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Oprah Winfrey’s Handbag Shopping Experience in Switzerland

Oprah’s recent shopping experience in Switzerland…

has opened a can of worms. Once again it raises the question of racism. Reaction in the Daily Mail has been quite negative with most comments on the article from August 14th being directed at Ms Winfrey being a little bit precious about her celebrity status in relation to being denied a look at the $38,000 handbag in question, most comments indicated that people didn’t necessarily feel it was a racism issue.

There are a couple of interesting points. Did the sales assistant recognise Oprah? If so and she deemed the handbag too expensive for her then whose purse is it not too expensive for? If she didn’t recognise her then why did the sales assistant not let Oprah look at the bag?

Cosmopolitan shopping

In Western Europe today we are a pretty cosmopolitan continent and yes racism does still exist but make no mistake we are surrounded by isms, age-ism, fat-ism, racism, immigrant-ism. We are divided by cultures, language and religions and a multitude of other factors. In addition there is a variety of tolerances of these factors. A lot of this lies under the surface and people make judgements every day about other people based on what they see and what they believe regardless of their beliefs being right or wrong.

My incorrect assumption about Oprah’s shopping incident

The reason the article caught my eye was that I initially assumed (incorrectly) that the sales assistant had denied Oprah access to the Jennifer Anniston handbag by Marc Ford on the basis she is a curvy lady and therefore couldn’t afford such an item. It never occurred to me that it might be because of Oprah’s skin colour – in fact my reading of the article suggests that it is Oprah’s opinion rather than a stated fact.

Perceptions and opinions

This is why it is interesting; we all have different perceptions and different readings of the same situation. I’m very tuned into the way larger women get treated in shops, I’m probably overly tuned in to this! But it is quite common, larger people do get treated differently, in shops, at work, in relationships and lets be honest it isn’t often different treatment in a positive fashion.

Our overall opinions and perceptions are very heavily influenced by the media and they constantly peddle their take on beauty and “acceptability”. It’s quite wrong and I for one am really pleased that there lots of bloggers out there promoting a different view, one that isn’t driven by main stream media. We are all human and our background, size, colour and creed should not dictate how we are treated.

It’s why we show all our collections on plus size models. Some people don’t like that but I feel that presentation of the clothing we sell should be reflective of and true to the audience we are serving.

Oprah’s opinin

Oprah is not wrong, she should have been allowed to view the bag and make her own purchasing decision regardless of price and really we don’t know why she was denied the opportunity, only the shop assistant knows. She’s a celebrity and she mentioned the incident and she now wishes she hadn’t, otherwise we’d never know about it, but I’m sure it happens regularly to many people.

Any customer going into a shop should be made to feel welcome and to view the merchandise for sale, otherwise why does the shop exist? Am I wrong?

Joanna


Quality plus size clothing and designer fashion For Women Size 14 – 28

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Colour Clashes Colour Wheel

Have Fun with Colour Clashing

Use Colour Clashes to energise your wardrobe

It’s time to be bold, take a step forward and add some colour to your wardrobe. It will add interest and is an instant way to add style to your look. It doesn’t mean you have to be loud (though you can if you wish!) Think of colour as a set of accents you can add to your look to create your personal style.

Is your wardrobe a rainbow, or a field of classic neutrals?

Most of us have at least a few colourful pieces mixed in with the staple blacks and navies and browns, but how many of us are ever brave enough to really mix it up and deliberately clash those brighter hues?
Using colour clashes is a fantastic way to breathe new life into your style, but it can be daunting too, so we’ve put together a few tips to ease you in gently (and avoid the ‘got dressed in the dark’ look!)

Start with small colour clashes

Look at what colours you have to play with – if you love blues, try mixing darker shades with a pop of aqua or turquoise for a fresh new look. If you have lots of greens, try wearing a lime green top with forest green skirt or cardigan. Clashing shades of the same colour is an easy way to experiment with the trend and see what works.

Create a colour clash with accessories

If you’re a slave to the little black dress, try piling on the clashing colours through accessories – a stack of bangles in neon pink and lime green perhaps? Or bright blue earrings with a lavender beaded necklaces. Our red pashmina: Would look amazing worn over a dark green dress or top. Shoes, scarves, bags and even hair accessories are a fun and inexpensive way to bring more colour into your existing looks.

Red Pashmina from Vida Moda

Colour Clash – Red Pashmina

Create Colour Clashes with handbags

An obvious way to add colour to your outfit is with a handbag. (we can ever have too many handbags!) They are particularly effective with darker colours because they are generally not “worn” on the item of clothing and attract attention in their own right. Why not try one of these from Vida Moda to create a colour clash you can be comfortable with?

