2014 | Natalie in the City - A Chicago Plus Size Fashion Blog, by Natalie Craig
Natalie in the City - A Chicago Plus Size Fashion Blog, by Natalie Craig

A PLUS SIZE LIFE + STYLE BLOG

December 29, 2014

December 19, 2014

LARGE ASSETS, BIGGER PROFITS

The highest-earning plus size supermodel in the fashion industry is known by one name—not her first or last, just "Emme."The 51-year-old made her way into the fashion industry in the 1990s, when ultra-thin airbrushed models graced the covers of fashion magazines, advertisements and runways. 

Although the experience was exciting for Emme, she was not immune to prejudice: a famous photographer referred to her as a "fatty" during a photo shoot. After feeling second best compared to her thinner model counterparts, Emme went on to host TV shows, write books and helm a sportswear line through QVC. She recently teamed up with alma matter, Syracuse University, to launch "Fashion Without Limits," a program that encourages fashion design students to create clothes for plus-size women.

“It’s the beginning of changing the face of fashion so that all new designers that graduate will have their hands on size 2, 4 and 6 forms as well as 16, 18 and 20 [dress] forms so that they are comfortable with seeing beautiful apparel and fashion on all women,” Emme said. “It has to start with the designer.”

Emme is still the most visible face in the plus-size world, but she’s no longer alone. A new generation of models, designers, bloggers and retailers are devoted to making cutting edge fashion accessible to women whose bodies more closely resemble Adele than Taylor Swift—the overwhelming majority of women, according to a 2012 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

They are making significant strides in gaining a media presence and a foothold in upscale department stores such as Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue as well as “fast fashion” retailers such as H&M, Forever 21 and Wet Seal. However, prejudice in the world of couture still holds fast.

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---- Read the full article written by Natalie Craig and designed by Andrea Cannon for The Columbia Chronicle featuring models Denise Bidot, Alexandra Boos, Dale Noelle and Emme as well as fashion bloggers Nadia Aboulhosn and Marie Denee, below or here: Large assets, bigger profits: Plus-size women, clothing, bloggers, fight to fit into the fashion industry ----
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OFF DUTY DAYS

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Being "Natalie in the City" every day is hard work. Although I would like to think that I dress like a fashion blogger every day, I usually look like what my friends would refer to as "Natalie in the Gym." It's true, it's true—most mornings I feel like throwing on some oversized clothes and rushing to work or class—It's easy. While I'm sure not every fashionista would admit to it, every single one of them has their lazy days, and that is for sure.

I found this button-up plaid shirt at a thrift store here in Chicago. While the men's shirt doesn't do much for my hips and curvy body, it is one of my favorite go-to pieces in my closet. I love the bright colors and the way it fits. Even though I would never call it one of my most stylish items of clothing, I would still consider it to be one of the coolest.

So here is to the lazy days.
-- P.S. there is nothing wrong with them!
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December 14, 2014

CUT-OUTS

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Knit sweaters are known as fall and winter fashion’s must-have clothing item, but heavy knit garments tend to get boring by the middle of the season. This is why I love my Forever 21 black knit sweater with cut-out sleeves. At a glance, it looks like the average sweater, but take a second look and you will notice it’s not-so-average sleeves.   

Usually knit sweaters make my body look too bulky because of my curves, but the cut-outs attract more attention to my shoulders, giving a balanced look to the rest of my body. The sweater is also lightweight and loose fitting, leaving extra room to layer without feeling like a walking bundle of fabric.

Because of the sweater’s versatility it can be worn with denim, leggings and skirts, giving each look a different style. Toward the colder days of fall, the sweater can be dressed up with scarves, and the cut-outs make it breathable, allowing me to throw a on heavy coat during the winter months.   

A black sweater goes with everything, but the cuts make the entire piece work double time, not only serving as a comfortable winter garment, but also an edgy piece without working too hard. I can dress the sweater down or up without feeling too lazy about my look.

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December 8, 2014

NATALIE X KADI KLOTHING


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I have said it many times, and my friends will be the first ones to tell you. Although I am considered a "fashionista," I love to keep it casual—especially toward the end of the semester when finals are piling up and papers are due. Getting dressed up and looking like a million bucks feels great, but doing it everyday is exhausting and at heart I am truly a jeans and T-shirt kind of girl. (Yikes I can't believe I said that.)

