Watch Out Gok!

I love people watching – I also tend to look at women in the street, especially fat women, and critique their outfits. I sometimes wish I could be brave enough to run up to them and say “PLEASE, let me dress you! You’d look and feel SO much better.”, but I resist. So when someone actually asks me for help on what to wear I jump at the chance!

I first met Sally at Fat Swap Shop when she came and took most of the clothes away! During the swap, I discovered she had lost a fair amount of weight and had no idea what to wear beyond the typical fat lady clothes of baggy tops, baggier bottoms and black. So I advised her on a few bits  – as did the other girls – and she toddled off at the end with a whole wardrobe of new things to wear. Through befriending her on Facebook, I also discovered she lived near me! Fast forward a few months and on a long awaited dinner date at a local Japanese restaurant, we jokingly discussed me helping her with her wardrobe and giving her some style tips – because obviously I am the most stylish fat woman around (HA!). The joking got serious and this afternoon I found myself up in Sally’s amazing loft bedroom helping her sort out her wardrobe!

My friend and fellow blogger Rebecca runs her own personal stylist service (you can see her site here), so I asked her for some hints and ran past her what I wanted to do.  Beforehand I got Sally to think about what she wanted to achieve – did she want a whole new style? Or just need some guidance in what to wear when?

Sally is a mum of two young boys and her job involves activities with children. So she needs outfits which are comfortable but also that look good. In addition she does have quite a social life so needed clothes that would be suitable for meals out, pub visits and Zumba class.

When I arrived, I got Sally to empty her wardrobe and drawers item by item and we put the clothes into piles of “KEEP”, “MAYBE” and “BIN”. The keep pile were clothes that fit Sally and she wore a lot and liked – I was quite bossy (never!!) and anything that Sally tried to put into the keep pile which I thought was either to big or did nothing for her, I made her put it into the maybe pile.

Once we had the three piles, I got Sally to pick out items she liked but didn’t know how to wear and we created outfits from them. Here are the pictures of some of the outfits:

The first item Sally wanted to know how to wear was the gorgeous polka dot skirt – I went quite safe (and in the absence of anything else!) teamed it with a white blouse and a jacket which Sally also wasn’t sure how to wear.

I also paired the skirt with a purple jersey top which had a zip down the front – I added the jacket again as well.

Next up were the red jeans. Sally has had them for ages – before it was trendy to do so. I paired them with this blue top – which Sally had initially put into the maybe pile because she was worried people would think she was pregnant. Quite clearly she doesn’t look pregnant!

This was a bit of a wild outfit – with the sequined jacket which initially I wasn’t sure about jacket but on it looks quite cool!  I’m not sure this is the BEST outfit but Sally felt confident and comfortable it in so that’s the important thing!

The black & white top was again something Sally wasn’t keen on but I think it looks really nice with the red jeans. Its something she can wear with blue & black jeans and with leggings.

I like this outfit – the dress is being worn as a top in what I call a “Brockley Mums” style. I live in Brockley and all of the mothers around here fall into two parts; Yummy mummies – those that have pinged back into their size 8 jeans days after giving birth – and Brockley Mums – the women who are struggling with the excess baby weight and wear dresses over jeans. Sally had put the dress into the maybe pile because she thought it was too big on her chest. However I just pulled it back a bit so the neckline sat on her shoulders and bingo! it fits nicely!

Two ways to wear the same top – day and night. Sally had this gorgeous top she’d won on a blog give away but wasn’t sure what to wear it with. So with the sequin jacket and black jeans for the evening and then swapping the sparkle for the plain jacket during the day. Shimples!

I let Sally keep two items she was really keen on. One was a brown velvet top with the medieval sleeve she’d had for years and the other was the top above. Sally had mainly worn this top with leggings but we tried it with a pair of jeans and it looked equally as good.

One thing that Sally has always avoided was layering – she was under the impression it would make her look bigger (yet another fat girl rule!). However with a pair of jeans she’d never worn and various tops she loved but thought she couldn’t wear or didn’t know how to, I showed her how to wear layers. The most successful I think was putting the brown vest top under the tunic which Sally thought she couldn’t wear any more because her boobs have shrunk!

The jumpsuit was a favourite of both mine and Sally’s. It had been an impulse buy and she’d only worn it once after her mother told her she looked like Andi Pandi in it! However adding the jacket instantly helped as did trying it with the shrug.

I was a big meanie and made Sally chuck out most of her beloved maxi dresses – not because I don’t like maxi dresses, I do! I have one! But because the style of maxi dress Sally has been wearing made her boobs look tiny and her belly look bigger than it was. Another fat girl myth is we must wear empire lined dresses – which is bollocks! However the above dress had been something which had been in Sally’s wardrobe for years, unworn because she had bought it when it was too small for her. Now it fits and because the bust of above the empire line is fussy it makes her boobs look bigger – WIN! As Sally doesn’t have a black cardigan, we added the jacket again!

