One of the things I liked most about the movie Spy is that Melissa McCarthy got to look hot in the last third of the movie. The actress has fearlessly made a career out of looking a wreck, so seeing her in killer bangs with super-sexy smoky eyes and curve-conscious clothing when her Spy character Susan Cooper assumes the persona of a hard-nosed, hilariously foul-mouthed bodyguard-spy was... refreshing! I had hoped to see a similar kind of statement style in the Melissa McCarthy Seven7 collection, which hits select Pennington stores and penningtons.com at the end of this month. The line will also be available in the US at Macy's, Lane Bryant and melissamccarthy.com. Here's my worry: the most interesting pieces won't be available in Canada.
If you're unfamiliar with Penningtons, I can tell you it's one of two well-known retailers of plus fashion in Canada, and part of a family of stores that includes Addition-Elle, Reitmans, RW&CO and Smart Set. It's been a long time since I've been in a Penningtons store; my recollection is of basics and prints I wouldn't be caught dead in. A quick look at the site now, however, shows an improvement in style options, and several cute, youthful pieces for curvy, hourglass figures.
As for Melissa McCarthy herself, I think we agree that she's far more than a pretty face. She's smart, sexy, vivacious, funny, accomplished – very, very talented and she works hard. She's a star. One who studied fashion at FIT before getting into the acting game, it turns out. And one who knows the frustration of assembling a flattering fashionable wardrobe that checks all the boxes for plus women. One such frustration included conflict with a potential manufacturer who insisted plus women don't want sleeves.
“I was like, ‘Are you crazy? That’s not accurate! I am plus-size, and I want them, I have friends who are size 26 and size 8 and they want a sleeve!" she said in an interview with People. About Seven7: "Most of my stuff has sleeves, my stuff has pockets, you can count on that.”
And if you're wondering about wearability, Melissa says, “I’ve worn every single piece. There are little jeans that are super stretchy and they come all the way up, because I just do not need to see anyone’s muffin top, and I do not need to see anyone bend over and be able to tell what color underwear they’re wearing anymore.”
The above image of Melissa McCarthy is from the Seven7 press material. The styling information on the clothes is a mystery. This dress, though. Looks great on Melissa. (I can't wear such garments, unfortunately. I carry all my weight in my stomach; makes people ask if I'm having a baby. I'm not.) Unfortunately, I don't see a piece like this in the Canadian lookbook images.
Although campy, this shot from the press booklet (and Melissa's quote) also raised hopes for a fashion-forward range.
But instead of that sexy, smoky-eyed woman from those black-and-white photos (and the second half of Spy), we get the above version of Melissa McCarthy: perfectly respectable, successful business woman. Not that this image of the star is unacceptable. She still looks great, right? And most of us need some kind of business wear. Moving on...
This outfit Melissa wears is fun. Layered blouses I think – I don't see that blue top in the Canadian stock, nor either of the tops the models wear, nor the plaid skirt on the right...
Let's look at a few items we're definitely getting before we hit the slideshow:
Casual cosy: Because I don't have enough grey cardigans and sweaters (at least I don't think so), I'm drawn to this slouchy grey knit cocoon sweater that also comes in black. Hourglass figures can belt this at their little waists and look great. My apple shape and I will just happily shroud ourselves in it. Goes well with my Roots Cabin Socks obsession.
All about comfort: I like the drape, length and overall shape of this relaxed top (I like anything that goes well with leggings – pants and jeans are tough when you're an apple shape), but I think the pattern is a bit juvenile rather than youthful. I'd prefer stars... but maybe that's not much more grown up? Oddly though, I don't mind the #hearts in the context of the the silk bow blouse Melissa McCarthy wears a couple of photos back.
Star statement piece: Mine. Love this kimono duster. I'd wear it. I need to try it on with everything already in my closet.
Has potential: I like the idea, but on an apple body like mine, I'd be punching people all day for asking when the "baby" is due. Plus I think maybe I'd prefer different words on the fabric. Perhaps a French phrase instead. Maybe joie de vivre? Just not "happy, happy, joy, joy." (Am reminded of Demolition Man with young Sandra Bullock – #overtweezedbrows – and beaming Benjamin Bratt.)
Overall the Melissa McCarthy Seven7 lineup that Penningtons will carry is about relaxed style. Very safe and approachable for most women. Have a look at the slideshow below and tell us what you think. Apparently the Melissa McCarthy collection is aligned with an Eloquii aesthetic -- super cute, trendy, feminine, youthful.
melissa mccarthy for penningtons collection
Melissa McCarthy Seven7: what do you think of the collection?
Your thoughts? Does the Melissa McCarthy Seven7 range have enough style? Am I wrong to have expected more *star* items?