Meet Jorika du Plessis, a 23-year-old image consultant, curvy fashion fundi and the owner of Full Bloom Consultancy. Despite growing up in the countryside, Jorika has a deeply rooted passion for all things beauty and style, and loves to help other women look and feel their best. “It always amazes me what difference a little change in hairstyle, the right makeup and a bit of knowledge about your body type and personal style can make in the way we look and how this, in turn, affects our confidence,” she says.

Here, Jorika chats about her image consulting journey and shares some expert advice on how to dress a curvy body – whether it’s yours or a client’s.

How to dress a curvy body by a plus-size image consultant

My journey

I am a qualified health and skincare therapist. The beauty industry is all about spoiling women and making them feel good when they leave your practice. I believe that I have a natural understanding of fashion and styling. In my teens, I started experimenting with “bolder” clothing and began to learn what to wear to flatter my body instead of hiding it in oversized and unflattering clothes. Incorporating image consulting with my beauty therapy was a logical next step for me to help my clients radiate true beauty from the inside out.

I heard about Image Innovators SA through a fellow image consultant and friend, Mariska Botha. I looked on the IISA website and I was immediately interested in what they offer and all the different tools that they have for free! Even though I haven’t met one of the trainers or admin personnel in person yet, I already feel like I know them. They make me feel special and welcome in the group, they are so quick to respond and always available when we need them.

My passion

My broad hips and fuller figure have accompanied me my whole life, even in my childhood, and I love it. I have a very special place in my heart for curvier women; we often suffer through what society expects of us instead of celebrating our bodies for what they are and what they can do for us. That’s why my company, Full Bloom Consultancy, focuses on showing curvier women that it’s OK to be themselves, to wear trendy clothes that work for their bodies and to feel empowered through what they wear. My goal is to help women bloom, no matter what season of their lives they are in.

I strive to make people feel better about themselves, spoil them and sometimes just being the ear they need to listen to the stories on their heart. I find it so rewarding when I can see that I’ve made a difference in someone’s day or life. Being an image consultant is so much more than just changing someone’s wardrobe – it’s about teaching women to feel their best while looking their best. I work with their emotions, issues from the past, the reasons they do not believe in themselves and help them transform into the women they are destined to be.

Plus-size fashion rules to break

The first stigma I would like to break is that anyone with a larger or curvier figure should hide their body – this is just not true! Even though some ladies may be categorised as “curvy”, we all still have different body shapes and it’s important to stick to the styles and fits that are suitable to yours. One rule I would suggest adhering to is to buy vertical stripes rather than horizontal ones. Any garment that you wear with vertical stripes immediately makes you look longer and leaner.

Know your fit

Ladies, please make sure you know your size! I often see curvy women wearing a size too small or a size too big. You might think it benefits you, but it really does not. Wearing the right size will do wonders for your figure, so make sure your clothes fit like a glove. Also, be sure to choose materials that’ll complement your body.

The best curvy fashion retailers

I absolutely adore Donna! They have trendy clothes for the curvier client and even offer wider fit shoes which I’m so grateful for because I struggle to find shoes that fit my broader foot and high bridge. H&M is also a very good choice for plus-size fashion, as well as the David Jones range at Woolworths depending on your client’s style or the occasion.

How to work with curvy clients

If you want to explore curvy women as your image consulting niche but haven’t worked with one before, be sure to get in contact with someone who has experience working as a plus-size image consultant. Ask them for advice about where to shop for clients and get their input on what materials work best for a fuller figure. Don’t forget to take your client’s taste, colour preferences and lifestyle into consideration when shopping with them, and not just offer them what you think will be flattering. Ensure that your client feels at ease at all times so that she has a good experience and gives you good referrals. If you’re not curvy yourself, people often feel you won’t have the experience to help them – prove them wrong!

What’s next for me

In the next five years, I would love to have my own well-established studio where I can see my clients and be styling for photoshoots or magazines, travelling through the country doing workshops and motivational speaking, empowering women and making them feel loved and special. I’m also thinking of launching my own swimwear, lingerie or denim range for curvy women. Just because you are fuller-figured doesn’t mean you can’t feel or look sexy! Embrace your curves and show people that it’s OK to be you.

To keep up with Jorika, follow her on Instagram or follow her business account, Full Bloom Consultancy for more tips on how to dress a curvy body.

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