Apart for the huge smile on Sally’s face throughout the whole two and half hours, the other thing that made me really pleased I’d offered to help was the fact Sally now has numerous new outfits to wear which cost her nothing! I know if someone was to come and be as ruthless in my wardrobe I would more and likely have the same!!

In addition to be a bossy boots and ruthlessly throwing away items of clothes Sally has had for years, I also offered to do a bit of online window shopping for her. Whilst we were sorting the clothes out I made a note of bits of clothing Sally could really do with – like a white vest, a blouse she could wear with a skirt or jeans, a few more cardigans. Sally gave me a budget and when I got home I emailed her a few links. Sally has now order those bits and I look forward to going back and helping her try those out within her already fabulous existing wardrobe.

If you would like me to help you with a wardrobe cleanse please let me know! I don’t charge anything but do ask that you cover the costs of getting me to yours and that you feed me! 

31 thoughts on “Watch Out Gok!

  1. And I’ve had a big smile on my face all evening. I can’t thank you enough – you gave me SUCH confidence – you’ve been such an inspiration to me and I can’t believe how fab it was to be styled by you. I love everything you’ve put together. I’ve promised my sister my maxi dresses (have even decided to give her my favourite purple one cos I know you’re right and it isn’t the right shape for me). You’ve helped me blow away stupid “rules” and the voice of my mother and I feel so fabulous. I really can’t say thank you enough. Really. You’re amazing!

  2. Nice work you two🙂 I need to find new ways and confidence to wear some of my clothes, but I just don’t have that many. Moving across the world gave me a hatred of owning too much stuff so the moment I think I don’t really like, or wear, something out it goes.

  3. I love your blog and after reading this post all I could think was I wished we lived closer, if only to maybe have lunch and shop! How are you at the shopping? I tend to buy everything and have remorse later… help!

  4. This is an amazing and inspiring post.

    I LOVE the red jeans and blue top and Sally should feel assured that she doesn’t look pregnant at all! I am also loving the last two looks very much… the jumpsuit is amazing.

    Great post, Monkey. xxx.

    • Nah Claire, I’ve commented before… I’ve ONLY JUST affiliated the comments with my twitter etc. though. I’ve commented lots. I was worried for a second that none of the others (like above) must have got through… xxx.

  5. The looks are ok but I feel like she is still being hidden. Adding a belt or sash to some of the looks would show off her figure rather than obscuring it. And baggy is not always the most flattering look, it can help prove a shape is there rather than having someone guestimate what is hiding under the tent like cloth. And get those legs out! She is adorable! Work in progress, keep practising!

    • Maggie,
      Thanks for your reply and I’ve noted your comments. However, I think you have missed a point slightly – the exercise wasn’t about getting Sally to show off her figure, it was about helping her find outfits out of her existing wardrobe. So yes, they are a bit safe and a bit baggy but we were working with what she already had. As I said at the end of my post – I also did a bit of window shopping online for Sal and she’s now bought a few more items which will show off her figure more. BUT even if that wasn’t the case, this was about Sally liking what she had in her wardrobe and wearing clothes she wanted to wear. Not all of us want to wear belts – some of us, me included, like baggy items from time to time. Its not about being flattering – its about wearing what you want.

      • Yeah – what Claire said! I don’t do belts – though I’ve just bought my FIRST ever one with Claire’s recommendations….so watch out – I might be changing my style a bit. Thank you for calling me adorable – thanks to Claire I feel a bit more so!

  6. I love this post, I need to go through my wardrobe and figure out what I have that works together, I spend so much time looking for new things that my wardrobe is being neglected.

    The point you just made in your reply is so true, dressing is a personal choice, some days I wear a skirt and fitted top as I am today, others I will be in jeans and a loose top, what you wear is down to choice, comfort and what makes YOU happy, not what someone else thinks you should wear, sally and claire worked so well together, you can see how happy sally is. xx

  7. I appreciate what you’ve tried to do for a ‘friend’, but I have to say, if I saw my friend in some of these, I would pull her to one side and gently ask if she is feeling alright.

    Sally has a stunning figure, and a great eye for clothes already (looking at what she already had in her closet), so why put an already too big dress over a baggy pair of jeans? With legs like that, skinny jeans would be better, leggings, even more so. But a dress is a dress, so wear it as one. Over jeans is adding extra bulk.

    As Lilybobomb said, fashion is a personal, individual thing, and it seems to me that Claire has inflicted (sorry, forced) her own fashion style on someone else.

    Sally, you cut an impressive figure with those legs, get them out more!

