It’s 2007, and I’ve just logged on to one of the top fashion forums in the country. I bypass the front page without hesitation and delve deeper into the threads to find the one that I’m looking for: Plus Size Fashion. A few months previously, I didn’t even know the phrase. I certainly hadn’t thought to apply it to myself. All I knew was that I wanted pretty clothes and no matter how hard I looked in the shops I didn’t seem to be able to find them. Not in my size, anyway. I was a frustrated fashionista. Fussy about my wardrobe since childhood (I had to wear skirts, and they had to twirl) I had found that the fashion industry hadn’t kept up with me, and suddenly I was out in the cold. As a young, size 18 woman in Australia, I had slipped through the cracks; too big to wear the high-street brands, and too young to find the elasticised waists and asymmetrical hemlines of the few “larger lady” brands on the market in any way appealing. I knew there had to be more out there, so I went looking.
Six years later and things are changing. Plus-size women are much more visible on the world’s fashion stage. In magazines, on runways, on red carpets, but nowhere more so than on the internet. My name’s Lilli, and I write the blog Frocks and Frou Frou. When I started in 2008 I don’t know that I intended it to be a “plus-size” fashion blog. Six years on from my first foray into the “fatosphere”, and I’m still not comfortable with the phrase. I just don’t know why clothing retailers insist on segregating women on the basis of a few centimetres here and there. Surely we can just all be “size”? Instead, I prefer my mum’s definition of the blog: “A place for women who are learning how to make friends with their body.” I try to show people how to dress in a way that celebrates their bodies rather than trying to disguise them. There’s a lot of colour, bold shapes, bright patterns. I favour a retro-classic style, but like to inject a bit of quirkiness into my wardrobe. I also show my readers how to make clothes and accessories from scratch, and I run a series of posts called “remixes”, where I take simple basic items, and alter them to make them unique. There’s a big wide world of fashion out there. You just have to know where to look.