Big, bold & beautiful
'One day, I decided that I was beautiful, and so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl. I wear colours that I really like, I wear make-up that makes me feel pretty, and it really helps. It doesn't have anything to do with how the world perceives you. What matters is what you see.' - Academy Award nominee, Gabrielle Sidibe
In the real world, not every woman is a size 2 or even a size 6. If you ask some full-figure women, they shun the notion that they are in fact 'plus size' when in actuality they are just 'real'.
The plus-size world is described from sizes 12 to 24 and is by no means looked on as negative, now with celebrities such as Kate Upton in the plus-size category and campaigns such as Dove's 'Love Yourself' and Special K's 'More than a Number' pushing ads that healthy over thin is in and that you should love yourself, no matter your size.
Academy Award-nominee actress/writer/ producer Melissa McCarthy, who grew tired of being denied designer duds for the red carpet because of her weight, is soon to launch her own plus-size line, in collaboration with Daniella Pearl.
Margaret Nelson-Brown, affectionately known as Ms Nelson to her loyal customers and friends, is the owner and managing director of Fashion Statement Boutique in Mandeville and describes her boutique as the place where the full-size woman can feel comfortable shopping and find unique quality pieces for special events. The boutique features pieces from Tahari, Adrianna Pappel, Casper, Jessica Howard, Studio One, and many more quality brands.
She told Outlook: "As a full-size woman myself, I am very empathetic to the full-figure buyers, because I understand their struggles. It was not very easy to walk in a store and buy quality pieces if you weren't a size four or six. I believe that, no matter your size, you can look fashionable and tasteful. On my trips to New York I would see plus-sized women dressed so impeccably and I saw that there was a need for fine women's clothing in Jamaica.
"In 2000, I opened the store and began
selling plus-size clothing to women all over Jamaica, and my client base
has grown tremendously, with clients who trust my selections for them."
Offering personal shopping for her clients, Nelson-Brown told
Outlook: "If I don't have something in the store for
them, I source it for them, and I try not to buy more than one or two of
"Though I carry women's sizes from 14 and
up, on the flip side, smaller women would come in and say that I only
carry big sizes and they loved the quality pieces that I carry. So now I
carry also from size 0 and up."
Nelson-Brown is also
known for her philanthropic efforts within the community. She tells
Outlook that "I'm a sympathetic person, and if I'm in
a position to help the less fortunate, it is my right as a good
Christian woman to help them. I have one biological child. Her name is
Doneth and she lives overseas. But I have raised about 20 children out
of my home over the years. Some are family members and some are friends
of family. It gives me great joy to help others, and I love to see when
we help each other."
Know your body type: Follow the guidelines that
experts have laid out over the years to highlight your assets and
camouflage your flaws. For example, if you have a rectangular shape,
then you will want to wear clothes that give your body some shape and
Don't chase trends: This
goes for women of all shapes and sizes. Not because something is
on-trend it means you should wear it. Choose pieces that work with your
body and will stand the test of time.
Emphasise your assets: Highlight your best features.
If you have a nice décolletage, then highlight it, but be aware that the
fine line of looking tacky and sexy is fine, so be careful you don't
cross it. If you have shapely legs, then wear skirts that feature
Choose colour: When a woman
has gained a little weight, she is sometimes tempted to wear black to
hide the weight. Though black is a timeless classic, it is a good idea
to wear colour and prints to add vibrancy in your
Invest in good
shapewear: Spanx is your best friend, and you should invest in
many colours and styles for various outfits.
Know your measurements: You will not always fit into
one size. Sometimes one designer's size 16 is really a 12, so it is best
to know your measurements to aid in shopping online, and, in fact, it
is advisable to get your clothes altered by a tailor or seamstress for
the perfect fit.
Have fun! Embrace your body, love
yourself and know that looking good and feeling good starts from the
inside. It starts and ends with your heart and your mind. Get those good
and everything falls into
Photos by Bunny