Tag Archives: Vida Moda
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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Crikey! What’s happened to Downton?

Crikey! What’s happened to Downton?

Downton Abbey Ladies

"Downton Abbey Ladies"


I enjoyed the first series of Downton Abbey but feel the second series has become somewhat of a parody of itself (maybe it is supposed to be like this). Why has it gone downhill? The actors playing the characters all seem reasonably well suited to the parts they play and the premise is there for a good yarn But this series is lacking. Perhaps it is the way in which we hop from scene to scene, there is too much going on, too many individual story lines being covered, and all of them without satisfactory endings.

In the last few episodes an injured solider turned up who could have been the legitimate heir to Downton but was physically unrecognisable due to his injuries. Now this story had potential for intrigue, drama and full blown confrontation. Instead the character wimped out and scuttled off (we didn’t even see him scuttling), presumably never to be heard of again.

What is the point of “Ethel’s” story? Yes it shows how difficult life was for single mothers with illegitimate children, but then why is there a new maid in residence who is also a single mother but who is a war widow. (we now know, she is likely to be naughty with Lord Downton) We’ve never seen her child and she puts a pained face on whenever it is mentioned. (I’m desperately seeking skullduggery of some kind in this small story)

Richard Carlisle From Downton Abbey

"Carlisle"

The only character with a hint of proper devilment is Mr Carlisle who issued a threat with some menace to Lady Mary who didn’t really bat any eyelids at all. Oh, and Matthew seems set to recover, his wheelchair went over a bump on Sunday night and low and behold he clearly feel something downstairs, and no it wasn’t a maid. Most of all I have felt some dismay for Lord Downton, Granville or whoever. He has had to strut about in a uniform at home for weeks and he didn’t even have anyone to have Luncheon with this week. He also appears to have lost any real story lines as does the whole programme.

What of the youngest daughter, Sybil (aka Lady Florence), what on earth is she doing with the Chauffeur? Nothing, absolutely nothing, for weeks, mind you he did put a hand on her waist this week. (shocking). Anytime there is potential for drama they snuff it out straight away, what about the tractor driving Edith kissing the farmer? Bang! Letter from the farmers wife telling her she is no longer required. Story over. Instantly, she was demoted to concerned librarian for the next two weeks.

Mr. Bates from Downton Abbey

"Bates"

What about BATES, and Anna. Anna seems ok and has the odd good line or two. But BATES seems to have overdone it with the Botox, he’s permanently canted over to the right with a look on his face that implies he has recently sat on a very large blunt thumb tack. Oh, and who the heck buys arsenic and leaves it lying about in the kitchen?

It is such a shame, this series is not a patch on the first and all it goes to show is that ITV cannot manage period drama in quite the same way as the BBC even though I’m pretty sure Julian Fellows is an excellent writer – he doesn’t seem to be allowed the freedom to develop story lines properly over the series. The costumes remain excellent (I don’t know how authentic they are to the period) but it all goes to show that window dressing is nothing without the story.

Update from last weeks episode!!

Did you see it? Matthew’s miraculous recovery, he sprang from his wheelchair to catch Lavinia to prevent her falling. He did this after months of not being able to move his legs and with no rehabilitation. Yes I know it’s television, but really some of it is so far fetched! It lacks the sense of space and time that would make it anywhere near credible and detracts from the reality.

Its the last episode of this series tonight, will there be a third? I fear it is too late to properly conclude any of the current story lines. Oh and there is a Christmas Special coming… maybe that will be better. Mind you I did like some of their jewellery!

Joanna

Joanna Davis | Vida Moda | Couture for Curvy Women

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Plus Size Clothing at Vida Moda | Beige Striped Tunic

Vida Moda Special Offers

Ladies we’ve got 4 special offers on Vida Moda for you this week.

We have a beautiful check jacket by Bitte Kai Rand that is perfect for work or slightly more formal casual occasions. This jacket is on special offer right now at 60% off it’s normal price and is available to fit size 16 to 18. We only have a few of these left so take advantage of the offer now.
Plus Size Clothing at Vida Moda | Bitte Kai Rand Jacket

We also have a pretty tunic by Bitte, it’s a lovely colour, a checkered blue and ash grey. This tunic is on offer at 70% off it’s normal price and is also available to fit size 16 to 18. Again we only have a few of these left, so take advantage now.
Plus Size Clothing at Vida Moda | Bitte Kai Rand Ash Blue Tunic

We have the perfect waterfall cardigan by Heteroclite for Autumn, it is a lace textured and pattern bias cut cardigan which is perfect for everyday activity and looks wonderful. You’ll find it perfect for work or a home if you’re not quite ready for a full winter sweater! We still some of these in the following sizes, 16, 18, 20 and 22. Best of all they are on offer at 50% off the regular price.
Plus Size Clothing at Vida Moda | Waterfall Cardigan

If you are lucky enough to be heading off somewhere sunny for a short break then we also have a stunning little tunic by Heteroclite for you. This little beige and white striped tunic is unbelievably soft and very stylish. We still a few of these in Size 18, Size 20 and Size 22 and they are also on special offer at £27.50.
Plus Size Clothing at Vida Moda | Beige Striped Tunic

Don’t forget our Autumn / Winter collections are now online along with our jewellery collection. All our collections are quite exclusive so you can be assured of wearing high quality designer fashion that is quite rare when you buy from us. Joanna is committed to bringing you a choice of great quality designer clothes for curvy women.

