Blog / plus size clothing

  • Loving Vintage With...Kate London-James

    I am definitely not complaining, but I have been swamped recently with pop up shops and lookbook shoots, denying y'all of this really great interview I did with the incredible Kate London-James a while back.  An (almost!) 25 year old recruitment coordinator from Barry Island, Wales, she is one of my all-time favourite bloggers, one of the sweetest women ever and a huge inspiration to me.  I will never get sick of looking at pictures of her and it is a dream of mine to hang out with her and her partner in the flesh. 
    Where do you like to shop for vintage? 
    You know what, where I live, vintage shops are very few and far between and the few there really do not cater to a plus size vintage lover, which is such a shame. So I tend to stick to eBay for the majority of my vintage thrifting! I am really new to the plus size vintage scene, but I definitely have the bug already. It is incredible the things you can find if you spend the time scrolling through endless pages haha. I do think the key to making incredible finds is patience! However, my parents live 3 hours away from me and there is a lovely little vintage shop in their town that is incredible for accessories (sadly, they don’t really carry clothing for the more rotund vintage lover!).
    What makes you pick out a piece and want to buy it?
    I do like to think that I don’t have a ‘specific image’ or style so for me, it really just depends on the piece. It has to catch my eye and keep me coming back to it! I have to feel as if, if I leave the shop without it, it will be the biggest mistake of my life haha! But generally, I do love anything with a pleated skirt, anything with faux fur or anything gold.
    What is your fave vintage item in your closet?
    My favorite vintage item is definitely the royal blue dress I found on eBay recently for 99p! It has an amazing pleated skirt, a really cool black etched pattern all over it and it also has the cutest bow detail on one of the shoulders. It isn’t designer or one of a kind (as far as I know haha) but I absolutely adore it, it makes me feel fabulous!
    Do you have a dream piece that you would die if you found?
    If we’re dreaming really big, I’m going to have to go with a Chanel Handbag. They aren’t especially hard to find, but they are big dollar haha! So in the future, I would love to save to afford one. Chanel (although don’t get me started on the fat hating views of Karl Lagerfeld!) are such a classic, elegant and irreplaceable vintage brand in my eyes! If we’re going for something a little more in my immediate price range haha, I would just love to find some more eye catching dresses! I don’t even own 1 pair of trousers, so dresses make up the entirety of my wardrobe and to be able to add a few more vintage finds would be amazing.
    Who are your “vintage” style icons?
    This is such a hard questions because there are so many women that are an incredible inspiration, including you! I have been following your Instagram account and blog for a few years now and you are always so positive and your style is to die for. I think a huge amount of style is how you carry it and there are a quite a few prominent plus size women that I find, frustratingly, seem to feel the need to constantly justify and emotionalize their styles when in fact, why can’t a woman, plus size and straight size, just wear what she likes because it makes her feel fabulous? Rather than wearing it to make a statement! This is part of why I love your blog and Instagram so much because there is none of that, just heaps of positivity and incredible vintage style! I also adore Beth Ditto, although she isn’t consistently in vintage, she makes bold fashion choices and wears whatever she wants, because she wants to! Through the power of Instagram I have had a few brief chats with Beth on various occasions and she is just as awesome as you would imagine. 
    If you could bring any trend back from the past, what would it be?
    I really love Civil War Button Boots! Sadly, as it stands, they seem to be limited to the ‘Steam Punk’ and ‘Goth’ scene! They are so adorable with the little, block heel and the side button detail – I would die to find a pair in black that I could wear with every day outfits. 
    What vintage look would we NEVER see you wearing?
    This question is super hard as I will pretty much give anything a go and put my own twist on it but I’m really not a massive fan of the neon 80’s look. I know it’s making a comeback this season but with my complexion and hair color, it just looks downright awful! Don’t get me wrong, it can look fabulous on the right girl but it is definitely not for me! Although I adore 99.9% of the other 80’s fashion trends! I love a cheeky fringed leather jacket and a sweet perm!
    Big thanks to Kate for her kind words and insight on her personal style (also super envious of your chats with Beth Ditto!!), and if you haven't already please check out her blog, How Kate Does Fashion. You can also follow her on Instagram and Twitter.  Kate recommended a bunch of great music but since since it's summer and all, I went with her choice of Iggy Azalea's Fancy.  Kate recommended a bunch of great music but since since it's summer and all, I went with her choice of Iggy Azalea's Fancy.  Stay tuned for more vintage chats with inspiring megababes! 
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  • Summer DIY - How to Hem Anything

