Jane Janeczko on
November 4, 2013
I read literally everything.
From Austen to Cabot, from Vonnegut to Roberts, from Crichton to King.
And I am perfectly shameless about it.
I have even, on occasion, picked up the stray Romance novel to flip through (and maybe penned one of my own). So, when I received a press release about how the people over at Ellora’s Cave Publishing were expanding the bookshelves of their Romance novels to include plus-size heroines, I basically squealed with glee.
An afternoon spent reading is never a waste. Especially when it’s awesome body positive prose.
Raelene Gorlinsky, the lead publisher at Ellora’s Cave, correctly asserts that women generally picture themselves as some version of the heroines in Romance novels they read. Since 57 percent of women are now buying clothes in a size 16 or larger, it stands to reason that these women would like to read more literature that celebrates their body-type.
Plus-size women deserve to take the lead in literature just as much as they deserve that blessed protagonist spotlight in television and film. Happily, that’s slowly happening more and more – Rebel Wilson has her own sitcom for goodness sake.
Ellora’s Cave is making that happen for Romance novels.
Voluptuous is a contemporary erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave. Credit: Ellora’s Cave
Gorlinsky and the team at Ellora’s Cave are putting a special focus on plus-size heroines in their upcoming novels.
“As an erotic romance publisher, I’ve found female readers want to identify with the heroine as she finds true love—and great sex—with an incredibly desirable guy,” said Gorlinsky in her press release. “Why do women like stories about full-figured heroines? Gee, could it be because most of us are in reality much larger than size six, let alone size zero? That identification fantasy is ruined if the heroine is too different from the reader and especially if the reader’s own characteristics are disparaged in the process.”
Full Bodied Charmer is another modern era plus-size romance novel. Credit: Ellora’s Cave
Ellora’s Cave already has a special shelf devoted to “rubenesque” heroines, but they are planning to give their curvy girl heroines some extra love in the coming months. Gorlinsky and the Ellora Team chose to use the term “rubenesque” to classify their plus-size heroines because of it’s artistic 17th century origins. Painter Peter Paul Rubens often depicted women with large breasts, wide hips, and lush curves in his work, which is where the term comes from.
“This year we decided to draw more attention (and hopefully readers) to our Rubenesque writing by releasing ‘Curve Appeal,’ special stories that go out of their way to present a positive image of plus-sized heroines,” said Gorlinsky. “Our hope is that with strides like these, a full-figured (or at least realistic) heroine will start to become the rule, rather than the exception.”
According to Gorlinsky, none of the stories really make the heroine’s size a major plot point; rather, they depict women who are confident and beautiful. They just present plus-size women in a positive way, where she is judged by who she is rather than what she looks like.
For more stories with plus-size heroines, check out this helpful list of Top 10 Phattest Plus-Size Heroines put together by Kelly Faircloth of “Heroes and Hearbreakers” or check out Meg Cabot’s Heather Wells Mystery Series. Cabot just released the most recent addition to this series (book number five), “The Bride Wore Size 12,” in September.
Do you read romance novels? What types of books and other media would you like more plus-size women to be featured more prominently in? Let me know in the comments!
Jane Janeczko on
November 1, 2013
It is no easy feat to go thrifting while plus-size, but Erin Thomas, 28, of Cleveland, Ohio, has made it her life’s work. As a long time blogger and Internet queen, Erin has made her mark across social media and her incredibly gorgeous outfit posts have gone viral across the blog-o-sphere.
Currently, Erin is working as the brand manager at the newly opened Re/Dress store located at 2678 W. 14th St. in Cleveland. Even though she went to school for studio art and psychology, Erin found her true calling working in this small, local, independent plus-size boutique.
