Why I Think The Style 22+ Lookbook is Necessary RIGHT NOW

Friday, December 16, 2016

"When women support each other, incredible things happen." - Anonymous

I've been in this place in my life where I am evolving and growing. It's crazy. Just when you think you know what you're doing or think you know the industry, something happens to change your perception and enlighten you.

This lookbook I am about to discuss with y'all has changed my life and outlook on the plus size community and industry on a whole.

I am a big believer in creating opportunities for myself. I spent a long time complaining and being resentful that others were getting opportunities and I was being turned down and passed over. Then one day, I realized that I needed to get out of this pity party because at the end of the day, I am in control of my life. I can make things happen. 

Why not create opportunities for myself and others?

My biggest gripe has always been that there is not enough representation of women my size in campaigns and in the media. I yearned to see bodies like mine. In talking to many in the industry, I have heard an array of reasons why diversity hasn't fully taken its place in the plus size industry. From fat phobia within brands run by straight size people to the masses not being ready to see larger bodies, I have had so many conversations about this. 

However, those conversations did not change the fact that I, as a size 26/28 woman, often feels ignored by the plus size fashion industry. Hell, sometimes I feel excluded by my own community including the activists. It often feels like I straddle the line between the fashion community and the activists and feel like I have to choose a side. But why should I?

I love fashion and dressing up. I also love speaking out against fat bias, discrimination and lack of support. I want to join the fight in pushing size diversity to the masses and bringing attention to what's going on in the world. I mean, Marilyn Wann is my hero and has been for years. But I also love showing my outfits of the day and talking to women about fit and style, especially those above a size 22. This is when the idea of creating a style book came about.

Bloggers put out lookbooks all the time to promote a brand, a trend or season. It's a great visual way to show the products on a non-model body, gain exposure and provide some style inspiration. So I thought, why not use a lookbook as a way to introduce a group of bloggers over a size 22 to the masses while offering their quotes on confidence, body image, style and fit? And it was then that the Style 22+ lookbook was born.

So I began creating my dream list of bloggers I wanted to include in this lookbook. I tend to follow a lot of bloggers because of my current job at PLUS Model Magazine and tend to gravitate towards bloggers who are not only stylish but fearless, genuine and down-to-earth. I tend to not look at numbers or how fancy images are.

Images can be strong on their own when the person in the image is exuding confidence and true happiness from within while knowing that while they are not perfect, they are beautiful. I also wanted to show bodies that you normally do not see in the media or campaigns like those apple shaped girls who carry most of their weight on top.

And I wanted this lookbook to be different. So not only did I ask the women to submit images of them wearing their favorite looks that showcase their style, but I also asked them to answer questions from which I pulled quotes from and placed throughout the lookbook. The quotes talked to topics such as confidence, inspiration, body image, shopping, fit and more.

The lookbook is almost like a mini book that introduces these fabulous women who are all different in style but have the same intent... to live fully in the bodies they are in now, happy and confident. It shows that women above a size 22 can be happy and dress to the nines.

This lookbook taught me the importance of community. It taught me the importance of support. It taught me the importance of having a tribe. Most of all, it taught me that my purpose is bigger than I could have ever imagined.

In the blogger world, there are those who are all about themselves... ME, ME, ME. However, if any change is going to be made in the industry on a whole, we need to support, help and teach each other. We should never view each other as competition because at the end of the day, I believe that there is room at the table for ALL of us. 

It's so easy to compare yourself to others and resent their successes because you wonder why you didn't get that opportunity. But honestly, if that opportunity was meant for you, it would be yours. Again, it's about creating your own opportunities and putting your best foot forward. Never giving up and being true to your purpose.

We are all unique and should showcase that. There's no one else like you in the world so why would you think you're competing with someone? The only person you're competing with is yourself.

All of the women in this lookbook are amazing. And they inspire me to keep going. We've already been featured in Buzzfeed, The Curvy Fashionista, Estrella Fashion Report, Daily Venus Diva, PLUS Model Magazine and Dressing Room 8. And it is not over. 

This lookbook has me excited for 2017.  Because I am so ready to see where this takes me. I have big dreams and ideas that I am going to make happen. I'm already working on the next lookbook, which will be about body love. 

I want to show the world that you don't have to be naked to be body positive. I want to show the world that an activist can also be a fashionista. I want to show that all bodies are beautiful. I want to tell the world that fashion is for everyone. And style isn't dictated by size.

Madonna recently spoke about how she's a rebel and rebels are fighters. She then said:

"At the end of the day, it's the rebels who change the world."

That's what I am... a rebel. I will never give up on my mission to support ALL women and inspire them to know that they are beautiful and worthy at ANY SIZE. And health and fashion/style should never be in the same sentence.

Click here to check out the Style 22+ lookbook. Or view it below. And stay tuned for other body diverse and positive projects from yours truly. :-)

Special THANK YOU to the amazing women who joined me in the Style 22+ Lookbook Project:

ShaKera of The Real Sample Size
Amanda W. of Bella Moxie
Meshel of The Muffin Queen's Closet
Ashley of Simply Curvy
Lisa of MustangSallyTwo
Amanda K. of The Koker Chronicles
Meagan of This is Meagan Kerr
Corissa of Fat Girl Flow
Amanda A. of Fashion, Love & Martinis
Emily of Authentically Emmie
Rebecca of The Plus Side of Me

All of them are incredible women that are leaders in this big girl revolution taking place. Yes!

1 comment

  1. This is *such* a great endeavor, Marcy! We def need to be seeing more "larger than average" women in the media because WE'RE HERE IN THE WORLD!