Pink Satchel from Vida Moda

Pink Satchel Bag

Know which clashes work

Not all colour combinations work, but it’s easy to figure out those that do by using a colour wheel:

Colour Clashes Colour Wheel

Work out your Colour Clashes

Your best bets for a great clashing combo are:

Colours right next to each other (e.g. yellow &yellow-orange or yellow and yellow-green)
Colours straight across from each other (e.g. yellow and violet or blue and orange)
Colours that make a T (e.g. blue, orange, and violet-red or yellow, violet, and red-orange; yellow)
Or if you’re feeling especially brave:
Colours that make an X (e.g. blue, orange, violet-red, and yellow)

So, have another look at your wardrobe, see which colours you have to play with. Don’t be frightened, adding a dash of colour is a subtle way of energising an outfit so get experimenting!


Create your colour clashes with Vida Moda – women’s wear size 14 to 28

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What is a fashionable body shape and does it matter?

What is a fashionable body shape? This is an interesting question and has different answers in different contexts. A friend recently shared two photographs with us that illustrated this concept perfectly. The question is what makes one body shape more acceptable than another? The ultimate answer is none.

Changing Body Shape

Body shape has been and continues to be “valued” and viewed differently over time and it is also viewed differently in different cultures. Body shape changes through the decades and fashion trends emphasise different parts of the body. Think about Victorian body shapes and fashion styles; think about the shape of women in the 1950’s. Think about the shape of women today. In western society this is accentuated by coverage in the media and by people in positions of media influence promoting one body shape as being more attractive and acceptable than another.

No guesses as to what I’m referring to here. We are in a time where larger people are not viewed as favourably as thinner people. The fashion industry plays and has played an aggressive role in the promotion of “thin” women – anyone remember the “drug addict” look of very thin models made up with shadows under their eyes? Was this really considered to be attractive or was it just media hype?

Health And Body Shape

The government and health bodies also play a part in shaping peoples perceptions about body shape by claiming overweight people are more likely to suffer from health problems. In reality any extremes in body shape can cause health issues. So an emaciated person is just as likely to face serious health issues as a morbidly obese person. Larger people are criticised for their size to a degree that women who aren’t that overweight feel tremendous pressure to conform to an ideological shape that is more difficult to adhere to the older we get.

Consider the following two images (mentioned above) both are marketing images for very different brands. Both are celebrating women’s beauty but they sending very different messages. Someone even suggested that one of the photographs has been adjusted to change the shape of the models. I don’t know whether that is the case or not, you can judge for yourselves. What is clear though is that taste and style is subjective and people will make harsh judgements about body shape which to my way of thinking is a shame.

Body Shape Image for discussion about fashionable body shapes

Normal Body Shape?

Potentially the whole concept of what is a normal body shape is disappearing. The fashion industry doesn’t appear to recognise this. As a whole they largely still aim for a market aged between 16 and 34 and who are a “standard” shape and size. I’ve been to many trade shows where the manufacturers just can’t fathom women being over a size 16.

The reality of the matter is that body shapes and sizes are changing and probably not in a manner that will suit the fashion industry. So far the industry is struggling to recognise this and make clothes that are suitable for different body shapes and sizes. I’ll discuss this further in a follow up post.

Joanna

Vida Moda | Plus Size Clothing For Women With A Curvy Body Shape

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Go glow! Complete your look with spectacular skin

The secret to a great look is healthy looking skin. Winter is a cruel season, icy winds, central heating and fatty comfort food. Spring is round the corner, so here’s some tips to kick the winter look and bounce into a better season. Continue Reading →

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“It’s Martine… With Extra Curves”

The Daily Mail had an article last Thursday pointing out that Martine McCutcheon is currently more curvy than in her TV advert for Activia. Does it matter, it is really worth writing about? Those ads were probably made months ago. The article also quotes Miss McCutcheon as not wanting to fly a flag for being unhealthy and overweight or being too thin either.

It is sad that the Mail used Miss McCutcheon’s curves as a basis for the article which goes on to provide some publicity about her career. Why does it discuss her curves first (in a negative tone) and career second? Do we not enjoy her presence on our screens for her acting talent or do we all rush to watch her on screen because she has extra curves? It is equally baffling as on the same day the paper had quite a feature on “regular people” a set of 5 couples (all over 30) finding out what they thought of each others bodies after a number of years together. This article had a relatively positive tone about body image.
Curvy Marine McCutchoen looking Fabulous
So it was ok to talk about about body perception and weight with non celebrities in a positive fashion but then to subtly criticise Miss McCutcheon for her “extra curves”? Martine McCutcheon is a beautiful woman with a successful acting career and her weight fluctuates like a lot of other people and she looks fabulous regardless. There is no perfect weight and is sad that people automatically associate that being overweight means you are unhealthy. Being skinny can be also be bad for your health and I’m not simply referring to very thin people.

