GarnerStyle has been a staple in the plus-size fashion community for years. The blog has filled the void for those who are small on top, pear-shaped, and larger than the “small fat” that is still touted as the only acceptable vision of a larger body. Chastity Garner Valentine has also been a very successful, visible Black woman in a time where smaller-sized white women still dominate the conversation and the camera’s eye.
Formerly The Curvy Girl’s Guide To Style, Garner Valentine has brought her sweet, Southern-by-way-of-Georgia, tailored-yet-feminine style to the masses through the blog that has been around for as long as anyone I know can remember. Originally starting as space to give complimentary style advice, Garner Valentine has provided a space that is truly representative of the diversity of bodies in the plus size community.
Name: Chastity Garner Valentine
Location: San Jose, California
Hometown: Brunswick, Georgia
Where can we find you on the web? Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as well as my website.
WYV: How do you describe your style? What informs it?
Chastity Garner Valentine: I’ve always described it as classic with a twist. My fashion is informed by influential well-dressed women like Solange Knowles and Anna Wintour, on screen influences like Gossip Girl, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Devil Wears Prada and Mahagony, and my surroundings. I love bold prints and I’m always partial to jewel tones. As a teen, it was a nightmare finding clothes and loving fashion! I wore men’s clothing most of my high school career.
WYV: What inspired you to start your blog?
CGV: I started the blog because I wanted to be a stylist and work in fashion. I thought the blog would be a great way to offer great complimentary advice.
WYV: Who are your three top StyleCrushes? What attracts you to their style?
CGV: Michelle Obama for her classic, tailored looks, Rihanna for her daring and sporty aesthetic and Solange Knowles, who is willing to take a chance for art.
WYV: Where do you shop? What are your favorite brands/designers?
CGV: I’m an avid online shopper. I love shopping brands like Asos, Jibri, Eloquii and Demestiks. I love tailoring above anything else. A great fitting design is king when it comes to personal style. JIBRI & Demestiks, because they are indie, will give you the option to have custom designs.
WYV: How does the fashion of your current location differ from other places that you have lived? What have you brought with you to the Bay Area and what have you integrated into your style since moving here?
CGV: The Bay Area is extremely relaxed. I live in a community of engineers who have that “roll out of bed” mentality. It’s really relaxed, and I have become more relaxed in my style of dress than I used to be. When I lived in Atlanta, people dressed to the nines. Regardless of where I live, I will always have nicely tailored clothing … relaxed or not.
WYV: How does body positivity differ here in the Bay than other places that you have lived?
CGV: Californians, in general, are just a lot more liberal in their ways of thinking. I think in California people want people to be themselves and comfortable with themselves (maybe minus L.A. HA!). L.A. is a different vibe because of the entertainment industry.
WYV: How do you wear your voice?
CGV: I wear my voice by wearing what I love, regardless as to what others think I should be wearing. Wearing what you love, flattering or not, is an act of defiance.