Take advantage of our special offers today as they don’t last long!

Vida Moda | Designer Fashion For Curvy Women Size 14 to 24

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Hattie Said "Don't Dress Quietly!"

Hattie Jacques said “Don’t dress quietly to minimise your size”

I recently read the authorised biography of Hattie Jacques in which she reportedly said she had no idea what her statistics were. She could not buy clothes to fit her off-the-peg and employed a dressmaker to make all her clothes. In later life she managed to find a shop in New York that catered for outsize ladies where she shopped regularly. Apparently she received regular letters from women asking to buy her old clothes from her as they couldn’t find clothes to fit them. It just seems outrageous that such a large proportion of Customers was completely ignored by the fashion industry. Although ladies statistics are increasing globally at the moment, back in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s there must have been a sizable population of women that just were not catered for.

Hattie Said "Don't Dress Quietly!"

Hattie reportedly said

“don’t dress quietly, just to minimise your size. If you are big, you are going to look big anyway. And if you have a colourful personality, then for heaven’s sake play up to it.”

Well said Hattie!! That’s exactly our philosophy at Vida Moda. Hattie thought it was difficult to be fat and feminine at the same time. I think the clothing industry in Britain has moved on since then but it has been very slow and has along way to go. It is easy to understand why someone like Hattie was made to feel that way. In my opinion she was a beautiful woman who did dress femininely in beautiful silks and velvets but the majority of women would not have been able to afford a dressmaker.

While things have changed and progress has been made it is still challenging to find beautiful clothes if you are large and that’s why I opened a shop online, to give women like me the opportunity to have some “designer” choice!

Joanna

Excerpt taken from “Hattie” The Authorised biography of Hattie Jacques by Andy Merriman ©2007

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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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Lightening strike

The perils of hosting in the Cloud

Dear readers

We’ve had a bit of a horrendous week so far. Our eCommerce engine, the software gubbins that runs our online shop lives in the “Cloud”. This bit of “Cloud” is owned by Amazon and is their European Data Centre, based in Dublin Ireland. Apparently it is huge (we’ve never seen it, bit think it is a big shed of some sort). Anyway on Sunday a nearby transformer (not from the movie) got hit by lightening and exploded and caught fire cutting the power supply to both Microsoft’s and Amazon’s Data Centres.

Amazon Web Services

For some reason that is too complicated for me to be even interested in Amazon’s generators didn’t work so all the hundreds of thousands of servers living in the shed switched themselves off in a huff. Apparently servers switching themselves off in a huff makes techie people have sharp intakes of breath.

So it took clever electricity people and Amazon people a 4 to 5 hours to restore power to the Datecentre. Then they started switching on the servers so customers could restart their applications. However some of the servers that switched themselves off in a huff were grumpy and did not want to play (including hours). (The technical term for this is “corrupt”). Amazon told our eCommerce partner (a different company) to leave it with them and they’d try to jolly the servers along.

Over 24 hours later Amazon contacted our eCommerce partner and told them the servers couldn’t be jollied along and needed the equivalent of a visit to The Priory for a full detox and series of spa sessions to restore them to full vigor. (I’m paraphrasing madly here because the techie explanation is just too exciting).

Upon arrival at the Spa all the servers were booked in and ready for their treatments. It then transpired that the all the treatment lotions were rancid. They were rancid because the spa had mistakenly started adding extra ingredients to the lotions and so they couldn’t be used. Now these lotions are uniquely formulated for each customer (server) and absolutely essential for the successful treatment of general dishevelment and grumpiness in servers.

There was only one thing to be done. New batches of lotion would have to be made by hand from a fiddly set of ingredients. This process takes a very long time. Days in fact. It nearly 2 days to make the batches of lotion and treat the grumpy servers, before they could be pressed back into service.

The effect on us has been traumatic. We’ve consumed quantities of cake, tea and alcohol, even a bottle of Grandmothers Sherry has come under threat of consumption.

So what’s the lesson? Well for us it is still that the Cloud is good, it is the inevitable future for provision of technical services. When it’s on song it is excellent. However the caveat is that support systems and emergency plans need to be so much better because the consequences of a failure on this scale are enormous and correspondingly very difficult and time consuming to recover from.

Ironically Amazon experienced a similar failure in the US in April, clearly they didn’t learn anything from it. So come on Mr Jeff Bezos, take your head out of your kindle ebook thingy, get your DataCentre emergency systems sorted out because businesses like ours that depend on the service you provide and need it to work reliably, plain and simple. You are no longer just selling books, you are playing with the economy and peoples’ livelihoods.

This does not take away from the efforts of the people on the ground at Amazon and at our eCommerce partner who worked tirelessly over the last 3 days to restore service. They kept us informed and while that is important and useful it does hide the fact that 3 days of “no existence” for any business is not good business.

