The Busy Girl’s Guide To Oversized Denim

24 June 2017





In the words of JoJo, it’s just too little too late… Well, actually, it’s not, but sorry that this week’s ‘The Busy Girl’s Guide To…’ is a day late. My friend Ellena arrived yesterday to spend the weekend with us, so I spent my Friday frantically cleaning the house, ironing bedsheets, blowing up airbeds and wondering if everything was just quite Pinterest enough. As I sit here now, ceramic mug in hand, giant gold circle mirror reflecting back my tropical leaf MacBook cover and new Zara  diffuser spreading ‘Jasmine Chic’ throughout the house (thanks Ellena), I think I’m safe (and a total cliché).

This weeks edition of TBGGT is an unashamed ode to Tommy Hilfiger. Last week I met the girls from Tommy for a beaut breakfast at The Ivy in Soho (beautiful place - deffo recommend if you’ve never been) with some fellow bloggers, before heading over to the newly refurbished Regent Street store for a spot of shopping. Tommy denim is iconic, so I couldn’t resist this unisex jacket, even though the only size they had left was a large. Unintentionally super oversized - that’s basically the story of my life (just not in a cool way, unfortunately). FYI, this post isn’t sponsored, but if you are interested, The Chainsmokers are now the new global ambassadors for Tommy Hilfiger and the third TOMMYNOW launch will take place at London’s Roundhouse, with the entire show being shoppable as it’s shown!

Jacket - Tommy Hilfiger *
Shorts - ASOS
Sandals - ASOS
Bag - Tommy Hilfiger*




But back to the denim, this week we’re celebrating everything oversized, from mom shorts to the boyfriend jacket. Notable stages in my relationship with denim include being emo af and distressing as many Primark jeans as possible, followed by skin-tight jeggings that showed the band of my pants when I sat down and then, of course the Joni jeans for life era when absolutely everything had to be paired with super black (but always fading), super high Topshop bangers. Hands up if any of that rings a bell.

And as of late? Straight leg blue jeans with staggered hems and during the summer months, the seasonally appropriate, ‘Mom short’ equivalent. Post-Rome trip, I spoke about why summer dressing gives me the fear, mostly owing to the fact that denim hot pants do my inner-thigh chub rub no favours and I find myself lamenting a good old comfortable pair of jeans. But it wasn’t all bad - having found my stride with ASOS Mom Shorts and then falling back in love with oversized jackets, denim is well and truly back on my summer radar.

As always, I’ve rounded up the best that the internet has to offer for all things oversized denim. Whether, like me, you’re trying to track down a pair of shorts that won’t leave your skin red raw whilst on your holidays or you’re wanting to bag a jacket that can see you through Autumn and even be layered up for Winter, then today is your lucky day because I’ve done all of the searching for you (and, let’s be real, all of this stuff is affiliate linked so if you do decide to bag something, there’s a little treat in it for me too (total side note: do you guys feel like bloggers and influencers shy away from discussing affiliate links? Potential new post, me thinks)).

Until next time lovelies x

SHOP OVERSIZED DENIM










On fashion blogging and not taking myself too seriously

19 June 2017




On paper, this is my job: source new/desirable clothing pieces, style them up, photograph them, edit them, write about them, and share them - “glorified clothes horse”, I believe, is the term that is bandied about the internet by those less than enamoured with the blogging game. If I’m ever trying to explain what I do to somebody’s grandparents or the lady behind the desk at the bank, my go-to is “I’m basically used for advertising - but in my own way…?”.

Inevitably, bloggers all met with the same retort: “what, somebody pays you to send you free clothes?” Cue one of two routes: either trying to explain the power and merits of influencer/blogger marketing, the potential return on investment for engaged brands and the ever-changing digital landscape, or, save yourself the time and the breath, shrug, laugh, and evasively respond “well, there you go!”.

When I first started to draw an income from blogging - and, honestly, even up to the past few months - somebody questioning how I made money felt like they were questioning the validity of my career. I felt like, masked beneath the questions, what I was really being asked was “you can’t seriously be making money out of that? Is that even a real job?”. Working part-time, I found that the days I was working as a blogger instead of in the office were referred to as my “days off”, as if being my own accountant, manager and photographer wasn’t enough to warrant a grown up girl career badge.

Dress - ASOS (Petite, Tall and Regular)
Sandals - ASOS
Necklace - Mi Moneda*




Over the past few weeks, however, there’s been a shift in the way I regard myself. Cards on the table, the world is a huge shit-show at the moment and blogging about dresses, my chubby girl weight and how I feel about comfy footwear has all felt vapid. Not only vapid, but so far removed from my real life.

Online I was pushing my new favourite dresses and the affiliate links to find them through, whereas in my personal life, I was championing Labour policies and raging over the biased media representation of the UK terror attacks. That’s not to say I was silent on social media, because my Twitter feed was a sea of Labour support and unashamedly ‘Please Vote Corbyn’ efforts - but I still felt that there was a major disparity between the way the world was turning, and my efforts to make sandals seem interesting. Because who really, really, gives a fuck about sandals, even at the best of times?

