What ‘plus size’ looks like according to 5 retailers

So, there I was, fresh off the boat (and by boat I mean Qantas Airbus) from Australia, ready to sink my teeth into some good old British high street shopping (and by high street I mean not outside, not on a street, and definitely inside my bed).

“I’m back in the world of next day delivery”, I thought to myself gleefully. The sheer size of Australia means waiting 3-5 business days for something (on a good day)… AND there’s no post on Saturdays. It’s as though they think I plan my outfits in advance or something. Anyway, primed with my MasterCard and ready to plonk a hundy in my cart (£100 for those who need translation), I scrolled through the likes of Asos and Missguided with a grin from ear to ear. Until I saw this. APPARENTLY PLUS SIZE MODELS ARE SKINNIER THAN I AM.

Now this struck a nerve with me in particular as I spend most of 2014 on a treadmill shedding the lbs. Despite slowly but surely tronking my way through enough hamburgers to pile 11lbs back on in Australia, I was still proudly stomping about in a good dress size or two less than pre-treadmill love affair, so I still considered it a mild victory. That was, until I saw myself exposed to some slender little filly with a great big plus sign plastered across her face on a website. And not just ‘a’ website. The shock of the first exposure lead me to explore a few other similar sites, and I didn’t like what I saw.

‘Sizes 16-24’ they claim. Funny that, did you haul the clothing in at the back with a giant bulldog clip as you photographed it on this size 10 rack of ribs I see before me? Why are brands taking the credit for providing a plus size range, yet promoting the clothes on a girl who is far from the size range? Here’s what ‘plus size’ looks like in five different UK online retailers:

ASOS CURVE: Claiming to cater to the curvier lass, the Curve range comes in at a size 18-30. Which is why it obviously makes total sense popping this LBD on a girl no bigger than a size 12. Exhibit A. SHE PRACTICALLY HAS AN EFFIN’ THIGH GAP.

AsosCurve

 

MISSGUIDED PLUS: Probably the worst of the bunch, these cheeky little buggers have slipped this olive skinned stunner into a teal tea dress claimed to be for a size 16-24. As suspected, not a thunder thigh in sight. *crys into size 12 jeans*.

MissguidedPlus

BOOHOO PLUS: Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, OH HELLO BOOHOO. This little chica is wearing a crop top (YES, A CROP TOP) and maxi skirt and claims to be a size 16-24. Well. Let me just crawl into a hole and weep, then, because if that’s a size 16, then I sir am Camilla Parker Bowles.

BooHooPlus

NEW LOOK INSPIRE: New Look faired slightly better in my assessment of their choice of models for the Inspire range for women sized 18-32, but there of course was one or two stragglers. Presenting the furthest thing from a size 18, ladies and gents. Chunky knees? No. Bingo wings? No again. Yet here I am rocking both, thinking I’m a size 10. Well, more fool me. Here she comes:

NewlookPlus

H&M+: Ah, the Swedes. Known not only for their tasty (if not somewhat horsey) meatballs and creative furniture naming skills, they also spat out our old fave H&M. Our go-to guys for a pair o’ leggings or a quickie outfit for a last minute night out, and oh, oh, YEAH YOU GOT IT IN ONE – an inconceivably slim ‘plus size’ model. Their selection of girls for their +18-28 range was commendable, but it what have we learned today? It wouldn’t be a plus size range without an absolute corker of a skinny bitch in there would it. As promised, here she is. Probably a creative who sips skinny capps while painting on her balcony WEARING SIZE 12 CLOTHING:

HMPlus

Food for thought, women of the world. Before this post gets completely misconstrued and I get trolled for hating on plus size women, that’s totally not what this is about. It’s about retailers supposedly supporting positive body image by providing a plus size range, and then totally wrecking it by using models that fit a size that the range doesn’t even carry. Sort it out!

Love (and now probably doughnuts) always,

Coco x

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The BEST Mascara I’ve Ever Had – Topshop DOE EYED LASHES

Hi all. Big news in the world of Coco. I recently gave up my eyelash extensions. *cry* After eighteen months of waking up and not applying any eye makeup, of having random strangers ask me how I got my lashes so perfect, of managing to avoid the dead eyes look on a hangover, I had to accept the harsh reality that it was also eighteen months of bleeding my bank account dry over a simple beauty non necessity. Something had to give, and sadly, it was the lashes. I let them all fall out, and began my hunt for a mascara to fill the void. My faith in mascaras is generally pretty low, but it seems after eighteen months away, things have actually improved!

