First things first: It’s not cool when plus size ranges stop at a 24. Women bigger than a size 24 deserve new lines and products just as much as everyone else, and brands need to fix up and expand the sizes of their plus ranges as an interim measure, with an end goal in mind of merging the plus and regular ranges. With those limitations in mind, I want to say how much I’m enjoying Missguided’s new range for sizes 16-24. It’s not a million miles away from the site’s offerings for those under a 16, its prices are roughly in line with New Look and there’s already quite a lot launched in the range. This is my first of two posts featuring outfits from the new Missguided Plus range. Size-wise, it’s somewhere between bang-on and generous. I shouldn’t have sized up in trousers, which is something I do instinctively because I’m so used to brands fundamentally misunderstanding how bodies and proportions work. These dogtooth trousers are stretchy but fairly thick, so would fit really well in your usual size. This khaki duster jacket is light and chic and easy to throw on, and makes a nice change from black or pastel dusters for when I don’t want to go super femme. And I took this opportunity to acquire a hat, since I’ve been thinking about getting one for reasons unknown. I kinda like it?
AND, my babies, if you use the code PLUS10 you can get 10% off the chubster range at the moment.
And today I’m wearing Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Elusive, and a sweet / weird hand necklace that I made my mum buy me in Lefty’s when we were in Portugal.
Hello babies! Thank you so much for reading part one of my books roundup- I was so heartened by the response! It was particularly interesting that the book most people said they bought after reading my post was Apple Tree Yard, and I don’t doubt you’re going to love it.
The Easter Parade by Richard Yates
This was my 50th book in 2014 and I am so, so happy with that timing. Richard Yates is one of those authors I knew I would love if only I read anything by him, but after having seen the film of Revolutionary Road a few years ago, I feared it was all going to be such an emotional undertaking that I kept refusing to be ready for. I was right. I started with The Easter Parade, which is an emotional wringer of a book about an unremarkable life, career and series of loves. To me, it asked the question “could a life truly slip through your fingers?”, which is a frightening question to address as a young woman in what I assume are the ‘best years’ of my life. It’s devastating on mental illness, gender, aspiration and opportunity, and I suspect these elements will be present as I read more of his novels.
100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
I knew it was a mistake to make it to the age of 24 without having read 100 Years of Solitude. I read this on holiday in Portugal, where I was uncomfortably hot most of the time so enjoyed moments where I got to sit very still on a sun lounger and read in the shade. I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed that time half as much if I’d been reading anything else. I’m sure many more intelligent people than I have said many more intelligent things about 100 Years of Solitude, but I found it utterly captivating and enchanting and mind-bogglingly beautiful and infinitely surprising. Actually, on second thoughts, I think this is a better book to just experience, rather than talk about. If you haven’t read it, waste no more time!
Just Kids by Patti Smith
I downloaded Just Kids to read in New York this summer. I thought it would be a good accompaniment to strolling the streets of Manhattan, sometimes alone. It seemed doubly apt since on a previous trip to NY I saw Robert Mapplethorpe’s photos in the Guggenheim. Unfortunately, I started reading Just Kids the weekend before I went on holiday, and finished it the next day, so had to renew my quest for reading material. I didn’t regret it one bit. Patti Smith’s early life and friendship with Robert Mapplethorpe is enviable only in terms of the depth of their bond. The precarity of their lives, the biting winter cold, the lack of homes, the illnesses, the lack of money – none of it sounds romantic or fun. Their relationship and beginnings of their artistic practice, though, is fascinating and absorbing and insightful. Patti Smith writes as beautifully as you would expect, and the entire work is a joy.
What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt
In 2014 I read this book for the third time. I left many years between the first and second time I read it because there are bits of it I didn’t feel psychologically / emotionally ready to deal with again for a long time, but after numbing and bracing myself to it after a second reading, I decided to go in for a third. This is possibly my favourite book ever, which explains why I’ve devoted so much time to reading it when there are innumerable important works I’ve never read. The way Siri Hustvedt weaves fictional with real art and fictional art and real characters (people are always shocked when I tell them the last third of the book is based on real events) is extraordinary and compelling. There are moments in this book that make my eyes prickle when I think about them, and make you want to shout ‘no no no no why why does this have to happen’ in the same way as horrible, sad things happening in real life. The more I read What I Loved, the more I understand it, and I hope I am never in a position where I truly empathise. There is no one I wouldn’t recommend this to.