    Claire, I’m afraid you have to stay with your day job with this one


    • Thank you GirlCalledKill but remember – Claire was working with what I already had. And she and I had long discussions about what I feel comfortable in. I’m 40 years old and really have never got my legs out and don’t think I ever will so she factored this in to the looks I had. Thank you for complimenting me on my eye for clothes but I’d never put together the articles Claire used in the way she did – and that’s why I wanted her help! I now have some skinny jeans and some jeggings and hope that we can put some more looks together using them – I tend to live in big tops and leggings so think Claire was showing me some other options using jeans that I never wore…..

      I’m not that easily led and certainly haven’t felt that someone else was inflicting their style on me – I asked her for her help and opinion. She’s suggested a couple of things I won’t wear and that’s cool with both of us.

      So I stand by what I said – highly recommend the Monkey Fatshionista restyling experience!

    • Thanks for your comment but I don’t think you’ve read what both Sally and I have written. As I have said a couple of times now – I was picking outfits from Sally existing wardrobe AND going on what Sally wanted to wear. Sally doesn’t have any skinny jeans in her wardrobe hence why I haven’t put her in any!

      I didn’t “force” her into any of the clothes. When I asked Sally what she wanted to wear – she said she liked my style. So yes, I may have put her in clothes I would wear but as she wanted to dress similar to my style then that makes perfect sence.

      Sally has said herself – she has never got her legs out and never will so again – aren’t you really imposing your style on her rather than Sally trying out items she wants to wear and through trial and error elimiating items?

      This wasn’t a make over – maybe I should say that in BIG letters – THIS WASN’T A MAKE OVER! It was about me and Sally having a rummage through her wardrobe trying a few bits on and finding out what Sally was comfortable in.

      So whilst I certainly wont be giving up my day job, I’d really like it if you took a few minutes to read what I’ve said in future before commenting.

  8. These made me quite sad. Sally is a beautiful person and those outfits look like someone threw them together in the dark – this is just not good, I’m sorry. Sally, I know you trusted your friend, but several people have already come out and said as nicely as we can that those outfits mixed together are not working…it seems you are exited to try new things but I want to tell you that your friend did not steer you in the right direction in this case. : \ I think perhaps toning these down and doing something simpler. You don’t have to do sequins and animal print and colored jeans all at one! Even if you want to stick to comfy loose tops, perhaps getting the jacket taken to the tailor? No disrespect intended. :[ I just…I just couldn’t not say something.

    • Thanks for your comment Jezzie. I appreciate you taking the time to comment – but also you have to remember that Sally wanted to wear these outfits. Its quite insulting to assume that Sally has no mind of her own and has just willingly allowed me to use her as a life size Barbie doll. Where mixing sequins, leopard print and red jeans might not be your taste – that doesn’t apply to everyone. It was actually Sally’s idea to try the outfit you have picked out as being poor.

      • I think if one person says to another “Please help me with my wardrobe” she is trusting your opinion.

        It is clear that after 3 different people have commented about these, and you’ve still not taken a telling.

        And I’d think twice before telling someone who has commented out of a place of support and advice, to “read the post before commenting”. I had read it thank you very much, and hey, I chose to read your blog… not again though I don’t think. Strange your attitude doesn’t come across on the blog… hmmmm, true colours there?

        Nevermind Claire, you still have YOUR style, your own “Fuck flattering” attitude. Just doesn’t mean someone else has the same opinion.

  9. So long as she is happy and embracing her new figure, I know what it’s like to lose weight and still be trapped in the mentality of thinking I am still as big as before.

    Good Luck and Congrats Sally, I would love to see your new arrivals and would also love to see you embracing that beautiful figure. I understand that for some people enjoying the clothing is more important than showing off their shape but I think having a happy medium is also a good option to consider. We all have our personal preferences with looks and trends, just own it however you feel best.x

    (I hope the “troll” comment was not directed at myself and my opinion, I feel I was quite diplomatic and just giving an opinion, as Clare herself did when helping Sally and expressing her views about women on the street. Having said that, the other comments have been pretty diplomatic…)

    • Thanks for the response Maggie! No, I don’t think Troll comment was at you. I agree with what you say – the main thing is that Sally is happy. Which is why we spent the afternoon messing around with outfits. I don’t profess to be a style guru or even very good at it. But it was nice for someone to say “I like your style, I want to dress like you” – I do it to my friends all the time. I have a couple where I constantly dress the way they do because I like it.

      • Sorry Claire, you did say that you were a style guru, offering your services for payment = profressing you have some skill in that area…

        Or have I misunderstood that as well?

        And re: the Troll comment. I’m afraid that a troll would have said something much much worse, and not so eloquently.

