When I first stopped living in denial and finally came to accept my curves, I started looking for local plus size clothing designers, and a name that always stuck out was undoubtedly Isabel De Villiers. Meg, from Mind The Curves was one of the first bloggers who I recognized to showcase the brand’s offering on her blog and since then, it has been a dream to work with Isabel De Villiers and one day show off her beautiful designs.
Isabel De Villiers is a fashion label based in Cape Town that caters for women of different ages, shapes and sizes. The brand aims to pay special attention to their plus size range with sizes that range from 32 to 48. Unlike most, all of their garments are produced in small quantities, to ensure exclusivity and quality of each garment.
The brand’s vision aligns with that of my own #BMKBucketList challenge, so when they agreed to join in on this month’s challenge, I was elated! In fact, I sent several screamy voice notes in celebration of wearing my own Isabel De Villiers dress.
But then the dress arrived.
Saying that your challenge is to wear a bold print and actually wearing one, in front of a camera, is two entirely different things. And to be very honest, this blog post is long overdue because I had some of my own anxiety to overcome.
But here are the photos of an absolutely beautiful bold, monochromatic Drape Dress designed by the one and only Isabel De Villiers. The cut is available on their site over here.
Growing up a little chubbier than most, it was only natural to shy away from bold and bright clothes. I distinctively remember a time of my life (I was about 12) when I would only wear shirts that were about 2 sizes too big, to just cover up any bulges and well, my tummy and bum. I used to like to claim that I was a tom-boy, but I wasn’t! I love girly things, makeup, the look of dresses and skirts but I just didn’t know that it was okay to have thighs or a tummy and still embrace those sorts of clothes. It was only during my pregnancy that I started wearing sandals and maxi dresses (because that’s all that fitted) and since then, I have loved every bit of wearing dresses. But long ones!
So here I am, in a bold print that can’t be missed… a dress that is cut ABOVE my knee and you know what? I feel pretty darn beautiful.
Leading up to getting these photos back from my very talented cousin and photographer, Charne’ (from Catagraphy), I was SO nervous. I very badly wanted to embody a confident woman who knew what she was doing, in a challenge that I thought up late one night. But was so scared that it didn’t translate in the photos.
I have never done a photoshoot, other than a few family photos taken at a studio. But something like this, where I had to let the clothes do the talking; it was an entirely new challenge of its own. So here’s a shout out to Catagraphy, who came prepared, who managed to make me laugh through the awkwardness of standing in a forest, overly dressed for the occasion and still managed to capture something special.
When I received the photos back, I had a little lump in my throat because for the first time, I looked at photos of myself and didn’t pick on a single thing. To this day, I struggle to look through my own wedding photos without hating on myself, picking out how chunky my arms were, or how round everything looked – it really ruined the “felt like a princess” that you’re meant to feel when getting married, and has certainly made me conscious of having photos taken.
But these photos are so different, I am proud of the person that I am becoming. The person who has learnt to be kinder to herself, to find the things she loves instead of focusing on the things that only she notices and tends to hate. And then a very special thanks to Isabel De Villiers who really threw me out there, with the boldest print! Thank you for believing in this project, for sponsoring me this beautiful dress that really shows off the natural shape of a woman and all her beautiful curves. Thank you for gifting me this; the first time that I have photographic evidence of me feeling fearless, limitless… beautiful!
Charné: Catagraphy [ Facebook | Call: 079-660-6595 ]
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