Carol by Patricia Highsmith
If there’s a book that’s made me want to fall in love every day, it’s Carol. I’m pretty sure that even if I didn’t know Patricia Highsmith wrote thrillers, I would still be here telling you that this has the pace, tone and momentum of a thriller without even being one. It captures early infatuation and obsession and all the good and bad traits these things bring out in you so incisively and so accurately it just makes your head spin and your heart ache. I don’t know anyone who’s read Carol without being completely enchanted and captivated. It’s liberating and refreshing in so many ways, not least the ending which I won’t spoil for anyone but manages to set itself apart from many other queer romances in the same vein. It’s sexy and beautiful and I raced through it. Todd Haynes’ film adaptation is looking like the highlight of my cinematic 2015 already.
Vita by Victoria Glendinning
I know the desire to be able to relate things to your own experience is a vain and pointless pursuit (why must everything be ‘relatable’?) but if I had read this book a few years earlier, I think it would have clarified many things about my character and how I want to do my life. There were passages about Vita’s nature that cut through my layers of artifice and self-deception and showed me a personality that, in some ways, was so close to my own that it chilled me. Although I have never and will probably never read any of Vita Sackville-West’s work, this biography is extraordinary. I have never enjoyed a biography so much, or taken so much away in terms of historical context. Victoria Glendinning writes beautifully, packing masses of detail about Vita’s interior and exterior life and loves and social environment into clear, clean, well-organized chapters. Accept no imitations – two reviews I read of a Vita S-W biography that came out this year stated that the critic wished they had just read the Glendinning biography instead.
Because I started on the Junarose Friends thing a little later than everyone else, I’m playing catch-up so here’s another post full of gorgeous perfect Junarose stuff. When I’m offered stuff of my choosing by kindly brands, I always gravitate towards EXCITING DRESSES or STATEMENT JUMPSUITS. After three and a half years of blogging, I’ve finally realised that maybe six days out of seven, what I want to wear is a top and trousers that fit me and look bitchin’. Based on this, I’ve resolved to turn any opportunities to acquire new clothes into opportunities to acquire clothes I’ll actually wear. Here is exhibit A. I love this outfit. I feel good, I feel like myself, I feel comfortable. I love the colours, everything fits exactly as I want it to, and life feels beautiful. I hardly ever own sensible black coats, so thought I should probably get one for when I have to go to work events and don’t want to stand out more than I already do by wearing bright pink outerwear or a leopard print jacket. This one is great, with deliciously wide lapels and deep pockets, and makes the perfect canvas for the lobster brooch my old colleagues got me when I left my previous job.
I am obsessed with this nail varnish. It’s the chic-est thing I ever did see. I picked it up in Superdrug 3 for 2 across all cosmetics (which is where I seem to magically lose a lot of my money) yesterday when I went in for an interim replacement for my luxury bitch YSL foundation which I’m out of. Essie in Eternal Optimist, you are a beauty.
And here is my happy little face, wearing Rimmel Exaggerate liquid eyeliner and my beloved Topshop Lip Bullet in Motel
New plus-size brand That Day were kind enough to send me an item from their range to try out, and I wore it on an afternoon out this weekend. I wanted something relaxed but that made me feel good about my appearance, and this chic shirt dress over some wet-look leggings seemed to fit the bill. It’s actually a really easy outfit and one I felt good in, and I feel like this shirt is a very big asset to the lazy girl’s wardrobe. Fit wise, everyone I’ve spoken to about That Day’s range has said it comes up small and I would completely agree. This is at least one size bigger than I would normally buy and it was quite close to being too small in the body but fine in the arms.
Resuming normal service after the interruption for my books post to show you that I took my new Cut for Evans jumpsuit out for a spin on the weekend. It’s the first time I’d worn anything from the new collection (I also have the sweater dress which I’ll be blogging at a late date), and it’s a great design. I love the chic, muted shades, but that it feels appropriate to wear in the daytime. I paired it with my beloved new trainers, which I was in desperate need of since I wore my Nike Blazers to death- I think pounding the streets of Copenhagen in the rain finished them off. Fit wise, the jumpsuit is definitely true to size but it’s important to know it has absolutely zero stretch. If you’re anything other than an hourglass shape, or if you have particularly chunky calves, you’ll probably struggle with this. There’s no room for manoeuvre, so don’t wear this on days where you need to do lots of bending down and wiggling around!
And a closer look at my excellent, comfortable trainers that are helping me walk with a spring in my step… (hope you enjoy a coquettish glimpse of my unshaven legs too)