However, when it is a jeans and T-shirt kind of day, I like to keep my looks edgy and creative. The shirt I am wearing in this post is from Kadi Klothing. I fell in love with the elephant on the shirt when I first saw it on Klaudia Sekura's Instagram. I had no idea that it was going to be on a shirt or that she drew and designed the beautiful graphic herself. Klaudia is the creator of Kadi Klothing and she just opened up shop! The line of T-shirt's and crewnecks for men and women is both artisitc and extremely unique being that Klaudia designs each and every one of them. Visit Kadi Klothing here!

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December 3, 2014

FEELING 22 HAS NOTHING ON TURNING 23


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December 3. I don't often look forward to this day as the only 24 hours of the year that can be solely about me. I look at today as a time to reflect back on this year, all the accomplishments I have made and the lessons that were learned. On this day every year I look into the past and I always find myself saying, "I would have never thought..."

Being 22 was the time of my life. I have been living in Chicago for a little over a year now, which has probably been the biggest blessing. This year I was able to speak on important issues that I am passionate about—whether it was through my college newspaper, my blog, or through Q&As with various publications—I wore a bikini on National TV, I traveled to places I have never seen before, and most importantly I made some of the greatest friends I have ever had. My blog will turn two in March, and I cannot be more proud of how much it has changed and become such an amazing part of my life.

As I turn 23, life seems to speed up making weeks feel like mere days. I graduate in May and there are so many possibilities to consider. These next seven months will be some of the most exciting and challenging times of my life, and I promise to share every detail!

I just wanted to give thanks to my readers for encouraging me to keep up with my blog. I love each and every single one of you. Also, thank you to my friends and family for being a huge contribution to every year!

XO

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November 26, 2014

Go beyond gift cards and cute socks this Christmas for your favorite girl. Whether you are shopping for your mother, sister, girlfriend, grandma, or a friend, add a personal touch by finding gifts that match with personality and style. A little sparkle and a pop of color never hurt anyone, so don't be afraid to indulge in a little glamour for the girl you are shopping for. Happy Holidays!

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Shopping for fathers, brothers, boyfriends, cousins and grandfathers can be a difficult task. Men can be simple, yet picky! So make sure to wow them with staple items they can use every day. Men appreciate functionality and something that looks sharp, but they could also fall in love with a stand-out piece for their bedroom or their wardrobe. Happy Holidays!
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November 18, 2014

AWAY

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November 5, 2014

October 26, 2014

JEWELED


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{ Photography by: Katherine Davis }

| Blouse: Willi Smith | Skirt: H&M | Boots: Lane Bryant | Purse: MMS | Necklace: | Belt: Urban Outfitters |

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October 22, 2014

USA TODAY Q&A: BODY POSITIVITY


I was recently interviewed for a Q&A piece for USA Today College. Check out the full article here: "Plus-size student fashionista embraces, promotes Fat Acceptance Movement"


Q: Simply put, what is the Fat Acceptance Movement?
A: The Fat Acceptance Movement empowers plus-size women to embrace their curves and love their bodies. Curvier women have not been represented fairly in the media or in society. This movement provides plus-size women with a community, strength and the inspiration to love the skin and body they are in.
If the same football team goes to the Super Bowl and loses every year, then comes back to win the next year, that is what it feels like to be a part of the Fat Acceptance Movement. I feel like plus-size women are the underdogs. We have been neglected in the media, in magazines and in fashion, but now with the Fat Acceptance Movement we are finally winning. The movement has gained so much momentum through social media and I am so proud to be a part of that.
However, there is a crucial point that needs to be made that isn’t being discussed as much as the movement itself is. That point is “body positivity.” The Fat Acceptance Movement’s mantra is about having a positive body image and self-esteem by loving and embracing your curves, which translates to “body positivity.” Recently, powerful women in the music industry have been coming out with songs shaming skinny women and condoning plus-size figures. There are also social media posts following in those footsteps. Women need to realize that society and the media have scrutinized the female body image — no matter the shape or size — since we have existed.
We are women. We need to stand together against the harsh scrutiny and societal beauty standards that every single one of us face every day. Plus-size women do not need to put down skinny figures, and skinny women should not put down plus-size figures. Instead, we need to acknowledge that a women’s shape comes in many sizes, each one beautiful in its own way.
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October 19, 2014

CHICAGO FASHION WEEK

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It’s not Paris or New York, but it is Chicago and this is just where I want to be. Chicago Fashion Week breezed through the city and I got to catch the last wind of it at College Fashion Week hosted by HerCampus.com.


