As part of our Guide to Plus Size Dresses, we spoke exclusively to Marie Denee, the curvy queen behind the hugely successful blog The Curvy Fashionista, who reveals her top secret tips for wearing plus size evening dresses…
Before she became a blogger, the curvy icon was working in retail for 12 years, and achieved her Bachelor’s in Business Entertainment and Tourism, and a Master’s in Marketing- which she dedicated to plus size fashion.
What inspired you to set up the curvy fashionista?
The Curvy Fashionista was a place that I initially started for my research to sit… places that I found and resources that I knew would be hard to find! Right after I graduated with my MBA, I was still working in retail and then once the economy turned, I delved into my blog full force! I knew that if it was this hard for me to find places, given my resources that I had at my disposal, I imagined it to be only that much more difficult for others! This, my blog was born!
I really wanted my blog to be a resource for plus size fashion ,a place the plus size woman could come to, to find the latest and flyest in plus size fashion. I saw that there was a gap in contemporary plus size fashion, but that it was growing! I really wanted my blog to be that girlfriend you go to for tips and deals! From there it has evolved!
As a curvy girl what challenges do you find when shopping for clothes?
Right now, there are two challenges… the first one is having the same in store options. I hate having to always go online to experience plus size fashion. Now it is just irritating… BUT my second is the designers or fashion forward options. I only NOW have found me a leather peplum top. But here we are well into the winter/holiday season and only now do we have two options on the market- something that straight sizes have long had as an option!
While there are more designers and retailers, we now have options, now, I just want more!
What challenges do you come across when shopping for evening dresses?
Not looking like my grandmother or a high school prom queen. Although it has gotten way better! Thanks to the likes of Tadashi Shoji, Sydney’s Closet, Monif C and many others! I find that evening dresses need to also be carried in store. Nordstrom does a great job of this and Macy’s too. Asides from those two, finding a plus size evening gown boils down to online options mostly!
In your opinion is there anything that plus size women should bear in mind when trying on evening dresses?
Keep in mind the designer. Sizes will vary, especially with the amount of detail applied or needed for the fit. Igigi is consistent in its fit and has a fuller contemporary fit, in which you can play around with the sizes, BUT Aidan Mattox is definitely more Junior plus cut, and you may find yourself sizing up in this line. It is key to note. Though that every designer is NOT sized the same. When I try on dresses, I get one size up and one size down, if I am not familiar with their fit or sizing aesthetic.
It is also key to note that when trying these on to wear the same undergarments that you would if you were wearing it for the night out. For example, a strapless, shaper, control top tights, etc… by doing this, you are able to get the right fit for your dress!
what are your top tips for curvy girls when choosing an evening dress?
Choose what you feel amazing in! What feels perfect, what will give you the freedom to enjoy your night without keeping your dress’s fit on your mind! When you FEEL good, you LOOK good! Plan ahead! I know at times you cannot know about that last minute event, but if you have at least ONE amazing dress that you can easily play up or down or give a new look to with your accessories, you will be in the clear! Black is not always the best default! Do not be afraid to step out in Oxblood, Navy, Nude, or chocolate hues! With more options, come more choices! I would also suggest that those “rules” you have been told in the past, find one and break them!
What is your favourite kind of evening dress?
Hrmm. I love a great maxi that shows a bit of leg! For the longest my style has been a bit more laid back with a touch of glam. Boho luxe if you will. OR I love a great strapless number! A strapless mini or a maxi! My favorite dress is one that amplifies my mood!
Who is your personal curvy icon?
Oooh, I don’t have just one! I really love seeing any plus size girl working and owning it! From the models, to the bloggers, to the readers, and the celebrities! I love the moxie of Beth Ditto, the chic appeal of Jill Scott, the class of Adele, and the red carpet sophistication of Queen Latifah!
What would be your ideal dress for a romantic evening?
I think a body con midi dress is a great option here! Fitted JUST enough to show off your voluptuous curves and long enough to keep them guessing! Paired with a stellar heel, yes!
What would be your ideal style of dress for a work drinks?
You cannot go wrong in a shift dress. Especially if it is textured too! The shift is a great medium ground that can lean one way or the other, from casual to chic! It all depends on the accessories needed!
When would you always choose a dress over a trouser suit?
When I am unsure of the dress code. A dress is always a safe bet- not too long or too short! I would wear a suit when I am attending a business event that is defined more formal.
Do you have any tips for curvy girls who want to afford a gorgeous evening dress but are on a budget?
Being on a budget does not mean sacrificing style or quality! I would suggest checking out the clearance racks at some of your favorite spots! You will be surprised of the deals you will find, especially at the department stores! If you plan well enough in advance, the sample sale sites are a great place to play too!! Like Ideeli and Beyond the Rack, who just launched My Curvy Closet!
Do you think curvy women can feel as comfortable and confident in dresses as they can in outfits which cover them up more?
YES! I believe that if you get the right FIT and style that suits you, you can even feel more than confident! You can feel sexy and this is a great feeling! I think when the perfect combination of timing, resources, and opportunity arise; it can make for many a confident woman!
What are your top 5 tips for feeling confident and pulling off a dress?
1 Patience. Finding the perfect dress takes time and this is not JUST for plus size women, but women in general.
2 Experiment. Don’t think that you are not allowed to wear (insert whatever rule) as a plus size woman or that a specific color or pattern won’t work, you never know!
3 Fit. No matter the size on your dress, this does NOT determine your worth! Pay attention to the fit of your dress as a great fit will feel amazing! If you need to, head to a tailor for finishing the details!
4 The Right Foundation. When you are trying on your dress, it is important to have on the right undergarments to give you the right look and feel of the way your dress will be for its debut! Whether or not you plan on wearing shapewear or not, your bra and underwear still affect your look of the dress!
5 Accessorize to Maximize. Your accessories are like the icing to the cake! They can easily take your dress from mmm to mmhmmm! They define your personal style! Have fun!
how do you usually accessorise your dresses?
I love a great ring. I love them better when there are more! In addition, I love a dramatic earring! The more dramatic, the better! Jewelry is MY icing and I love to play!
what projects are you currently working on?
Currently, I am working with Nordstrom heading out to a few stores to raise awareness of their plus size fashion offerings in the Encore department! I also have my faves online too! My blog is turning four in December and I celebrate all month with giveaways! Like major ones, so I am really excited about that! I finish the month off with a party in January in Los Angeles! This year, I am really excited about this! I am working a few other projects I cannot share yet, but I am really excited about December into the New Year!
Plus-Size-Magazine.com would like to thank Marie Denee for her time and for sharing her curvy wisdom with our readers.
For more top tips on how to rock a plus size dress, why not check out: