Tag Archives: perception

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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Lisa Riley Strictly Come Dancing

Strictly Come Dancing – Lisa Riley – A New Dance Star

Strictly Come Dancing – It’s more than dancing for Lisa Riley

Strictly Come Dancing is only a few weeks into the latest series and the show continues to capture our imagination. If you haven’t seen the show Lisa Riley is taking part in this series. If you don’t know who Lisa Riley is, she’s a popular british actress well known for her roles in Emmerdale and for presenting “You’ve been framed”.

More recently we’ve seen Lisa portray a dark character in “Scott and Bailey”. This serious role allowed Lisa to display the full extent of her acting skills and proved for me at least that she is an amazing actress. Seeing her on Strictly Come Dancing you wouldn’t believe it is the same person.

Lisa has perhaps taken the Strictly Come Dancing judges and the public by surprise. Lisa Riley is a plus size lady and few people might have rated her as a having a chance to win the competition. But Lisa is a revelation, she dances very well and easily puts to shame the flawed image generally portrayed by the media that being large somehow means being second best.

Comment about Lisa’s look

Lisa has looked amazing in each of the dances she has done so far. Last night’s Hollywood Theme Night was no exception. Lisa danced the Jive with Robin to “Hanky Panky” tune from the Dick Tracy movie. She wore a short, frilly dress with lace sleeves teamed with sequined tights. Lisa had her hair done in a “Big Hair” style that suited her outfit and the dance perfectly.

Lisa Riley’s dancing

Lisa Riley’s dancing last night on strictly come dancing was no different to the first two evenings. It was exceptional and this is probably the one of the things about the show that people may have been most surprised by. Stereotyped perceptions kick in and people probably didn’t expect Lisa to be able to dance particularly well because she is a large lady. On the contrary, Lisa moved very well and is clearly a good dancer, dispelling this notion. She has excellent timing and rhythm and left us in no doubt about her capabilities as a dancer. Lisa and Robin finished third last night with their Jive. On the overall leader board after three weeks they are joint third with 11 points.

Lisa and Robin on the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing

Lisa and Robin Dancing The Jive

Views of the Strictly Come Dancing Judges

There is one element of the show I find somewhat irritating. Some of the judges comments have been slightly patronising as if they can’t believe a larger lady is capable of dancing and dancing really well. The fact that Lisa Riley is a larger lady is of no consequence whatsoever and the judges should not continue to draw attention to this.

Lisa’s personality

Lisa’s personality is a huge contributing factor to her ability to be a success in a show of this nature. This was clear in the strictly come dancing training session clips. Throughout those clips Lisa was bright and bubbly and having fun while working through the routines. Her positive attitude carries through to the dance floor and last night she performed with a big smile on her face throughout, clearly enjoying herself.

So who is going to win Strictly this year?

I think Lisa Riley has a very good chance of winning Strictly Come Dancing. However there is stiff competition in the form of Louis Smith. An Olympic athlete, no less. Louis and Flavia performed a dance routine from the film Dirty Dancing. The dance contains quite a challenging lift at the end of the routine. In their training clips much was made of this lift prior to Louis and Flavia’s performance. During their performance they executed the lift flawlessly and with apparent ease, as you’d expect from an Olympic gymnast. The BBC probably added a little drama to make their dance a little more interesting than it was. Having said that, technically their overall dance was excellent and probably deserved more than the 30 marks that put them in second place for the evening.

There are a number of weeks to go and there are plenty of other strong competitors in the mix, but wouldn’t it be special if Lisa goes on to win Strictly Come Dancing? I do hope so. Lisa’s positive approach and obvious ability are currently doing much to combat the negative attention that plus size women get in the UK press. So watch Strictly Come Dancing each week and vote for Lisa Riley, her performances thus far have deserved the votes she and Robin have received.

Joanna

Vida Moda | Designer Fashion For Women Size 14 to 28

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Mind The Gap – Skinny Fashion Mannequins – Are They A Good Idea?

The fashion industry is fickle and often driven by style directors keen to wave the next cool thing right in front of us. Historically designers and retailers or possibly art directors in media have done this with lazy respect for the responsibility they wield.

“What responsibility?” I hear you ask. Well in simple terms these people are in a position of power when it comes to influencing other people. None more so than the big brands. For a lot of them their audience is young people and a lot of them will be affected by the visions that style directors and the art directors push for a particular brand or season.

A friend of ours pointed us in the direction of The Gap and the mannequins they use. I haven’t been in Gap for a number of years, I’m perhaps not quite too “old” for the their clothes but I’m definitely too fat for them if their mannequins are anything to go by.