It is perfectly possible to be healthy and be over or under an accepted bodyweight for your height. And it is possible to look good too. Curvy is just as good and as beautiful as skinny, so if you are a curvy bird then hold your head up high and use your curves to express your personal style. Celebrate your talents, skills and achievements and don’t measure yourself on the basis of how other people think you look because of your weight.

Joanna

Image ©DFS

Joanna Davis | Vida Moda | Designer Fashion for Curvy Women Size 14 to 24

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"Big Sexy" plus size reality TV show

A “Big Sexy” Date For Your Diary

"Big Sexy" plus size reality TV showOn August 30th TLC channel launches a new reality TV show which follows the lives of five plus size ladies trying to break into the fashion industry. The objective is for the five belles (all New Yorkers) to alter the preconceptions of the size obsessed fashion world, challenge stereotypes and make plus size sexiness more mainstream. The show is also balanced with a look into the their personal lives and examines their relationships as plus size women.
At this stage of course it’s impossible to comment on the show as I’ve not seen it yet, but I am interested to see whether it will go anywhere near to achieving it’s objectives and to reading your opinions. Even if it doesn’t, well done to those ladies and the programme executives for taking on the challenge.

Joanna

Don’t forget it is the last few days of the summer sale at Vida Moda – If you are a “curvy bird” we’ve got a designer bargain for you! – Click Here to view our sale items.

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Does Dress Size Matter?

Does Dress Size Matter?

A recent survey using three-dimensional computerised body scanners of more than 11,000 volunteers aged 16 to 95 (male and female) found that the typical British woman is 5’4.5” tall and weighs 143.5 lbs. The average bust size is 38.5”, the typical waist is 34” and average hip size is 40.5”. Researchers at the London College of Fashion concluded that 38% of women are overweight and 12% are underweight. Although British women have become heavier in the last 50 years, we still have a way to go to catch up with American women.

The study was supported by the Dept. of Trade and Industry and retailers including John Lewis, M&S and House of Fraser. Shops that have been using the data have found a fall in the number of returned clothes and some have made adjustments to the size labeling of their clothes. This explains a lot. I have often looked at slim women and judged them to be a size 10 to 12 only for them to declare they are a size 0 – what is that? No such size ever existed before. Or likewise, judging someone to be a size 18 to 20 for them to declare themselves a size 14 to 16.

Manufacturer and retailer sizing systems vary and the only reliable way of finding your size is to know your measurements and trust that the labeling accurately reflects the garment’s dimensions. Generally, many of us tend to stick with brands whose fit and sizing we trust in relation to our own size and shape although the sizing may not strictly fall within the calibration for the generic size 12, 14, 16, 18…….. Of course, we all quote our size according to the most flattering sizing system.

So what happens when you are out shopping and you are between sizes when you find something you like. Do you buy the smaller size and promise yourself you’ll lose a couple of pounds and fit into it? Or do you buy the bigger size? I’d love to know! Add a comment with your view and share it.

At Vida Moda I take care to measure the clothes we stock because each brand is different and their designers interpret sizes differently. We publish the measures and size interpretations for each of the brands we carry so you can buy with confidence. I also comment on the general fit of each brand in our sizing guide.

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Plus Size Red Scoop Neck Top with 3/4 length Sleeves

Models wearing fat suits, this is crazy!

Models wearing fat suits:

This week there was an article in the Daily mail which we found disturbing and to be honest irritating. The Daily Mail reported that Saffi Karina a 27 year old size 12 model, yes size 12 is classified as a plus size in the modelling world went on an assignment and was advised that they needed someone a couple of sizes larger. She was advised (the article doesn’t say who by) to get a padded garment made to add inches to her bust, waist and hips, the article then goes on to label the item as a “fat suit”.

Marquita Pring who is also a model and is size 12 to 14 has also worn these suits and said ‘It’s better for me because I can still be healthy and work out and have the body I want. It’s a little bit of model magic.’ . Well good for you Miss Pring but really you should be aware that just because people are larger it doesn’t necessarily mean they are unhealthy or unfit!

Why on earth is this necessary? There plenty of beautiful women around who are larger and indeed a good portion of the population is size 16 and over. We wish the media would wake up to this fact and stop insulting people who are over a size 10! This is really disturbing, one of the other points about these “fat suits” is that they don’t help the body look natural, they won’t move properly and therefore clothes won’t flow around the body properly.

The models we’ve used on Vida Moda, our online store are size 16 and 18 respectively. They are beautiful and shapely and healthy and they made our products look wonderful! They didn’t have to wear fat suits and we didn’t use an airbrush to re-touch their shape. Browse our site and have a look! Our models are shown 100% naturally to reflect the nature of the real women (size 16 and upwards) who are our customers.

Quotes courtesy of the Daily Mail online article from 01 August 2011

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