The Model and Me: Harlow

Last time I looked – and I look quite regularly – every woman was and is real.

It blows me away how size-ist the fashion industry can be. I’m not just talking about the way fashion is marketed via size 6-8 very tall models (ie a very small percentage of the population).

I’m talking about how many labels stop their size range at size 12 or 14 or 16.

As a size 14-16 myself, I know what it feels like to be in the exclusion zone when it comes to shopping for clothes.

There are stores and labels I just don’t even contemplate trying as they won’t come close to fitting. Even if they do go to a large it’s more likely to be a large that’s more a size 12.

So it’s no surprise that some of the biggest fashion industry growth in the past few years in Australia has come from plus-size labels who are addressing the needs of young and young-at-heart fashionistas.

Women who want to feel good in what they’re wearing. Women who want to embrace the latest trends. Women who don’t want to be in fashion’s exclusion zone.

And do you know what?

It’s independent Australian labels such as 17 Sundays (I just love this jacket I bought this season from there), Embody Denim and today’s featured label Harlow Australia which are leading the way.

Also leading the way in showing how it’s done are the beautiful women in the #aussiecurves blogging community lead by blogger Danimezza. I’m also going to give a shout-out two other bloggers in that community – Mel from Sugercoatit who has been a contributor on Styling You and Jo from iCurvy who is on the cover of MY BOOK.

The power of blogging is not only supporting those labels which understand what a plus-sized woman wants in a garment or outfit but it’s also giving inspiration to women of all sizes to have fun with fashion, to gain the confidence through others and to find and embrace their personal style.

Ok, down off my soapbox and on to today’s feature Model and Me outfit.

The model

harlow AW14 Rapture faux wrap skirt and electra blouse

Harlow Electra blouse $119 | Harlow Rapture faux wrap skirt $139

and me

Harlow top and skirt | Peter Lang necklace | Clarks boots

Harlow top* (I’m wearing a 12) and skirt* (I’m wearing a 14) | Peter Lang necklace (from four years ago!) | Clarks boots* | Leona Edmiston tights | Blue Illusion leather jacket (below and seen in this post )

Harlow top and skirt | Peter Lang necklace | Clarks boots | Blue Illusion leather jacket

The top adds just the right pop of colour to an otherwise black winter outfit. It’s a beautiful light fabric so is a year-round piece – just layer on top to suit. I’m wearing the 12 (Harlow has taken it’s range to a size 12 as of this season) but it’s still very roomy – that’s the idea of the style. For me I needed to tuck for it to work in proportion with the skirt. I’d wear it untucked with leather leggings or ponte pants.

The skirt works in the trend of leather or pleather that is so hot right now and like my “ponte up the back, leather up the front pants” this one is so wearable thanks to the ponte used in all but the front wrap piece. The cut of this skirt is super flattering too with asymmetrical line down the front creating a slimline illusion.

I’ve turned it into a winter outfit with tights and boots but this would work just as easily as an evening outfit with heels. I’d also swap out the top or layer it underneath a knit for a beautiful contrast of winter textures. Add in some flat knee-high boots and it will make a great weekend winter brunch outfit.

Do you feel excluded by certain stores and labels? Maybe you’re at the other end of the spectrum and find it difficult to buy clothes for a petite frame?

The Model and Me Harlow AW14

* These items were gifted to me for editorial consideration

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  • http://kimbalikes.com Kim-Marie Williams

    You look just gorgeous, Nikki. I’ve recently discovered Harlow. As you say, it’s perfect for standard sizes with extra bodacious curves. I’m a size 12-14 (depending on my oedema situation) with a size 16 bust. I can’t just size up to fit the boobs in because then everything else is too big and conversely just makes me look bigger than I am. Hola Harlow! x

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      You know it! Just sizing up is not going to work. It takes skill in the patterning stage!! x

  • Sarah @ Licorice & Olives

    I think the best addition in your version is the big gleaming smile! I hate when models don’t smile! Another episode of you wore it better I think:-)

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Why I’ll never be a model, Sarah? Can’t keep a straight face if I tried!

  • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

    You look great. Love red on you. Thank you for the mention, it’s been a while since I submitted a post, I might have to get around to that again on day. Haha.

    I hear it every day on my blog and Facebook page the concerns and annoyances of trying to find just the item you want in plus. Brands like the ones you mentioned {and fellow Aussie Hope & Harvest too!} are leading the way not only here but world-wide. They are just that cool. Proud to call them ‘our own’.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Thanks for the Hope & Harvest tip too. It’s so cool that we have some of the best here Melissa. I was so stoked to see you in that 17 Sundays jacket and I bought knowing that the 16 would accommodate my broad back and boobs. Didn’t know I’d get the added bonus of stretch and all round awesomeness but hey, love a bonus!

      • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

        You’re so welcome. We recently had Harvest of Hope & Harvest visit us {she’s originally a Queensland girl} happy share the love.

        And YES, that’s where blogs and the posts like your model and me are SO useful. They allow us {all potential customers} to know how they fit, how they look straight off the shelf not tailored or pinned or whatever. Because broad shoulders and boobs, I’ve got ‘em. ;)

  • Emily @ The Beetle Shack

    I’m a size 10/12 and I STILL find that brands that I used to love pre kids are a massive no no for me, 3 children down the track. I’m short, stocky and well covered but I wear a size 10 – I feel like the fashion industry really only accommodates a pre-baby/ young body. Not a post pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding body that the vast majority of women have.

    It’s a goal of mine to produce clothing that is comfortable, stylish and flattering for MY body ahahah (selfish much) ‘cus I’m taking a punt that most women are softer round the tum and a little less taught in the bum than they may once have been. We need good clothes too right?

    Looking good as always Nikki.

    Which reminds me, sizing is so personal- I’s say I was ‘bigger’ than you. If you put our pictures side by side, I’d look more ‘fleshy’ than you do yet our dress sizes tell a totally different story. Size is determined by so much more than ‘fat’ – height, bone structure, bust size etc.

    here close-eth the lesson.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      This is so so true Em … most women’s shapes do change after having kids even if they’re still the same size. I love what you’re doing with Bohemian Traders and the boho style lends itself to loose, comfortable styling which always makes me feel good!

    • Kel

      Totally agree with you Emily, I’m somewhere in between an 8 ( up top no boobs after breastfeeding) to a 10 or 12 bottoms depending on the store, cut etc. your body definitely changes after bubs and it’s good to hear where other people go and get some great advice.

      Looking fabulous as always Nikki! Can’t wait to check out your book. :)

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    I totally agree with you Nikki that every woman should have the opportunity to wear something beautiful and what suits them.
    I love this outfit on you,the colour of the top is stunning on you,Beautiful all year outfit Nikki!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Thanks so much Lisa x

  • Kelly

    I love that skirt! It looks fabulous on both you and the model. I want to stand on my soapbox too about sizing across the board however without boring you and everyone with my whinge, suffice to say it just makes an already difficult thing (buying well fitting clothes) just so much harder.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Sizing is only consistent at one thing – being inconsistent!

  • IS

    I find it hard to find clothing for taller plus sized women. Most of the stores that do cater for plus sizes seem to make clothes for women all of the same height leaving me with pants too short and sleeves that *never* cover all of my arms (currently spending all winter with cold wrists again)

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      I’m not sure about the height of the model at Harlow but she’s a good 10cm at least on me judging by the shirt. Maybe worth emailing the designer to check her measurements?

      • IS

        Thanks Nikki ;)

        • kp

          Hi,
          Megan is 175cm tall, on our site if you look in the product fit & care instructions, we let you know what size the model is wearing and her measurements, and you can always email me @ Harlow.online@gmail.com with any questions, always happy to help,
          Regards
          Kerry

          • IS

            Oh great!
            Thanks so much Kerry
            Regards
            Inga

  • Brian N Joanne Morris

    You have hit the nail on the head with this article! I am a size 16 and there are stores that I will not venture into as I know nothing will be in my size! On the other hand, there are not many stylish stores out there for curvier girls either! Some stock in plus size clothing stores are so ugly I would not be seen dead in any of their clothing! Wonderful to see Harlow stepping up! Love this outfit on you!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Just having a choice is a good thing I think Joanne … to not be sidelined from making style decisions we’d like to make!

  • 26 Years & Counting

    I feel constantly unable to purchase clothes! I sit between ‘normal’ and ‘plus’ sizes. For the past year, the only place I’ve been able to reliably buy pants or jeans is Millers.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Well that’s a great tip for others who might be feeling the same!

  • Johanne Taylor

    Given the variations over the years in my weight, I have had the “opportunity” to shop up and down the size range. Currently I’m anything from a 10 to 14 depending on the brand, I prefer to shop in small boutiques. The sales assistants in many of these stores (and I’m really talking about those stores which which cater for a broad range of sizes) seem to have better understanding of figure flattery, greater product knowledge about what’s in their store and a greater willingness to pull out half the store for you to try on.
    I spent over an hour in a favourite boutique yesterday (Bacio Collection, Leichhardt), where lots of things were 20-30% off. The sale didn’t stop the SA from pulling out heaps of things that worked on me, that I never would have chosen from the racks.
    I’ll keep up my bricks and mortar shopping where the service is great and they stock sizes that exclude no-one.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Oh I hear you big time Johanne. That service is priceless – when done well it’s the equivalent to having a personal stylist.

