in some ways it delievered….the colours were lovely and the patterns much more on trend than previously found. But as this is supposed to be a premium range, how can it be justified that its twice the cost for the same sort of fabrics that you’d find in the main collections? I’d expected luxury fabrics and spot on cuts, after all, it’d be a fair chunk of money if you were to invest in one of these pieces…..other higher priced ranges spring to mind, Ann Harvey in particular, from whom I got the dress I wore to my sister’s wedding (until recently they’ve not had that much that suited my age, but a wedding you can go a little older in styling I reckon). I looked fantastic, felt fantastic, and expected the same from Evans, no better actually as in my head Evans is the market leader but that might just be because in my home town they were the only store for plus size girls at one point
Is it so hard to find clothes that make me feel like my age? Which is 29, not 49 plus size retailers!! I’ve had a mooch on ASOS before now, but yet to purchase from them so I cant comment to whether the items live up to the online photos. But most other stores fall into one of two camps – younger and trendier, cheaper too but never quite with the sort of classic look I like, or higher in price for the sort of items in fabrics and cuts I’d love to have in my wardrobe. Cant someone somewhere sort it out? There are enough voices within the Fatshion blogging community for retailers to be able to find the right fabrics and cuts that work for larger people….hell, I see more stuff in main lines in shops that would work beautifully if they made it in plus size than I do in plus size itself….something I was aware of as I had to trapse yet again through New Look’s main floor to hidden away plus size range that never seems to have the same trends as the main range…..sometimes the same patterns, but in different cuts, and rarely the same colours….although I will say that I think that their S/S range this year was very promising and their A/W has a few good things, although if I was giving a school report, it would say ‘must do better’.
All any plus size girl wants is to look as good as she feels, for her own style to be reflected in what she wears. I’m not anti any plus size retailer, and especially not Evans. In fact I will always continue to shop at them all, because I can remember where it all once was, and we’ve definitely made strides into closing the gap between plus size and so called normal ranges. But closing is not closed, and I still long for the day I can look exactly how I want to, in beautiful dresses, skirts, blouses and tailoring.