When I was 14 I moved in with my dad - who happens to live ten minutes away from Bluewater shopping centre. You'd have thought this would be my queue to branch out a little from New Look right? Wrong. You see by this time I was already bigger than most of my friends, and I knew that New Look clothes went up to a size 18, as opposed to the shops that my friends and sister shopped in like Topshop, River Island and Miss Selfridge that only went up to a 16 or sometimes even a 14! So I stuck with what I knew, and the majority of my wardrobe was comprised of New Look clothes. My ballooning weight when I was 17-18 coincided nicely with the launch of New Look's Inspire range so heading into a size 20-22 wasn't a huge problem when it came to finding something to wear (well, it was, but at least there were clothes available in my size, even if they did look atrocious.)
It was only when I arrived in Canterbury in September 2009 (wearing New Look Inspire jeggings in a size 22 and what can only be described as some sort of shapeless sack as a top in a size 20-22) that this became a problem. You see, while Canterbury does have a New Look, that New Look DOES NOT STOCK THE INSPIRE RANGE. I remember vividly my first excursion into the town centre during Freshers week, and the throat gripping, stomach turning panic when I realised there were no plus sized clothes in the shop. I was horrified. And sure, I could have shopped online for Inspire clothes (and often did) but sometimes that just isn't convenient. Like, what if I wanted something for that night? Or what if I wasn't sure on sizing and wanted to try something on? My bank account didn't (and still doesn't) allow for the ordering of multiple sizes to try on, even if the ones that didn't fit would eventually be refunded. Nor did it allow for me to shop in M&S - because lets face it, while their clothes are gorgeous and well made, they're not exactly student friendly - either in budget or appearance.
It was an issue.
That's when I discovered Dorothy Perkins. I had always counted DP in the same category as Topshop, River Island, Miss Selfridge, and all those other lovely shops I was too big for, and I really only popped in there to check out the shoes (shoes are a fat girls best friend). That was when I discovered, much to my joy, that they carried clothes in sizes up to size 22. I was in heaven. While being slightly more expensive than New Look, Dorothy Perkins also has the advantage of being slightly more 'grown-up' - meaning their pieces are slighly more demure and (for the most part) of an appropriate length, both of which are important for the larger lady. Wearing bum-skimmingly short dresses when you're almost 20st just isn't cool, ya know? From this point onwards the majority of my clothes were purchased from Dorothy Perkins.
My love affair with Dotty continues to this day. Despite the fact that I am now a size 12-14 (in most cases) and can shop in all those places that once seemed so far out of my reach, there is something about Dorothy Perkins that just keeps drawing me in. The word that always pops into my head to describe it is 'classy'. When I'm off out to a nightclub and I know I will be acting in an outrageous and inappropriate manner, its all about New Look or Topshop. When I have a nice occasion - wedding reception, Christening, etc - its always Dorothy Perkins that I head to. Some of my all-time favourite dresses have come from Dorothy Perkins. While they do have a Tall range, the majority of their regular range also tends to be slightly longer than what you'd find in other shops. Meaning it is appropriate for my abnormally long body! I also love their jeans - in fact they're the only jeans I buy now. You can normally get two pairs for £25 on some of the ranges, they're well-made, the longer length is perfect for me, and there are loads of different colours, washes and cuts. Whats not to love?
My current favourite Dorothy Perkins item is the one I'm currently wearing as a write this. I picked this up on Friday and wore it out that night for my friend Emma's birthday with my trusty wedges and leather jacket. Today its dressed down with thick comfy tights, a fluffy cardigan and ankle boots. SO VERSATILE. Its just long enough to wear day-to-day but short enough to wear out for the night too. I'm also loving the aubergine colour. I think the majority of the items I've bought over the last few months have been varying shades of burgundy, maroon and aubergine. Its just so pretty and wintery though, I can't help myself!
This is the only photo we got on Friday, just ignore Emma...
Dress and necklace: Dorothy Perkins
Watch: Michael Kors
Wedges: New Look
And a few other Dorothy Perkins faves over the years...
(Top: DP, Skirt: H&M)
(Top: DP, Shorts: Topshop)