Style

A Week of Outfits: Ashley Ford

A Week of Outfits: Ashley Ford

Ashley Ford is a writer, editor and speaker — and she also has killer style. “I look pretty bold naturally, and for a long time I was trying to hide that,” she says. “Now I’m not. These days, I feel like I look the most like myself that I ever have in my entire life.” Ashley lives with her boyfriend Kelly, in Flatbush, Brooklyn. Here, she tells us about five outfits she wore in a week, and the bikini she’ll debut on her upcoming vacation…

A Week of Outfits: Ashley Ford

Dress: Universal Standard. Earrings: vintage, similar. Lipstick: Bite in Aubergine. Heels: Via Spiga, similar.

Universal Standard has the kind of minimalist clothes I like — but they actually come in my size, which is beautiful for me. I don’t want to wear something that makes me look smaller or bigger; I just want to wear something that looks good. My favorite part is how the hem comes up on one side, and I love this color yellow. That’s the best thing about being black: there’s no bad color! Nothing washes me out.”

A Week of Outfits: Ashley Ford

Dress: Banana Republic, similar. Earrings: similar. Bag: Fossil, similar. Flats: Banana Republic, similar.

“When I first moved from Indiana to New York, I was nervous to go shopping. I had always thought of New York as this extremely fashionable city. I didn’t have the budget, and thrifting is hard when you have a bigger body. But I walked into a Banana Republic, and this dress was in the clearance section. I couldn’t believe it was in my size and on sale for $14. It made me feel professional but also pretty and flirty. If you want a deal, don’t be scared to dig. Try multiple sizes because sale pieces are often sized weirdly. Don’t give up, because your next favorite piece is probably still out there for $3.”

A Week of Outfits: Ashley Ford

Sweater: Vince Camuto, similar. Jeans: J.C. Penney. Earrings: vintage, similar. Belt: Levi’s. Sandals: Target.

“These flower earrings were my grandma’s; she passed away a few years ago. She was my best friend. Nowadays, whenever I do something that’s a goal for me, I wear these earrings and bring her with me. As I’ve grown older, I’ve gotten to know my style better. I carried a picnic basket as my purse in middle school. It sounds cute; it wasn’t. It was an actual picnic basket, like a Dorothy-on-her-way-to-Oz situation. When I was in high school, Sex and the City was also super popular, so I tried to do the big flower pin like Carrie did. I was like, I want to be a writer, this is the way to do that, right?”

A Week of Outfits: Ashley Ford

Dress: Gap. Earrings: similar. Necklace: similar. Flats: Banana Republic, similar.

“This was the exact dress I wanted for summer. I felt like I went into the store, and they were like, Oh, we’ve been waiting for you. It would be perfect for a vacation. Traveling as a young person never actually happened for me. There weren’t enough resources, or enough time, or enough opportunities. At some point, I realized I had to figure out how to do it for myself. Kelly and I decided travel was going to become a priority in our finances and relationship. And this May, we’re going to Italy for two weeks — it’s our first trip together. Neither of us has been there. It was very important to me, especially on this first trip, that he wasn’t showing me the world, that we were experiencing it together.”

A Week of Outfits: Ashley Ford

Dress: Gap, similar. Earrings: similar. Shoes: Nike.

“I’ve spent a lot of time having this mental list of things that I was too fat for, too black for, too poor for. But it got boring. You can’t live your life like that. If you try hard to avoid disappointment, you also avoid excitement. In Italy, we’ll be staying in Cinque Terre. I have a one-piece swimsuit, but I’m in this phase of my life where I’m trying to embody myself and look the way I feel. I had been looking at bikinis for a while but felt really, really scared to pull the trigger. Then I saw blogger Gabi Fresh launched her line Swimsuits For All. There was one bikini with a ruffle top and faux-denim bottom. I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s me!’ Now that I’ve stopped trying to control everything, I’ve ended up living a life where I get to feel excited, almost all of the time. ”

Thank you so much, Ashley! You are awesome.

P.S. More women share their outfits, and how to prevent blisters from shoes.

(Photos by Christine Han for Cup of Jo. Interview by Joanna Goddard and Stella Blackmon.)

  1. Christina says...

    Check out http://hayetrida.com! She writes a plus-size blog and is super adorable and stylish.

  2. Michelle says...

    She is truly inspirational, no matter who you are/what you look like. I relate to this line SO MUCH: “Now that I’ve stopped trying to control everything, I’ve ended up living a life where I get to feel excited, almost all of the time.” It is actually life-changing for me. I’m a control freak and have only recently started realizing how much life you miss out on living that way. Love Ashley! Enjoy your trip!!