  • http://www.styleandshenanigans.com/ Vanessa

    This outfit, particularly the colour, is gorgeous on you Nikki. As for sizes, I oscillate wildly from store to store, literally from an 8 (this season’s Country Road jeggings) through to a 14 (in tops and dresses at Forever New). I think it’s important to shop where you feel comfortable but not get too bogged down in the numbers and accept that the fashion industry is fickle and rarely reflects real people! I’d rather size up than have something fit poorly. At the same time, sometimes I size down and am surprised the fit is more flattering than my usual size. So of course, I love your soapbox!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Totally agree Vanessa … and the sizing in things like jeggings and even exercise pants is so important to ignore. Because of the stretch you really do need to try down a size or two otherwise they will not fit after about an hour of wearing – they’ll be too saggy and baggy!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Totally agree Vanessa … and the sizing in things like jeggings and even exercise pants is so important to ignore. Because of the stretch you really do need to try down a size or two otherwise they will not fit after about an hour of wearing – they’ll be too saggy and baggy!

    • http://soniastyling.com/ Sonia from Sonia Styling

      I’m with you @vanessarowse:disqus! I’ve got everything from a size 8 to a 12 in my wardrobe. I’ve long given up on certain stores and shop where I know the clothes will fit, look fantastic and are perfect for my personal style.

  • PrincessEatsPeaSoup

    I am well into plus sizes and have been all my life. I don’t think too much anymore about the labels and clothes I don’t fit into. I just focus on what I can wear and searching for new sources for plus size clothes. I consider it a hobby and bloggers are a great resource for online shopping. Shout out to Gisela Ramirez, who’s fearless plus size pieces inspired me to be more adventurous with my fashion.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Thanks for the shout-out there – and yes, that’s exactly the mindset we need to have – focus on what we can wear!

  • http://irismaystyle.com/ Bev | Iris May Style

    I love the Model & Me posts…what a fabulous skirt on you!
    You’re so right Nikki, everyone deserves variety and choice when it comes to fashion and the feel good factor xx

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Yes everyone does deserve that Bev!

  • Megan D

    Yes, in the past I have felt that there is nothing out there for me but that changed when I came across Aussie Curves and the bloggers you mentioned in your post. Not only did it open up my eyes to plus sized fashion but also showed me the great work being done by Australian brands. I now have beautiful, quality fashion and support the Australian labels like Harlow and 17 Sundays. Great post.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Well said Megan. So much good work happening and so much inspiration for how to style that good work!

  • Angela

    Nice outfit, like the top semi tucked, flatters the skirt. I feel some of the fitness wear stores exclude from size 12 and upwards.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Yes I feel they do too Angela. Although in one the size 14 (their biggest size) does fit me in the pant. In another it looks like they only go to a size 12 but that’s a US12 and it’s actually a AU16 … all so confusing. Wish it could be standardised!

  • merliyn

    good soapbox this morning … go nikki! … totally agree even though I am a size 10 usually but I see the plight of larger lasses!
    you are rocking that colour pop with your black leather … uber cool!
    cheers … dressed up and somewhere to go? … m:)X

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Ah, never dressed up to go somewhere with these posts Merilyn. I shoot them all in batches at home and then don’t feature the garments in #everydaystyle until the model and me has posted.

  • Kathryn

    You look great, as always! I love the colour of the top too. Maybe I will get crucified for saying this but, that model needs to smile. I struggle with winter clothes, in that I am short and a lot of things swamp me, and make me look a lot bigger than I am. I drool over the Metalicus website, next life time I hope I am tall and willowy heehee! You seem to be looking slimmer and slimmer with each post lately! Kathryn :)

    • chrisatpb

      Hi Kathryn – I was thinking the very same thing! She looks so cranky. Guess not everyone can pull off the “blue steel look” :) Nikki – looking lovely as usual. Nothing like a pop of red to brighten up a winter’s day. X

      • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

        The colour is a beautiful shade Chris!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Thanks Kathryn – yoga has been very good for me. Don’t know if I’ve lost any weight as don’t keep scales but definitely leaner and stronger.

  • http://www.thatsummerfeeling.com Michelle

    Fantastic outfit and the colour of that top is just stunning. Yes I feel excluded by many stores because their xxl doesn’t even come close to fitting my size 14/16 body. Great post Nikki.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Unfortunately that’s because most labels will just size up from their size 6 pattern – just making something larger all over doesn’t accommodate curves!

  • http://www.styleonv.com/ Vicki | Style On V

    I love this colour on you Nikki. You are looking especially fabulous in this lovely combination. I am happy that there are emerging fashion choices to cater for all sizes. Have a happy Monday. V x

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Thanks Vicki and I’m very happy there are choices too!