I have always really liked Topshop’s makeup range, and find it is actually miles ahead of some premium brands in the beauty aisle, considering its a brand extension of a fashion retailer, and the prices are pretty reasonable. I had their original mascara, back in the day, but since then they’ve released a few. I really feel like I’ve missed some serious developments in my time away in lash land! I went for the DOE Eyed Lashes mascara, purely based on my usual investigation of how appealing the brushes look in the testers. It was £10, so a real bargain, and its really fantastic. I’m so glad that the first one I tried was perfect, and really works with my lashes. I always find that my lashes really struggle to stay curled up and voluminous all day. They can look great as I leave the house, but two hours later they’re flat and straight, and it looks like I’m barely wearing any at all. But two coats of this mascara holds me for several hours. Sometimes I touch up in the afternoon, but its not always necessary. It doesn’t smudge, but still comes off with wipes really easily. Overall, a 10/10 from me! I would definitely recommend it!

Here’s some photos of how well it worked for me. Give it a try for yourself!

First thing in the morning after two coats:

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At the end of a busy day:

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High Street Haul

Hello Monday. Its you again! Now, Monday doesn’t represent the same meaning for me as for most of the working world, but I still feel the need to address it. Monday for me is actually more of a relief, as it means the busy weekend period is over. Yep, you guessed it, I work in a pub. Monday brings with it an air of relaxation, quieter evenings, and less hungry diners to serve. But still, it is still the first day of a new week, and how better to commence it (especially when its the first of the month as well), than with some new purchases. Now, in an ideal world I would have gone out today and raided the shelves of Zara and the premium cosmetics counters in House of Fraser, but sadly my finances disagreed with that plan. So I set myself a challenge to pick up some new buys on a budget.

Here’s what I snapped up!

I finally managed to grab the Sleek blush in Rose Gold today, which I have been checking Superdrug for for months! It was ALWAYS sold out, but today I snapped up the last one!!!! Pretty smug I must say. I heard about Sleek products from my fave makeup vlogger Tanya Burr, and this one has great gold shimmery tones (great for summer) amidst a gorgeous pinky shade. Can’t wait to try it!

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I also purchased some MUA products, as they are so unbelievably cheap and are actually pretty good. I had heard great things about the Undressed eyeshadow palette, which contains browns and golds – great for brown eyed girls like me! I went for the new version called Undress Me Too.

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I got a MUA lipstick to add to my growing collection in shade 07. It was £1 so obviously I’m not expecting Chanel standards, but its worth a shot!

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A shopping trip wouldn’t end with just one lipstick purchase either! I took advantage of No.7’s great vouchers (£3 off makeup), and got this Stay Perfect Lip Colour in shade Coral Rose. It feels really silky on my hand so I can’t wait to try it out. I think it’l be coming to work with me tonight!

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Also from the MUA range, I took a gamble and got this £5 Pro Base Fixing Mist, which is supposed to hold your makeup in place all day long, protecting against wind and humidity. As a person who seems to shed any trace of makeup within hours, I thought I’d give it a go. Especially as the pub has recently become a sauna, resulting in us girls sweating under our black uniforms for 6 hours a day!

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I have wanted an eyebrow kit for ages. Preferably the HD Brows Kit, but I just didn’t have the dollar for that at the moment. I went for one of the Fashionista range (at Superdrug), which was £7 and contains mini tweezers, a brush, a gel wax setter and three colours.

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A picked up this super cute bag from H&M for £14.99, as I thought it was really versatile. It can be a clutch bag or a shoulder bag (great for day and night) and was a really nice neutral shade. It also comes in black, which was what I was going to go for, but I spotted this one and changed my mind. Also, but of an OOTD plug – my top is from Zara and my jeans are the Joni jeans from Topshop.

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If you’ve read my blog before, I’m sure you’ll know how obsessed I am with camis. I scooped up this plain black one for £5 in Primark as a little summer wardrobe staple. I also have it in white with black edging. Great bargain! The straps are a little long for me but I just tied tiny knots in the back and it was perfect!

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I must admit I splurged on this item – the Mango Body Scrub from The Body Shop. I was hoping they were still doing their 40% off, but when I discovered they hadn’t I couldn’t put the scrub down, it just smells so good!! I just finished my Soap and Glory Scrub, which I love, so this has a lot to live up to. I have the Mango Beautifying Body Oil too, though, so I’m sure this will live up to my expectations!

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Last but not least, I saw New Look had some great offers on basics, and I bought this red bandeau top for £2!!! Amazing! If you’re a crop top worshipper (which I most certainly am NOT due to my lack of abs), they had some great bits too, for around £2 – £4. Go on, go and make me jealous and flaunt your toned tums in those!!!

