"Dress the body you have now, not the body you wish you had, or might have, if you lose those extra pounds."
City: Phoenix, Arizona
I've been plus sized most of my life. Toward the end of elementary school, I could wear my mom's leggings — don't judge, this was 1994 and I wasn’t a "cool" kid. In junior high, I was squeezing into the largest size in Express, trying to wear trendy clothes like my friends. It was in sixth or seventh grade when I first walked into a Lane Bryant, and clothes fit me! A short time later, I discovered Fashion Bug had plus sizes. All of a sudden, I had options.
This was 15 years ago. Leaps and bounds have been made in the fashion world to cater to bigger girls since then. And while the options are out there and have improved tremendously, styles are still limited. For the hours of work a normal-sized girl needs to spend to find the right pair of jeans, it might take a plus-sized girl twice as long. And what options are out there? It is my belief that plus-sized girls can have style, too. We are stylish, cute and sexy. We have great friends, families and careers. Why should we be hidden in the far corners of department stores, next to the bathroom, and included as an afterthought in magazines — especially when the average American woman is a size 12 to 14? You can look great at any size, whether you're a 2, 12, 22 or 32.
Some of my favorite words of fashion wisdom come from fashion expert Tim Gunn. He tells designers in nearly every episode of Project Runway to pay attention to silhouette, proportion and fit. This is especially important for plus-sized girls. Just because something fits on your body, doesn’t mean you should wear it. One of my high-school English teachers once complained that "Omar the tentmaker" made her clothes. I’d never heard that phrase before, but 10 years later, I haven’t forgotten it. No woman wants to wear a tent, and quite frankly, it isn’t flattering. A garment that fits you looks so much better than one that’s too big or tent-like. You’re not hiding anything under all of that fabric.