Texas City resident Nakisha Paul didn’t pay much attention to fashion until her college years, she said.

“I was a chubby girl; I think as a child I was discouraged,” Paul said. “Then, as I got older, I started finding things in my size and realizing how to put things together and start representing for the plus-size girl.”

Paul, who is a nursing information technology coordinator at University of St. Thomas School of Nursing and vice president of La Marque Independent School District board of trustees, has mastered the art of finding quality pieces for full-figured women and said others can, too. She shops at a variety of stores, from Target to Saks Fifth Avenue. The important thing is to buy quality pieces that last, she said.

Q: Please describe your personal fashion.

A: As a full-figured woman, I like to look and feel good. I try to take my time and pick my clothes well. I wear clothes that are my size. I also make sure that I have well-fitting undergarments that make me feel comfortable. I feel like I am just as fashionable as others, irrespective of my size. That is most important. Often times, it is hard to find clothing that I like, so I want to make sure when I step out, I can feel good about my ensemble.

Q: Who were your style icons growing up? Who are they now?

A: Growing up, any supermodel would suffice. Thin was in, and the media made you think you had to be just like them. But, I have always been secure in my own skin. Full-figured is what I was and still am. I look to women such as Queen Latifah, Mo’Nique, Octavia Spencer and Melissa McCarthy. They all go against the odds and look fabulous doing so. Most often, I feel the same way.

Q: What is your most prized

fashion piece?

A: A very good friend gave me a vintage Gucci bag for my birthday. I can wear it with anything. I can wear it to work or for a night on the town. Either way, it gives my outfits a sense of class and style.

Q: What items do you have the most of in your closet?

A: Purses, shoes, pants and blouses.

Q: Where do you do most of your shopping?

A: There are several shops that appeal to me. A quick stop would be Lane Bryant, Macy’s or even Ross and Marshalls. Whether high-end or lower end, I make the most of it.

Q: Do you follow fashion trends?

A: I don’t really follow trends. I like to look and feel classy. I like my clothes to fit properly and have a tailored look. Clothes should never be too tight or oversized. I prefer a lower-waisted pant that can hide my stomach or a high-waisted dress with a slimmer waistline that accentuates my natural curves.

Q: How do you spruce up your work attire in the medical field?

A: I try to spruce up my attire with a colorful shoe, jewelry or eyewear and certainly must have my coif done at all times. My stylist, Brandy Thorne, at Brandy’s Beauty Palace, 6007 (state) Highway 6, in Hitchcock, gives me a look that keeps the eyes turning. Accessories and groomed hair always seems to add a bit of spice.

Q: What’s your advice for young people working in a professional environment who want to make the most of their wardrobe?

A: Always buy key pieces that can transform into many outfits. You should also buy quality pieces that will last and never lose their functionality or class.

Q: Where are your favorite places to shop locally?

A: From Lane Bryant to Salon Z at Saks Fifth Avenue.

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