I knew the high street fails to adequately cater to those over a size 18, but it wasn't till I started looking for pieces for this latest installment of We Try Before You Buy that I truly appreciated how difficult it can be to find flattering, trend-led pieces in any size. Ana Carbajal, a size-18 model from Mexico, agreed to come to Who What Wear's London offices to try five spring trends I had ready for her. After trawling through almost every high-street website, I assembled a depressingly lean rail of options—many stores' curve collections are comprised of tent-like dresses and trousers that fall awkwardly just over the knee.
"I'm the same size as my mum, but that doesn't mean I want to wear the same clothes," Ana tells me. "I want to wear the same things as my friends. I prefer it when brands have their main collections in all sizes rather than when they have a separate plus-size collection that's different from the main lines." She says H&M, ASOS and SimplyBe are her three favourites for this, while Levi's is her go-to place for denim. And after trying the yellow coat from M&S (which is available in sizes up to 22), Ana will certainly be adding Marks onto that list. Keep scrolling to see the five trends she's really into, and shop the key pieces.
The verdict: Red is still one of the strongest colours of the season, and one of our favourite ways to style it is head to toe. Ana said dresses are the hardest thing to shop for, as it's hard to find a cut that's right and flattering around the chest. However, she found this so comfortable that she said it almost felt like she wasn't wearing anything, and the cutouts along the sleeve are an extra-special detail. The best thing about the dress is that you could wear it every day with trainers or sandals, or add statement earrings to turn it into a winning wedding look.
The verdict: Ana's thoughts on this outfit were I NEED THIS COAT. Yes, she was that excited about it—this is one item she is definitely trying after buying. It's a lightweight, expensive-looking fabric and is the perfect way to give your jeans and white T-shirt a 2018 update.
The verdict: Ana really loved the square neckline on this M&S top (this is a key mircrotrend for the season). The nipped-in waist and flared bottom of the top are really flattering, and looks amazing with a classic skinny jean.
Style Notes: This outfit is perfect for summer weekends—Ana said she felt really comfortable in this vintage-style pale-lemon silky slip dress from ASOS. The midi-length hem with a lace trim is a really flattering length, and goes perfectly with a classic khaki shacket.
Style Notes: On the hanger, this dress looks like it'll be really revealing; however, the plunging neckline gives more coverage than you might think. Ana said she found this a sexy summer option she'd wear for a date—pairing it with colourful flats makes it look effortless and perfect for a low-key dinner.