|Skirt: Eloquii (Available here)|
I’ve delved into the issue of body policing, especially
of women’s bodies, as it relates to fashion and to concerns over health,
but today, I wanted to step back from these larger socio-cultural
issues and get a little more mellow. Today, I’m going to talk a bit about building confidence through fashion and the barriers to personal style that might be holding you back.
Fashion and style don’t necessarily come naturally to everyone. Some people enjoy fashion more than others. Maybe your joy in fashion has been tempered by lack of options, lack of money, self-esteem issues or other factors.
|Jacket: LOFT Petites (old)|
I’m really of the mindset that fashion is for everybody and for every BODY.
For some people, fashion just isn’t their thing and thinking about how they adorn their bodies isn’t really a big concern. That’s totally okay – we all have our interests and the things that don’t appeal to us. That said, maybe you’ve turned away from fashion because it seemed too hard to fit your body, because you don’t know what looks good on you, or because you’re not loving your body at the moment. If that’s the case, then I’m talking to you today.
Please never wait to lose weight to enjoy fashion. Fashion is your right simply by having a body. Throw the rule books out the window and wear whatever the heck you want!
Afraid? The best way to conquer fears is by tackling them head on. Don’t think you’d look good in leather pants? Want to try the 70s trend this fall, but are worried that fringe will look silly on you? You won’t know until you TRY. Try everything on in the store. If something even remotely appeals to you on the hanger, give it a try! You might be really surprised by how you look or feel.
If your self-esteem is down in the dumps, it can be hard to see your fabulousness no matter what you try on, so I also recommend bringing an honest friend or two with you while shopping as well as a phone or camera to take some dressing room selfies. Those friends will tell you when something looks great. They will notice that glimmer in your eyes that maybe you have not let yourself see. They will encourage you to break out of ruts you may have created as a personal safety zone.
I personally tend to prefer shopping alone, but sometimes I have a hard time deciding if something works for me when I first try it on. I take dressing room selfies to get a different view and capture the look, sometimes sharing it with a friend for a second opinion. Often, I will take those images and study them a bit to look at myself more objectively.
|Clutch: c/o Cameo de Bore (Sold out; see other options here)|
Maybe you’re not partaking in fashion as much as you’d like because you have difficulty finding items that fit your body shape or size. First, please let me reinforce that most ready-to-wear clothes are made to fit one specific body type. There is NOTHING wrong with your body if you don’t fit into that body type. Clothes are rarely a perfect fit off the rack for ANYONE regardless of size.
I’ve talked about this on the blog before, but I can’t emphasize how much I highly recommend tailoring. It is simply amazing what a few small tweaks can do to make a garment your own. A simple change in hemline can take your look from matronly to modern. Developing a relationship with a tailor can breathe new perspective to your shopping. Some of us are NEVER going to find a great fit off the rack. I’m short and curvy – clothes really aren’t made for me. It can be frustrating at times, but your mind opens up to more possibilities when you recognize that every garment can be changed. Changing closures, sleeves, adding pleats, etc. can give you pieces that are truly one-of-a-kind.
Even better than tailoring? A custom fit! There are more and more on-line retailers, like eShakti, Smart Glamour, and Chubby Cartwheels, to name a few, that offer a custom fit for little to no extra charge.
Extensive tailoring can get expensive, and maybe you steer away from fashion because of lack of money.
I definitely understand this issue. Money’s always going to be a concern to the majority of us, no matter our incomes. While I’m a little better off today than I have been in the past, I spent most of my life struggling with money and haven’t always had as much disposable income or credit to spend on fashion. Lack of money can definitely be frustrating when you’re trying to get your look on, but there are still lots of amazing options. In my college days, I definitely frequented thrift stores and rummage sales to find unique and interesting fashion pieces at a fraction of the cost. Thrift shopping has gotten much better over the years, and there are even on-line thrift stores nowadays!! I love hitting pawn shops for unique jewelry at a fraction of the retail cost.
Fast fashion options like H&M, Forever 21, and City Chic offer the
latest trends at a low price, and I always scour the ASOS sale pages for
superb deals. Previously, I offered some of my tips for shopping on a
budget, and you can check that post out here.
|Earrings: Target and The Limited|
After I had my daughter, I had NO clothes that fit. My husband was in nursing school at the time, and I was working part-time as a sociology instructor. We had five kids to support on very little money, so shopping was minimal. As I slowly started rebuilding my wardrobe, I also learned how to get more creative with my clothing.
I mixed prints and color palettes that I normally would not have. Dare I say it, being broke actually helped me have better style! Without the ability just to go buy what I wanted or felt I needed to make an outfit just right, I improvised and in many cases, I came up with something a little more daring and unique. Coming from a low-income family, as a kid, I became an expert at experimentation, using accessories in creative ways, wearing skirts as dresses, layering pieces to create a new effect, etc.
I also taught myself some simple sewing techniques as a kid. Before I could afford to get pants altered, I usually did them myself by hand. It can be a little time-consuming, but it’s a super easy alteration. I also created higher slits in skirts, took tank tops up in the shoulders, repaired small holes, and replaced buttons myself.
It is easy to get discouraged by fashion when it feels like the deck is stacked against you, but fashion can be such a great joy in life. It can help you on a path towards seeing your body in new ways. For me, fashion can be an incredible confidence booster. Knowing that you deserve to look and feel amazing in your body can help you see fashion in a new light.
As I’ve said, fashion experimentation can be really fun. It can lead you on a path towards developing your own personal style. It’s also fun just to mix things up now and again. Fashion can help you express all the sides of your personality or your mood on any given day. For example, today’s look is definitely a little outside of my personal style. I love the skirt and blazer, but I wouldn’t have normally thought to pair them together. The floral crop top is sweet and delicate, and the overall effect of this outfit is so soft and springy. I usually prefer a more modern and edgy style, but sometimes it’s fun to play in a new combo.
As for the color yellow, it’s one of my favorite colors to wear!! I just love the way it adds a pop of sunshine to any look. For me, it’s bold, soft, and feminine all at once.
Here are some of the ways I’ve worn yellow over the last year:
As an accent color
|Left, from top to bottom: Loving Our Bodies vs. Loving Our Fat; Reader’s Choice: Casual Wear; Skirt Week 2: 50s Flair
Middle: Style Inspiration from Garner Style
Right, from top to bottom: Unconditional Body Beautiful – Part 3: My Journey on My Legs; Summer’s End
|Left to right: Art of Work; Garden Party|
As a Central Color Statement
|Left, top to bottom: Bzzzz…Black and Yellow Aren’t Just for Bees; Weekend Natural + JORD Wood Watch Feature
Middle: 11 Twenty Eight Designs
Right: The Slip Dress
Do you like wearing the color yellow? Do you feel any barriers to partaking in and enjoying fashion?
For last year’s Color and Confidence: Yellow, see here