These Two Friends Use TikTok to Promote Body Positivity 

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TikTok: Courtesy of @denisemmercedes

Matching outfits with your friends is something you might do on the occasional night out (like Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber have done)—but New York-based duo Denise Mercedes Marte and Maria Castellanos are making it an everyday thing. On their separate TikTok pages, the two friends have an ongoing series that’s united by the hashtag #Stylenotsize, where they double up on the same outfits in order to promote a body-positive message. By showcasing side-by-side looks—such as slinky, strappy dresses or more casual looks like a crop top and jeans—they prove that good fashion doesn’t have a size limit. “We shouldn’t be confined to what society tells us is the correct thing to wear for specific sizes,” says Castellanos. 

Marte and Castellanos haven’t always matched their outfits, however. They first got the idea for their series in 2019, when they posted an Instagram in matching bikinis on the beach. “A lot of positivity came from that post,” says Marte. “About a year later, when I joined TikTok, I told her we should do the same idea of wearing the same thing—but this time into a video and do transitional looks.” Now, they have over 3.7 million followers combined, and they regularly post themselves in coordinated strappy gowns, summer dresses, bathing suits, the list goes on. “We think it’ll help people start wearing what they think they can’t wear, and start to step out of their comfort zone,” says Martre. 

Since the two friends are two different sizes, they often look for brands or labels that have a large variety of size options, so that their variety of followers can also find pieces in their size. ASOS is a particular favorite, but it’s often a challenge to find truly inclusive brands. “It’s actually quite hard to find pieces; Not a lot of brands are size-inclusive,” Castellanos says. “It takes us so much time finding something we like and something that everyone will be able to wear. We look for neutral colors for every skin tone, stretchy materials, and quality.” 

 Below, Marte and Castellanos discuss how they met, what their TikTok posting schedule is like, and what their favorite wardrobe pieces are.

TikTok: Courtesy of @denisemmercedes

Tell us about your friendship: how did you guys meet?   

Marte: Maria’s husband and my boyfriend are childhood friends. My boyfriend introduced me to her and she mentioned that she was a fan of my content on social media. She said that I inspired her, and we clicked immediately.

Castellanos: From that one night of hanging out, we learned so much from one another. I was a small social media blogger and a photographer. I became her photographer and learned so much from her. We worked so well together and this friendship leveled up into partners in crime!

What made you want to start creating on TikTok together? 

Marte: When I first heard about TikTok, I thought it was just an app where people uploaded videos dancing. But I then discovered that TikTok was just another platform to express yourself and art. I’ve been a content creator on Instagram for years, sharing my fashion and body-positive posts, so I wanted to do the same on TikTok.

Castellanos: Denise had started using TikTok before I did. She would talk to me about the platform and how I should get on it. When I first hopped on TikTok, I had this idea of showcasing my passion for dance and my love for fashion. As we talked and enjoyed TikTok, we decided we wanted to create a bigger community together. 

TikTok: Courtesy of @denisemmercedes

What's your process for creating TikToks and where do you get ideas? 

Marte: It’s always random. Sometimes I plan the day of, or even an hour before. It really depends if I really like my outfit that day. Then maybe I’ll talk about my look for the day, or if I decide to showcase 3 to 4 new outfits that I recently purchased, I’ll then do a fun transitional video to show my looks. 

Castellanos: I have several different ways of coming up with content. First is following trends! If there is a dance that’s trending, or a transition or a song, I would give my own input around the trending content and make it my own. This is definitely how #stylenotsize keeps it trending! I also share my ideas with Denise, and if she likes it and is on board, we put it on a #stylenotsize episode! Two heads think better than one. 

How would you say your style is different from each other? 

Marte: We have our own unique styles. Maria likes to layer her looks, and I like to accentuate parts of my body. 

Castellanos: We have different styles, but we like a lot of the same things. We could both really like a dress, but Denise would probably pair it up with some cute pumps and a purse, while I would pair it with some sneakers and a bag. 

What are your top three fashion obsessions at the moment? 

Marte: Mom jeans, slip dresses, and oversized blazers.

Castellanos: Trousers, blazers, and sweatpants.

TikTok: Courtesy of @denisemmercedes

What's the most special piece in your closet? 

Marte: My thigh-high boots, because they are so hard to find for curvier women. I found a pair that fit me perfectly. 

Castellanos: Every shoe! I really do have an obsession. The one I find most special are my very first pair of Christian Louboutins that I got when my hubby wanted to share his excitement for #stylenotsize’s success.

What has been your most viral video?

Marte: Our most viral video was this one. I think people love it when we dance as well as showcasing our styles.

Castellanos: We’ve had several, thankfully, but I think it’s those videos that we just scream confidence.

What's your favorite TikTok of all time? 

Marte: This one. We had to edit outside of the app and we usually wear 3 to 4 looks, but we wore 6 looks this time! 

Castellanos: This is my favorite! The outfits that we wore were a mix of our personal styles, and the hug at the end is so adorable!

What's the next big idea you want to attempt on TikTok? 

Marte: Continue our #stylenotsize trend, and this time include more bodies of different shapes for more inclusivity. It’ll be a good way to keep inspiring the TikTok community .

Castellanos: I would love to glam it up and go all out with some really fashionable pieces! Think gala/red carpet.