  10. I think it’s pretty obvious from Sally’s expression that she’s totally happy with the outcome! You’d have to be a pretty contrary human to want to tear down someone who’s clearly happy in their skin, not to mention ‘confident and comfortable’. Maybe I’m a terribly naïve blog reader, but it seems a strange thing to do to criticise so openly something that’s so pleasant and well-meaning. I’m known for my ‘judicious snark’ and even I wouldn’t bother laying into someone who’s visibly happy and feeling good about themselves… SALLY YOU LOOK GREAT AND YOU’RE A GREAT GAL AND CLAIRE YOU DID A GREAT JOB!

  11. Oh GirlCalledKill – you have TOTALLY misunderstood. My last comment is tongue in cheek and the whole post was written in a sarky “I’m so Gok – NOT” tone. Maybe that didn’t come across very well. But also – your well meaning comments are coming across as very agressive against me. If you are concerned that I am a bully and Sally is too nice/weak to tell me to back off – maybe you should be commenting on her blog about this, not attacking me on mine. I’m not turning my well meaning couple of hours with Sally into a big issue. So I’m ending it here. If you no longer wish to follow my blog, then I’m sorry to hear that but I am asking politely that we just leave it now.

  12. Hi GirlCalledKill,
    Yes you… I understand you wanted to put forward your opinion and of course that is what a comments section is for on a blog, otherwise we’d all just blindly blog with no feedback or dialogue. BUT, there are more tactful ways of getting a point accross. So the outfits aren’t to your taste, then say that. It should by no means be an opportunity to pull two women down who had a bit of fun with contents of the others wardrobe. So you might have done things differently? Well sat that!!
    As it has been said before, it’s quite obvious how happy Sally is and it was never meant to be a makeover, just a change to think about the pieces in her wardrobe differently.
    Next time you “comment” think about how you comment. There’s enough nasty shit in this world without us turning on each other. Being a nice person is much easier and reaps greater rewards. Trust me.

  13. My experience in changing the way I dress is that it is a slow and gradual progress. I went from never wearing dresses, to wearing them layered with trousers, and then skinny jeans and then leggings and then hopefully one day with bare legs.
    It didn’t happen overnight. You feel brave and buy clothes out of your comfort zone, as Sally did, but sometimes it takes inspiration from a friend or a blog (and in this case both) to actually start wearing them. But no one is going to feel ok going from baggy jeans to a mini skirt in one go!

    Claire was the one that inspired me to dress how I really wanted to (eg dresses and skirts) not how I felt I had to because I was fat with fat legs. Changing the way you dress and feel about yourself is about little steps, and Claire is a great guide. I will be really intrigued to see Sally’s further steps along this road!!!

  14. I really am baffled at how some people have interpreted Claire going around to Sally’s to help her have a sort out. I really do think that some of the outfits are absolutely stunning on Sally, and the rest definitely look fab…but you know it doesn’t actually matter what a person wears, it matters how the feel in them, and Sally is smiling like never before, so that’s got to count for something. Of course, not everything fits perfectly, but if you’re working with someone’s wardrobe where they’ve lost a fair bit of weight, then that’s going to be the case. Correct me if I’m wrong, Claire and Sally, but surely the point of the exercise was to get Sally feeling good about clothes again, and used to the idea of being braver and bolder in her sartorial choices. All you that critise that, well you’re being quite hurtful and detrimental to the efforts made by all parties involved.

    I know that in my own journey to become the style maven I am today (which is said in total jest should same said troll happen upon my own blog), of course there are going to be outfits that some might go ‘Sara, wtf were you thinking?’. My reply would be that I’m a fat girl whom has struggled long and hard to feel good about her body, and to take chances with what she wears. I’m human, so I’m not going to get it spot on all time. But then actually why should I care what anyone else thinks as long as I can walk with my head held high, and a smile on my face? Confidence and Self-Esteem are fragile commodities, and I wouldn’t trade them for worrying about what other people think about how I dress, which is what you’re expecting Sally to do, GirlCalledKill and others. Shame on you.

    If Claire lived around my neck of the woods, I’d most definitely have her come round and have a sort through my piles upon piles of clothes because a second opinion is always welcomed. Which is clearly what went on here….Claire tried to encourage Sally to start being open to trying new looks and embracing colour, print and pattern. But if Sally had asked Claire to take her shopping and pick out the best looks and fits for her, I’m sure she’d make Sally look amazing. Because, if you think Claire doesn’t have abso-flipping-lutely amazing style from all the stunning pictures of her on this blog then you need your heads read. Compare and contrast people, and you’ll understand that Claire wasnt making Sally a replica of her own style, she was completely and utterly taking Sally and her own needs/style into consideration.

    I’m going to conclude with saying that I believe that this blog of Claire’s, and all the other fatshion blogs out there are supposed to be a place of support and encouragement, and if you cannot comment and interact in such a manner, then maybe such a blog isn’t for you.

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