The women featured below are actresses, models, musicians and writers who don't fall within the straight-size range. They've proven to the world that style (and success) has no size limit. Read on to learn more and get inspired by these beloved plus-size fashion icons.
The British songstress is known for her retro fashion sensibilities. She favors fully feminine frocks with defined waists and full coverage on top. Adele is a great example of knowing what works and sticking with it. Her savvy style sense has landed her features in Glamour and Vogue.
#2 Denise Bidot
Denise Bidot is a body positive fashion model, influencer, and fitness enthusiast. You can catch her on Instagram doing yoga and HIIT workouts. She's also known for showing off the stretch marks from time to time. Her personal style is edgy, youthful, and sexy. Bidot is living proof you don't have to be twenty-one or a size 2 to be any of those things.
#3 Danielle Brooks
The Julliard-trained actress is best know for her role as "Taystee" on Netflix's Orange is the New Black. Brooks has gone through a quiet style evolution since she first hit the red carpet scene back in 2011. Her fashion sense even got her a collaboration deal with Universal Standard. Her current style involves bold colors, patterns, and body-con silhouettes. Brooks favors deep v-necks and empire waists.
#4 Lauren Chan
Chan is a plus-size model turned mogul. She's launching her highly anticipated fashion line, Henning, later this year. As a former fashion editor for Glamour, there's no doubt she'll kill it.
#5 Beth Ditto
The self-described "fat, feminist lesbian from Arkansas" hit the Hollywood scene in the early aughts and never left. She rose to fame as the powerhouse front-woman for the band Gossip. She also began a solo singing career and created her own plus-size fashion line. She has so many iconic fashion moments in her repertoire. Vogue did a feature on a few of her most famous outfits from 2006-2017. Beth Ditto has a sort of punk-adjacent style that's all grown up.
#6 Roxy Earle
Earle began her life in the spotlight when she signed on for The Real Housewives of Toronto. She became a body positive activist, founding the #mysizerox hashtag and developing a brand of straight and plus-size clothing. Her line is set to re-launch later this month. Like any good "housewife", she's very active on social media. Earle rocks the sexy trophy wife look. In her closet, you'll find a lot of animal prints, high heels, sequins, plunging necklines, and body-con silhouettes.
#7 Ashley Graham
One of the most famous plus-size models in the world, Graham has worked for fashion houses like Michael Kors and Dolce & Gabbana. Like so many of the fabulous ladies on this list, she's a multi-hypenate mogul too. She's got a podcast called "Pretty Big Deal". Graham also serves as an executive producer for the reality series American Beauty Star. All in, she's a pretty big deal herself.
#8 Sabina Karlsson
Karlsson is a Swedish model who has was featured in the pages of Vogue and Cosmopolitan as a minor. She started her career as a straight-size model, but struggled to fit into samples sizes once she became an adult. So, at just 18, she transitioned to the plus-size modeling world in order to maintain her natural weight. Her plus-size career has proved even more lucrative, with her walking runways for Michael Kors, Christian Siriano, and Chromat.
#9 Queen Latifah
The Queen needs no introduction. She's mastered nearly every art form from rapping to acting to songwriting to producing. Latifah currently serves as an executive producer for several projects including MTV's Scream: Renaissance series. As someone who's been in the industry for thirty years, it's clear she paved the way for a lot of the women on this list.
#10 Iskra Lawrence
The British plus-size model has a fun, youthful style that's all her own. Her casual, laid back vibe is more L.A. than London, which suits her lifestyle. She's frequently photographed in a bikini. Most recently, she's on the cover of Glamour Digital. Inside, she advocates for diversity in fashion while promoting her campaign for Aerie.
Lizzo is my religion. Let her fearless fashion and unmatched vocal range take you to church.
#12 Melissa mccarthy
From her star-making turn in Bridesmaids to her Oscar-nominated performance in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, McCarthy is already a Hollywood legend. Yes, I know she was actually nominated for an Academy Award for both roles. That's why she's a legend! And she's really come into her own on the style front, with glamorous and effortlessly chic looks like the one pictured above.
#13 Chrissy Metz
Known for her role as Kate on NBC's This Is Us, Metz favors Old Hollywood Glamour when it comes to fashion. She's a big fan of sequins, bows, jewel tones, draping, and large patterns. Like many fair-skinned women, she's a "winter". She knows what works for her and employs it regularly. Keep those jewel tone, empire-waist dresses coming, they do good by you Chrissy!