  3. VP says...

    Love this one! And I especially love this quote from Ashley: “It was very important to me, especially on this first trip, that he wasn’t showing me the world, that we were experiencing it together.” YAS.

  4. Meredith Whitfield says...

    Ashley rules.

  5. Meaghan says...

    Major girl crushin’ on Ashley. What an amazing woman (with a killer wardrobe!).

  6. Erin says...

    Thank you for this post. I normally roll my eyes at this series because it seems like every person featured shuns real clothing stores the rest of us have access to in favor of some small, independent Brooklyn shop that your audience either can’t afford to shop at or will never get the chance to. Finally, a real person that everyone can relate to with great style and a sense of thrift.

  7. Sarah says...

    She seems like the neighbor I’ve always wanted. I’m so touched by her post. I hope she sees how much she’s inspired everyone with her natural warmth and genuine sense of joy. She’s simply fabulous.

  8. YES!! I’m a white, curvy girl from Florida, but I still related to so much of this post!!! Thank you!

  9. MichelleLG says...

    I never comment here but had to say, Ashley was an EXCELLENT choice for this feature. Thank you!
    “I’ve spent a lot of time having this mental list of things that I was too fat for, too black for, too poor for. But it got boring. You can’t live your life like that. If you try hard to avoid disappointment, you also avoid excitement.” <– this is incredibly transparent and challenges me to look hard at and at abandon my own "I'm too _____ for" list. Thank you Ashley!!!

  10. talia says...

    Love that she is so true to herself. Also, thank you for featuring a woman with short hair and what I call “doable” style. Sometimes, the outfits shown are cute, but would never fly in my small town! Great post of a fantastic woman with a killer attitude!

  11. meredith says...

    Love! And that dress from Gap was made for me too! Sadly, it is sold out. Heading to Target at lunch today to buy those sandals. Inspiring woman with really fun style!

    • Aliya says...

      I have those sandals and they are the best!!

  12. tiffany Cain says...

    Beautiful! Love to see a beauty post with short hair! So rare.

  13. Bethley says...

    Yes! Accessible clothing choices from stores we can afford! Love her.

  14. Stacy says...

    Hi! I have to confess, I almost skipped over reading this particular “A Week of Outfits” only because Ashley looks nothing like me and my favorite features always seem to be those who (I assume) are immediately relateable – in body shape, skin color, hair style, or whatever. BOY WAS I WRONG ON THIS ONE! Ashley’s style is so real and fabulous and my heart skipped a beat when I read the last paragraph:

    “I’ve spent a lot of time having this mental list of things that I was too fat for, too black for, too poor for. But it got boring. You can’t live your life like that. If you try hard to avoid disappointment, you also avoid excitement.”

    What a simple and powerful message. We should all be so lucky to have her outlook. This will stick with me for a long time as it’s exactly the reminder I needed. Thank you, Ashley!

  15. Katie says...

    Can she please be my personal stylist? Love love love her style!

  16. Katie says...

    Love that last sporty look! Cinque Terre is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been! Make sure to pack comfortable shoes for walking and ones that can get wet!

  17. Summer says...

    Well, I see why she’s a writer! That last paragraph got me all in the feels!

    I remember her last post about appreciating her body, and it also moved me to comment. She seems like such a good person (who happens to have great style, too! That yellow! <3). I hope we hear more from her (and that vacation) soon.

  18. tsampamama says...

    I want to be friends with Ashley! She seems like an amazing , self-aware, joyous person who has truly come into herself. Thank you for sharing style and style options for the over size 6-8 set. It is refreshing and indeed, inspiring, to see someone who is not dressing to hide or slim or modify some part of their body but making decisions on what feels good to her. Happy Travels Ashley! You go, lady!

  19. A lovely profile of a fabulous looking woman!
    Have you read the book “Women in Clothes”? I feel like this series is in the same vein…a fun, fluffy and fascinating read!

  20. Elisabeth says...

    Beautiful style, BEAUTIFUL woman!

  21. Tiffany says...

    Love your style, Ashley!

  22. Jane Ives says...

    Ashley is having the best week ever. I just read her Refinery 29 article about reuniting with her father and balled my eyes out. Now I see her here, straight up beaming in that hot yellow dress. Go Miss Ford! You are the queen of all things – you give us brown girls so much hope and joy!

  23. Wow, this girl rocks. Would love to be friends with her. What an amazing, smart, talented, and beautiful woman. She’s my new #lifegoal inspiration. :)

    And kudos to COJ for highlighting such awesome women. Keep up the great work!!!