This oatmeal colored tulle dress with neon detailing is Erin’s favorite frock. Credit: Erin Thomas
Now that Re/Dress’ brick-and-mortar Cleveland location officially opened in September (!!!), Erin is busy working both as a brand manager and as a stylist.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Re/Dress, in Erin’s own words, “it was, from the years of 2008-2011, a HUGE, awesome, (most would say life-changing) plus size shop in Brooklyn, NY…” the Brooklyn store closed two years ago and Re/Dress took on a second life via the Internet, but thanks to Rachel Kacenjar and Erin, Re/Dress once again has an official location.
For her fashion, Erin says that it’s Halloween all year long for her. “You never know what I’m going to step out of my house looking like. I probably freak out my neighbors on a regular basis,” says Erin. Credit: Erin Thomas
Like many of the women IGIGI has profiled, Erin finds a lot of her fashion inspirations from other plus-size bloggers. “Had I not discovered fatshion blogs, I would have absolutely NO idea how to dress myself,” says Erin.
Erin describes her personal fashion as “very costumey,” and she is a big believer in the power of dressing up. “I think I’ve been obsessed since birth,” says Erin. “My dress up clothes collection as a kid could not be beat. Even my Barbies had thirty different outfits each. I was destined to be a clothing hoarder.”
Erin says that her moto jacket is probably her favorite piece in her wardrobe. “When I’m wearing it, I feel like a tough girl you wouldn’t want to cross, which is so the opposite of reality,” says Erin. Credit: Erin Thomas
I had a chance to ask Erin a few questions about Re/Dress, shopping, and plus-size style.
Jane: Re/Dress is really all about making a wonderful customer experience for plus-size women, but so many stores simply don’t care about their plus-size customers. Have you ever personally felt discriminated against in a store?
Erin: Yes! Without naming names, recently a large chain of very affordable fast fashion stores expanded to include plus sizes in my area. I really want to be happy about it, but they seem to only carry the most matronly pieces from the website, and the shop girls avoid the plus section like the plague. It’s like they think they’ll be fat by association or something. Shopping can be traumatic as it is; it’s even worse in a very trendy store where everything in your size is hideous and everyone is cold and willfully unhelpful to you because of the section you’re shopping in.
Jane: What advice would you give to women who are struggling to find fashion that inspires them?
Erin: Really take the time to figure out what you like, what you wish you could wear vs. what’s available to you, and the kind of image you want to project to others. Fatshion is in a great place right now. It might take some digging and researching, but there is something out there for everyone. I promise you, when you find it, the right piece of clothing will change your life.
Jane: Where do you look for sartorial inspiration?
Erin: I pay a lot of attention to what certain designers are doing, like Marc Jacobs, Rodarte, Kenzo, Meadham Kirchoff, and Rick Owens. I get a ton of inspiration from pop culture. Right now I’m going through a really big goth phase, so I’m looking to Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice, Sara Rue in Gypsy 83, Fairuza Balk in The Craft, and the current season of American Horror Story for wardrobe inspiration. Like I said, costumey.
Jane: What are your future plans?
Erin: I plan to continue working in fatshion for as long as possible. It’s my true passion in life! I hope to continue to expand my skill set and learn more about every facet of the industry. I’m one of those overachiever types who can’t just be enthusiastic about things, I have to be an expert. From personal styling to directing photoshoots to writing for various plus size magazines, I’m constantly trying new things to figure out what my niche might be.
Erin loves mixing high culture and low culture in every aspect of her life. Credit: Erin Thomas
If you want to dress like Erin, she recommends trying the IGIGI Paola Dress. “The sleeves are such a gorgeous, unexpected touch, and the shape is very vampy,” says Erin. “It reminds me of one of my fashion icons, Elvira.” Erin recommends pairing the Paola dress with a big updo, long stiletto nails, a severe cat eye, a statement belt, and some patent leather pumps.
To keep up with Erin, you can connect with her via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and her Tumblr. Plus, you can always look her up on Zero Style Blog.
Jane Janeczko on
October 31, 2013
Eden Miller made headlines as the first plus-size designer to show a plus-size only collection at New York Fashion Week in September, and now Histoire de Courbes (History of Curves), a French group devoted to celebrating curvy women, sponsored PULP, Paris’ first plus-size fashion week.
