Marylin was never made to dress in a tent

Many women who book image consultations are a size 16 or over. Although style analysis provides a full understanding of the effects of line and colour on the body, the source of frustration for many runs much deeper. Affordable, stylish, well-cut clothing is scarcely available for women over a size 14. Some of the renowned High Street stores do stock up to a size 18 but force women to ask at the counter rather than have them on display.

Consequently, a large proportion of the female population are ostracised, labelled a plus size, driven out of the High Street and forced to use mail order and online services. This situation would be a little more palatable if the so-called ‘plus size’ market actually got it right and celebrated feminine beauty. However, this is clearly not the case and many companies offer tent like structures, refuse to use fuller figured models and quite frankly offer poor quality ‘tat’.

It is ironic to think that if Marilyn Monroe, the worlds greatest sex symbol were alive today she would probably end up scratching around for work as a ‘plus size’ model. When forced to perform ‘sugar’ in some like it hot, Marilyn rebelled against the contractual restriction by eating vast quantities and ensuring that her weight increased to at least a size 16.

The reason Marilyn never looked fat but sexy is simple. Those responsible for dressing her understood the need for a greater degree of tailoring. They provided her with a structured silhouette, slimming necklines, good quality fabric and clever detailing that emphasised her shape and her assets. Never was she placed in a tent.

Having spent hours researching this bleak and degrading market, I would like to recommend the following online services. I wish I could provide a long and extensive list but sadly I cannot and writing this article has fuelled my anger rather than ignite any positive enthusiasm. The following sites may prove useful but the need for a greater degree of creative imagination, structured tailoring and fabric quality has never been more pressing.

For a classic look try www.artigiano.co.uk They provide a selection of stylish but classic clothes. There are two ranges, ‘Artigiano’ where the sizes are available from a size 8 – 20 and ‘Spirito’ that offers size 16 –30. Prices for the clothes range from £65 -£85. It is an easy to access UK based site and clothes are designed in Italy.

www.annascholz.com allows you to view her range available at Harrods and purchase a range of T-shirts on line. She began her career as a plus sized model but loathed the clothes she was forced to wear. After obtaining a degree in fashion design at St Martin’s in London, Anna Scholz has developed her own range of sexy stylish clothes.

www.webmaker.co.uk/emmaplus is an interesting site and is well worth a look. Sadly not available for order on the web but if you live in or near Brighton, it may be worth a visit. She offers an 18 –30 diverse range from the classic through to the funky dramatic.

www.julieann-heath.co.uk is a Nottingham based store with an online ordering service. A proud size 28 herself Julieann aims to provide ‘comfortable, contemporary clothes for everyday wear’. She uses voluptuous models enabling you to see the line of the fabric.

www.popeauandhall.com offers a size 16 – 30 range and uses beautiful full figured women to show off some very innovative and quality designs.

If you like bohemian, capacious designs then www.the-glasshouse.com may be worth a look. The brochure is downloadable but an online ordering service is not available. It does have shops in Brighton, Guildford, and Oxford. Richmond and Windsor. This chain has a healthy philosophy as it does not discriminate on the grounds of size and clothes can be purchased in all sizes.

Finally, this is not a clothing service but www.jewelleryexcel.com offers stylish, exquisite jewellery to fit larger sizes; providing the perfect accessories when you have found your perfect fit from the above list

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