  24. Jemma says...

    What a beauty! Please post more women of all sizes, it is so refreshing!!

  25. Ashely sounds like such a fun person. I also love how (finally) relatable this edition of week of outfits is to the readers. Thank you for that! All the beauty uniforms and week of outfits are so well done please don’t get me wrong but there is clearly something special here. To echo some others, I would love to go bargain hunting with Ashley, she has such great taste!

  26. Loved this! Ashley’s confidence is inspiring. I love hearing about how people “came into themselves” and got to a place where they stopped apologizing for how they are. (I’m working on it…) Her words felt empowering to me!!

    Also, Ashley, you will love Italy (and Cinque Terre!). Your blue dress is perfect for May in Italy! And I remember being on the beach in Cinque Terre (Vernazza to be exact) and feeling so confident in my body because on that beach, nobody cared! there were all sizes and shapes and body hair levels, and everyone was just enjoying being in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Enjoy!!!

  27. Leanne says...

    Love her style. And smile!

  28. Jen says...

    I. Love. This. Woman!

    Her positivity is infectious – thank you for sharing this bright, shining light, I adore this series. And that yellow dress. My God, that yellow dress!!

  29. molly says...

    “I don’t want to wear something that makes me look smaller or bigger; I just want to wear something that looks good.” – This is the absolute embodiment of body positivity. THANK YOU for sharing this refreshing perspective!

  30. What a cool person. Thank you for this! Ashley is so comfortable in her own skin, it is very inspiring.

  31. Angie says...

    SO inspiring. I love this series Joanna. I love fashion (especially seeing the choices that women make for themselves) and your profile series makes it all very personal. It’s not about materialism but about how we convey ourselves to others and how we can enjoy our choices, no matter the situations we are in.

  32. Cristina says...

    Beautiful woman, great style

  33. She looks so chic every day! Love the dress with the tennis shoes!

    xx, Hannah

  34. Allison says...

    my absolute favorite “week of outifts” post to date. i feel more confident just reading about her confidence! she looks so comfortable in her own skin, which is the most beautiful way to be.

    • Tina says...

      agreed!

  35. Laura says...

    Best one yet! Love her style, her outlook, and that fabulous bikini!

  36. Sylvie says...

    Great style! I’d take one of each of those pieces.

  37. lynda says...

    Oh my….I love this post. Been over at Ashley’s blog for an hour now (went down the rabbit hole and kept going- that site will take your thoughts all different places!) . She is just amazing. Can’t wait for her memoir to come out.

  38. love the via spiga heels. super duper love!!!!!

  39. Robin says...

    Geeze Louise, Ashley is gorgeous! I will seriously be attempting to replicate each of these outfits. I also love what she said about not having to always be in control–feeling excited “almost all of the time” sounds like a tremendous victory!

  40. Mea says...

    Wow! So impressed! Amazing woman!

  41. Elaine says...

    If you ever have someone following you, being odd, don’t worry; it’s just me absorbing your beautiful kind and comforting vibe!

  42. Kate says...

    What a beauty (and a smartie)! And in that yellow dress, so good!!!!

  43. Kate says...

    “Nowadays, whenever I do something that’s a goal for me, I wear these earrings and bring her with me.”

    Hit me right in the gut. What a beautiful way to honor your grandmother.

  44. Beth says...

    What a gorgeous woman. Rock on, Ashley.

  45. wendy says...

    *love* Thank you, Ashley, for being awesome & inspiring!

  46. Katie says...

    Love!! I went to college with Ashley (we were in a writing course together), and I remember her being just as down to earth, bold, and smart as she is in this feature. Keep up the amazing-ness, COJ!

  47. Lauren E. says...

    “It was very important to me, especially on this first trip, that he wasn’t showing me the world, that we were experiencing it together.”

    Love the outfits, love the mindset, love it all. Thank you for this.

  48. Sara says...

    I have been waiting for a long time for a week of outfits to feature a plus size woman. Thank you. Please feature more in the future.

  49. Callie says...

    Ashley you are gorgeous and have amazing style!

  50. Morgan says...

    “Now that I’ve stopped trying to control everything, I’ve ended up living a life where I get to feel excited, almost all of the time.” This.

    • Brianna says...

      I missed this line, but yes!

  51. Julia says...

    What a living proof that bolder women don’t have to hide but in contrast can underline their curves with great style and look so, so appealing! Thank you for this inspiration.

  52. Sara says...

    Ashley, I’ve been ALMOST ready to buy that dress from Universal Standard. Worth it? Does it wash & wear well?
    P.S. You’re amazing, inspirational, and GORGEOUS! XOXO

    • Laura says...

