Fearless Fashion: Taking Baby Steps Outside My Comfort Zone8:00 AM
If you care what other people think, you will always be their prisoner. ~ Lao TzuIf you have been a regular reader of this blog, you know I have been going through a style evolution in the last couple of years. My style has improved in the sense that I am now wearing clothing that properly fits and looks amazing on my size 26/28 body.
When you look good, you feel good, as you can see in recent pictures of me. AND... it had nothing to do with losing weight.
For many years, I was programmed to always reach for the larger size and wear baggy clothing to hide my fat. I grew up in a time where polyester pull-on pants were one of my few fashion options and if I wanted to wear jeans, I had to shop in the men's section.
My lifesaver in the 80's was Gloria Vanderbilt who made plus size jeans that fit amazing and was within my parents' budget. I had a pair of turquoise jeans that I loved and wished I still had, to this very day. Thanks Miss Gloria!
I'm so overjoyed that I get to see plus size fashion expand and evolve in my lifetime. While it is not perfect, believe me, if you grew up as a teen in the 80's, you know how much better it is now.
At the start of this year, I realized that dressing better for my body was not enough. I still hid parts of me under clothing but now it was not as noticeable since my clothing fit well and I was daring to wear more of what I love, which are prints and bold colors. However, I knew deep down that I was still hiding. And I felt ashamed.
I preach loving yourself to the world and here I am, not fully loving all of me and continuing to hide the parts of my body I hated. This was limiting me in how far I could go in terms of my style and wearing what I love.
So I decided that in 2016, I would take more fashion risks and take baby steps outside of my comfort zone.
What I have learned so far this year is that some baby steps happen when you least expect it and once you take one baby step forward, the next step is easier. And once you take a few baby steps, you feel reborn and the love for yourself will grow larger than you expected.
As I blogged about previously, this year kicked off amazingly, with me being a part of SmartGlamour's #ImFlattered campaign and also scoring a gig as a First Fit Reviewer for Gwynnie Bee. You can read more about that here.
With the #ImFlattered campaign, I wore a fitted dress that was mid-thigh. I always hide my thighs and never wear dresses above the knee so this was HUGE for me. I have lumpy thighs so I try to hide them as much as I can.
Being in front of the camera has taught me to be less stiff and more free with my body in terms of movement. I'm a perfectionist and my own worst critic so I tend to look stiff when taking pictures.
I also have no control of what I am trying on for GB so it forced me to try new styles that I wouldn't even dream of looking at. I've gotten the opportunity to try on a mini dress, a cape dress, open back styles, sleeveless styles and more.
Working for GB has further opened my mind to the fashion possibilities out there. It has also helped me be more comfortable in my skin. I look at my professional shots and the love for me just continues to grow.
It's also amazing to be able to inspire other women to try new styles. They see me and can relate because my body looks like their body. It really fills my heart and spirit when I see the positive feedback from customers.
The months of April and May have been MAJOR for me. I made two more baby steps that I am so proud of myself for taking.
Shape Magazine contacted me in early April, asking me if I would be interested in participating in their #LoveMyShape campaign. They sent me a sports bra with the hashtag on it and all I had to do was take a picture of myself wearing the bra and send it in with a quote answering the question, "Why do I love my shape?".
Sounds easy, right? Uh, NO!
Wearing a bra in a picture for the public to see was a big thing for me. I was concerned about how I would be received. I hear horror stories about internet trolls and I have been lucky in the sense where I have not been bothered much by negative comments. I was also scared of how my peers, family and friends would see me and how they would react.
BUT... this IS Shape Magazine. This would be major exposure in an arena where I can inspire other women to be healthy and fit at any size. This is an opportunity that I was lucky to get since my blog numbers are not high in comparison to other bloggers out there.
So in the snow and freezing cold, I had my best friend Herman take my pic. And it felt liberating. It felt empowering. Also, I thought I looked great.
When the feature launched on Shape.com, I was so proud to see that I was the largest girl in the group featured and received so many wonderful comments on social media from other women who were so inspired.
Click here to check out the Shape.com feature (I'm slide #18).
About a week after the Shape.com feature, I got asked to be a part of a Revelist video featuring three women who have never worn a two-piece swimsuit.
It took me a week to think it over. I was freaking out at the thought of being seen in a two-piece swimsuit. What would people say? What would they think? But honestly, deep down, my inner voice was telling me to do it. I knew deep down that this is yet another baby step I needed to make, for myself and for all women out there. So I did it!
And.... it wasn't bad at all! I won't front; I was terrified. But I pushed myself to do it and have no regrets at all. The Revelist folks are so wonderful and supportive. And I loved how I looked in my swimsuit! So much so, that I swear I'm hitting the beach this year. I haven't worn a swimsuit in about 20 years so this is MAJOR.
I just made the decision that me and my lady lumps (on my thighs) would rock this video out and be fabulous. I kept telling myself I can do this.
You can check out the video here on Instagram and here on Facebook.
After wearing a sports bra and then a two-piece swimsuit, I am feeling like I can do anything I set my mind to. If you would have told me years ago that I would have worn a swimsuit in public, I would have given you the side eye and thought you were bugging out. LOL!
I'm feeling pretty kick ass at the moment and am ready for my next baby step. It's all a process. You just have to be ready for it.