Jonnelle Boyd’s love for eclectic fashion didn’t develop overnight. It was a slow burn, starting when she was in high school surrounded by her peers and learning to feel confident.
“I’ve always been a curvy girl, which in high school isn’t always the easiest thing,” Boyd says. “I started owning my style, and it felt like a really easy path to finding that self-expression because I felt good in what I was wearing each day.” What started as a hobby led to an eventual career as a fashion influencer, stylist, and the owner of online store Curvy Bird.
Boyd attended Michigan State University to become a packaging engineer, and she pursued a career in her chosen field for eight years before she was laid off in 2018. Newly unemployed, she began attending networking events where she was repeatedly praised for her style — which she describes as “eclectic, edgy, with a retro flair” — and was even mistaken for a stylist.
These compliments, combined with her passion for creating eye-catching outfits and an eagerness to help others find clothes that bring out their most authentic selves, made a career in fashion seem like a no-brainer. She began booking styling jobs and now helps her clients with closet cleanouts, fashion inspiration, and shopping sessions.
Curvy Bird boutique is a newer project for Boyd — the company took flight in August of 2021 —but it’s been met with great support. The shop is reflective of her quirky, personal style while still offering basic, wearable pieces. The shop carries sizes 14-22, and Boyd plans to add even more sizing options in the future. “Growing my company to be more inclusive is the ultimate goal for me,” she says.
Below, Boyd discusses the easiest ways to tap into your personal style, the importance of feeling confident in your clothes, and stepping out of the box.
Jonnelle Boyd’s Style Tips
Find your inspiration
Whether you’re creating a Pinterest board filled with outfit ideas for the coming season or watching new trends on the runway, inspiration can be found anywhere. Boyd takes influence from her favorite designers. “I love Betsey Johnson,” she says. “She really embraces the eclectic, retro side of things.” Boyd also looks up to celebrities like Tess Holiday to find new ideas.
Feel good, look good
Elevating a client’s wardrobe is important to Boyd, but she also pays attention to how comfortable somebody is in their clothes. “Styling can be as simple as saying ‘This looks great on your,’ or ‘I think you’d love this piece,’ My approach is more about maximizing the client’s confidence,” Boyd says. “I used to only want to wear things that were ‘flattering.’ I wouldn’t show my stomach or my arms, those were areas of insecurity that I wanted to cover. I thought that if I concealed those parts of my body, people wouldn’t know I was fat. Now, I wear what I want, not what other people might want to see me in.”
Shop outside the box
Trying out new stores (like Curvy Bird), reaching for a pattern you don’t typically go for, and adding some new colors are all great ways to revamp a wardrobe without completely discarding it. Boyd emphasizes the importance of taking fashion risks. “You never know what’s going to surprise you,” she says. “Stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new could open up a whole new aspect of your style.”
Merge different styles
With a love for vintage pieces, Boyd has dabbled in plenty of eras. “I went through a major ’50s phase, but since then I’ve learned to marry my love for thrifted pieces with more modern aspects. It makes for a really unique look.” By mixing patterns, putting together pieces from different decades, and playing with color, you can create a look that’s entirely your own.
Basics don’t have to be boring
Boyd predicts that the comfy styles that became popularized during the pandemic are here to stay. “I think you will continue to see people pulling in the elements of comfort we became so accustomed to during quarantine but elevating them to match the excitement of all the social activities that will be entering into our lives as the weather warms up in Michigan.”
For more from Jonnelle Boyd, visit curvybird.com.