How to wear prints and color with confidence – A style interview with Nikki

by Sylvia

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I discovered Nikki when she tagged her looks with #40plusstyle on Instagram. She stood out with her colorful, trendy looks that she wore with a big smile and lots of confidence. Let’s find out more about her and discover her style secrets!

Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

I’m a 40 plus married corporate communications executive who travels extensively for work. My husband Russell and I relocated to Atlanta from the San Francisco Bay Area in 2011. I do freelance public relations and news writing (I’m a former news reporter) and recently started a stylist business. I love helping plus size women become more confident and sexy in their skin!

As a point of reference which age group do you belong to or perhaps you are willing to share your age?

I’m 42. I’ll be 43 in October. Age is just a number. I’ve never been ashamed to share mine.

How to wear prints and color with confidence - A style interview with Nikki |

Can you tell us a bit more about your blog Nikki Free Style and why you created it?

Actually, my husband and two very close friends encouraged me to start Nikki Free Style after friends and strangers who walk up to me and ask about what I was wearing. I’m literally a fashion fanatic and am all consumed by shopping, especially online. My blog is just my way of memorializing my looks, encouraging others, most especially women who are over 40 and curvy/plus size women, by sharing styling tips and places to buy stylish clothing. Until recently, it was so challenging to find cute, classic and fashion forward pieces for plus size women. Now we have plenty of options, but there is still work to be done.

How would you describe your own style?

I would describe my style as Classic But Trendy. I love clean lines but with a bit of a twist, a pop of color and a statement piece that draws attention (a funky shoe, an oversized clutch, big bold jewelry.)

How to wear prints and color with confidence - A style interview with Nikki |

What would you consider the most important components of your style?

GREAT SHAPEWEAR without a single doubt. It will change your life. Just recently, I was styling my client and she loved the shirt I selected for her. However, it simply did not fit right across her boobs. She was wearing a 42C bra that did nothing for her chest area. I took off my own bra, a 40DD, and put it on her. It made all the difference. We got a great laugh when we realized I’d be leaving her home headed for mine braless. Thank God I didn’t get pulled over for speeding! LOL! She later posted on Facebook “You know you have a great stylist when she LITERALLY gives you the bra off her back.”

Where do you live and how does that influence your style?

I live in Atlanta where fashion and style is everything because there is always an event, a gala, a brunch, a tea, an outing to attend. I’m a native Floridian, a Girl Raised In the South , and GRITs are born understanding that what you wear and how you present yourself is top priority for recognition and inclusion. While I don’t prescribe to this anymore, it is certainly a part of who I am. Slips and pantyhose and gloves were a must on Sundays at church, brunch with friends and social occasions when I was growing up. Being “proper and presentable” was definitely my grandmother’s motto!

How to wear prints and color with confidence - A style interview with Nikki |

Do you feel you have a signature style?

I don’t think I have a signature style. It’s hard to tie me down. I like what I like. However, I do like to be different and a bit edgy. Maybe Classic Edge best describes my style. For instance, my friends like to tease me bout not wearing what’s expected. While everyone else is wearing college paraphernalia, jeans and sneakers to our college homecoming game, I’m in a cute sundress with matching accessories in our alma mater’s colors. I like to be different.

What inspires your outfit choices the most?

My mood for sure. Doesn’t really matter where I’m headed, my mood definitely eats the tone for what I choose to wear.

How to wear prints and color with confidence - A style interview with Nikki |

Do you take things like color profiling or body type into account when you dress?

I love bright colors and mixing patterns. Nothing is more exciting to me than to find a plus size outfit that’s full of color. I definitely take body type into account. I’m curvy. Very curvy and of moderate height (5’7). So for me, I like clothes that compliment my curves.

While I often think “Death To Body Con dresses”, there is no denying that they certainly can be very flattering on me and other curvy ladies. . However, I try to stick with clean structured lines and pieces that can easily translate from season to season.