    I've been talking a lot about joining the Fat Girl Food Squad fashion team recently, and along with my #WomanCrushWednesday posts, I'll be doing some DIY projects.  Thought I would share my very first video - How to Hem Damn Near Anything.  Let me know what you think and if you have any DIY requests, ask away! xo
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  • Fat Girl Food Squad to Host a Plus Size Pop Up Shop

    Fat Girl Food Squad is hosting a plus size pop up clothing shop in Toronto! 

    Find us on Sunday, June 1st above Sneaky Dee's at 431 College Street West.

    Second-hand and vintage clothing will be for sale, sizes 14 and up, along with shoes & accessories of all sizes. I will also be showcasing a selection of vintage plus size items and jewellery from the Ursa Major+ shop. 

    A suggested donation of $5, to support Fat Girl Food Squad's endeavours, is greatly appreciated.

    Snacks provided | Drinks available for purchase at the bar

    More details to come!
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  • #WomanCrushWednesday - @elizabethwest

    Image via @elizabethwest
    An update on what has been going on behind the scenes here at Ursa Major+: a few weeks ago I joined the Fat Girl Food Squad Fashion Team! In addition to creating style content for the site, I am expanding on my weekly #womancrushwednesday posts from the UM+ Instagram account and sharing them on the Fat Girl Food Squad site. I've been doing it for a few weeks now and am really loving publicly supporting creative, kickass women in a way that other babes might discover them as well.
    My #womancrushwednesday this week is Portland-based photographer Elizabeth West. I first came across her work on Tumblr and have since been loving up on her Instagram. Elizabeth’s subject matter is broad, but her ethereal landscapes and beautifully haunting portraits are my favourites; I always find myself in a state of dreamy yearning for West Coast roadtripping when I look at her photographs. You can find her lookbooks here, check them out!
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  • Loving Vintage With...Jessica of Clothes and Shit

    I have only had one opportunity to hang out with Jessica of Curves and Shit but she really left an impression on me.  It was last year at The Big Deal, an event organized by Karen of Curvy Canadian where Toronto-area plus size bloggers gathered to sell items from our closets.  Immediately, I felt like we were kindred style sisters and I wanted to buy everything hanging on her rack.  There was no shortage of colour, print or texture and it was no secret that this babe has style.  Jessica was tops on my list of savvy fashion babes for the "Loving Vintage With..." series and am so pumped that she said yes.
    Where do you like to shop for vintage?
    I mostly shop for vintage at Value Village, sometimes Salvation Army and National Thrift. There are a handful of fancy thrift stores that handpick beautiful pieces Downtown but most of them tend to be extremely overpriced. I frequent my local Value Village pretty much every week if not a couple times a week.
    What makes you pick out a piece and want to buy it?
    I tend to look piece-by-piece through the racks and anything/everything that's either eye catching, super funny or I've instantly somehow imagined an outfit with it. Which leads to me spending a long time in the change room trying on every piece and figuring out if it's really worth buying (it helps that almost always someone is with me and will give me their opinion on it).
    What is your fave vintage item in your closet?
    I have so many! I seriously always find the best pieces whilst thrifting and the best part about it is that there is such a low chance of anyone else having it! My top faves are definitely my shiny gold cardigan, a floral maxi skirt and I have not one, but two amazing floral denim jackets!
    Do you have a dream piece that you would die if you found?
    Not necessarily, I always thrift with an open mind and that's how I tend to find really nice pieces. Last May I found an amazing Christmas sweater, and everyone called me crazy for buying it because it was +24 degrees then, this past Christmas all my friends wanted to have an ugly Christmas sweater party…guess who couldn't find any Christmas sweaters in store? Even if things may not be in season right then, I always look forward to wearing it in the future. On a side note, I have been looking for a beautiful hat (that actually fits my head haha) and an amazing belt!
    Who are your “vintage” style icons?
    I don't really have any 'vintage' style icons per se, I just love 1950's, 80's and 90's fashion. 
    If you could bring any trend back from the past, what would it be?
    I'm a strong believer that almost all trends cycle and come back, I've loved almost all the trends that came back so far.. but I can't think of anything in particular that I would bring back.
    What vintage look would we NEVER see you wearing?
    Never say never! I actually love to try on fun, weird vintage pieces! You never know how they'll look or you may even come up with some cool new way to alter the piece! When I first started thrifting I'd always laugh at weird shoulder pad tops, or super odd dresses, yet still try them on. After a while I realized I loved these odd, fun things and definitely could alter them to suit me better.
    As I do in the Loving Vintage With... series, I've asked Jessica to share some of her favourite music.  She recommends You're the Best by Wet, Giants by Bear Hands and this lovely song by Lake.  Much love to Jessica for chatting with me, if this wasn't enough evidence of how kick ass she is, head over to her blog and be sure to follow her on InstagramFacebook and Tumblr
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  • Fat in Public - The Art Show