It was a night of glitz, glamour, and VIP seats on the runway. What more could a fashionista ask for?

I'm not the biggest fan of crop tops, but I thought I would wear this one with a high waisted skirt. I love the sheer stripes on the top and the length of the sleeves. My skirt was an unexpected find. Usually circle skirts like this one don't flatter a curvy figure, but the length and cut of the skirt did my curves some justice. If you love this outfit as much as I do, you can shop the look below!

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October 16, 2014

THIS ONE TIME I WORE A BIKINI ON TV...

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Most people would love to be on TV, maybe a few less once you told them they have to wear heels, walk and not trip, and maybe even fewer after you told them they would also be wearing a bikini. 

You see, one day I was in a meeting at work when I randomly checked my email. I must have read one message, in particular, at least three times after jumping out of my seat screaming.

In August, a senior producer for the Steve Harvey Show asked me to model in a fashion segment on the show. The only catch was that I would be modeling a two-piece bikini. Although I am a size 14 and don’t look like Kate Upton, I didn’t hesitate for a second before agreeing to it. This was everything my America's Next Top Model watching 12-year-old self had ever wanted.

For the segment I was modeling on, Steve Harvey was interviewing Jenny Trout, a blogger and author who is infamously known for her "I Wore a Bikini and Nothing Happened" post published on Huffington Post. He wanted to surprise Jenny by gathering 15 confident, plus-size women and dressing them in swim suits to honor Jenny's brave endeavors. 

Fast forward to September 3: I’m standing behind a curtain on stage that will soon rise, revealing my five-foot curvy body in a bikini to Steve Harvey and a live studio audience on national TV. I didn’t do it alone though—15 other plus-size women stood by my side, our bodies displaying the unconventional side of beauty. We all held hands and as the curtain rose we struck a pose then walked out on stage to an audience that would not stop clapping or cheering. Yep, that's me in the pink checkered bikini in the middle! 

I spent 10 hours with these other women between hair, makeup, and rehearsals, and if that day taught me anything, it was that confidence is key. It doesn’t matter what shape or size you are. You can lead whatever path you want as long as you’re happy and confident. 

“You all are so fine,” Steve Harvey shouted as we walked onto the stage. Despite the societal beauty ideals that consumed me, at that second, I realized that I never thought I wasn’t fine, and that is how every woman should feel.


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Why would I wear a bikini on national TV? 
Like most young girls paging through the latest fashion magazines, I longed to be one of the models that graced the cover of the fashion bibles and the advertisements inside. However, the only model-like quality I possessed was being fierce with my eyes, which has benefited me more at the club than anywhere else—thanks, Tyra.
As I grew up and into my body I realized I would never be in the magazines or on America's Next Top Model for two reasons. One: I’m five-feet tall. Two: These hips don’t lie and neither do these thighs. My body was far from the model ideal and what I saw in the magazines. 
I could not yet comprehend that the women in those magazines were airbrushed, photoshopped and did not represent the average woman at all. However, that never tainted my resilient attitude and spirit. Against all odds, no matter what the fashion industry or retail stores told me about my curvaceous figure with their impractically sized clothing, I embraced every fashion trend and strutted wherever I went. 
Women of all ages can suffer from having  negative self-esteem, which can be directly related to the unrealistic beauty standards of today’s society. Somehow, I was fortunate enough to never let these standards affect my confidence despite how much I looked up to the models. However, I realize it is not easy for anyone to ignore the pressures to be idealistically beautiful and thin.

So what are you waiting for? Put on a swimsuit and show off those beautiful, curvy bodies! Check out my top picks below!  
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October 10, 2014

October 2, 2014

HELLO OCTOBER

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Shop the look:
| Scarf: Akria | Sweater: Forever 21 | Jeans: American Eagle | Purse: Louis Vuitton | Boots: Forever 21 |
 { Photography by: Katherine Davis }
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