Drowning In Jersey

…Otherwise known as… plus-size window shopping! Actually that’s rather unfair, and I’m going to try and keep my bitching to a minimum. Wish me luck!

Recently the workhorse of British plus size, Evans, held a twitter conversation with their web-savvy consumers asking them what they wanted to see in the new autumn collection. This was a brilliant idea and it’s great to see a brand interacting with their customers in this way. Inevitably we asked them to tie in more closely with catwalk trends – at the moment these are the tough vs romantic combinations: studs, zips, structure and mesh jostling for space with feminine drapes, chiffon, and nudes. To Evans’ credit, they have incorporated on trend elements in to their clothes. But like Simply Be before them, they’re only in context of their usual tunics. Here are some examples (please excuse my exhausted post gym face and hair, by the way!):

Trend 1: Structured Shoulders

This particular tunic/dress has a special tag on it exclaiming “straight from the catwalk!” And yes, power shoulders have been present throughout the year on catwalks and, increasingly, in the high street. But even with the eyelet design in the back, there’s nothing particularly striking about this garment – it does look and feel like someone’s sewn a couple of shoulder pads into a t-shirt. Of course this makes a great base for accessorisation, I understand that, but surely it’s not such a stretch to create a statement piece in itself? Or am I asking for too much?

I did turn the tunic round to see if that made a difference:

Slightly better – if a little risque in the cleavage area!

Trend 2: Studs

Sorry, ignore my bare legs!

Being brutally honest here: when I picked this top off the rack, I let out a large groan. But, happily, it looked much nicer and more sensical on my body than on the hanger. The material was still viscose, but unstretchy. It still had no form to it, however.

Admittedly the photos here don’t do the draping of this tunic justice. One thing I will say in Evans’ favour is that while they use jersey and viscose far too much than is neccessary, it is least of a decent quality! Not quite sure what the parachute leads are for, but overall this did look rather nice. I also turned this around to see what it looked like – unfortunately to stop it from being NSFW I ended up strangling myself a bit. Ha!

Sigh. I do feel immensely guilty ragging on Evans in this way. They have the thankless task of catering to plus size women of all ages and all tastes, all over the world! No wonder they have to dilute trends down to something accessible. But on the other hand, they are the elder sister of the Arcadia clan – surely they can emulate some of their trendier siblings‘ apparel fairly easily?

I’m not sure what the answer is. Perhaps more capsule ranges? The sales figures aren’t in for the Ditto range yet, but I’m guessing it was incredibly successful…

I did venture into other stores (even a non-Arcadia one, gasp!) although I still looked thoroughly miserable! Here you go with some pics:

Dorothy Perkins:

Military Dress/Knitted Dress

New Look – Inspire

Studded Bandau/‘Beaded’ Bubble Top/Colour Block Tunic

What do you think? Is the curse of viscose something us plus sizers have to just deal with? Am I being really whiney for no good reason? Should I just suck it up and start wearing leggings?

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24 Responses to “Drowning In Jersey”

  1. Sarah Says:

    Outside of the Beth Ditto stuff, Evans is kind of uninspiring at the moment, but I can’t think of anything constructive to suggest. Well, I can, I guess: I want some younger, less frumpy, more exciting skirts; many x more dresses with fewer fussy details… actually, if they could get rid of the fussy frills and embroidery altogether, that’d be a good start.

    That first New Look dress looks good on you, from what I can see in the picture?

    • thepocketrocket Says:

      Totally agree – there were a few standout skirts this year, such as the pink striped one and I am actually wearing a black and white checked, tutu-esque mini with a giant bow from them. But they do tend to churn out ankle length gypsy skirts like no one’s business.

      The New Look stuff was rather nice, actually. Unfortunately I am a bit poor at the moment!

      • Sarah Says:

        I am gutted I missed the pink striped skirt, I must admit. I’m too poor to be looking at clothes, really (I currently have two DP tabs open with dresses I desperately want but a) can’t afford and b) know wouldn’t fit me anyway!) and I guess I missed that out through poverty. There’s maybe one skirt I like on the Evans site at the moment, and I know that’d be too short on me. I need cute mid-length skirts!

