Sunday, 24 February 2013

When Betty Pamper Met Claire Richards

Regular readers of this blog will know I have a bit of a bizarre relationship with Claire Richards from Steps. I have written in support of her twice now when I had felt she has been particularly ill treated over her size by the media  and yet each time have stated I'm no Steps fan (I have drunkenly danced to Tragedy but hey who hasn't but there my appreciation ends)
I know to many, Claire has portrayed a slightly muddled message in the past about how comfortable she is with her weight but to my mind she seems a nice woman who should be allowed to turn up at a red carpet event without expecting a torrent of abuse about her size in the papers the next day.
So when plus size clothing brand Fashion World announced they have collaborated with her on a clothing line I was quite intrigued to see what it was like. I think it would be fair to say that Claire is not known as a particularly edgy dresser and I'm sure I'm not the only plus sized hottie who wondered if she had  played a real design role or was just the "face" of the campaign. So when the fashion world PR team asked me if I would like to chat to Claire about the collection I jumped at the chance to get the low down on her input and to ask the lady herself how it feels for complete strangers to discuss your BMI. Here is the interview.

Betty-First of all congratulations on getting into the final of Big Brother. You were great to watch especially your relationship with Rylan the Steps superfan. Will you be keeping in touch with him?
Claire-Yes of course.
Claire and Rylans relationship was very sweet to watch. he is such a Steps superfan

Betty-Which are your favourite pieces from the collection you have launched with Fashion World and why?
Claire-I like the pieces that allow me to wear something pretty but comfortable during the day, there is a pretty dress with a bow print that I love and also I love the chunky knit cardigan that I wore everyday in the big brother house.
Claire's favourite-this actually looked much nicer when she wore it inside the house

Betty-How does the process work? are you acting as a muse/consultant or are you involved with designing any of the collection?
Claire-I've had a huge amount of input and taken inspiration from a lot of different areas, including some vintage pieces of mine that work really well for a plus size. I've also tailored a lot of the pieces to hiding or correcting the areas that I and other plus size women are perhaps not so comfy with when it comes to clothing.

Jumpsuit from the Claire Richards Collection £40

Betty-How much of a fashion maven are you? Do you place close attention to current trends or prefer classic wardrobe staples?
Claire-Being a plus size I tend to try and stick with classic shapes that I know suit me, and I keep up to date with fashion using prints and accessories oh and shoes.
Black and pink dress from the Claire Richards Collection £60

Betty-Your weight has been a source of regular scrutiny over the years, how do you handle that?
Claire-It still baffles me why everyone is so bothered by my weight. I'm kind of over it now, it's just boring how some people insist on going on about it all the time.

Jacket £35. Dress £45 from the Claire Richards Collection
Betty-Any tips for women out there struggling to accept being plus size?
Claire-I think the key to accepting yourself is to not worry what other people may think or say about you. And it's also educating yourself in how to dress the best way for your size and shape. Something that I think I have finally done. 
 Plait trim dress from the Claire Richards Collection £35

And here is what I think of the collection.

Overall I'm liking quite  a few of the pieces. The jumpsuit is quite fashion forward and I like the red trousers. I'm also completely in love with the blue sparkly dress. At the launch event Claire wore a flowered prom dress which was one of the stand out pieces in the collection for me so I thought it might be fun to see how it looked on  a real life fattie.

here is Claire looking rather fabulous

And here I am in my garden in the same dress
 I'm definitely a bit more punk rock than Claire and when it arrived I wasn't sure if it wouldn't make me look a tad frumpy especially as its mid calf length on me (I'm a short arse)  but I have really fallen in love with it now Ive styled it with my own accessories.

As its the middle of winter I wore a black long sleeved top underneath. I really liked the sheer panel at the neckline which I'm not showing to its best advantage, but sorry guys its freezing at the moment!

At £70 this is definitely not an impulse buy but it feels very well made. It has netting underneath the skirt to give it some fullness and its all finished well with piping around the edges.

I don't usually wear autumnal colours but Ive decided its quite nice to wear brown and cream with black for a change and if I decide it needs a pop of colour I can always team it with a bright cardigan.

Ive cinched it in at the waist with a wide belt and worn it with tights and an old pair of converse sneakers. its my usual take on punk princess chic but it would look equally lovely with a pair of ballet flats and a cute cardigan.
So there you have it, the Claire Richards Collection for Fashion World. What do you think? does any of it tickle your fashion pickle? 

Remember feeling good and looking great has nothing to do with dress size and everything to do with attitude.Never wait to be a certain weight to start enjoying clothes and never reject anything thinking it wont suit your shape. Try it on-you may be surprised.

For more plus sized fashion check out my Curvy Girl Style page
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