Clothing for Curvy Mummas – Where is hot and where is not!

In the first few months after I had Flo, I had sort of accepted that my life as Harriet was over. I think “accepting” this was my way of rationalising that it was okay to not give a shit about myself anymore. I had signed myself up for a life of over sized tops and leggings and I was more than okay with that.

A few months and a few mental health medications down the line, I was clearly in a better mind set. I accepted myself and made sure that I accepted body. After all, it had grown a perfect little mini me, so I couldn’t have been that bad, right?

I slowly got back into who I was. I’ve always enjoyed expressing myself, I’d always loved being different and realising that there were markets that cater for my new shape, identity, style and body really allowed me to get back to finding who I am.

Trawling through ASOS and favouriting items until I’m brave enough to buy them (or they go down in price!) has played a massive part in rediscovering ‘Harriet’-

I couldn’t tell you how many things I’ve tried on, with my mum whilst shouting “THIS WOULD HAVE LOOKED SO NICE ON ME BEFORE THIS” *points at stomach*….
or how many kooky items I’ve got for “jokes” that have looked gorgeous on me!
All I can say is thank goodness for free delivery and refunds!

Here are my favourite plus sized retailers and why,,,

1. ASOS – In my opinion ASOS is the biggest contender in the plus size game. Not only does ASOS have it’s own plus size range (ASOS CURVE) but it has plenty of other well known plus size ranges available on its app and website including but not limited to New Look Curves, Maya Plus, Daisy Street, misguided, boohoo, Chi Chi, John Zack Plus, Levis Plus, River Island, Little Mistress, Unique21, ect. With a fantastic range, massive variety, frequent sales and a great customer rewards system – ASOS is by far my most frequented fashion retailer and app!


2. New Look Curves – I love that New Look uses the same fabrics and prints for all their women’s ranges. This means that regardless of a ladies size, they can wear what is on trend and feel comfortable rocking it. New Look’s clothing never fails to pull me in and I’m almost guaranteed to spend money every time I visit their website or store.


Tea Dress / New Look / size 22 / £20


3. Forever 21+ – Despite what the name says, I’m certainly over the age of 21 but always manage to find lovely pieces on F21. Generally their ranges seem to be targeted for slightly younger audiences, but I never seem to be sort of options in their sales! Their prices are generally fairly reasonable and despite their sizes not being conventional – 2x or 3x usually tend to fit me very well!

Cami Dress / Forever 21 / size 2X / £10


4. George – Unlike most supermarket brands ASDA’s george caters up to a size 24. Their size 24 is usually pretty generous and always fitted me very well, even at my biggest (four stone heavier than I am now!) … They don’t differentiate styles between sizes which means a size 24 lady can rock the same dress as a size 10 lady. Their clothes wash well, last well and look good.


Dungaree Dress & Top / ASDA’s George / size 20 / £20


5. Simply Be – although generally quite expensive, you can quite often find some pretty lovely pieces at Simply Be, most ranging in sizes up to 32. Simply Be does well at catering for all sorts of ladies in all sorts of walks of life.


And here is my guidance on other well known plus sized retailers that aren’t doing it for me like my top 5 do!

1. Pink Clove – Pink Clove have the right idea. With on trend designs and patterns, they could have so much to offer. The quality of Pink Clove’s clothing is pretty poor- I got a tropical print dress that only took one wash to bobble and a dress that unraveled at one of the seams just from being tried on once. I’d generally recommend to avoid unless you have time to throw away fixing clothes that should really last longer.

Baseball Dress / Pink Clove / size 22 / £12


2. River Island – With amazing quality and fantastic pieces to get anybody asking “where did you get that?” I couldn’t recommend River Island enough. However, their plus size range is incredibly pricey and really quite limited.


Cardigan / River Island / size 26 / £40


3. Supermarkets like Tesco’s F&F and Sainsbury’s TU – Are usually the perfect place to pick up a fashion bargain. With the same ranges available for both mainstream and plus sizes, they’re certainly a winner for me. Although the fact that most stores only cater up to size 18/20/22 many, many women are left out. Generally their women’s range sizes are also fairly stingy – I’ve known plenty of ladies who have had to get a size or two bigger than they actually are. That being said, I’ve heard Tesco’s F&F are planning on catering for up to size 30- of this is true, I hope all other supermarket fashion brands follow suite!


Top / Tesco’s F&F / size 22 / £7


4. Boohoo – Am I a size 18, or am I a size 28? With Boohoo I have literally no idea. With items almost identical to the smaller sized range, they have their heart in the right place, but the quality between that range and their plus sized range shows that plus size ladies certainly aren’t their priority.

Velvet Wrap Dress / Boohoo / size 28 (still doesn’t cover my bum through!) / £20

5. Yours – Primark quality at Topshop prices all because you’re considered plus size? Yeah, jog on. I avoid unless they’ve got a sale on and even then, I only stick to the lingerie section. I have heard that their men’s plus size range – Bad Rhino is actually pretty promising. I hope this serves as a reminder that you’re allowed to be you and have your own identity, even on this side of parenthood! Being dressed in what you want to wear can make such a massive difference to how you feel and how you see yourself. Treat yourself and see that even the little things can go a long way in making you feel more human. x

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Putting yourself first

So one thing I’ve noticed recently is that, as mums, we rarely prioritise ourselves. We put everything before our wellbeing, seriously…even the washing comes before putting ourselves first and my question is why? Why is it “normal” to be over tired and under-appreciated…when did it become acceptable for mums to feel this way?Personally, I believe that society has set such an unrealistic goal of “the perfect mum” and with constant derogatory remarks as to whether you’re a “stay at home mum” or a “working mum”, it makes sense that us mums aren’t looking after ourselves as much as we could be.

We are care givers first and foremost to our little ones, but how can we care for them when nowadays most mums are neglecting their own needs? Think about it, how many times have you sat down and had a drink and 5 minutes to yourself today? We need to put ourselves first to help give our little ones what’s best. It’s like running a car on empty.
Recently, I decided to start putting myself first and trying to make myself happy. I’ve accepted a new job and am doing small things that will make myself happy, and now that I’m happier the time I spend with Oliver is more cherished, we’re laughing more together, playing more together instead of what used to be the norm (me sitting down and letting him run ragged because I had no energy for anything else). I have more energy and self-worth and I think, overall, I respect myself more as a mum.
One thing my mental health team suggested to me, and, of course, I never listened to it until recently, was the importance of having time to unwind. I used to think letting my mind wander was a dangerous thing to do, but now I love those thoughts that I’m able to have to myself, I love thinking towards the future and I know since putting myself first and foremost, I can make myself happy.
Of course, you must find yourself thinking “but where do the children come in to all of this?” Well that’s the part I found most difficult. You see, Oliver always has been and always will be my priority, he’ll always come first in my world…but I found that where I wasn’t looking after myself that perhaps I wasn’t being my best for him. I’m not saying I didn’t care for him because I did, however since I’ve started having a bit more self-worth, both me and Oliver seem happier. Let me make this abundantly clear, I’m not saying under any circumstances to put yourself before your children, what I’m saying is after your children you should put yourself before everything else.
I urge all mums to start putting themselves first, you’re doing an amazing job and don’t ever bring yourself down or beat yourself up.Do whatever you need to do to put yourself first: Have a night out with some friends, message the guy you’ve liked for a while, love yourself more. There is a saying my grandfather used to say, and although I never met him it’s a saying I find myself saying frequently; whatever you’re going through, no matter how tough it is, you can’t go over it, you can’t go under it…you must go through it and ultimately, you’ll be a stronger person once you’re through to the other side.