Review: Alexia – Kmart’s plus size range

I don’t really need an excuse to head to Kmart – I love the homewares and exercise gear. But I would often look at the Alexia range and never find anything that I really liked.

So when I received an email saying the range had had a refresh and that more focus was being put on the plus size range by Kmart designers, I was intrigued as to what I would find.

So a trip out to Kmart in Porirua was needed.

The Alexia range has definitely had a refresh – I tried on a lot of pieces. Roughly 18 pieces in total, there were rotations and a bit of a change-room circus.

WHAT I TRIED ON

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Farmers plus size changing room round-up

Queen’s Birthday weekend has just passed here in New Zealand and everywhere was having a sale. I decided to pop down to Farmers, which had up to 50% off women’s clothing. Also being back in NZ for two months now I wanted to gauge what the clothes are like in Farmers, as I haven’t shopped there for around two years.

If you are not from NZ, Farmers is a main-stream department store. Similar to Myer. It has all the make-up counters as well as clothing and home wares.

I headed down to the Lambton Quay store to have a look around. I have to say, I’m not a huge fan of the Lambton store. Everything feels shoved in there without much thought or space to move around. Even more so in the plus size section. There is no signage saying the clothes there are plus size and it is a very small space, more like a corner. The stands are jam-packed with clothes and are ridiculously close together. But somehow I managed to squeeze through the stands and find a few pieces to try on.

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Grill Meats Beer photo review

A couple of weeks ago Man Piece and I met up with a couple of friends on Cuba St. We hadn’t really planned to go anywhere specific, so when we saw Grill Meats Beer, we decided to give it a go.

Turns out it was only the second day of operation. Since then its popularity has taken off. We walked passed a few days ago and it was packed. There was not a spare table in the place.

While we were dinning there, I snapped a few quick photos of the meal and surroundings.

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The beer kegs are clearly on display.

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Ducks are cool: Ezibuy Sara spray jacket

I was sitting in my hot, humid Sydney apartment a few months ago just cruising the internet when I got an email.

It was a marketing email from Ezibuy offering 20% off until midnight. I don’t even really know why I opened it. I hadn’t really opened an Ezibuy email in about 18 months, around the same time I had last looked at the website and what they were selling. I used to own a lot of clothes from Ezibuy, but when I moved to Australia, I guess I kind of just went off them.

So I decided to peruse the website to see what they had to offer in plus size brands. I was quite impressed. There were definitely a few things that I liked, but nothing that really shouted ‘BUY ME NOW’. Until I came across the Sara Spray Jacket in Black Duck.

I HAD TO HAVE IT.

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City Chic Pitt St store opens, my closet gets bigger

I have been waiting in anticipation for the City Chic Pitt St store to open and yesterday I ventured down there to have a look.

When Man Piece and I first moved to Sydney we decided an apartment in the central city would be the best position for both of us. He already had a job based in Pyrmont and I was yet to find a job, so being central meant that when I did, I could either walk or was close to the central transport hub that it would be relatively easy to get anywhere.

But the most glaring absence in the central city, for me, was a City Chic store. I’ve been quite lucky since discovering City Chic back in 2011 to the point that I have always had one fairly close to where I lived. In Wellington it is on Lambton Quay and when I was living in Auckland there was one at the Shore City mall. Unfortunately I believe this one has since closed.

So when I found myself living in an area that didn’t have one close by, I didn’t really know what to do. The easiest one for me to get to from where I live is Macquarie Park shopping centre and I have been there fairly regularly in the last year. It probably averaged about every three months that I would head there and do a massive binge shop. I also bought stuff online, but there is still that aspect of being able to try clothes on and see how they look before you fork out the money for them, which is important.

I am extremely happy that there is now a store only a five minute walk away from me. I will probably be heading down there regularly for a look and to try things on.

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The store itself is awesome. It is now City Chic’s flagship store in Sydney and one of the sales assistants mentioned that it will get every size in every style. It has specialised areas for the TDF jeans and lingerie, and the Styling Lounge is just so comfortable to try on clothes. It is so much more than a changing room. And, naturally, the staff are lovely.

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It isn’t actually located on Pitt St or in the main Westfield part of the mall, which originally took me ages to find it. But if you head down the escalators under Myer (so you see the Cupcake Bakery) and then start heading up to the street and away from the QVB, it is located just there on the right, near Stylz hairdressers.

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It is very different to any other CC store I have been in. See the horse head on the wall above? Yeah. And the use of brick throughout. It is just so cool.

