Ashley Graham's Favorite Accessory Will Give You a Major Confidence Boost

Lauren Gordon | May 30, 2017 Beauty & Style

ashley graham book
theashleygraham/Instagram; Marissa Pina/CafeMom
Feeling good in my body is a relatively new concept to me. I had always struggled with myself, lost in a what felt like an endless cycle of shame and disgust. It wasn't until I found body positivity that I started to challenge my concepts of "beauty," especially as they pertained to myself.

Though I've come a long way, the hardest and longest struggle of my adult life was allowing myself to be seen. I hid behind shapeless clothes and barely noticeable lipstick, and I suppressed the desire to wear many of the vibrant, sexy pieces I was attracted to. Once I surrounded myself with the right people, and started really digging in to fat-positive fashion, I found a tribe of women who were struggling to love their bodies and challenging themselves with bold and fierce looks.

More from CafeMom: Women Share the Worst Body-Shaming Comments They've Ever Gotten

One such woman is Sports Illustrated's first plus-size cover model and body-positive icon Ashley Graham. Though we have dramatically different bodies, Graham's style is one I admire deeply-- especially because she gives herself nowhere to hide. Well, almost.

If you're a fan of Graham the way I am, you may have noticed she's been obsessing over one accessory in particular: a corset belt. Paired with elegant dresses or T-shirts and leggings, Graham's corset belts kick up her everyday outfits and define her shape. To help me get over some of my fashion fears, I borrowed her signature look -- here's what happened. 

  • Personally, I never quite graduated from my Hot Topic phase of life and live by the creed of #allblackeverything.

    Marissa Pina/CafeMom

    So before I ditched my fashion comfort zone completely, I tried this basic black bodycon dress. 

    More from CafeMom: Even Ashley Graham, the Queen of Curvy Swimwear, Still Feels Shy in a Bikini

  • Just so we are clear, this is what my body looks like from the side.

    Marissa Pina/CafeMom

    While my boobs are distinguishable from the rest of me, my waist tends to look less curvaceous from the side, and I can get pretty self-conscious about it. 

  • So I snapped on this corset belt and saw a definite change in shape.

    Marissa Pina/CafeMom

    Unlike an actual corset, belts provide a tailored look without the pain and suffering. As you can see, my boobs got a little pick-me-up and my profile became slightly more defined. 

  • The belt also made me stand a little straighter.

    Marissa Pina/CafeMom

    Which always helps you look more confident. I was an instant corset convert. Now, I was ready to make it more noticeable. 

    Asos Curve Wide Corset Belt ($24, Asos)

  • My next "fashion dare" was this army green casual dress.

    Marissa Pina/CafeMom

    The dress itself is totally plain and definitely needed a little boost to turn it into a look. 

    More from CafeMom: 17 Fab Accessories From This Fall's Hottest Trends 

  • BAM! Corset belt totally saved the day.

    Marissa Pina/CafeMom

    My waist was no longer indiscernible and it totally gave the dress the va-va-voom it needed.

    Faux Suede Wide Belt ($23, Torrid)

  • Also, if you're feeling insecure about your back rolls, these belts can do wonders!

    Marissa Pina/CafeMom


    All kidding aside, it smooths out any typically lumpy areas and gives your backside a little oomph. 

  • Stripes and I have always had a tumultuous relationship.

    Marissa Pina/CafeMom

    For a long time I believed that fashion rule that banned fat girls from wearing stripes. And if you're still having reservations about it,  a belt could really help you get over it. 

  • If you look closely, you can totally see the corset belt in action.

    Marissa Pina/CafeMom

    I opted for a clear corset belt so I could still get the #slay of being a big girl in stripes while defining my figure. 

  • The wide fit cut totally enhanced my pear-shaped curves.

    Marissa Pina/CafeMom

    And I love that this belt doesn't blatantly break up your outfit's color or pattern. 

    Clear Lace-Up Corset Belt ($14, Ashley Stewart)

  • For me, the most nerve-racking thing was to put on a light-colored dress.

    Marissa Pina/CafeMom

    While I've learned to love the woman underneath this form-fitting dress wholly, it can still be a challenge heading outdoors this unapologetically. 

  • But by wrapping myself in a thick corset belt, I felt like I could rock any color I wanted to.

    Marissa Pina/CafeMom

    I quickly discovered that by defining my waist, keeping my shoulders back, and drawing attention to the spot on my body I've always been most "concerned" about, corset belts were like the accessory sent from the heavens. And the best part? They are easily accessible in an array of styles for every sized girl.

    Thanks, Ashley, for making this a thing and helping me to get my slay on. I'll definitely be belting my outfits on the regular. 

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