Game-Changing Style Tips From 4 Seriously Stylish Curvy Gals

Welcome to Word of Mouth, a series where we highlight real members of our community that influence and inspire us with their style.

Slowly but surely the fashion industry is making progress towards becoming more size inclusive. However, if the overall fashion industry is moving at the speed of tortoise - the sustainable fashion industry is moving even slower. While there are definitely a handful of brands choosing to be inclusive both in their size range and marketing - there are still quite a few whose sizing ends at XL.

Shopping sustainably has its own challenges but when it's also difficult to find your size it can be pretty discouraging. We asked 4 stylish ladies to share their top curvy girl style tips and the go-to brands they can’t get enough of. Keep reading to see what they said and get ready to write these gems down!

 
PHOTO @THEJULIACHRISTINE

PHOTO @THEJULIACHRISTINE

 

Julia Christine

How would you describe your personal style?
I love varying my style day-to-day depending on my mood, how long I'll be out, if I'm working or where I'm going. I work in the beauty industry so I wear a lot of black clothing by default. More recently I've ventured out and purchased a few colorful pieces which I love. It's been fun experimenting and styling looks with more color. The best way to describe my personal style would be comfortable, casual yet classic. I make a concerted effort to invest in pieces that feel good against my skin (linens and raw silks are my jam) and that I can wear in a myriad different ways to a variety of events year round.

What’s one of your favorite ethical/sustainable fashion brands and why?
I came into the ethical/sustainable fashion space by way of thrifting. At the time I didn't have the disposable income to buy new quality clothing and grew up thrifting with my mom. I distinctly remember finding an Eileen Fisher piece with tags still on and feeling like I had scored the jackpot. I researched the company and learned so much about Eileen Fisher's efforts and became inspired. That was almost 7 years ago and interestingly enough I still have and wear that thrifted EF piece! Today, I'd have to say I really appreciate and love the designs coming out of Sotela and have already worn my Flor jumpsuit 10 times since it arrived a couple of weeks ago...in black linen of course!

What do you wish more brands understood about designing for curvy bodies?
Not all curvy bodies are the same and often times we have different fit concerns than when designing for straight sizes. Grading a pattern up from standard size 6 and to a size 16 or 18 is all wrong - extended sizes or plus sizes need their own patterns. Find a pattern maker that understands a plus size body and is experienced in creating patterns for us. Work with a variety of fit models in varying body shapes when designing extended/plus sizes, we may take a little more time and effort, but I guarantee if your fit is right, curvy people are hella loyal and will invest if the fit and design are right.

What are your three holy-grail clothing items in your closet and why?
Pleated Cullottes from and comfort because they’re versatile, comfortable and basically everything a bottom heavy person wants in a wide-legged high waisted pant. Secondly, a tencel black duster from Eileen Fisher that I purchased on Poshmark - it's oversized and I love it! I wear it over almost anything, jeans, dresses, yoga wear and have even belted it for a more fitted look. I already mentioned this piece, but the Flor jumpsuit from Sotela - I will be wearing this weekly until winter which in Southern California is so mild that chances I'll wear it year round until the crotch is threadbare and I need to take it in to get mended.

What are your three styling tips for styling curvy bodies?
There are no rules, if you feel great in it - rock it! Find a good tailor. I think this advice is pertinent for anyone, but especially larger hourglass shapes like myself, you will need to tailor items for the right fit. My waist and hips are almost a 14inch difference, so tailoring bottoms especially is essential unless I'm fine with my pants contently falling down which I'm not, so we must invest in alterations, even if that means sizing up to get the proper fit. Lastly, get fitted for the right sized undergarments, especially your bra. A good fitting bra can make all the difference in a well-styled outfit. Same goes for undies and shapewear. Try different styles, fabrics, and coverage that work best for your body.

What’s one piece of shopping advice you’d give to other curvy gals shopping for sustainable/ethical fashion?
Know your measurements and be patient. Especially when purchasing online, it's important to know your measurements. I keep a note on my phone and measure myself periodically so I can be aware of where I will fit into different brand's sizing. I measure my bust, waist, hip and arm width. I like to update this quarterly because I flip flop from doing bikram yoga 5 times a week to eating vegan donuts and knitting on the couch that my body changes and my clothing needs to conform to that. As far as being patient, recognize that most small sustainable/ethical brands are made-to-order so we need to step away from the instant gratification mentality and approach acquiring new items as an investment that will take time. Or if you're thrifting for clothing in efforts to purchase more sustainably realize that the investment you're putting into finding a new piece is your time. You won't always score at your first thrifting attempt, but when you do, it's a guaranteed great feeling and a wonderful way to extend the life of an item of clothing that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

 
 
PHOTO @MYNKA.MORRIS

PHOTO @MYNKA.MORRIS

 

MYNKA morris

How would you describe your personal style?
I would describe my style as colorful, comfortable, casual, but chic. My go-to easy outfit is a blazer, tee shirt, boyfriend jeans, and a cute flat or slip-on sneakers.

What’s one of your favorite ethical/sustainables brand and why?
I’m really loving Sotela right now. They’re all about body positivity and making clothes for all shapes and sizes (that actually fit well). I also like that they include people of color on their website and social media channels. I feel represented and welcomed which I don’t feel all the time with other sustainable brands.