How to wear prints and color with confidence - A style interview with Nikki |

Has your style changed at all after turning 40?

Not really. There are so many more options available now however. It just so happens I was in my late 30s early 40s when plus options expanded.

Do you believe in dressing ‘age appropriately’ and what does it mean to you?

I do. But what does that really mean? I’m a lot more confident with my size and curves in my 40s, even though I’d like to tone up some very specific areas. I think no matter your age, all women can rock a trendy crop top if styled correctly. Does my belly button and muffin top need to be exposed for all the world as if I’m 21 years old? I don’t think so. But with a high-waisted skirt, I think a hint of skin is very appropriate, flirty and sexy at 40 or even 50.

How to wear prints and color with confidence - A style interview with Nikki |

Would you say that at this stage of your life you are now more, or less interested in fashion, style and the way you look?

I’ve always been very interested in fashion, but after my college years (and gaining about 35 pounds in the process) it was so much harder to find fashionable plus size clothing. I often dressed a lot more mature than necessary because the options were so limited.

I’m much more interested in fashion and custom clothing now than ever before. I thank social media for connecting me with custom plus designers like Jasmine Elder of JIBRI, Neva Smith of Neva Marie Designs, and Rueben from Demestiks NY because now I can have anything I want custom designed.

Why is the way you look important to you?

Because it’s the first thing people notice and in my profession, the way you present yourself opens several doors and can determine your success.

Do you follow trends? And if yes, which trends excite you at the moment?

I do. I’m pretty trendy in my clothing choices. I’m really into jumpsuits right now, especially the utility jumpsuits. They’re casual but offer such style when paired with the right accessories. Without appropriate accoutrements to compliment the utility jumpsuit, you run the risk of looking like a mechanic or a prisoner. I’m looking forward to fall 2015 and the oh so cute car wash skirts. They’re so fun, flirty and versatile.

Do you have any fashion and style tips for women over 40?

Have fun with your clothing. Add a couple of colorful circle midi skirts to your wardrobe and enjoy all the possibilities and style options they offer.

Also, don’t stress yourselves out wondering if what you are wearing or wanting to wear is age appropriate for your 40s. Wear what makes you comfortable.

What are your plans for your blog and how do you see it develop over the coming years?

My plans are to include more in-depth pieces on fashion trends, include a few “get dressed with me” videos, profiles on stylish and fabulous plus size women, and to expand into offering more info and tips on makeup and beauty products. I dabble a bit in makeup artistry so offering basic makeup tips is a next step for sure.

How to wear prints and color with confidence - A style interview with Nikki |

Anything further you would like to add?

I find myself buying Black and White striped EVERYTHING .. skirts, dresses, tops, shoes. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with all the choices available, and by adding a pop of color or a contrasting, yet complimentary, print (camo, florals, polka dots, leopard) you can create several different looks with one signature black/white striped piece.

For many more looks and Nikki’s take on style be sure to visit her blog Nikki Free Style.

Which of Nikki’s looks is your favorite?


1 Pam@over50feeling40

She is beautiful and I love her style! Thanks for the introduction!

2 NikkiFree

Thank you so much Pam!

3 Erica

Nikki looks amazing. She is truly a fashionista. My favorite is the jumpsuit but I love everything. Thanks for sharing.

4 Veronica

I am really loving “Nikki Free Style” . She is truly now one of my favorite stylist . I recently found and liked the 40+Styles page….It is my go to page for daily feeds , style references and motivation ….I constantly check your pages . I’m always “sharing” your pictures and information with family and friends…I hope that you will always be a source of fashion for everyone…

5 NikkiFree

I so appreciate your comment!

6 Corinthia Prather

NikkiFree is on her way to being a style icon! She inspires me daily.

7 NikkiFree

You’re too kind! Thanks for always being so supportive!

8 Vivien Edwards

I love Nikki’s style. Her personality seems to shine through her style!

9 NikkiFree

Thanks Ms. Viv!

