9 Ways To Wear Body Chains At Any Size

by Alysse Dalessandro

I vowed when I started my own clothing line that I would design for people who dress for themselves and don't care what anyone else has to say about what they should or shouldn't don — which is precisely where body chain accessories come into play. When I made my first body chain for a fashion show back in the summer of 2012, I made it because I liked it and I hoped that other people would, too. I never design anything just because I think it's gonna be a big seller. I design what I think fashion needs; specifically what plus-size fashion needs.

To me, body chains are like fashion armor. My body chain designs are far from subtle because body chains are not just an accessory; they are a statement of confidence. So whether you are wearing a Ready to Stare body chain at the beach or with a ball gown to the opera, people will notice — and that's the point.

My body chains caught on quickly with stylists for editorials, but not everyone was on board right away. Lucky for me, slowly but surely, women of all sizes began to see themselves in body chains. These days, my brand is known for plus-size body chains and my designs are worn worldwide.

Over the past three years, I think I've heard every possible body chain criticism veiled as an excuse not to draw that much attention to one's self. While I certainly respect everyone's right to personal style, I want the reason you're not wearing a body chain to be a matter of taste and not a lack of confidence. I've made it my personal mission to show that body chains are for every body who wants to wear one. For my latest summer collection of body chains, Watch The Queen Conquer, I shot models between sizes 2 and 26 to help create a visual styling how-to for wearing body chains at any size.

1. The '90s Babydoll Dress

The gold Angela body chain plays off of one of my favorite body chain silhouettes, but adds an extra visual element at the bust. I love the way the chain falls on the shapelessness of this plus-size vintage '90s babydoll dress. Proud Mary sells a new velvet dress similar to this vintage one, or try the shapeless ASOS Curve T-shirt Dress to achieve a plus-size rule-breaking look times two.

2. The Long Sleeve Skirtini

Chain Belt, Etsy | High Waist Swim Skirt, $44, Torrid

The long sleeve bikini is a new trend that I am so on board with for summer. For this look, I paired a chain belt and leg chain with a long sleeve crop top and skirtini that I actually like. The plus-size swim skirt shown here is from Torrid. And for the long sleeve bikini top, Rue107 has you covered. In addition to halter, tie-front, and one-shoulder bikini tops in sizes S-3X, they also make amazing long sleeve swimwear tops in a variety of patterns.

3. The High-Waisted Shorts

I honestly never would've thought of putting a body chain through belt loops of high-waisted shorts, but when my intern (who also modeled for this look) suggested it, I witnessed pure styling genius. She's wearing this minimalist body chain in black with a pair of white denim vintage shorts for a look that is effortlessly fashion forward. ModCloth makes a similar pair of shorts in sizes S-3X.

4. The No-Pants Buttondown

My definition of body chain has expanded to include any chain that you wear on your body that isn't a necklace. With my most recent collection, I added plus-size leg chains that I am so excited about. This silver leg chain may be seen more as an intimates item so to combat that, I paired it with an oversized vintage button-down. The print is so fabulously '90s, I don't think any modern piece could quite replicate this look; but the checked plus-size maxi shirt from Missguided is a cute alternative.

5. The Crop Top And Skater Skirt Combo

One of my favorite clothing combos to wear year-round is a crop top with a high-waisted skater skirt. I also wear pleather year round — chub rub be damned. So when I styled this silver body chain at the beach, this combo was an obvious choice. Chubby Cartwheels make a plus-size leather skater skirt in sizes 1X-5X and Charlotte Russe make a basic plus-size cotton crop.

6. The Pencil Skirt

For body chains that hit at the natural waist, such as the gold caged chain and the black ladder chain shown here, a high-waisted pencil skirt that hits at the same spot is an easy pairing. You can dress it up with a blouse like the vintage Bob Mackie wonder shown here or dress it down with a basic cotton sleeveless turtleneck like this one from ASOS.

7. The Bodysuit

A back body chain is such a statement in itself that a simple bodysuit complements this look flawlessly. While this plunging, vintage, lace bodysuit certainly highlights the elements of the chain, a bodysuit with more front detailing and a higher cut back like this one from Boohoo would create even more added drama to the look.

8. The Basic Black Bikini

The body chain and bikini combo is perhaps the most common way to wear a body chain, but just look how stunning they are together! There's something about this pairing that is both edgy and in-your-face sexy. This chain shown in gold and silver pairs well with the plus-size bikinis from the SwimSexy line from Swimsuitsforall.

9. The Jumpsuit

Waist Chain, Etsy

Jumpsuits have long been one of those fashion items that was supposed to be taboo for plus-size women, and until a boutique owner suggested I try one on a few years ago, I used to never picture myself in one because of my height. But since I put on that first jumpsuit, I wanted more! Because jumpsuits are one piece, it's easy to add a waist chain to break it up. The plus-size jumpsuit is from BLAIR — the same boutique where I got my first jumpsuit a few years ago.

Special thanks to the babes pictured here who helped show that body chains are for every body: Amanda Sweet, Emerald Shaw, Kasey Simmerer, Kenyiana Lewis, Maria Amador, Kari Dowiak, Shauntae Meadows, Mary-Morgan Byrd, and Christina Basham

Images: Alysse Dalessandro