When I met Chrystal, it was via Skype and love at first sight. She was a down to earth, kind, and real talkin' babe who's passion was (and is) to help larger girls feel sexy as hell. This was music to my body lovin' ears. She owns Curvy Girl Lingerie in San Jose, which is a rare and magical place: a brick and mortar store that carries sexy everythings for the plus size gal. I loved listening to Chrystal talk about radical sex ( totally blush free) at The Body Love Conference and I'm honored to call her a friend. Wanna know why Curvy Girl exists and why plus ladies in lingerie is revolutionary? Well you're in luck; Chrystal wants to tell ya.
Curvy Girl Lingerie is an idea I had marinating in my fat girl brain since about the time I turned 20 years old and I had an amazing man in my life who LOVED my curvy body(I am 46 now) . He made me feel so beautiful and confident and I REALLY wanted to wear some sexy lingerie for him. But, back in the late 80’s and 90’s, I could never find any lingerie that fit me. All throughout my 20’s, I would browse lingerie stores at the mall and boutiques in strip malls looking for lingerie that might fit me. I would scour department stores hoping and praying that I might find something sexy in a size 20/22. I am not crafty at all, but sometimes I would buy a body stocking or some kind of sexy negligee and I would actually buy two of them to see if I could take them both and combine them in some way to make me something sexy that might fit me.
As you can imagine, the results were pitiful. But, I had a fantastic partner and he would go with it and he would totally appreciate my attempts at trying to find something sexy for me to wear. He loved my body, fat and all. And I wanted to wrap up my fat body like a present…. I mean a gift is always so much more fun when it’s wrapped in special wrapping paper and a bow! I desperately wanted some place sexy and safe where I could go and shop for lingerie, stockings and panties or sexy clothes but it just didn’t exist. (It didn’t exist here in San Jose, anyway.)
If you are a fat woman, you know how difficult it can be buying any kind of clothing online. In the late 90s when the internet became the place to shop, I started buying my lingerie online. I would find that for about every 10 pieces I bought online, I would need to return about 7 or 8 of the 10 items. Lingerie is SO hard for curvy women to buy online. I have a lot of personal experience with this! All of our curves are in different places. Some of us are busty. Some of us have a larger middle. Some of us have a flat butt with curvy hips. Some of us have tiny cups and a huge butt. The variations are endless…. And lovely!
"I have never had so much fun in a dressing room. I found myself actually looking in the mirror at myself half naked. A lot of time, when I am trying things on, I avoid the mirror and just do a size check. I put it on. It fits. I buy it. At Curvy Girl I was laughing and having fun and I kept saying "damn I look good!" I really don't ever remember trying on over 40 things in one store EVER!" -Judie
Did you know some fat women are embarrassed to go into plus size stores like Lane Bryant or Torrid at the mall and shop for clothes that fit them? I had no idea. When I started talking with my friends and family about my idea to open a lingerie store for fat women, they all thought it was a fabulous idea. But, a few people I surveyed shared with me that they were WAY TOO EMBARRASSED to walk into the fat girl stores at the mall. People in the mall might see them going in and out of there…… GASP! I make light of it, but it’s a very real thing. And, when I opened my lingerie store, I knew that convincing curvy women to come and shop at my store for lingerie was going to be very tricky. (Not to mention that even Google didn’t know what to do with me since I was creating an entire new category that did not exist, yet.)
I feel so strongly that we all deserve to feel sexy and beautiful. And, in my heart, I know that all bodies are beautiful. I am fond of saying imperfectly perfect – but that is selling our bodies short. I have seen a lot of naked bodies in my life and I can tell you they truly all are beautiful. And, we all deserve a place where we can shop with confidence that we will not feel ridiculed or shamed. Lingerie is an especially personal purchase and it can feed into all of our body insecurities.
We cannot hide our stretch marks in lingerie. We cannot hide our loose skin or lower tummy pooch in lingerie. For some women, wearing lingerie takes every ounce of courage that we can muster. Having a place to shop where there are 150 styles you can try on is like an OTHER WORLDLY experience for fat women. Shopping at a store where everyone else in the store looks just like you is extremely liberating and powerful. Some days we end in tears… mostly tears of joy. Some days tears from the pain our customers feel from all of the shame and hatred they survived. I am here to tell you. We are all in this struggle together and there are very few women on this planet who hasn’t felt ashamed of her fat or thin body at some point or another.
"It's so exciting to be able to shop somewhere without any judgement at all. I am a size 24/26 and Curvy had about 8 baby dolls and other sexy things for me to try on and I couldn't believe the materials and the quality. I just could not believe they had items in my size that made me feel and look hot. My husband has been following the Curvy Girl facebook page for over a year. He has been encouraging me to come try stuff on and I finally got brave enough to come in. I can't wait to come back together so he can see how lovely the store and their staff is." -Missy
It’s my passion and the reason I jump out of bed every morning; I want my store, Curvy Girl, to be a SAFE place filled with sexiness, compassion and empowerment. When ANY woman walks through our doors, I want them to instantly feel like they are in a cocoon of safety and sexy. We are not in a mall, so you can sneak in and sneak out in case you are one of those women who are embarrassed to be seen walking in our out of a store for plus size women. Sexy knows no size. We feel strongly that all women deserve to feel beautiful and sexy – no matter how they want to get there. If part of that sexy for them is to wrap themselves in lingerie or thigh highs, then we are here to be of service. We can suggest lingerie to them that can help them to accentuate their favorite features and if they insist, we will help them find a teddy or baby doll that will help them hide whatever it is that they want to cover up. I really think if your lover keeps showing up with you over and over and over – they are pretty into you – so stop worrying about covering up stuff you think it is you need to cover up. But, if that is where one of my customers is in her journey to loving her body, then I am happy to help her with that and help her to feel strong, sexy and stunning.
When I first opened my store in Oct. 2012, I did not have a website where people could buy lingerie online. I thought there were enough online plus size stores out there and that my store was all about having a brick and mortar retail store where women could come and try things on. But, as our Curvy Girl Facebook page started to grow, we started getting a ton of phone calls to order the items we shared on our Facebook page. So, about 8 months after we opened, we launched an online store. We get women and couples who travel to our store from Singapore, the U.K., Hawaii, Singapore, Boston, Florida, Iowa, and Australia to come and try on all of our lingerie and corsets. We have become a “destination” shopping store. All of this in 20 months! It’s been such an amazing ride and my big, fat, curvy girl heart is overflowing from all of the love and support we get from our customers and fans