What’s in a name?

Thank you, thank you, thank you. For your messages, calls, DMs. For your kind words and support. It means the world to me that you’ve embraced the concept of Sisu & Finn. It is an exciting, albeit very scary, adventure which is driven by wanting to give women of all shapes and sizes clothing options.

Since the announcement, I’ve had quite a few questions about the name; so here is the context.

The last two years have been particularly challenging for me. Through that process I’ve had to look into the black abyss that’s inside all of us and use sheer grit, and determination to overcome the challenges that presented themselves to me. With most things in life, nothing is absolute. So the process continues for me. However, I knew that to support my big, ambitious soul, I needed to create something which reflected me, my passion for pushing boundaries and serving the broader community.

With that in mind, the words which helped create the name were always going to play an important role in the overall ethos of the brand. And when I stumbled across Sisu, it instantly resonated with me and I loved it. It felt right. It’s a Finnish word (hence the Finn) which means stoic determination, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness. It’s about taking action against the odds and displaying courage and resoluteness in the face of adversity. Doesn’t that perfectly describe what’s needed to live an authentic life?

It summed up what was required of me the last two years, but on further reflection, my whole existence. Being what society hasn’t considered ‘normal’ has always demanded an extra level of grit and determination. I see that grit and determination in your words and faces too. And Sisu & Finn’s purpose is to help support you; to give you options and to be a place where you can be comfortable to express yourself.

So that my dear (petite, curvy, ‘normal’ and plus sized) friends is how Sisu & Finn came to be.

Feel free to check out the site. As it is a work in progress, feel free to send feedback to info@sisuandfinn.com.au and tell me what you want from the site. And if you agree with the ethos, please share the post with your friends and family.

An exciting new adventure

My dear long lost friends…..sorry to be MIA.

I’ve had a few things on my plate, of late. Surviving is one. OK, that might be slightly dramatic, but that’s how it can sometimes feel.

More excitedly, just shy of 6 months ago, I decided to start my own business. I am so unbelievably excited by this and since then, I’ve had this unfamiliar feeling of satisfaction, freedom and fulfilled. It’s also terrifying, but lets not focus on that.

As you know from my ramblings on this site, I have a passion for people and clothes.  So, I’ve decided to pull those passions together and build an online store for the plus size woman. For me, and for you.

It’s in the process of having final touches added but it should be launched within the next couple of weeks – don’t worry, I will let you know when it’s live.

After a LONG time debating a name, I chose Sisu & Finn. I LOVVEEEE this name and as soon as I understand what Sisu meant, it felt right. I was debating other names for 2-3 months before stumbling across the word Sisu.

Sisu is a Finnish word which loosely means stoic determination, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness and is held by Finns themselves to express their national character. … It’s about taking action against the odds and displaying courage and resoluteness in the face of adversity.

It perfectly describes my last two years. My world has been turned upside down, back to front, pulled up and down. I’ve spent this time questing my identity and what’s truly important to me; maybe now there will be some purpose and peace. I want so much for myself, and for you too.

The site isn’t live at this stage, but please add your details into the holding page so that you can keep up to date with all the exciting new developments as they happen. I will still blog, so you will still hear about my adventures here.

Thank you for your patience and support!

Laters baby (if you can figure out the reference, I will send you a virtual kiss).

 

 

 

Q&A: Melissa Walker Horn, Blogger, Suger Coat It

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Becoming the master of ones own destiny is something many shy away from; it’s difficult, emotional and down right scary. Facing these challenges with a smile on ones face can be even harder. Melissa Walker Horn, otherwise known as Suger Coat It, is one of these people. This woman has constantly pushed her own boundaries and continually evolves herself into the big hearted, funny, generous, ambitious soul she is today.

Melissa is a big name in the plus size world and it has taken taken an enormous amount of commitment and passion for it to be so. But, blogging isn’t her only job. She used to be a real estate agent in her home town Gympie, but transitioned to a not for profit to help create some balance so she could also manage her social media company, and blog! Lets not forget her role as wife to Mr Suger. Respect lady, RESPECT.

Her posts instantly resonated with me. Being a plus size woman can be a struggle for many reasons; one being our joint mission to find great quality and stylish clothing. But, her posts are real and relatable. Feelings and experiences she wrote about, I understood. The highs, the lows and everything in between.

In the weeks approaching my 30th birthday, she posted a fabulous and seriously OTT glitter outfit. I wanted it. I needed it. So, I messaged her desperate to know more details; within a few days it was in my hot little hands on loan.

Naturally, Melissa is a woman I wanted to profile and her answers didn’t disappoint.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

 

What are the biggest challenges the Australian plus size fashion brands are facing?