    Just wanted to do a quick post about this feminist art show that my partner Ron and I are participating in, opening this Thursday January 30th.  Put on by my new friends at the Fat Girl Food Squad, it's sure to be amazing.  I have been working on an installation that is one of the most challenging pieces I have ever constructed but I'm maintaining good energy and am confident that I can make it work.  I'll share a few progress pictures tomorrow if I don't take a turn for the worst and decide to throw my sewing machine out the window of the studio.  Here's the blurb from the facebook event page and if you're in the Toronto area we'd all love to see you there!
    Fat In Public is an art show that dares to be just that. Art and it's creators that have to audacity to been seen in their ample glory. Fat In Public intends to de-stigmatize the (fat) body and give an outlet for art featuring imperfect and sybaritical characters in equal measure.

    ARTISTS ON DISPLAY WILL BE:

    Sam Abel: http://saucy-nudles.tumblr.com/
    Sookie Bardwell
    Ronald Caddigan: http://cyclopsandowl.tumblr.com/
    Derrick Chow: http://www.flickr.com/people/derrickchow
    Amanda Drodge
    Elana Delaney: http://www.flickr.com/photos/elanadelane
    Kristina Groeger: http://kristinagroeger.com/
    Melody Krauze: http://www.melodykrauze.com/
    Jessica Levy: https://www.facebook.com/jessicalevyphotography
    Amarina Norris: http://ursamajor.ca/
    Megan Stulberg: http://cargocollective.com/meganstulberg
    Yuli Scheidt: http://yulischeidt.com/
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  • UM+ Fall/Winter Lookbook: Behind the Scenes

    On a very chilly December morning, a bunch of hot babes gathered in Toronto's beautiful Necropolis for the Ursa Major+ FW Lookbook shoot.   I had been wanting to shoot there forever - opened in 1850, there are over 50,000 graves spanning across it's huge perimeters.  The day was more than brisk but we made the best of it and the ladies were absolute troopers in cropped tops and skirts.  We had lots of fun while working efficiently and were able to finish literally at the moment the first snowfall of the season started, which was more like brutal hail. 

    I love taking pictures and have quite the assortment of analog and old polaroid cameras but this was my first time doing a big shoot with my little Canon Rebel XS.  I am by no means trained in photography, mostly picking up bits and pieces as I work on making my store better and better.  The light was really tricky that day, giving me another opportunity to learn and I look forward to figuring more out and developing my skills.  That being said, I love working with photographers and if you are interested in collaborating on a project please feel free to send me an email (amarina@ursamajor.ca)!

