Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Why clothes swaps rock, and my finds - by Sophie

Introducing Sophie, a regular Plus Swap attendee, with her view on our Plus Swaps...

Two weekends ago, I attended the Plus Size Clothes Swap. It was the third time I have attended this and every single time, I have picked up a veritable hoard or awesome clothes and come away feeling a million dollars! At the most recent one, I gathered a collection of fun clothes including t shirts, jeans and a beautiful dress (see photo's below). But the one before I basically got a full work wardrobe without spending a penny.

Before I go on about why I think the Plus Size Clothes Swap is amazing, I want to tell you about why I hate clothes shopping. Because for me at least, the two are intricately linked.

I despise clothes shopping. I know I just said that, but I really want to impress upon you how much I dislike the process. Given the fact that I have had a bit of a body image revolution over the past couple of years and feel extremely happy with my body these days, nothing is more likely to send me into a spiral of self-loathing as quickly a having to go and buy clothes from a shop.
Sophie at the October Swap

The whole process from start to end is depressing. Firstly, I wander from shop to shop where I have something in mind which I need/ want. Then comes the filtering process where I look for my size. Often to find that they don't go up to my size, often stopping several sizes lower. I then dejectedly stop looking for clothes I like, things I think look good in or would suit me. I go doggedly back through the stores I just visited desperately looking anything that is made in my dress size. Finding woefully limited options, I already feel tired and heart broken that it seems to me that pretty things are reserved for thin people - or at least, for people who are not fat.

With a heavy heart I select a range of what look like giant mis-shapen carrier bags on hangers (I am stunned at how few mainstream plus size clothes have absolutely no shape or style) and try them on, trying to convince myself that they might 'look good once they're on'. It is this part of the process that upsets me the most and has on many occasions pushed me to tears in various changing rooms across the high street. These clothes are all too often horribly tailored, with no account for different body shapes with no space for boobs, hips or belly. Or with the assumption that all Size 20 women are 6ft 4inch tall Amazons. If I can even do the things up they often look gastly, looking like the aforementioned giant carrier bags. But before I even get to put the clothes on, there is taking my own clothes off.

Standing in a cramped changing room, surrounded by mirrors in harsh light, on my own I catch sight of myself and after a day of misery my low self esteem takes the opportunity to make pot-shots at myself. It's just awful and I often finish a day like this not buying anything at all and wanting nothing more than to hide in a cupboard for several years. Of course there are nice things out there, but I struggle to find the will to find them.

I am convinced that this of course is kinda the point of shopping. The process is designed to make anyone, of any shape and size, feel horrible. And in turn buy more things to try and make themselves feel better. The angles of mirrors in fitting rooms combined with the horrible lighting and cramped conditions would make anyone hate their body, obviously with a mind to make you feel better when you put on what ever item you are thinking of buying.

So imagine my elation when I attend an event, where this filtering process has already taken place? Where you are presented with a range of fabulous finds which suit all kinds of body shapes and types. Where you can try on a couple of pairs of trousers and they actually fit and look great! Where there is natural light and a proper full length mirror, with a bunch or lovely ladies who give honest, fair and very often extremely flattering feedback on how you look. Not only that, but everyone there is in the same boat, where you can see how gorgeous each and every one of the wonderful women (and even a couple of men) standing around you look and realise you are the same. Where being fat is not a crime or something to be ashamed of. Where we order cake and coffee and chat about nothing while rummaging through clothes. Safe in the knowledge you are not only being eco friendly by recycling but that this is all FREE.

As I said at the start, I leave the Plus Size Clothes swap with a huge haul, where I am excited to wear all the clothes I got and I feel amazing! I also love seeing the stuff I never wore of my own getting tried on by others and feeling pleased that those things look good on someone else. It's an awesome circle of fabulous fatties and I am proud to count myself as one of them!

Here's the clothes I picked up at February's swap :

Hope to see you at the next one! 

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Feb Plus Swap - Sarah

For our swaps we book a room upstairs in a city centre pub, drag loads of tables out and put all the clothes we have to swap on them and invite other people to join in! We only have size 16 and above clothes so that us larger ladies and gentlemen have an alternative to the regular size swaps and shop.

When you arrive you plonk all the clothes you have brought with you on the relevant table. (All the skirts on one table, all dresses on another table etc) Then help yourself to whatever you fancy. Simples!

At the end, we weed out anything which is a little small in size, keep a starter "seed" for the next swap, and send a box of donated stuff to a women's shelter. Can you imagine anything worse than being told you are too big for donated clothes when you have arrived at a shelter with nothing? I can't think of a worse punch in the stomach than that when you are starting again from scratch.

And here are the photos from today's swap. Some great stuff!

Monday, 17 February 2014

Feb Plus Swap - Jen's Finds

So its two days since our latest swap. I have to admit that it was a little quiet. In hindsight the day after valentines wasn't the best of days to have picked and the weather didn't help. That said we did have a few people turn up and they made the whole day worth it!

Here's what I picked up...

This wiggle skirt and top combo

This lovely wrap dress

This amazing sheer dress (I have a slip underneath)

This lovely matalan coat in a size 20

A very cool, very comfy sequin jumper


And in case you didn't notice them already
these amazing shoes!

The skull dress was the first thing I found and the one piece that made the day totally worth it for me! Also....SHOES! (Thanks Lydiffyr!)

Huge thanks to everyone who came along. The next one should be some time around May/June so keep your eyes peeled!

Next up Sarah's take on the day!

Monday, 10 February 2014

Plus Swap Finds - Trousers

Our next Plus Swap is less than a week away! So I thought I'd do another quick post of items I've found at swaps.

Although many of my favourite plus swap pieces are dresses and more fancy items, one thing swaps are great for is basics!

I don't know about you, but I hate spending lots of money on work clothes. I'd much rather spend money on going out outfits, shoes and fun things! So I was super happy to find these great basic pinstripe trousers at one of our swaps last year.

They're a size 20 in a really long length. I'm not short at 5ft 8in, but these are perfect length for big heels and fit like a dream! I wore these with a primarni vest top and cardi and a blouse that was also gifted to me by a friend. The wedge shoes are from eBay are my absolute fave. They make me about 6ft tall.

This picture doesn't do them justice as its taken from an odd angle.

All in all a bargain outfit. I can't wait to see what I find on Saturday. I have a few really nice pieces to give away too.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Plus Swap Finds

Hello everyone.

I made this blog as a website for plus swaps really, but also as a way for me (and Sarah too) to do the odd OOTD (outfit of the day) posts.

I've had a go at fashion blogging before and although I love it, I didn't have the motivation to keep it up. So if I instead focus on showcasing some of the great pieces I've essentially got FOR FREE at plus swaps you guys can see what a great idea they really are!

I'll start with this pink dress I got at the first swap Sarah and I ran in Nottingham last year. It's a H&M dress in a pink hounds tooth fabric. Ultra comfy, 60s vibe and fun to wear.

I'm really not a pink person at all, but I saw this and loved it! It's something you can literally just throw over leggings and, in my mind, constitutes a whole outfit!

Worn today with my ankle height, cowboy boots and purple hello kitty glasses

More outfit posts with Plus Swap finds coming soon!

Don't forget its now only 3 weeks on Saturday until the next Nottingham Swap! Details of the event can be found on our facebook event via our facebook fan page!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

February Plus Swap

Next event 15th Feb 2014 at Via Fossa Nottingham.

Click here to RSVP on the facebook event!