Fashion Confession: I Don’t Shop with Other Women

So I have a somewhat shocking confession, until as recently as last month, I didn’t go shopping with other women.  I was afraid to shop with them, even really close friends.

[Shirt – Old Navy ($10); Skirt – Torrid via Goodwill ($5); Flats – BCBG ($40); Sunnies – Target ($13)]

It started at some point in high school.  I’m not sure exactly when, but at some point I became ashamed of the size clothes I wore.  It was no longer about the fact that I couldn’t afford as many of the nice things my friends had, it was about the dreaded number on a tag.  The same situation would repeat itself.  I would be shopping with a friend, gathering items that looked like they were generously cut so I could at least try something on in the dressing room (even though I had no intention of buying since clothes from straight sized stores didn’t fit me).  My well-meaning friend would squeal and hold something up, “This is SO you! What size are you? I’ll grab you one.” I swear it felt like every head in the store would turn my way as I tried to quietly mumble my size.

Then, when Bot and I moved to Atlanta, I did not really know anyone. I definitely didn’t know anyone enough to ask them to drive 45 minutes outside the city with me to a suburb mall to shop at the Torrid.  Instead, I would drag the ever patient Bot with me as my shopping companion.  And then at some point this became the norm.  I never accepted invitations to shop with friends or if I did I would walk around without really shopping for myself.  These practices continued even after I started this journey of self-acceptance, and even after I started this blog.

Then last month I went on two shopping adventures with other women! I’m not even sure what changed. I just wasn’t concerned anymore. I chatted about my size like it was nothing, like it was exactly what it is, just a number.  This skirt is the result of one of those shopping excursions. My former coworkers and I visited our local Goodwill and while scouring the racks they found me this adorable Torrid skirt. I had no intention of looking for anything for myself, like usual, when they told me they had found a cute, pink, size 18 skirt. “That’s my size,” I declared loudly and after trying it on, we all agreed it was perfect.  It was such a great day and I like this skirt so much, I think I’ll have to go shopping with other women again soon.

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Kiyonna, A Love Story

This is a love story that started quite a long time ago. I had been watching Kiyonna’s clothing from a far; I looked, I lusted and fell in love. Then something magical happened – Kiyonna had a 50% off sale. So last October, I finally splurged and bought two Kiyonna dresses, but it took me months to wear them. (I wore the other dress to the Met Opera a few months ago.)

[Jemma Ruched Dress – Kiyonna ($54); Camisole – Old Navy ($10ish); Heels – Calvin Klein via Nordstrom Rack ($70); Necklace – Lia Sophia (?)]

I haven’t been feeling that great about myself lately.  Self-acceptance/ self-love is a journey and sometimes you are at a high point and sometimes low.  Lately I’ve been feeling like I’m stuck in a valley and when it came time for Bot and I to get ready to go meet our friends for drinks on Friday night I was ready to cancel. Then Bot gave me the saddest puppy dog eyes ever and I headed to my closet to find something to wear.  I pulled out my Jemma Ruched Dress by Kiyonna, that I had yet to wear, and decided that since it was Memorial day it was thus totally appropriate to wear a bright red, vintage inspired dress. No exaggeration, the minute I put on this dress my day changed. Why did it take me so long to wear this amazing, beautiful, mood-altering dress? To me, this is what plus-size fashion should do, make you feel absolutely beautiful even on days when your self-confidence is at it lowest.

I was day-dreaming about this dress yesterday as Bot and I drove an hour north to go apartment hunting in Maryland. Really, I cannot say enough great things about it. The quality of it is amazing: fully lined, well made, beautifully cut and best of all, it fits me perfectly!  I have so many items in my closet that I bought because they were cheep and they kinda worked.  Yet, with most of those clothes, I’m severely limited: one top can only be worn with a high-waist skirt because it doesn’t fit on my stomach or another has to always be worn with a jacket or sweater because the armholes are too large and show my bra.  But this Kiyonna dress fit like it was tailor-made for me.

