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Featured Shop: The Curvy Elle

Feb 20, 2017

by Sharon Steel

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Laurel Teixeira learned firsthand that outsider status can sometimes spark a creative revelation. After studying fashion design in New York and San Francisco, she started her career interning for brands like Alice & Olivia and Victoria’s Secret. But as a plus-size woman, she experienced a disconnect between her own passion for clothing and the sample-size standards of the industry. In response, Laurel opened The Curvy Elle in 2012, offering a retro aesthetic to other plus-size women with similar style aspirations; soon, she began adding modern pieces that showcased her original designs.

From the start, Laurel’s vision for The Curvy Elle—both the shop and her personal fashion blog—has been shaped by her love of vintage clothing. She uses her blog to explain her brand and values through photo shoots and original writing. “It’s more than just, ‘Here are some clothes for sale,'” says Laurel. “My blog tells the story of what I see creatively. When I’m designing something, or buying and styling a vintage item, it’s not just something on a hanger. It’s an art form to me.”

Read on to find out how modeling pieces for her Etsy listings changed the way Laurel felt about her own body, and shop The Curvy Elle collection.

You have a wonderful post on your blog that acts as a kind of mission statement. How has running The Curvy Elle changed the way you feel about fashion?

Being in New York and working in the fashion industry, there are so many beautiful, thin people and it’s really hard to compete. The reality is, you’re judged on your size and how you look. Even if it’s not overt, it’s always there, and it’s harder to get accepted even if you’re just as qualified as someone who is a size two. After I worked in the industry for a while, I became a bit jaded. Starting The Curvy Elle and defining style on my own terms brought me back to loving fashion, instead of feeling badly about not having the perfect image others expected.

The plus-size clothing category on Etsy has exploded in the last few years. What’s it like being a part of the body-positive movement?

When I first started, if you searched “plus size” there were only a few other options on Etsy. To go from that to seeing thousands of pages of items is pretty amazing. The thought that I may have influenced other women toward similar empowerment is neat to know. And it’s not just Etsy where the body image movement has exploded: It’s gaining ground with regular fashion retailers and bloggers too. The average woman in the United States is not a size two or a size zero, and the industry needs to be realistic about that. There’s room for improvement, but we’ve taken steps forward and I think things will only get better in the future.

Can you talk a little about the modern pieces you sell based on your artwork, like your Lips & Lashes t-shirt?

I personally like to mix and match modern pieces with vintage items, because it can be hard to wear only vintage in my size. I came up with the print designs when I decided to bring The Curvy Elle to Niles, an annual flea market and antique fair in Fremont, California. My customers seemed to really like them, and I’m thinking about creating new prints soon. There’s a lot I’d like to do with my artwork, but I want to make sure it fits in with the shop and my brand.

What’s the first thing you’re attracted to when you’re looking through a rack of vintage pieces?

A lot of it is about the fabric. You can tell just looking at a rack if something is vintage or from Forever 21. But it’s also about the silhouette, because sometimes you don’t know until you pull something out, hold it up, and realize, “Wow, this could be really great.” It’s all about finding diamonds in the rough! Most of the best stuff I find is from the late ’70s, ’80s, and early ’90s. Pieces from the ’50s and ’60s are more rare, but have amazing construction.

You act as your own model in your listings and blog posts. Has that been an empowering step for you?

I was smaller when I first started, before I had my daughter, but even then I would cringe looking at pictures. Then I got to a point where I was like, “I don’t look that bad! I look pretty good!” Why was I so scared of looking at myself in pictures? It was eye-opening and liberating to see myself in a new light. It’s taken time and it’s still something I struggle with, but it’s amazing how getting out of your comfort zone pushes you to be a better person and makes you happier. I’m more comfortable in my own skin now.

What inspires you the most about the work that you do?

First, it’s inspiring to be able to do what I love and be creative. And then it’s being able to do something for other people. A lot of women don’t have any desire to go thrifting and sift through tons of clothes, they just want to buy something they like. I love finding new pieces, getting excited about them, and then making them available for other women. Being able to make other plus-sized women feel good and look good is what drives me.

Follow The Curvy Elle on Instagram and Facebook, and read Laurel’s blog here.

Photographs courtesy of The Curvy Elle.

