Fri | Dec 15, 2017

Tessenie Mowatt: Fluffy & Fine

Published:Sunday | September 10, 2017 | 12:00 AM
This swimsuit is one of my favourites. I love the colours and how well they compliment my skin tone. The amazing thing about this swimsuit is, I can throw on a pair of jeans and wear it as a bodysuit.
This bold jumpsuit is a statement on its own. However, I chose to add a belt to accentuate my waist. I kept my accessories gold, in keeping with the feel of the jumpsuit, and finished off with a bold red lipstick.
This lime, green dress by Christian Omeshun (an independent designer from Atlanta, Georgia) is perfect for making a statement without doing too much. The frills on the bust enhanced my curves, and I chose to add pink pumps for more drama.
I love denim. You can dress it up or down. Once you find a good pair of jeans, it's like you have won the fashion lottery because you can do so much with denim. The pink shoes add a pop of colour and show off my personality.
This denim dress made me feel ‘Gone with the Wind’ fabulous. It is so flirty and girly! I added my denim sandals to complete the ‘denim on denim’ look
Mowatt pulled down the striped button-down shirt off her shoulders to add a more trendy and casual feel to the look. “I added the denim mini-skirt because it worked well with the look I was going for.”
This floral hi-lo dress is easy to wear – perfect for a wedding or any semi-formal event. “I love sweetheart necklines because I think they accentuate my neck while creating the perfect cleavage. I completed the look by adding black, minimalist sandals.”
I love statement T-shirts. This leopard print pants and black statement T-shirt is the perfect way to make a statement without having to say a word. This T-shirt says ‘Issa Fat Girl’, which is a cheeky way to reclaim a word that is still being used as an insult towards plus-size women.
I have fallen in love with crop tops. It is so freeing to be able to wear an item of clothing which was once geared towards one body type. As plus-size women, we can wear sexy 'skinny' styles in classy and tasteful ways that show off our bodies.
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Tessenie Mowatt knows what it's like to have body parts you want to hide. But now, she has learnt how to make those 'flaws' beautiful and stylish and has evolved into a confident woman.

The 30-year-old Jamaica-born who now lives in Canada, is a plus-size model and entrepreneur, and has always been fat, plus-size, full-figure, fluffy, a thick madame - and all the names used for women her size. But while many women struggle to find confidence in their wardrobes, Mowatt has used her love for self to transform her bulges into beautiful works of art.

"I started loving my body when I realised that I couldn't base self-love off other people's perception as they, too, may be

experiencing the same negative relationships with their bodies or societal standards that constantly changes. I had to find self-love, so that I could develop a solid foundation for my journey as a woman of substance who had more than her physical features to offer to the world," she told Outlook.

Reflecting on her younger years growing up in Jamaica, Mowatt remembers her discomfort in shopping for clothes. "The challenge to find my size would constantly remind me of how big I was. In most cases, I was reduced to wearing my parents' hand-me-downs. I barely had friends, I hardly participated in any social activities, and tried very hard to stay away from events that required me to go shopping. The disappointment that came with not finding something I liked in my size was gruelling," she shared.

On most occasions, Mowatt would find herselfbuying fabric and taking it to a local seamstress to have them recreate an outfit she loved. Admittingly, half the time the finish product was just as disappointing, and never looked like the outfit she saw on the mannequins.

 

A FASHION MOGUL

 

A lover of fashion for as long as she could remember, Mowatt decided to be the change the 'fat' community needed.

"My mother, who is an avid reader, introduced me to what has become some of my favourite magazines. Even though I barely saw any representation of myself in these magazines, I used to enjoy seeing celebrities in different types of outfits. Each celebrity wore an outfit that reflected their personality, and their confidence spoke volumes," she explained.

It was then that Mowatt realised that there was some truth in the phrase 'when you look good, you feel good'. Soon after, she saw the need for women who looked like her, stepped out of her comfort zone and fell in love with modelling.

Now, Mowatt gets to do what she loves while inspiring other plus-size women.

"Each time I get an email from a woman saying that I inspire her, I remember how I felt reading my favourite magazines and not being able to relate to any of the models on the pages it was like something was missing. Therefore I love that I can be that 'missing piece' to a plus-size woman or plus-size girl," she said.

 

DRESSING THE CURVES

 

Since the rise in plus-size fashion, Mowatt now enjoys styling herself outside of the runway and shopping has become one of her favourite hobbies.

" I choose outfits based on my mood. My closet ranges from bright colours and bold prints to neutrals and classic silhouettes. It can still be difficult to find clothing to fit my body, but with the help of plus-size fashion designers and retailers, my options have significantly increased," she explained.

There is one simple rule Mowatt stands by in order to style her curves - "start styling with staple pieces, such as a good pair of jeans." According to the fashionista, you can dress up or down a good pair of jeans based on what you wear with it. Accessories are a great and affordable way to bring your outfit to another level.

"You can wear a basic black dress with a belt and a pair of flats and it's perfect for a casual outing, and then switch into a statement necklace and a sexy pair of heels and you are ready to slay at the next formal event," she explained to Outlook. "If you are struggling with your journey to self-love, it is important that you find pieces that fit your body well and make you feel good. Remember that your body is not a trend, therefore, do not focus on what is popular. Rather, you should always focus on shopping for pieces that are affordable, versatile and fit your body well."