A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being invited into Taking Shape in Kingston for a style session and cheeky shopping spree.

“Taking Shape is a plus size fashion brand. We make clothes in sizes 14-26. We love inspiring women and making them feel good in what they wear.

We started in Australia, so all our clothes have a little bit of Aussie attitude: we’re not afraid of colour, bold prints or getting dressed up.

Everything we do is about our customers, and our approach starts in stores. Our amazing teams are all trained advisors and fashion stylists. Not only do they know fashion, they also know how to make shopping fun. So if you haven’t already, come in and experience our exceptional service.

With three fashion brands to our name plus Active wear and Accessories, you’ll never be stuck for choice. Shopping with Taking Shape is like stepping inside three shops under one roof, where you’ll find everything from work wear to weekend casuals, gym gear to evening dresses, all created by dedicated design teams.

With so much choice and fast, free next day shipping to mainland UK (for a limited time only), we make shopping online just as much fun as visiting our stores.

We want your wardrobe to be as individual as you are.

Unlike most high street brands, we understand that women who wear the same size can have very different body shapes. That’s why our specialist designers only create clothes with curvy figures in mind.

Our clothes are made to last. Yes, we take notice of the trends, but it’s the details, like the flattering cut, breathable fabric and versatile styles, that mean our designs can be worn again and again.”

I must admit that I was a little dubious about visiting the store. I could tell that Taking Shape were a really fun funky brand, but I feared that the clothes would be a little frumpy on me and not to my taste whatsoever.

When I arrived in the Kingston store the lovely manager greeted me enthusiastically and gave me a quick tour of the different ranges, pointing out some pieces that she suspected I might love. She then let me peruse and pick out some items to try on. I really started to worry at that point, as I didn’t see much that I liked and I think I selected about four items initally.
Whilst I was in the changing room trying them on she brought a few more pieces in, and slowly but surely I realised that I had been way too dismissive of the items initially, and I was starting to have more items on my ‘yes’ and ‘maybe’ pile than on the ‘no’ pile. I did add a belt to almost everything to give it the shape that I like and make it my own, but that’s no bad thing! I must have tried on about 20 items including trousers, jewellery, shoes and their famous layering items. These items help women who are conscious about certain parts of their body cover up a little more with longer under skirts or tops. It’s quite a boho look and really clever how all the items fit together.

I managed to whittle my items down to my favourite nine, and from that I picked six:

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The Tribal Dress in a size medium shown with and without a belt for comparison. Sadly the orange one is the only colourway left online, but it looks like they often bring out new patterns and colourways. These dresses have been lived in recently – I even have one on now! I wore them to death on my recent holiday and I just love how they are ‘Goldilocks’ dresses. Loose enough to be casual but tight enough not to blow up, a low enough neckline to flatter but high enough to be modest, long enough to cover my knees but short enough to wear with leggings. And best of all – they don’t need ironing!

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This Rose Etching dress in a size 16 really shocked me. I didn’t expect it to be so soft, or so form fitting, but it was amazing! I wore it to a wedding recently and couldn’t help but add a belt, but it doesn’t need one.

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I was the least sure about this Chinoiserie Dress in a size 16, as the tie at the side sat on my bust instead of under it, no matter how I sized up. However, once I tucked it in and added a (shock horror) belt, it looked completely different. I really love how it looks like it has a crossover skirt, but it’s a faux slit and it has a slip underneath. The pattern is really beautiful, almost oriental.

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As maxi dresses aren’t usually my thing, the Hibiscus Maxi was also another big surprise. As the lovely sales assistant pointed out, the positioning of the flowers helps create a slimming silhouette – and my problem with maxi dresses is that they often add extra bulk. This is also a medium, and it’s a perfect fit with the belt.

Just because I am always asked, I wanted to show off a quick snapshot of what I had on under my clothes when these photos were taken…
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An Ewa Michalak bra that is awaiting a review, Maidenform shapewear shorts and some Primark high heels. All of the belts worn in this post are extremely old, but I usually favour eBay for ‘elasticated waist belts’.

These are the three items that I chose to leave behind that day:

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Santino Maxi size medium as I preferred the other maxi.

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Enchanted Lands Dress in a medium as I thought that the hanky hem looked a little odd on me.

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Silver Bloom Dress in a 14 as it wasn’t quite as flattering as I would have liked.

Overall I was seriously impressed with my visit. The staff members were all so lovely, honest and helpful, and seeing them interact with regular and new customers that were also in the store proved that it was all genuine. The clothes are lovely, but trying them on is crucial, or at least seeing how others have styled them. The quality of the clothing is great and the price ranges mean that there is something for everyone.

To find your nearest Taking Shape store click here.

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