Finding My Inner Fashionista: Rediscovering Myself in Fashion and Body Acceptance

As someone who is in the plus size fashion industry, I have to admit that it has been a challenge to truly be myself fashion-wise. I say this, because this industry can be intimidating if you are not ready for it and it's so easy to feel inadequate and compare yourself to other bloggers and people in the industry. You have to have a thick skin and be confident in what you do. Not many will admit this but I have no problem going there because like I have said many times, my main focus is always to keep it real with myself and others.

Blazer: Lane Bryant, Top: Evans
Jeans: Avenue, Shoes: Payless
I'm surrounded by beautiful models, a boss who always looks glam even on an off day, stylists and plus size fashion bloggers who walk to the corner store, looking like they are going to a Vogue cover shoot.

Now with my job (Blog Editor for The PLUS Model Magazine blog), I am mostly behind the scenes and rarely seen. I'm a writer and most times, writers are people who create wonderful stories and are mostly known by their name being shown as the author of an article or piece and a small avatar where only your head is shown. And sometimes, that's not a bad thing, lol.

But when I am seen at events, I tend to freak out because I just don't know what to wear. And that throws me off because I feel like I can't wear what I want to wear because my style is not considered on the level of a "fashionista".

Most in the industry have a stereotypical view on what a fashionista is and there are many who fit this image so this stereotype is accepted with no question. And let's not get started on the fact that bloggers that are above a size 24 are a minority and rarely seen in major campaigns in magazines, retailer websites and etc. So here I am, a size 26 and I don't walk around looking flawless, wearing crop tops and mini skirts, carrying a Chanel bag and having someone professionally take my pictures daily. I don't have a personal hairstylist or makeup artist either.

Dress: Torrid, Cardi: Lane Bryant,
Boots: OneStopPlus, Leggings: Eloquii,
Bag: Evans
This has made me ask myself out loud many times...what about the rest of us? Those of us every day women who are living normal lives, on our hustle mode daily and don't have the income to even look at a Chanel bag because we have bills to pay and others to take care of. Those of us with 9-5 jobs, who grind daily. Those of us whose style does not match the imposed idea of what a "fashionista" should look like.

I happen to love sneakers, especially high tops. retro ones, girly ones and printed ones. I'm not a heels girl at all. I love to wear jeans when I can find a pair that actually fits. I love graphic tees, cardigans, leopard print, boots, moto jackets...hell, any jacket. I just love jackets. I love statement coats (when I can find them in my size). I love exposed zippers, crazy prints, long tunics and crossbody bags. I hate feeling uncomfortable and bulky. I'm a traveler and like to be able to glide around the world without too much baggage. I don't like wearing necklaces too much but I love Betsey Johnson earrings, pearls, hoop earrings and silver bangle bracelets. I love dresses especially print ones. I love to dress up sometimes and be very girly but prefer to be dressed casually with an edge on a daily basis. And I don't see anyone my size that dresses like me out there in the industry. I used to think that was a bad thing but now, not so much.

Maxi dress: Ashley Stewart
I have learned that it's okay to be different. It's great to look to others for inspiration but you have to stay true to yourself in everything, not just fashion. Because I have learned that people can see when you're uncomfortable, not feeling 100% confident, feeling inadequate or trying to be something you're not. You may think you conceal it well but honestly, it always shows. Body language says a lot about a person. And life is too short to not feel comfortable in your own skin and wear what you love.

I don't aspire to fit someone else's idea of what a fashionista is. I aspire to break the rules and be me, which means being my own version of a fashionista. I believe we all are fashionistas in our own right - if you know your style and live it/breathe it, you are a fashionista. Fashion is about expressing yourself with your style. It's about making a statement about who you are with what you wear. It's another way for us to have our voices heard.

Dress, Leggings &
Blazer: Fashion to Figure
As a plus size woman, every time I step out of the house, I am an activist. By living in a body that society tells me is unhealthy, ugly and disgusting, and daring to go outside and live my every day life, I am giving society the middle finger. Add dressing nice to that or wanting to be fashionable and wear what you want to wear, and you truly become a walking billboard for body acceptance. Whenever a plus size woman does something that goes against what stereotypes have been set by society, we are being activists. It's not just fashion. It's being active, eating healthy, traveling...shit, having fun. Some people think that if you're fat, you're miserable. How could you possibly be happy in a big body? Trust, you can. I didn't choose to be an activist but honestly, I'm all for breaking rules and proving to the world that I can do anything I set my mind to. I'm all for the Big Girl Revolution and fully support it.

My days of feeling inadequate are over. I used to feel some kind of way of always being overlooked in this industry because of my size and my style. But, a dear friend said to me once, "You're here because you're meant to be here." And I tell myself that every time I walk into a room or an event. Not everyone will like me and believe me, the blogger world can be clique-ish but I don't need to be a part of a clique nor do I need to try hard to be accepted. I'm here because I am meant to be here.

I may not get chosen to be in a campaign alongside other bloggers, I may not get invited to every event and I may not be as visible as others in this industry. It is what it is. But what counts is that I am comfortable with who I am and am embracing my style, despite being told by the masses that my style is not fashionable. No one's opinion matters except for my own.

And I have learned that even when you think no one notices you, someone is always watching. :-)

"Thick Chick" necklace: Candy Strike (one of the few necklaces I love),
Jacket and dress: OneStopPlus

3 comments

  1. "I may not get chosen to be in a campaign alongside other bloggers, I may not get invited to every event and I may not be as visible as others in this industry. It is what it is. But what counts is that I am comfortable with who I am and am embracing my style, despite being told by the masses that my style is not fashionable. No one's opinion matters except for my own."

    Thanks for saying this. I think EVERYONE goes through "I did not get invited to the dance" some of the time, and at 66 I just have to remember all the times I did get invited, and the people who do like me, and the grace that is always in my life.
    The best way for me to stay on my path is to try to be kind whenever I can, but if my feeling are hurt, which they often are, kind can be difficult. There is a lesson everyday.
    Thanks for your honesty Marcy. I appreciate it.

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  2. I like what you have to say here about your personal style not being seen on the level of "fashionista," and how those who are into haute couture, blog about it, work in the industry or on the fringes of it, can sometimes make the rest of us feel (inadvertently or on purpose) like we're "not in the club." I've long ago accepted that I'll never be accepted in the haute couture club, and that's ok. I don't really like much of what I see in haute couture anyway, both straight and plus sizes, and I've never been a follower of trends. Fashion, as far as I'm concerned is of the moment, whatever's trendy, and doesn't have anything to do with timeless, classic style. Style, however, is different. It's lasting, it's timeless, it's personal. Everybody can develop personal style, make it unique to them, based on what they love and feel comfortable wearing. My personal mantra is "style, not fashion." I'd much rather develop my personal style than follow the fashionistas and haute couture.

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