I can’t believe I have been sitting here pretending to be a smart girl who knows all sorts of stuff about clothes when I didn’t even know about SimplyBe.com until my amazing friend and hair wizard Adriana turned me on to them just 2 days ago! (PS: If you live anywhere near Los Angeles and need some top-notch hair color, you aren’t making the most of your life if you aren’t going to Adriana at Goodhead Salon in Echo Park.)
She is the one who took my abused hair from black to pink to blonde to black and back to blonde again. Somehow, it remained attached to my head during this process.
When I went outside to pay the meter with these foils in my hair last week, a dude drove by and yelled, "What's up, baked potato?!"
The site Miss Adriana turned me onto, SimplyBe.com, is a brilliant website based in the UK that caters to bodacious babes sized 10-28. I think the UK has always been a wee bit more fashionable than the US, specifically when it comes to trendy and fast fashion. I mean, the Brits did actually invent the fast fashion genre back in the 1960's. (Thanks, Barbara Hulanicki and Biba!)
I realize it's entirely possible that you are rolling your eyes and saying "No shit, I've been all over SimplyBe for months" -- but it's such a great resource that I decided to write it up anyway in case some of you weren't aware.
In addition to just existing and serving the VERY UNDERSERVED plus-size market well, SimplyBe.com adds something extra to the mix: They feature a lot of their styles in a special "Very Voluptuous" fit, which includes bra sizes L, M, N, O, and P.
I MEAN, DUH. How insanely clever! Yes, chicks with huge knockers exist, and I'll bet they are quite tired of not being able to button their shirts properly. Everyone loves big boobs -- so why do clothing manufacturers appear to be so against them???
White button-front, sizes 10-28, available in bra sizes L-P, $60.00.
Red ruffle front blouse, sizes 10-28, available in bra sizes L-P, $54.00.
Purple "skater" dress, sizes 10-28, available in bra sizes L-P, $95.00.
Floral tunic top, sizes 10-28, available in bra sizes L-P, $41.00.
Leopard print blouse, sizes 10-28, available in bra sizes L-P, $38.00.
As I was perusing all the offerings on SimplyBe, 2 words in particular popped out at me: Jump. Suits.
Long sleeved floral print jumpsuit, sizes 10-28, $75.00.
Red chevron print jumpsuit, sizes 10-28, $98.00.
Polka dot print jumpsuit, sizes 10-28, $65.00.
It's hard enough to find jumpsuits that flatter "regular" sized girls, so I was pretty stoked to see so many choices in such a range of sizes.
There is a decent selection of petite plus sizes on SimplyBe, which is one of the most elusive size ranges to find on earth.
SimplyBe also has first-rate special occasion dresses. The beaded flapper ones are out of this world -- so very Sue Wong.
Blue flapper style dress, sizes 10-28, $125.00.
Black cutout dress, sizes 10-28, $59.00.
WHAT ABOUT THOSE STAR STOCKINGS? A 2-pack is only $26.00!
Star stockings, sizes 8-22, 2 pair/$26.00.
Cream flapper style dress, sizes 10-28, $145.00.
I think SimplyBe stocks some good, simple, flattering work wear. Babes who have proper office jobs have their work cut out for them -- It's a nightmare to find work clothes that aren't just deadly boring.
Tunic trim dress, sizes 10-28, $69.00.
Colorblock dress, sizes 10-28, $79.00.
Pleated blouse, sizes 10-28, $49.00.
Colored blazer, sizes 10-28, $99.00.
Color block pencil skirt, sizes 10-28, $62.00.
Even though they are based in the UK, SimplyBe charges a flat $8.99 shipping and handling fee, no matter what you order. I always get nervous about international shipping, but Adriana says she has gotten her stuff fast and without incident. Plus SimplyBe is currently offering 20% off your first order when you spend $125.00 or more!
Photo of Zandra Rhodes by Phil Konstantin.
Her caftans in particular are right on the money for me, and these 2 specifically work flawlessly into fall:
Zandra Rhodes purple caftan, sizes 10-28, $47.00.
Zandra Rhodes black kimono sleeved caftan, sizes 10-28, $47.00.
Normally I dislike any garment that has a gaudy fake "chain" print on it, but gold on black doesn't bug me that much, and the sleeves on this thing make all other rules go straight out the window.
If you are interested in adding to your library of fashion reference books, Zandra’s own retrospective of her life's work, "The Art of Zandra Rhodes," is pretty dazzling. The contents of the book are entirely culled from her personal archives. It's actually currently out of print, so I sort of can't believe there are any of them floating around for sale at any price. It's really a beautiful read.
"The Art of Zandra Rhodes", $13.95.
SimplyBe also has a select collection called Bespoke that features classically tailored pieces that still have an edge to them. So many plus-sized retailers seem to dumb down the hip factor on the clothes they make. It's a major bummer. I love the faux-Chanel vibe to some of the items in the Bespoke collection.
Bouclé jacket, sizes 10-28, $105.00.
Black and cream jersey swing top, sizes 10-28, $49.00.
Bespoke ankle length pants, sizes 10-28. $38.00.
Black and cream tuxedo jacket, sizes 10-28, $59.00.
I don't get why it's so deadly difficult to find flattering, well-priced plus sized clothes. Considering that the average woman these days is a reported size 14, it doesn't seem like it should be such a constant uphill battle just to get dressed.
I read earlier this week that Kelly Osbourne has a probable clothing line in the works that will be translated to plus sizes, and Adele is possibly doing a range of clothes for plus-sized women at Burberry. It'll be interesting to see if they inspire anyone else.
(I'm on Twitter: @IveyAlison)