Style Seeker Challenge, What A Challenge!

I recently took place in the 'Style Seeker' challenge in the Birmingham Bullring. We were all set a task of something that is either on trend or incoming for winter, selected from a plethora of gold envelopes. I was given the task to look for a metallic outfit, now I'm going to be honest - metallic is not something I generally go for. I don't really do sparkly clothing, I like to accessorise with sparkle instead. So I wasn't best pleased with the task at hand but thought I'd give it a go!

The new Bullring app has a 'Style Seeker' area where you can photograph a piece of clothing and look for something similar. I photographed the item in the info we were given but found the app pulled up lots of things in a similar colour but not necessarily something metallic to match the brief. Being plus size as well, a lot of what this pulled up wouldn't actually fit someone of my size so I felt this wasn't the best tool for me. There is no option currently to filter this by size, just by colour and pattern (as below) - If able to fit into straight sizes though, this may be a useful tool to colour match outfits. 

Before the challenge, we were to be given a 'style consultation' by one of the stylists, this was in the middle of a connected, but distant shopping centre from where we started. Off I toddled with my walking stick through the bullring link and met a blogger friend the other end, to find that I wish I hadn't made the trip through the link to speak to said stylist at all.
As a plus size woman, I often struggle with the way that people look at, and treat people of my size. Unfortunately, this situation was no different. I spoke to the stylist about how my options are limited in this challenge given the options for plus size in Birmingham Bullring and Grand Central are extremely small so I know where I would go for something to fit me. She then tried to push an XL item that was 'oversized' from a brand that did not cater for someone my size. The item in particular was an almost sheer metallic top - which if I'd attempted to get on wouldn't have fit me in any way.

To add insult to injury she didn't actually know what store the brand was stocked in, as a disabled woman with a walking stick hunting every department store in the bullring wasn't really an option, and as I said earlier - the app was of no use to me.

After telling the stylist that it's not really appropriate for me she tried to push it again, pointing at it being oversized - if an item is oversized its usually supposed to be that way on the person it actually fits. Not used to fit a plus size woman into the one thing you've picked out that's larger and want them to promote when that brand doesn't cater to them. If I wanted something like that, wouldn't I have said so? (It wouldn't have fit me anyway).
I found her attitude to be quite rude, and surely it wouldn't be that hard to actually include plus size items on your display as well as straight sizes - considering we also like fashion, and being on trend. There was also nothing Tall, Petite or Maternity on their stand from what I could tell, which showed a great lack of inclusivity. 

At this point, I was mad and had to walk away, on speaking to other plus size women about this there was no surprise to them. I couldn't explain enough that if it didn't fit me it wasn't really appropriate or being honest to talk about something that I couldn't even try on - she just couldn't understand it. I pride myself on my integrity, and I can't recommend something that doesn't work for me nor write a glowing review about something that made me incredibly uncomfortable.
At least I looked good! 

So after that eventful chat, my blogger friend and I headed off to the stores we had chosen to select and photograph clothes to fit the brief. My friend an I are both at different ends of the size scale so we headed to a store that would fit her, then one to fit me and helped each other out. The kindness, patience and help was very appreciated after my experience above. The most interesting part is we could both understand where we were each coming from when talking about the limitations on our sizes and the way the fashion world can be. We had an incredibly respectful conversation and when I left the Bullring that day I didn't feel like all hope was lost. (Thanks, Chloe)
These boots were really cute in Forever 21

My store of choice, and the one where the staff are lovely and never let me down was Yours Clothing. Sometimes I walk in and like with any online shop or in person I don't always find what I want - but in there I often find things that surprise me, and sometimes things I didn't know I needed.

I walked in and spoke with the store staff who I see all too often and have become friendly and familiar with (I have a slight shopping addiction, probably why I blog fashion - but I digress), I found a metallic cardigan which would go very well with a little black dress and heels or jeans and a 'nice top' which I thought would be my pick. Upon speaking to store staff, I changed my options.

I ended up selecting this metallic jumper (I'd wear with a vest top under to layer up as winter is coming), leather look leggings and sparkly boots, teamed with a very sparkly clutch.
This outfit pushes my boundaries, I never thought I would wear leather look leggings, but in store the staff got me to try them. At first unsure, but in looking at the photographs afterwards I knew that this was something I could, and would rock this Winter. My fear was the noise when I moved in them and the way they'd look on my legs. This pair made virtually no noise when I moved, and my legs have fat - hiding them in plain black leggings doesn't change or hide that either so why not push myself?

The metallic jumper hugs places that I usually don't accentuate but I loved the colour, and detailing on the arms. This jumper fits me in ways that the item suggested by the stylist wouldn't have, it comes down long enough for me to feel comfortable and have no gap between my top and leggings (it's too cold for that!), and fits my body shape too.
The little ankle boots were so cute and are wide fit too, I don't necessarily need wide fit shoes but it's nice to have the option, and being able to get thick socks on underneath is always nice.
The bag goes well with the boots and adds a touch more glamour and leaves me with the space I need to keep my phone etc for a night out on the town. The necklace matches well with the jumper and adds that little touch without overdoing it with even more glitter.

All items in this outfit were from Yours Clothing, I owe a credit to the ladies in the Bullring store. Their friendliness and being so happy and willing to help always makes me feel positive and their service is invaluable, pushing me to try new things and making the ladies who shop there feel comfortable in their own skin. Entering any other store I never feel that way, but being in a store with women who are plus size running the show does make all the difference.

This challenge pushed me, in more ways than one but I think my outfit fit the brief of metallic, hitting the nail right on the head. Choosing a style I wouldn't usually wear, and showing that metallic can be worn at any size (and comfortably) was important to me after a rocky start to the day. 

How would you wear metallic?
Appropriate eh? Good on Yours!

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