Blog / ursa major plus

  • #WomanCrushWednesday - @zerostyleblog

    Photo via Zero Style Blog
    I am extra excited about my #WomanCrushWednesday pick this week. Erin Thomas of Zero Style Blogand Re/Dress was one of the first women that I came across when I first joined the online plus size community and her badass vibes and killer style has continued to grow and inspire tons of babes. Everyone in the Fat Girl Food Squad is super pumped that she’ll be participating in our Plus Size Pop Up Sale this Sunday (sadly not in person), we’ll be selling a bunch of items from her personal closet!
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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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  • Loving Vintage With...Emmi of Roosa's Closet

     I am so excited to introduce a new series on the blog that I've been calling "Loving Vintage With...", where I will be talking with humans from all over the world about vintage clothing and what it means to them.  Stockholm blogger/eco makeup lover Emmi of Roosa's Closet is a master of consistently dispelling the myth that thrifting previously worn clothes is dirty and looks more shabby than chic.  Her wardrobe is sleek, sophisticated and curated with such care that it's impossible to decipher which pieces are old or new.  She was kind enough to chat with me about her style and how she incorporates vintage into her incredible wardrobe.  
    Where do you like to shop for vintage?
    In Sweden we have a few nice charity shops like Myrorna and Stadsmissionen where you can find nice things for less money. We also have more established vintage boutiques like Beyond Retro, Judit’s ect for handpicked pieces. There is a lot of different vintage and second hand stores in Stockholm when you start to look for them!
    What makes you pick out a piece and want to buy it?
    Usually I don’t have anything particular in mind when I shop vintage pieces, I find it easier that way to have an open mind. Often I find some pieces and use them in totally other purposes than they are meant to, scarves are really nice half-turbans for example. Different, special pieces often get my attention!
    What is your fave vintage item in your closet?
    It has to be my cream colored blazer from the early 90s. I got it a few years ago and it’s just perfect! Another item I love is my sister's vintage bag she found at a flea market.
    Do you have a dream piece that you would die if you found?
    Oh yes, a black vintage Chanel 2.55!
    Who are your “vintage” style icons?
    I like Elsa Billgren, Ava Sfez, Veronica Lake, Marilyn Monroe (especially the more “casual” pictures of her) for their style and beauty.
    If you could bring any trend back from the past, what would it be?
    I would love to see more hats on both men and women!
    What vintage look would we NEVER see you wearing?
    I’m more into classic, simple, ladylike pieces so I have a hard time picturing myself in the hysterical 80s blazers, makeup and hair… But never say never!
    All photos courtesy of Emmi Rantakallio
    Since music has such a huge influence on my style, I've been asking for recommendations as part of this series.  Emmi suggested that I check out Mountain Bird, Jamie Woon and Bonobo so I'm going to finish this off with one of her picks.  Thanks again to Emmi for taking the time to talk with me, please check out her beautiful blog and you can find her on Instagram here.
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  • Sorry, Not Sorry - Fat Activism Through Art

    January 30 marked my debut as a visual artist, at the opening of the Fat in Public art show put on by the Fat Girl Food Squad.  My partner is an incredible artist and together we like to spend a lot of our time being creative, always with multiple projects on the go.  It wasn't until the announcement of this event that I really felt a desire to show my stuff, almost immediately sitting down to sketch and work out ideas.  The plan was to create a small installation that responded to the common notion that fat bodies are "gross" and should be covered in flattering clothes and the constant messages that plus-size women have to wear clothing cut to make the body seem taller, slimmer.  Originally I was going to construct a dress made completely out of chain and have it pinned to the wall.  I wasn't totally set on that idea, as I had envisioned something a little more 3-D and a 4 am brainstorming sesh with Ron ended with me shouting "A-HA! Clear vinyl!" louder than my neighbours would have liked (probably).
    My first sketches for the piece I ended up calling "Sorry, Not Sorry".
    The first attempt at the underwear, I had never worked with clear vinyl before and it was quite the challenge.  I am being too nice by putting it that way, it was a nightmare!  In order to achieve the 3-Dness I added steel wire "boning" so the garments could be molded into the desired shape and stay that way.
    Putting the pattern pieces together for the bustier.
    This was the night before the opening, Ron is helping me put together the installation while 2186 Dundas Gallery owner Andrew Williamson takes pictures.  (Photo courtesy of show co-curator Megan Stuhlberg's instagram @meganstulberg).
    Carefully joining all of the pieces with chain (Photo courtesy of 2186 Dundas' instagram @2186dundas)
    Finally the outfit was assembled and ready to be hung!
    I was so honoured that "Sorry, Not Sorry" was hung front and center in the gallery window for all to see.  The opening was a great success for the Fat Girl Food Squad and everyone involved, getting crazy press from the CBC and Mashable (check out the awesome article!)
    Ron submitted beautiful new paintings, the set was titled "Marriage Barrage" - I wish we could keep them all!  More of his work here.
    So much gratitude for all of my lovely friends to came out on the chilliest, snowiest night for the show.
    And a goofy shot from opening night.  Thanks so much to the Fat Girl Food Squad for including my piece and putting on such an important show for the body positivity movement.  It really opened a new dialogue in Toronto and it was so great to see all types of bodies at the show, responding to the art work about fat identity and visibility.
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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.


    Sam Abel:
    Sookie Bardwell
    Ronald Caddigan:
    Derrick Chow:
    Amanda Drodge
    Elana Delaney:
    Kristina Groeger:
    Melody Krauze:
    Jessica Levy:
    Amarina Norris:
    Megan Stulberg:
    Yuli Scheidt:
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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 (!

    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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  • Ursa Major+ In Conversation with the Fat Girl Food Squad

    Back in the summer, the radical babes from The Fat Girl Food Squad featured me as one of a group of bloggers that they look up to, writing the kindest words ever.  It was a really big deal to feel some mutual love from these incredible women (and a couple of guys) who are blazing trails in the foodie world and bringing fresh voices to body activism.  Even though they talk a lot about food, they never cease to surprise with awesome feminist posts (like this one), open dialogues about bodies and food, and other projects like their upcoming art show Fat in Public.   
    Naturally, I was over the moon when they approached me about having a chat with their amazing fashion writer Leigh as part of their "In Conversation With" video series.  I was pretty nervous but a hearty cup of perfectly executed coffee cut the stress and invoked some much-needed chattiness.  Here is the video, and be sure to check out the Fat Girl Food Squad in all their awesomeness!
    xoxo Amarina
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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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  • Ursa Major + Jewelry on the Runway

    A while back, my dear friend Imke designed and made a beautiful collection of lingerie and leather jackets for Arts & Fashion Week Toronto.  Her line was incredible and the fact that she sewed everything herself speaks to her talents (and possibly her craziness!).  She needed some jewelry for the runway show and I created a mini collection for her that I continued and expanded for this store because I loved it so much.  Here are some of the images from the post-runway shoot, most of the jewelry you can find in the shop and you can check out the uber-amazing Imke here.
    Shop the Ursa Major+ Jewelry Collection here, or clicking on the image will take you to that particular piece of jewelry.  As always, I recognize that all bodies are beautiful and diverse, so size customization is available for most pieces at no extra charge. 
    Model is wearing the UM+ Horn of Plenty Earrings
    Model wears UM+ 90s Floral Earrings
    Model wears the UM+ Fly Girl Studs
    Model wears the UM+ Dark Horn Earrings (currently out of stock)
    Model wears the UM+ Foresight Necklace
    Model wears the UM+ Horn of Plenty Earrings
    Model wears the UM+ Fly Girl Studs
    Model wears the UM+ Foresight Necklace
    Model wears the UM+ Dark Horn Earrings (currently out of stock)
    Model wears UM+ Survivor Earrings
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