I’m on a continual quest for cute clothes to flatter my full figure, and the search has led me far and wide. But rarely has it led me to hip hop fashion or ‘urban clothing’ labels, for two main reasons.

1. A part of me kind of balks at buying clothes from dudes who spit rhymes that objectify women. Queen Latifah still speaks for me in that regard.

2. I’m extremely allergic to excessive displays of logos, and clothes that are too shiny, bright, tight, or otherwise this-will-be-over-in-six-months trendy.

My personal style has evolved, and I really try to get pieces that are timeless. Will I want to wear this in a year? Or will this be another thing I wear once and never again? I question myself repeatedly when I shop. Which is why it feels crazy to even utter these words: there’s some good stuff out there for plus size bellas, in the hip hop fashion world.

I know. Sounds crazy, right? But it’s true. Come with me to the world of quote-unquote urban clothing!

First up, Rocawear. The brand Jay-Z built has come a long way, and I’m so happy to report that it isn’t all about big shiny logos all over everything. Well, there’s this. And this. And this. But the rest of it? Not so bad! And super cute for spring.

Take for example the Aztec razorback dress you see up above. Love the length — short, but not too short for this married lady, and the sequined v-neck isn’t too much look for a fun evening out. And it’s on sale for $45.90!

In the same vein, I’d totally rock the freedom top. And speaking of timeless closet staples — hello, excursion top!. That top could go from work to after-work cocktails in a snap, I could dress it up, down, and sideways. Same goes for the Girl’s Best Friend cardigan, which is the kind of staple item I’d wear all.the.time. Rocawear’s surprising me with the classic clothes — for example, this here gray peacoat. Who would have thought I’d be this down with the Roc? Not I!

When it comes to plus size chic, few hip hop fashion lines get it done better than Kimora Lee Simmons and Baby Phat. Yeah, they’re often guilty of excessive display of logo crimes, but Kimora understands, bellas bigger than a size 14 love cute clothes just as much as the littler chicks do. Check out their ice cold Marilyn halter dress to get your Seven Year Itch on, or the ruffle dress with self belt, which is buttoned up but still super-sexy.

The shirred dress with medallion is totally a dress I’d buy — it’s $74 now, but won’t be forever, and I’m willing to wait for a sale!

Speaking of which — the Baby Phat sale section has some super cute dresses! The stretch wrap dress and the crystal strapped dress are the kinds of dresses I am talking about — LBD’s that aren’t likely to go totally out of style anytime soon. And for my bellas who love funky pants — what do you think about these pinstripe wide leg trousers? Too much? What about in basic black?

With a name like Apple Bottoms, it’s obvious Nelly would have a plus size line… and I can’t say that I had high expectations. Having seen that infamous uncut video, I assumed Apple Bottoms would have nothing to suit my style. But surprisingly, they came up aces in the maxi dress search. There’s something very earth mother and bella-friendly about this denim maxi dress, no?

And I absolutely love the Angelina maxi dress. Unexpectedly feminine styles and patterns from the man who brought us Hot in Herrre? I never would have thought.

I couldn’t do a hip hop fashion post without mentioning House of Dereon. I know many a bella who shake their derriere in their Dereons, but I must admit — the finds I’ve discovered in my local TJ Maxx have made my blood run cold. Teeshirts emblazoned with Beyonce’s lyrics on them are simply not my style (no matter how catchy said songs may be).

However! The House of Dereon does appear to be steering away from a preponderance of puffy, shiny, look-at-me clubbin’ gear, and more into the land of the grown and sexy. Lo, this dolman sleeve cherry red sweater top, $79 at the moment, but I’m waiting for the day when it appears at TJ Maxx. Hold on, I’m coming!

The sweet and chic halter dress deserves those adjectives, but I fear the print would look too tableclothy on me. The Diva Deluxe Dress is a gorgeous rose color, something I’d be more likely to accessorize or match with items I already own.

Do you own any clothes by the mainstream ‘urban clothing’ brand, bellas — or would you don this stuff only at pain of gunpoint? Tell me how you really feel!

