Friday, November 07, 2014

Escaping the Wallflower

Getting dressed in the morning had devolved into five minutes of standing there and staring at it all. All the sweaters and skirts and shoes and pants. Just hanging there..... taunting me. Then I'd try on four different combinations and end up wearing one of the six or seven default outfits that I end up wearing repeatedly. Over and over again.

@hilaryrushford  Pumpkin & Spice with a little husband photo bomb. #StyleMeNovember
11-1: Pumpkin and Spice, with husband photo bomb
I'd gotten tired of everything in my closet. I'd gotten tired of thinking that I'd lose some weight before I bought anything new. Or I'd get a new wardrobe when I lost this magical weight that I'm always thinking of losing. I'd suddenly start dressing in a newer, bolder, riskier way. That feeling got old. I like how I dress just fine most of the time. I don't need a What Not to Wear intervention. It's not bad. But it's not outstanding. It's not risky and only occasionally bold. Because I have some arbitrary rules in my head about what a plus size woman can and should wear.

The goal in plus size fashion seems to be anything that makes us disappear into the sidelines. Key words being "slimming" "dark" "figure flattering" "matronly". But I don't live a life on the sidelines. I'm not a wall flower. I'm not old. I'm not shy. I'm not hiding my body. My body is fine. It may not be my ideal, but it's strong and serves me well and it's proportional. I'm not a model. I'm not an actress. I'm a real live human woman and I want getting dressed in the morning to be more fun. Without having to be a size 6 and without feeling guilty or bad about myself because I'm not a size 6. And sure, I want to wear things that are flattering, but that doesn't mean everything needs to be navy or black or a baggy tunic. And plus size fashion has gotten a lot better in the last several years. It's my rules that need freshening up.

Through Instagram a few weeks ago, I happened to stumble upon some great webinars on the Dean Street Society website presented by Hilary Rushford. She's a former Broadway musical actress turned stylist, fashion guru, and inspirational entrepreneurial coach. She's a delight. Energetic, funny, bold, and very down to earth. So I watched the entire series, 3 Steps to Simplified Style. I watched a couple of them a couple of times. I took notes. I wrote down everything I wore in the month of October, just as Hilary recommended. And it was a fashion revolution for me!

I felt so snazzy in my blazer it was almost like I got out of bed early enough for church.
11-2: Blazering a Trail for Sunday

I know that sounds silly. I have a nagging, bitchy voice in my head that says it's shallow to worry about clothes and how you look. But I think that voice is wrong. Because I've felt more powerful, more attractive, sexier, and bolder in the last month than I have in awhile. Getting dressed is fun again. The 3 Steps changed the way I look at my closet, myself and my need to buy anything new. I'm shopping from my own closet, and it's wonderful. So this month I'm following along with the Style Me November daily prompts from Dean Street, one prompt per day to help spark your creativity and mix up your wardrobe, motivating you to try new things. Get out of your rut.

It's silly. But mixing patterns makes me nervous. So here we go. #sailorstripes and floral for #stylemenovember
11-3: Sailor Stripes, otherwise known as mixing patterns makes me nervous

And the first 7 days have been a kick so far. Posting photos to Instagram, and joining the community of other women interested in the merry side of getting dressed each day. I've been inspired. I've taken risks. I've had a blast. And I think everyone needs a little more fun in their mornings. So these are my first seven outfits from Style Me November. I'll probably wear most of them again. Some I love more than others, but I can't wait to see what I'll end up pulling together next week. So join me over on Instagram or just in your own closet, and add some joy back into getting dressed. No rules, just creative prompts and that pleasurable little shiver you get when you know you look great! And that feeling is never shallow. It's powerful.

I'm calling this look Flamboyant Han Solo. #stylemenovember #whitenight
11-4: White Night- I call this one Flamboyant Han Solo

Let's call this one Elsa Gets An Office Job. #stylemenovember #onceuponanecklace #letitgo
11-5: Once Upon a Necklace, or Elsa Gets an Office Job

I'm calling today's look: Dorothy, Vice President of Oz. #stylemenovember #menswearmaiden
11-6: Menswear Maiden, or Dorothy, Vice President of OZ

Today's theme is a steal on sale. Free counts as a steal, right? This white sweater courtesy of my generous shopaholic friend Tara! Thank god we're the same size! She buys, gets bored, and gives it to me. #stylemenovember
11-7: A Steal on Sale, or free stuff from Tara is the best.

Here are the prompts if you want to join us!