Posted by Jane Janeczko on November 1, 2013
It is no easy feat to go thrifting while plus-size, but Erin Thomas, 28, of Cleveland, Ohio, has made it her life’s work. As a long time blogger and Internet queen, Erin has made her mark across social media and her incredibly gorgeous outfit posts have gone viral across the blog-o-sphere.
Currently, Erin is working as the brand manager at the newly opened Re/Dress store located at 2678 W. 14th St. in Cleveland. Even though she went to school for studio art and psychology, Erin found her true calling working in this small, local, independent plus-size boutique.
Now that Re/Dress’ brick-and-mortar Cleveland location officially opened in September (!!!), Erin is busy working both as a brand manager and as a stylist.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Re/Dress, in Erin’s own words, “it was, from the years of 2008-2011, a HUGE, awesome, (most would say life-changing) plus size shop in Brooklyn, NY…” the Brooklyn store closed two years ago and Re/Dress took on a second life via the Internet, but thanks to Rachel Kacenjar and Erin, Re/Dress once again has an official location.
Like many of the women IGIGI has profiled, Erin finds a lot of her fashion inspirations from other plus-size bloggers. “Had I not discovered fatshion blogs, I would have absolutely NO idea how to dress myself,” says Erin.
Erin describes her personal fashion as “very costumey,” and she is a big believer in the power of dressing up. “I think I’ve been obsessed since birth,” says Erin. “My dress up clothes collection as a kid could not be beat. Even my Barbies had thirty different outfits each. I was destined to be a clothing hoarder.”
I had a chance to ask Erin a few questions about Re/Dress, shopping, and plus-size style.
Jane: Re/Dress is really all about making a wonderful customer experience for plus-size women, but so many stores simply don’t care about their plus-size customers. Have you ever personally felt discriminated against in a store?
Erin: Yes! Without naming names, recently a large chain of very affordable fast fashion stores expanded to include plus sizes in my area. I really want to be happy about it, but they seem to only carry the most matronly pieces from the website, and the shop girls avoid the plus section like the plague. It’s like they think they’ll be fat by association or something. Shopping can be traumatic as it is; it’s even worse in a very trendy store where everything in your size is hideous and everyone is cold and willfully unhelpful to you because of the section you’re shopping in.
Jane: What advice would you give to women who are struggling to find fashion that inspires them?
Erin: Really take the time to figure out what you like, what you wish you could wear vs. what’s available to you, and the kind of image you want to project to others. Fatshion is in a great place right now. It might take some digging and researching, but there is something out there for everyone. I promise you, when you find it, the right piece of clothing will change your life.
Jane: Where do you look for sartorial inspiration?
Erin: I pay a lot of attention to what certain designers are doing, like Marc Jacobs, Rodarte, Kenzo, Meadham Kirchoff, and Rick Owens. I get a ton of inspiration from pop culture. Right now I’m going through a really big goth phase, so I’m looking to Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice, Sara Rue in Gypsy 83, Fairuza Balk in The Craft, and the current season of American Horror Story for wardrobe inspiration. Like I said, costumey.
Jane: What are your future plans?
Erin: I plan to continue working in fatshion for as long as possible. It’s my true passion in life! I hope to continue to expand my skill set and learn more about every facet of the industry. I’m one of those overachiever types who can’t just be enthusiastic about things, I have to be an expert. From personal styling to directing photoshoots to writing for various plus size magazines, I’m constantly trying new things to figure out what my niche might be.
If you want to dress like Erin, she recommends trying the IGIGI Paola Dress. “The sleeves are such a gorgeous, unexpected touch, and the shape is very vampy,” says Erin. “It reminds me of one of my fashion icons, Elvira.” Erin recommends pairing the Paola dress with a big updo, long stiletto nails, a severe cat eye, a statement belt, and some patent leather pumps.