Manhattan-based fashion publicist, blogger, curvy model and all-around cool-girl Katie Sturino has always had loved finding the perfect clothes for her figure — a passion that, after years of perfecting, led to her website, The 12ish Style. There, Sturino shares not only outfit ideas, but her time-tested tricks for everything from avoiding thigh chafing to tricking people into thinking you’re Cindy Crawford — which we could all use some help with.
In her popular feature, “Supersize It”, Sturino pulls outfits from size zero models and celebrities and recreates them to fit her size 12 body. And now, she’s bringing those tips to life in a new video series, which you’re seeing here first. Below, get to know Sturino, discover how she navigates the world of fashion, andsteal the modeling tip she learned from Ashley Graham.
Why did you start The 12ish Style?
“I’ve been working in the fashion industry for nine years, and I had always felt like the biggest girl in the room and just accepted that that was my size and my role. Then, Man Repeller did a story with me on how to dress for a curvier body type. When we did the article, I heard so much feedback from women around the country like, ‘Oh my God! This is my body on such a fashionable site; I love what you’re wearing; I love how you dress.’ So I got the opportunity to share that information, and it just felt like a natural thing for me to do.
We did a swimsuit shoot and it was revolutionary to people that they would see someone in a size 14 swimsuit, not airbrushed, with cellulite on their legs being like, ‘This is what I wore to the beach.'”
How did you come up with your franchise, “Supersize It”?
“One of the reasons we’re so obsessed with celebrities for inspiration is because they have the biggest budgets, the best stylists, hair people, doctors, everyone with the sole job of making them look good. So if someone is already doing the work for me, and if I like their style, why not imitate it?”
Are you ever surprised when a celeb-inspired look works?
“Sometimes you see Jessica Alba and you’re like, ‘She looks good, but I can’t do that!’ I did a Gigi Hadid one this winter in this black slip dress with a bomber jacket and even I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can wear a slip dress like that.’ And then I put the whole thing together and I was like, ‘I look good!'”
What’s been the biggest challenge about dressing your curves?
“I wear anywhere from a 12 to a 14 and shopping for me — straight size shopping as they call it — had always been kind of a challenge because many contemporary designers only go up to an eight. If they make a 12, a lot of the times its really a 10. So it’s a game of what can fit.”
At what point did you learn to love your body?
“I think we as women are so hard on ourselves. One of the real reasons I learned to accept my body was. through working in the fashion industry, I realized that the size zero, two, four women just beat themselves up all the time about their body. So we might as well all have fun.”
Aside from celebrities, where do you find your inspiration?
“Everywhere. I’ve always looked to the incredibly stylish women on the streets here in N.Y.C. As soon as I walk out of the door to walk the dogs (she’s the momager of Insta-famous dogs Toast, Muppet and Pants), I see at least two outfits that I want to wear. Sometimes I take pictures just on my phone like a creep, or I’ll just ask people where they got something and see if they make it in my size. If not, I’ll find something similar. My friend Zoe was wearing a size zero striped jumpsuit from Free People and they didn’t have it in my size, but Eloquii had a really similar one that I got.”
What are your most common reader requests?
“More options, more variety. Also, just dealing with boobs — like really big boobs — people tend to always have questions about that.”
You were photographed for Glamour with Ashley Graham. What did she teach you about modeling?
“Keep moving! I tend to get stuck in a pose. But you know, you got to keep moving. To watch her work is incredible. She’s been doing this for so long she’s such a professional. It was really amazing to even be photographed with her.”
What are your tricks for taking swimsuit photos?
“Everyone’s got angles. Swimsuit photos are all about angles. Put the camera higher than your head and then everything falls in a nice way. But I’ll tell you that when I feel uncomfortable, I look really uncomfortable. So I think the thing for me is to really love the suits that I’m wearing, because if I’m taking a photo when I don’t like the suit you can really tell.”
How has your style changed since starting the site?
“I’m still dressing in things that make me happy to wear, obviously adding in current trends. What has changed is when I get dressed, I think about the challenges of other women, so I buy a new sports bra and I’m like, ‘Oh, this is very supportive, I’m going to tell people about this.’ That’s kind of the thing that’s changed for me.”
What are the best comments you’ve received?
“I’ve gotten so many comments from spring into summer about women being like, ‘I’m wearing shorts this summer for the first time because you told me I could.’ Or ‘I didn’t think I could wear this type of swimsuit but I got one and I love it.’
How do you feel about the phrase “plus size”?
“I use it on my site, because as of right now it’s the only clear easy way for people to know that you’re not a size zero. That’s why I use it — so that people can understand that they can come here for inclusive sizing. Unfortunately, it is just an easy identifier. To a fashion designer who thinks that six is bordering on big, I’m sure that I’m like triple plus. But I don’t see myself as plus or not plus.”
What do you think of Sturino’s style? Sound off below, and come back every week for more genius tips!