About Plus Black …

Individual Style for Inspiring Women … plusBlack

Hi, I’m Elle from Stiletto Wheels where I write about my lifestyle change from busy and ambitious finance professional in stiletto heels to that of wheelchair user on [metaphorical] stiletto wheels.  If you pop across to my site, you’ll find me living life with chronic illness and consequent physical impairment sharing my tantrums, tears and laughter along the way.  Here, on Plus Black (+Black), I’d just say that, more than most, I get that unexpected things happen in life, some of them not pleasant, but I also know that life is there to be lived as well as it may be despite this.

Plus Black is a project I am developing for women experiencing many different types of lifestyle change – shifting to portfolio careers, retiring, ageing, struggling with weight and medication, developing minor and major illnesses and motor impairments – who are trying to manage these ‘normal’ life events, not always pleasant, in style.

Lifestyle changes like those I’ve listed happen to us all, affecting maybe ten million women right now, and many more over the next few years – maybe that will be you or someone you know.  Fifteen years ago, it was me.

But life goes on, doesn’t it? Staying in, going out, working, retirement or even visits to hospitals or rehabilitation centres, if you have a style aesthetic, enforced physical change will not render the terms style and life change as oxymoronic.  Or, it wouldn’t, if we were able to source products – clothing, accessories, aids and equipment – that accommodate both style aspirations and physical necessities.  In fifteen years, I’ve looked … extensively … for such items and failed in my search more often than not.

My conclusion: women who are plus size, older than 40 or have some minor/major physical impairment or illness and can’t (as in not allowed or don’t have the capability to) exercise, do Botox or plastic surgery really don’t have a lot of fun shopping for the things they need either online or in the high street.  Doesn’t it just add insult to injury that those of us forced to deal with age, illness, impairment and medication ‘au natural’, those needing the most help, are the least welcome by our major retailers?

Plus Black is a concept for women who, like me, live lives that are less than perfect and want to do so in style. Sonia Rykiel who has had Parkinson’s Disease for many years says in her book:

My own style has not changed in 40 years, no matter how tired or ill I feel. I try to wear dark green, dark brown, dark navy, but I prefer black. I hate wasting time getting dressed. I like to put something on and just think: “Yes. That’s it.” When I’m tired I like to dress very simply…

Stylish clothing – and other product – that is easy to wear, comfortable, in natural fabrics, in the right size and in black for the moments when your lifestyle changes and your confidence needs a boost.  Not rocket science is it? Nevertheless, surprisingly hard to find if you don’t fit a young, slim, healthy, fashionable profile.

Plus Black is about inspiring women – you, me and anyone we know who fits the description – to find their own individual style, with information on, and access to:

  • products that make disruptive lifestyle change, unwelcome or not, easier
  • shopping that makes us feel good about ourselves
  • an ethos of inclusiveness, giving and style

I am thinking about roping some friends into this project to help with designing, sourcing and producing some product – clothing, accessories, aids – that will help us (all either complementing, or made in, black) and getting out there online and selling it.

I’ll be blogging on progress and to expand some of the issues I’ve raised so get involved and follow me if you’re interested.  +Black really is a WIP (work-in-progress) at the moment and I’m open to suggestions and collaborative (and kindly) offers of help.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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