Friday, 21 August 2020

My Top Six Plus Size Summer Looks 2020


If you'd have told me 4 years ago that I'd be sitting here writing a plus size fashion post on my blog - I would not only not have believed you, in all honesty I would probably have cried.

I would no doubt have been slap bang in the middle of yet another "miracle diet", hoping against hope that maybe THIS would be the one - the "cure" to my fatness that I'd longed for all these years.

The very thought that I'd still be fat in 2020 would have been enough to break me - because back then, I could probably think of little worse.

It's funny how a life time of drinking in diet culture and female body shaming can do that to you. Can take you to the point in your mind where your entire worth as a human being rests almost completely on your dress size.

I spent my childhood at slimming clubs with my mum - listening to her pull herself apart over her size on an almost daily basis. 

I spent my teenage years reading the most toxic magazines - with their "Circle Of Shame" highlighting any bit of cellulite on a celebrity they could find, pitting top Hollywood Actresses against each other in a belittling Battle Of The Bikini Bodies, reducing these incredible artists to nothing more than the sum of their parts.

I spent my 20s in a relationship with a physically abusive man whose mother was in recovery from an eating disorder, and dealt with her trauma by projecting her body issues on to me - bringing my weight up constantly in front of other people to humiliate, demean and further demoralise me.

So is it any wonder, following the C section births of 3 children in the space of 3 years, that  I found myself at a point where I couldn't stand to look at myself in a mirror, and could think of nothing but the pursuit of thinness.

As though thinness would heal all of that trauma, right all of those wrongs, and bring me the life I wanted....a life of freedom from self loathing, where I could know what true confidence and joy felt like.

2016 Hayley would no doubt have felt that still being fat in the future made her some sort of failure. As though this was a life she was doomed to.

She could never have known that in reality, it was the acceptance of her body that would set her free.

That it wasn't a cure to fatness that would bring her that life she so wished for - but the cure to body shame and stigma...which, it turns out, was to learn how to love herself unconditionally.

So here we are...

Me and my fat body have had a fantastic summer (all things pandemics aside!), and I think the outfits I've worn this year have been my favourite that I've ever owned.

Over the last few years since embracing my body as it is, I've gone through a few different phases with fashion - starting with deliberately wearing midriff baring tops and shorts to push myself far out of my comfort zone, but ending somewhere that feels more authentic.

This year I'm not wearing clothes to hide any part of me, but I'm also no longer in a place where I feel the need to deliberately wear clothes to display parts of me - I don't feel the need to prove anything to anybody. I don't feel I need to challenge myself any more.

I feel truly comfortable in my body right now, and so - finally - the time came to start choosing clothes for no reason other than that I loved them. Because they made me smile, because they were fun, because they were cute.

I love rainbows, pastels, bright colours and pretty dresses - and these have been the theme of my Summer wardrobe.

So without further ado, here's a look at my Top 6 Summer Looks from 2020.

This was one of the first items of clothing I bought this Summer, and I have worn it approximately 7 million times since!! I LOVE it.

Not only because it looks great with its bright blue and floral design, but because it's the most comfortable item of clothing I have ever owned.

It's so light and floaty, it feels as though you're not even wearing anything. The sleeves feel so feminine, and the maxi length is perfect for when you're bending over to pick up little ones all day but it also has splits up each side which give you lots of freedom of movement. It is the best dress I have ever owned...infact I loved it so much I bought it in every colour available (The others weren't as pretty though, so they didn't make the list)

I paid £39 for this from Simply Be but it's currently on sale HERE for a BARGAIN £13.50.

I spotted this dress whilst googling "rainbow clothes" one evening. I literally GASPED when I clicked on it. It was everything I wanted in a dress! The bright rainbow stripes were a thing of sheer beauty, and the capped sleeves with wrap around skirt and maxi length ticked every single box I had.

Unfortunately - it was retailing at £93, and no matter how much I love a dress I can simply NEVER bring myself to pay that much for one. It's just an obscene amount for one item of clothing to me - I can't help but think of how much better spent that money could be on other things.