Shop The Curvy Elle

CURVY ELLE Pink Logo T-Shirt Unisex (Size M-5X)
CURVY ELLE Pink Logo T-Shirt Unisex (Size M-5X)
TheCurvyElle
$10.00 USD
Lips & Lashes Design T-Shirt by CURVY ELLE  (Size L)
Lips & Lashes Design T-Shirt by CURVY ELLE (Size L)
TheCurvyElle
$20.00 USD
Plus Size - Vintage Red & White Polka Dot Midi Skirt (Size L 12/14)
Plus Size - Vintage Red & White Polka Dot Midi Skirt (Size L 12/14)
TheCurvyElle
$30.00 USD
Plus Size - Vintage Navy Floral White Collar Surplice Dress (Size 12)
Plus Size - Vintage Navy Floral White Collar Surplice Dress (Size 12)
TheCurvyElle
$45.00 USD
PLUS SIZE - Lips & Lashes Design T-Shirt by Curvy Elle  (Size 2X)
PLUS SIZE - Lips & Lashes Design T-Shirt by Curvy Elle (Size 2X)
TheCurvyElle
$20.00 USD
Plus Size - Vintage Unisex Coral Airplane T-Shirt (Size XL 16/18)
Plus Size - Vintage Unisex Coral Airplane T-Shirt (Size XL 16/18)
TheCurvyElle
$18.00 USD
Plus Size - Vintage Floral Henley Blouse (Size 16/18)
Plus Size - Vintage Floral Henley Blouse (Size 16/18)
TheCurvyElle
$18.00 USD
Plus Size - Vintage Pastel Floral Print Blouse (Size 18)
Plus Size - Vintage Pastel Floral Print Blouse (Size 18)
TheCurvyElle
$18.00 USD
Vintage - Brown Faux Leather Clasp Hand Bag Purse
Vintage - Brown Faux Leather Clasp Hand Bag Purse
TheCurvyElle
$25.00 USD
FINAL SALE - Plus Size - Vintage Blue & Green Stripe Sweater Knit Tank Top (Size 12/14)
FINAL SALE - Plus Size - Vintage Blue & Green Stripe Sweater Knit Tank Top (Size 12/14)
TheCurvyElle
$18.00 USD
Plus Size - Vintage 1960s Black Floral Chiffon Lace Trim Skirt (Size 13/14)
Plus Size - Vintage 1960s Black Floral Chiffon Lace Trim Skirt (Size 13/14)
TheCurvyElle
$30.00 USD
Plus Size - Vintage Printed Crepe Faux Sarong Skirt (Size 24)
Plus Size - Vintage Printed Crepe Faux Sarong Skirt (Size 24)
TheCurvyElle
$25.00 USD

63 comments

  • DecoUno

    DeUno from DeUno said 1 year ago

    Lovely designs! Congratulation on the feature!

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie said 1 year ago

    Beautiful shop! Congratulations on the feature!

  • littlechook

    littlechook from littlechook said 1 year ago

    Laurel you are amazing. You look beautiful in the pictures.

  • TropicalGarden

    TropicalGarden from TropicalGarden said 1 year ago

    Great shop! Congratulation on the feature!

  • rhondastubbs2

    Rhonda Stubbs from RhondaCorner said 1 year ago

    What an inspiring story! You keep up the great work! Congratulations on your feature and I wish you the very best on your future endeavors.

  • PrimCountryCurtains

    Francine from HomespunHeartofMine said 1 year ago

    What an inspiring feature, Laurel! It is such a blessing that you have been a part of such a necessary mind shift in the fashion industry! I LOVE the pic of you in front of the blue cottage....such a timeless looking photo! Congratulations and many blessings for your continued success! :D

  • mipe76

    Michela from LilyandFern said 1 year ago

    Lovely shop, congratulation!! :-)

  • DivineOrders

    DivineOrders from DivineOrders said 1 year ago

    GLORIOUS! Congrats on the feature. Thank you Laurel for sharing your blessed vision, wonderful designs, and amazing arts with us. - Peace.

  • msbijouxbeads

    Cathy from msbijouxbeads said 1 year ago

    Love your story and your design esthetic. Awesome floral dresses. All the best to you!

  • Kashuen

    Kashuen Collectibles from Kashuen said 1 year ago

    It takes a lot of courage to be your own model. Very interesting designs. Congratulations on the feature.

  • RandMhandmade

    Renee from RandMhandmade said 1 year ago

    Beautiful shop... Congratulations!!

  • ThreeBarDGifts

    Monica from ThreeBarDGifts said 1 year ago

    Congrats on the feature! I'm so happy for the success of your lovely shop! Best wishes!

  • gk2829

    Bybee Vintage from BYBEEVINTAGE said 1 year ago

    These are really cute!

