From having no choice but to wear mens’ jeans once upon a time to becoming a model and role model to plus-size women, Elaine Wiart has been through it all in the world of plus-size fashion. As a Montreal based consultant, Elaine founded CurvesnStyle to challenge and redefine the world’s perception of beauty. She is incredibly talented, driven, and stylish, and continues to impart her knowledge of plus-size fashion on everyone that comes across her path.
R: Define plus size vs. straight size.
E: Straight sizing is up to 12. Most stores that are plus size are going to carry 12+, but I like that designers now are doing clothes up to a size 16, 18.
R: So tell me a little bit about transitioning from working as a plus size model to working as a consultant to plus size women?
E: Being a model was good for me. I found it was possible to be plus size and fashionable, but it just was not enough. I wanted to help other plus size women, but I didn’t have the science behind me to help other people get dressed. That’s when I started studying image consulting. I went to Dominique [Isbecque] and FIT.
R: Would you say there’s anything different about dressing plus size women as opposed to straight sizing?
E: No, the principles are still the same. You are still going to be dressing a body shape, highlighting the assets, trying to not call attention to what you don’t want to show.
R: What would you say your biggest challenge is in doing plus size consulting?
E: It’s the lack of options. It’s much better than when I was 18. I had to buy mens’ jeans. Now they do have a lot of options of jeans, but it can improve a lot.
R: Your favorite plus size designers?
E: Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, those are my favorite.
Those three are doing really well and have lines that are really affordable. There are other specialty stores like Lane Bryant too.
R: How do you manage your wardrobe in your daily routine?
E: When you organize your wardrobe with things that fit well, the process is really quick. I’m just going to dress based on the location and situation I’m attending.
R: What would be some tips you could give to plus size women?
E: First, try on, especially if you have no idea what you’re doing or what your body shape is.
Second, accessorize. Accessories are such an important thing.
Third, don’t hide. Plus size women try to hide their bodies and that makes them look older and bigger.
You don’t have to try to fit in the same thing that a skinny friend does. You need a bigger print, more proportional to your body. The little dots, little flowers don’t work. It’s going to make you look bigger.
R: What do you love about working with your clients?
E: It’s very rewarding when you find somebody who feels good about themselves when they wear the right clothes. Maybe months later you see someone in a grocery store, and the person looks much better. You see they’re paying attention to details you pointed out.
*Answers edited for clarity and content