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Breaking the “Big Girl” Rules: Learning Curves

It’s time to break a few rules. No, not the ones that will land you in jail, but, rather, the fashion rules that us curvy girls have been told that we have to follow—the “no big girl can wear that” rules. No stripes across the body! No florals! No bold graphics! No bright colors! No fitted clothes! Many of us have spent our lives apologizing for our curvier silhouette, adhering to the no-no’s of full-figured dressing, or trying to blend in with a crowd by wearing only dark colors and boxy shapes. I’m here to tell you that hiding your style is self-censorship. No more hiding ladies!

I’ve been working in the fashion industry and magazine publishing worlds for almost twenty years and I’ve seen that buyers and editors have selective amnesia. They seem to forget that a double-digit size 18 wants to be able to wear what her single-digit friend wears. They also forget that 62 percent of us—65 million women with a lot of buying power—wear a size 12 and up. The good news is that full-figured clothes are now giving us more choice. More choice means more freedom—more freedom to find your style and develop a signature that’s uniquely you.

Your very first step in finding your style is to give yourself permission to try on something that has your personality sewn into the lining. Next time you’re browsing the racks and your eye gravitates to a color or a print, I want you to grab it. Take it on a road test. Try it on, and see how you look. How do you feel in it? Does it make you feel like you? Ignore those programmed no-no voices in your head. Instead, take heed from curvy celebrities like Jennifer Hudson, Camryn Manheim, America Ferrera, and Kathy Najimy (to name just a few) who stand up to the “rules” every day, blazing trails to create their own personal signatures.

Breaking the rules has never been so much fun!

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