      I have this dress in a purple-gray! Universal Standard is actually available on Gwynnie Bee, which is amazing if you haven’t already heard of it. I received it and loved it so much that I bought it (Gwynnie Bee offers a discount off their clothes if you decide to keep a piece, I’m not sure I’d have paid full price for a fairly simple piece BUT it’s really well made so I might justify the price of adding more of their clothes to my wardrobe).

      It’s my go-to comfortable dress that I don’t worry about getting dirty, it really does wash and wear well. It’s like wearing a hug. It’s become a staple because there are a million ways to wear it: with a belt, with a sweater, with leggings and booties, with flats and bare legs, with heeled sandals, etc.

      Also, thank you to CoJ for diversifying the voices on your site. I know you’ve gotten a lot of reader feedback asking for that and I can see it occurring and it means a LOT to this plus-size lesbian on the west coast.

  53. She is beautiful and true to herself… I am continuously inspired by authentic women. Thanks Ashley! Have a fabulous trip! I’ve been to Italy once and will never forget it. xo

  54. Vicky says...

    Love the red dress!!!

  55. Britney says...

    Oh Ashley you are an inspiration! You’re gorgeous and have the best style. Most importantly, your beautiful spirit shines in your quotes. It’ll be my first time in Italy this summer as well- I wish you the best with your travels! You’re going to rock that bikini :)

  56. Katie says...

    Love Ashley! And so nice to revisit her earlier essay on body acceptance. Thanks for this.

  57. Kim Vukovich says...

    This made me happy! Love that yellow dress & Ashley’s smile.

  58. Tiffany says...

    The dresses!!! I can’t choose between the GAP or the yellow. Love it Ashley.

  59. Liz says...

    This is by far my favorite week of outfits! Ashley’s smile and attitude are fantastic and inspirational (as are her dress choices)!

  60. Ali says...

    Oh my goodness Ashley! You are gorgeous and so inspirational! xx

  61. Trisha says...

    Gorgeous! She looks amazing in that yellow dress!

  62. Mari says...

    Ashley Ford is stunning.

  63. Stacie says...

    Yes! Love this. More from women who purchase outfits I also could afford. :)

  64. Vicki says...

    Love! Ashley is so gorgeous; I am a little jelly of her style and amazing trip planned with such a great bikini. I would wear everyone of these outfits (well I am not sure I could pull off that yellow one, but I wish I could, its amazing) and I love that these are all possible with my budget not aspirational clothing! You rock Ashley!

  65. Lois says...

    Love her! She is rocking all those dresses and I love her Grandma’s earrings. And absolutely, wear that bikini in Italy. I was there a few years ago, and shopped really carefully for a nice 1-piece (2 pregnancies/2 c-sections, don’t really love sit-ups…you get the picture.) But on the beach, I felt so conspicuous in it. Everybody wears bikinis – all ages and body types. Women (and mothers!) are revered in Italy, and in my 1-piece bathing suit, it felt like everyone was like, “what’s she trying to hide, and why??”

  66. She’s one groovy lady who definitely knows her own style.

  67. Em says...

    This is my FAVORITE. First of all, Ashley is absolutely beautiful and her style is similar to
    my own. Yet, I strongly identify with her idea of having a running list of things she can’t do because she is “too ___”. I do this all the time and it’s quite confining to living a dang life! I feel like a yo-yo between my lists and then feeling free and independent of those constraints. Kudos to her on pushing past that and to her new liberation. I feel more free to express my true self in the summer when I’m out in nature or traveling, so I hope she has a marvelous trip!

    On a related note, Joanna, REI released a recent campaign for women, and noted how women frequently feel more confident and liberated from social constraints when they are out in nature, adventuring. Have you seen their video? It’s pretty cool!

  68. Cazmina says...

    Great post! I love her style and her confidence.
    I’ve just been looking at an orange dress for a friend’s wedding and I was thinking “it’s too bright, it’s too much, I can’t pull it off” – but thanks to Ashley’s inspiring attitude I think I’ll give it a try.

  69. isavoyage says...

    Thank you Ashley! I find you are both beautiful and inspiring. Really, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  70. This is my favorite week of outfits! Thanks for the inspiration, Ashley!

  71. I love the last paragraph so much. I’m not really there yet myself, but I wish I was – and this inspires me to try to get there.

    Also – that bikini is going to look AMAZING on you. Enjoy Italy! It’s my happy place and I think you’ll love it. For some reason, I always find it easiest to feel good about myself there.

  72. Jay says...

    Finally Joanna you are featuring a woman with a real body.

    • Rika says...

