Styleblazers Series

Evolve Your Image & Love Dressing Your Curvy Body!

When it comes to looking stylish, age or size is no barrier. Just ask Carol Walsh, the Vancouver, Washington blogger behind Evolve Your Image.

Carol Walsh -Evolving-your-image

Carol, 50, is a certified image consultant with a Ph.D. in human development and social systems. She believes the myth of the “ideal woman” hurts our self-esteem from as early on as age seven. This has made her passionate about helping women, especially curvy women, learn to love themselves by finding their style.

Here’s a closer look at this Fabulous After 40 Styleblazer.

Deb: Carol, you always look so polished, confident, and casually chic. Where did you get your excellent fashion sense?

Carol: It came from my mother. She was incredibly stylish and would never leave the house without being impeccably dressed. My father was in the military, so my mother was fortunate to live in Europe for several years, influenced her style. Many of her clothes were tailor-made for her, and what wasn’t made was purchased during our regular Saturday and Thursday shopping trips to Lord & Taylor and Neiman Marcus (her two favorite stores).

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Deb: What is the biggest dressing challenge of being a curvy woman? 

Carol: Proportion and fit are always a challenge. I have a triangle body shape and am considerably smaller on top than on the bottom; however, most ready-to-wear plus-size clothes seem to be cut to fit an hourglass or inverted triangle. Luckily, I have a tailor who can remedy any fit challenges.

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Deb: Do you think retailers and designers are doing a good job creating clothing for women with fuller figures, or is there still a huge gap?

Carol: I think retailers and designers are getting there, but a gap remains. There have been huge strides made, upon the insistence of younger bloggers like GabiFresh, Garner Style, Jessica Kane, and others, by retailers in offering a more excellent selection of plus-size clothing. The style, color, and creativity of the dress, on the whole, still leave much to be desired.

However, in addition to being a curvy woman, I’m also a 50-year-old woman, and I have to modify or re-purpose some of the clothing items to fit my style and ever-changing body. I’m not saying an older woman should dress in a matronly fashion, but I do feel there is such a thing as age-appropriate, stylish clothing, and I wish more designers would cater to this ever-growing crowd. 

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Deb: Do you have favorite brands or stores you think do a good job?- why?

Carol: I have several favorite brands, but my particular favorites are Michael Kors, Vince Camuto, and Ralph Lauren because the quality and fit are incredible. My favorite shopping places are Lane Bryant, ASOS, City Chic, and Nordstrom. Lane Bryant is perfect for shopping your staples like jeans (their Tight Tummy Technology jeans are brilliant), tanks, pants, jackets, etc.

ASOS Curve and City Chic (also available at Nordstrom) keep me on-trend and provide a fantastic variety of clothing options. I shop at Nordstrom primarily for shoes (because they carry my size) and have a great selection of designer labels. I visit Torrid now and again and can find a few fun pieces to add to my wardrobe. But for most parties, they are very, very trendy, and their brand is geared toward a more youthful audience.

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Deb: How would you describe your look?- Favorite styles, colors, preferences?

Carol: Fundamentally, it’s my twist on casual elegance. I like quality garments, structured shapes, and soft lines, and I love mixing and matching fabrics, textures, and prints to accentuate a unique look. Comfort is critical for me so that I could wear a t-shirt and jeans every day, but that would get boring (although my jeans would be Not Your Daughter Jeans, and my t-shirt would be some fabulous Alexander Wang creations). I’m partial to black, not just because I think it’s slimming. There’s an elegant and minimalistic allure to the color that I enjoy and find flattering.

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Deb: What would it be if you had to spend your life in one outfit?

Carol: It would be jeans, a t-shirt, and a blazer or leather jacket!

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Deb: Jewelry seems to be a big part of your signature style. Why is it important to you?

Carol: To me, jewelry is as important as your clothes. I have purchased pieces of clothing to accent my jewelry! Jewelry can change the mood or look of an outfit, making it a powerful accessory. I frequently tell my clients if they’re bored with a company before they toss it to the side, try layering a few necklaces and see what you think?!

Try mixed metals; wear silver if you’re usually a gold person, and vice versa. Add pops of color, leather, or horn, and see what a difference it can make. Folks have again fallen in love with their clothes by adding or changing their jewelry. EVERYONE should have a jewelry wardrobe!

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Deb: As a personal stylist specializing in curvy women, how do you help them get out of their heads and realize that size is no barrier to looking stylish?

Carol: The first thing we start with is self-acceptance and self-love! The key is to dress your body, not the one you wish you had, think you have, or are working to have. A positive psychological shift happens when we wear clothes that fit well and complement our body, personality, and coloring (whether you have warm or cool undertones).

If you don’t like the number on the tag, cut the title off. It’s that simple. As I mentioned earlier, I have to get most of my clothes tailored, so I’m not honestly whatever size the tag says. I often buy clothes in larger sizes so my tailor can fit them to my shape perfectly, so to what extent does that make me? It’s not about the size of the garment. It’s about the fit and how you feel about it. Once we start trying clothes on and my clients see how fabulous they look, the item’s size quickly loses meaning and value.

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Deb: What kind of practical dressing tips (top 3) that you give to your clients can you share with us?

Carol: 1) Shop for clothes complimenting your body type, 2) Disregard the label, look for fit and how you feel in the item, and 3) Don’t impulse shop. Get what you need and know it will fit in beautifully with what you already own.

Deb: Thanks, Carol, for sharing your fabulous style! Ladies, be sure to stop by Carol’s blog – Evolve Your Image, to see more of her looks and learn about her many image services.

Thanks to Photographer: Lydene Robertson | Makeup: Beauty by Meghan

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5 thoughts on “Evolve Your Image & Love Dressing Your Curvy Body!

  1. Carol looks stylish, and who would know her actual age? She looks at least ten years younger! I think women after 40 or 50 should pay more attention to their appearance. As a fashion designer (I specialize in plus-size bathing suits), I must say dressing in suitable styles can make a woman look flattering, beautiful, and trendy, just like Deborah and Carol.
    For curvy women, I offer some tips and tricks on plus-size swimwear at https://www.curvysea.com/blog/.

  2. Hi Deborah
    Your website and emails are fantastic. I love opening the emails and seeing your tips and advice, and I particularly enjoy your glam girl of the week section. I am getting up the nerve to submit my photo.
    Thank you so much – you have brightened up a dreary January day.
    Nancy

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