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Does the illustration on this page make you smile?  I do hope so because I have commissioned a series of such illustrations from Hannah Ensor of Stickman Communications to run over the next several months.  The intention is for them to embody the gently humourous aspects of stylish living for the women who I would like to engage on the Plus Black blog and website.

Who are these women? Women like me, I hope. 

Sidelined by the mainstream, Plus Black women are living lives of ‘normal’ lifestyle changes.  They might be shifting to portfolio careers, retiring, ageing, struggling with weight and medication, developing minor/major illnesses and motor impairments or any combination of these or coping with the entirely unexpected. However change comes, Plus Black women get that it’s normal for unexpected things to happen in life, some of them not pleasant. We understand that when bad things happen, to us or our loved ones, we regroup.  We adapt.  We go on.

Sure, at critical times, we’ll de-prioritise the shopping, the beautician, the hairdresser, the social life but, in the longer term, we will resume all these activities because that’s what we do, even in pain, distress, discomfort and unwillingly.  We never forget that life is about living and we continue to seek all the beauty, glory and wonderful things that life has to offer be it in the visual, aural, tactile, sensual … as we did before … life changed.

Where we may need a helping hand - we are in new territory here after all (all ten million of us!) - is with our style and, yes, we do still have some even if we aren’t quite as confident about it as we once were. Read more About Us here.

Plus Black is all about reaching out, bringing together, inspiring women – you, me and anyone we know who fits the description -  who have found, or want to find, their own individual style, at those times when life throws us a curve ball and, whatever we want, we want it to come in black.

Yes, that's right – summer, spring, autumn, winter. Everything. For ease, for comfort, we want ... Plus Black, and how hard it is to find. Hence Plus Black: a lifestyle blog, and maybe more, based on the well-established refrain of “I cannot be the only person …”

Plus Black women want to look good as they go to hospitals, residential homes, act as carers, see doctors, struggle with weight, changing shapes and illnesses, trying to help ourselves, and others, through life changes that are both difficult and yet, remarkably common. It’s the wear every day, chuck them in a washing machine clothes that are so hard to find as well as the stuff we might never have thought of but newly need. Is it unusual to think that anything you spend 90% of your life in, you want to express you & your style aesthetic as well as being fit for purpose?

That’s what Plus Black is all about … finding a new style to live an unexpected life and sharing it with others …and having some fun whilst doing it. 

Let’s be honest, when life goes down the pan, what can you do but laugh.  And so, we return to Hannah and her Stickmen who are, like us, the same but different.

I love Hannah’s style and humour and asked whether, using my +Black blog as ‘inspiration’, she would do a series of illustrations focussed on my ‘changing lifestyle’ demographic as we struggle to integrate style with life’s challenges.  I assured her that we do like a ‘giggle’ – as if anyone reading my blog wouldn’t know that as I range from extreme fashion to babywear looking for inspiration!

Each of Hannah’s illustrations will be referenced to their subject matter and you will find the entire series, as it develops, on the +Black Illustrated page.  Do keep checking in for the latest additions and go across to Stickman Communications to see Hannah’s other work.

If you’re interested in the Plus Black project, or might like to get involved, follow the +Black blog for updates and join the conversation on some of the issues raised. Maybe, you’d like to complete the (very short) +Black Survey to let me know your initial thoughts on the idea.  There is also a Plus Black website under construction for launch in 2013.

I’d love to hear any feedback you’d like to give.  Meantime, enjoy Hannah's work. Thank you.

THINKING - November 2012
warm winter fuzzies
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