Thursday, 24 July 2008

Plus Size Underwear…at Plus Size Prices? No Thanks!

Here at yours clothing we’re committed to keeping our fashion not only up-to-date but also fairly priced so you can imagine our dismay regarding the following story…

The bosses at Marks & Spencer have recently been forced to defend a policy of charging up to £2 extra on some of their bras that are bigger than a size DD. The High Street retailer has defended this policy claiming that the added cost was "standard industry practice". They added that in their experience they found most customers are “happy” to pay a small premium for the specialist work needed to make larger sizes of their bras.

Lace Wired Bra in Hot PinkDespite this explanation, the policy has sparked a nation-wide protest with over 6000 people joining the ‘Busts 4 Justice’ protest group on the Facebook website which was set up by disgruntled customer Beckie Williams. She argues that it is unfair that smaller bras are cheaper, because this logic does not apply to all garments. I have to admit that I am totally in agreement with Beckie; it seems more than a little unfair that fuller-figure women are forced to pay more for their clothes, especially the essentials such as underwear.

So, having looked into this story and deciding that we must raise the awareness of Beckie’s cause among all women, of all shapers and sizes, I managed to speak to Beckie and ask her a few questions. Here’s what was said:

Q: When and how did you realise that Marks & Spencer were charging extra for larger sized bras and did you manage to speak to a spokesperson from the company?

A: “M&S have been charging the extra £2 for a long time now, and I've been moaning about it for ages. I wrote to them back in October and they said 'bigger bras cost more to make.' I wrote back immediately to ask why they didn't apply the same policy to their other products, and they didn't reply.”

Q: Over 6000 members have joined your ‘Facebook’ group now. Are you surprised by the level response and what have you learnt from it?

A: “Aside from the M&S issue, our group has allowed women to talk about this issue in a way that they've never been able to before. It's so positive - so many brilliant women sharing their experiences and explaining exactly what they want from retailers. All the retailers have to do is step up. I know there are a lot of women in our group with larger back sizes who feel completely under-represented on the high street. I hadn't even thought about that before starting this group - it's been such an education. Some can't afford specialist retailer prices so I'm sure your company will be a welcome relief for such an everyday necessity.”

Q: Would you mind taking a look at the 'Yours' underwear range and commenting on the designs and value for money? We love nothing more than feedback from people who are passionate about fashion!

Lace Wired Bra in BlackA: Of course! I think the girls will love the hot pink and black lace bras (Pictured). There's really a gap in the market for fun, sexy plus size bras for bigger ladies. After all, they want fashionable bras as much as smaller women - why has it been the exception rather than the norm to provide it to them?

As Beckie has rightly said, retailers now need to “step-up” and recognize the need of plus size women and women with a larger bust for good quality, attractive underwear at affordable prices. I truly believe that this is exactly what we at ‘Yours Clothing’ offer. Our bra sizes range from 38C to 46G…and our prices are certainly not dependent on the size of garment!

Check out our great range now!

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Fashion Imitating Life

Hi everyone,

Welcome to the ‘Yours Clothing’ weblog. Here at yours we’re committed to keeping up to date with what’s hot in fashion and that’s where I come in….my name’s Harriet and from here on in, I will be updating this blog every week giving you up-to-date fashion news, views and a chance to have your say! This week I’ve been investigating how the media is influencing the direction of fashion, and in particular the long-overdue increase in plus-size recognition!

For many years plus-size fashion seemed to begin and end with unimaginative manufacturers producing shapeless garments which were clearly aimed at customers who wanted to hide their true shape and blend in to the background instead of celebrating their curves or making any kind of fashion statement. Plus size clothing was largely functional, fairly plain and let’s face it, pretty dull! I believe however that we are now entering something of a plus-size revolution. Women are tired of feeling under pressure to conform to the ‘size zero’ ideals we see plastered across the cover of dozens of weekly magazines. We are all beginning to become more confident in our own skin and we see this reflected not only in the fashion industry but also in the media with pop music and television also promoting the fuller figure.

Mika for example, the ‘Brit Award’ winning singer-songwriter soared into the UK top ten singles chart in July 2007 with his hit single ‘Big Girl (You are Beautiful)’ which celebrated girls with “curves in all the right places”. He claims that he was influenced by growing up and seeing the discrimination suffered by his mother who was a fuller-figured woman. Another prime example is that of Beth Ditto, the lead-singer of American based band, ‘The Gossip’. In November 2006, NME magazine voted Beth the coolest person in rock in their annual ‘Cool List’. One year later it was the ‘Sexiest Woman of the Year’ that Beth was nominated for at the NME awards. It begs the question whether a woman with Beth’s figure would have been nominated in such a category five years ago or whether our attitudes to what’s sexy and what’s cool is changing. I for one feel that it’s the latter.

Perhaps the greatest proof of this change in attitude is the story of Chloe Marshall, who this year has become the first plus-size candidate to reach the finals of ‘Miss England’. In March, Chloe triumphed over seven other girls to be crowned Miss Surrey 2008 and this week she will represent all fuller-figured girls across the country in the national finals. We’re sure you’ll join in us in wishing her the very best of luck!

So, the music industry is beginning to realize that promoting a healthy body image and not conforming to the typical ‘pop star’ figure is in fact what music fans want and the judges of the country’s largest beauty pageant have recognized the same. It doesn’t end there however…television producers have similarly started to give more air time to fashion, make-over and body image programs that do not try and change the shape of their real-life models but rather their attitudes as to what is attractive. Channel 4 have allowed their fashion expert Gok Wan to show women “How to Look Good Naked” by boosting their confidence and showing them how to dress for their body shape. Similarly ITV’s Trinny and Susannah “Undress the Nation” in order to prove that we are not all shaped in the same way nor should we be. They also tackle the issue of plus size fashion and the lack of high-street retailers who produce stylish, modern outfits.

That is until now! Having taken on board the influences that surround us in the media every day, we at ‘Yours Clothing’ have listened to you and we have created affordable, fashion led products which join in in celebrating real, curvy women with a strong sense of style and a desire to keep up with high-street trends. Every week, as well as discussing the latest fashion news, I will be selecting a few items which I feel demonstrate our brand and also reflect what’s big in fashion right now!

So, this week my Favorite Fashion Fixes are:

Pink & Cream Floral Patterned Short Sleeve Top
1. Floral Short-Sleeve Halter-Neck Top
This gorgeous pink and white flower-patterned top comes complete with a built in halter-neck vest with matching beads to add a real touch of summer style without compromising on comfort or adding any extra layers which maintains a smooth silhouette. Furthermore, at just £15 I think it’s a bargain! An absolute holiday must-have.
Medium Wash Crop Denim Jacket
2.Cropped Denim Jacket
While we continue to struggle with what to wear in the showery weather, this denim jacket offers the perfect solution, with a flattering cropped shape and ¾ length sleeves, its not to bulky or heavy and easy to slip on when the sun goes in. I love the cute military style buttons on the shoulders too…right on trend this season!
Red Deep Frill Gypsy Top
3.Red Gypsy Top
This top combines this season’s must-have style of ruffles with a really flattering neck-line, it skims the top of the shoulders while still covering the sometimes troublesome top of the arm area. In this hot vibrant colour it’s sure to get you noticed but for the more demur customer, it also comes in classic black and crisp white.

Article by Harriet