Blog / plus size vintage

  • Back In Business and Stepping It Up

    The shop is up and running again! I've scoured racks upon racks for the best plus size vintage and I found so many great pieces that I decided extend our size range to include folks who might describe themselves as "inbetweenies" - now you can shop UM+ from sizes 10 and up. As always, I don't have an upper size limit and am constantly on the look out for vintage of all plus sizes. 

    Additionally, I'd like to announce a new initiative that's happening in the shop. For every item that is sold, I'm going to donate $2 to an organization that is working to support humans and the environment in various issues. Every month I'll change the recipient for a broader reach with donations. Throughout March, I will be giving $2/item to Trans Lifeline, and in April I'm looking at you, ACLU

    To be clear, I will be giving $2 to Trans Lifeline for every item that is purchased in my store. If you shop with us and buy four things, they will receive $8 from your purchase. I welcome suggestions of organizations that you would like to see your money go towards, please feel free to comment on this post or send me an email - amarina@ursamajor.ca.

    xoxo Amarina

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  • What Happened To The Store? A Personal Update

     Teenage me - setting sporty goth trends in the 90s and feeling dramatic about everything

    Fifteen has always been my lucky number. I played softball for a while and I’d fight harder picking my jersey number than any effort I would on the field. I can’t remember where this silly allegiance originated but I feel better when I open a fortune cookie and fifteen is among the lucky numbers listed. All of this is to say that I had high expectations for 2015, even though I only had a vague idea of how I wanted it to go down.

    January didn’t start off in a great way. Seasonal sadness and some other things stuck in a little deeper than years passed. By February, my partner Ron and I nabbed some really cheap flights to Vegas on a whim and we took off on a dreamy three week road trip through Nevada, Arizona, and California. It was a pivotal self-care decision for us. When we got back we decided to regroup and address what we’d like the next couple of years to look like and began getting our shit together so we could more easily work toward our goals and to be able to say yes to spontaneity.

    Dreams coming true - finally got to visit Salvation Mountain

    Dreams coming true - finally got to visit Salvation Mountain!

    The first thing Ron and I did was go to the bank and have a financial adviser answer our questions about what adults do with money and how to save a bit every once in awhile. We’ve been working with a budget and it feels pretty great to know exactly where everything is going.

    One of the biggest ideas we agreed on was to give ourselves the ability to say YES to change and adventure. To pick up and leave for a while if we wanted to. When we used to entertain future plan ideas it would always come down to worrying about what we’re going to do with all our crap and the conversation would fade out. We had a lot of stuff.

    Giving our terrible microwave an appropriate goodbye

    It started with our television, then clothes, the microwave, and some major furniture. We traded stuff for consumables like whiskey and candles, and donated the rest. Cutting my wardrobe in half seemed impossible at first - I’ve been overly attached to clothes since my teens because it was so hard to find what I liked to wear in size fat. It began feeling easy after the initial bags went out and now that winter is pretty much gone I’ve started cutting what I have in half again. I’ve been looking forward to it!

     Sometimes it's hard to believe that I put out this magazine - a few shots from Issue One

    When trying to figure out what I wanted the next couple of years to look like, one of the most dominant feelings was that the time was right for me to start working towards a life long dream - to start a fashion magazine that celebrates everyone. All bodies, all genders, all backgrounds. I had been loosely chatting with a like-minded Instagram bud about it and together we decided to start BUSH MagazineWe launched a successful Kickstarter campaign last summer and Issue One was released in the fall! We were so lucky to have the most amazing contributors and fashion queen Mo Handahu agreed to be on the cover, in a dress she made herself.

    Now I'm working on the next issue solo and it's going to be even better than the first. In fact, if you'd like to pitch a written piece, art piece, or a lookbook, send me an email (amarina@ursamajor.ca), I'd love to hear from you!

    Feeling cute on our wedding day!

