InStyle (USA) - - Directory - Sturino is the founder of The12ish­style.com and per­son­al­care brand Me­gababe.

Fash­ion blog­ger and so­cial-me­dia maven Katie Sturino de­bunks the sea­son’s plus-size-dress­ing myths

I’ve heard all the “rules” of plus-size dress­ing: Stick to slim­ming all black, al­ways go for draped styles, stay away from head-to-toe prints and hor­i­zon­tal stripes, and don’t even think about wear­ing cropped tops or short shorts. But where’s the fun in that? The num­ber of brands that make my size (14 to 16, de­pend­ing on the de­signer) is painfully low, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing that about 68 per­cent of women in the United States wear a size 14 or up. But I’m not about to fol­low those dowdy guide­lines; I love fash­ion, and I am here for it.

So let’s bust some myths. I’ll start with leather jack­ets. I pur­chased my first “in­vest­ment” leather jacket in my early 20s. It was $800 and but­ter-soft. But its most no­table fea­ture? It barely fit and left my arms numb. “It will stretch,” they said. Guess what? It didn’t. I couldn’t even zip it (strangers would chas­tise, “You must be freez­ing—zip up your jacket!”). Hav­ing learned my les­son, the next time I bought a leather jacket, it was a men’s one from BLK DNM. It fit per­fectly, and I looked like a chic French­woman with a devil-may-care at­ti­tude. The take­away? Don’t be afraid to check out the men’s sec­tion (at least un­til fash­ion gets with the pro­gram).

Un­til re­cently, my only first­hand ex­pe­ri­ence with thigh-high boots in­volved try­ing to cram my wide size-12 foot into a too-tight rid­ing boot, like I was Cin­derella’s step­sis­ter. I promptly aborted the mis­sion and left the store. Years later, though, I spot­ted some Stu­art Weitz­man thigh-highs made for wider calves—an up­dated siz­ing con­ven­tion that’s slowly be­ing in­tro­duced across the market. They were per­fec­tion. Since then, sev­eral other brands have hopped on board, so I fi­nally have the equal op­por­tu­nity to covet shoes I can’t af­ford just like ev­ery­one else! I or­dered sev­eral less ex­pen­sive pairs from Long­tall­sally.com, and the rest is his­tory.

Next on the agenda: jeans. I opted out of them for the first 28 years of my life be­cause the peo­ple who made them didn’t think I needed them in my size. With most stores sell­ing only up to a size 32, I was shit out of luck. Things have glacially started to change in the past year or so, and NYDJ, Good Amer­i­can, and J.crew now make some great op­tions; I fa­vor high­waist styles, which tend to pro­vide more sup­port.

My most re­cent game-chang­ing dis­cov­ery is that lay­er­ing is not the en­emy. There’s a com­mon mis­con­cep­tion that adding lay­ers turns any look bulky. But let me in­tro­duce you to the thin, body-hug­ging turtle­neck from J.crew. Iron­i­cally, it’s an ar­ti­cle of cloth­ing I learned about from a fash­ion blog­ger who wears a size 0, and she con­vinced me that it would flat­ter any frame. It’s now my go-to piece for mak­ing sum­mer dresses win­ter dresses, turn­ing sweaters into full après-ski looks, and even help­ing me pi­o­neer the fall caf­tan—all with­out cre­at­ing a lay­er­ing fi­asco à la that fa­mous episode of Friends in which Joey wears Chan­dler’s en­tire wardrobe at once.

Fi­nally, I im­plore women of all sizes to in­vest in a long camel coat. It is uni­ver­sally chic and the per­fect com­ple­ment to any fall look. Your wardrobe will thank you. And now, with full con­fi­dence, I can say, “Come at me, fall!”

The au­thor mod­els her fa­vorite looks for fall.

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