      • Sarah Says:

        (P.S. It’s this dress and this one. No way in hell they’d be long enough, or that the waist would be in the right place, but omgwant!! nonetheless.)

  2. Bethamint Says:

    I’m in love with that military dress on you!

  3. Bethamint Says:

    Also, how come none of those things are on the inspire website? *sob*
    No fair!

  4. Emmie Says:

    I like that colour block tunic. How far down does it end? I’m going to London in.. 3 days and I’m looking forward to some serious shopping. Sweden had very little to offer in the plus size section.

    • thepocketrocket Says:

      Yeah, I’ve been to Sweden a couple of times and never been able to find anything decent! The top is quite short – for reference, I’m 5’1″ so I’m fairly lucky I can just about get away with it as a dress… Have you seen the Too Fat For Fashion London guide? If not I’ll dig it out for you, it’s pretty good!

      • Emmie Says:

        I haven’t seen it but I’d LOVE it if you could send me in the right direction. I’m hoping to get some really good shopping on. I’m only bringing one dress, one top, a pair of jeans a pair of leggings and a tunic/short dress. Some of which I’m wearing on the day we go. Should be great!

    • thepocketrocket Says:

      Awesome! Here’s the post: http://toofatforfashion.blogspot.com/2008/01/dirty-is-in-her-lovers-arms-it-is.html

      I miss that blog. By the way, I think I may have to refund you for the purple dress you’ve bought from me – will explain in an email :(

      • Emmie Says:

        Oh thanks!

        Do you live in London btw? I’m trying to find out which new look has the inspire range and their website has ALWAYS been less than helpful in the past (claiming they carry it in certain stores and then you turn up and they don’t, bohoo!) So if you know where to look for it..

    • thepocketrocket Says:

      I live just outside of London, in Essex – the two New Look’s nearest to me carry Inspire, though they’re pretty small! As far as I know, the flagship store in Oxford Street/Marble Arch has Inspire, and if you find yourself in Westfield shopping centre they stock it too. Hope that helps!

  5. Val - Blog to be Alive Says:

    Evans is always hit or miss for me. I go to London 2/3 times a year to stock up on clothes and either I found a lot there or nothing. This Summer I found quite a few nice things like a boyfriend jeans that for once wasn’t too baggy and a frilly pink blouse.

    I really love a lot of Dorothy Perkins stuff but the 22 sells out always so quickly. Also I wish they had more stuff in the tall section because at 5ft7/8 their dresses are like tops on me. lol

    • thepocketrocket Says:

      Yeah, it’s such a shame! It’s great for well made basics, but the target demographic seems to be for women much older than me and you.

      I so understand about DP. And it never fails to annoy me how they refuse to stock above a size 18 in most physical stores (especially in central London and more affluent areas), forcing the rest of us to order online. I try not to refer to DP as a plus size retailer since there are so many fashionable women in larger sizes who must feel excluded, AND they try and bury the larger sizes as much as possible anyway! And yeah, there definitely needs to be a better range of tall fitting clothes!

      Oops, sorry for the rant. :) x

      • Val - Blog to be Alive Says:

        Rant away please! lol ;)

        I have never been able to find something in 22 in a DP store. They’be recently started shipping to Belgium so I ordered a couple of things but definitely had to be careful what to chose because of the lenght problem. I really don’t get why they don’t have 20/22 in stores. It seems to be a really popular size in The UK.

    • thepocketrocket Says:

      Apparently it’s to do with logistics, floor space… yawn! All excuses if you ask me.

      I think it’s be a great idea for retailers to list the lengths of their items. I know that’s something I’ve always found useful when online shopping.

  6. Kirsty Says:

    im loving that military dress xooxox

  7. Teegs Says:

    I think that purple stripey number is effing awesome, and you WORK IT/OWN IT something chronic.

  8. Pix Says:

    the military dress and the last dress are AMAZING on you.

  9. savedforbest Says:

    Yep, military dress looks awesome on you.

  10. manda Says:

    i agree with everyone above me, the military dress is HOT on you!

    also i have that first new look dress :D i picked it up for £9, i haven’t worn it yet as i barely ever go out but i love it anyway xD

    p.s. sorry this comment is on such an old post, i always read my way through blogs from the very beginning.

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