Travel | A Chub Girl's Guide To Surviving The Heat

Ok, the sun was here, then it went. And basically all it proved was that we're headed to a fiery dystopian global warming hellscape BUT in that short time I realised that year on year I come closer to NAILING Summer. So, here, for your delectation, is MY Chub Girl's Guide To Surviving The Heat; Ten handy hints that are getting me through the sweatiest of days in one only mildly damp piece.

Plus Size Swimwear 
Swimsuit - Primark (Similar)

1. Swimwear To Swoon Over

You should all know by now that I’m a big fan of a bikini, mostly because of their tummy button breathing functionality and also because it’s much easier to go for a wee at short notice after a jug or seven of sangria. This said, I also like to have a swimsuit in my armoury for those days when I want to give my midriff a break and maybe even want to do some serious pool moves (U12s Yorkshire Breast stroke Champion right here Yo)

I saw the suit above in Primark and it was the same colour of my eyes so I bought it AND THAT IS WHAT WE CALL A MARKETER’S DREAM MY FRIENDS. It’s got hidden boob padding so expect minimal nipples with maximum comfort. Aka the name of my 2019 style guide. 

I still love a bikini but for the purpose of this post, let's focus on the one piece (You can still see plenty of bikinis on my Instagram - Do not panic yo' bones). This year I'm very much planning to keep it both classic simple with block colours and retro detailing, as you'll see from my Top Picks below:

The Em Edit
   1. ASOS                    2. Simply Be                    3. Curvy Kate

2. Beat That Chub Rub 

I don't want to make any assumptions BUT my biggest hot weather nightmare is chub rub and I would wage the £7.26 in my savings account that it's the same for most of you reading this. Red, rubbing, rawness - GRIM. Chub rub isn't strictly a chub thing, anyone who has body parts that rub against their other body parts is at risk of the chaff. 

I've tried many things over the years and my favourite solution remains the Anti-Chaf short, more specifically the Big Bloomers Company Aztec Slip Shorts. These shorts are INCREDIBLE; They don't roll up or down, they're breathable, mega comfortable and they come in six colours. These shorts are proper game changers and the pair that I was very kindly gifted were hardly off my body last year. Honestly, recommendations do not come higher than this. 

If you'd really rather avoid the big pants, Ivy Vedure are cracking. I bought one of their iRelief anti-chafing sticks last year and was gobsmacked by how well it worked. The thing that I found really odd (and brilliant!) was that everything obviously still rubs, it just doesn't hurt or get sore or bumpy. It's miraculous and I don't go anywhere hot without it in my handbag.

3. Be A Jean Genius

OK, so I know you're all going to think I'm entirely bonkers here - JEANS IN SUMMER?!? But honestly, since finding a good pair of lightweight loose fitting blue jeans, I feel like my summer wardrobe has become infinitely better. 

Topshop Jeans
Straight Leg Jeans - Topshop 

My top tip is to go for denim with a low elastine content (More on that later!) in a style that doesn't hug you too tight. I'm a huge fan of the Topshop Straight Leg jeans which I didn't think would fit me but do - I wear a 16 and they go up to an 18. I basically want to look like yer mam in the 80s, more Top Picks are below:

The Em Edit
1. Evans                           2.H&M                             3. ASOS

4. Cream Up Them Chops

This tip actually comes care of my BFF IDST who will go spare if I don't name check her for her eternally wise and incredibly useful skincare tips. She glows like a real life angel so I am very hashtag blessed that she is willing to share them with me. Anyway, I digress.

Skincare is HARD, it is COMPLICATED, and it changes throughout the year. The one thing that should be a constant for all of us is... SUN CREAM. Particularly on our poor old faces. I've always been very lazy about my face, assuming that the SPF in my foundation will do the job. My freckles and skin damage would suggest not. 
The Em Edit
I'm now using La Roche Posay Anti Shine SPF 50+ on my face, under my makeup, every darn day. I know NOTHING about skincare products and this is pretty expensive BUT it protects against UVA, UVB and infared, I don't use much a day, it's light, smells nice (I know it says non-perfumed but it's just a very fresh scent) and actually works as really a nice primer strangely enough. It doesn't impact my makeup or make me feel sweaty/greasy. All of the benefit with none of the yuk!

I only like to recommend what I actually use, but there are plenty of other products on the market (Skincare queen Sali Hughes has a few recommendations here) if this one's not up your street. Just make sure you use some!

5. Let's Keep It Light 

Staying on the subject of faces and things that go on them. One of my favourite things about Summer is that I feel less of a need to wear makeup, more so since I've been having my lashes done by the fabulous Natalie at WaxInc. (If you're anywhere near Sheffield, go and tell her I sent you!).

The Em Edit

Saying this, there still come times when I want to put a face on, albeit an extremely light one. You may have seen my IT Cosmetics post earlier this week. Basically, read this. A light yet well-covering foundation with SPF 50+ that you can still see your freckles through is a must. Add to this, a powder to dab away the shine after a long day and sweat/waterproof mascara is always a winner with me. 