    In September my partner Ron and I decided to get married. It was a super small affair, but a totally wild day spent at one of our most favourite places - Jungle Cat World. A small animal sanctuary just outside of Toronto, we took a group of our friends and fam to meet a lemur, a fennec fox, a serval cat, and some wolf puppies. Ron and I got to have a private tiger interaction after the ceremony and it was the most surreal of surreal moments. Afterwards, we had a huge bonfire in our favourite park in Toronto surrounded by the best people we know and our buds surprised us with a fireworks show. It was absolute magic.

    I wore a vintage, hand-embroidered muslin house dress that I got from Black Lodge Vintage on Etsy, and I added some straps to give it a little extra shape. I've had these thrifted white cowboy boots forever and I thought they were cute and perfectly comfy for the day. My bouquet was made by my mom, with flowers from her garden and eucalyptus, because it's my fave. My dear friend Yuli Scheidt agreed to take photos and unsurprisingly, she did a beautiful job of capturing the day.

           

    A fresh start for Ursa Major+

    After the wedding I started picking vintage again, in preparation to re-open the Ursa Major+ shop (I also started writing this post). That's when something super unexpected happened. Ron was offered a great job that would take us to Memphis, Tennessee for two years and who knows where beyond that. It was an opportunity and an adventure that we couldn't say no to, and we didn't. Ursa Major+ had to be put on hold, again, while we prepped for the big move. We've been writing about our transition over on our blog, Favourite Human. If you're curious about what I'm up to personally, please check it out.

     A geographically accurate illustration of our big move by my husband Ron

    So here I am, finally getting back to what I love so much: selling clothes and interacting with fat babes. I hope I find some great new places for vintage in Tennessee, if you know of any in the Memphis area, hook a girl up!

    2015 was so much more than I ever could have predicted and 2016 has already gotten off to a pretty wild start. I've already found some of the best plus-size vintage to date and I'm getting it all ready for the store to open up again as soon as possible. Follow me on Instagram or Facebook for updates, I can't wait to dive back into this!

    xoxo Amarina

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  • It's SALE Time!

    There's just one more day left of the sale and a lot of really great stuff is still available! Making room for some great Fall pieces as well as, dare I say, some Ursa Major+ originals!  
    Here are some of my favourite items up for grabs as of right now, grab them while you can.
    Throw a denim jacket on and this beauty will take you straight into Fall - $31.50 
    This cozy camo long sleeve is only $10!!
    Pair these adorable shorts with tights and boots and stomp your way through September - $19.50
    This is the kind of blazer that puts a smile on your face just looking at it! $20
    And for the 90's enthusiasts, a classic Surf Style windbreaker - $27
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  • 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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  • #WomanCrushWednesday - Jessamyn Stanley (@mynameisjessamyn)

    I would never describe myself as passionate about fitness, although I get plenty of exercise, drink a lot of water, and most of that other stuff we’re supposed to do for our bodies. I’ve tried it all, the gym, team sports, ballet, etc., and over time the only thing that has really stuck is yoga. Here in Toronto fat babes like me can do Yoga for Round Bodies (!!!) but as a living room yoga practitioner, I really draw inspiration from @mynameisjessamyn’s Instagram account. She takes the most beautiful self-portraits while in pose and writes openly about her dedication to daily yoga and her body. It’s so refereshing (and necessary) to see size diversity in fitness — Jessamyn is an inspiration to many and my pick for #WomanCrushWednesday this week.
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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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  • #WomanCrushWednesday - @virgietovar

    Photo via @virgietovar

     

    My pick for #WomanCrushWednesday this week is activist, body image expert, and author Virgie Tovar. She has been one of the driving forces in fat and body activism, giving lectures on self-image and editing the book  HotandHeavyFierceFatGirlsonLifeLoveandFashion. Her new hashtag project #LoseHateNotWeight follows in the footsteps of Tess Munster’s #EffYourBeautyStandards and Honorine Curves’ #HonorMyCurves movements, focusing on loving and respecting your beautiful self.  

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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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