Our first bold and beautiful lady in the spotlight this week is the lovely Alyson, who her fans may know better as @girlgerm. With over 4000 followers on Instagram, this head-turning red head embraces her curves with flair and is a passionate advocate for plus-sized fashion with her own twist. She challenges herself and others; slashing the rules of what she ‘should avoid’ with her own personal hastag; #fatsshouldntwear. She sites her inspiration as all of the beautiful ladies on Instagram who give a big middle finger to society when it comes to style. All those who wear what they like and don't play by the "fat girl fashion rules".
‘My favourite shape! Curve enhancing top and a beautiful swing skirt. I love this look because it sums me up and the accessories are fun to add.’
The road to finding her sense of style wasn’t easy. As a teenager Alyson describes herself as ‘a wannabe punk, goth kid at 14 or so that grew into a terrible effort on the rockabilly look. I was still trying to find my look in a world that told me my body was wrong and I slipped into the shadows mostly. As a teen I didn't have the luxury of walking into a high street store and walking out in what the mannequin wore’. A lack of fashion choices for curves forced her to put effort into developing her personal look and she chose to rebel against fashion trends - ‘I had to seek out body positive brands that fitted my curves and represented who I was.’
‘This yellow skirt paired with a cropped blouse summed up summer for me and a little glimpse of tummy felt like such a daring act.’
It was a move to Liverpool for her university studies that helped Alyson come into her own or in her words - ‘lit a fire under my butt’. Now in her early thirties she admits that her ‘style took knocks every time my body confidence did but now I’m confident and more willing to try new things and do what I want. I had plenty of style hiccups along the way but now I know what I want and how to present it on myself. I’m only now seeing my body represented with fashion and that’s solely online within the amazing body positive, fashion subculture. My style is for no-one but myself and that's the best evolution you can have.’
Alyson’s favourite look to enhance her figure is a classic swing style skirt and a fitted top, ‘I feel wonderful in their fullness; they make me want to twirl, either on my own or by any leading man who wishes to!’ Challenging ‘fat fashion rules’ she states ‘I'm here for stripes, bold patterns and crop tops.’ She embraces bold colour palettes, reflecting how she feels each day; citing green as her favourite choice against her colouring. She avoids browns and greys as they are ‘just not fun enough!’ To add the final touch to her outfits she chooses to ignore the advice of Coco Chanel and adds as many accessories as she wants! ‘Headpieces, bangles and earrings. Yes, yes, yes. Accessories are meant to be fun and can perk up a look and make it YOU rather than EVERYONE ELSE’.
Mixing high street with vintage style clothing, her approach to shopping is ‘If I love something and it’s in my size I don't care if it's Lindy Bop or Marks & Spencer’s. Hell Bunny or Dorothy Perkins. It's mine!’ She works with being petite and smartly avoids full maxi dresses.
‘I wore this to a women’s week panel - it gave me a boost to speak in public (a mimosa also helped).’
Alyson’s favourite season is Autumn, ‘I'm a September baby and a redhead. It's our season. Hosiery, capes and hats. Wonderful. The layers and colours that creep out on crisp autumn days are the most fun. I'm partial to a summer dress too, but autumn is just lovely.’
But if there’s one REALLY important fashion rule I have learned from Alyson - it’s not just what’s on the surface of your outfit. Good underwear can really make your confidence levels soar! Alyson is partial to suspender belts and stockings for that ‘femme fatale feeling at any moment….even if you are just popping into Tesco for kitchen roll!’ It’s these carefully planned details that make her outfits complete from top to toe, and deeply personal to her.
‘This black and white combination was an NYC look that I adored. The man I spent it with is no longer in my heart but that outfit is a long time love! I don't get sad when I look at it because it made me feel so amazing.’
It’s been a pleasure to welcome Alyson into my store and to talk to her about her style! Her final advice to all women, regardless of shape, size or age is this - ‘Wear what you want. This is your one life and one chance. Don't pass up that bikini on the beach and the chance for the sun to kiss your skin because your body doesn’t fit standards set by someone else. Don't avoid that colour because some comment knocked your confidence. Ladies don't waste a lifetime dressing in how fashion tells you. Have your own style and rock it’.