As a lot of you probably know by now, I've been a huge supporter of Unique Vintage's #IAmUnique Campaign since the brand first started working on it. The simple message that uniqueness is cause for celebration rather than scorn is one I try to live by in my day to day life, and is a core focus of my work. #IAmUnique is about embracing everything about ourselves, but especially those characteristics (be they physical or otherwise) that have ever made us feel different or marginalized.
For me, that's always been my body. It was my fat that got me bullied through elementary school, my fat that made me stand out in Colombia when visiting relatives, and my fat that made me feel obligated to shun dating throughout adolescent. But these days, it's my fat that makes me feel beautiful.
I don't know exactly how that happened. I've tried to explain it before — to express what it was like to spend huge chunks of time outside of the U.S., surrounding by different notions and not-as-narrow-minded visions of beauty. What it was like to discover a community — a world — of body positive activists, bloggers, campaigners, and designers. What it was like to meet people who got it, and helped me get it, too. But I can't pinpoint my appreciation for my body to anything specific. For those reasons and many more, I decided to start loving myself. And not "in spite" of anything.
A few months ago, I was honored to join Unique Vintage's Style Society — a group of bloggers whose views and stances echo that of #IAmUnique. The other bloggers include: Sammi from Soubrette Brunette, Amber from Forever Amber, Rebecca from The Clothes Horse, and Busola from The Fashion Stir Fry. Ever three months, UV chooses a new group of humans who equally care about spreading body positivism, and who delve into the intersection of body positivism and fashion, all in their own, well, unique ways.
As an interesting little experiment, Unique Vintage asked us all to style the same article of clothing, in a way that made us feel most comfortable and most ourselves. The dress — quite similar to the Nude & White Swiss Dot Garden State Mesh Cocktail Dress — is a strapless little number with polka dotted detailing that makes me smile. I realize you can't see the entirety of the piece, but that's mostly because the moment I saw it, I envisioned accessorizing the look with a tied denim blouse. I don't know when it began, but I've really had a thing for denim tops tied into crops as of late.
Something about pairing the traditionally "girly" color, shape, and cut of this dress made me want to go casual in all the other outfit details. Thus, the Nike trainers. I used to associate the Nike brand with high school bros and suburban mamas, but I have to admit... these are the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn in my life. After putting my feet through the pain of heels and pointed toes and wedges all for the sake of sartorial experimentation (for several years on end), my feet were in dire need of a break. I caved and bought this pair of sneaks after putting them on as a joke. Seriously, heavenly.
I suppose the reason I love mixing genres of clothing so much is down to perceiving it as a way of showcasing that people aren't just one thing. I love pinup and vintage-inspired garms, but I also love loud and kitsch patterns and prints and colors. I'm obsessed with midi skirts and unisex tees, but I also enjoy dressing like a princess sometimes. The great thing about UV items is that they allow for that kind of creative expression. Nothing is SO retro that pairing it with Nike sneakers would feel like blasphemy. And that modern touch makes for a far more relatable experience.
So... we're all unique in our own ways, obviously. But once in a while, it's pretty ideal to have a brand recognize our differences as cause for celebration. Not oppression.