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 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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Tips to have a clutter free wardrobe

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As all my friends will attest, I do not lead the clutter free lifestyle. I don’t buy junk or nick knacks, but I have a small apartment with minimal storage space, and I have so many clothes. Most of my ‘stuff’ is clothes. I just really, really love clothes. So in order to tame what some may consider a disaster, here are my top tips to keep my wardrobe functional and relatively clutter free.

CREATE AN ORDERED, STRUCTURED WARDROBE

A wardrobe which has been with designated to maximise the space and with specific spots for shirts, dresses, skirts, pants is an ordered, easy to use wardrobe. When I designed my wardrobe, I specifically wanted sections for clothing categories. This was the best decision! When I’m short on time, I know exactly where to look for the perfect party dress, or that favourite shirt and skirt combo. I even take it one step further and colour code (white through to black); this may be over the top, but again, it helps me make a decision fast while showcasing all my beautiful clothes.

DON’T OWN CLOTHES YOU DON’T LIKE

Why is it that the ugly jumper your mum gave you for your birthday 5 years ago still in my wardrobe?  with several holes you bought five seasons ago still necessary? You might plan on using it to paint your future house, but what purpose does it play in your life now?  How many ugly sweatshirts are you hanging onto just because you might wear them to paint the garage some day? Put those suckers out to pasture. (And when painting day comes, we promise you’ll find a way not to be topless.)

WHAT TO DO WITH CLOTHES YOU LOVE, BUT NO LONGER NEED

Style changes but there are items in my wardrobe which I still love, and no longer need. My size also changes faster than I would like to admit. I find the best way of unloading these items, giving them to charity (the feels are good with this option), sell directly to friends (who get a ridiculous bargain) and eBay . Local markets are also an option but that’s a significant time and energy investment.

HOW DOES IT MAKE YOU FEEL?

Clothes are highly emotional tools. An outfit can change the way you feel about yourself, so why would you own clothes which don’t make you feel like the slayer you are or want to be? Unless you feel like a goddess in it, throw it out.

THEY DON’T DISTINGUISH BETWEEN SUMMER AND WINTER WARDROBES

The beauty of buying classic, great quality items is you want to wear them all year round. They look and feel great, so with a few minor additions a summer wardrobe can easily be turned into a wardrobe suitable for the cooler months. A good rule of thumb: Your entire yearly wardrobe should fit in your drawers and closet. If it doesn’t, you need to purge.

WHEN YOU BUY A NEW ITEM, THEY THROW OUT AN OLD ONE

I was discussing space (or rather, a lack of) with my aunty and she told me that for every item she buys, she throws an item out. Ever since I stick to this rule like glue. When I buy a new pair of shoes, I throw a pair out. If I buy a new top, I throw an old, hole-y top out. Because I like to bend the rules, I sometimes throw something else out. I buy a new dress, so I throw some old sheets out. Whatever the case, if I buy something new, another item has to go.

The Power of a Blazer

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Some of my favourite outfits are made up of the most simple items; items which are so simple they can be repeatedly used, in various different ways, to create different looks.

The blazer is the King of wardrobe.

It adds sophistication to a pair of jeans, and plays a dress down – whilst retaining a necessary level of elegance.

The blazer featured is nicely cut to give me, or enhance my, shape. The gold buttons adds some texture and the paisley pattern under the collar provides unexpected interest to an otherwise potentially bland piece of clothing.

In these pictures I have paired the blazer with classic jeans and a white, long sleeve top, tan booties and my ultimate, fits everything I could possibly dream of handbag.

This is an outfit that I would comfortable wear to a work BBQ, chasing toddlers around, plane ride, dinner with friends, or for a drink with a date.

I typically choose blazers which have some stretch so that they still fits as my weight yo-yos.

What’s your favourite way to style a blazer?

Outfit details: 

Jacket: Jones New York, navy blazer

Top: Marks and Spencers, long sleeve cotton top in white

Jeans: Marks and Spencers, skinny jeans (long)

Handbag: Tods, Large Joy Bag in navy 

 

 

 

Houndstooth paired with a spot of colour

Getting back to my roots this morning – a clothes post!

During many conversations with friends, colleagues and all of you, there seems to be some serious resistance about too much colour or too big-a-pattern. Reading between the lines, I hear too many women worried about standing out and being noticed.

Bugger it! Why not wear pieces you love.

A favourite pattern of mine (and many of you!) is houndstooth – the black and white checkered pattern. I have several houndstooth pieces, including one of my favourite dresses of all time. With a wardrobe bursting with clothes, naturally I also have a couple of fab Ralph Lauren tops – one being a high necked, short sleeve piece. I personally don’t think it’s a particularly flattering top on me. I have a short neck, so a high neck top isn’t ideal. The material is also quite thin and clingy, so again not overly flattering me. But, I love it.

In the pics below, I have paired this top with a fav pair of Jones New York green pants. If you don’t want to stand out, brightly coloured pants may not be the best choice.

What pieces do you love?

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Outfit Details: 

Top: Houndstooth, short sleeve top by Ralph Lauren

Pants: Green pants by Jones New York

Shoes: By Ivanka Trump Collection

Summer styling

Nearly a year ago, I participated in a shoot with an old school friend of mine in North Sydney.

It was an incredibly hectic afternoon, but in between outfit changes (outside a local all boys high school), but we had such a fun time.

My modelling skills really are something to be desired, and in retrospect I should have at least brushed my freshly washed hair, but some of the photos aren’t too bad.

I am all about authenticity and these photos definitely show it!

In this group of pics, I am wearing a favour brand – Jones New York. The clothes are reasonably priced and great quality.

For summer, I love colours and a bright yellow dress makes everything seem that much better.

With my height, I sometimes enjoy a below the knee length dress, and the belt adds the extra shape to my body. The only disadvantage to this dress is the bust area is very ….generous. My own bust lets me down in this dress, but c’est la vie! Or, in Spanish, asi es – it is what it is!

The style of the dress, with the cross top and and the swishy skirt makes for a feminine feeling dress. I would happily wear to work or on a weekend to a lunch with girlfriends or a BBQ with family.

I hope you enjoy the pics.

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