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Set Yourself Free

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“The ultimate tragedy is not the brutality of the bad people but the silence of the good people.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.

The past couple of weeks have been heart-wrenching. From hurricanes that caused total devastation on Caribbean islands like Puerto Rico to a terrorist attack on unsuspecting concertgoers in Las Vegas…it feels like the world has flipped on its head.

Before I jump into talking about fashion, I’d just like to ask that if you’re able, you consider donating blood, money, supplies…whatever you can to help. If you aren’t able to donate money or something tangible, donate your time and call your local congressman.

We need our representatives to do their jobs and come up with quality legislation that protects our country from gun violence, while also not disproportionately prosecuting black and brown folks. Let’s make sure we don’t have another senseless attack on U.S. soil.

Our death toll is far too high. The shooting at Pulse Nightclub. The Aurora, Colorado shooting. Sandy Hook. Virginia Tech. Columbine. San Bernadino. Killeen, Texas. Fort Hood.

Seriously, America. Enough is enough!

Thankfully, there are beautiful and lighthearted things to make us smile despite tragedy. In the face of such ugliness, things like art and fashion make the world a more beautiful place which to live. In times of pain and sorrow, we need art more than ever. Freedom of expression is so very important.

When I conceptualized this look, I knew I wanted to pair a bodysuit with a sheer overlay. I’ve seen similar dresses and I always wanted to get the look, but didn’t think I could pull it off. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find a similar dress in my size, and when I did, I wondered if I should wear something so revealing. (The saying, “Just because it fits doesn’t mean you should wear it.” crept into my mind.)

Never in a million years did I think I’d ever rock a sheer dress with just a bodysuit underneath. Let alone in New York City…or anywhere for that matter! As I’ve shared, I’ve always hated my legs (because of my thick thighs and calves) and they’ve always been my biggest insecurity.

Over the past year, I’ve grown by leaps and bounds with regard to loving myself more (inside and out). So, when I turned heads on the streets of SoHo as my photographer took my picture, I didn’t care in the least! As far as I was concerned, they were probably looking because I looked damn good, booty out and everything!

So, this post is really all about getting free. Life is short. We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. Let go of whatever is holding you back and be who you’ve always wanted to be. Live the life you’ve always wanted. Now’s the time.

What have you always wanted to do that you’ve held yourself back from doing? Share it in the comments!

Here’s to being big and bold for the rest of 2017…and beyond!

xo

Plus size sheer embroidered roses dress from Forever 21 Plus

Plus size sheer embroidered roses dress from Forever 21 Plus

Plus size sheer embroidered roses dress from Forever 21 Plus

Plus size sheer embroidered roses dress from Forever 21 Plus

Plus size sheer embroidered roses dress from Forever 21 Plus

Plus size sheer embroidered roses dress from Forever 21 Plus

Plus size sheer embroidered roses dress from Forever 21 Plus

Plus size sheer embroidered roses dress from Forever 21 Plus

Plus size sheer embroidered roses dress from Forever 21 Plus

Outfit details: Dress: Forever21+ | Jacket: Forever21 Men | Shoes: Mango

Photographer: @M76Photo

Farewell to Summer 2017

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“It’s always summer somewhere.” – Lilly Pulitzer

This summer has been really incredible. Life changing even. I launched my blog in May and continued to grow my Instagram following over the next few months all while working with new and established brands, growing my own reach, and establishing The Chief of Style as a legitimate blog and brand of its own.

I traveled a bit this summer, too: locally and to New York City – twice. I attended CurvyCon, saw a couple of fashion shows during New York Fashion Week, shot with photographers here in LA and back East, made several handfuls of new blogger/influencer-friends, and moved into a new, larger apartment (with three double closets – hallelujah!). This summer I reconnected with old friends, began the healing process after a relationship ended, and I grew a lot more confident in my own skin.

This is evidenced by the photoshoot I did in SoHo with Gregory of @M76Photo. A year ago I wouldn’t be able to imagine I’d wear a dress that showed off my knees, let alone a mini dress! But here I am, in all my thick and curvy glory, sporting this killer sheath dress from Forever21+.

