I broke every plus-size fashion 'rule' and this is what happened

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Stylist’s beauty editor Lucy Partington swapped her black skinny jeans for prints, white jeans and block colour…

I feel I should start this feature by saying that the idea of wearing something other than black skinny jeans fills me with dread.

The reason behind my love of wearing almost the same clothes every day is because I’ve always struggled to get dressed. 

Not literally, but I’m plus-size, so as much as I wish I could, I can’t just go to my local high street and splash the cash on a whole new wardrobe.

I also have a real fear of standing out more than I think I already do, so bright colours, short dresses, or anything that might make people stare at me is a complete no-no. Black skinny jeans means I blend in. And that’s what I like.

It doesn’t help that being challenged to break plus-size fashion rules isn’t about stepping out of my comfort zone. Instead, it’s about questioning the hard, fast fashion laws of what plus-size women can and can’t wear.

Here’s what happened when I threw caution to the wind and broke the so-called rules for a week…

  • 1. 'Don't wear waist belts'

    To be honest, this printed pink dress from Simply Be was enough for me to feel like I’d broken my own self-imposed rules. 

    But this is actually the item I’ve worn the most. I teamed it with a pair of white trainers (because I can’t push it too far) and a red lip – which is a novelty for me, too. 

    I first wore this outfit when I went to my friend’s birthday dinner, and I loved it. 

    It was a boiling hot day and who knew that wearing a dress would be cooler on the Tube? A true revelation. 

    Getting my legs out wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be, and although the belt wasn’t the best idea when the restaurant I went to is known for its desserts, every day is a school day, right?

  • 2. 'Don't wear bold prints'

    At first glance, this dress is totally not me. I love some leopard print, but neon zebra? That’s a whole different game. 

    The sleeves and length of the dress helped, as did the fact I paired it with white trainers again (if nothing else, you’ll sense the running theme…). 

    I felt self-conscious at first, but I soon got used to the dress. Then again, I did wear it to the pub on a Saturday afternoon, so the gin and tonics I was knocking back probably helped. 

    Wearing it also helped cement a new love of dresses, which I’m going to take as a minor victory.

  • 3. 'Don't wear block colours'

    If there’s one trend I’m obsessed with, it’s this one.

    Colour block suits are my favourite thing – I saw someone on the Tube recently wearing a blue number with a pair of trainers and she looked so chic. 

    The trousers in this Simply Be set were comfy and the blazer made me feel super-smart, but (again) teaming it with trainers gave me that ‘effortlessly cool’ vibe I long for. 

    I wore the two-piece to my niece’s first birthday. In hindsight, that was probably the wrong occasion, but you live and learn.

  • 4. 'Don't wear white'

    The outfit that’s most in my comfort zone, but also the one I felt most insecure about. 

    I’m not sure why. Maybe it was the constant fear of spilling something down a bright white pair of jeans, or pairing them with a bright pink top I wasn’t 100% keen on. Either way, I didn’t stay in this look that long. 

    Having a midday outfit change made me feel a bit like Beyoncé, which is never a bad thing.

  • 5. 'Don't wear stripes'

    One of the ‘rules’ I’ve always been forced to follow is that fat people can’t wear stripes – but why not? 

    I liked everything about this. Is there anything more comfortable to wear than a jumpsuit? I don’t think so. 

    I know the whole going-to-the-loo thing is a nightmare, but this look definitely ticked most of my boxes. 

    I received a lot of compliments from my friends and loved that it can be dressed up or dressed down.

Sooner or later there comes a time in life when we all have to step out of our comfort zones. When I agreed to this challenge I was petrified.

The last time I wore something other than jeans was at a friend’s wedding last summer – and that was only because denim isn’t exactly suitable attire, it also helped that I only really knew about four people there.

Breaking the so-called rules around what plus-size women should and shouldn’t wear forced me to embrace clothes I would never have usually considered.

I’ve learnt that there’s more to life than black skinny jeans and nothing bad will happen when I dare to experiment - in fact, I actually enjoyed it.

Make your own style rules and build a wardrobe that celebrates your body with Simply Be