dressing in and out of your comfort zone with fashion world;

Now that I’m a sensible, grown-up lady of 36, one of my favourite things about the summer is hanging the washing outside to dry. You just can’t replicate that breezy, freshly-laundered scent and feeling, no matter what products you use (few) and how much space you have to dry your clothes indoors (same).

Though it is a wee bit mortifying letting your neighbours see just how many stripy t-shirts, yellow dresses and items of cat-print clothing that you own.

Fashion World yellow dress cleavage shot

Friends, readers: I’m not alone in this, am I? Surely we all have items of clothing that we find ourselves irresistibly drawn to – so often that we already have another at home? Just last week, with birthday money burning a hole in my pocket, I was browsing Vix Meldrew‘s weekly newsletter and clicked to order a polka-dot blouse almost without thinking. Two days before it arrived, I remembered: I have one just like it, and it still has the tags on.

(It’s a good thing I have bottomless patience for online returns, let me tell you.)*

So, when Fashion World got in touch and asked me to pick out a few items from their extensive range of plus-sized womenswear, I had a quick word with myself. Sure, I could load up on the cute dresses and floaty skirts that have become my mid-30s fashion stock in trade, or I could push myself out of my comfort zone and use this unexpected and unbudgeted for chance to shop to pick out something really different; something that properly looked like nothing else in my wardrobe.

Although there was no reason I couldn’t throw in a cute dress as well.

Fashion World yellow dress outside taco restaurant

Offering womenswear in sizes 10-32 alongside menswear, children’s clothing, homeware and tech, Fashion World is an online department store with style. They stock loads of your favourite brands too including Simply Be, Quiz Curve, AX Paris, Joe Browns and Curvy Kate.

This cute jersey skater dress* is by Simply Be, which means I was safe to order in my usual size and was pretty much guaranteed a good fit. It’s got a wrap-style front which is cute and comfy on the bigger bust, on-trend fluted sleeves and a lovely frilled hemline. I wore it with leggings to dinner with Charlotte (press-ganged into photos as per) and Briony the other week, back when it was a bit chilly, but it’s long enough that I’ll be happy to wear without over the summer.

Girl Power Tatty Devine x Fawcett earrings
Kate Spade On Purpose clutch, yellow dress from Fashion World

These earrings are my new favourite thing. They’re from the recent Tatty Devine x Fawcett Society collaboration, and were a birthday present from my friend Steff. The Fawcett Society is the UK’s leading women’s rights and gender equality charity, and we’re actually doing a lot of work with them at the day job this year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act. The Tatty Devine range includes necklaces and brooches, and £3 from every piece sold goes to The Fawcett Society.

My new Kate Spade bag was also a birthday present, from my sister: it’s from the ‘On Purpose’ line, handmade by women at a partner factory in Rwanda (the bag even came with a tag with the name of the woman who made it attached). It’s an initiative I only read about after the designer’s death earlier this month, and it made me love her even more. My staple Scrabble tile necklace is by Sugar & Vice; and you’ll remember my Mr Jones Watch* from my recent post about the brand.

Fashion World yellow dress outside taco restaurant

So that’s me staying firmly in my comfort zone with Fashion World; but I promised you a big leap out of it so here we go. To clarify, it’s not the jumpsuit: they’ve almost become a 2018 staple for me, with my collection growing gradually since the sparkly Monki number I bought for new year. But there’s something about this off-the-shoulder ruffle-neck vertical stripe number* which just feels very, very different from everything else I own. More sophisticated. More, well, adult.

Green vertical stripe jumpsuit by Fashion World

I’ve described my “look” on here before as oversized toddler/children’s party entertainer. I just don’t like dressing like a grown-up. I don’t think it particularly suits my body shape, and I feel awkward if the first impression I make isn’t some quirky accessory speaking for me. While the exaggerated ruffle neckline and bare shoulder mean this jumpsuit isn’t one for the faint-hearted, it still oozes catwalk sophistication in a way I’m really not used to.

And yet, I think I pulled it off, maybe? Sure, I’d have preferred baring the opposite shoulder to show off my tattoos (not that adult) and I had to be careful not to trip over the hem, but when I wore this out for my mum’s birthday last weekend (thanks for the photos, mama) I quickly eased into it and forgot about what I was wearing. Although great company always helps.

Green vertical stripe jumpsuit by Fashion World
Katie Loxton 'Bag of Tricks' leather pouch

The jumpsuit is again by Simply Be, and is well-sized with plenty of stretch. I accessorised with a bright green Bonnie Bling Scottish slang necklace, although the cut means it’s half-hidden; the Katie Loxton leather pouch of dreams* and my trusty Katy Perry space boots. The Katie Loxton pouch was gifted by West End gift boutique Liquorice Tree at their recent fifth anniversary celebrations – the shop’s on my neverending list of things I still have to share with you, but in the meantime I’ll just say their Great Western Road store is a reliable place to find one-of-a-kind gifts for even the most difficult people in your life. You know the type.

Tell me, guys: what’s that one item of clothing you can’t seem to stop buying yourself? It’s not just me, is it?

*In the only obvious postscript to this post, that blouse I returned? I bought a new yellow dress with the money. Which, in my defence, looks nothing like the one from Fashion World, and hopefully brings me a step closer to replacing the Kate Moss for TopShop yellow dress of dreams in the photo of me in my sidebar. Leave me alone.

This post contains PR samples, but all views are my own and unbiased.