Tags: Back to Basics, plus size designer fashion, plus size fashion, Style Syllabus

American WomanFace it: fashion favors the single digits. It doesn’t matter that the average woman is a size 14 or that nearly 2 in 3 American women are “plus”—and, of course, that real women have curves!—designers rarely acknowledge all of this when they put together their collections. The runways and fashion magazines have, and continue to be, dominated by size 0s and 2s.

So what’s the reason? Simple: 0s and 2s are the easiest silhouette to design for. The smallest and most physically stream-lined are a blank canvas, and the fashion is the central focus.

But just because you aren’t catwalking down a runway in Milan doesn’t mean you’ve got to throw in the towel on high fashion. It takes more work but, for those fashionistas who embrace the challenge, the rewards are perpetually stunning style.

Step one is simple: let your inner style shine through. There are those individuals who boldly express themselves through fashion wearing whatever they please, rules be damned—think Betsy Johnson and Patricia Fields. But for those of us who long to look like we just stepped off the pages of Vogue or emerge to a chorus of “who are you wearing?” it’s all about learning the fine art of interpretation and adaptation to make any look work for you.

It starts with the basics:

1. What’s Your Style?

Forget what’s in your closet, what’s “in” and what’s “out.” The style that will always work best for you is the one that’s most natural. You may crave haute couture, but if 6” heels make you cringe and ultra-structured jackets don’t rock your world, it doesn’t matter if it’s right on trend or the most coveted piece of the season. It will never work for you. Fashion icons create a look that defines them and they rarely stray too far. Think Jackie O or Grace Kelly. Their individual styles are so strong it’s synonymous with their names. Be your own stylista.

2. Know Your Limits

Fashion’s all about the edit. No matter how much you may love it there are certain looks that just aren’t going to work on your body. Leave them for those who wear them well and go big with styles that are made for you.

3. KISS! Keep it Simple (Stylista)

Walk before you run—and define your core signature style with key pieces, then build from there. No one does this better right now than Kate Middleton whose timeless elegance and accessible style is inspiring a whole new generation of girls big and small.

4. Don’t Be a Slave to Trends

Fashion is the ultimate form of self-expression. Women who play outside the lines have birthed some of fashion’s biggest trends. Think Katherine Hepburn, Madonna, Lady Gaga and even the Olsen twins. Look fabulous and no one will fault you.

5. REMEMBER: Fashion Isn’t About How You Look, It’s How You Feel

True fashion comes from within. The best look of all is the one that makes you feel on fire!

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