What do you wish more brands understood about designing for curvy bodies?
I wish more brands understood that the curvy or plus-sized woman doesn’t want to have to go to a separate section in the store or online to shop for her size. A size 16 should be on the same rack as a size 2. I also wish they got rid of the term “extended sizes”. If you are a brand that has made the choice to design for larger sizes, then don’t make her feel excluded.

What are your three holy-grail clothing items in your closet and why?
The first item would be my black blazer. It's a classic wardrobe staple that I wear often. I like the fact that I can dress it up or down. Next item is my boyfriend distressed jeans. Since I like to dress comfortably and I'm curvy I like a more relaxed fit. I rarely buy any other type of jeans. Lastly, I love my denim jacket. It transitions well into any season so I wear it year round. It's the perfect layering piece and literally be worn with everything.

What are your three styling tips for styling curvy bodies?
First top, shop through any weight gain or loss. Don’t wait to work on your wardrobe until you are the size you want to be. It’s important that you wear clothes that fit you so you can look your best at any size. Next tip is to tailor your clothing. This one honestly applies to everyone, but as curvy girls we are typically bigger around our hips and bum, but smaller at the waist. Having your own tailor as your secret weapon allows you to buy garments you love, but may not fit well at first. A tailor will make it right for your body type. Lastly, utilize shape-wear. Shape-wear isn’t some dirty little secret that you have to hide or feel ashamed that you’re wearing. Every woman needs a little cinching. Shape-wear simply helps smooth out the tummy and hips so you look more polished in your clothes.

What’s one piece of shopping advice you’d give to other curvy gals looking for sustainable/ethical fashion?
My shopping advice for curvy girls looking for sustainable/ethical fashion brands would be to utilize the Good on You app. They have done all of the hard work for you and have a dedicated list of brands that produce larger sizes.

 
 
PHOTO OHHHHHHHHHONEY

PHOTO OHHHHHHHHHONEY

 

Sydney Grace

How would you describe your personal style?
I've never had an easy time describing my style because I'm a mess! I think in the fashion world we call that, "eclectic" - ha! I’ve always described my closet as, "milkmaid goes to the disco" but this summer, I find myself leaning to what I have now coined as, "cruise dad."

What’s one of your favorite ethical/sustainables brand and why?
My favorite new brand is Made By Alex. Her pieces are made-to-order so they are 100% size inclusive and customizable including color, length, details like pockets, etc.

What do you wish more brands understood about designing for curvy bodies?
I wish they'd give us the same effort and design that they give straight sizes. We don't need any more basics...I am dying for some flair and drama!

What are your three holy-grail clothing items in your closet and why?
My Birkenstocks, a plaid vintage skirt from Berriez, and the "Gemma" bodysuit from Reformation! These are all "comfort" items that I know I can put on and instantly feel good, no matter what my mood is.

What are your three styling tips for styling curvy bodies?
Don't make concealing your body or shrinking yourself your #1 goal --if you love it, wear it! Find your holy-grail pair of jeans, and use them as a building block for outfits when you're lost on what to wear! Also, take risks! I promise, no one is noticing your arms or your belly when you are confident and feeling good!

What’s one piece of shopping advice you’d give to other curvy gals looking for sustainable/ethical fashion?
Don't feel guilty about not being perfectly sustainable! There aren't a ton of sustainable options out there for plus-size women. When you consider buying a garment, only buy what know you’ll get incredible use out of --then, at the very least, you've made it a sustainable buy for yourself!

 
 
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Lauren Anderson

How would you describe your personal style?
I’ve always had a hard time describing my style. I’d say it’s casual with inspiration from the ‘80’s, the prairie, and California landscapes - with lots of texture! I love a chunky knit.

What’s one of your favorite ethical/sustainable brands and why?
Everlane tends to be the brand I shop the most. For a lot of people, Everlane is an introduction to ethical fashion because of their mid-range price point. The brand I think is the closest to my style is Dôen and the brand I admire most is Sotela.

What do you wish more brands understood about designing for curvy bodies?
I wish brands understood that the proportions for sample size models don’t translate to curvy bodies. It’s so rare to find a pair of jeans that fits both my thighs and waist.

What are your three holy-grail clothing items in your closet and why?
My vintage Levi’s. It took me years to find a pair that actually fit me and now I cherish them with my all my life. Any good t-shirt. I ‘m a big fan of the jeans and a tee combo. A good quality, worn in, well fitting t-shirt makes that whole look. Lastly, a chunky cardigan. I have three I alternate between but my favorite is from Babaa.

What are your three styling tips for styling curvy bodies?
Ignore the rules of “flattering” your body type. Magazines and other media outlets love to categorize women by their body type and tell them what they can and cannot wear. Don’t listen to that. Wear whatever you want. Secondly, find a good tailor. Odds are most ready to wear pieces won’t be a perfect fit and you’ll need to get them altered. Thirdly, look to curvy people on Instagram for inspiration. Styling curvy bodies can be HARD but there are tons of people on Instagram who have figured out tips and tricks and are sharing them. There have been so many times I tried a new style after seeing another curvy person rocking it.

What’s one piece of shopping advice you’d give to other curvy gals looking for sustainable/ethical fashion?
Do your research! Find ethical brands that are celebrating curvy bodies and ignore the ones who aren’t. Size inclusivity has been very much ignored in ethical fashion, so it takes a little bit of research to figure out your best options. Also, don’t be afraid of thrifting. You never know what you’ll find!


Do you have a holy grail style tip or favorite sustainable plus-size brand? Tell us in the comments below!


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