Well, there’s really no excuse for me not writing any longer. Things have settled down a bit so I thought I’d hammer something out on a cool experience lately.
Last week I teamed up with The Asian Pear and Melanie for a shopping expedition! As loyal members of the Addition-Elle rewards club, we were invited to the launch party for Jessica Biffi’s new ready to wear collection at Addition-Elle.
The event included a night of shopping at the flagship store at Yonge & Temperance with hors d’oeuvres, fancy drinks, door prizes and a chance to hang out with Jessica B herself!
It was a blast. I love shopping parties, but I love shopping for my fat clothes even more! As plus size women we are rarely represented, so I was tres excited to check out the new Biffi line.
In case you don’t know who Jessica is, I’ll fill you in. She was a contestant on Project Runway and a plus-size woman herself. In fact she used to work at that Addition-Elle location! After the show was over she was able to slide into the fashion scene and has been busy with a bunch of shows. She recently signed on with AE to design a women’s wear capsule for AE, Penningtons and MXM.
Jessica is a very talented designer, so needless to say I was waiting with bated breath to see how her designs would translate not only to mass, but also to plus size fashion. I had high hopes, but tried to keep them low. As anyone can attest to, plus-size fashion these days is going down the tubes. Styles are trashy, ill-fitting, poorly constructed and quickly moving away from comfortable and durable natural fibers to a heavier mix of synthetics which no one likes!!!
I realize that trying to design clothing that flatters the majority of customers can be a very difficult thing to do. But my reasoning is that if Jessica Biffi can do it, why can’t plus-size retailers hire more designers like her? No one wants to wear a polyester tent.
Whew! Now that I’ve got that off my chest,
let’s talk about the clothes!
Overall, I was pleased with the Biffi collection. While many of the materials used were synthetics, they were markedly better than what AE traditionally uses. The colours were vibrant, the cuts and draping were flattering to many of the women there (I camped out in the change rooms for a while so I can say this with truth!).
The construction was also superior to what is normally offered (again, why can’t ALL the clothes be like that?). I was a little sad that the collection was so small, but I guess for a first run it ain’t bad.
On the rack, the garments didn’t really look like much, to be honest. The website doesn’t do them justice, either. What I was most impressed by with the collection was that the garments looked good on the bodies of the majority of women who tried them on. Personally I looked fantastic in everything except for the red dress, but I blame the awful bubble hem and pleating for that. It looked off on a lot of people.
I think I tried on just about everything, but here’s what I bought in the end:
My favourite item has got to be the red trench. I am in love with it. I have worn it every single day since I got it, even when it was too cold to do so! I like that it’s made of cotton, and the belt and collar are very flattering on me. And of course the colour. The COLOUR! I love red. I am known for red. It is a colour you don’t wear lightly. I love the bold statement this trench makes. It catches the eye–I see people looking at me everywhere I go! (BTW, Mel got this coat and it looks fab on her, too!)
I love the two shirts, too. I tried on the coloured one at the insistence of… someone? haha I can’t even remember since I was talking with so many ladies that night! It looks kind of blah on the rack, and also on the model up there. What you really need is a nice wide belt to spice things up! There is a belt in the JB collection but it’s not on the site. Any wide belt would do, though. It balances out the tunic top (over leggings, jeggings or skinny jeans!) enhances the bust area and makes everything look a little bit better. Magic. I use the belt for both tops and go from day to evening easily!
I almost bought the pair of skinny jeans on offer too, but sadly I ran out of money. Hooo boy those things are tight! But they’re supposed to be. It must be incredibly difficult to design a skinny jean for fat girls, but somehow Jessica has done it! I loved the dark wash of the jeans, and they way they hugged my curves. They looked fantastic with the two tops I purchased and I only wish I could have got them! Anyone reading this want to send me a pair?
All in all it’s a great start for Jessica in mass, and hopefully a sign of things to come from both her and the plus-size retail world!
I met the president
One thing I also want to mention about the evening is that I had the distinct pleasure of conversing with Kerry Mitchell, president of Addition-Elle herself! Of course I shared my thoughts with her on the state of plus-size fashion and my sentiments outlined above (what blogger wouldn’t grab that opportunity?!) and I quizzed her on what AE plans for the future.
Looks like we may be in luck! According to Kerry, AE is interested in doing a fall collection with Jessica Biffi. Talks have not yet begun with the designer but I think everyone’s fingers are crossed that this will go through. According to Canada NewsWire Group, the collection has been a hit with consumers so we can only hope to see more of JB’s fab fashions at our local shops.
Wanna know something that made me feel really good? Kerry herself is a plus-size woman. It’s nice to know that “one of us” is running the company. She was also delightful to speak with.
I met the designer
I also got a chance to hang out with Jessica at the event. She is one cool cat. And she buys her shoes at H&M! LOL. She was very down to earth, wore her own clothing and had a smile for everyone. I didn’t get the sense that it was all a front, like some celebrities put up (again I can say this with authority, my job brings me to hang out with celebs often enough that I can make these judgment calls). I feel good buying clothes that she designed, simply because she was a nice person. I like to support good people, and I vote with my dollars. You should too.
Anyway, she had real cool hair 😉