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World of Style: Nicole Phillips

World of Style: Nicole Phillips

by Melissa Magsaysay

Flower child, feminist, forest ranger in training; all of the above describe Nicole Phillips, a woman well into a successful fashion career who remains down to earth (literally) despite a high powered, often glamour filled world with designer clothing at its core.

Phillips, who is the social media manager at 11 Honoré and a frequent contributor to Page 11, is a California girl who grew up camping in the Golden State’s most scenic locations and road tripping up the picturesque coast from San Diego to the Oregon border. Before getting into fashion, she was studying to become a forest ranger, delving deep into forest conservation and protecting the planet.

“I am not a wallflower. I love bright prints, bold colors and breaking the fashion rules that plus size women are not supposed to break.”

Phillip’s passion for nature likely informed her signature style aesthetic whis is steeped in bright color, bold patterns and a quintessentially boho look.

“I am not a wallflower. I love bright prints, bold colors and breaking the fashion rules that plus size women are not supposed to break.” She says. “It's very hard for me to commit to any one style (total Gemini!) but I'd describe my style as Boho Feminine Chic with a dash of 90's Alt-Girl rock style. I love to look at strong women for fashion inspiration. Gloria Steinem circa 1974, Mrs. Roper, Stevie Nicks, Patty Hearst, Joni Mitchell and Courtney Love.”

Phillips’ style also calls for plenty of wide brimmed hats, 70s jewelry, and a go-with-the-flow nature that has drawn her to a string of music festivals and an enduring love of the outdoors.

World of Style: Nicole Phillips

“I love accessories!” She says. “They've never told me that I was too fat to wear them. Over the years I have searched for pieces that feel unique and bring me lots of joy. Also, I do not like blending into the scenery so when you wear a hat, you're immediately looked at. I want people to look at me and remember me. I like making an impression.”

But fashion wasn’t always an effortless endeavor for Phillips. A lack of representation of plus sized women and a dearth of clothing options, often proved challenging.

“I'm resourceful and growing up with limited sizes in the styles that I wanted, I did my best to express myself through fashion in any way I could.”

“Fashion was pretty complicated for me growing up. When I was very young, I was obsessed with back to school shopping. I'd count down all summer until the day my mom and Nana would take me to The Broadway or Mervyns to shop for new outfits.” Says Phillips. “I'd have 7-10 new outfits hanging in my closet that I'd secretly put on at night and model in front of my dresser mirror because my mom forbid me to wear anything until school started. In junior high is when fashion became extremely frustrating for me. My body was curvy and all I wanted to do was imitate looks that I saw in Sassy Magazine— which my mom was not too thrilled about either! My clothing options were limited as a size 10/12 13 year old, so I became the ultimate thrift shopper and found my own style with vintage tees, bright 70s house dresses, men's Levis and tons of quirky accessories. I'm resourceful and growing up with limited sizes in the styles that I wanted, I did my best to express myself through fashion in any way I could.”

She adds that despite the fashion industry being slow to adopt women above a size 10, the landscape does feel incredibly fresh right now.

“It seriously gets me thinking about all of the new indie designers out there making clothing with my body in mind and the designer brands that are expanding their size range for 11 Honore.”

As a mom to a one and a half year old, Phillips has to balance comfort with designer looks. Deep in the throes of toddler-hood, her home also has to teeter between practical and high end.

“I love to surround myself with things that make me happy. Lots of succulents and plants (typical millennial), art books, bright accent pillows and rugs, art from local artists and cozy furniture.” She says about her interior design choices. “Currently my home has been taken over by a very busy toddler, so we'd had to incorporate an obscene amount of toys into our home's aesthetic.”

As an integral part of the 11 Honoré team, Phillips is excited about what can come of the movement to offer high end clothes to plus-size women.

“It's an exciting time to be a fat girl who loves clothing.” She says. “Almost everything that I dream about wearing is out there, but it's because of brands that started as brands for plus women. It's always amazing when a brand that has carried sizes 00-10 expands into plus but it's often met with a lot of disappointment. The styles are limited, watered down, or stop at size 18. I really don't know how to say it anymore or any louder than it's been said before, but we want the same thing that our smaller counterparts are wearing. I am confident that we'll get there.”

The same consideration should be made in the media.

“Representation matters and it's exciting brands cast larger models for their campaigns.” Says Phillips. “Brands who carry plus and non-plus clothing should make sure to keep their larger customer in mind when shooting their campaigns. Plus women shouldn't be the after thought — they should be a natural part of the campaign. I love when I meet other plus women working in fashion and media. It's important to have and listen to their POV. They have been underserved and left out of this conversation for far too long and their voices are valuable. Hire plus women, pay them well, empower them.”

World of Style: Nicole Phillips

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