Size Matters

Size Matters

Fashionistas are Fitting Female Forms in Fargo

By Robyn Rohde

We’ve all had it happen: You see that five-second clip before you can skip to the next video, and you spot the outfit. The one that is perfect for the (insert select event) coming up on Friday. The search is on. You hunt the Internet for each piece and then head to the store to replicate the magic.

That’s when it happens. You look in the full-length mirror next to the dressing room, wishing the person in front of you would move. A second goes by, then it dawns on you. The woman in the mirror IS you. And not the person you saw in that original commercial.

One size does not fit all, as most women know all too well.

However, all hope is not lost.

Three women, each with their own unique shape, went shopping on Broadway in Fargo at three clothing stores to find outfits to bring out the best in their body type.


A hidden gem that greets shoppers as they cross the railroad tracks is Charmed Boutique. The shop’s origin story is almost as fascinating as its selection. Best friends Stacy Cossette and Stacey Sell had a hard time finding much diversity in clothing, so the dental hygienists opened the cozy boutique at 12 Broadway N., Suite A. During the day, employee Taylor Schuler greets customers, expressing her keen eye for fashion and boldness with deep red lips.

“For each of them, I wanted something to flatter every figure,” Schuler said. “Specifically with (Leah) I wanted to make sure I created extra definition around the waist to give it more balance so it doesn’t create this hourglass she doesn’t have. I like that it’s flowy, too, so you can see the rule of thirds: you see her beautiful face, you see her outfit, and then you would see her shoes.”

Leah Backstrom, Emma Vatnsdal, and Sara Erickson show off their sassy outfits picked out for them by Taylor Schuler at Charmed Boutique. Photo by Robyn Rohde.

Schuler, the former Minnesota State University Moorhead art student, brings her classical training to help make women feel ready for a night on the town.

“The size means nothing. Literally the number is different for every brand and every brand makes up their own sizing chart,” Schuler said. “It makes zero sense, and I think it’s unfair that in the current climate of our country we have to create fake size charts. Men get to be based off of measurements and they never have to worry about if it is going to fit them.”


Right next door, SHANNALEE has a little bit of everything, beginning with a complimentary cup of coffee. The upscale store’s warm welcome doesn’t end at the beverage selection as manager Jenna McKay and her assistant Taylor Phillips personally select outfits for customers.

“You want to look at their body type and see what sizes are available,” McKay said. “(Sarah) is a little taller so I wanted to do a more flair-out bottom. For a girl who is 5 foot, wearing a high-waist pant is not going to work on her.”

Sarah Erickson, Leah Backstrom, and Emma Vatnsdal show how versatile black can be in the hands of SHANNALEE staff members. Photo by Robyn Rohde.

Persistence is another major component of getting the right fit. McKay said sometimes a person has to try on several items before finding the one that works. Once the major neutral pieces are selected, it’s time to add a splash of color with a necklace, a bright scarf, or a decorative jacket.

“Even just throwing a blazer on with a pair of jeans and a white T-shirt can dress up an outfit,” Phillips said. “Even a scarf or a necklace with jeans and a plain shirt can really change an outfit, but yet it is nice because you are still comfortable in your element.”


For a more bohemian look, Proper and Prim is the place to go. Located at 315 Broadway N, Proper and Prim caters to more unique styles with items geared toward a younger clientele.

“All of our spring stuff is leaning toward an easy, boho chic,” said Teresa O’Day, style specialist at Proper and Prim.

Leah Backstrom, Emma Vatnsdal, and Sara Erickson bring bohemian chic to life after a stint at Proper and Prim. Photo by Robyn Rohde.

The flowy nature of the merchandise made dressing for each size more of a challenge but O’Day noted special touches, such as thin leather belts and decoratively flared sleeves, help bring variety to any ensemble.

“We try to stay classic trendy, a balance between the two, “O’Day said. “Our focus is more a girl with style, someone looking for something a little bit different but not wild.”

In the end, staff at all three locations emphasized that finding what makes the individual feel good is what fashion is all about.

(Robyn Rohde is a senior majoring in multimedia journalism at MSUM. She’s showcasing her skills in a new medium before graduating in May, with hopes of going on to earn her MFA. Contact her at

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