19 April 2015

#IAmUnique Campaign By Unique Vintage = All The Feels

ICYMI, body positivity seems to be "trending." And whilst every single part of me wants to jump for joy at the fact that mainstream media and the fashion industry are both acknowledging the need for visibility of all bodies, there's a nagging little voice inside my head that poses the question, "Will this, like all trends, begin to fade?" As someone who spends a lot of her time writing, researching, and contemplating the intersection between body positivity and fashion, I'm aware of the myriad of campaigns and advertisements and models and brands trying to "join the effort," and I'm also aware that many of them don't really seem to care about the activism, but the image — the "being hip" thing. Thus why it's even more special when amongst the sea of body pos "revolutions" happening right now, something stands out as, well, unique.
I was pretty delighted when I was approached by Unique Vintage to be a part of their Style Society. I was even more delighted when they introduced me to their "#IAmUnique" campaign — a movement, in and of itself, whose core echoes mine.
Just take a look at this segment from the campaign's description:

You come in all shapes and sizes, from all backgrounds and beliefs, and from all orientations and affiliations. You are published pin ups, military wives welcoming husband’s home, and high school seniors putting your own unique spin on your formal wear. You are mothers enjoying a vamped up night out, grandmothers with a flair for era fashion, dramatic drag queens making the world their stage, and cancer survivors finding hope and flaunting confidence in the perfect dress. You are all of this, that, and everything in between. 
It's my personal belief that if we're ever to see size acceptance and body positivity happen, the "unique" must be celebrated. All the things we've been told are "flaws" or "idiosyncrasies" need to metamorphose into beloved aspects of ourselves. The things that make us different need to also be perceived as the things that make us most beautiful. The freckles, the fat tummy, the chafing thighs, the big ears, the thin lips... all these things are stunning. And it's about time we begin to live and breathe these words rather than post them flippantly online as inspo for our later selves.
The #IAmUnique campaign isn't about pitting one type of woman against another. It's not about fat vs. skinny, Victoria's Secret Angel vs. "Average Woman," right way vs. wrong way. Where so many brands are focusing on creating an even more prominent divide (albeit often with the intention of instilling confidence in a previously under-served customer), this one is about every body, every style, every age, every human.
Everyone's encouraged to hop on board this movement by sharing a photo of themselves on social media with the accompanying #IAmUnique hash tag. I think at a time when "vanity" is still considered a deadly sin, taking a moment to appreciate and recognize your uniqueness becomes even more important. Reflecting on the things that make you you is an invaluable experience — it's part of growing up and accepting all those things you'd previously struggled with. It's part of evolving into someone truly body positive.
There is an infinite quantity of characteristics that makes each individual unique. So honestly, it can be difficult to put into words the feelings and thoughts you come across when contemplating yourself and the type of person you are. I guess I could say the things that make me unique are my social awkwardness or my penchant for sci-fi or my encyclopedic (okay, I'm exaggerating) knowledge of "where drug fiction meets the American Dream (or lack thereof)" — thank you MA degree. But, really, I think the more noteworthy things are usually harder to explain.
Perhaps I am unique because of my sensitivity. Perhaps it's the fact that I cry as easily as I breathe, with no notice and oftentimes to no tactile cause. Perhaps it's the love I feel for my body — even if so many people think I must be lying. When I write or vocalize the fact that I actually enjoy my fatness — that the softness its come with has made me feel so much more feminine (not that femininity should be a "goal," but it is a trait I am drawn to in my own style), and, more importantly, more myself — people are more often than not in disbelief. Humans aren't taught to love their bodies, after all. But I know that what I'm saying is true, and if that does make me unique, then I am irrevocably thrilled.

But I suppose I'm also unique because I, more often than not, evoke a chunky cartoon character. And that honestly makes me smile:

Get the Look:
Unique Vintage Mint Cocktail Dress, $128, unique-vintage.com

08 April 2015

Oh I Have Been Wondering Where I Have Been Pondering

There's something incredibly rewarding about doing things you've been told you couldn't (or shouldn't) do. I have no doubt that this is why reaching some kind of seemingly impossible career goal or learning to hit that high note your singing instructor swore was out of your range feels so good. Because the reality is that when we're told we can't do something, we often want to do it even more (shout out to underage drinking). 
As I've gotten older, this is how I've started to feel about clothes. I know what I'm expected to wear as a plus-size woman, so I usually finding myself wanting to wear the exact opposite. You're telling me I can't show off my VBO? I'm going to show off my VBO in a red bodycon dress. You're telling me I can't wear stripes? I'm going to wear those stripes.
It's not so much about "seeking attention," (not that that's an inherently bad thing), but I do think there's an aspect of wanting to shock people. Because if certain humans are so absorbed in thinking an entire group of people can't do this or can't wear that, they kind of deserve (IMHO) to feel uncomfortable — to realize that those narrow minded ideologies of theirs won't make you lessen yourself. Won't make you feel small.

I have this weird relationship with the "comfort zone." On the one hand, I love stepping outside it. I enjoy going places totally unlike those I've been to. I like wearing fatkinis that I never would have tried as a kid or teen. But it can also be difficult. Knowing you're doing something that's going to put you on display in some way can be terrifying. But maybe that's all the more reason to do it. We can't grow or learn or experience when we stay inside our little bubbles (no matter how wonderful those bubbles might be).
And that's why it's equally important to do things despite knowing that you might be putting others outside their comfort zones. When it comes to matters surrounding any kind of hatred or discrimination, especially, perhaps the only way to move forward is to make perpetuators of these notions feel a bit weird. I know that a lot of people out there would cringe at the sight of my bottom, but if they're going to live their lives making groups of people feel bad for being somehow "different," then I have no qualms with wearing my chunkini to the beach, where they'll have to see basically every roll.
It's been a while since I've blogged, and I think that's because I've been feeling so "comfortable." In total contrast to January, much of the year has been easy. I love my job. I'm with my partner. I'm in a city I [mostly] love. But I'm going to actively try to remember that discomfort can be beautiful — and things that make us uncomfortable are usually important.

Outfit: Zelie For She

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