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Astra of Funky Chunkyy, with style

Developing your style can be tricky, but with the right resources and a bit of experimentation, you can find what works best for you. Even on a budget.

It’s stressful being in a big body and trying to keep up with trends when you haven’t yet found your core style. Is it boho? Is it preppy? Is it classic minimalist? Have you even had enough access to clothing as a bigger-bodied person to find out?

It’s even more stressful when you don’t have a lot of money to play with. Developing your style can be really tricky, but with the right resources and a bit of experimentation, you can find what works best for you. Start simple and build out. One of the best ways to start is with a simple “capsule wardrobe” that includes your favorite existing pieces, and pick up a few more with the help of these tips.

1. Keep It Minimal

As you’re starting out, keep it minimal. That’s not to say that you have to keep it simple if you love loud prints, textures and accessories. However, when you are limited to, say, 10 pieces in your wardrobe, you have to be able to remix them in a fresh way often enough that it isn’t obvious you are wearing the same outfits every week. Establish a “capsule wardrobe” that you can trust to get you through your daily needs.

You can add flashy pieces as you go, but they are harder to “recycle” and wear frequently, as they are more noticeable. Minimalism doesn’t have to be boring, either. If you’re looking for celebrity inspiration, think Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, Iman, David and Victoria Beckham, Common, Zoe Saldana, Chrissy Tiegen and Kristen Stewart. While we may not be able side with some of their politics or problematic behaviors, each celeb is a strong example of minimalist style in action.

ASOS Curve/Plus, Boohoo, Rebdolls, Eloquii, Karmakoma and Babooshka are fantastic sources for fashion staples.

2. Spend Money on Staples and Thrift Everything That You Can

When or if you have the money to spend on items that will be daily wear, or timeless pieces (like a pair of black trousers, a black or neutral sheath, a great sweater or jacket) and go for fabrics that hold up over time like wool, cashmere, a strong cotton blend, modal (bamboo) and hemp.

Thrift everything you can, especially your fun statement pieces! Make sure that the items won’t pill (those little rolled up balls of fabric) and that they’re not damaged in other ways when you purchase them. Not only is thrifting cost-effective and a great way to boost your wardrobe, it also recycles clothing that might otherwise be wasted. And it lowers your carbon footprint!

Although the below look is anything but minimal, Astra of Funky Chunkyy shows us how to work amazing thrifted pieces. In fact, her fashion ethos revolves entirely around “thrifted and gifted.” Follow her for incredible looks and ideas!

3. Accessorize (Makeup Included!) to Maximize a Minimal Wardrobe

A great way to make a classic piece trendy is to pair it with the right makeup, hair and accessories. You can remix the same LBD a million times to keep with the current trends and make it day-, dinner- and club-appropriate.

A great way to sample makeup trends inexpensively is through brands like ColourPop, NYX and the generic Sephora and Ulta lines. Thrift for bags, scarves and jewelry to save money and reduce your carbon footprint. Avoid shopping at bargain stores, which more than likely have a higher environmental impact.

4. Choose Timeless Fashion Over Trends

Certain things will always be above trends and just plain stylish: a little black dress, a perfectly fitting pair of jeans (preferably dark denim), black trousers, a crisp white blouse, a classic pea coat, black leather wingtips, a fitted white or black t-shirt, the perfect black pump, a denim jacket, a great pair of boots. These are all timeless classics that will not age poorly. Even a plain black jumpsuit has earned a place in the classic closet, as jumpsuits wear as easily as a dress but give you the power and comfort of pants.

As you build your wardrobe, focus on getting well-constructed classics that you punctuate with trendier pieces like rompers, brightly colored ankle boots, anything that screams 1994 and other bold pieces that are currently in vogue.

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5. Follow Bloggers For Inspiration!

You have a whole world of knowledge and perspective at your fingertips. There are tons of bloggers out there that are absolutely killin’ it and writing about how to get their look. In fact, quite a few of them write from a budget perspective, which is perfect for beginners.

If you need fashion inspiration, check out our weekly StyleCrushes as a great starting point for getting to know different styles and perspectives.

6. It’s Time To Reinterpret “Dress For The Body You Have.”

Fatphobic fashionistas like to say, “dress for the body you have” in order to shame fat shoppers into buying the same boring shit over and over and feeling awful about their bodies. It’s time to put a body-positive spin on it: dress for the body you have should mean that you don’t wait for weight loss in order to wear a trend or cut that you love.

If you see something you love, put it on your body. If it makes you happy, wear it. The true key to style is confidence and creativity. There are no rules — and if it turns out you don’t like something you’ve purchased, it’s not the end of the world. You can return it, resell it or give it away to someone who loves it.

Start wearing what you love and stop living by other people’s rules.



Laurel Dickman is an intersectional feminist, plus size model, stylist, and fat activist that can also be found via her blogs, Exile In Dietville and 2 Broke Bitches. She grew up in the south between Florida and North Carolina, migrating to the Portland, OR in 2005. All three places inform her perspective of the world around her a great deal. While in Portland, she worked with the Alley 33 Annual Fashion Show, PudgePDX, PDX Fatshion, Plumplandia, and numerous other projects over the near decade that she was there. In August of 2014, she moved to the Bay area with her partner, David and trusty kitty, Dorian Gray. She continues her body positive and intersectional feminism through various forms of activism, fashion, photography projects, and writing from her home in the East Bay. She can be reached at laurel@wyvmag.com and encourages readers to reach out to her to collaborate!

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