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Curvy Girl Dilemma: Finding Stylish and Affordable Clothes

By Evette Dionne

“Your [insert article of clothing here] is fabulous. Where did you buy it?” “I can never find clothes like this at the store.” “Are you sure you purchased that there? I can’t believe it.”

Apart from conversations about finding a respectable man, the state of full-figured fashion is what I discuss most often with fellow curvy babes. I don’t believe in bragging, but I will admit that I am praised as much for my fashion sense as I am for my intellect. No, I’m not Tanesha Awasthi or another self-professed fashion guru, but I know the power of clothing and I use fashion to express who I am or to communicate an emotion.

Since I have a passionate love affair with fashion, nothing pains me more than other girls with extra curves settling for less with their wardrobes because they believe there isn’t clothing out there that will accentuate their best assets and camouflage their imperfections. If this was 2001 and our options were limited to hideous flowered shirts from Kmart, I would agree that we should issue a statement of emergency for curvy girl fashion. But since the curvy babe fashion revolution was sparked, we should never have to resuscitate our wardrobes.

Flower buds are going to bloom into beautiful bouquets soon, so this is the perfect time for a permanent wardrobe revamp. Here are five tips for creating a runway-worthy wardrobe that is both chic and affordable.

Expand Your Horizons

No shade will be thrown here. Lane Bryant, Ashley Stewart, and my shopping heaven Torrid all have amazing and fashionable clothing options for curvy women. But, I discourage limiting clothing options strictly to these stores and others that cater specifically to us for several reasons. The foundation for fashion is individual creativity which can’t be created if you’re only selecting clothing from the Lane Bryant spring collection. Ever considered wearing a XL Forever 21 dress as a top or a XXL Old Navy dress as a tunic? You should. Don’t be deterred by a designer’s original intention. Boldness is essential to building a chic wardrobe, so channel that inner diva and waltz into a local straight size store. You’ll leave with a unique outfit and a new perspective on the limits of fashion.

Peruse the Internet

The world-wide-web is the greatest creation since…well ever, so use it! Outside of social networking and internet dating, the web should be used for online shopping. This is one of the best solutions for most of our fashion woes. Some of the greatest fashion jewels e.g. ASOS and Eloquii are solely produced online. Internet shopping allows us to see a store’s entire inventory at once. Who wouldn’t want to avoid the hassle of browsing racks in exchange for easier and savvier shopping? Oh and internet store coupons can sometimes cut the costs of shopping by 20 to 25 percent. For instance, Eloquii has a sale each week and always offer free shipping. That is unbeatable from a fashionista’s perspective.

Tailor Your Wardrobe

As I’ve followed blogger Gabi Fresh in recent months, I’ve noticed that she never allows the size on the label to deter her. She often has her clothes tailored to remove stitches; this gives her enough room to fit a size 8 shirt over her size 22 frame. I refer to this swift fashion move as the “Gabi Method” and I love it! Of course, all shirts and pants can’t be tailored and still maintain its original attractiveness, but cropped tunics and colored jeans is fabulous regardless of the season. Plus, tailored clothes seem much more polished and professional, so I encourage investing in a permanent local tailor!

Thrift Store Excursions

I am unashamed to admit that I am a thrifter. I make weekend excursions to local thrift stores and spend less than $100 on bags full of fashionable, chic, designer clothing. A vintage Chanel tote that would retail for $300 in a department store becomes mine for less than $20 and those popular lace blouses from the ‘80s that have resurfaced don’t leave a dent in my bank account. Don’t have too much pride. Thrift. You’ll find adorable pieces that are one-of-a-kind and save a few dollars. A win-win.

Confidence, Confidence, Confidence!

Despite what fashion blogs tell us, large rings and fierce wedges are not the perfect accessories to an outfit; confidence is. Regardless of what dress we’re strutting in, confidence is infectious. You want to command attention when walking into a room and that comes with how we wear our clothes rather than what we’re wearing. Be confident and the rest will align on its own.

Happy shopping!

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