6. Looking On The Bright Side

I’ve been wearing glasses for 31 years now, basically making me a lifelong mole. Over this time, I’ve spent literal tens of thousands of pounds on glasses and sunglasses. Not because they’re designer or in any way special, but because my eyesight is so poor (one eye is -5.00) and, unless I want bottle bottom specs, I’ve had to cough up silly money. 

 Last year, I discovered iolla, who have a set price of £65 per frame AND lenses REGARDLESS OF YOUR EYESIGHT. For the first time in my life, I can afford to be someone who has more than just one pair of prescription glasses AND sunglasses. So far, I have a couple of pairs of the Banks sunglasses and I've just ordered a pair of Lennox

If you're someone who can enjoy non-prescription sunglasses I envy you hugely but at least now I have a solution and cannot praise iolla enough, their customer service is next level and they have a lifelong fan in me. 

7. Superbly Strapless

I feel like everybody should own a decent strapless bra but fully accept that it isn't always that easy. With this in mind, I'll talk you through my top three strapless bras and their related highlights:

 Wonderbra Ultimate strapless bra 
> Available in sizes 32A - 38G 
> Deep front so ideal for anything low cut 
> Mega Smooth
> Fabulous boost and shape
Great bra but limited sizes AND I do find that I get very sweaty in this one. it's more of a Winter than a Summer bra for me.

Elomi Smooth Strapless 
> Available in sizes 38 - 42GG  
> AMAZING HOLD for people whose boobs are bottom heavy (Like mine) 
> Mega Smooth 
> Very Supportive 
This is such an easy-to-wear bra and my total favourite at the moment. It doesn't get sweaty, it doesn't cut in and it looks fab under even the most tight fitting of frocks.

Curvy Kate Luxe
> Available in sizes 28 - 40J
> Amazing Support
> Great Hold
> No Sweat
> Long Lasting
I LOVE my Luxe and wouldn't be without it. The size range is amazing and this bra is an all round game changer.

8. Nice and Natural

Natural fabrics are where it's AT when Summer comes around. Easier said than done when polyester and elastine are the bread and butter of plus size fashion... You have to really look and, more often than not, part with mucho dollar to keep it totally natural - Add to this ethical issues around the sustainability of these fabrics in a fast fashion climate and it becomes a bit of a minefield to put it mildly.

My top tip is to keep it old school. Think simple styles in lightweight fabrics from "reputable" (!) stores. Navabi are incredible at Scandi Lagen-Look styles that you can dress up or down and M&S are consistently good at bringing back their good quality best sellers.

 1. Navabi                   2. Marks and Spencer               3. Very

9. Tote-ally Functional

Back on the subject of natural fabrics: Leather is sweaty and plastic is sweaty and I do not wish to have either of those fabrics near me. Therefore, I roll out the tote bags. If I'm being ENTIRELY honest, I use tote bags all year round. I love how roomy and replaceable they are. I don't know if this makes me a child but if it does, at least I'm not a sweaty child and I have plenty of room for all of my child stuff in my bag. Plus, if you drop it in a swimming pool IT IS ALL OK.

Another good thing about a tote is that they allow you to demonstrate all of your weird allegiances. Like cats? Get a tote with a cat on. Want the world to know how passionate about Crisps you are (Who wouldn't?!?) Get a tote telling them. My favourite tote is my Flight of the Conchords Band Meeting one and it will indeed be a sad day when it eventually dies. Check below for some of my other Top Picks:

1. GirlVsCancer        2. Topshop.     3. Etsy

10. Hydrate Feel Great

Hydrate, hydrate, HYDRATE. I cannot say this enough. Your skin will thank you, your organs will thank you, your hangovers will thank you. It's a difficult habit to get into but once you've done it, you'll never go back to those arid dry-mouthed days.

Matalan do an excellent range of drinks bottles, my favourite is my "Hydrate feel great" one  (above) which goes everywhere with me but is sadly no longer in stock. I definitely think there's something psychosomatic about carrying a bottle with you - You notice when it's empty and tend to refill, drink and therefore hydrate more. In fact, most people who spend time with me are sick of my constant yell of "HYDRATION STATIONS" whenever I don't have immediate access to water. 

11. Enjoy your Summer

OK, we have reached the end of my guide without getting in all deep on the subject of actually existing as a chub girl in the UK in the heat and all of the things that go along with this. Part of me wants to just move past it and say THIS IS YOUR GUIDE JUST GO AND LIVE YOUR LIFE AS A GLORIOUS CHUB WOMAN IN THE SUNSHINE but another part of me just wants to acknowledge that we all know it's not always that easy.

If, like me, you've had many years of covering yourself up and are ready to feel the sun on your (UVA/UVB/infared protected) skin, just do it. If you're more comfortable and liable to enjoy yourself with long sleeves and trousers, please do this - just make sure you do it safely. Again, natural fabrics that breathe are our friend. Don't forget to stay hydrated (Have I said that enough do you think?!?) and get one of these little babies in your handbag.

 Everyone else out there is far too busy thinking about what they look like to worry about what you're wearing. And if they do care...? Gosh what a sad and boring life they must have and that is NO reflection on you whatsoever. You are more than just a vessel for other people’s visions of how a person should live and look. Your worth doesn’t change dependent on the opinions of others - ENJOY YOUR SUMMER!
Em x