      I understand and applaud the effort to include women of all body types in CoJ posts (and this was not the first one). But the comment above irks me a little. Thin women have real bodies also! I’m not a model (and don’t look like one); but I’m petite and thin, and my body is real without me being a slave to diets.

    • Laura says...

      I agree with Rika. Body positivity is for all bodies! I realize that thinness is often revered as the only healthy choice, and that thin privilege is very much a thing that I’ll never have, but we can’t celebrate the diversity of size and shapes that human bodies come in by tearing down other bodies just because they happen to be the ideal.

      Fat phobia and body shaming affects every single person, no matter their size, and I hope my thin counterparts will stand up for my body — because I promise to do the same for theirs. All bodies are valid.

  73. Florrie says...

    You’ve got “it”. XXX

  74. Leigh says...

    She is beautiful on the outside and the inside and has great style. Well done!

  75. Understand that you matter and that you are beautiful, intelligent, worthy of loving and being loved. Dream big because you can achieve the unimaginable.

  76. Emily says...

    stunning and fresh!

  77. Pumla says...

    So happy to see Ashley featured again. She’s a firm favourite after reading her essay.

  78. Nathalie says...

    I moved to Europe in my early 20’s and the first time I went to the beach I wore a modest one-piece. I felt so embarrassed – EVERYONE else was in a bikini! It’s so true: a bikini body is a body with a bikini on it.

    Ashley, I love your style, have a wonderful time in Italy!

    • Robin says...

      Ha – what a great way to put it! I have a seven month old and my body doesn’t look the way it used to – I’ve been thinking about a tankini (seriously, going to the bathroom in a one piece – I can’t understand why they even make them). But you’re right, this is my bikini body :)

  79. Christina says...

    She has THE BEST STYLE! Love her looks and those dresses she wears so perfectly.

  80. Kim says...

    I love this one! I could use a lot more of this woman in my life, and that yellow dress is off the charts! Have the best trip!

  81. grace in TX says...

    I LOVE this. Now I finally know what one of those Universal Standard dresses looks like on a real person! I’d been oogling them for a while. Thank you for featuring someone who isn’t stick thin!

  82. Margaret says...

    Ashley, you are one cool lady. Thank you for brightening my finals week with your grounded words and total beauty.

  83. Roo says...

    Gorgeous outfits and attitude. Loved this!

  84. Ashley says...

    Beautiful woman & my favorite outfit was the jeans / sweater with those sweet sandals from Target. & what a cute ancedote about her Grandma’s earrings.

  85. Jen says...

    Love her, and love her style. Yay!

  86. This is so good. That cover shot with the yellow dress….stunning. This woman is perfection. Great style, funny, relate-able, best week of outfits post ever. Feeling very inspired. That bikini is awesome!!!

  87. Kelly Enciso says...

    This was such a great post. Thank you for sharing and thank you to Ashley. I am encouraged and reminded to be live fully and with excitement. <3

  88. Kim says...

    Great outlook.
    Thanks for this COJ!

  89. Kristina says...

    This was so inspiring! I am now in my 30s, have had a baby and only starting to get on terms with how I look, what I wear, what I don’t wear etc etc I am quite “imbalanced” body type – small on the upper part and big(ger) on the lower which has always made me so self-conscious! I also have a mild OCD, when applying an eyeliner can drive me mad if it it doesn’ t end up perfect. Wearing a bikini has been a challenge too (and I looove swimming!). I don’ t know what exactly but something in this post or about it made me think:”Starting today, I will wear whatever I feel like. Whatever feels me.” Thank you!

  90. Lindsey says...

    Damn girl, you look great! What a killer sense of style. The yellow dress is amazing- I wish I could rock yellow that way.

  91. Stephanie says...

    Great style, great energy! One of my favorite style posts yet. Ashley, you are beautiful. And that yellow dress is to die for.

    Xo Stephanie

  92. love this series. her comment about wanting to see the world with her boyfriend – not him showing it to her… well damn i want to commend her for having that clarity and high five her from afar. such a great attitude she has!

  93. This is my favorite week of outfits yet! Maybe I’m biased because I’m also a Hoosier ;) Kidding aside, Ashley has such a great sense for color. Love it. Thanks for sharing.

  94. I love how the outfits in this post weren’t too “fashiony” and were actually clothes that I would wear! Can’t wait to pull out my dresses for summer! :)

  95. There is nothing more to say than YOU. ARE. FABULOUS! I love her style, her wisdom, those flower earrings from her grandmother, which give her power…I also hope she rocks the bikini and has the most amazing time in Italy!

