Sunday, 9 February 2014

Taking Shape, Liverpool

Ready to put the Liverpool branch of Taking Shape through its paces

I only discovered Taking Shape an Australian brand which is opening stores around the UK a few months ago when I was approached to review a fabulous leopard print dress by them.
The website promised well made, often quite unusual clothes at a similar price point to the likes of Simply be and AX Paris. 
My first outfit from Taking Shape
When my review dress arrived (see my outfit post here) I was really blown away by the quality and fit so when I was asked if I would like to go along to their new Liverpool store and spend time with one of their in store stylists I was keen to see more of the collection.

I'm going to say right off the bat that I think the product photography on the Taking Shape website does the clothes a slight disservice, Its not that its unprofessional in any way but the models used give the clothes a look of maturity that doesn't actually reflect the stuff hanging in the shops. 
I'm not sure if its how the models are styled or if the photos were taken for the Australian market but the clothes you see online are a million miles away from the real thing on the hangers. On the website it has more than a whiff of Bon Marche about it which is crazy as the clothes they actually stock are amazing.
I live tweeted some of photos and had quite a few girls saying how they had never really considered Taking Shape before but having seen how I looked in it would go back and look again. 

I was really surprised at how fab the accessories were

The store is very well set out

The Taking Shape store in Liverpool is beautifully set out.Its a big airy space with wooden floors and lots of artfully hung clothes and accessories.

 Nothing looks crammed, the vibe in the shop is cool,calm and very welcoming and the staff are a mixture of sizes and shapes and  all were wearing great outfits by the brand.

The in store stylist service is available to anyone and is totally free. A lovely girl called Paula had already taken a look on my blog and put together a rail of looks she thought would suit my style and shape and I have to say (having secretly been a bit nervous) she got it absolutely spot on.
Here are the outfits I tried on, along with the original website shots so you can see how they look "in the flesh" as it were.

Battalion Trench Coat £55

As a small shouldered big boobed plussie I find buying coat and jackets quite difficult. If they fit the bust they drown me, if they fit my shoulders they are gaping at the chest. So I was pleasantly surprised when this tench coat fitted as well as it did. 
I'm a sexy detective

Its still slightly too big on the shoulders but the overall fit is great and the colour is amazing.I feel like a big bottomed detective or sophisticated french chick (minus the  black coffee,cigarettes and willowy frame )

The Lotus Dress £45

Paula my stylist was wearing this frock and I loved it on her. Its a classic little black dress with a twist. The frill detail on the front stops it being too plain and the fit and length means this would be perfect for work but with a change of shoes and bag it also works for dinner out or a special occasion.

Love the neckline on this dress

The soft gathering at the bias means its great if like me you carry a lot of weight around your middle and the sleeve length hits just above the elbow.
This is one of those dresses that would work really hard in your wardrobe

The sweetheart neckline is my favourite style anyway so great if like me you like enhancing your decolletage (if you've got it flaunt it ladies)

Olivia Dress £39

The colours of this dress are just amazing and the paisley print and block colour at the hem are so eye catching. The shape of this dress (as I found with a lot of the collection) is incredibly flattering. 

I know its only February but how good would this be in the summer with a slight tan

Softly skimming your curves without clinging. This would be fantastic with footless tights and a pair of converse as it has a great beachy feel to it.

Cria Dress £39

This dress is such an example as to how I think the stock photos on the Taking Shape site don't do the clothes justice. I had totally dismissed this dress as quite frumpy and dull but on it is absolutely fantastic. 

This dress just goes to show the importance of trying things on

Its so flattering, the draping and clever cut make you look like you go in and out in all the right places and the the print has flashes of leopard print in. Its a sexy dress and I love it but didn't give it the time of day when browsing the website.

Purple Rein Dress £55

This dress is one of those that had no hanger appeal at all (it looks a bit crinkly and flammable) but on is an absolute sensation. The purple and green which I coupled with this amazing green cardigan has more than a hint of 1960's psychedelia about it and the cowl neckline makes it look really edgy.

This is such a cute outfit

One of the things that I really loved about all the Taking Shape clothes I tried was that they all featured great necklines and unusual hem lengths which gives them more than a hint of high fashion.

Cisco Tunic £25

The tunic lengths are great if like me you don't want to tugging at the hem of tops and dresses all the time and flashing your camel toe to the world. As you can see this one was long enough that I'm wearing it as a dress. 