From my experience speaking with brands and hearing them talk lately, I think it’s funding their ranges and the stock requirements. The best thing we, as the customer, can do, is get behind the brands we love with our money and our support. I know that I want to see these brands survive and flourish, so I try to do my bit, and we all can do that.

How has the Australian plus size fashion game changed over the past ten years?

I started blogging in 2009, and since then the options available in plus has exploded. I still remember the first time someone told me to try ASOS and I was like, on the floor. Not that they’re Australian, but it opened up this idea that plus could be fresh, modern and on trend. I love that. Not to say there weren’t Australian brands already doing that, but to see it on that scale was huge.

For me, the fashion ‘game’ has changed in the sense that it’s a busier space to operate in. Lots of new brands and bloggers popping up, lots of requests for time and attention and more and more we see ‘plus size models’ in mainstream media. It’s exciting to see progress; I can’t wait to see where we end up in the next ten!

Is plus size fashion different? If so, why?

I wrote a post about it once prompted by a Tumblr post that stated it’s like ‘slaying a dragon’ to find the pieces, sizes and styles to put together a killer outfit. And it’s not just about what the customer goes through to express their personal style; it’s all of it. Plus size fashion is so different from the way we shop, the way we are REQUIRED to buy,  and the money spent marketing to us is ridiculously different.

It’s different because for a long time now fashion didn’t want to include us, society didn’t want to see us, and even within ourselves, we felt that we didn’t belong. But every step we take away from those ideas shifts things, we may not be there yet, but we’re closer than before. But THAT is why it’s different. 

The plus size model industry seems to be going from strength to strength. Who is your favourite plus size model? Why?

I have a few favourites! I adore Margaret Macpherson for that killer bone structure and an even better personality. She shines, and I can see why that makes her popular with advertisers and customers alike. You just can’t fake being a genuine person, and Margaret is one hundred percent that.

My other favourite is Laura Wells because of the way she conducts herself and the conversation she is part of online. But mostly because once I saw her at a show with poker straight hair in like a billion percent humidity, so she’s gifted. She seems like she has this great sense of humour, that appeals to me.

What do you hope to see from the Australian plus size fashion industry within the next five years?

I want to see more effort. I want to see campaigns that knock me on my butt, shows, grand openings, and launch parties. I want plus fashion to look every bit like mainstream fashion. I want us to claim our spot as the majority of women in this country and demand that brands try harder for us as we have for them as they found their feet. I want to be wooed and wowed; for shopping to feel like this big dramatic, heart flipping courtship and the clothes are the prize. I’m sick to death of some shoddy rack in the corner; I want plus and extended sizing to take centre stage.

What are the top ways to grow your online influence?

Be human is my number one tip. I don’t care what anyone else says or does; I think you need to operate online as you would in your life. Here’s the hot tip, fakes and posers get found out sooner or later, stop trying to be someone you’re not and be real.

Be honest and genuine with people, sure there’s a curated theme to social media, but that shouldn’t stop you sharing your wins and losses with people. It’s about connection and putting yourself on some magical pedestal will never serve you.

Then be consistent with your content and keep delivering the best you can provide for people. It takes a lot of work to deliver high-quality, valuable content to people, I know, trust me. But the good news is that they appreciate it, and if you do it consistently enough, they will love you for it.

How has the plus size blogging sphere changed over the last ten years?

It’s less about the blog, the actual website, and more about your reach across the social media platforms. We are one hundred percent content creators now, for us, for brands and for the causes we support. You become an influencer when you can manage to engage people across the board, and when that happens it’s powerful in a way that it wasn’t when the industry was new.

The plus size blogging space is more competitive too, more so now than when I started seven years ago. I think a lot of new bloggers arrive on the scene all the time (through Instagram especially) and they realise that a blog is a lot of work. Like, a lot! I’ve seen some people give it up over the years because life happens and blogging is time-consuming, it takes something to keep generating content day after day and year after year.

Why did you start to blog?

I started it because I’ve always loved to write. I wanted a place to record a few thoughts, some images I found online and things like that. At the very start, Mr Suger and I were trying unsuccessfully for a baby, and there was a community online that go that. The I found plus-size fashion and body positivity, and I never looked back. I love the interaction and community that a blog offers, I’ve always said, if I wasn’t into that side of things I’d keep a journal instead.  

You talk about bodies and confidence in an online environment. Unfortunately, these topics typically attract bullies. How do you deal with this?

I handle them with a swift kick in the delete button. There have been times where my urge to sass them has been greater, but it uses so much energy to interact. I just delete them, ban them and move on. Some people assume that means I don’t like to be disagreed with or challenged, but I love that, I just won’t stand for body shame or insults. I think if you want to have a conversation, great, I’m in. If you’re just here to take a dump in my space, then I won’t allow that. Be gone fucker.

Balancing your ‘real’ job, family, friends and your online presence can be tough – what gets you through?

