• Give a Gift
  • Customer Service
  • Promotions
  • Videos
  • Blogs
  • Win
  • Games

March 10, 2010

Big Girl in a Skinny World: Slimming Wardrobe Basics

MC's plus-size fashion maven, Ashley Falcon, dishes on her favorite anytime/anywhere wardrobe classics.
See Ashley’s top picks for clothing staples every girl should own.


Photo Credit: Greg Kessler

Special Offer

My fashion idol is Audrey Hepburn. That always seems to shock people, as though a 220-pound Cuban spark plug like me couldn't possibly emulate the grace and style of Hollywood's doe-eyed, pocket-size beauty. In fact, Hepburn has inspired much of my wardrobe—the little black dresses, crisp white button-downs, pretty ballet flats. These looks are flattering and chic, no matter what your size. So when a frustrated, full-figured shopper asks me for shopping tips, I always advise her to start with the classics. I recently ransacked my closet and compiled a list of my all-time favorites, the cornerstones of virtually every outfit I wear. I'd sooner part with my kid brother than any one of them. (Kidding, I swear.)

Little black dress. I confess: I own a dozen, each so versatile it could take me from a frenetic afternoon styling a six-page fashion story to a paparazzi-packed movie premiere hours later. Because big girls can't "wing it" like our willowy friends (there's no such thing as running to the mall after work for a last-minute sparkly number when you're a size 18), my frocks must be flexible workhorses that see me through day to night. My current fave is an Ann Taylor sleeveless sheath with flirty ruffles that's fitted at the waist. Take note: Shapeless shifts make better drapes than dresses.

White button-down. I spent much of my life avoiding this wardrobe classic like a nasty cold. My beef: I needed a wrench to get the shirt buttoned over my ample chest. I've resorted to safety pins, double-stick tape, even sewing myself in just to keep it closed. It wasn't until I came upon a form-fitting yet roomy Ralph Lauren button-down in a thick oxford cotton that I finally got over my aversion. I wear my button-down under blazers or on its own, and dry-clean it often, as though it were a gift from Ralph himself.

Black pencil skirt. Look for one with a lining (to reduce cling) and made, in part, of spandex, like the skirt I snagged from New York & Company a few years back. I'm wearing the poor thing to death, to both casual dinners and formal work events. The lesson: If you find an item you adore, buy two of them.

Trenchcoat. While I don't have much use for a trench in sultry Miami, my hometown, I prefer to wear one on my frequent trips to New York City. Even if I'm dressed down in jeans and a shabby shirt, the addition of a well-tailored trench instantly quadruples the sophistication level. I like the Deborah double-breasted trench from London Fog, which elongates my barely 5-foot frame. The company offers a range of jackets in plus-sizes—definitely worth checking out.

Have I missed something? Tell me what wardrobe classic you can't live without—and where you got it.

Visit marieclaire.com/ashley.

Connect with Marie Claire:
daily giveaway
Go to the Beach

Go to the Beach

enter now
You Know You Want More

post a comment

Special Offer
Link Your Marie Claire Account to Facebook

Marie Claire already has an account with this email address. Link your account to use Facebook to sign in to Marie Claire. To insure we protect your account, please fill in your password below.

Forgot Password?

Thanks for Joining

Your information has been saved and an account has been created for you giving you full access to everything marieclaire.com and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your username and/or password or complete your profile, click here.

Your accounts are now linked

You now have full access to everything Marie Claire and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your settings or profile, click here.