Our site http://www.vidamoda.co.uk providing designer fashion for plus size ladies is live once again don’t forget our 50% off summer sale is still running so come along and have a browse!

Thanks for your patience and we are really sorry our store has not been available to you over the last 3 days.

Joanna Davis

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Is There a Real Women Revolution?

The Real Women Revolution

Garnier Logo

It’s interesting to see the advertising watchdog came down on Garnier last week for misrepresenting the effects of their products by using computer enhancements. Could this be the beginning of a new revolution to depict women in a realistic light? Are we supposed to believe that wearing a particular garment will make us look like the model and is that look really achievable? How about the mascara adverts where in small print under the advert it states that false lashes were worn, or hair products where extensions were used to show flowing, glossy locks? It seems that women are in many cases striving to attain a look that actually doesn’t exist because it’s computer generated or prosthetics have been used to create the effects.

One can accept that, for the sake of selling, aesthetics, vanity etc the use of make up, hairdressing, styling are, in most cases essential, but where does the illusion end? Is it so terrible to show a bit of a double chin, laughter lines, larger midriffs – this list is not exhaustive. Let’s face it we all know that as we put on the years we also tend to develop different physical characteristics and we’re not so gullible as to believe that any cosmetic product or garment is going to change that. Or are we?

Representations of women as paper thin, both computer enhanced and sadly self inflicted, has had a devastating effect on girls and young women in recent years and it’s questionable whether the image can now be re-balanced. If it can, then something powerful is needed to help effect that change – like the Media. But then again isn’t the Media one of the main instigators of these unrealistic images?

What do you think? add your comment and let me know!

Joanna Davis

Vida Moda | Designer Fashion for Curvy Women Size 16 to 24 | 50% off Summer Sale Now On!

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John Lewis and the value of “Beigeness”

India Knight has written an excellent piece in her Sunday Times column today. It’s all about John Lewis thinking about changing it’s image to broaden it’s appeal, to shake off it’s “fuddy-duddy” image. Craig Inglis who is Director of Marketing at John Lewis is reacting to the accusation of John Lewis being “beige at times”. John Lewis is embarking on the biggest revamp revamp of it’s marketing and advertising in 147 years according to an article in Marketing Week Magazine. India is somewhat aghast at the notion that John Lewis is going to change it’s approach and lose it’s “Beigeness” to compete with the likes of Tesco and other large supermarkets. India presents a good set of arguments for not making such a change, all of which I agree with.
Never Knowingly undersold
If john Lewis did greatly change it’s approach I would be somewhat dismayed. John Lewis is not that “fuddy-duddy” or indeed that “Beige” yes I’m sure it needs to revamp and update many of it’s stores. We have a lovely John Lewis store in the Grafton Arcade in Cambridge, it is modern, well stocked and very popular and not just with “ladies of a certain age”. John Lewis in my mind occupies an almost unique position in British retail, it has a personality, this is expressed really well through their staff whose attentiveness and ability to provide excellent customer service is well documented. I cannot think of single other high street retailer that currently has such an effect. Marks & Spencers is an obvious direct competitor to John Lewis and Waitrose, but even though they are good, they don’t have the same level of personality that John Lewis has.

John Lewis has managed to maintain it’s retailer dignity rather than be consumed by the retail commerce conveyor belt and the shallowness of celebrity glamour and instant satisfaction that others seem to suffer from. People buy from people. John Lewis is all about people. You go to John Lewis because they represent in no particular order; quality, top products, fabulous customer service and reliability. Its not a shop to rush around in, it is a lovely browsing experience and you’ll always discover or spot something new that you didn’t know they stocked. They don’t get everything right but they are streets ahead of other retailers on actually having a personality.

Tesco is totally soulless, it represents a core function, the weekly shop – which we all need – and that is fine, it has it’s place too. They are very good at what they do, they are cheap, obviously lots of people like that. However they don’t have the best quality produce and they’re not great at customer service, that may be fine for their customer base. So I hope Mr. Inglis knows what he is doing, I’m not saying don’t change anything, change is proactive and should be happening all the time BUT be very careful about changing the personality of the retailer, especially one with such a unique reputation. If John Lewis has to stoop to the level of Tesco to compete on the high street at the expense of it’s personality then it will be a sad day for British retailing.

In setting up our online business we have modeled our philosophy on certain elements of a number of retailers, elements that we admire and feel are important to customers. John Lewis is one of the retailers that we admire. Tesco’s isn’t.

So next time you are in John Lewis, have a little think about why you’ve gone in there, how you feel while you are there and what you like about shopping in John Lewis. Appreciate it because it may not be the same in a year’s time. Please feel free to add your comments to this post so others can read your thoughts about the importance or not of British retailers having a “personality” and don’t confuse this with “brand” or “marketing” because it’s not actually the same thing at all.

This post is inspired by India Knights Sunday Times Column on Sunday 5th June 2011 titled “Sing – nice and softly, mind – if you’re glad to be beige”

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