I Dressed Like Lori Harvey for a Week to Find the Best Plus-Size Alternatives

CTRL+C is a bimonthly style series in which associate editor Aiyana Ishmael tests the styles of the internet’s most talked about celebrities, dissecting their most buzz-worthy looks to see if they could be easily recreated on a plus-size body.

For the past few years, Lori Harvey has been mastering the art of pilates classes while launching her own skin care and swimwear lines, but the internet seems to always be talking about her style, often consumed via paparazzi sightings. I will admit that I have long lumped Lori Harvey into the “Anything Goes” category of celebrity fashion. She’s so gorgeous that she could walk outside in a plastic trash bag and I’ll convince myself that she looks amazing. That, of course, put her at the top of the list for this series.

Similarly to Bella Hadid, Harvey uses her midriff as an accessory for many of her outfits. She single-handedly convinced a huge demographic of people to start taking pilates classes to achieve a figure remotely similar to hers, which guaranteed entry to the Met Gala in a simple ab-revealing gown. But, unlike Bella, I never felt like Lori’s style told us anything about who she is as a person. Her sartorial choices always felt reliant on the fact that she would look good regardless. Now, I don’t think everyone needs to have a sense of personal style to walk outside wearing clothes, but this is what intrigued me the most and pushed me to try out her looks for a week. Could I achieve that same effortless, chic vibe as I walk down these empty Los Angeles New York streets the way she does?

I’ll be honest, the fourth installment of this series felt daunting for many reasons. Lori Harvey is someone I don’t necessarily want to emulate, mostly because I hardly ever rely on my midriff to elevate my outfits the way she so effortlessly does. More than anything, this time around showed me how emotionally connected we can be to our clothes. When you spend years saying you want to work in fashion, most people turn their noses up. It’s seen as vapid and frivolous to care deeply about what you wear, but that isn’t the case. Clothes can be intimately linked to the way we view ourselves.

Copying Lori Harvey’s style was more of a mental block than anything else for me. I’ve consistently put myself up next to wonderful women, all unique in their own right, but sitting next to someone whose style feels detached from her personality and more focused on just her physique terrified me. Even as I walked the Condé Nast hallways receiving compliments from my peers, I tucked my head down from nerves. I didn’t think I looked good donning outfits similar to her, and that hurt to realize.

Fashion and media have played a huge role in structuring the firm parameters of style. While fashion is fun, it’s also something everyone must participate in, and we’ve been conditioned to believe certain “rules” to be facts. It’s the reason why I see Lori Harvey walking down the street in low-rise jeans and a crop top and believe it’s only meant for her. Going against those misconceptions, one installment at a time, has helped immensely with my navigation of personal style. There are so many people out there who regulate what’s in their wardrobe because of made-up limitations on what certain people are allowed to wear — and I want to reiterate that this should never be the case.

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