As we are driving, Bot and I were discussing the dress and it’s amazing ability to completely shift my mood and I shouted, “Why do I have anything else in my closet? I should own all of their clothes!”  Bot reminded me of one of my first blog posts when I wrote, “I am a firm believer that wardrobe essentials are worth spending extra precious dollars on because you will wear them again and again.  So consider these things carefully when you purchase- don’t be fooled by inexpensive items, because one day they might be sitting in your closet with their price tag still on.” The truth is that Kiyonna’s clothing is a bit expensive for me.  I have to save up for and splurge on their pieces.  (Their dresses are normally around $100 and their separates around $50.) But knowing how this dress fits and feels, that is exactly what I am going to do.  Plus they have a great sale section and often have holiday sales (like right now when you get 25% off for Memorial day.)

Casual Friday – OOTD

My new job does not have a very strict dress code. I was told that they are on the “casual side of business casual.”  Since I am only a temp who is hoping to land a more permanent position, I do not indulge in these relaxed rules regularly.  But the other Friday (which is, believe it or not, even more casual in my office) I decided maybe I could make my trouser jeans into a casual Friday outfit while still looking a bit polished and professional.

Okay, so I didn’t have to include this image but how hilarious is that pose? Where do I come up with this stuff?

[Top – Talbots (gift from MIL); Jeans – Talbots ($25); Cardigan – Banana Republic Factory Store ($25); Heels – Calvin Klein via Nordstrom Rack ($70); Necklace – gift from friend; Headband – NY&Co($10?)]

I think this outfit came out really well.  My Mother-in-Law sent me this lovely Talbots shirt the other week. I had tried it on when we went shopping together last month but I wasn’t ready to commit to it. The problem is that tunics don’t normally get along with my body shape. I am not the biggest fan of flow-y, drap-y tops and usually for a tunic to fit over my hips it is crazy billowy up around my shoulders and chest.  This top is from the Talbots Women’s Petite range and I think it is actually suppose to fit longer, a more tunic length. I, however, love how it looks. How great is the sash? Since it’s made from the same fabric it draws your attention to the smallest part of my waist without being too jarring.

This Banana Republic cardigan is on constant rotation in my outfits.  If I’m not wearing a blazer to work there is a 50% chance that I am wearing this sweater instead. What can I say, sometimes you find your cardigan soul-mate.

Sorry about the coloring in these pictures.  We took these shots after Bot and I went to happy hour to celebrate his promotion and my new job and we were rapidly loosing the light.  I’d love to say that I’m not really that pale, but I actually really am.

A Nod to Nautical

In my head, anything that has navy and white stripes is “nautical”, particularly if there is also some red involved. So when I threw on this outfit the other Sunday to head to church I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, “Hey you! Rocking that nautical trend.”  Then when I looked back at these pictures I realized that there is nothing particularly nautical about them.

[Top – Gap Outlet ($30); Jacket – Torrid (gift from in-laws); Jeans – Talbots ($25); Shoes – Target ($25); Necklace – Florence Street Vendor]

This is one of those outfits that I felt wonderful in and then when I went back and looked at the pictures I was astounded. Ugh, do my jeans really fit like that? Does that white top really wash out my face that much? Why does the striped jacket look so lame instead of how cool it looked in my head. I could not get over it.  In fact, the only thing that I love about the outfit are the shoes, they look great.  However, they pinch my toes terribly, so terribly that I’ve decided to get rid of them.  When I think about it, I had kind of an awful day in this outfit.  Bot and I tried out a new restaurant and it was horrible. I took a midday nap and woke up feeling worse than before I had slept. What do you think? Was it the outfit that ruined my day or was it the day that ruined my outfit?

My apologies for my absence around these parts. I’ve been getting settled in to my new job and getting used to the routine of riding the Metro every morning. It’s not so bad, although I did see a mouse on the tracks the other day. He was a lot cuter than the rat I saw on the tracks of the Subway in NY, I guess we have cuter rodents in DC.