My job is sometimes difficult. It’s time consuming. It’s stressful. It’s anti-social at the best of times, which is ironic, given that it’s built on the bones of social media. The truth is, however, that I’ve really stopped taking myself seriously. What I do isn’t ground-breaking, and most of the time, I can appreciate that I’ve worked hard to now be my own boss whilst at the same time accepting that I’m lucky to be able to do the job that I do.

Funnily enough, in a moment of perfect timing, two guys just sat down next to myself and Hannah whilst we work away on our laptops and started quizzing us about what we do. “So who pays you for that? How do you even make money? So does she make more money than you? Do you want to beat her? How long do you think this will last? Can it really go on forever?” Normally this would piss me right off, and I’d shoot an aggravated text message over to Keiran lamenting the amount of nosy parkers in the world. Instead, however, I answered the questions (albeit as succinctly as I could), exchanged raised eyebrows with Hannah and continued to edit.

Shop the post





To them, two bloggers drinking coffee and eating fancy salads most likely looks like the absolute life of leisure. Whilst they head back to the office to continue their dick-swinging contest, they probably think we’ll soon close our laptops to plait each others hair and gossip about Troy from the lacrosse team. As far-fetched as that seems, the truth is that I’ll soon head home and take some Instagram shots of sunglasses or pyjamas to prep some content for my feed, so I can’t be that pissed. Before you burn me at the stake, obviously there is more to content creation than just mindlessly snapping pretty things - however, to some degree, it is kind of that.

And I feel no shame in admitting that. I take my work seriously because it’s my career, it’s my passion, and I feel that in the online spaces we create for ourselves, we can action real change in each other and the world. Alongside that, though, I also don’t take myself too seriously. I’m not a maverick campaigner, I’m not a frontline nurse, I don’t spend my times securing huge international trade deals - I create content for you fabulous huns and I share my life on social media. I know there is value in what I do, and I value myself for doing it, but I also know that that value is relative - if somebody said to me tomorrow “is you’re job really that serious?”, my gut reaction, naturally would be incensed hatred and rage, but if I was being honest with myself, the answer would be “kinda, kinda not”.

The world would keep turning if I closed my laptop lid for the last time, and moved on to pastures new. I probably wouldn’t be that missed, if at all. As strange as that may seem for me to admit, it’s also an act of freedom for myself. In not taking myself so seriously, I’ve alleviated the pressure to always create content that has value - that really, truly means something. That’s the content that gets my loins a’burning, but it’s also content that’s difficult to produce every day of the week if your life is just kind of ticking along in the background.

So here it is. A confession. I love my job, I’m dedicated to it 100% and I never half-arse the content that I create. I wear many hats, from accountant to writer of contracts to tripod-wielding-photographer, and often, I’m stressed. At the same time, I also know what I do isn’t ground-breaking. I know a lot of other people have it harder - as frustrating as micro-managing brands can be - and I now make an effort to always keep myself in check.

Shitty comment on my Instagram post? Deep breath, take a step back, and re-evaluate. I in no way subscribe to the silencing ‘somebody always has it worse, don’t complain’ ideology - instead, I’m just taking a moment to look outside of my own little privileged bubble and see the world around myself.

Now, back to those sandals…

Until next time lovelies x





The Busy Girl’s Guide To The Petite Maxi Dress

16 June 2017




Hola PYTs! Welcome back to another edition of “The Busy Girl’s Guide To…”. You may have noticed that last week was slightly quiet *cough*absent*cough*, which was all down to be spending three days in Rome, two days in the office and then the weekend in Manchester for Parklife for festival. I was a victim to fleeting time and my own terrible organisation, but now we’re back with a bang and this week, I’m doing it for the petite girls.

Petite trousers, petite jeans, petite skirts - they’re all relatively easy to get hold of. The selection is hardly outstanding, but with a little searching, you tend to be able to find some fairly good pieces fitted specifically to those of a smaller persuasion. Petite maxi dresses, on the other hand, seem to be an enigma. I had underestimated when shooting this Next embroidered number quite how difficult it would be to pull together some other shoppable alternatives - Topshop only have two petite maxi dresses in stock, for example, and both are only available in either a 4 or a 16.

Petite Maxi Dress - Next
Sandals - ASOS
Bag - Gucci




This, to me, seems bizarre. Surely any item of clothing that is floor length should be top priority for a  petite fit? Those are the pieces that especially are not going to fit a shorter frame, right? I had the same issue last season with frilled hem trousers; they may have been cropped and on-trend for all of you long-legged lovelies, but for little old me, I found myself traipsing a bunch of extra fabric across every fitting-room floor.

Petite quibbles aside, if you do manage to find a maxi that fits, they are strong contenders for some of the comfiest pieces ever. Want to dress for summer but are fed up of feeling obliged to shave your legs and tan from head to toe? Maxi dress. Want to feel comfortable but also appear as if you have your shit together in a way that tracksuit bottoms can’t covey? Maxi dress. Want to go wild at an all you can eat buffet without having to unbutton your jeans at the table? Maxi dress.

As always, I’ve pulled together the best the internet has to offer so you can shop petite maxis to your heart’s content. Let me know your favourites and if you end up bagging any for yourself, and I shall see you here, same time, same place, next Friday. Until next time lovelies x




Can we abandon our bras?

