The democratisation of fashion is happening fast. Once considered elitist and a little Gwyneth, sustainable fashion is becoming more affordable. Thanks to social media, advertising is opening its arms to more diversity and inclusivity. But we still have far to go when ‘alternative’ appearances are often more trend than embraced as the norm. Leading the way in the curve and tall department are notably ultra fast fashion brands, we’re talking the likes of Missguided, Boohoo and Pretty Little Thing. And shock, they even highlight plus size models in their campaign imagery. But like you were probably thinking, it’s for a particular look and one that’s not quite conscious of the environment. Alise, a London based fashion photographer has been recognised not just for her skills behind a camera but her personal style too. She’s been featured on ASOS’s Instagram account and is followed for her outfits. She says, “there’s a whole range of body types that I know are not catered at all”. So where does one go if you’re above average height with hips that don’t lie? We get the lowdown from Alise on where to shop for plus size fashion online and on the high street.
What’s your relationship with fashion and dressing for your body type?
I’m considered fairly tall (I’m 5’8) and curvy (my current dress size goes between 16-20 depending on the store). It hasn’t bothered me because I have an hourglass shape. So, I accentuate my waist with a belt or I’ll wear a cropped jacket to add a nice silhouette. Sometimes, it’s also a curse because it means my bum and thighs are bigger and often a completely different size to my top half. Finding the perfect pair of jeans or even a dress that fits perfectly around my chest and hips are near impossible. That being said, over the last few years in particular, I’ve really learnt to love my body and accept it as beautiful. It’s a journey we all take no matter our size!
Where do you shop for wardrobe basics?
I love a good pair of dark jeans paired with loose shirts. This can be worn in so many ways and layered with other items. But getting a good pair of jeans can be a task! I found the best fitting ones from River Island and ASOS. I look for straight leg, high wasted styles – they compliment curvy ladies the most.
All my white shirts are from Zara, they just get the size and design right! For everything in-between I shop at ASOS. They have a range for ‘tall’ girls which is amazing. I can’t tell you the amount of times I order a dress from the ‘normal’ line and it won’t even cover my bum! I believe ASOS is truly a leader when it comes to finding fashionable items for all shapes and sizes.
Alise is coveting
And what about occasionwear?
Zara and Asos are again my top favourites and this is because of the sizing. I often see amazing pieces on & Other Stories, Mango and Topshop (I won’t even mention the luxury brands) but they just don’t fit. Creating a plus size range doesn’t mean making everything bigger, it has to cater to the various shapes that plus size girls have. I don’t want a dress to look like a bag on me. The design needs to be made with a curvy woman in mind.
When it comes to occasion-wear, I love a good wrap dress – it’s super flattering and comfortable! I’d also recommend going for an all-black look. It’s no secret that dark colours look great on everyone and creates a slimming effect. And it’s super chic. But that’s what I find works for me – don’t be afraid to experiment. There are so many rules and online tips when it comes to how to dress for a certain body type but you won’t know unless you try!
Do you feel adequately represented in advertising campaigns or by sponsored influencers?
I can finally say yes, I do feel like the industry is changing and I’m living for it! I remember growing up never feeling inspired by what I saw in the fashion industry and felt that it was never for me. But at this moment, I can tell it’s changing and it’s just the beginning – more and more, girls are showing off their curves and beauty on social media, magazines and TV ads. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us.
Words by Alise (@alisejane_photography)