A three-day event, theCURVYcon brings together curvy designers and influencers to break down barriers and prove once and for all that “style is size-less.” It’s only fitting, then, for the event to include a panel on one of the less covered aspects of being plus size: underwear. In a workshop titled “Dance in Your Underwear,” Yahoo Lifestyle interviewed designers and bloggers to discuss not only their favorite designs but also the confidence it requires to wear them.
One of the first to speak was Hayet Rida, a 29-year-old fashion and lifestyle blogger who lives in Chicago and is originally from Ghana. Rida decided to try fashion blogging as a way to help change her relationship to clothes and to break down the stigma that plus-size women can’t be stylish. Earlier in the week, Rida shared what she found to be obstacles to feeling fashionable as a curvy woman. “I hate shopping,” she told Yahoo Lifestyle. “I sort of have PTSD from never being able to shop.”
On Friday, Rida stripped it down even further, opening up about the importance of what’s underneath your clothes. “Anyone who has ever been to art school or studied painting knows you have to prime your canvas,” Rida told the crowd. “[So] you have to think of your confidence like priming your canvas. Get up in the morning, take a shower — if you don’t shower, I don’t judge. But then I stand in front of the mirror in my bra and undies and I have this talk with myself. Think about how Issa Rae does it — say, ‘Hey, girl, you look good.’ And when you walk out — once you’ve told yourself that, you don’t need anybody else to tell you that. When you lose it in the middle of the day, go back to the mirror.”
Rida went on to say that wearing underwear that makes you feel good is a secret weapon. “I think it’s sort of like a security blanket. Yeah, you can wear underwear for other people, but I think the beauty is you wear it for yourself,” she said. “You can check and make sure it’s still there and that comfort gives added confidence throughout the day, and if you have that, you’re unstoppable.
Denise Caldwell, a style expert and celebrity stylist, echoed Rida’s thoughts during the Saturday event. “I call it your under-armor,” said Caldwell. “My saying is ‘I feel pretty when….’ It can be something you deem superficial but it’s special to you — when your manicure is on point, or your eyebrows are on fleek, those types of things really help you so you can go out into the world. Because women, we’re the warriors of the world. We give life; we’re out here being moms, we have careers, we’re bossing it up in the boardroom. You just want to make sure you’re confident underneath so that you can go out there and kick butt.”
Finally, Ashley Nell Tipton, designer and Project Runway winner, says now it’s time for the design industry to embrace curvy women the same way they are embracing themselves. “We’ve been pushed to the back for so long and have not been looked at as fashion icons, and we need to demand our space in this industry, especially coming from the fashion industry and not feeling like I’m accepted or fashionable enough. I feel like today, now we have our voices and we are being heard and letting everyone know that we are not settling for less anymore.”
Read more about theCURVYcon 2018: