Plus points: Big and booty-ful
Photography by German Collins Styling by Adrian Fagetti fashion edited by Constance Harris
It has always struck me as incredible that, despite the Celtic Tiger, and despite the statistics showing that Irish women are getting bigger, the choice of plus-size clothing in this country remains hardly changed.
Fifteen years ago, I would have featured pretty much the same names as today: Michael H Personal Choice, Evans, and Ann Harvey. Shop-wise, Xpressions in Dun Laoghaire is still going, but Curves has closed. Several good labels that were available 10 years ago are no longer around today, so the choice seems to have actually decreased.
Along with old reliables, House of Fraser's Cesca line also has very good, on-trend fashion styling. Clerys and Arnotts are still among the best at catering for plus sizes and they carry lots of labels -- many of them Irish-- which go up to size 20 as a matter of course. Tesco does excellent plus-size wear, proving that supermarket chic deserves a fashion category in its own right.
The most deeply frustrating aspect of plus-size fashions was never the small amount of labels, it was the lack of lifestyle on offer. So many labels focused on conservative mother-of-the-bride and on elderly women, forgetting the trendy young woman, the yummy mummies, the professional woman, the holidaying woman, the dating woman, the sensual, attractive, sexy, vibrant woman. So, I am very glad to be featuring Irish label Personal Choice, which knows the plus-size woman is as desirous of a fun, flirtatious lifestyle as the next woman.
I was extremely impressed with its collection last winter, which featured lots of what I call Marithe et Francois Girbaud-influenced layered looks for day, and a bold new direction in casual partywear for night.
For spring, the gals in Personal Choice are even more determined that their collection reflect their customers' free spirit and desire for colour and comfort. There are curvy, figure-flattering dresses and suits ideal for events as diverse as meetings and weddings, down to more casual, yet flirty styles.
Downtime is much anticipated with easy-to-wear sundresses, oodles of separates -- cropped jeans, linen palazzos and such -- teamed up with everything from this year's nautical trend (yes, it never does really go away!), to vibrant, colourful tops full of movement, in lovely fabrics.
I am a firm believer in the power of colour to feed our confidence about ourselves. I think Gok gets it right when he puts a belt on a bigger figure to add definition and shape. Being bold gets you further -- both in life and in fashion. Personal Choice is one label that will help you be that bolder woman.
All clothes featured are from the Michael H Personal Choice spring/summer 2011 collection.
All garments are available in size 14-26. Michael H Personal Choice is available nationwide from all good independent retailers and department stores. For stockists, tel: (01) 872-5044, or see www.personalchoice.ie
Julia Rossini, Blackrock Shopping Centre, Blackrock, Co Dublin tel: (01) 288-5317, or see www.juliarossini.com
Photography by German Collins, see www.germancollins.com
Styling by Adrian Fagetti
Hair and make-up by Johnny Dean
Producer and coordinator: Pao Punk and Lala Love
Model: Andrea Curia at Somet Model Agency
Shot on location in Carilo, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Sunday Indo Life Magazine