Fashion equals fabulousness but, these days, fashion has another edge to it: it also equals exclusive, not so much in the sense that it offers women the guarantee that they won’t be walking down the street and see someone else with the same frock as them, but rather in that certain sizes are completely left out. Plus size women are often overlooked by designers and even mainstream clothing outlets, so much so that they’re often forced to wait for sales or forego all aesthetic considerations just to be able to buy something new.
Of course, that’s not to say that curvier women don’t want
to be fabulous as well – just that, in most cases, they can’t. As we were also telling you
a while back, this is about to change really soon, once Curvy Fashionista
blogger Marie Denee opens her Marie Denee boutique, which she envisions as a haven for all plus-size women who refuse to let their curves define their style for them and go the other way around. We managed to get a hold of Ms. Denee and get her talking more of the upcoming boutique, as well as of what she aims to accomplish with it. Softpedia:
Marie Denee is a name well known in fashion circles, mostly because of your fabulous blog, The Curvy Fashionista. Tell our readers how you got it started and what exactly is the purpose that drives you, and, implicitly, the blog? What made you turn to the Internet, and how would you describe the reaction you’ve got so far from the community? Marie Denee:
Well, I have been working in retail for the last 12 or so years. While working in retail I had straddled the size 14/16 and noticed that there were not a lot of options available for the fashion forward, contemporary plus size woman. Many designers started stopping their line at a size 12, and quickly I had to become resourceful. As I continued my education through my Masters, my weight gradually changed but my desire for cutting-edge fashion grew with it!
Who said that fashion had to stop at a 12? With my personal experiences, my clients’ frustrations, and my personal desire to do something big, I researched the industry and realized there weren’t too many blogs or resources that catered to the discerning plus size fashionista, thus The Curvy Fashionista was born. I was able to share the resources I amassed and share them with my readers!
I have been very fortunate to have been welcomed into the plus community and the welcome has been overwhelmingly positive! Softpedia:
How would you describe your “journey” so far? Would you say it’s hard for someone, such as yourself, to break through in the fashion world when their main scope is catering for curvy women? Marie Denee:
Everyone has their own path. I have realized through some unfortunate events, that when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade! I recently lost my job – actually Friday, the 13th of March! Rather than wallow in self pity, I knew it was time to make it work and take my blog, my vision, and my dream to new heights!
From a marketing perspective – it is always wise to know that you cannot be all things to all people. Learn your craft, hone in on your niche and make it work. Anything worth having does not come easy, I am always researching the newest, latest, fiercest, and flyest to stay on top of my craft! Softpedia:
Given the exclusive nature of high fashion, which, these days, has come to mean anyone over a certain (very small) size is left on the outside, what would you say defines a curvy woman’s style? Is mainstream fashion and are designers being discriminatory (for lack of a better term) to their fashion needs? What do you tell your readers by means of helping them be trendy? Marie Denee:
Ohh, such loaded questions! Edna Chase said it best – Fashion can be bought. Style one must possess. As a plus size woman, we are already subjected to being either passive or innovative with what fashion relegates to us. What defines a curvy woman’s style? The same that drives a straight woman’s style. It’s the interpretation of one’s taste, mood, and confidence!
I think mainstream fashion and their designers do not always understand a curvy woman’s needs. While some are outright ignoring and snubbing their nose at us, there are some who actually are open, just are apprehensive about the market and its scalability.
Trendy… hmm. With plus size fashion, at times it seems like a re-education of fashion in its entirety. You see, plus size and fashion have only recently married. With this, many are frustrated with different fits, price points, and the value of investing in your wardrobe. I stress that first, then highlight the fantastic frocks that are on trend. Softpedia:
About the Marie Denee boutique: how did you come up with the idea for it and what should women expect from it? Marie Denee:
I have always wanted my own boutique, and timing could not have been better! Marie Denee is the home of the Curvy Fashionista. I wanted an upscale, contemporary haven where not only myself, but also other fashionistas could come to find one of a kind, limited or exclusive patterns and prints, but edgy fashions for their curves every time they visit! Softpedia:
“Curvy. Confident. Chic.” – brilliant motto! Is this also the message behind everything you’ve done so far and not only of the new boutique? Marie Denee:
You know what, I wanted something that represented all things that I either wrote about, lived for, and encouraged one to be. So, YES! Softpedia:
Where will the boutique be located and, most importantly, name for our readers some of the designers that you will feature in your offering for plus-size women, as well as if there were any specific reasons why you chose to work with them. Marie Denee:
My boutique will start out online at www.mariedenee.com and in the future it will extend to a physical location in the Bay Area! I will carry designers such as Jibri, Gayla Bentley, Candied Apple Couture, David Kahn, Embody Denim. Each of these designers cater to the plus size diva, delivering the contemporary, high quality, high fashion options not often seen! Softpedia:
Will the Marie Denee boutique also offer the option for women to go online to make purchases or will they have to actually come down to the store? What about some women’s dread of shopping online, how do you plan on working through that? Marie Denee:
Online shopping for the plus size woman represents different frustrations than the straight sized fashionista. At Marie Denee, orders over $200 get free shipping, we offer prepaid return labels! With most options being available only online for the plus size woman, these are the constant frustrations that I hear that I did my best to cater to! Softpedia:
Speaking strictly of the items the Marie Denee boutique will carry, will a curvy fashionista be able to find there anything she might want, from high-street fashion to casual wear? What about special occasions, will you also offer items such as evening gowns or, say, bridal apparel (wedding dresses or bridesmaids’ gowns)? Marie Denee:
Marie Denee will be a lifestyle boutique, carrying items for all aspects of her fashionable life from lingerie, loungewear, accessories to hosiery! We will have some formal gowns, but not bridal wear. Softpedia:
All women, no matter their size, know that accessorizing well is one of fashion’s golden rules. Will you also include accessories in the lines available at the Marie Denee boutique? Marie Denee:
Oh! You know it!!! I will start small with my offerings and then as the response grows, so will my assortment! Earrings, rings in size 8’s and 9’s (hard to find), cuff bracelets, and necklaces. Softpedia:
On a final note, what advice would you give women who are still looking for their confidence, who are yet to find their inner fabulousness? Marie Denee:
No one can define your beauty but you. Learn to love yourself first and embrace yourself and your lovely curves! You were created and made perfect just the way you are. Once you come to terms with this, you will be able to reflect what you feel on the inside to the outside!
Never let your curves define your style! Let your style define your curves!
Thanks go out to Marie Denee for taking the time to answer our questions, and to Renee Jennings for making it possible. See here
as well for more on the Marie Denee boutique.