As someone who loves style and fashion, whom also is plus-sized, I've often wondered what companies think the plus-size/curve community want from their clothing.
I've often found the same clothing in different colours. Long un-fitted skirts and wide-leg trousers, baggy t-shirts and mini cardigans.
They're fine. But I want options.
All of these are to hide our 'problem areas' and disguise our bodies into the background.
The effect is that it is almost impossible to actually follow fashions as no option is offered.
And when it seems the world has caught up to current styles, it seems to still be based on what is deemed 'acceptable' for bigger people to wear.
Crop tops? Not a fig. Cold shoulder tops and jumpers? Yep. A shit-ton of them actually. I feel I can't escape them, to be honest.
The worst thing is that there used to be high street shops that carried larger sizes. Not anymore.
Dorothy Perkins ran many of their styles to a size 22. Now I can't find anything over a size 16 most days.
Primark only runs to a size 20 and even then, the sizing feels very varied. One top will be fine, when a slightly different style is way too small.
It feels like it's going backwards sometimes.
Despite all this, New Look is the worst offender in this.
Over the last few years, they have removed almost all their in-store plus-size range, ironically named Inspire.
They have removed the small section of clothing that was availble, even from huge multi storey shops like the one in Colney Fields Retail Park. Only one store of the 10 search results on their store locator page had a curves section (of course it's also the one furthest from me). The nearest and easiest New Look shop with a curves section is the Oxford Street store.
It's an absolute fucking chore to try and buy clothing online, especially when sizing varies wildly and there are many ways that bodies can be shaped.
I'm constantly returning and re-buying and returning. All to find the style I want to wear.
I have bought from New Look online and I have repeatedly told myself NEVER AGAIN.
The quality of the items are generally quite poor. Things that look one way online are incredibly disappointing in real life.
Many of the items have broken and had to be sent back or repaired withing a few wears. Often due to not giving enough fabric for hems, etc.
The most heartbreaking thing is - New Look was my favourite clothing shop. They were the best.
It was a way for me to find stylish items that fit me and made me feel comfortable in my body and style.
I wore mostly New Look clothing during uni with a bit of Primark and Yours Clothing.
The thing that separated them from the others was the wide-ranging collection in-store that included sparkly party dresses, cute tops and comfy coloured jeans.
I wore their clothes all the damn time.
It was the quality that dropped first. Fabrics not quite as nice as before. Thinner, or less soft. The variety reduced. Then the smaller stores got rid of the range. After that it was the bigger stores.
The price no longer was worth the product, especially as I had to order online, repeatedly sending clothes back and getting store cards as refunds.
I gave in and stopped buying their clothes.
Last year they changed the name of the range to New Look Curves.
The range is much smaller than it was. Their swimwear section is 2 swimming costumes. It's the height of summer. I want cute bikinis and tankinis.
I only own about 6 items of theirs now, mostly older than 2 years...
I regularly think about buying their clothes, only to remember that I don't trust them with my money and time anymore.
Especially seeing as there are better companies like ASOS, Boohoo and Missguided that I can turn to (amongst others).
The worst thing still is that I want them to be better. I would love to wear their clothes again.
I love their style and variety. The smaller sizes have awesome clothes I'd like to try.
I hope they sort it out and put more effort into an industry that is improving and growing. Lest they fall behind.