Systems and scheduling get me through the mess of all the work there is to be done. I try to work in batches and plan well in advance. I manage a social media business alongside my blogs and the podcast, so it means that I have to fit my client’s social media in there as well.

I keep all the balls in the air and try to rest as often as I can so I don’t burn out. And rest for me is a day at the beach or kicking back on the couch with a book or Netflix. Brain free time!

My top tip for balancing all the things is that no matter what I make the time for my family and friends. If I can make it to an event, a coffee or a catch-up, I will. I may not be able to be at everything, but I like to think that the people important to me know that I’ll be there if I can be because they are the most important parts of my life.

How do you handle life when your worlds collide?

It’s the funnies thing, I’ve been blogging for seven years now and in the past year or two people in my hometown have only just started to notice. It’s fun and strange to be approached at the shops or have someone from here follow the blog. It used to make me feel self-conscious about sharing as openly as I do, or things like posting photos in my underwear or swimwear, but I try to push that aside. The community on my blog deserve the best of me, not some watered down version just so I don’t feel weird about some stranger in the supermarket knowing what I look like in my undies.

We are both strong believers of being who you are. How do you achieve this?

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred time, my big secret to being who I am, and living that to the fullest, is to stop giving a fuck. Stop letting other people tell you what to do or looking to them for your happiness.

How do I achieve that? I do the things that make me happy and the things that advance my dreams. I stopped asking for advice I didn’t want and started trusting my gut. Piece by piece my life started to fall into place in a way that I loved, that became the incentive to keep going. This is your one chance, take control and live it in whatever way you see fit.

What’s your must-have beauty item?

Errr, next question, I’m a beauty items fail.

Does it matter if that outfit makes my bum look big?

Nope! Never. I have no butt; sometimes my aim is to MAKE IT look bigger than it is. Haha. So no, it doesn’t matter if that outfit makes your bum look big, embrace the big bum. I think that for too long we have been told that women should be this or that, should look this way but not that way. Sooner or later we have to decide that some random, far off ‘they’ aren’t going to tell us what to do anymore.

For me? It’s sooner rather than later. Maybe it was easier for me because I never fit into the ideal woman mould. I was always too tall, too broad, too athletic, too something… So I stopped using that as a measuring stick. Sometimes I think that it’s harder for women who ‘did’ fit to move on from that ideal or rebel against it, because it’s easier to try to get back there than carve their own path outside of it.  

Which are your favourite clothing brands?

17 Sundays are my go-to, always. I picked up some basics from Target and ASOS, add in a few swimsuits, some active wear, and that’s about it. I’m a simple girl; I don’t need much to keep me happy. And don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise. Haha.

What items are consistently in your handbag?

Apples, I seem to find those things everywhere. My stash of sunglasses, a phone charger, chewing gum and a whole bunch of random receipts. My bag is a huge mess.

The one item you must have while travelling?

Mr Suger! He’s such a laugh, which no matter where I go or where I’m travelling, he is what I want with me. After him, a water bottle, a phone charger, sunscreen and a good book.

Plus Size Styling Tips

Don’t Hide from Your Curves 

Wearing oversized clothes can sometimes work against you. Overly baggy clothes can make you look bigger, less stylish and less confident. When I started experimenting with clothes, my confidence soared. The way I viewed myself evolved and by choosing more fitted items, it actually became more flattering and representative of my style. Mixing one fitted item with one loose fitting item typically gives me the balance of style and comfort which suits my body.

Try on lots of sizes

Sizing is just a number. So, why are women slaves to a number? There are so many factors that go into sizing – brand, cut, fabric, style. So, try on lots of items as the sizing range will often surprise you.

Find clothes that flatter your specific shape

Not all bodies are the same. Understand your shape and which styles work best with your look. So simple yet so powerful.

Take some risks and stop the fear

Fear is the enemy of living a truly authentic life. Try new brands, fabrics or styles. Try on that dress you love but you’re convinced will look terrible on. Take the risk because sometimes you just don’t know until you give it a try. Live a little – I can guarantee you will not regret it.

Know your fabrics

I’ve said this before, and say it again. Know which fabrics feel good on your body, and understand which fabrics highlight the parts you love and hide those you don’t. It makes shopping so much easier. Whether you’re an online shopper or not, it makes the shopping experience more enjoyable and well…practical.

Tailor it!

Tailoring can make a huge difference to your overall look.  It can be the difference between an outfit looking great, or a little lack luster. Tailoring is a great option if you’ve lost, or put on, weight and want to use the clothes you have. It’s cheaper than a new wardrobe and you’re not adding to landfill.

Focus on certain shops

If styling isn’t your thing, then why don’t you take the leg work out and shop where they give you tips. You can see how an outfit looks overall and it will save you time and money not wasting time and money with returns or a pile of clothes which don’t work with your wardrobe.

