For the love of Fashion: Size the day - give in to temptation
A plus-size boutique lets bigger women embrace their shapes and continue to love clothes, finds Joanna Kiernan
'I worked in financial services for years and I got to a point where I was waking up in the morning and thinking, 'I just don't want to go into work today,'" says Rosemary Kearns, telling me of the inspiration behind her plus-size boutique Tempted.
"I was a size 22 at that stage, I'm about a 24 now, and there was nothing," says Rosemary. "I couldn't walk in anywhere and pick up something.
"I was 27, nothing was age appropriate. I was looking abroad and you could see that they had the clothes, but nobody in Ireland was stocking them. There's a huge demand for plus-size clothes and it's not being catered for properly."
Rosemary opened her first Tempted shop in Drogheda in 2003, shortly before meeting her husband Noel. "We opened in Raheny in 2006, then we opened Wexford in 2009 and then Carlow, just last September."
For Rosemary, colour is a major passion. "Colour is massive for me," she says during our trawl through her collection of exotic multi-coloured numbers. "I just love what it does for you. It gives you so much confidence, so much brightness and cheeriness."
"I know myself," Rosemary adds. "I put on my black when I'm feeling a bit vulnerable. The colour is what comes out when I feel on top of my game, or maybe when I want to feel on top of my game."
Rosemary is a great fan of silk and heavy jersey fabrics, particularly because of their draping qualities, but this is not to say that she is adverse to "a bit of cling".
"If it has a good fit and a good structure, then you can wear anything," she says. "The cut is just so important and I think that's something that's been lacking in plus-size fashion. The cut has been ignored because they have just presumed that all of the women are box shaped."
The key, according to Rosemary, is to embrace your shape. "Yes I'm big, that's what I am and nothing's going to change that," she says plainly, "but I have to work with what I have. I have a good bust line, so I work on what emphasises that. People are so obsessed with picking out what's bad about them, no matter what size they are."
Gradual weight gain can creep up on the best of us. Rosemary believes this is a major factor in women losing interest in style and, indeed, clothing in general.
"A lot of women are used to being a smaller size and then put on weight over the years," she says.
"They get to a point where they realise they don't even care about their wardrobe anymore. That's a sad position to be in, because they were people who loved their clothes and now they're kind of drifting."
Rosemary has a quick and, perhaps, unconventional solution to this problem. "Some people can get very caught up with sizes," she explains. "If they're trying something on and a 20 doesn't fit them, they don't want to go into the next size.
"Who knows what size that is? Go home and cut off the label. You get what's right for you and everyone will be complimenting you. If you go out in an outfit that's too big or too small, it will do nothing for you."
At various intervals throughout our conversation, Rosemary refers to her pink Vivienne Westwood slingbacks. As we finish, she unveils them to me with an almost ceremonious glee.
"I can pull out my Vivienne Westwood shoes and no matter what I put on, I'm going to feel cool," she giggles.
"It's just important to have that confidence, I suppose, that sense of worth, because I think clothes can give you that sense of worth.
"How you dress yourself tells a lot about how you value yourself."
For more information on Rosemary's Tempted boutiques, specialising in sizes 16-28, visit http://tempted.ie/ or telephone the Tempted Raheny store on (01) 831 4293
Name: Rosemary Kearns
Occupation: Boutique owner
Marital Status: Married to Noel, with whom she has one daughter, Caoimhe, 31/2
Photography: Gerry Mooney
Shot on location at Clontarf Castle Hotel, www.clontarfcastle.ie
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