Dotty about tunics

Underneath this I've put the Luna Long sleeved body dress which is part of their essentials collections and such a great idea. 

These slip dresses (I'm wearing the sleeveless one here) are such  a great idea

Its basically a black slip which is ideal for putting under sheer fabrics I reckon you could also wear this as a dress too or put on black tights and white gloves and pretend to be Marcel Marceau.

Ponti Zipper Skirt £15 and Stretch Lace Top £29

This skirt is such a good example of the edgy detailing which makes this collection such a joy to the fatty fashionista. Its a classic pencil shape but in a great thick fabric which doesn't cling under the belly and the zip looks so fashion forward. I paired this with this great black lace top. 

The old Goth in me always appreciates a black lace top
Sadly you can't really see the zip detail on this skirt here but its so cool

This is one of those outfits which will always make you feel amazing. Classic but edgy. Perfect. Businesslike but with a slutty edge. Like me really.
The fabric prints on offer are really beautiful

I also put this gorgeous Highland Rose top with the skirt and yet again it looked amazing.The prints and fabrics this brand use are amazing. 
The soft silky fabric of this top feels so luxurious

If I had to compare the designs to anything it would be to Hobbs or Monsoon. There is a feeling of quality and uniqueness.Investment pieces but without a ridiculous price tag

Chiffon Tunic Top £39

This is another item which is termed a tunic but which I would argue is a dress (calm down, calm down we have all had a drink lets agree to disagree) Whatever you want to call it, it rocks the house of frock.

The shape of this is such a winner

The adjustable tie at the bias creates such a nice shape and it drapes so beautifully. This comes in black too and I'm sorely tempted to get it in both colours. Its vaguely see through which means leggings are a must (unless you are a rotund exhibitionist who wants to show your foo to everyone and if so-all power to you sister)

Ponti LBD £25

Just when I thought I might be slightly over body con this dress revives my love for the wiggle silhouette. 

Can I fix you an Old fashioned Don?
I felt like Joan in Madmen in this dress and that is a splendid thing.I just need a lighter on a gold chain and I'm good to go. 

Highland Rose Dress £39

Is it a dress? is it a kaftan pretending to be a kimono? I don't know and care even less. I absolutely love this and it was one of the items I walked away with. 
I adore this

This is my new favourite thing to put on after a shower to do my make up in. I feel like Elizabeth Taylor as I sweep around in this. Gorgeous.

Sugar Plum Velvet Coat £59

As soon as I saw this coat on the rail I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. its just amazing and yes I took this home. I have spent so much of my adult life staring wistfully as slimmer girls have wafted around in beautiful brocade and velvet coats, trapped in my Evans duffel like the little match girl licking at fashions window. 
My Helena BC coat

Not anymore. I own this baby now. I'm like an obese Helene Bonham Carter. Give me a pig to warm my feet on.

Pompeii Dress £39

The name of this dress makes me think of ancient people fossilized in lava but we wont hold that against it as its rather lovely indeed. 

Black, white and great all over.
This is  a much easier way to wear this seasons ethnic prints (which are always in danger of looking like a Stevie Wonder album cover circa 1975) I adore monochrome so this dress ticked all my boxes.

Spotty Cardigan

I cant find this on the website. The only thing similar is this spotty tunic which is £25. I'm not sure if this is a cardigan, jacket or baby doll nightie. All i know is that I absolutely adore it. I feel like Minnie Mouse. It has a perfect cute velvet collar and is such a lovely shape. This would be perfect to throw on over your swimming costume on holiday as well.

I just need a pair of orange fluffy mules and I'm all set.

Paula the lovely stylist from Liverpool's taking Shape store

So there you have it my day of playing dress up with Taking Shape. 
In terms of sizing its runs from  14-26 but its very, very generous. I had to size down on quite a few items so if you are bigger than a 26 don't be put off. The in store styling service I received was just amazing. I was offered a cup of tea, led to large stylish changing rooms (with not a hint of sweaty feet) and received a complimentary jewellery holder and nail file in my shopping bag. Its how fatty bum bum shopping should be. Do not I repeat do not let the vaguely middle aged product photography on the website put you off trying this brand. If you are near a store pop in (go to the Liverpool store tell them Betty sent you) I am really quite taken by this collection and excited to see how it develops.
The store I visited is at 24 Church Alley Liverpool (near the Bluecoat gallery at the side of Primarni) to find a store near you check out their store locator's
*I wasn't paid for this review*

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