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There's More To Style Than Just Dressing Your Curves

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    Photo: Courtesy of Franceta Johnson.

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    Kellie Brown, the iconoclastic, NYC-based beauty behind the blog And I Get Dressed, is practically the queen of layering. And, if you're looking for some fresh style advice, you're in luck — Kellie's fiercely feminine Instagram feed is a constant source of sartorial (and lipstick!) ingenuity.
    What if fashion came first? I was chatting with a friend recently about how, as a blogger, there's a certain amount of pressure to give your readers what they want and to only wear what they love to see you dressed in. The expectations put on plus bloggers are only further limiting — like, we should only feature "plus-friendly" pieces, like body-con dresses, skater skirts, and belts that have no context within an outfit other than cinching your waist. Sigh.

    This shortsighted styling puts plus women in a box where curves rule and fashion feels like an afterthought. Frankly, the oft-condescending chant of "show off your curves" makes me want to scream "F*ck curves, what about STYLE?"

    Don't get me wrong: I know curves are glorious. But, nearly every magazine article or TV segment related to plus-size fashion talks about flattering your figure and then resigns women above a size 10 to about three acceptable silhouettes. The backlash to this limiting scope has been demonstrated frequently by badass women who post figure-flaunting photos online, as if to say, "I love my body — curves, lumps, and all." And, perhaps any backlash will work in our favor, but this kind feels more like it's a part of the body-positivity movement and less about proudly going there with fashion.

    I understand that dressing for your body type is Fashion 101, but stopping there really leaves all plus women in the same few frocks. It's in experimenting with shapes, proportions, prints, layering, and translating runway trends that everyday fashion gets fun. What my favorite curvy style mavens have in common is that their aesthetics transcends size, and not in that patronizing, "you go, girl" sort of way. They demand to be seen as fashion equals.

    So, let's not stop at that one-note directive to always flaunt our curves. When I get dressed, I'm thinking a lot more about style, my mood, and current fashion trends than about showing off my curvy hips or hiding my backside. And that is the recipe for style success. Ahead, a few ladies who've proven that true time and again.

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