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You're Never Too Old to Have Style

“Remind yourself, nobody’s built like you. You design yourself.” – Jay Z

That quote from Jay-Z is the best way to describe my life on a whole.

From fashion to learning to love myself fully to even just living my life, I often remind myself that there is no one out there like me and I am the one who chooses how I live. That includes what I wear and being true to my style.

My style is a mix of so many things I love while allowing me to express who I am. Fashion is art; that way of expression without having to say a thing. You just wear what you want and walk out the door into the world.

For me as a fat girl, who is over 40, I hear a lot of people telling me what I should wear or how I should look. I realized that style is an individual thing and does take a lot of courage to truly express it and not listen to what anyone else says. When I go against the grain and stay true to my style, I feel empowered and strong.

Yes, I can have pink hair and I can wear prints and bold colors. I can wear all the sneakers that I want and if I choose to, I can wear a sequin gown to the supermarket. That is my choice. My style, my rules. Style is not dictated by age or size.

And I am not alone. When I came across this blog called The Muffin Queen's Closet, I had to find out who this blogger was. Turns out Meshel is over 40 (like me), over a size 24 (like me) and has a unique style (like me). This girl breaks fashion rules on a daily basis and I LOVE IT.

We're become good friends and she's been so supportive of me and my career, especially my modeling gig at Gwynnie Bee. We chat a lot about what's launching as she has been a GB member for a long time. 

The day I tried on this Effie's Heart Dolce Vita Dress in Etched Dot, I had to post a pic on Facebook and tag Meshel because I knew this would be her jam. While our styles are different, we both fell in love with this dress.

Me on set before taking my picture to be included with my First Fit Review

My official pic on the Gwynnie Bee website - I gave this 5 hearts

Meshel and I both decided to get this magical dress and style it our way. At the time, I had blue/green hair, which matched the dress perfectly so I was totally swooning. But by the time I received the dress in the mail, I had already changed the color of my hair to pink and was concerned. But it turns out the pink hair looks good with the dress after all! 

I love how Meshel styled the dress. She loves accessories and has this magical way of mixing colors and prints. I love how she chose yellow leggings and orange sandals with her statement necklace pulling in both colors while looking great against the green. 

I opted to pair the dress with a yellow vintage purse I found at a thrift store, my Betsey Johnson blue eye studs and my Star Sneakers from Lane Bryant

Meshel and I are PROOF that age has nothing to do with style. If I live to 90, I will still be rocking my print dresses, shelltoe Adidas, moto jackets and graphic tees. I'll still love sequins and anything with sparkle. And I will still be on my streetwear vibe. 

You have to dress in the way that makes YOU happy and no one else. If you can't express yourself through your style, that's like never having your voice heard.

I don't know about you, but I refuse to let anyone silence me or make me feel like I am not worthy of fashion because of my size or my age. 

Click here to read about Meshel's green dress experience.

If you aren't a member of Gwynnie Bee and want to try the service out, you can try it for 30 days FREE of charge. Just click here to sign up. You won't be disappointed and you'll never know until you try. Shoot, those Effie's Heart dresses are EVERYTHING.

**This post also contains some affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them.  This is one of the ways I can continue to bring you inspiring content. Thank you!

Fashion Rules are Made to Be Broken

“You’ll learn, as you get older, that rules are made to be broken. Be bold enough to live life on your terms, and never, ever apologize for it." ~ Mandy Hale

See that girl above? That look of happiness in her face? I never thought I'd see her again but she's back, breaking fashion rules, taking adventures and living fully, one day at a time.

This journey I have been on has taken me places that I never dreamed I would go. I have learned that my purpose is not about the number of social media followers I have or taking a pretty picture or even getting rich. To my surprise, I have become an advocate for women, especially those over the age of 40 and over a size 24. 

I didn't set out to inspire women. In all honesty, I was just trying to live and get my life back together. But by being staying true to myself and letting the world in, it happened. I'm not perfect and I still am in awe when someone sends me a message or shows up at an event and shows me so much love. However, I am so grateful because that love inspires me to continue the work I do. These women keep me going.

So when Amanda Williams, Director of Marketing at SWAK Designs, asked me to be a part of this amazing body positive campaign she wanted to do, how could I say no? 

