Plus size fashion has made leaps and bounds in recent years, as the body positivity movement has continued to gain steam. Ashley Graham on the cover of Sports Illustrated, an increase in the number of stores offering larger sizes, and Tess Holliday’s success and “Eff Your Beauty Standards” movement all signal a constructive change. But, the situation still has plenty of room for growth.
Diversity continues to be missing from popular representations of full figured folks. They make a remarkably varied market when it comes to location, financial means, race, and gender. Advertising seems to say it’s acceptable to be a larger white woman with a well-proportioned body, but that demographic is pretty small in the community. The percentage of men, for example, who are obese is the same as it is for women (36%). Where is their fashion?
In compiling this list, we looked for people who presented something different from the women inside of glossy magazines. The individuals on this list are repping different countries, races, genders, and sexual orientations. The commonality they share is a passion for style that they regularly demonstrate for their Instagram followers. There’s a good chance that one or two of them could be exactly what your steez needs, regardless of your size. Hey, man, style is style.
This Calcutta resident, fashion blogger, and body positivity proponent started her website, A Curious Fancy, in 2010; which she refers to as “almost a lifetime ago in fashion years.” It features fashion photo spreads and posts about style trends and feminism. Recently, she’s also been writing about DIY and beauty. Rao is an excellent writer, as evidenced by the smart fashion pieces and personal essays she wrote for Rookie in 2013 and 2016, as well as her time writing the “Big Girl in a Skinny World” column for Marie Claire India. Her Instagram primarily features beautifully composed shots of her outfits (her style is vintage inspired), her food, and plants. Rao lets followers know where her clothes came from and often includes links to stories about them on her blog, which allow her fans to access additional images and information.
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Prepping to shoot early early in the morning tomorrow, and thinking of the last time I used to do that. I had so little to work with back then, a single eye pencil that doubled up for my brows, a bottle of foundation and a couple of lipsticks. I'd still rummage through my closest and put together outfits that looked cute. Then I'd go out with my tripod and shoot till the sun came up and the light was too bright for photos. Feels like another lifetime now. I'm glad I held on back then despite everything I went through that year, otherwise I'd never have gone on to experience all the wonderful things that came right after ❤
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#ABearNamedTroy for @youthearykhmer #OneLove collection 2017! ❤. . . . Check out @lolo_plusxo, @renee_waniolek, @positivelystylish, and yours truly in the latest edition of @curvymagazine! . . . 📸: @jstarlingphotog Styled by: @iiamalicia Creative Director: @raebee3 💄: @makeupbynesha 💇♂️: @iamveda
Solomon — style blogger, plus size model, and internet personality — describes himself as a “self-loving unicorn in a bear’s body.” He moved to Los Angeles directly after college graduation and found a home. He is a bit of a fixture, serving as a past ambassador for LA Gay Pride Week and hosting regular events in the area. He’s also kind of a big deal. In February, he served as an ASOS model for their first ever plus size collection for men, and he has joined TMZ’s tooFab, a fashion critique show, as a guest commentator. It’s not uncommon for his Instagram to include photos of him with plus size luminaries, like model Erica Jean and designer Ashley Nell Tipton. Solomon’s fashion is bold; he has purple hair, wears nail polish, has a sequined fanny pack, and never says “no” to a kimono.
More than all that, the man can pose. His Instagram is particularly great for people who aren’t looking to fit into the “mainstream.”
A Detroit designer and stylist, Spearman has an incredibly popular blog called The Big Fashion Guy, where he writes about grooming, menswear trends, fashion design, and health and fitness. He also gives a lot of advice to fellow big and tall men. His Instagram is entirely fashion shots that look like they were professionally produced or artfully arranged pics of laid out clothes. Because his interest is urban gentlemen’s clothing, there are a lot of suit jackets and snazzy hats, but he also presents jeans, tees, and shorts on occasion. He is an accessories wiz. We’re talking pins, cuff links, glasses, and fine watches. Many of the fashion posts on the blog link readers to the retailers who offer the clothes and accessories he wears, something that his Instagram does not. Followers looking to mimic his style have to navigate the web site.
Like the other people includes on this list, Misaki has a web site, it’s called simply Miyaki Fashion & Lifestyle, launched in 2014. Because she lives in Paris and speaks French, her website and her Instagram are completely in French, which means I had to use Google Translate a lot while perusing it. Still, it was worth the trouble. Misaki has quickly built a solid following, and has teamed up with brands like L’Oreal, Just Fab, and ASOS. Her style is quite flexible; she is as likely to draw from urban style as she is from avant garde. The snaps on her Instagram are often #OOTD, but there are also a lot of her shoes (the woman loves shoes), architecture, meals, and inspirational messages. The photography style ranges from mirror selfies to well composed fashion shots. The preponderance of casual photos makes her seem like a friend. A really, really stylish friend.
Ruddock hails from Toronto, where she is a fashion and beauty blogger. She has worked with Addition Elle and Pennington’s. In 2011, she created Full of Curves by Flaws of Couture, a fashion line designed to respond to the mainstream fashion industry’s dismissive attitude toward women with curves. She was looking to reclaim what other people saw as “flaws.” The clothes are streetwear inspired, with shirts that proclaim things like “Big Girls Won’t Text Back Either.,” windbreakers, and joggers. Often, the clothes appear in Ruddock’s Instagram focus on plus size models. In many cases, her photos are straight fashion shots, but there are also ones with her boyfriend or friends. It’s more casual than some of the people on the list, which makes her feel accessible and welcoming.
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Me judging your bad decisions like I didn't just try to text my ex "have you seen my favorite chapstick by your couch? I think I left it there last year." . . . . . . . . . 📸: @iam_espinosa #effyourbeautystandards #goldenconfidence #tcfstyle #celebratemystyle #psootd #ootd #plussize #hudabeauty #andigetdressed #plussizestyle
Jessica Torres is a stylist, body positive advocate, and plus-size blogger who resides in New York City (which gives her amazing backgrounds for her pics). She writes a lot of first person posts for Revelist, a mobile-first publication for millennial women. Most of them are about trying new things, like plus size fashion lines. In fact, she wore Full of Curves by Flaws of Couture for one article, which may be why I discovered a picture of her on Sasha Ruddock’s Instagram. Torres’ style varies, but frequently it leans toward youthful and trendy. Her Insta is full of bathing suits and lingerie, something many full-figured people shy away from.
Nino Llanera considers himself a big and tall fashion influencer, but he is a lot more than that. He is an actor, an after-show host for AfterBuzz TV, and a co-founder of The 5th Element Mag, where he writes about streetwear and pop culture. Born in the Philippines, he now lives in Los Angeles. He described his style as “urban street with a dash of Classic Man” in an interview. He finds his inspiration on the streets of New York and downtown LA, in addition to Instagram. Clothing is an expression of individuality for Llanera, who feels like others should use it to craft who they are. Urging them to love themselves, he hopes to inspire other large men to be confident in who they are. His Instagram was predominantly a casual personal endeavor, until March when he started posting a lot of fashion photos of himself. It promises to continue in that vein. Good.