#14 Natalie Nootenboom
Curve Model Natalie Nottenboom took the fashion world by storm at the age of 16 when she was signed to the NYC agency Muse. She was the first plus-size model to walk for Anna Sui. At only 18, she's shared runway gigs with the world's most-booked models, like Gigi Hadid and Taylor Hill. Nottenboom has appeared in campaigns for Forever 21 and Volcom.
#15 Marie Southard Ospina
The freelance writer and fat-acceptance activist has a unique personal style. Like several women on this list, she's working to de-stigmatize cultural beauty standards. You might've ready something from her on Refinery29 or caught an appearance of hers on The Today Show. Her fashion sense is fun and feminine with a rockabilly edge.
#16 Natasha Rothwell
Rothwell is a fantastic writer and actress. She plays the hilarious "Kelli" on HBO's Insecure. If you haven't seen the episode where the girls go to Coachella, do yourself a favor and check it out. Ms. Rothwell is the gift we don't deserve. On top of her amazing acting skills, she writes for Insecure. She also served as a writer for NBC's Saturday Night Live for two years. When it comes to getting dressed, she prefers classic looks in solid colors. When she goes for a print, it's a staple--think stripes or florals.
#17 Amber Riley
Riley gained household-name status when she portrayed "Mercedes" on Fox's Glee. Since then, she's grown up with sophisticated style to match. She favors a fit-and-flare silhouette for most of her looks. In other words, she prefers structure at the top, a defined waist, and an a-line skirt.
#18 Jill Scott
Another plus-size style icon who needs no introduction, songstress Jill Scott's style philosophy seems to be "go big or go home". The woman has range. She can wear everything from a leopard caftan to a country-club twinset to leather pants to a tweed suit.
#19 Diana Sirokai
London-based curve model Diana Sirokai made headlines when she recreated Gigi Hadid's nude shoot for Stuart Weitzman. As such a stunt might suggest, Sirokai's personal style is sexy with a side of sexy. The glamour gal is currently an ambassador for the fast-fashion retailer Fashion Nova.
#20 Allison Teng
The Curvy Girl Chic founder regularly serves up plus-size fashion inspiration on her blog. Her personal style is feminine, trendy, and Instagram-friendly. Her love of floral prints, dresses, and color has made her a style star.
#21 SaucyE West
Like several other plus-size models on this list, West uses her platform to promote fat acceptance. In 2017, she created the #fatandfree hashtag campaign, encouraging participants to shed their internalized fatphobia.
#22 Oprah Winfrey
Oprah has a singular influence on our culture. She's known as a media personality, a billionaire, and a philanthropist. One thing that gets glossed over? Her solid fashion choices. Oprah consistently turns out classic looks, from a burgundy lace gown to that body-skimming black Versace she wore to pick up her Cecil B. Demille award. Whoever manages Oprah's bust situation deserves an award too. Ms. Winfrey is always locked and loaded. I've also been loving the bold glasses she's been sporting the past few years.
Did I leave your favorite plus-size style star out? Let me know! And if you're still looking for my plus-size style inspiration, might I suggest this post on where to shop for work clothes?
Note: all images sourced via Google Images
As a married Mom in my thirties, I am far outside the target demo for the black-ish spin-off on Freefrom, grown-ish. Yet, I find myself delighted by the acting and even more captivated with the clothing on the show. It's not an accident. Grown-ish's wardrobe stylist is a veritable legend. Michelle R. Cole was also the costume designer on In Living Color, and you can see her gift for bringing bold, declarative, yet wearable looks on screen has only become stronger over her many years in the industry. Every time I watch an episode, I sense a master at work.
While all of the characters on grown-ish have covetable wardrobes, Zoey Johnson, played by Yara Shahidi, the show’s star, has a distinctly fashion forward, youthful, and modest approach to fashion that is a joy to watch.
One of the things I appreciate about Zoey's wardrobe is the way high end brands are effortlessly mixed in with pieces from Zara and Target. It’s a realistic approach to fashion that makes her closet a great point of inspiration. If you read my previous post on how to emulate celebrity looks, we’re following a similar process here.
Look #1: Striped Sweater and Ruffle Pants
Image Credit: As Worn on TV
We’ll start with this striped sweater and ruffled pants outfit. One of my favorite sites, Worn on TV, is a great resource if you’ve seen something on screen you’d like to buy. I’ve scoured my favorite sites for similar pieces you can shop below. If you're after a toned down version of this look, a black and white striped tee, tan chinos, and white Chuck Taylors will work perfectly.
