I worked in retail for over three years in three different stores: Lane Bryant, LOFT (Ann Taylor Loft back then), and finally Banana Republic. Three years of associate discounts expanded my wardrobe exponentially and broke my bank simultaneously. It was while working at LOFT that I really began to find my own style: a love of pencil skirts, fitted silhouettes, streamlined classics, and just a touch of daring. One holiday season (nearly 4 years ago now), I started wearing belts at my waist. Right at my waist. I remember feeling self-conscious about this, like everyone working and shopping thought I might be making a huge fashion faux pas. I continued to do it, relishing in how the styling highlighted my curves, accentuated my waist and was the easiest kind of accessorizing. I was still hesitant, but I was hooked. This was the exact outfit I wore that day, that first time for a now frequent styling.
|Sweater - LOFT / Belt - Lane Bryant / "Perfect" black pencil skirt - Simply Be / Handbag - Furla / |
Shaping Sheers - Spanx / Heels - Nine West
A couple weeks after I debuted my belted waist, a fellow LOFT associate wore the exact.same.outfit. Right down to sweater (it WAS an ATL sweater after all), skirt and placement of belt. I'm not going to lie - at first I was uber annoyed, especially since said associate was of the tiny, gorgeous, long blonde hair and long fluttery lashes variety. Let's face it, I was also jealous that she seemed to rock my outfit idea so much better than I did and possibly threatened that my personal sense of style had been usurped. But the more I thought about it - and continue to think about it - the more flattered I am. I, the resident curvy girl, seemed to set a trend. I, the resident curvy girl, rocked that trend in a way that made other (skinny) people want to wear it too. Shocked as I am by the realization (as one who continues to battle self-esteem and body image issues), I can't deny that it was moment that has defined my personal style and, more importantly, self-confidence in that style.
I actually haven't worn this outfit since then, though I have most certainly worn variations of it. Wearing it again makes me think about how my personal style has changed, how it has stayed the same, and how it has given me a kind of identity. I find such contemplation ultimately important for this, my 200th post. It wasn't intentional, interestingly, but that makes it all more special. Serendipitous. The reasons I started this blog - as a way to subconsciously confront, and hopefully someday squelch, those pesky self-esteem and body image issues of mine - continue to carry me through and inspire me, and to provide proof that it has done so. As we approach the season of giving thanks, I find myself thankful for the endeavor, and for you, the community of bloggers and readers that bolster it.
|Ring - Lane Bryant / Necklace - Talbots / Earrings - The Limited|
I'll be taking a little hiatus next week for the holiday (we're traveling to Boston to spend time with Bob's family and friends), but you can be rest assured that I'll return in all my fancy holiday-dressing glory as I work through another busy Nutcracker weekend. I hope everyone has a wonderfully thankful Thanksgiving until then. =)