A year ago, I was in the early days of blogging. Though I loved fashion, I didn't really know fashion. I had always assumed it was an industry working against me, not for me. I always felt oppressed and stifled by the lack of options available to someone of my size AND in my taste. It could be that plus fashion has drastically evolved in one year; it could be that through blogging I have simply become aware of the options that do exist for curvaceous women. Most likely, it's a bit of both.
This year has brought me so much more confidence when it comes to fashion. I have branched out of my comfort zones; I have mixed patterns; I have worn bodycons; I have embraced my rolls and not really given a damn if they've been visible through a sheer top; I've bought things in smaller sizes than I have in YEARS (not because I have lost weight but because I have experimented with sizing like never before). And it's been a fu*cking blast. I have met some of the most inspirational men and women I could ever hope to meet. I have gone to events I only could have dreamed of short while ago. And so I cannot help but love the brands that have made both just a little more possible. So on this, the last day of the year that gave so much, I wanted to give back just a little, and make note of the 10 brands that truly made my 2013: the brands that made clothes in my style that could also fit my substantially large ass -- the brands that gave me a glimmer of hope that things are looking up for 12+ gals like me.
- ASOS: I don't know why it took me so long to discover ASOS, but it has changed my life. It is a magical place for anyone hoping to mix grunge, vintage and street wear into one perfect fashion hybrid.
- Domino Dollhouse: DD is one of those brands you know is just going to change things. It's one of those places defying stereotypes and rebelling against the norm and fighting for individuality fiercely and stylishly.
- Bow&Drape: I was never into DYO anything until encountering Bow&Drape. Their customizable fashion is not only stunning and high-quality, but it is also made up to a size-18. #FTW.
- Topshop: I avoided Topshop like the bloody plague for years. I presumed that because they don't carry over a size U.S. 12, U.K. 16 that there would be no way in the universe I could fit into anything they had to offer. But 2013 brought size experimentation, and with it, a new favorite store.
- Swimsuits4All: Swimsuits4All gave us the Gabifresh collection this beach season, and that was mind-blowing. For the first time LAST year, I wore a two-piece swimsuit. For the first time THIS year, I wore a two-piece swimsuit and felt beautiful. This brand made it happen.
- Taffy Activewear: Taffy Activewear brought me back into the spirit of working out for the health and emotional benefits, as opposed to the weight loss requirement it had always been in the past. Over a month later, I cannot believe I was able to model some of their collection for Plus Model Magazine. Still swooning.
- Mynt1792: Mynt 1792 embraced the design talent of bloggers like Nicolette Mason and Nadia Aboulhosn this year and created one of the most beautiful jacket collections I have ever seen. I cannot wait to save enough to purchase that rose pink moto jacket. Or maybe the clear jacket. Or maybe both.
- Urban Outfitters: I don't know how I managed to live in NYC for four years and NOT become addicted to Urban. Probably the same fear of small sizes I experienced with Topshop. Now, the hipster chic designs make my heart melt.
- ModCloth: ModCloth has been a huge part of my life for five years, but their plus expansion has been a godsend. Landing a modeling gig with them this year was just surreal.
- Hips & Curves: Last but never least, Hips and Curves. H&C was one of the first brands I was lucky enough to collaborate with, and modeling their lingerie was the biggest "out of comfort zone" thing I have done probably ever. I will always be grateful that they gave me a chance in such early days. AND that they sell epic plus lingerie. But, duh.
So thank you brands. Thank you designers. Thank you bloggers and photographers and magazines. You guys made this year one of the most (literally!) unbelievable ones to date.