    Here are some behind the scenes shots from the shoot and be sure to check out the lookbook and feel free to let me know what you think in the comments.  Hope you like it!

    xoxo Amarina

    Bitch face attempts. 
    Big thank yous to my two beautiful models, my dear friend Rebecca and my partner Ron for helping me pull off another rogue UM+ shoot.
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  • Looking Unique in Sweater Weather

    As much as I try to appreciate all of the seasons, I am just not a winter woman.  Alas, living in Toronto (and I recognize Toronto winters are mild compared to other Canadian cities and beyond - but I am a baby about it), I look forward to small joys like steaming earl grey tea, stompy leather boots and sweaters. Especially sweaters.  The problem I have with a lot of the plus-size designs - and this is so very common for women of size - is the lack of selection and diversity.  Fortunately over the years I have learned to expand my options with some non-traditional shopping strategies. Here are a few body warmth offerings around the interwebs alongside an Ursa Major+ gem that I've brought in for you babes. 

    SHOP MENSWEAR - so many companies cut mens clothing in a broader size range than for women.  I will be the first to complain about stores that carry a men's XL yet the ladies clothing only goes up to a large, but my point here is that I can often fit into men's clothing in stores where the gal's stuff wouldn't even go over my head.  This season I am loving the Narcolepsy sweatshirt from Stolen Girlfriends Club, even though it's definitely on the pricey side.

     

    SHOP "OVERSIZE"/"ONE SIZE FITS MOST"/"LOOSE FIT" - When it comes to wanting something stylish outside of the traditional selection of plus-size, I would totally go for this shaggy oversize sweater from Nasty Gal.  Oversize in some styles means it could fit me just right, regardless of what the original intention of the garment was.  I mostly just want to encourage you to explore stores that you might have ignored in the past, perhaps assuming that nothing they offer would fit.

    SHOP HANDMADE - There is such a huge world of indie designers out there who are creating amazing clothing in a wide range of sizes, or are offering custom size options.  I love shopping handmade because I know I am getting a product that was likely created by the same person who designed it and shipped it to me.  It's a great way to support emerging artists and creative hobbyists while maintaining your individual vibes.  And come on, the Pretty Snake Crazy Kitten Sweater is SO EFFING CUTE (and this one is an XXL).

    SHOP VINTAGE - It doesn't get more unique than finding previously loved treasures to incorporate into your wardrobe.  You can't beat the thrill of the find (even online!) and it's highly unlikely that you'll be seeing tons of ladies in the same garment.  This Chain Link Sweater is so amazing and can be found right here at UM+.  Be sure to check out our sweater offerings, with even more being added as it starts to get colder outside.

    Stay warm and stay stylish!

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  • Ursa Major+ at Big Deal Toronto

    With the last long weekend of the summer behind us, I have been looking back at some of the significant events that happened in the world of Ursa Major+. So many things have happened in the short time since the store has been up and running.  On July 28th, I participated in the 2nd Annual Big Deal Toronto clothing sale at 3030 Dundas St. W.  Created by the lovely Karen from Your Big Sister's Closet and Curvy Canadian, local plus-size bloggers opened up their closets for the Toronto 14+ community to shop.
    I had gone as a customer last year and was so thrilled to be included in this group of incredible and incredibly stylish women at this year's event.  It was an overwhelming success and all of us were really impressed with the amount of people that showed up to shop and socialize. 

    Happy customers shopping away!

    It was so great to hang out with Raegan of Sodapop Sweetheart, Erica of Erica Exposed, Lisa of With Heart and Jessica from Clothes and Shit

    Making a dumb face as always with my girl Sarah from Big Hips Red Lips

    A blurry picture that perfectly represents how big of a blur the day was.  Karen did such a wonderful job of organizing the Big Deal, so much love to her and her husband for putting this on and including me!

    This is what I wore that day, a thrifted dress (that was kinda long so I chopped it shorter) and belt from the 90's, shoes from Tabula Rasa, jewelry is Ursa Major+ of course!

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