Since the singer hit the scene solo, she’s stolen our hearts. Her revamped style in leg-baring shorts and vintage sequins makes her an inspiration for all curvy fashionistas to wear what they want and own it.

As Ambrosius preps for her upcoming performance at the ESSENCE Music Festival, we decided to pick her brain about what she’ll be wearing to New Orleans — and we got her suggestions on what you should be rocking too. What advice could you give curvy girls who want to look fly on a budget?

MARSHA AMBROSIUS:You don’t have to spend a million dollars to look a million dollars — just put the right pieces together. So don’t go out and look for people who do “plus sizes.” Just wear something that fits you right. Because the thing about it is, people try to wear something tight to show they’re coming down some. I was a victim of that. I didn’t know how to dress because my body was changing and I was changing. I was a grown woman acting like I was still playing basketball. I still wanted to be a tomboy and would wear a freakum dress in the evening just to prove a point that I was still a girl. It didn’t apply with my body type, but I learned how to get around that by wearing things that show off my legs, because if I’m 300 pounds or 150, I will always have the same legs. So if I have to wear a cool short with an over-sized shirt that falls of the shoulder with some great accessories, I can make it look like I’m stunting. So what are the pieces that you’ve found have worked best for your body type?

AMBROSIUS:A great jean in every color that you love is awesome to go with anything you have in your wardrobe. If your legs are all the way right, your posture will be right, a good heel and everything falls into place. So if you have a good pair of jeans live in them. Don’t be afraid. Would you suggest a specific silhouette?

AMBROSIUS:Now I’ve noticed with my legs, I used to think it was the skinny jean that worked best. I like wearing them when I wear a particular heel but a nice, almost boot cut [style] makes your legs look really long and slender and is very chic as a silhouette. I like a very dressy pant that falls right where you are just going to catch the red bottom of the heel. What part of your body do you like to accentuate the most?

AMBROSIUS:It would be my legs. They’ll be out for no reason. Give me an excuse: “Oh, we’re inside? Shorts!” “Oh, it’s hot? Shorts!” Now, what are you packing for EMF?

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AMBROSIUS:I know I’m going to over-pack, but I know it’s going to be 110 degrees when we get down there so it might be minimal. It might be a whole bunch of tanks, a lot of shorts, possibly a bunch of scarfs that I can wear in the evening just so I’ll be sweating like crazy on stage. And then maybe a hat to tame this mane that is going to be twice as big as it is right now because it is going to be 110 degrees. How about stage looks?

AMBROSIUS:Stage looks might be a lot of sequins. Minimal sequins, possibly a tank and then a cool cut-off short and a stupid heel. The end. I will be sweaty and that’ll be all I need. You do a lot of cute little vintage-esque pieces.

AMBROSIUS:I do! Well, I live in Philly and I have two stores that are really, really close to me. One which is Retrospect and I find that I look best in some grandmother’s, 80-year-old’s sequined number that I tailor make for myself. So yeah, it works. Do you find a lot of pieces for curvy girls in thrift shops?

AMBROSIUS:Most definitely, because back then they were all about curves and it was all about a size 8 being a real 8, not the fake size 8 — “the designer size 8.” This is a real size 8; it fits me! With that said, a lot of the print stuff that I get to wear would be oversized, old-lady blouses that you can cinch in with a cool leather belt. Or, you know, just attach some crazy accessories to it and you can make it look like you rock. If you’re not in vintage, which designers are you wearing?

AMBROSIUS:This is all vintage for the most part. And it’s always the BDG’s from Urban Outfitters. And anytime I run out of a pair or I leave a pair somewhere I still buy some more because I know they fit. So high-rise skinnys, the high-waist skinnys — they are the best. Who are your curvy girl fashion inspirations?

AMBROSIUS:Just too many. Like there are a lot of curvaceous women out there that really know how to rock it. Who are my muses? My mother; she’s banging. She just knows how to look like a star. I always just looked at her and my aunties like, “Wow, one day I’m going to be old enough to dress like you guys.” The idea of dress-up in my house was really modeling after my family versus trying to be an artist or an actress. It was, “I want to look like my grandmother — she’s bad.” She had the baddest pearls, blouses and pencil skirts. And the belts would be sick and she made that look like a million bucks. So, you’d say you get that nostalgic style from them?

AMBROSIUS:Most definitely. My grandmother ultimately.

See Marsha Ambrosius live at the 2012 ESSENCE Music Festival. Click here to purchase your tickets.