The Gap - Using super skinny mannequins

Mannequin Too Skinny?

Their mannequins are skinny, and please note dear reader not just thin, but broom stick thin. This is the image Gap present to the customer. A lot of their customers will be young, girls and young women who will (subconsciously) look at those mannequins and may think they need to look like that too in order to look cool, be super skinny to wear those clothes and carry off that particular look. Brands like The Gap (they aren’t the only ones) have immense power when it comes to influencing people and how they look. They should be more responsible in using this power.

There is endless debate about health and weight which will carry on indefinitely. Retailers and brands could and should be a little more conscious of their role in portraying a positive body that perhaps is closer to a healthy reality than is currently the norm. This is isn’t the first time this has been commented on. Gap were taken to task in the media last year over their use of super skinny mannequins.

I’m not ranting at Gap, just asking for some thoughtful consideration of the impact they may be having on their vast customer base and requesting that they take some positive action on this issue.

They have a responsibility to think about the style image they are presenting and potential effect it may have on young people, particularly young women. We all want to look good and dress well. There is a line that can be crossed and like everything there is an up side and a downside to crossing the line. All too often it is easy to ignore the darkness of the downside. They pretend it doesn’t exist and instead focus on the upside which is shiny and glamourous but laced with risk.

All too often the fashion industry finds itself on the wrong side of the line which is a shame.

Joanna

Vida Moda | Plus Size Designer Fashion For Women With Curves

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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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Dawn French

“The Ones Who Like Chocolate”

Shane Watson’s article in the Sunday Times Style Magazine last Sunday “Wise to the size lies” certainly gave me plenty of food for thought. I agreed with some of what she says – like Dawn French letting down the side having lost weight after years of presenting large women as having a big appetite for life. A newly  slim Dawn French I’m sure Ms French has her reasons for seriously losing weight after all these years and I’ve no doubt it was not easy for her.

The media reports her having lost 4 stone, to be honest I’d say she has lost a lot more than 4 stone. But that does not necessarily mean that all large ladies who decry the media’s obsession with skin and bone are hypocrites or liars.

Ms Watson describes Nigella’s as one size over voluptuous. (sounds a little bitchy!) Can she mean the same Nigella Lawson whom men desire and women admire? I have to disagree with Ms Watson. There are many women who are really happy with their size and shape, oblivious to the media, illusion and the cheap condescending articles in fashion magazines.

A slimmer Nigella Lawson

Larger people do get treated differently and probably much less positively than skinny people. People always state the obvious about size, we all have lots of reasons why we might try to lose weight so it is dangerous to make assumptions about why people are driven to lose weight. There is huge pressure from the media and fashion world about what looks good.

These industries glorify and parade waif like teenagers modelling and selling a look to women buyers a lot older and with vastly different body shapes to the models.

This creates far more peer pressure to “conform” than the odd whimsical reference to chocolate by Dawn French or the enthusiastic beating of something glorious in a mixing bowl and raiding the fridge at midnight by Nigella Lawson. Perhaps you could take this fact into your reasoning next time Ms Watson.

Who am I to comment? I’m not a celebrity, just an ordinary person with a business selling designer fashion for larger women. Like everyone I like to buy clothes that fit me and that I can look good in and that’s the service I’m trying to give to my customers.

Joanna

Vida Moda | Designer Fashion For Curvy Women

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Mary_Porta

Are Leather Trousers Strictly For The Young?

I read with some interest in today’s “Femail” Janet Street-Porter’s view that leather trousers should not be worn by the over 40s.

Janet_Street_Porter

She describes Mary Portas’s legs as looking like “badly packed black puddings”. Well then, this begs the question: at what age should one wear leather trousers? Is there a statutory age?
Surely, age does not come into this. Any item of clothing can look wrong on any person of any age if not worn with the right combination, not suited to the body shape, a poor fit or inferior quality fabric.

Mary_Portas_Leather_Trousers

Mary has got it right. The leather trousers are part of the package and her look is actually very stylish and dynamic. Elle McPherson, Sharon Stone and Carol Vorderman also look fabulous in their leather trousers. They wouldn’t look so good in knee length polyester pleated skirts, twin sets, American tan tights and sensible shoes (to perpetuate the age stereotyping). It’s all about making the most of what you have and projecting an image that you’re comfortable with, whatever your age or indeed shape.

That’s what we are doing with Vida Moda, we are aiming to give larger women a better choice of clothing, shouldn’t we have the same opportunity to dress stylishly?

Joanna

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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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