Name: Amanda Lee
What do you do, in your own words, and how long have you been doing it?
My day job is doing graphic design and administrative items at a PR firm. I’m an artist, working mostly in digital collage and I run the queer plus size fashion blog In The Thick Of It which means lots of social networking, styling and taking photos. I also do the occasional fashion column at TheQu.co.
What is your personal fashion philosophy?
One of my big things is ALWAYS TRY IT ON – it doesn’t matter what size an item is marked. I have pieces in my closet that range from size medium to size 20. It really opens up shopping possibilities when I’m not limiting myself to plus size stores only. Also, don’t be afraid of getting items tailored. It’s not as expensive as you might think it is – and it’s a great way to get a lot of use out of items – especially when thrifting!
Where do you like to shop for clothes?
I do a lot of thrifting (I like unique and village thrift quite a bit). I love DSW and Nordstrom Rack for shoes (size 10-11 isn’t the easiest shoe size to find). Nordstrom Rack, H&M, TopShop, Macys, Forever 21 are favorite brick & mortar stores. I’m also a big fan of Asos and eShakti for online retailers. Obviously I love a bargain.
How do you think queer femme style is different than mainstream “feminine” fashion?
What does “femme” mean to you, personally? I think there are some queer flags that come up when I’m dressing. Specifically I’d like to note the critical eye I use when using pieces that are considered traditionally “masculine” or “feminine” clothing. I would call that queering fashion, to intentionally use pieces in different ways than intended. I wouldn’t go so far as to say this is strictly a queer thing, but I like to think my take on it is very queer. There are other things I like to do that are femme to me (but I want to note that I wholly believe that “femme” is about WAY more than just clothing) – i am obsessed with nail art which play into my looks, I also occasionally (hanky) flag, and i’ve got this pink pony queer haircut which I think says a lot fashion-wise.
Tell me about your style blog In The Thick Of It and your work as a stylist.
I have been part of the fat fashion community since back when Live Journal was still a thing (around 2005 or so). Back then I was just interested in buying clothes and being part of the budding fat fashion community. Eventually I started posting my outfits and the popularity of my outfit posts made me realize that there was probably a need for someone like myself to have my own blog. And so in 2010, after moving back to Chicago, I just jumped into the fashion blogger pool. It’s been an amazing experience. Tumblr has me on their fashion spotlight page along side fashion tumblrs like Vogue and Rachel Zoe – I can’t even believe how fast it’s all happened! The stylist portion has been something I’ve always loved to do. It’s been wonderful working with so many talented people that need clothes for plays or photoshoots. Lately I’ve had so many requests from readers to help them craft outfits and I just decided I’d start a service for styling. That’s all pretty fresh, so I have no idea where that’s going to go.
Has starting a style blog changed the way you dress and think about fashion?
Oh god yes. I am constantly editing my wardrobe and I learned the hard way NEVER to leave the house without looking on point. I had the misfortune of wearing my PJs to the coffeeshop one morning and running into a reader and one of my editors. Embarrassing! It’s also forced me to really craft looks for myself on a daily basis. I’m interested in focusing on a general style for every season (of course i have to do that on a budget, so I reuse a lot of my pieces!).
Who are your personal style icons and influences?
I’ve been very influenced by my gothic youth the past few seasons – think The Craft, Souxsie Sioux, etc. I am constantly checking out style blogs like hel-looks and lookbook. I love Zana Bayne (of Garbage Dress), Nicolette Mason, Gabi Gregg (of gabifresh), Tiffany Tucker (of fat shopaholic).
What’s one thing you’d NEVER wear?
Never say never.
If you could live in any era of fashion history when would it be?
I love right now – I think there’s never been a better time to basically wear anything and get away with it.
What are your current favorite clothing pieces, accessories, and beauty products?
I’m obsessed with my black chiffon hi-lo dress – I’ve been wearing it as a dress but also as a layering piece. I’m always looking for perfect black jeans because I wear them like a uniform. Most of my accessories are from Forever 21 or Topshop, but i’m almost always wearing my crystal bullet necklace and titanium quartz ring from Stone and Honey (it’s so witchy and perfect). I’m always wearing SPF on my face – especially in the summer. I must tell you that LuckyScent is where I get all my perfume – I just love Comme des Garcons’ Avignon (it smells like having sex in a Catholic church).
If a design house or clothing line approached you wanting you to develop a line with them, who would you want it to be, and what kind of pieces would you create?
Oh god. Dream situation. I basically want everything from Topshop in size fat. I want beaded bustiers, structured jackets (leather and wool), above-the-knee dresses that come in patterns other than polkadots and leopard print, floaty short skirts, really good patterned and solid leggings, cut-out button up shirts, really skinny leg jeans that fit hips and thighs, body-con long dresses – I could go on and on. Basically it would be really intense dark pieces that look basic with extreme elements and patterened pieces that can be mixed in great ways.
Any fatshion tips for our readers?
Make clothes your own style – pair things up unexpectedly, layer on your favorite accessories.
Check out Amanda in this hot promo video for Dykesicles, debuting at Chicago Dyke March on Saturday 6/23!
Check out more fashion flava from Amanda at In The Thick Of It!