13 June 2017




Every morning, I find myself asking the same two questions: 1, why do I wear make-up, and 2, why do I wear a bra? Because I don’t enjoy either. I find putting make-up on boring, a waste of time and even more of a pain in the arse to take off in the evening. If you ever say ‘fuck it’ and roam the streets fresh faced and fancy free, you’ll know the sheer delight that is rubbing your eyes without smearing mascara halfway across your face.

And I feel the same about bras. I find them uncomfortable, I don’t like the way they look through clothes and I’m endlessly adjusting bra straps because I have a weird child-sized torso but with normal woman tits. I take no joy in shopping for bras, as pretty as they often are, because I know that as soon as I pop it on, I’m going to be counting down the hours until I can take it off.

But of course, going bra free is easier said than done. I’m quite lucky in a sense - I have B-cup boobs and pretty broad shoulders, so I can hold my puppies up without problem. For someone with F-cups and a back that’s giving up, going commando is not so easy. And I get that. Before I get any further, I know we’d all love to throw our boobs to the wind and burn our bras in an act of rebellion, but a lot of the time, bras are key for support and are actually helpful, rather than a hindrance.

Shoes - Accessorize*




For me, however, they’re worn simply for aesthetic reasons. Whether it’s to hide pointy nipples or to dull the side-to-side bounce that is characteristic of uncaged breasticles, the reason I wear bras is to cover up and to hide, rather than to help or enhance. And I resent that I can openly share my disdain for bras and still feel obliged to wear them. I won’t go into the office tomorrow with the girls unstrapped and at risk of a chill, simply because I feel like I can’t.

I remember Lily Allen once saying she doesn’t wear a bra because she doesn’t like them. This was years ago - I must have been in my early to mid teens - and I remember thinking “fuck yeah, why wear it if she doesn’t want to?! Her tits, her rules!”. And as much as I am still devoted to this mindset, I feel like I can’t really follow her path.

It’s all well and good to make a statement by glaring your nips through a sheer grey t-shirt when you’re a famous performer, but when you work in a corporate environment, are not so body confident or don’t have those small, perky, stretch mark free boobs that the media loves, then you’re a bit stuck.

(As a side note, if you do like to wear a bra or choose to wear a bra for comfort, then you're also expected to keep it hidden. Bras should be worn, but should not be shown. Make sure you opt for nude or strapless or multi-way or t-shirt - undergarments are for function and modesty, and should only be celebrated in the bedroom. Bra straps showing? Well madam, to room 101 with you.)

For some reason, nipples are still taboo. They’ve been manufactured into sexual subjects - most of the time without our permission - instead of the natural, unisex body parts that helps to keep tiny humans alive. And that unisex part is important to remember, because only female nipples are overtly sexualised.

SHOP THE LOOK






Take your boyfriend, brother or Dad to a BBQ and there’ll be no fuss when he whips his t-shirt off to cool down. Heck, you might even hear a supportive “go on lad”, because he’s hot, you know? But when you get the girls out for some much needed cool air and chill, your Grandad faints, the neighbours bring their kids in and you’re all set for a long-winded chat about ‘common sense’ and ‘self-respect’. Tell me - why can men wander around public parks shirtless and care free on a roaster of a day, but when a woman strips down, it’s suddenly an issue of public indecency? Because your boobs have been decided for you, not by you.

Heck, I would love to live my life nipple cover free, let alone bra-free, but I worry that when I’m walking around and my nips inevitably start to show, it will attract unwanted attention. I don’t want creepy old men leering at my tits because they’ve suddenly realised I have nipples. I don’t want middle-aged Mum’s turning away and whispering because they can’t believe I’ve forgotten to get dressed that morning. I don’t want a schoolboy and his mates to shout “TITS!” as they giggle and bike down the road, tiny Nike backpacks in tow.

(It’s worth mentioning at this point that Keiran just came and sat back down on the sofa and leaned over to give me an affectionate boob squeeze, only to be met with a hand slap and a fervent exclamation of “they’re mine!!”. Unfortunate timing on his part.)

But how do we reclaim a part of our bodies whose associations are so heavily dictated by outside perceptions? I want to not wear a bra, but I also don’t want to have to deal with the archaic and sexist reactions that will inevitably come as a result. It’s something I so often feel conflicted about, but something I feel I’m starting to make some leeway with.

After discovering petal nipple covers, my bras have been largely out of use. Yes, I’m still subduing a natural part of my body, but it’s one step away from tight straps and back suffocation, and one step closer to freedom. There wasn’t a bra in sight today when I headed out to shoot, and even when we took the dog for a walk and I popped on a comfy grey t-shirt, I thought “fuck it - yes they are going to wobble and move and do their own little dance, but that’s what boobs do - if it shocks anyone, then they’ve got some serious biology to read up on”. Hardly the grandest feminist expression of all time and painfully white of me (BuRn BrAz), but hey, it’s something.

Let me know all about your boob bothers and nipple niggles in the comments below, or come and find me over on social @chloeplumstead on Twitter and Instagram! Until next time lovelies x





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