I don't know about you, but there was a time when I loathed clothes shopping that wasn't online. Going clothes shopping on the high street felt like self inflicted torture, dragging my butt into shop after shop finding only a couple that sold plus size clothes that were usually ugly and dowdy and ending up with bags full of accessories and jewellery because hey, you don't need to be the right clothes size to fit into most of that stuff right?
Well not anymore. One of my favourite things is now to head into my local city of Leicester for a good shopping session, and the first stop on my list? Simply Be! We're lucky enough to have a beautiful big store in the Highcross Shopping Centre and I cannot express how much I love it. As a plus size woman, being able to walk into a store and know that everything in there is available in a size that will fit you is just an amazing feeling and one that we are far too seldom given.
I was so pleased a few weeks ago to receive an email from Simply Be HQ asking me if I'd like to review the Leicester store, naturally I've been many times before but I just couldn't wait to have a little styling session and speak to the lovely ladies and gents that work in the store.
The store itself is big, bright and airy and is divided into two halves as it also stocks Jacamo for the man in your life! I really like the layout of the store, it's usually split into sections showcasing new in items or specific trends or seasonal items and then has swimwear, lingerie, accessories and footwear at the back of the store near the (amazing) changing rooms.
The selection of items is always great and covers all bases - casual, basics like plain tops, jeans and leggings, going out pieces, some formal wear... you're pretty much set for any occasion. And if there's something you're looking for and can't find it just ask one of the lovely members of staff! From my experience they're always really friendly and helpful and have excellent knowledge of the in store and online items so even if what you need isn't in store they'll be able to guide you to it online - there are even in store computers so you can place orders then and there!
When I arrived I met Sophia one of the store's stylists and she was just a doll. We started off having a wander around the store and chatting about the kind of things I was looking for - I'm off to a friend's wedding and on holiday soon so we decided to concentrate on wedding guest outfits and pieces that would be great for a sunny trip abroad.
Sophia walked me around showing me everything in store, picking out pieces in the colour palettes I said I liked and suggesting lots of lovely pieces including items I never would have picked myself - I find it all too easy to get stuck in my ways with what shapes and colours I go for so it was lovely to get someone else's perspective on what might suit me!
We headed into the changing rooms with a mountain of things for me to try on and got to work, Sophia stayed with my and I came out in each outfit - it's so useful having another set of eyes there to see from a different perspective so they can let you know how the fit is at the back or how the length suits you.
The changing rooms at Simply Be (as I've mentioned before in other posts) are my favourite - generously sizes and with a big mirror and a bench. There's also the 'magic mirror' but I won't spoil the surprise as to what that is, you'll have to take a trip to your nearest store and find out! There's always someone there ready to grab you another size or advise you on fit, not just if you're having a styling session, and there's even a till in there so if you try something on and decide to make a purchase you can do it then and there rather than have to join the queue in the main store - genius!
Here are a few of my favourite pieces that I tried on...
As you can see they had lots of the new season items in stock which I was very excited about! They have excellent stock rotation too - even on occasions when I've been in store twice in as many weeks there has always been new items I'd not seen the time before.
Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to snap photos in everything I tried on, but I was pleased to find some new styles that I never would have thought suit me that actually do like shirt dresses and long blouses over leggings. I came home with three lovely new pieces to add to my wardrobe including the amazing tropical kimono jacket you can see above and two other pieces that I'll be featuring in outfit posts very soon!
There are now nine Simply Be stores across the UK (with a tenth London store opening soon!) in Bury, Derby, Doncaster, Gateshead, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester and Teeside - most stores offer a stylist service and bra fitting service too!
If you're near a store I highly recommend you head in, every time I do I come out feeling fabulous and it really has changed my mind about high street shopping having these stores around to shop in. Why not try it yourself, then maybe you'll start loving the high street too!
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