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The Styling Lounge has awesome steel gates on the changing rooms with a decent thick curtain that pulls across as well, so you are assured privacy while changing. The above picture shows these gates and the few lampshades throughout the store. The quote on the mirror entering the lounge says, “Always dress like you’re going to see your worst enemy.”

After looking around the store and finding a few pieces to try on, I headed to the Styling Lounge.

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Time for some photos, yeah?

This is the Mirrored Unicorn Top. It is very similar to the Leopard and Tiger tops that I already have, so I knew it was going to fit well and be worn with a lot of my current wardrobe already. When it came to buy it, this was the question that I asked – is it too similar? But then I was like, it’s unicorns, of course I’m bloody buying it. So this is the first addition from my shopping trip. It is a bit longer than my other ones, so aside from pairing it with jeans, I’m also keen to try it with my wet-look leggings.

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The next top, I was so surprised with. It is the Wet Look Peplum Corset, which I had seen on the website and Facebook and thought it would be an awesome top to have, but with the weird sizing lately, I thought it might not fit, but I decided to try it anyway. When putting it on I found it is actually super stretchy and comfortable. Man Piece immediately agreed that it looked fab and that it should be added to my wardrobe.

I should add here that Man Piece came with me on this epic shopping session, taking all the photos for me and standing there for an hour while I tried everything on.

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This is the Pop! Print Tank and while I loved it as soon as I saw it online, once I tried it on, it wasn’t what I thought it was. It fit really well and so did the attached boob-tube, but the singlet itself is more of a cream colour than white and I (and Man Piece agreed) that it would possibly look old and stretched quite quickly. I would still be keen to find something similar to this, but in a slightly different material, or even a t-shirt.

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The colour of this dress is what drew me to it originally. It is the Zip Front Pleat Tunic in the hibiscus colour, which is actually more a bright pink than the orange showing here. I thought the dress might not fit properly, but as soon as I put it on, I was in love. It looked amazing and fits like a glove, accentuating my boobs but hiding my tummy. It looked great without the belt, but then one of the ladies said I should try it with the belt and it looked even better. Both of these items came home with me. I had been wanting some good belts for awhile, but I haven’t been able to find any that fit. This one did though, so, sold! I have a wedding to go to in the Hunter Valley at the end of the month – a more casual event, as it will likely be warm. I’m thinking this dress with the belt, a pair of heels and a statement necklace should be a goer.

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This is the Sexy Stripe Dress which is really stretchy and comfortable, but I wasn’t really feeling it. The reason is because the chest is actually lace-up, which is ideal for ladies with bigger busts that need a bit more lee-way, but I am still rather conservative about showing off my bra. So this one stayed in the store.

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Lastly, is the Disco Sister Dress. I love this style of dress since the gold sequined one came out a few months ago. It sits nicely around my bust and hides my tummy. It can be dressed up or down. I even bought the Aztec patterned one a wee while ago, but then returned it when Man Piece said he hated it. He does not like this one either, but I love it! So I’m in two minds about actually buying this one. Yesterday it was left in store, but I don’t think I can let it go that easily. The skirt is made of a nice soft leather-esque material, which I think is better than the sequins as I’m always scared they are just going to catch and all fall off. There is not a chance of that happening with this one.

So readers, should I buy the Disco Sister Dress? What are your thoughts on it?

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I also tried on a few bras and bought those because I was in desperate need of some new ones. Added bonus was that as a Glam member of the CC Nation, when I bought one, I got one free. I got the Kiki Contour Bra and the Poppy Contour Bra as well as a new black and skin-coloured strapless bras.

I even tried on the First Dance Dress, which I really really wanted, to only be bitterly disappointed that it didn’t fit. I thought this might happen as the tighter fitting dresses often don’t fit me. (I didn’t actually bawl my eyes out in the changing rooms, but I did make some really awful faces in the photos Man Piece was taking of me.)

In conclusion, I love everything about this store – the location, the fitout, the music playing, the layout, the styling lounge and the staff. I even found that the sizing of the clothes has gotten better again. I have found for a few months now that the sizing and fit of things had been slightly off, but it seems to have gone back to what it was. I look forward to making this my regular City Chic store and I expect I will get to know the ladies in there.

I apologise for the epic post and the dubious photos, which were taken on my phone of which the camera is rather shit, to say the least.

The wait for the new store to open was definitely worth it. If you are around the city, it is definitely worth going to check it out.