30 December 2014

December Song

As body positive as I am (and fat positive at that), there are still certain styles I avoid when it comes to my fashion. I know: Blasphemy. I don't necessarily avoid them because I think I will look fatter. It's more like I avoid them because I think my shape will be lost completely. I like my curves, so... naturally... I want to be able to fit them into clothing that highlights the bits I like most. It all sounds rather petty when actually written out. But I'm only human. And the fact is, I (like so many plus-size women) spent most of my life being told to hide. So I guess now that I don't feel that way, I'm skeptical of clothing that might potentially be too loose.
A couple of months ago, I was able to connect with Aimee Cheshire, co-founder and president of Hey Gorgeous -- an online boutique that sells quite a variety of higher-end plus labels. Within the company's manifesto, I found this:

Nothing about us is shabby, only chic. We will not drown you in fabric to hide who you are or dress you like your grandmother’s couch so you blend into the scenery. We are not wedded to empire waists or color-blocking because we think it makes you look thinner. We will make you two-piece bathing suits. This is you coming home. This is you coming home to the closet that loves you as you are. This is clothing for women by people who love women -- not people who want to change them. Here, you will not be forced to buy whatever fits you, you will be able express yourself through your style. You will get to show the world what you are all about, just as we have told you what we are all about: Making women of every race, size, humor, and style look and feel as awesome as they are.  
Suffice it to say, I was intrigued. And more than that, I was thrilled to find views that so closely echoed my own within the retail industry. Because whilst things are changing for the better when it comes to size representation in fashion and acceptance of the plus-size figure, we have such a long way to go that truly getting there sometimes feels impossible. I was also intrigued -- and thrilled -- to find this unique and sufficiently-quirky-for-Miggle Diana Applique Sweatshirt Dress. Everything from the leather trim to the heavy fabric (ideal for a New York winter) captivated me from the start. Everything except the fear that I would be lost within its fabric: My curves hidden beneath a poly-cotton blend.
I will admit that the first time I tried on the dress, I thought it was too baggy at the waist and stomach, and too tight at the hips. Until, of course, I realized that I was doing exactly the same thing I always fight against (in theory, anyway). I was conforming to this idea that because I am plus-size and not ashamed of it, I must always show off my curves in traditionally "beautiful" ways so as to instill that message that a bigger body is a beautiful body. But the thing is, the only rule I believe should be followed when it comes to fashion is this: Wear what makes you smile. And this Line&Label dress made me smile from the get-go.
Just to make the ensemble a little more me, I accessorized with a miniature pearl pouch necklace found in the very bottom of my jewelry box at my mom's. Being home for the holidays has thrown me into the pit of nostalgia, and I've been exploring every photo album, memory box and closet and drawer in my childhood bedroom. Amongst the old school notes (largely consisting of "I THINK I'M IN LOVE WITH [INSERT NAME OF TEMPORARY CRUSH THAT LASTED ALL OF A DAY) and the old Victoria's Secret undies that I bought in secret at age 13, there was this little gem. I'm not sure if it was my mother's, and passed down to me. Or if it was something gifted to me as a child. But I kind of fell in love with how delicate and soft it is, and felt it provided a nice juxtaposition to the leather-look of the dress.

The final touch to the ensemble was my new pair of custom-made DUO Somerset Boots. I didn't know tailored shoes would be this revolutionary, but they are. You can read all about my adventures in that department on Bustle, though.

So I guess the moral of this particular story (or #ootd) is simply not to create unnecessary boxes for yourself. You don't always have to wear a sexy bodycon co-ord set, with a crop top on the top to prove that you love your fat body. Nor do you always have to wear slouchy PJ-esque ensembles to prove you don't care. Basically, the whole "you do you" thing is pretty on point (even if we're sick of hearing the phrase).

Get the Look:
Leather Applique Sweatshirt Dress/courtesy of Hey Gorgeous!
DUO Somerset Boots/courtesy of DUO Boots

09 December 2014

Big Red Riding Hood

So that was probably the longest absence in the history of absences for me. This last month has been a bit of a whirlwind -- emotionally, geographically and otherwise. For those of you who don't already know, I'm back in New York! The decision to return to the "city of dreams" wasn't an easy one. But it was certainly the best. I could bore you with the qualms of acquiring an international visa to stay in the U.K., but that would require an essay. So I will just say that staying in England was pretty impossible, even if I would've liked to. It all happened very quickly. One day I was biting my nails over my possible deportation [no, it wasn't actually going to happen, but my anxiety told me it would], and the next I was trying to pack the majority of my lifetime possessions into three suitcases [I failed -- and most of my things remain nestled in my bedroom in Hebden Bridge].
That being said, New York has been lovely. I started a full-time position at Bustle as Associate Fashion & Beauty Editor, and it's been rewarding, to say the least. Patrick came with me, of course, and after a few weeks of the most intense and disheartening apartment hunting EVER, we managed to find a cozy, comfortable, mold-free place in Brooklyn [90 percent of the apartments visited had bad, BAD mold]. I was worried that after 18 months of countryside living, being surrounded by humans would be difficult at best, hideous at worst. But it's been OK. It's been fun, even. Perhaps I've just learned what kind of people are good to be around, though.
One possession I couldn't bear to leave behind was my Hell Bunny Sarah Jane Coat, a brand I discovered via the mystical and wondrous Georgina of Cupcake's Clothes. As a child, I had a coat much like this one. Firetruck red with black velvet accents and a hood as the cherry on top. I remember thinking it was my very own invisibility cloak. As long as I was wearing it, no one would see me. I would be safe. It would be magic. As an adult, I have no delusions that I will be invisible in this ensemble. It's big and red and cupcake-shaped. But I'm OK with being seen, now. I'm OK with being myself, and feeling like myself and wearing something loud and "childish" and fun. And in a way, I still feel pretty safe with it on. And when embarking upon a new adventure, in a new [per se, as I've lived here before] city, feeling safe is nothing to belittle.

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