10 Rebecca

Nikki has great style. I love all the outfits, especially the turquoise jumpsuit. Thanks for another terrific interview, Sylvia!

11 NikkiFree

Thank you Rebecca!

12 LaTrinda

Everything that Nikki puts together is something special. I was introduced to her style by a friend/her family. I’ve been following and checking in quite often. It’s awesome to have an example of class in the fashion world for curvy girls over 40.

13 NikkiFree

Thanks for the support LaTrinda! I really appreciate it!

14 Shakara Barber

Nikki ALL your looks are Amazing, Congrats!!!!

15 NikkiFree

Thanks so much Shakara!

16 Natalia Lialina

What a fantastic woman – beautiful, gorgeous! I remember you posted the red jumpsuit photo earlier, Sylvia, and it stole my heart immediately. I’m so glad you introduced us to this colorful, bold stylista, and I will definitely look into her blog. I was not aware of Neva-Marie or Demestiks (I adore JIBRI and am contemplating my first purchase from them) – they are now on my list to explore, thanks to Nikki. Bright colors and bold patterns are exactly what I love too. 🙂

17 NikkiFree

Thank you Natalia! You’ll love the blog, and the designers I mentioned above. All so talented and easy to work with!

18 denton

Well, I haven’t had so much fun reading one of these in a long time. Style and attitude. Mechanics or prisoners? love it.

19 NikkiFree

I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

20 Sabrina

I think her style is fab. She puts together some very fashionable looks. Glamorous style!

21 NikkiFree

Thank you Sabrina!

22 Sabina @Oceanblue Style

I like the orange/yellow combination and you can totally tell she has found her style and knows what she can wear. I would not be able to wear such bright colors but enjoy looking at her styles. <3 Sabina | Oceanblue Style

23 NikkiFree

Thank you Sabina! You should experiment with color. You make end up really liking how it looks and makes you feel! Have fun!

24 Greetje

Oh great. I love her. When she enters a room, people will notice her, for sure. And for all the right reasons. Lots of women will be envious of her. I love her bold style, her use of bright colours (love bright colours) and the way she combines them. Her jumpsuits and her prints. He will be an example for many.
I am still waiting for a roll model with great styling abilities and an inverted triangle body like mine. With boobs.

25 NikkiFree

Greetje, oh thank you so much for your kind words! I love it!

26 Greetje

And you can be sure it was my honest opinion. We Dutch, we don’t do flattery haha.

27 Latrenia Bryant

She has fantastic STYLE… WOW! 😀

28 Petra

Hello Nikki from Melbourne! Your style is AMAZING! I love you in the jumpsuits, and I love you in those beautiful skirts! You have a knack for pairing accessories too. The colours you choose are incredible – fun, happy and this makes you look very approachable. I love hearing about how you style is different because of where you live. I like the idea that women dress up so much and wear gloves etc. I can imagine going shopping with you would be a hoot 😀 Thanks Sylvia for sharing this vibrant woman with us!

29 Rose

Nikki,,, hallow these name is same as for my daughter. I love your blog. you are good looking. That yellow flowered skirt is soo smart. i should start playing with colours like you do. your amazing.
keep up

30 Sheliah

Nikki your outfits are awesome!

31 Madame Hall

What an inspirational woman! I love Nikki’s confidence with color and her ability to pull all these look together with show-stopping shoes and accesories.
I’m crazy for full skirts, and she’s a great example of how plus size gals can rock beautiful feminine styles.
Go Nikki!

32 Elizabeth

When you are as GORGEOUS as Nikki I think it is easier to take style chances. I mean what a beautiful woman.

I think she is lucky in that her curves are very well proportioned. A lot of plus size women have problems with their hips being a lot larger or their bellies.

Nikki, if you read this you could probably have an additional career as a fit model. Seriously.

33 NikkiFree

Elizabeth, you are too kind! I really appreciate your kind words.

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