Inner Beauty, Personal Style, Power Figures

Plus-Size Style Inspiration from Body Advocate Alissa Wilson

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We first met Alissa Wilson at Bare Necessities back in February when she stopped by to cover the launch of Ashley Graham’s lingerie collection, and we were instantly smitten kittens. Undaunted by the slush and cold, she turned up in red suede heels and leather pants. Personal style? Check. Knowing thyself? Check. Confidence, chutzpah and charisma? Triple-check. 

Alissa is the founding editor and editor-in-chief of Stylish Curves, a blog that aims every day to “bridge the gap between straight and plus sizes by showing plus-size curvy women that they can dress just a fabulous as straight-size women do. We live in a world that wants plus-size women to be unhappy with their bodies, and Stylish Curves believes that every woman should learn to appreciate and love their bodies no matter their size.” Um, yes.

Alissa always dreamed of a career as a fashion writer and, as a plus-size woman, she knows how hard it can be for anyone north of a size 14 to find chic clothing. Initially, she started the blog as a shopping resource to help others see where they could get the latest trends and celebrity styles in their size. “I’m happy with my body,” she has said. “It’s others who are not.” With a background in finance and retail, she’s uniquely positioned to make heads or tails of the fashion industry which, at times, can be confoundingly slow to stay in step with reality. That’s why she’s worked on branding campaigns with JCPenney and gotten noticed by Essence, Glamour…and Bare Necessities.

Alissa Wilson, Editor in Chief, StylishCurves.com

Q: Tell us about yourself.
A: I’m a fashion blogger from Brooklyn. My blog is about giving plus-size women confidence by showing them how to dress their shape and where to shop, as well as celebrity style and body-positive articles. I started blogging over 6 years ago after seeing a mommy blogger on The Oprah Winfrey Show talking about how she made a living writing about her experience as a mother. I thought I could do the same with fashion. My dream has come true.

Q: What’s your mission? 
A: To empower young girls and women by teaching them how to gain self-confidence with fashion.

Q: What motivates you?
A: I’m motivated by my family because they root for me every day to take what I’m doing to the next level. I’m motivated by my readers and the discrimination plus-size women receive. I like to challenge people and show them a different side of us.

Q: What developments in the fashion industry are you happy to see?
A: Fashion is slowly but surely changing. The fact that more plus-size models are included in major runway shows helps open the door for more designers to extend their sizes, and it also allows young girls who are not thin to see a positive image of themselves.

Q: Where are the biggest opportunities for improvement in the industry? The biggest challenges?
A: The biggest opportunities for improvement in the industry are size and race diversity. We need to see more women of color, and we need to see a greater range of sizes. The biggest challenge is getting the leading players in fashion to see that diversity is actually the key to growth.

Q: What are you most passionate about (in work or, more broadly, in life)?
A: I’m passionate about uplifting women. It is one of my life’s goals to help women see their worth. My blog is just one platform to do that.

Q: What’s a typical day like?
A: I drop my son off to school in the morning, grab a coffee from my favorite deli, then sit in my home office writing articles, negotiating contracts with different brands, and working with my web developer on the site. After a few hours, I watch Joel Osteen to get a spiritual boost for the day. Then I check emails, make calls and go pick up my son. I help him with his homework, then start dinner. After my son goes to bed, I catch up on YouTube videos, answer reader comments and plan the next day. Before bed, I sip a cup of chai and watch television.

Q: How do you find balance?
A: By writing everything down. I keep a calendar for blogging stuff and a calendar for personal stuff, and I create daily to-do lists that help me stay on track.

Q: What would you tell someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
A: Find what it is you’re passionate about, then create a plan to make that passion your job. Whatever it is you want to do in life, make sure you research it and become the best you can be at it. N
ever do anything for fame. It will not fulfill you. Most people who want to blog want to do it for the notoriety and the free stuff. The amount of work that goes into it isn’t worth it, so you really need to love it.

Q: What was your biggest takeaway from the day you spent with Bare Necessities and Ashley Graham?
A: I learned how passionate Ashley is about not only being a model but building an empire. It was inspiring.

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO ALISSA

Wardrobe staples: Moto jacket, tie-neck blouse, pointed-toe leopard pumps, oversized watch and statement earrings.
Style signature: A bold lip and high heels make me feel like I can take on anything.
Fashion icon: I have favorite movies where the styling made an impression on me. I loved Rene Russo’s wardrobe in The Thomas Crown Affair. I loved Michelle Pfeiffer’s look in Scarface, and I was obsessed with Sharon Stone in Casino.
Favorite styling tip: Pushing up the sleeves on my tops and jackets.
Personal mantra: I must do what I have to do in order to do what I want to do.
Proudest moment: Doing a segment on Good Morning America was my “Momma, I made it!” moment.
Fear you’re trying to overcome: Sleeping in the dark. Yes, I am grown, and I hate sleeping with all the lights out. I leave the TV on at night.
Long-term goal: Building a fashion empire that includes clothing, a boutique and television.
The perfect day must contain: a large cup of coffee.
Latest hobby: Writing poetry
Favorite vacation destination: Milan
Greatest extravagance: A pair of Jimmy Choo shoes
Biggest mistake: Doubting myself
In a
 word: Ambitious

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Brooke Glassberg
Brooke is the editor of this here blog. In a previous life, she was an editor at Good Housekeeping and O, The Oprah Magazine. Brooke has written for Glamour, Travel+Leisure, New York Magazine and more. She’s into concerts, calligraphy, travel and her exceptionally adorable daughter and husband.
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