Trouve Vertical Stripe Sweater, $79
Urban Originals Vegan Leather Backpack, $88
C/MEO Collective Sweet Step Pants, $150
Karine Sultan Linear Earrings, $45
Adidas Gazelle Sneakers, $89.95
Look #2: Plaid Blazer and Velvet Cami
All Screen-grab Image Credits: As Worn on TV
Most people would see that cami and think of pairing it with dark skinny jeans and stilettos for a night out. That's why I love this show for inspiration. It turns a party top into daywear by adding a plaid jacket and white pants. Genius!
Paige Velvet Camisole, $188
JAG Cropped White Jeans, $74
Treasure & Bond Layered Disc Necklace, $29
Ettika Drop Earrings, $30
Look #3: Unique Pantsuit with a Graphic Tee
I've written about different ways to style a pantsuit before. Here is yet another fun option: wearing a graphic tee under your jacket. Follow Zoey's lead and get a suit in a fun texture and/or unique color.
Bravado Lady Gaga Tee, $38
Madewell Shapes Statement Earrings, $28
Special Edition Fitbit, $149.95
Look #4: Faux Fur Jacket and Miniskirt
This outfit in particular provides a great example of pattern mixing. The bold, geometric stripes of the coat are balanced by the soft, floral pattern of the blouse. If you're timid about pattern mixing, stripes and florals are always a safe option.
Love Token Color-blocked Coat, $150.50
BP Crop Floral Sweatshirt, $45
Siren Denim Pencil Skirt, $149
Aqua Freedom Whisper Hoops, $24
Look #5: Striped Sweater and Floral Button Down
Again, we see the mixing of stripes in florals in one of Zoey's gorgeous outfits. This preppier ensemble is pulled together with prints that share a similar color story.
Joie Striped Sweater (Exact Match), $79.97
Equipment Essential Floral Silk Shirt, $166.80
Topshop Mom Jeans, $70
Argento Vivo Extra Large Hoops, $65
You may have noticed I only linked one pair of shoes. This is because Zoey Johnson is shown primarily wearing sneakers. A pair of classic, neutral sneakers like the Gazelles above, a pair of Supergas or Chuck Taylors will pair wonderfully with any of these outfits. Zoey Johnson may be the Carrie Bradshaw of her generation, and I am beyond thrilled that she's traded her Manolos for a pair of Adidas.
Start with Inspiration
While I don't advocate for copying your entire wardrobe based off a celebrity, television character, or influencer, it can be a fun way to step out of your fashion comfort zone. If you've come across an outfit you'd love to try, save that pic and let's get started. For this post, we'll use the example below--a street wear photo of Jessica Alba at NYFW in Spring of 2017.
Jessica Alba, Attending NYFW. Photo Credit: E! News Online
Shop Searchable Sites
From the above photo, we can see she's wearing a pink trench coat, white crew neck top, navy flares, and a small metallic bag. She is also wearing gold earrings. While we can't see the entire shoe, other photos indicate she is wearing some type of brown platform. I've linked both a sandal and boot option below.
To recreate any look, I recommend online research first--even if you plan to visit the stores in person. Do a little retail investigation to ensure the stores you visit have similar items in stock. Sites like Nordstrom and Bloomingdales have great search engines so typing in "pink trench" gets you immediate results.
For this example, I've found similar pieces from Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, and Shopbop. You can find them at the bottom of this post. Of course, you can use this inspiration and research method at any retailer. Target, Marshalls, and Zara are great options for shopping on a budget.
Stay Realistic and Open
Wearing Jessica Alba's jacket won't suddenly turn you into another Hollywood Actress-turned-CEO. Keep in mind the quality of the garments, your body type, and retail availability mean there will naturally be a variance to the look you create and the one spotted on your favorite blogger or actress. This can be a good thing too--it allows you to customize the look for your body and lifestyle.
For instance, if a client with a large chest wanted to recreate this look, I would put her in a scoop neck tee instead of the crew neck pictured. If styling myself, I would opt for a shorter version of the trench to better suit my petite frame. There are ways to adjust your inspiration for any body type. After all, fashion is supposed to be fun!
Get the Look
Finders Trench, On Sale for $124.95
C by Bloomingdales Cashmere Sweater, On Sale for $82.80
Veronica Beard Flare Pants, $375
Linea Paolo T-Strap Platform Sandal, On Sale for $83.90
Jessica Simpson Platform Bootie, On Sale for $83.37
Tory Burch McGraw Crossbody Bag, $298
Cloverpost Earrings, $75
I'm Jaquelyn Wahidi. I'm a personal fashion stylist, writer, and entrepreneur in San Diego. I help women organize their closets, define their style, and shop with intention. My style blog features practical fashion advice for women everywhere. Addicted to blazers since 2004.