You don’t have to hide yourself
Fashion looks good in every size — and in every era.
Christine Cochrum — a k a the “Curvy Vintage Enthusiast” — is breaking the stereotypical mold of how style and size should be defined. The self-appointed “Glambassador” dresses up every day like it’s the 1940s — because, well, why not?
“I’ve been dressing in vintage for almost 30 years now,” Cochrum dished to The Post. “It’s kind of my guiding light — just to see how I decided to dress myself and the passion that I have for not only the fashion but also for the history behind the fashion.”
Cochrum first started sharing her love for vintage fashion when she began writing her blog, “Chronically Overdressed,” in June 2013. It then evolved into an Instagram account where she began posting photos of her outfits. Not long after her account began to gain some traction, she added a YouTube channel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The main reason that I first started my blog was to show people that, yes, we can dress ourselves in beautiful clothing and even vintage-style clothing,” she said of embracing one’s “curvy” features. “You don’t have to hide yourself. You can be the size that you are and still be beautiful, fashionable and chic.”
It wasn’t until she lost her job and had free time that she decided to move her content to TikTok. Her TikTok account consists of content varying from 1940s hair tutorials to a how-to on styling old-timey looks.
In a viral clip posted to TikTok late last month — which has earned almost 160,000 views — she discovered a 1939 Spiegel catalog that included a chart noting “larger” plus-sizes. “I find it asinine that [plus-sized women] have to prove their existence throughout history,” she said in her TikTok.
She stated that the chart went up to a size 53 and a 49-inch waist — compared to today’s sizing, that number would instead be size 26 or a 4X. She noted that vintage sizes apparently were more size-inclusive than what the fashion industry offers nowadays.
“I’m always looking for catalogs [and] it just it caught my eye and realized what size it actually got up to,” the Instagrammer said. “And I’ve heard this throughout my entire career and my whole life — that people were larger in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.”
The blogger pointed out that a lightbulb went off in her head after reading the shopping magazine, noting that it was “proof” that larger people existed throughout history.
“I have some proof here. Aside from, obviously, there’s photographs of people that are larger, but just showing that, yes, we clothed ourselves — we weren’t running around naked,” Cochrum joked.
Through her videos, she travels back in time — figuratively — to the decade of swing music, actor Humphrey Bogart and the invention of Tupperware.
“I know that my experience is unique because I do know that there is a lot of negativity out there. I have a lot of confidence in myself, and I think that is when it kind of stops,” Cochrum said. “I want to inspire other people to be able to do the same or be able to feel comfortable enough.”
She added that she gets “really good feedback” from fans, with many writing, “Thank you for showing that you can dress this way at your size.”
Of course, there are some people who, when they encounter her “out and about in real life, they’re confused and don’t understand why I’m dressing the way that I am.
“They’ll ask if I’m in a play or if I am going to a wedding or something. I think a lot of it just has to do with the way society is right now. People just don’t dress up anymore,” the model elaborated. “And so to see someone dressing up to go to the grocery store, it confuses them. [They] don’t exactly know what to say. For the most part, they’re all very kind about it.”
While Cochrum tends to stick with “true vintage” eras such as the 1930s and 1940s, she dabbles with the ’50s period from time to time.
The fashionista noted that clothing from the first half of the 20th century is getting harder to find — “There’s just less of it in general,” she lamented. But one epoch that she would love to try is the Edwardian era, a period of British history that spans the reign of King Edward VII from 1901 to 1910.
However, Cochrum doesn’t think wearing Edwardian couture daily is a viable option, except for event-type extravaganzas. “I already have an entire dressing room full of my ’30s and ’40s stuff,” she said.
“Those are very interchangeable. You can mix and match ’30s, ’40s and ’50s stuff pretty easily,” she said. “Edwardian is kind of a beast all its own.”