We need to see more visibly plus bodies in the media and in campaigns. And I don't just mean those size 18s and 20s. I mean, women above a size 24 too, who are rarely shown in major campaigns or in stories that go viral. I also want to see a diverse set of women on clothing websites so I can get an idea of how that clothing will look on me and not just an hourglass or pear shaped, size 14 model.

This new SWAK Designs campaign features women ranging from sizes 2X to 5X. And it has a kick-ass fun comic theme where we are called the Curvy Guardians: Defenders of Fashion Equality. We each tackle 5 fashion rules that we break without a second thought.

I'm a rule breaker by heart. Why can't I wear prints? Why can't I wear a crop top? Why do I have to cover up? I hate when people try to police my body and tell me what to wear because of my size. 

Fashion is a way for me to express myself and give me joy. I have fun with fashion and lovingly dress my body. I feel empowered in making decisions for my body and not listening to what others are telling me what to do. Shoot, it's hard enough to just exist and take space in this world so I want to be happy in everything I do.

Fashion is a way for me to march to the beat of my own drum and be me unapologetically.

So special shoutout and thanks to SWAK Designs for including me in this campaign and always being a brand that features visibly plus models as well as models of color and customers on their website. 

The other beautiful ladies included in this campaign are plus size model Saucye West, blogger Alysse Dalessandro of Ready to Stare and two SWAK customers Amanda and Courtney. We had so much fun on set and it truly felt like a sisterhood.

We're all wearing the Classic Maxi Dress, which comes in 5 colors and is available in sizes 1X - 6X here. I'm wearing the Magenta one.

Alysse and I also got to shoot together in all our fierceness. This is what a size 2X and 4X looks like...

Above, I'm wearing the Isabella Swing Dress in a size 4X. My print is sold out but there's a red print available here that's so pretty.

Check out the entire Curvy Guardians campaign here and see me in my superheroine realness.

SWAK is also having a contest in conjunction with this campaign that I am loving! 

Enter to win either a $300, $200 or $100 SWAK Gift Card by posting a picture of yourself on Instagram, breaking a classic curvy girl fashion rule. Make sure to use the hashtag #SWAKguardian to officially enter your image into the contest. Good luck!

And please share this campaign, if you can. These are the kind of campaigns I personally think should be seen and go viral. We truly need to see more body diversity overall and that is something I feel very passionate about. 

My journey is far from over and I will continue to do my part in being a strong voice for those women who feel ignored, passed over and not marketed to. Fashion is for everyone!

*This post also contains some affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them.  This is one of the ways I can continue to bring you inspiring content. Thank you!

Playing Dress-up at plus BKLYN: My New Favorite Store to Shop At

"Fashion should be a form of escapism, and not a form of imprisonment." ~ Alexander McQueen

Left to right: Bettye of Fashion Schlub, plus BKLYN owner Alexis Krase and I

Recently, I visited plus BKLYN, a new plus size boutique in Brooklyn, NYC that offers bold and trendy styles for women up to a size 26 and 4X. They also carry accessories and handbags that had me swooning.

The owner Alexis Krase is a size 22 herself and was inspired to open up her own store when she couldn't find clothing in her size that reflected her style. 

Man, I know that feeling! So, Alexis gets major props from me on taking action instead of just sitting back complaining or feeling some kind of way because of the lack of accessible fashion in her size. She is the perfect example of someone who created her own opportunity to not only clothe herself but make fashion accessible to women like me, who also have a hard time finding clothing in my size that I love.

The boutique is small but what it contains makes it a mega spot that every plus size woman looking for bold, colorful pieces, should visit. Plus, there's a pizza place next door that you can visit after shopping your butt off... NY pizza never disappoints.

What I loved the most was being able to try brands like Junarose, Hell Bunny and a new brand I discovered... Retrolicious. Not only did the boutique carry my size to try on but it felt like a safe place that welcomes all shapes and sizes. 

Alexis and her store manager Ivy were so amazing; it felt like we were all just girlfriends hanging out, trying on clothes and empowering each other. No judgments, just genuine honesty and positivity. 

I admit that sometimes I get scared to wear something I love because I fear the backlash or what people will think of me. But then I remember that this is my body and I dress it how I want. I remind myself that I'm confident and knowledgeable enough about my body that I know how to dress it MY WAY and know that style knows no age or size. 

That day, Alexis and Ivy empowered me to try on styles I loved and not be afraid to wear because this is me, truly me.

Here's what I obsessed over at plus BKLYN during my visit:

Snack Attack Dress from Retrolicious (I'm wearing a size 4X)

Hell Bunny Dolly Top and Lipstick A-Line Skirt from Retrolicious (wearing a 4X in both)
Alexis is wearing the Roller Disco dress and I'm wearing the Wiggin' Out Dress, both by Retrolicious
I also didn't get to try this Ice Cream Skater Skirt while I was there as my size wasn't in stock but I will be returning to plus BKLYN this month to try it:

Thank you Alexis, Ivy and plus BKLYN for offering me a place to visit, play dress-up and leave feeling happy with some goodies in my bag, ready to be worn. 

Alexis told me she is in discussions to expand and carry more brands so I am excited to see what's to come.

If you're ever in the NYC area, head on over to plus BKLYN at 455 Graham Avenue in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. You will not be disappointed. Tell them Marcy from Fearlessly Just Me sent you!

You can also shop plus BKLYN online here.

Of all the styles I tried on, which ones do you think I should buy? Which one did I buy? Let me know below and let's chat!

Some of My Favorite Gwynnie Bee Styles - June 2017

"Dresses don't look beautiful on hangers." ~ Amit Kalantri

As many of you know, I have been working as a First Fit Reviewer for Gwynnie Bee for over a year. I basically act as a fit model for new styles and provide honest reviews on the styles I try, in order to help other women find styles at GB that will work for them.

Blogger Nazira Sacasa and I wearing the Isabel & Alice Faux Wrap Dress in Jungle Taro. Nazira is wearing an XL and is 5'8". I'm 5'7" and wearing a size 3X.  (Launching 7/7)
I have to admit, June has been an awesome month where I gave out a ton of 5-heart reviews. It has me excited for summer and fall. Effie's Heart, Rachel Antonoff, City Chic and Jete continue to be my favorite brands with Effie's Heart really winning my heart with its pretty and bold prints. 

I also have fallen in love with some new brands that will be launching this month on GB... Tart Collections, Flying Tomato and Love Fire. I also tried a new brand called Single Dresses that runs kind of small and I still have yet to try a 4XL dress from Unique Vintage that fits. Ugh.

So here's what I was obsessing over in June at Gwynnie Bee:

City Chic Party Fun Dress - launching July 9
This City Chic dress is the perfect combo of blue and red with a fun tie detail at the bust and a swingy skirt silhouette that made me want to salsa dance the night away. Love!

Cherry Velvet Angelina Dress in Aqua Dot - Launching July 5th
Cherry Velvet has also become a favorite brand of mine while working at Gwynnie Bee. This dress is simply gorgeous. I am obsessed at the moment with aqua and forest green so this dress had me swooning, with its retro polka dot print and pockets! I'm wearing a size 4X.

Isabel & Alice Faux Wrap Dress in Jungle Taro - Launching July 7th
As I stated above, I am obsessed with green so when I saw this dress on my rack, I was in love. The ruffle detail is super cute and I actually had to size down to a 3X on this dress because the bust was slightly baggy in the 4X. 

Michel Studio by Addition Elle Aqua Stripe Keyhole Dress - launched 7/2
This dress just launched on the site yesterday (7/2) and I love it! This is a dress I will wear all summer and then transition it into fall with the addition of a denim jacket. It's super comfortable, fits well and so stylish. I'm wearing a size 4X.

My two closet picks of the month are:

Johnny Was Archi Tier Tunic

I'm wearing a size 4X and despite no stretch, the fit was spot on. This is the perfect top for summer; so lightweight, pretty and on-trend.

Effie's Heart Dolce Vita in Etched Dot

I am so love with this dress. It is my absolute favorite dress at the moment. I actually plan to buy this dress because it's a keeper. It's comfy, lightweight, so pretty and it has pockets. I am wearing a size 4X and absolutely love how it fits me.

As always, please check out my reviews on the GB site for a more detailed description of my fit experience and if you have any questions, you can always reach out to me on Facebook and Instagram.

If you aren't a member of Gwynnie Bee and want to try the service out, you can try it for 30 days FREE of charge. Just click here to sign up. You won't be disappointed and you'll never know until you try.