The polaroid photographs conjured up post-summer feels for me. You know, that nostalgic feeling you’d get when you’d look through your photos from your summertime shenanigans with friends: trips you took, parties you went to, the beach, the park, laughing, dancing, staying out late…all of the things summer is fondly known for.

Today is the last day of summer and tomorrow we’ll wake up to fall. Before you know it, summertime will be in the distant past and we’ll be bundle up, missing those three gloriously hot months. But, at least we’ll have our memories and photographs to keep us warm.

xo

Amy Stretten, the Chief of Style, in SoHo, NYC, wearing the Plus Size Maripol Cami Dress by Forever 21+

Amy Stretten, the Chief of Style, in SoHo, NYC, wearing the Plus Size Maripol Cami Dress by Forever 21+

Amy Stretten, the Chief of Style, in SoHo, NYC, wearing the Plus Size Maripol Cami Dress by Forever 21+

Amy Stretten, the Chief of Style, in SoHo, NYC, wearing the Plus Size Maripol Cami Dress by Forever 21+

Amy Stretten, the Chief of Style, in SoHo, NYC, wearing the Plus Size Maripol Cami Dress by Forever 21+

Amy Stretten, the Chief of Style, in SoHo, NYC, wearing the Plus Size Maripol Cami Dress by Forever 21+

Amy Stretten, the Chief of Style, in SoHo, NYC, wearing the Plus Size Maripol Cami Dress by Forever 21+

Outfit details: Dress: Forever21+ | Jacket: Forever21 Men | Shoes (courtesy of): Solemate Shoetique | Belt: Eloquii

Photographer: @M76Photo

Cold Shoulder on a Hot Day

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“Elegance is the only beauty that never fades.” –Audrey Hepburn

I don’t know if it’s just me, but this summer has been hotter than any I can remember. And the day we shot these photos was no exception. My friends thought I’d lost my mind when I told them I was planning to shoot on such a sweltering summer day. But when I set my mind to something, there’s just no changing it. Especially because I couldn’t wait to rock this fierce outfit courtesy of Universal Standard.

I’d heard some buzz about the brand, so when I got the opportunity to review their clothing, I jumped at the chance. (I just love discovering new +size brands!) From start to finish, ordering from Universal Standard was a pleasant experience. I was impressed at how easy it was to figure out the sizing having never tried on their clothes. And, after putting my order through, I was able to track it seamlessly.

I ordered the single cold shoulder Candice blouse in ivory and the black Mosman leatherette skirt. While the clothes aren’t cheap, they’re definitely well-made and, to top it off, the brand offers the equivalent of a lifetime guarantee! If you change sizes, they’ll even replace the clothing items that no longer fit. (Where they do that at!?) As someone who goes up and down sizes quite regularly, I can really appreciate this service. I also like that they carry bridge and plus sizes 10-28! And, if you’re in the NYC area, they’ll gladly welcome you into their showroom for a fitting.

When my package arrived, I was pleased to see that everything was folded carefully and wrapped in tissue paper. They shipped my items in a gift box (that I’m now using for jewelry) and included a custom tote bag and a note. (Nice touch!) The whole process felt very V.I.P.

The pieces I chose are both comfortable and elegant looking. My only critique would be that the blouse should have a key hole closure with a button or a hook so it’s easier to get on and off. (I admittedly have a big head, so I was so nervous putting it on having already done my makeup. Pro tip: If you’re ever in this situation, grab a cloth napkin, a clean rag or an old t-shirt and use it as a barrier between your made up face and the clothing item you don’t want to soil.)

If you’re looking for a minimalist, classic, high-fashion look, consider giving Universal Standard a try. You really can’t go wrong with their lifetime fit guarantee!

xx

Outfit details: Blouse & Skirt: Universal Standard | Shoes: Mango | Clutch: Vintage | Necklace: Poshmark

Photographer:  CJ Edwards-Acton

*Clothing provided by Universal Standard in exchange for an honest review.