Jessica Burke Blair is a Studio Coordinator living in Brooklyn. But at heart, she’s a Manhatten girl. She lives with her partner and two dogs and treats Saturday brunch like it’s a religious act. And here’s a fact, I’m deeply in love with Jessica’s style. Do you ever look at a photo of someone, or see them in the street, and find yourself falling for what they wear and how? Most times, without even asking, I know what she’s wearing was thrifted and comes with wonderful story. And because she’s shows it all so effortlessly as a plus size woman, I’m even more inspired. Today she shares how she makes styling herself and entertaining a priority through the winter. I hope it inspires you, as it did me.
LT: As a Californian native, does New York allow for you to be as extravagant as you wish when it comes to what you wear?
JBB: Absolutely! In NYC I can wear this caftan to brunch for no reason and people may comment that they like it. In CA, style is more relaxed and I would need a reason. I’d still wear it though!
“I had my eye on this yellow dress for a while. It’s so bright and happy! I think it’s great for hosting a more casual night of drinks and snacks in my dinning room.I’m trying to host more impromptu gatherings! I’d also wear this dress to work with a sweater and dark tights. Then I’d change the tights to black nylons and ditch the sweater once I got home. “
LT: Tell us the story behind the room, and why your front room ended up being your dining room, which I suppose is your gathering room?
JBB: We have a two-story apartment. I love to entertain, so we decided our bedroom should be downstairs in the basement level and turn the front room into what we call The Liberace Room! I love Liberace and extravagance and I love baroque, so it just seemed right. I’m not a minimalist, everything-should-be-comfy-and-beige kinda person. I’m forever a maximalist, and I love a formal dining room. Friends love hanging out at the table talking, eating, and drinking. I think they love it as much as I do!
“This vintage caftan is one of my most treasured pieces. I saw it at a thrift store in LA and ran across the room to grab it! I absolutely love it. Because it’s old, I don’t wear it as a day to night transition. This one is an event situation, perfect for hosting. Sparkly and cool, big and roomy, you know? Easy to feel free in and hustle around the table taking care of people!”
LT: Much of your wardrobe is vintage, and is likely why I am personally so drawn to them. You have THE best eye, like that time you thrifted something and knew it should be mine and then brought it to me! What about thrifting and vintage in particular makes you excited about getting dressed?
JBB:I loved finding that fantastic bright vintage dress for you!
I am always excited to thrift, and I love fashion. When you’re fat, I think it’s the best (possibly only) way to find and mix in pieces that resemble what you’re seeing on the runway or in print. I love finding interesting or beautiful dresses and menswear. I’m currently searching for the perfect oversized pleated front trousers.
I really like that someone has gotten rid of something that I may want—that sounds bizarre, but it’s true! Honestly, any look you want to recreate can be done thrifting. It gives anyone the possibility to create an interesting outfit. Plus, it’s a very responsible way to shop.
LT: It’s a new year, but it’s also winter in New York. It sometimes feels too daunting to make plans and get out and get dressed. What’s your personal philosophy on making getting dressed a priority?
JBB: It’s so easy to let this time of year turn getting dressed into a chore. I like to pick out my outfit the night before, or at least visualize it.
This winter, I’ve been wearing a lot of tie dye, all white, plaid-on-plaid and monotone jewel tone looks and plan to through the deep of winter. I think it helps if you know what you’re into at the moment and then find multiple different variations of that thing. And on the days where I just can’t, I wear all black. It’s easy and pulled together.
LT: When it comes to style, is there anything you wish to see more of in this new year?
JBB: I’d love to see more brands I like offering extended sizes. I want them to make exactly what they’re making in the straight sizes, in extended sizes. I don’t want to see anymore brands hype and release their new “extended line” and it’s basics in XXL/2XL. I’m like, thanks for nothing! I can find a black turtleneck anywhere. Gimme that cute-ass crop top, high-waisted pants, and that angular short shimmery dress. That’s what I’d love to see!