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erica says:
April 6, 2009, 8:11 am
Great post, Bella! saw u talking bout it on twitter. I thought let me run ova there and see what she got in mind. I'm going shopping this weekend and I think I'll be buying that girls best friend cardigan! thanks bella!
elle says:
April 6, 2009, 8:14 am
i'm not full-figured, still, I thought this post was great! Very thorough! I hate reading posts abt something that you think doesn't exist really existing in semi-abundance, but only cites one or two examples. How can you dispel a rooted thought w/ one or two instances of the contrary?? Kudos to you!
Kiara says:
April 6, 2009, 9:39 am
I was waiting for a post like this before I spent my money at the same ol stores(Lane Bryant,Ashley Stewart).I love what Baby Phat have to offer me so that I can look just as stylish as some one of a smaller size.
Nina says:
April 6, 2009, 10:23 am
Fabulous post!! I love your fashion and jewelry posts almost as much as the hair and skin ones. This was particularly timely, because I too am looking for alternatives (to Ashley Stewart and Lane Bryant), and I'm looking for a little advice or some suggestions because sewing is really not in the cards. I'm looking for a sundress or a maxi for someone who is a little more endowed up top. I've seen lots of cute dresses, but many of them have been...skimpy on top. It doesn't necessarily have to provide its own support, but it should be something that allows for the proper garments underneath. Any suggestions?
Kindred Smile says:
April 6, 2009, 10:29 am
This post was so informative and enlightening - I clicked on each and every link and was blown away every time! Bella, I had the exact same reservations you did about purchasing Hip Hop fashion - namely, that I would end up with a bedazzled logo across my booty - but after seeing those dresses, I'm opening both my mind and my wallet! Thank you, thank you!
tayari says:
April 6, 2009, 10:57 am
I'm a mid-range bella. Not quite plus, not tiny either. I was looking at Dereon jeans. There is NOTHING in-between a 9/10 and 14W. There are a lotta bella falling through the cracks!
BK says:
April 6, 2009, 11:18 am
Bella!!!!!! THANK YOU.. I'm a size 12 and I hated looking at these lines because everything was too tight or too much writing.. THANK YOU for opening my eyes and making me take another look!!! That denim maxi dress AND the Angelina maxi come in my size.. Looks like I'm investing in a lil hip hop label love!!!!
starakela says:
April 6, 2009, 11:36 am
I go to missphit.com for my looks - their sizing is the best.
Stephanie says:
April 6, 2009, 11:43 am
Hello Bella, I am not one to buy anything urban. I just Hate all the logo's and glitter, so I just bypass that section in most department stores. But, over the fall of 2008 I found the most beautiful knee lentgh coat in Sean John, black. I also have been noticing some of his spring jackets that are really cute. I am glad that you are able to find clothes in the urban designers line's that are not so trendy and more classic.
Irie Diva says:
April 6, 2009, 12:25 pm
hey I LOVE that first dress! bella that would look great with some mustard or purple nail polish :)
free karma says:
April 6, 2009, 3:44 pm
The best thing for a plus size frame is something that accentuates the curves and elongates the body. Find your best assets and use it to your advantage
Buffy the Vampire Slayer says:
April 6, 2009, 9:22 pm
I have been a fan of Baby Phat for years. Wearing Baby Phat jeans right now.
Soul Cry says:
April 6, 2009, 9:49 pm
I love you for this post, thank you for the links. ...and I agree with 1 and 2...especially 2, I'm not your billboard.
Candy says:
April 6, 2009, 10:00 pm
Hey Bella! Great Post! I've never been a huge fan of urban fashion either. But I do check the websites once in a while and I have to say that Baby Phat is really taking huge steps up in the style department. The only problem is that people take advantage of the spandex and try to squeeze into a smaller size. Can't really blame Kimora for that, though. LOL
Aisha says:
April 7, 2009, 12:18 am
Thanks for this post. The Rocawear clothes are really cute. I'm not plus-sized, but I like how the clothes are modest yet cute. Everything doesn't have to be all skin tight and revealing.
Tricia says:
April 7, 2009, 1:00 am
Great post Bella. Great picks. I am so in love with that Rocawear dress at the top of this post and LOVE the Marilyn Dress from Baby Phat! Agreed - these hip hop labels def are surprising with the fly, chic dresses in the midst of overblinged, over-logo'd clothing. I bought an Apple Bottoms maxi dress recently - it's the print halter maxi dress - might not be your kind of thing but that animal print is SO fly (and looks WAY better in person than it does on the website). I've actually tried on the Diva Deluxe Dress from Dereon and while it IS lovely I didn't think it was worth $90. Waiting for that to go on sale too!!
Creative1k says:
April 7, 2009, 11:53 am
Bella, Thanx for the hookups on the latest trends for us. I am definitely considering copping that Maxi Denim Dress from Apple Bottoms. I too have been turned off by the urban lines that offer skimpy clothing for the plus size consumers! I'm glad that some of them have decided to step their game up on our behalfs. LB & AS are starting to become plain that I'm getting sick of searching for something decent that I won't see on someone down the street or in church. Thanx
Fleurzty says:
April 7, 2009, 11:56 am
I love this post. I too cannot stand to wear clothes that have too much going on. The focus should be on me, not an extensive marketing prop for the company. I already paid for the rights to own the clothes, so let them flatter me lol. These are very cute finds though, I love!
Ms. LMC says:
April 7, 2009, 12:56 pm
Great post! You are so on the money! Rocawear has definitely done better by us plus size ladies, BabyPhat is a hit or miss because she loves to splash the logo all over the place. I refuse to have apple's on my butt but(no pun intended) but AppleBottom's will surprise me every once in awhile.House of Dereon,your picks are cute but the line overall makes me mad.
bella says:
April 7, 2009, 3:29 pm
Nina - I know exactly the kind of dress you want (and deserve to find!) -- I'll keep my eyes peeled. And I'll keep the fashion posts coming!
bella says:
April 7, 2009, 6:05 pm
Phoenix says:
April 8, 2009, 11:02 am
I love this post! I went to Lane Bryant over the weekend and came out MAJORLY disappointed! Their clothes are not urban at all, and if they made more urban clothes, they'd make a killing!
Nina says:
April 8, 2009, 11:11 am
Thank you SO MUCH Bella! I hadn't even considered Target.
Whit says:
April 12, 2009, 1:56 pm
I found eshakti.com the other day, and have fallen in LOVE! They carry up to a size 26 and seem very reasonably priced. Love, love, love. Baby phat is also awesome.
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I really like the freedom top! :)
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