Stay tuned! I will be sharing my faves for July 2017 at the end of this month.

Sometimes You Have to Go Home Again

"It's okay to not be okay. Sometimes to get through what you need to get through, but don't stay there too long - there is always light at the end of the tunnel." ~ Mary J. Blige

I want to be completely honest with all of you. There are times where I feel like I'm not okay. This daily battle with the inner voices in my head that try to taint the confident words I speak to myself is really hard. Some days I lose and some days I win.

I'm over 40, over a size 24 and I'm now in an arena where when you wear a swimsuit, you are celebrated. When you go naked, you're celebrated. When you dress scantily clad, you're celebrated. I get that seeing women of all sizes, showing their imperfections, is very inspiring. But it also sets that standard of what's expected in the body positivity space and you feel pressured to keep up. I started to feel like maybe I am not worthy of being seen because I'm old, I'm conservative and I'm not a safe "fat" body to be seen. 

Am I not worthy of being a part of the movement? Am I not worthy of being celebrated and seen?

I recently overheard some bloggers talking about me -- they didn't know I could hear them. Besides saying I am too old to have green hair and how I am weird because I tend to stay to myself and observe, one girl called me a dinosaur.

So, I will admit that at first, I laughed because dinosaurs are dope AF. Dinosaurs are amazing. I was like, YESSSSSSS!

But then those negative words stayed with me, hovering in the back of my mind, waiting for its moment to pounce and infiltrate my positive thoughts and conversations that I have with myself.

Believe me, people think I don't have my struggles but I do. However, I keep pushing through because like Mary J. says, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I am learning that it's okay to give myself a break and be kind to myself. But still, it's so hard. So I focus on celebrating the wins because that gives me the drive to keep going and chase that light at the end of the tunnel.

Recently, I was having a bad day so I texted my cousin late in the afternoon and said, "Let's go to the beach". She said yes and headed over.

She had no idea that this would be my first time on the beach since Hurricane Sandy. And I was going to wear my new swimsuit from Always For Me.

Please note: This is not a paid post. While I was gifted this suit, I was under no obligation to blog about it. I truly love Always For Me because their suits offer support, fit great and are made so well.

Something in me just told me to get up and do something amazing. It felt so weird. I honestly don't know if it was my dad giving me that strength or not but I got up, put my suit on, got pretty and headed to the beach.

And guess what? I felt like I was home.

The beach has been a part of my life since I was 4 years old. It was always at my doorstep, for me to go to whenever I wanted. But somehow, Sandy really shook me up. I think that because I viewed the ocean as this calm, beautiful thing, that when Sandy came along and inflicted such devastation in the area, it really made me scared of one of the things I loved so much. The ocean was my home and I no longer felt safe there.

The beach has changed dramatically. It's half the size it was before Sandy. The ocean line moved up. But it survived and that reminded me that I am a survivor too. 

I even dipped my feet in the water and didn't freak out! Talk about a major moment.

I also took it one step further and took off my cover up skirt on the boardwalk. And again, the world did not come to an end. As my cousin took my pics, there were two women sitting on the boardwalk and they were watching us with a smile.

How is this different than my two piece moment in LA? Well, I have to admit that I felt uncomfortable removing my shorts there and when I did, I still had on my cover up. Baby steps... I'm learning to love  my lumpy thighs one day at a time.

I'm slowly taking layers off in my swim life and I realized that I have to do so on my time. My journey is mine and I shouldn't feel pressured to keep up with anyone. Some plus size women walk around easily in swimwear and some even wear it as clothing. Listen, more power to you! You do you, Girl! But me... I'm going to wear what I want to wear on my time and not put extra pressure on myself. Sexy is relative.

I now own 6 swimsuits, 2 of them are bikinis. And this day reminded me that this dinosaur is still fabulous. I plan to wear all my swimsuits this summer, MY WAY. I just have to take it one day at a time. I also need to get me a t-shirt with a plus size pink dinosaur on it. 

I love this swimdress from Always For Me so much that I kept it on for the rest of the day, even when I got home. I was walking around feeling so comfortable and I felt so empowered because honestly I felt like everyone else in that moment. I was just a girl in a swimsuit. And that's an amazing feeling.

