So this weekend I flew from Dublin to Birmingham to take part in StyleXL – yep, that’s right, I’m international now!!
StyleXL was an event celebrating all things plus size: from fashion to beauty to body confidence. It was incredible to be in a room packed with plus size beauties all happy, comfortable, and confident in their own skin. It was also so liberating to feel like I belonged – for once, being on the larger end of the body shape spectrum was the norm. That alone was phenomenal.
When I applied to model for StyleXL it was actually on a bit of a whim. I had just started dabbling with the idea of pursuing plus size modelling, and here an opportunity presented itself. However I was sure that many other women would apply who would be more beautiful, more confident, and more experienced than me, so I didn’t expect anything to come of it. So you can imagine my surprise when I got an email saying my application was successful! The months came round extremely quickly, and suddenly the show was only a matter of days away. I thought I might get to walk the catwalk once, but I was lucky enough to be selected to model for FOUR different brands!
I was both eager and nervous to get on the catwalk for the first time. My first outfit was a beautiful butterfly maxi dress by the wonderful Topsy Curvy. I was given a sneak preview of this dress and couldn’t wait to get in it. It did not disappoint, it was so comfortable to wear and very complimentary to a fuller figure. Me being me, slipped and fell on my way up to the catwalk for the very first time. D’oh! To be honest, it all happened so quickly that it didn’t fully register, but I was so busy getting back up, putting my shoe back on, and getting to the top of the catwalk, that I hadn’t realised that part of the dress had ridden up. It wasn’t until after I’d done the walk that it was pointed out to me. I’m really sad about that as I was so pumped up to do a great job and show off the beautiful dress, and every time I see a photo of it, all I can see is that it wasn’t sitting right. Very frustrating. But focusing on the positive, I had just walked my first ever catwalk, and couldn’t wait to get into my next outfit and go again.
My second outfit was by a graduate designer – A Rose Like This. The dress I was given was something I ordinarily would never choose, but as soon as it was on I loved it! I especially loved that the skirt had pockets and before I’d even left the changing room I was parading around the place, hands in pockets, skirt a-swishing! The walk for this brand was brilliant. Everyone was excited to be wearing something a bit different and fresh to the scene, and there was a real buzz in the air about the designs. It was great to have designs that would normally associated with high fashion, tweaked for the plus size fashion lovers.
For my third turn down the catwalk I wore a beautiful Voodoo Vixen dress, courtesy of Claireabella’s Closet. I liked it on the hanger, but when I put it on, wow! The pattern and colours really came to life on me. I loved the fit – tight around the boobs and then a lovely hang and swing on the skirt. The material was beautifully silky and luxurious too. I had a bit of fun on the catwalk showing of this number, and could have happily kept it on for the rest of the day.
But I had to get ready for one more walk. My fourth and final outfit was from Lady Vintage – a beautiful, navy blue polka dot dress. This dress fitted like a dream and was very complimentary to a fuller figure. Navy blue happens to be one of my favourite colours to wear, so I felt very comfortable and at ease in this dress. Again I had a bit of fun in this one, and tried to show off the outfit as much as possible. I was pretty reluctant to get off the catwalk!
And then that was it, I had officially walked my first ever catwalk!! It was nerve-wracking and I can definitely see the nervousness written across my face in some of the photos, but I relaxed into it and my confidence grew and grew. I am particularly proud of myself because I have severe anxiety and ME/CFS so taking part in a show like Style XL was a challenge both mentally and physically for me, and I am so proud of myself for all that I achieved and overcame just by taking part. I loved every minute of it and I really hope I get the chance to do it all again – bigger and better!
Topsy Curvy: @Topsy_Curvy / Topsy Curvy Plus Size Fashion
A Rose Like This Designs: @Rosieroundface / A Rose Like This Designs
Voodoo Vixen: @VoodooVixenLDN / Voodoo Vixen
Claireabella’s Closet: Claireabellas Closet
Lady Vintage: @LadyVLondon / Lady V London