I’m a Plus-Size Model Who Wears What I Want, When I Want
For as long as I can remember, I have loved fashion. I would always watch my mum getting ready to go out, totally fascinated by her and the creative way she would put outfits together. Even at a young age, I knew she was incredibly stylish. During my formative teenage years, I would always ask to borrow my mum’s clothes from the ‘80s and at only 11 years old I had already decided that my ambition in life was to become a fashion designer in order to make my own creations. I simply adored clothes but as I travelled through the secondary school system, disordered eating put paid to that passion and my dream of pursuing a career in the industry started to fizzle out. I struggled to accept my body and did not like the way I looked in clothes—putting on any outfit, it didn’t matter what, made me feel terrible.
On Nyome: Monki jumpsuit, Primark sunglasses, Prada bag, Birkenstock sandals
Societal pressures and long-established ideals cemented the negative views I had around my weight and I battled to appreciate what I had. When clothes simply wouldn’t “fit” in the way I needed them to, it was yet another blow and I would dress to conceal and hide instead. There are lessons or old-fashion style tips that I still have to actively un-learn today: Wearing black is slimming! Choosing vertical stripes rather than horizontal ones is more “flattering”! Cellulite should not be seen! This kind of subtle but pervasive conditioning isn’t based in truth and it’s very easy for it to rear its ugly head, but my relationship with fashion has changed over the past few years since I started modelling and worked hard to overcome my disordered eating.
On Nyome: ASOS top, trousers and sunglasses, Burberry bag, adidas trainers, Nirvana Wild necklace, Hoops and Chains London necklaces, Tessa Metcalfe ring, Missoma ring and Etsy ring.
So now, when I wear an outfit—any outfit—that in itself is a statement and middle finger to the outdated view of what women of a certain size or body shape should or shouldn’t be seen in. It’s other people who might not be comfortable with my choices, not me. So I’ll confidently wear crop tops, dresses that hug my belly or hemlines that show my legs or big, round bottom. I want to walk into a room and be recognised first for my personality and then for my outfit!
On Nyome: Monki playsuit, Diesel bag, Converse trainers, Image Gang earrings
Perhaps because of the lack of fashion options available to me in my youth, my personal style is more closely tied to my hair. I shaved it off in 2022 because I changed my hairstyles a lot and I always have since the age of 16, I also wanted to make a statement and push against the norm. As a Black woman, I see my hair as my crown—the perfect finishing touch to top off any look. In fact, it often acts as the starting point for my style direction, and that’s why I often change the colour of my hair. I feel compelled to switch it up to the colour that is calling to me, and a lot of the time that completely clashes with my wardrobe—a fashion tactic that resonates with me.
As a ‘90s child whose mum dressed them in the loudest colours and patterns, it’s no surprise that I lean towards mismatched and bold combinations today. You could call my aesthetic dopamine dressing, although I’d argue I was blazing that trail well before it became a hashtag on social media. Every day my mood influences what I wear and vice versa—I know that I can be boosted by a well-chosen outfit.
I’m between a size 18, 20 and 22, so I find shopping on the high street a frustrating and limiting experience. Before I began modelling in early 2017 there were even less trendy options for plus-size women and although the range is starting to improve, I’ve never been one for following fashion trends anyway which is what lower-priced clothing revolves around. I tend to find my best pieces online or in charity shops, and I do my best to shop as sustainable as I can—I’ll never buy an outfit I can’t re-wear or re-style. Comfortable shoes are my go-to (Prada loafers are elite but a good adidas or Converse pair of trainers do nicely) I have a big love for bags, and I’m now fortunate enough to own a pretty great collection of designer styles—each one means something to me as I have bought them as a gift to myself after accomplishing something major. A Prada re-edition leather bag is a great everyday choice; my quirky Diesel bag is like an instant hit of joy, and I was lucky enough to be gifted Burberry’s Lola, which is fast becoming my new favourite. Statement pieces are essential to my collection but so are my all-important gold jewellery pieces. A Tessa Metcalfe rose quartz ring and a couple of meaningful chain necklaces—one rose quartz (I love this crystal because it is directly related to the heart chakra and I am always aiming to vibrate on a frequency of love) and two others that say Scorpio AF and South London.
Even if all the brands and retailers haven’t caught up yet, fashion and feeling stylish is available for everyone and the gates are no longer kept by straight-size people only. I believe we can all wear the aesthetic we want and we should be allowed to feel comfortable in anything we put onto our bodies—don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.