You can shop my look here:

I would love to hear your empowering swim stories. Please comment below and share. 

Creating a Fearless (& Kickass) Outfit

It’s easier to make a comeback from a little tumble than from a steep fall. It’s a shorter road back up. So, baby steps, slow and steady. Now start with one foot and go for it. ~ Harriet Cabelly for Tiny Buddha

The journey to self-love is all about acceptance and unconditional love. We all have body parts that we don't like and nitpick at. For some of us, that makes us cover up those parts so we can hide them. Me included.

When I started this journey, I had to be realistic and accept that it would not end in a day and would require a lifetime commitment to taking baby steps to loving ALL of me. That includes my inner self too. I had to commit to not only taking chances with fashion and having fun with it but also caring for myself mentally and emotionally because the way I talk to myself impacts what I choose do in my life, including what I wear.

When it comes to body love, the baby steps I have taken became major accomplishments that have changed my life. I'm wearing more color and prints; I'm wearing sleeveless styles. I'm wearing jumpsuits and even a romper. I'm now more open to trying styles. 

Basically, I'm wearing the clothes and they are not wearing me anymore. 

I choose what I wear based on what I like and how it looks on my body instead of trying to camouflage areas and hide my body. 

My next baby steps are wearing shorter length tops and not worrying about how my lumpy thighs look in pants.

For years, I wore tops that were at least 32" long so I could cover my upper thighs. I was so self-conscious of my lumpy thighs. This also led me to always wearing dark denim so my lumps wouldn't show. 

This is why wearing a jumpsuit was major for me and that baby step led me to this place where I was ready to wear some light colored denim and a top that wasn't 32" long.

I discovered that when I wear long tops, it made my legs appear shorter than they are. I have a long torso with a waist so I had to change my thoughts towards my thighs when it came to creating looks for myself. As I said above, I wanted to wear the clothes and not have them wear me. I was dressing to hide flaws and that wasn't fun because it was limiting me in what I wore.

I realized that a better style for me to wear that would elongate my legs and show off my curves would be a shorter length top that fell lower hip or even, dare I say it, upper hip. Yes, my belly would be exposed but hmmmm, let me see how this goes. That is how I talk to myself now when dressing my body. I don't say no to much anymore. Everything is worth a try.

You know what? The world didn't come to an end and no one was staring at me. And I felt like I looked fabulous.

This is the first time I have found a pair of Torrid jeans that fit me well! I have large calves and smaller ankles so skinny jeans are not my friend. I have found that with Torrid jeans, the calf area never fits. This time, I decided to try a boyfriend silhouette, which is more baggy in the calf area than a skinny. And it fit well! 

I cannot tell you how empowering it felt to be able to wear distressed jeans again. I haven't worn them since the 90's. I felt "normal". 

As I went about my day in these jeans, I felt like everyone else and no one stared at me. As someone who is often outsized in the plus size fashion world, this was one of those days where I forgot my size and just had a happy day, wearing jeans that fit.

I decided I wanted to add a print and a bold colored shoe to give the outfit that Marcy "fearless" vibe

While in California, my good friend, designer Jill Alexander gifted me this gorgeous cocoon kimono cropped sweater in a pretty pink/blue print. I then added my favorite cobalt blue flats from Lane Bryant to finish up this look.

The sweater is super lightweight and soft. It's a great layering piece when you want to add some color and print to your look. I'm not wearing it to cover my arms at all. I'm wearing it because I love the print. 

The pink top from Beth Ditto that I am wearing under it is sleeveless so I have the option to take off the jacket and just wear the top on its own during the hotter months. And I got it on sale for $13! Winning...

Creating an outfit is not daunting to me anymore. And I love how fashion has helped me be more fearless in my life. I love how wearing things like distressed jeans made me feel so happy and empowered. 

After this day and this baby step, I am feeling more inspired and determined to try more shorter tops and more bottoms. Hey, you never know... you might see me trying a crop top next!

Lesson learned... baby steps do add up to major accomplishments in life. And once you take one baby step, you'll never look back. You'll keep stepping forward.

Shop my look here:

Top: Beth Ditto (sold out), similar here

Kimono Cardigan Sweater: Jill Alexander Designs

Boyfriend Distressed Jeans: Torrid

Flats: Lane Bryant

Photography by Bettye of Fashion Schlub