Nadia Boujarwah: How to Feel Fabulous as a Plus-size Woman

August 15 - Sarah Ashlock
Fashion/Beauty
 

FIRST THOUGHT: Coming Out of the Closet

Raise your hand if you have something in your closet you know doesn’t fit but that you’re holding onto for when you are size such-and-such. I’m seriously convinced that keeping items that don’t work for the you that you are today gives out majorly bad juju. We know that surrounding ourselves with positive people has an uplifting effect, so why wouldn’t that tight shirtdress on the hanger have the same effect? I say we clear our closets of the junk that brings us down. Are you in?

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: $46.7 Billion

It probably comes as no surprise that we women have got a lot in our closets. From belts to Bermuda shorts, there’s plenty stacked away that we haven’t worn. I’m guessing, though, that the amount of unworn clothing might shake you to your core. It’s estimated that the total dollar amount of unworn clothes in the United Kingdom is $46.7 billion.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Nadia Boujarwah, Co-founder and CEO of Dia&Co

Finding something that fits can be an emotional journey. (Just think of the emotional roller coaster that comes with finding the right pair of jeans.) Many women feel a serious sense of dread when it’s time to purchase something new. Fashion’s supposed to be fun, though, right?

Today’s Woman to Watch, Nadia Boujarwah, addresses the not-so-fun side of fashion. After witnessing a lack of sizes beyond 14 in her favorite shops, Nadia knew women deserved better. She’s experienced what it’s like to shop at every size, from 12 to 22. So, Nadia took her experience as a consumer and a businesswoman and launched cool-girl clothing company and subscription service Dia&Co.

Nadia first noticed the lack of plus-size options for women
when she was a student at Harvard Business School. She realized she could make a business out of this loophole, so after graduating, she and a classmate from business school started up Dia&Co together. Nadia recalls that retail wasn’t the career path she’d intended to pursue, but the proof was in the pudding: She and millions of other women had a gaping problem, and she wanted to help in a big way.

In 2017, Nadia placed an ad in The
New York Times, demanding more size diversity at New York Fashion Week. Black letters against a powder-blue background declared, “Fashion we can’t wear is becoming a bit unfashionable.” We couldn’t agree more.

Dia&Co is making fashion more accessible. Here’s how it works: Customers can select items a la carte or through a monthly subscription. Stylists pick five pieces to send to you so you can try them at home. Then you simply keep what makes you feel fabulous. Done and done.

What’s special about Dia&Co isn’t just its vast collection of hundreds of brands, sizes and styles. It has a community feel, which encourages its customers to ditch their anxiety and embrace style exploration. Some 100 million women in America wear plus-size clothing, so Dia&Co is a long-awaited and welcomed answer to many women’s questions of what the heck to wear.

Customers have shared some of their experiences trying to find something in a retail space where a size 4 is deemed average. One woman explains clothes marketed to “average-sized” women, which aren’t made for her body size and shape, make her feel unwelcomed and undesirable. Since Nadia believes the key to building a product or business is ensuring it adds value, I think it’s safe to say helping women find their inner diva is pretty dang valuable.

Nadia knows it can be difficult to find something to wear that makes you feel comfortable in your own skin. Check out three tips on how to feel good about yourself while standing in the front of the room and presenting during your business meeting. Click here or head over to OnTheDotWoman.com if you're listening via podcast!

Feminist and outspoken writer Caitlin Moran said:

“It used to be if you wanted something nice to wear, you would sew it yourself for your body type. Women before the 20th century didn’t have this problem. Now it seems we’re all squeezed into random designs. They’re designed for no one.”

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