Wear what makes you feel good

Life is too short to be caught up with what other people think. Easier said than done, but the only way to improve this line of thinking is to do it. That part is simple. Life isn’t a test run, so be happy.

 

 

Plus size bloggers changing the game

There continues to be a gaping hole in the marketplace for on-trend, stylish, great quality and flattering plus size clothing. However, as brands are slowly starting to come to the plus size party, helping lead this charge is an increasing group of fabulous women. Women  with curves who have great style and the confidence to show them off.

With so many curvy ladies with various shapes and sizes it’s great to see women who truly understand style and demand that old school views of bigger women and clothing don’t apply.

This movement is so important for more reasons than to just look pretty; great style is a right, not a ‘nice for some’.

 

Here is a list of some of my top curvy bloggers. I hope you’re prepared for a lust fest!

Nicolette Mason 

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Gabifresh

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Jay Miranda

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Tanesha Awasthi

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7 Habits of Stylish People

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Image: Stylecaster.com

There are very few people who can be considered genuinely stylish.

It’s easy to wear the hottest labels but this approach isn’t always sustainable. This can be very expensive and there are some bills which should always take precedence, but also because many fashionable items are no longer in vogue six months down the track.

Scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest the personalities are often wearing the same brands and if you squint your eyes start to morph into one another. Boring!

Then you stumble on personalities which are amazing;  chic, cool, interesting and unique. These women know their bodies. They understand their shape and style and what transpires is a visual love fest. They frame their bodies with clothes, the way an artist frames their paintings.

These women are truly stylish and from which we should aim to take our fashion inspiration. So, here is a list of 7 habits highly stylish people to help inspire you’re style journey.

1. They don’t copy exactly what they see
With Pinterest, Instagram and blogs aplenty there is so much fodder for your style inspiration. Remember it’s fun to admire but it’s not always healthy to emulate.

2. They aren’t afraid of any store—and can find something almost anywhere
Legitimately stylish women will visit any store with zero snob factor, yet they manage to stay true to their look. A stylish person understands quality, quirky and interesting items can be found anywhere from a Vinnie’s rack, Target or Louis Vuitton.

3. They know how to style themselves to their own taste
Most stylish girls will say “I’ve had this blazer for 10 years” and mean it.

The blazer itself is nice, but it’s the way it was styled; great-fitting jeans, loose shirt with an extra button undone, heels, and added a killer pair of modern statement earrings.

4. They always look radiantly natural 
Highly stylish people are often in the habit of always  standing out from the crowd in any situation.

They might wear a pair of sneakers when the others are teetering on sky-high heels, or pull her hair into a top knot when everyone else has long beachy waves. Small elements often make them look more natural but still polished.

5. Confidence is key 
The most stylish women are ones who have confidence, and who know they don’t need the $700 jumper or $2,000 handbag to make themselves appear cool.

A confident person can light up a room in a t shirt and jeans.

6. They aren’t slaves to fashion
Some of the most stylish people are able to have fun with fashion and follow trends without looking like a slave. If you don’t like a trend—even if every blogger under the sun is wearing it—don’t buy into it. It’s that simple.

7. They dress for themselves
During a time where the comparison game is strong, highly stylish people dress for themselves, their lifestyle and what looks good on them.

It doesn’t matter if those heels are the hottest around, if you can’t walk in them, it’s not stylish.

 

A Worthy Video #HereIAm

Over the last few months I have been looking into some interesting opportunities and taking time to learn. I needed to do this so that I can learn about myself and remind myself why I genuinely like who I am. I want to constantly find ways to become more aware and improve myself so that I can focus my time and live a life which fulfils the many, and various dimensions to my personality.

One of the areas I have been focusing on is self worth; or in other words how I view myself. Like anyone I have insecurities but I’ve always had a strong understanding of who I am. I’m grateful to have an ability to say “this is who I am, enjoy me or move on.” I don’t completely understand where this came from, but I do remember making conscious decisions along the way to enjoy my life, especially if others don’t agree. Not surprisingly there have been PLENTY of people who do not agree with my choices; mostly because they struggle with their own.

I recently found an Unworthy video which I wanted to share with you. Several plus size bloggers were interviewed about why the size of ones body, shouldn’t define who they are. A message I wholeheartedly support and have done so since I was 8 years old; way before it was in vogue.

But, this message seems to be focused at the more voluptuous lady (like myself). For me, the message needs to be far further reaching than big girls. I am yet to meet a person who doesn’t have an insecurity lurking deep within their soul – some people just have a better way of dealing with it. And, if more people were comfortable with themselves maybe they would be more accepting of themselves and those around them. So, no matter who you are, I hope you can benefit from this message too. And go live YOUR life!!!