  • GTDesigns

    renee and gerardo from GTDesigns said 1 year ago

    Charming and quite beautiful!! Congrats on a lovely feature!!!

  • WetDesert

    MJ Toops from WetDesertVintage said 1 year ago

    It is so thrilling to see a vintage shop that sells plus-size clothes featured!!! I love selling plus-size vintage even though it is hard to find. When I do find something, I'm excited to send it into the world for more gals like myself to enjoy. Congrats on the feature Curvy Elle! You are an inspiration to us all.

  • TreasuredMemoryLane

    TreasuredMemoryLane from TreasuredMemoryLane said 1 year ago

    Beautiful creations! Truly inspiring story! Congratulation on the feature!

  • ResistPersist

    Roxanne from ResistPersist said 1 year ago

    wow it feels like these clothes were made for me personally! Congratulations to you, you deserve it!

  • husbandfatherfriend

    MIchael Robinson from CarvedAccessories said 1 year ago

    Style for all sizes. Keep at it!

  • gilstrapdesigns

    Debra Gilstrap from gilstrapdesigns said 1 year ago

    Congratulations on your feature. Your feature is so good you really do have great taste and style. I just love your blog I started reading it today after reading your feature and looking at your wonderful shop with all of the goodies. I then started reading your blog it is really good and I have been reading different post on your blog all afternoon. It is really a good blog and I just love your post about living in New York have you posted a part 3 yet?

  • gardenmis

    Priscilla from Gardenmis said 1 year ago

    Follow your bliss! Beautiful story of doing what you love and learning to love yourself! Congrats on the feature and best wishes for achieving all your goals and dreams :)

  • pbstitches

    Pamela Brue from PBStitches said 1 year ago

    So Inspiring... Congrats!!!

  • tlpjenpierce1

    Jennifer and Gary Pierce from LoftAtticEarth said 1 year ago

    You go girl, follow your dreams and reshape the industry! Your courage, creativity and vision are inspiring. Love your designs and bold colors! Best wishes for 2017 and beyond.

  • mrsakarn

    cindy Q. from mrsakarn said 1 year ago

    Lovely Blog, Laurel keep being and doing you! You are beautiful! Thank you for sharing your amazing story. Much love and happiness!!!! Blessings, CQ

  • LadyInPurple

    Jennifer Tyson from LadyInPurpleBoutique said 1 year ago

    Such an inspiring story! Congrats on your success Laurel!

  • vintagedivinities1

    Martha Godinez from VintageDivinitiess said 1 year ago

    Amazing! Congratulations on the feature. All of your items rock!

  • iluminadacamacho1

    Ludy from illubyludy said 1 year ago

    Love the story and how having this shop affected her positively.

  • emaxtees

    emaxtees from EmaxTees said 1 year ago

    Curves on fleek, great job :)

  • JewelMeShop

    Georgia from JewelMeShop said 1 year ago

    Lovely designs! Congrats!

  • earthwayspirit

    Kathryn King from earthwayspirit said 1 year ago

    So happy to see clothing catering to the plus sized girlies... I am one, myself, and I believe there are more of us than anyone knows!...

  • mistyporter

    Kaila and Marliss from thethirdarrow said 1 year ago

    Yaaaaaaaaas! You are magic. Thank you for doing what you do.

  • ClassicMemories

    ClassicMemories from ClassicMemories said 1 year ago

    Very pretty shop. Congrats on the feature.

  • thecurvyelle

    Laurel Teixeira from TheCurvyElle said 1 year ago

    Thank you to Etsy and Sharon Steel for the lovely feature post! Also, thank you to everyone for the sweet, inspiring comments!

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage from accentonvintage said 1 year ago

    Great story!

  • dorijenn

    Dori from dorijenn said 1 year ago

    Inspiring! Great, unique designs.. I wish you continued success!

  • SouvenirAndSalvage

    Mary Jo and Rachael from SouvenirAndSalvage said 1 year ago

    How refreshingly wonderful to see a great collection of plus size vintage clothing! It is so hard to find high quality pieces in extended sizes and knowing you have curated a selection of them makes it such a blessing. Can't wait to peruse your shop sections and pick out some items for ourselves! Congratulations on the feature write up :)

  • bonesbags

    viena bone from bonesreusablebags said 1 year ago

    Thank you for being part of such a positive movement, and giving so many plus sized women better options in clothing. I remember being a teenager, on the edge of outgrowing the sizes sold in department stores. It was depressing to know that I was running out of options! You are doing great things ; )

  • infinitlit

    Farideh Nouri from FlairPaintings said 1 year ago

    Great shop! congratulations for the feature :)

  • FieldsOfVintage

    Fields Of Vintage from FieldsOfVintage said 1 year ago

    Awesome Story, i have CURVY clothing racks that I have listed on my shop for your clothes.