However, one evening whilst scrolling on social media - I noticed a 50% off voucher for the store it was from. I decided to give it a try, and lo and behold - it worked! So I nabbed it and I'm so glad I did....I adore it, and I will wear it for many summers to come!

Available from Collectif Clothing HERE (Unfortunately it's back to full price, but keep an eye out for those discount codes!)

I fell in love with this dress on Instagram, when I saw a pink haired beauty wearing it at Disney World. 

I loved everything about it - the colours, the pattern, the patent white belt, the heart shaped pockets - it was the stuff of my candy-coloured dreams!

Again though, it was too expensive so I left it there....until one day I saw that the company had a sale on. I checked for my dress, and they had ONE left in stock - but it was two sizes too big.

I decided it was worth a try anyway, as we all know clothing sizes differ MASSIVELY from one shop to the next - I tried it on when it arrived and admittedly it is a bit too big, but with a bit of adjusting here and there I've managed to make it work. And it being on the bigger side just gives me more room to breathe and makes it more comfortable! 

I did snag the last of this particular dress, but they have available in the non-curve range up to a size 16 and they also have an identically patterned co-ord top and skirt set in the Curve range still available.

Available from Voodoo Vixen HERE

This was the first dress I bought this year when I decided I needed more pastel rainbow goodness in my wardrobe. I jumped onto ASOS on a whim and typed in "Pastel Rainbow" and this beauty was what I was presented with!

It was slightly on the pricey side at £50.00 but I thought I'd give it a try on, secretly hoping to hate it - unfortunately for my bank account, I didn't hate it.

The dress is by Outrageous Fortune and was bought from ASOS, you can find it here

I mean...why would anyone ever not want to dress like a watermelon?!! Could anything be any more Summery?!

I love this dress. I love the colours, I love how fun it is - and I love that I found a watermelon bag to match it!

This dress was from Harkel Clothing, you can find it HERE - The matching Watermelon handbag was from Collectif Clothing

Because a girl can never have too many rainbow dresses, right?!

This one is SUPER bright, I love the fit and it is also really comfortable to wear too. One I will get a lot of wear out of I'm sure!

I love wearing it teamed with this little rainbow bag which actually isn't a bag at all, but a pencil case from Home Bargain!! Who says a 99p Pencil Case can't double up as a clutch?! 

This dress was from Harkel Clothing, it's available HERE

I have to admit, I've never really been one for accessories but this summer I have embraced them and I've really been enjoying it.

Some of my favourite items have been the gorgeous quirky earrings I'm wearing here, and my trusty pink Heart Shaped sunnies which I wear constantly as they instantly brighten up any outfit!

Earrings from Kelzo Jewellrey, and Sunglasses from ASOS

Oh I had to ruin it and get political, didn't I?!

There's little else to say about this necklace other than that I think it is the single most beautiful and poetic piece of jewellrey I have ever owned.

Available from

I know that shopping as a plus size woman can be tricky, and there is unfortunately a long way to go before retailers catch up with offering the same choice and affordability to plus size fashion-conscious women as they do to their thin counterparts.

But I do think we're starting to see progress, and this year I've been overwhelmed with the choices and options available - I've had to physically restrain myself from buying way more than I need because there's just been so much out there that I've loved!

With that in mind, I thought I'd include a list of my favourite plus size retailers here as it's something I've been asked about a lot in the past.

Please note, the issue of sustainability is one that's often brought up, but unfortunately sustainable plus size clothing is incredibly hard to come by and almost impossible for those on a limited budget - which is why this list does include some options which may not appeal to those who are eco-conscious. Not every plus size person has the means to afford anything other than fast fashion, and I firmly believe they should not be shamed or judged for this. 

The list below is written in order of affordability, and all retailers have a selection of clothing that goes up to at least a size 22 - with many offering sizes up to 28/30.

Paper Press Ireland (For slogan tees)

Remember, no matter what the size on your clothes label says - you are a thing of wonder and beauty, your body is merely the vessel that carries your soul - it's whats inside it that really counts.

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