  96. Amy says...

    Love. This. Post. Everything about it. Ashley’s perspective is totally down to earth, empowering, and awesome. I also had an immediate clothes crush on every outfit + the bikini. Thanks for sharing!

  97. Daynna Shannon says...

    I love Ashley. I love her impeccable style. I love that grey t shirt dress with pockets and am so sad it’s no longer available. I love the ease of confidence she exudes. She seems like someone I want to hang out with. Repeatedly. A lot. She is absolutely gorgeous with a great body. Sure, she’s not perfectly thin, but she’s wonderfully proportioned and that really, really matters! She’s sexy AF. I love her and may now have a slight crush.

    Also, that yellow dress is unreal and I love the way she looks in it and the shoes she pairs it with. I’m going to go buy that dress. I think I can do the extra (?) small and still have it work. I’m curvy enough that I’m always buying large in tops and 30-32 in jeans. I’m sure it’ll fit me fine. I’m actually thinking of looking into that whole amazing site! What fantastic damn clothes for plus size! Just so sleek, minimal and stylish as hell.

    Okay. Sorry. I’ll stop gushing now. She’s just incredible. Both lookswise and attitude wise and …yeah… I’ll stop. Ha. But I seriously adore Ashley!! x

  98. Alison James says...

    ive followed your career, i love your work! so lovely to see you, to put a name with a face. xoxo keep being awesome.

  99. Liz says...

    Her style and her smile made me smile!! You look awesome, Ashley, and it looks like your clothes match your bright and positive personality. Thank you for sharing. Enjoy your trip to Italy!

  100. spark says...

    Best post ever for both the clothes and Ashely’s ideas about living life. I want to be Ashley’s best friend!

  101. Bridget says...

    Beautiful woman, beautiful voice. Thank you!

  102. Catherine says...

    I don’t really comment on many things but this week of outfits moved me so much.

    Cheers to you Ashley and for inspiring other women to wake up and love themselves.

  103. Alexandra says...

    She literally glows – radiates confidence!

  104. Thank you SO MUCH for a style post with totally affordable pieces! I love Ashley’s style, and her attitude, personality, and boldness are contagious!

  105. I love this interview so much. My favorite so far. Ashley, you rock!!! Everything is accessible and gorgeous. Love it.

  106. aga says...

    This post made me smile and say YASSS!!! :)

  107. Tara says...

    This post is awesome and so inspiring! I love how she not only has embraced who she is, but also celebrates “all” of herself. The message is love who you are and be the best version of yourself. Ashley, have fun on the trip and rock the bikini!!!

    On another note I’d like to see a house tour as well. Her place looks pretty dope from what I can see in the background.

  108. ALI says...

    Ashley you are the best! And you are so right – every colour looks good on you.
    Enjoy Italy and the Cinque Terre, it really is one of the most spectacular places IN THE WORLD :) x

  109. Taryn says...

    I agree, this was my favorite Week of Outfits post. The brands and price points are more approachable than many previous posts. Ashley, you’re gorgeous and you have fabulous style! Thanks for sharing.

  110. Morgan says...

    This was my favorite style profile you’ve done so far! Awesome style, of course, but so relatable.

    And Ashley – enjoy Cinque Terre it is heaven on earth!

  111. Lauren Grether says...

    Easily my favorite week of outfits! SO GOOD!

  112. Renee says...

    I love her outfits. And her confidence. I should buy all those dresses.

  113. Kim says...

    Rock that bikini, girl! I’m a size 20 and wore my first bikini last summer. It was FREEING to feel sexy and rebellious at the same time. Like I was flipping someone the middle finger under the table while flirting with them at the same time.

  114. Claire says...

    This has been my favorite in the series! Besides really liking all those stylish yet comfortable dresses, there’s something about Ashley that’s really relatable. :)

  115. Colleen says...

    Ashley, that bikini is amazing! I hope you have a wonderful trip. Thanks Cup of Jo for featuring real and diverse women to inspire us!

  116. My fav is the sweater and jeans…I LOVE the sweater.

  117. Lauren Gregorcyk says...

    The yellow is stunning on you! Thanks for sharing <3

  118. Asia says...

    I love this one! Ashley is very wise and has great style! I love the bit about her grandma’s earrings, too. If I’m heading to something that makes me nervous, I’ll often wear something that reminds me of someone I love or who loves me. It feels like a good luck token.

  119. What an inspiring post! A beautiful woman who is refreshingly frank about herself and her journey and her budget. Love how balanced Ashley’s perspective is and wish I could wear every color, too.

    I’m sending this post to my sister who tried to hide her body for a long time, but finally found herself beautiful and found her own groove.

