I don’t know if I’ve ever expressed it, but I am a huge fan of plus-sized fashion. I love fashion PERIOD, but the brands who are doing it right are killing it and the most important voices they have are the women who rock it and rock it well, which are the gorgeous gals of the plus-sized blogging community. I always feel like it’s important to show that you can be stylish and stunning at any size, and there’s no one who proves my point better than Sarah Conley of StyleIt Online.
When I created How She Does It, I wanted to give people a little insight into the worlds of the women I know who seem to be live life on their own terms and carve a path for themselves while consistently looking amazing in the process. Sarah not only fits all that criteria, but has great advice for finding your style and loving yourself right where you are with the body and spirit you have right now. Ready to find a little love for yourself, find your creativity, and pamper your body and unique beauty? Let’s hear how Sarah does it:
On being a “slasher” (i.e., one with many jobs separate by slashes whenever someone asks us, of which I am also one)…
“Top line, I’m a social media consultant and a plus-size fashion, beauty, and tech blogger. I spend my time helping brands come to life online with a focus on customer service, and then I also write about things and experiences I love on my site, styleitonline.com. I’ve been doing both for the past eight years, which is an eternity in internet time.”
On being one of the OG fashion and beauty bloggers…
“It’s so crazy to see how far we’ve all come! I started writing about lip balm from my home in Arkansas back in 2006. There were so many things that I loved that none of my friends could relate to (like Olivia Palermo and the whole Socialite Rank scandal) that I created my site as a way to connect with others who loved the same things that I did. I can honestly say that every career opportunity I’ve ever had can be traced back to a connection made from work on my site, which is astonishing. I’ve met some incredible people, had amazing experiences, and chronicled a significant part of my life online. Technology is such a beautiful thing!”
So, let’s talk about what it’s like to be a plus-sized blogger on the Internet today…
“Every year, the plus-size blogging community becomes a more and more important part of fashion, whether or not the industry chooses to acknowledge it. We have dedicated readerships because we offer such utility, whether it’s how to style a certain trend for your shape, how something might fit on a larger body, or even basics like retailer selection. It’s a powerful community that has had a really successful year, but with that success comes a lot of visibility. The confidence not to conform to societal pressures inspires strong reactions from some people, which only further proves the necessity for women to be proud of who they are right now in this moment. If (women) want to make any life change, it has to start from a place of love and self-acceptance, which is something I try to demonstrate every day. Everyone has their own journey, and I think it’s important to respect that.”
On her seemingly endless creativity…
“Creativity finds me! My mind is always moving faster than I can keep up with it, so it’s really important for me to get enough sleep and stay organized so that I can capture and execute as much as possible. I always have a running list of ideas in my OneNote as well as sources of inspiration and articles by marketers that I really respect. Having a great system for staying organized is the number one piece of advice I would give anyone trying to make a living off their creativity, which is my ultimate life goal and a challenge for most artistic types. Being able to have notes and inspiration along with a place to keep it all with you at any time on any device is very important for me since my life is entirely unpredictable. I also am very aware of the things that inhibit my creativity and do what I can to be as comfortable as possible so that process isn’t interrupted.”
On which fashion brands have her eye right now…
“I love so many! Right now I really, really love what ELOQUII is doing (not just because they are one of my clients) because they offer elevated plus-size fashion that doesn’t feel like it could be found in any mall in America. I also love SimplyBe and Evans because they offer a wide range of sizes and even ship to the US, even though they’re UK-based. For accessories, Eugenia Kim owns my heart and recently expanded into shoes (OMG). There’s a pair of ear crawlers from Gorjana that have become my new everyday earring. I guess everyone is loving them too, because they can’t seem to stay in stock on Shopbop!”
Gals with curves, she has some styling tips for you….
“When in doubt, add a belt. Creating a waist is the easiest way to make something go from a sack to flattering. Also, GET FITTED FOR A BRA. Do it, every six months. It completely changes your silhouette. If all else fails, throw on a bright lipstick & call it a day.”
On her favorite beauty products…
“I really, really wish that I was a hair queen, but I keep my hair very simple. I wash it with Herbal Essences Cleansing Conditioner (I’m on my fourth bottle!) and let it air dry. Then I’ll spray some sort of texturizer in it, like the new Garnier De-Constructed Texture Tease or the Alterna Perfect Texture Finishing Spray. If it needs a boost (or it’s the second day), I’ll use the Herbal Essences Naked Dry Shampoo. When it comes to nails, I never get a manicure without Essie Millionails and JINSoon polishes, forever and always.
Doing my makeup feels like a very special time that’s just for me, so I take it seriously. I love the new NARS Audacious Lipsticks, especially Brigitte and Lana, Maybelline Volum’Express The Falsies Mascara, Revlon Colorstay foundation, and Dior Liquid Eyeliner.
When it comes to skin care, the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel is necessary for me because it creates such a smooth foundation for all of the makeup that I love to wear. I’m also loving Dermalogica PowerBright TRx C-12 Pure Bright Serum and moisturizer. My skin looks like it’s glowing after I apply it! The Avon Anew Reversalist Complete Renewal Eye Cream is in my bag at all times. I’m totally addicted!
I wish that I took better care of my body skin than I do, but I am always sure to bring my face skincare down onto my chest, and I try to moisturize as much as possible. I love Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash because I feel like I can get away without lotion in a pinch, but when I do use lotion, I love Nivea Smooth Sensation Moisturizer.”
What about fragrance?
“I love so many! First of all, anything/everything Narciso Rodriguez. I cannot wait to get my hands on the new fragrance, Narciso! I also love Tom Ford Black Orchid and White Patchouli. There’s something so womanly about the fragrances from both brands that I gravitate towards.”
On taking care of herself…
“I work seven days a week and sometimes have to deal with really stressful situations, so it is very important for me to create boundaries. I establish very clear work hours, which frees me from feeling like I have to always be “on,” so if there are times when I have to be on, it’s my choice. On the weekends, I’ll turn my phone off a lot, just to free myself from the responsibility. Music is very important to my mood, so I am very deliberate about the things to which I listen. Right now I’m also marathoning Gilmore Girls on Netflix. I love to curl up with my pup and just zone out.”
On what makes her happy….
“This might sound silly, but it’s the ability (and the privilege) to create. My happiest times are when I’m producing anything, from a blog post to a really great idea, or even just taking photographs. It’s like there’s just something inside of me that needs to be expressed!”
On loving yourself and self-acceptance…
“I always say that (loving yourself) is the foundation to success, and it doesn’t come easily. The only voice that matters is your own, and as long as you are happy with what you see and how you feel, nothing else matters. I’m a huge believer in incremental change, so every day make it a point to love yourself a little more.”