A model walks the runway at the PULP Plus Size Fashion Week. Credit: Wallace Pixmaker via PULP
Jane Janeczko on
October 30, 2013
There is a very devoted push in the fashion community for designers to use more plus-size models to showcase their lines. Obviously, any time the fashion community wants to show more diversity on the runways, whether that is through women of different body-types, women of color, or transgendered individuals, that is a step in the right direction.
Retailers like H&M and Gap have been called out for using emaciated mannequins. Credit: Beauty Skew
Jane Janeczko on
October 29, 2013
We all have those special little checklists that we make when we’re looking for a new outfit. Does it have sleeves? Is it fully-lined? Can I belt it? This can certainly be limiting and I definitely have shied away from wearing more adventurous pieces because it violates too many of my personal outfit requirements, but on the whole, women tend to know what looks best on them and what they will be most comfortable in even before trying it on. We often have a closet full of wardrobe basics that meet these requirements.
So when I saw the Miwa Top in Black, I knew that this top would be perfect for me since it hit almost every single item on my checklist: it has loose, bell-style, three-quarter sleeves (which are my personal favorite), it has an empire waist, is fully lined, is made of wrinkle-free jersey material, and it even comes with a great fabric belt. The Miwa Top can be worn with or without the belt so you can customize this wonderfully basic, black jersey top for anything.
A good black top is my go-to for almost every outfit.
As a so-called “plus-size fashionista,” I feel a certain amount of pressure to always push myself with outfits, and as a result, I get a little stressed out when I’m wearing a “basic” item like a black top or a gray sweater. I think this anxiety comes from the sense that, as a plus-size woman who cares deeply about fashion and who is incredibly invested in style, if I wear a pair of sweats, even to the grocery store, then I am betraying myself. I’m trying to get over this self-imposed mental block and rock anything that I wear from ratty t-shirts to formal dresses, but it takes a certain amount of practice.
The Miwa Top, at its core, is a basic piece. Without the belt, it is a simple, flattering black top. It is even made out of a cotton jersey, which is essentially the most basic material you can wear. However, the cut on this top makes it special. And that is really what I’ve been looking for in my wardrobe – “special basics.”
I paired my staple, black Miwa Top with black jeans and yellow flats. The great belt kept me from being monochromatic and kept the focus on the tiniest part of me – my waist.
Maybe it’s just because the word “basic” seems to have negative connotations to me, but I really struggle with it. As a result, here’s a list of five staple pieces that every plus-size woman should have in their wardrobe.
1. Structured black top: This can be a t-shirt or you can even do something a little more elaborate (like the Miwa Top), but it’s important that there is some good seaming and structure. This top should be a wear-alone piece meaning that you shouldn’t feel the need to pair it with a jacket or a cardigan. Although, of course, you can.
2. Comfortable pair of jeans: Yeah, I value comfortable jeans over stylish jeans. If you can hit both, that’s great, but in my experience, if you aren’t completely comfortable in your clothes, you probably just won’t wear them. Who wants to feel self-conscious all day?
3. Blazer: Blazers can go with everything and anything, from jeans to dresses and everything in between. They immediately add a sense of presence to any outfit, and so they’re perfect for dressing up a casual look for work or a nice dinner out.
4. Boots: Good boots can be hard to find. Especially if you need wide-calf boots. However, they really are one of the most universally flattering and convertible shoes if you need something to transition seasons.
5. Simple Jewelry: Statement necklaces and earrings are wonderful. They really, really are. However, on those days when you either don’t feel like over-the-top sparkle, or when it wouldn’t be appropriate to wear an oversized, sparkly floral collar, make sure you have your minimal jewelry pieces picked out. For me, it’s a pair of gold heart studs and a few simple rings – just enough so I have a little bling without it being overwhelming.
How would you wear this top?
If you have your own list of staples or if you want some shopping tips, you can always hit me up on Twitter or Instagram.