  120. Tracey says...

    I love all her dresses. All of them. She looks great in them. In fact, as someone who’s her size, she just gives me ideas on what to wear for Summer. I’ve been in slump (thanks to Winter or is it Springter?).

  121. Angela says...

    The two posts I’ve read by Ashley have both inspired me. I can feel her joy and respond to her honesty. Love it. Thanks for sharing more of her world.

  122. Lauren says...

    Ashley–the only time I have ever been to Europe was for a high school trip 20 years ago. My family never travelled like that and when I had the opportunity through an art program at school, I detasseled corn (and Midwest thing), baby sat every kid in town, and walked every dog until I had the money to go. That trip changed my life and I’m now a high school art teacher. We went to Cinque Terre for 24 hours. The light in italy is truly golden. Your love of color will grow even more visiting a country bathed in patinaed color and light. I can only imagine how it will inspire your beautiful writing and your beautiful life. Enjoy your hard earned trip!

    PS: you are stunning and I love your style!!!!

  123. Jenny says...

    That entire last paragraph- YES!

  124. Sarah says...

    This was my favorite week of outfits post! Such great outfits and such fun thoughts!

  125. Amy says...

    Love these clothes, this attitude toward life and really just everything in this post. Is it strange that I’m irrationally happy that you are going to Italy, Ashley? Have a wonderful time!

  126. Ana says...

    Loved this piece!

  127. Justine says...

    Great article and photo essay. Have fun in Italy, Ashley!

  128. Rebecca says...

    Love the yellow dress and fun sandals from Target! I definitely agree to wear what you like and forget about the rules.
    Italy is AMAZING. My husband and I went a few years ago when we had very good friends living in Sweden. We did a 2 week trip with Paris, Rome, and Stockholm. I was so looking forward to Paris, and it was great, but for me, Rome was it! (I know a lot of people probably disagree.) The food, THE PIZZA, the streets, the ruins, the history, the perfect blue skies and green trees and cappuccinos and scooters and the tiniest shower I’ve ever seen, it was AMAZING. We actually ended our trip by going back to France and both my husband and I were wishing we had stayed the last 2 days in Italy. Enjoy!!!

  129. Jessica says...

    This is my absolute favorite week of outfits post! Ashley’s style and attitude are awesome and I love how the majority of her clothes are from affordable places! It’s great to see how she takes those pieces and puts everything together for such beautiful outfits! You rock Ashley!

    • Right?!

  130. Carrie says...

    Love this post, very inspirational. Can I ask, how tall is Ashley? We have a very similar body, but I suspect she is taller than me. I’d like to try out some of these silhouettes but I’m not sure I could pull them off!

    • Carrie says...

      Me too! I think wedges or heels of some sort are necessary for the first dress- i’ve tried on a similar shape with flats and it made me look like I was wearing a large pillow case! It looks so great on you, love the ease!

  131. Kara says...

    “I look pretty bold naturally, and for a long time I was trying to hide that.”
    So inspired to embrace my natural “look” and stop feeling less than because I don’t fit a certain mold!

    • Jenny says...

      I find women being themselves as hard as they can the most enchanting, beautiful and strong of all. I want to embrace my own (slightly unusual) style harder thanks to this as well!

  132. june2 says...

    Have to say, you look amazing in that heather grey mini dress and that bikini is gorgeous!

  133. Heather Ailes says...

    Ashley is awesome and I so love what she says about “looking the way I feel.”

    Joanna, I am so impressed with how this space has grown to encompass lots of different people and lives. I always enjoy visiting.

  134. Courtney says...

    I have been reading this blog for years and have never commented. I think I was waiting to see a post like this so I could finally say THANK YOU. I hope that we see more women of color and diverse body types please!

    • anne says...

      me too! I have never commented but this post moved me! This is a week of outfits I can relate to on a few levels. Ashley is inspirational, stylish and beautiful.

  135. Thank you for this one Cupofjo! A real woman with a real woman’s body and a budget-minded tilt, that’s who we need to see more of. What media has done to women’s self-confidence is reprehensible. I’m 5’2″ and weigh 114 lbs and I think I’m overweight. In what universe am I living? Style on, Ashley! BTW, the bathing suits on that site are incredible. I may even get one and go to the beach.

    • Carrie says...

      All women have real women bodies. In my younger years I was very thin… I can’t tell you how hurtful and isolating that phrase has been in my life.

    • yes, as we all try to make sure our words reflect the good in our hearts, let’s please be careful to not refer to curves as an indication of a “real woman.” i’m tall, naturally thin, and flat chested and i can assure you i’m a “real woman” too and no more a reflection of starving myself than a larger person is a reflection of gorging themself.