  • kov181

    Tatiana from TopGracia said 1 year ago

    Beautiful shop! Congratulations on the feature!

  • aressa

    aressa from OriginalBridalHanger said 1 year ago

    Wow! Love your work....I am plus size and have always wondered why it is so hard to get cute clothing...I like to be fashionable, even if I am not a size 1.... Kudos to you. Congrats on the feature!

  • msbijouxjewelry

    Cathy White from msbijouxjewelry said 1 year ago

    Awesome feature! Love your spunk and passion, you are an inspiration. Off to have a look at your shop

  • bedouin

    Nicole from Crackerjackarma said 1 year ago

    Great article ~ Fun totes and T's ~ Terrific shop showing the endless land of vintage clothing is just a hanger away for everyone to enjoy ~ Cheers to much continued success

  • kd15

    k d from kd15 said 1 year ago

    I loved reading your feature! Nice shop.

  • earthbutterbeads

    Desiree Malan from EarthButterBeads said 1 year ago

    Love your shop and you look absolutely gorgeous!

  • pillowlink

    Rosita from pillowlink said 1 year ago

    Beautiful shop and story!

  • dominna

    Katrina Dzerkale from Dominna said 1 year ago

    I love how fierce your brand is !

  • ARTLadyLunarCat

    Irina Shapoval from ARTLadyLunarCat said 1 year ago

    I do not like. Because such a large weight does not need to dress beautifully. It needs to be treated because that is the risk of diabetes and other serious diseases, and burden on the spine (I'm sorry if I offended someone, but I say what I think.

  • BelkaUA

    Olesya Bagriy from BelkaUA said 1 year ago

    Very nice work! Congratulations on the feature!

  • constructiongirl

    constructiongirl from TheInkyKiwi said 1 year ago

    What a great interview with an inspirational woman. And Laurel, your shop is completely awesome too!

  • jsortorivera

    Jasmin Sorto Rivera from DallArtistry said 1 year ago

    So inspiring:} Stories like this just make my day. Such a win to be featured, congratulations!

  • Dyanismemorybox

    Aide from DyanisMemoryBox said 1 year ago

    Lovely shop! Congratulations!

  • Tocinito

    Florencia Reyes from ShopGorgona said 1 year ago

    Loved this story, specially the part about Laurel's business helping her with body-acceptance <3 Laurel, I wish you the best! Also, congrats on the feature :)

  • sandraka1

    Sandra Ankleknits from Ankleknits said 1 year ago

    Your designs are beautiful!

  • BiomedDesign

    BioMed DB Design LLC from BiomedDesign said 1 year ago

    Make things people really want is what I am after. Thanks for sharing.

  • GabriellasTreasures

    Patricia Barsalona from GabriellasTreasures said 1 year ago

    Laurel, Kudos to you :) Gorgeous shop, great inspiration and styles and imagination and and... Wishing you the best!

  • teerasakborkam

    Teerasak Borkam from TribalAndHarem said 1 year ago

    quite beautiful!!

  • 5erg

    5erg from 5erg said 1 year ago

    The yellow sweater is amazing! I think even if the average woman would be size 0 , it's still cool if there are beautiful clothes in other sizes too, I'm happy to read that you saw that early on and started with it even when it wasn't that popular back then. I always have problems finding size wise above average clothing items that fit and look great on tall people, it just generally makes me happy to see that people are working on expanding choices and I'm hoping this positive trend spreads more

  • wendyJ86

    Wendy from DrevanM said 1 year ago

    Beautiful shop....congrats on the feature!

  • tannerkim64

    Kimberley Nelson from YoursTrulyShoes said 1 year ago

    Love this. So genuine. 💕

  • bflirty

    Linda from FlirtyDivaTees said 1 year ago

    Beautiful and she knows it. Love that!

  • 1StopSteampunkShoppe

    One Stop Steampunk Shoppe from OneStopSteamShoppe said 1 year ago

    Nice designs! Congrats on your feature! : )

  • emaxtees

    emaxtees from EmaxTees said 1 year ago

    You are inspiration for all of creative people here, good job

  • bellecaprice

    Anna from bellecaprice said 1 year ago

    You are an inspiration for all plus size women. Thank you.

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