This time last week I was getting ready to go to the VIP store opening of Simply Be in the Metro Centre, Gateshead accompanied by my gorgeous friend Ray. Whilst I have been to three Simply Be store openings in the past, for me, this is the store opening that I was most looking forward to as it is the closest one to where I live and given the choice, the Metro Centre is my go to place for shopping. It is open late, all indoors with free parking and has the widest choice of shops around; it ticks all the boxes. I often write about the store openings that I have been to but this one more so as I'm so passionate about the new Simply Be store, which is dual fronted with Jacamo, the fashionable clothing store for big and tall men, and I know that they will do wonders for plus size fashion in the North East.
|Simply Be VIP Store Opening, photos courtesy of Simply Be|
Opening a store in the Metro Centre is a stroke of genius for Simply Be and even more so for Jacamo as there is nothing comparable there to compete with. Up until recently, my dad was too large to be able to shop in straight sized stores and there was absolutely no point in him going shopping in the Metro Centre as there was no shops at all that would cater to him. Instead he'd have to travel to Newcastle, pay a small fortune to park and could only shop in two stores; Jonathan Charles and High and Mighty which both offer very nice clothes but at incredibly high prices. Jacamo offers affordable fast fashion and quality clothing for large and tall men and could not be more welcome in the North East. For women, the Metro Centre has Ann Harvey which caters for the more mature plus size lady and Evans which is heading that way too after moving the majority of their trendy, fast fashion clothing to Style369.com which is aimed at the younger shopper. There is also the Inspire range New Look which does offer a good selection but the sizes are limited and the range is shoved out of the way, in an embarrassing crammed corner upstairs. There is nothing about the Inspire range in New Look in the Metro Centre that makes shopping an enjoyable experience and it is always hit or miss as to whether you will find something to suit you.
|Photos courtesy of Ray|
Simply Be have been around for years and their clothes have always been a firm favourite of mine, however I hate shopping online for clothes as I find it hard to buy something without trying it on in a couple of different sizes first. In years gone by I would tend to complete a big online order to Simply Be just before I go on holiday for my swimwear and holiday clothes but other than that I rarely order from their website, as I like to be able to go shopping a couple of days before an event or a night out, try on lots of dresses, etc and pick up my outfit and find accessories there and then. This is why I am so passionate about the Simply Be stores and I am so excited to be able to just drive to the Metro Centre and find a great outfit for every occasion... which I already have done when I bought this dress the day before the VIP opening.
Everything about the new Simply Be store makes it a joy to go shopping, a true experience that makes you feel proud to be curvy rather than ashamed. I love the design of the store, it is roomy but with a fantastic selection of clothes and the store staff are only too happy to help. The store has so much to choose from, there is an outfit to suit every woman regardless of size, age, style and for every occasion. They have a great selection of every range from Joe Browns to Grazia and LOADS of swimwear, underwear and shoes. All of the store staff that I spoke to were so knowledgeable about the store, the brands, sizing and plus size fashion. Like with the other Simply Be stores, the store boasts glamorous changing rooms with the infamous Magic Mirror that takes four photos of you in your Simply Be outfit so that you can see exactly how gorgeous you look, and allows you to Tweet, Facebook, email and print it.
|Photos courtesy of Simply Be|
The store opening itself was a huge success with the gorgeous dramality TV star Gemma Collins from The Only Way Is Essex cutting the ribbon. Champagne, canapes and music was in full swing all night and it was lovely to catch up with the Simply Be PR girls, store staff, bloggers and blog readers and of course, meeting the lovely Gemma Collins and Abi Hill, the face of Simply Be. I was quite over whelmed by the support for WhatLauraLoves on the night and it was lovely to meet so many people, thank you all for coming to chat to me and tweeting me afterwards.