    • Gabriella says...

      I have to agree with what Carrie said. ALL women have REAL women’s bodies. We shouldn’t put off someone’s slim body as unrealistic in general. It might be unattainable for some, and some might not even want to have a slimmer figure, but those bodies are real all the same.
      However, I’m sorry you feel unhappy with your own figure, because of how media has been distorting what a (female) body SHOULD look like. I hope that women everywhere will start to love their bodies, no matter what size or shape.

    • Mama M says...

      I read Clou’s comment and thought, “Amen!”, but then your comment really gave me pause, Carrie! I have a cousin who has been very thin all of her life, and the pain she has endured constantly being teased and accused of having an eating disorder was terrible. I think by “real woman’s body type”, Clou means “average woman’s body type” (which is now a size 16 in the U.S.).

      Sensitivity to the experiences of other and precise, clear language seems VERY important when we’re talking about body image. All women DO have real women’s bodies, and I think we do damage labeling people of any size or any shape as “real” (as opposed to what, exactly?!). Thanks for the thought-provoking start to my day today, Cup of Jo community.

    • Carrie says...

      I’m sorry if I came down on you, I completely understand the point you were trying to make and I know your intentions were right. It’s just the phrase, it always threw me into self-defense mode.

      I am now a grown woman, no longer pencil thin, and I struggle with the exact opposite as I did when I was younger. Like you, I feel overweight now, and I agree- I don’t think I should feel that way! It’s sad- I feel completely at peace with my body, until I am in public and then I fear the judgement of others. Not okay, and I am working on that

  136. Elle says...

    Thanks for featuring Ashley again! Another dose of Ashley is always a good thing.

    Wearing a bikini while not giving a damn can be so challenging, but so liberating when you get there mentally.

  137. Angela says...

    Oh, you are lovely. Really lovely.

    Also, giggling over her comment about the best part of being black is that nothing washes you out. So true! My SIL works at an alterations shop and a lady came in with a champagne-colored dress. She said every girl in the shop was drooling over how gorgeous that color looked on the girl and on black ladies in general. I’m pale, pale, pale, and while that is beautiful in its own right, there are absolutely colors I can’t wear if I want to look…alive?! Lol

    • Wb says...

      Exactly. What a beautiful woman.

    • Kate says...

      Seeing the first photo of the yellow dress I thought how lovely Ashley looked in it and how lucky she was to pull that colour (excuse the spelling, I’m from New Zealand) then I saw her comment and laughed. I am doomed to always looked washed out!

    • Polly Hitchcock Sage says...

      I was thinking the same! That yellow on Ashley is amazing! My legs would be the scariest and my face! Eek!

    • Ellen W says...

      This was also my favorite line. As a “medium” skin toned white girl, I cannot wear yellow, orange or certain shades of brown. Also nice to see more affordable clothing choices.

  138. Mary says...

    If Ashley wrote nutrition descriptions for cafeteria food, I would probably still read it. Love her work and love seeing her on Cup of Jo!

  139. Jessica says...

    Okay, not only does Ashley have a killer sense of style (so colorful! so fun! so easy breezy!), but this entire interview was just a complete delight. She seems so fun and so wise at the same time–that last comment about trying too hard to avoid disappointment is something I needed to read. This may be my favorite week of outfits yet!

  140. Blair says...

    Love love love this post!
    Ashley- you are an inspiration. You look fabulous and I adore what you said about stopping thinking “too___” for things in life and just enjoying where you are. Tonight that was just the lift I needed. And I may go buy that yellow dress!

  141. Sara says...

    Love love love! ❤️❤️❤️

  142. Brady says...

    You have the most gorgeous smile! It literally lights up every photo :-)

  143. Liss says...

    Gorgeous! I really loved this, thank you Ashley. This post kicks me right in the rear to embrace this body and life. Enjoy Italy, rock that bikini!

  144. Cinque Terre is one of my favorite places on earth. Have fun! (And enjoy that bathing suit. ;)

  145. Ashely , I so appreciate your very cool style!! I also love reading about a beautiful woman who makes the decision to believe in the possibilities in life more dominantly. I once heard this: ” Every subject is 2 subjects, what is wanted and the lack of what is wanted, and where we focus is what our lives become.
    Wishing you many happy, exciting, abundant adventures in your life choices.

  146. katrien says...

    This post makes me want to hang out with her for a day and go thrifting together! What a beautiful human she is. I love what she says about giving up control and then being excited about almost everything, what a wonderful reminder. Thank you, Ashley :)