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Reviews of all these to come!

Have a great week!

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Kiss Me, Down By The Broken Tree House…

Well well well, here we are. I never thought I would see the day, but here I am, blogging as a GRADUATE (subject to passing the exams, but sssh). Yes, that’s right, my moaning about revision, dissertation and portfolio is over, I am a free agent. Which means….I get to spend more time working on my blog! Well, and sunbathing, as it doesn’t look like there is a Coco vacation on the horizon any time soon, unfortunately.

Just quickly, I don’t know if I mentioned, but I am also writing for a site called Fashion’s On Vacation. We write about looking fashionable while travelling, and its great for style and beauty tips, as well as destination reviews and inspiration for getaways. So please check it out, follow it (its also hosted by WordPress, bonus), and follow on twitter @fashionsonvacay.

Anyway, blog plug over! Today’s topic of convo is…….LIPSTICK.

Oh yes, lipstick. Until recently I admit, I was a hater. I thought it belonged on Pat Butcher, prostitutes, and Barbie. But how wrong was I. I will hold my hands up, I was a particularly late adopter of this trend (anyone on my Uni course reading this you may recognise ‘late adopters’ from the ILM exam….lets just not speak about it shall we!), but has actually revolutionised my makeup bag, and I never knew how much versatility you can get from being armed with a few different shades though.

Through my discovery of lipsticks, I have encountered some really good ones along the way, that will stay in my staple makeup set for life, but I have also, shall we say, kissed some frogs along the way – and these are the ones you’ll want to give a miss.

Now, the staying power of the lipstick can depend on the colour. I just think some colours let you get away with using a high street beauty brand like 17 or L’Oreal, but some shades to command the need to visit my favourite luxury beauty store, Space NK, for something a little more upmarket.

RED

Red is one I have found is okay in the cheaper brands, providing you finish with a layer of Lipcote lipstick sealer, which is available from Boots for £3.69. It tingles a bit when you apply but it’ll keep your colour for hours. Rimmel’s Kate Moss shade 022 is lovely, and Topshop do a gorgeous shade of coral red, Satorial.

PINK

Pink, on the other hand, I have had trouble with. After being blown away by Topshop’s lippy range, I dashed in to pick up a dusty pink, Secret Admirer. To my disappointment, the pink crumbled off my lips in a trashy manor shortly after applying. I was unsure about it even when I first slicked it on, as it didn’t seem dense or matte enough to stay put. L’Oreal’s Caresse lipsticks, endorsed by the beautiful Emma Stone, are slightly better. Shade 03 Lovely Rose is a pretty one, but the moisture shine element does take away from of the colour brightness. Still, a worthwhile purchase for a daytime splash of cute. Barry M’s lip colours are actually quite good too, but again, be weary that just because one is good doesn’t mean all of them are. I had a similar problem with their pinks. For a pink that will still be pucker ready hours later, Nars is certainly a safer choice. Funny Face and Pago Pago are great shades, and while they will set you back £18, its worth it. (Students, try and snap these up when Asos are doing a 25% off promo!).

DARK

Dark lippies are slightly harder to track down in high street brands, and there often isnt much choice. If you find one, it can sometimes be a case of acceptable only for halloween and no other occasion, so these ones you will have to search further afield. Lots of us think a deep purple lippy won’t look good on us, but with subtle smokey eyes and an LBD, it can actually be a winner. DON’T overdo the eye makeup though! (You know the rules!). I managed to snap up a Jemma Kidd double ended colour balm lipstick from the Space NK sale (a must-visit, by the way. Make sure you sign up for alerts!) in shade 03 Boudicea. Its a really nice deep colour, and has a balm on one end, to keep your lips hydrated.

NUDE

A nude shade can give you that perfectly prim and polished look, without looking too dressy. You might think its an easy one, but be careful – pick the wrong shade and you can end up looking like you have no lips at all, if it blends into your skin tone! I recently tried the Rimmel Apocolips Lip Laquer in Nude Eclipse, but wasn’t too impressed. While its super cool that its a lip stick and lip gloss all in one, you really want a more matte effect for this. By all means add a gloss later, but these combined ones are a bit too much, and don’t sit very well. Again, give NARS a try, or Smashbox have some great shades and are known to be good (I am yet to try these ones, but their highlighter is good).

I hope my guide has helped, and reminded you to be careful when selecting lip colour! Its one of the toughest items to find the perfect one for you, so take your time and don’t be afraid to experiment!