Preparing for any trip can be stressful, no matter the destination, but for a curvy woman, the process can feel overwhelming, especially when it comes to packing. From sifting through the often limited plus-size options in stores to figuring out how to fit all your fab outfits in your suitcase without incurring baggage fees, it ain’t easy traveling while curvy.
That’s why when we saw style influencer and travelista Yanique Holder (@lechicboheme) come across our Instagram feed with photos of her flaunting her voluptuous curves all over the world, she became an immediate friend in our heads. The New York City boss babe’s fearless fashion has made her a go-to for curvy girls looking to take their travel looks to the next level. From bright colors and tropical prints to short shorts and bikinis, Yanique makes traveling while curvy look effortless.
ESSENCE caught up with the travel fashionista to get her tips on exploring the world fashionable, and why she feels curvy women need to block all the noise and define style for themselves.
How would you describe your travel style?
Yanique Holder: I’m one of those people who gets inspired by my surroundings. So once I select a travel destination, I tailor my looks to compliment the vibe and culture of that country. My sister often makes fun of me for it. She always asks “Who will you be on this trip?!” But I can’t help it, it’s my process.
Many curvy girls find packing a pain, especially since the clothes are larger. Any tips and tricks for making sure all your must-haves fit in your suitcase?
It’s so hard to travel cute while curvy… ugh. Our clothes are made with more fabric, so I use packing cubes to maximize space. I also roll my clothes as opposed to folding them. I tuck thin material items in shoes and boots and try to pack multi-use items such as jeans and skirts.
Where are some of your favorite places to shop for vacation pieces?
I literally shop everywhere for vacation pieces, but some of my favorite retailers are Asos, Amazon, Swimsuits For All and H&M.
Do you find it more difficult to shop for a vacation as a curvier woman?
I think shopping for clothes to fit a curvier frame is difficult in general not just for vacation, but I have always approached shopping with a “size try it on” mentality. A lot of women limit themselves by shopping according to a size they have assigned to themselves. I know my body. I know what I want to highlight and what I want to hide so I shop with certain cuts and shapes in mind. I love a good kaftan and flowy pants.
What is the biggest misconception about curvy girl fashion?
I think the biggest misconception about curvy girl fashion is the need to put us in shapeless clothing. We are not trying to hide our bodies but compliment them. Inclusive fashion has come a long way, but it is still far from where it can be. This is the main reason why I refuse to only shop in plus-size departments. I want to wear something that makes me feel confident and beautiful.
A lot of women limit themselves by shopping according to a size they have assigned to themselves. I know my body. I know what I want to highlight and what I want to hide so I shop with certain cuts and shapes in mind.Yanique Holder
Have you had any challenges traveling while curvy?
My bodacious sisters know that the hardest thing about traveling while curvy is those narrow seats and tiny seat belts. My anxiety spikes every time I board an international flight. I say a little prayer as I tug on the seat belt and hope to hear a click, lol.
What are three pieces every curvy girl should pack for vacation and why?
Three pieces I would say are must-haves on vacation would be a good cover-up/ jacket, sneakers, and a nice dress. I love a good cover-up or jacket because they can take an ordinary swimsuit or outfit and make it special. Sneakers are a must because you want to be able to explore the city or town without your feet screaming. Thankfully there are a lot of fashionable options now. I always pack a special dress since you never know if there is an event happening while you’re visiting or if you get reservations at a nice restaurant. If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.
My advice for curvy women who are trying to define their unique travel style would be to identify want makes them feel best about themselves.Yanique Holder
Looking at your IG feed you love a good bathing suit and coverup moment. How did you become comfortable showing off your beach body to the world?
Ha, I do love a good swimsuit/cover-up moment! I used to be that girl that wore t-shirts over her swimsuits, but then one day I saw my reflection and realized that I was making myself appear larger than I actually was. So I was determined to find swimwear that I liked. I googled plus-size swimsuits and the options were all depressing until I discovered Monif C. She had just started her collection and had a showroom located in midtown Manhattan. I went and tried on some options…whew! That woman was a vessel for the Lord’s work. The way her swimsuits smoothed the waist and lifted the boobs. You couldn’t tell me I wasn’t Jessica Rabbit. After that, it was a wrap! I loved showcasing my curves. It was just a matter of finding which designers and cuts worked.
Three destinations where you feel you had the best looks?
If I have to name 3 destinations that I showed up and showed out, they would have to be Kenya, Italy, and Copenhagen. I gave versatility, sensuality, and FASH-UN!
What tips do you have for helping other curvy women find their unique travel style?
My advice for curvy women who are trying to define their unique travel style would be to identify want makes them feel best about themselves. Is there a color that makes you sparkle? A wrap dress that empowers you? Whatever those things are, make them the foundation of your travel wardrobe. Then with each new city/country you visit buy yourself items as souvenirs. You’ll return home with unique items and accessories that will remind you of where you’ve been and you’ll look fabulous.