I recently received a message on The CurvyGirl Diva FB fan page. Whenever I receive these, I will respond and post, with permission, because women go through the same thing.
Hi Zoe! Thank you for liking the page and for asking this question. So many women have this same issue - They lack self confidence. Either they have gained weight and now aren’t confident the way they used to be or they have always been plus size/full figured (like me) and never really felt good about themselves.
Confidence is a state of mind and it has to be cultivated. We truly are what we think and that will always manifest, in some form or another, on the outside. There was a time in my life that the confidence I exuded was not a true reflection of how I felt on the inside. I overcompensated in how I dressed or acted to give the facade of something that was not real. When I realized this, that is when I saw the change in me that today truly is who I am. I looked at me and everything I wasn't, everything I used to be, everything I should be and that was just not healthy for me. I had to stop, in the words of a dear friend, "That stinking thinking" and put it all on the table. It was tough and it was hard but I dealt with me. And every time those feelings of inadequacies or unworthiness crept in, I immediately dismissed them and filled my mind with all that I was and all that I was going to be. I cultivated my self confidence.
Baby girl gaining weight is not the end of the world. I know it seems like it, but it does not take away from who you are as a person. It can be a big deal, especially when a person has not dealt with body image issues from a plus size stance before. But that is what this blog and this page is for. For those of us who have been there to help others get through. The key is to change the way you think about you.
Remember too that how we dress is very important to how we feel about and look at ourselves. People make think otherwise or say it's shallow, but when you look in the mirror and you feel like what you are wearing looks good on you, it does give you a boost of confidence. That's why finding brands that have cute plus size clothes is a quest of mine.
As far as dressing for your new found shape, there are so many places that carry styles, cuts and fits that can cater to your body at this point in your life. Empire waist shirts and dresses ( like the one below) really accentuate the bust and help to smooth out the tummy. Peplum shirts (like the one below) are perfect for this and a fav of mine.
For pants go with a wide leg pant. That will give you room in the thigh area and depending on where you get them from, will also help the mid section too.
I am all over this trend. Chevron print is classy and so in. From black and white, one of my fav color combinations, to red and brown, designers are playing with colors making Chevron a very desirable fashion addition to any wardrobe. Like this cute top from ModCloth.
Now as I've said before, I am a dresses kind of girl. I believe a cute or sexy dress is a staple of any woman's closet and I have several in my arsenal. I am adding this Statement Chevron Maxi from Forever21.com to mine this week.
Since mixing prints is something I love to do, Chevron is so easy to mix and get away with it. You can wear these black and white Chevron Pants from Torrid and these coral and black pumps from heels.com. I am getting excited just thinking about it. Bring it all together with a cute top and accessories to pull off the look. I mix and match a lot with polka dots and stripes, not so much with leopard or paisley although leopard is my absolute favorite print.
Chevron is fun to play around with and you can do some stylish numbers with them. Dress it up or down and don't be afraid to take chances. That's my thing in life. Take chances with, especially with your fashion. I mean make sure what you are wearing looks good on you and compliments your body in the most flattering way but don't shun mixing prints, colors and even materials.
Here are some of my fav Chevron pieces.
Growing up, I wanted to be a princess so badly. To dress in fancy dresses, wear high heels, and put on make up. I didn't have any sisters so I solicited, more like demanded, that my brother play dress up with me (he denies it to this day). Today as an adult, I get dressed up, I wear cute dresses and pretty nice shoes but not to the extent of say... one who might attend grand events like the Met Gala hosted in New York last night.
The stars were out and in full affect at what many fashion higher ups consider to be the most important fashion event of the year. An annual fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute, The Met "Ball" also serves as an opening celebration for the institute's annual fashion exhibit.
The color and trends of the season were all over the place. From yellow to champaign to pink. Black and white, which is one of my favorite color combinations, was heavily worn by many as well. There were some hits and there were definitely some misses.
Since there is already so much negativity in the world, I am going to focus on the outstanding looks last night. The little princess in me just has to!
Blake Lively in Gucci. She looked absolutely amazing. She was one of the show stoppers. The drapery and the material is so flowy. It is just beautiful. The fit is perfect and her locks and make up all just work. The minimal accessories allows for the focus to be on the dress and how it looks on her.
Liu Wen in Zac Posen.This dress is so totally epic. It is my princess dream come true. The color is lovely, the earrings are perfect and the hair pulled back really frames her face. I would have opted for a statement neck piece but that's the diva in me.
Emmy Rossum in Carolina Herrera. She really took a chance here with the floral but to me, it paid off. The colors are vibrant for spring and the pattern is a modern floral that doesn't give a "grandma's curtain" feel. I particularly love how her lip stick really pulls the color out in the dress.
Olivia Munn in Diane Von Furstenberg. This was one of the few dress with sleeves which some stars tend to stay away from at events because perhaps it's not sexy enough but the plunging neckline def made up for that. And while many leading ladies wore their hair back, Olivia opted for a relaxed curl look. I love the color and I love the style.
Amber Heard in Giambattista Valli Haute Couture. This dress is so classic and the lace just takes my breath away. Her hair is perfectly swept back with the bump in the front and the dangle earrings are the perfect touch. She looks absolutely stunning.
Black and White All Night
So many stars rocked the trend. Here are the best looks.
There is no way I could not compile this list and not include royalty. Beyonce and Jay Z were a picture perfect sight in Givenchy.
Jay was looking fly of course, but I have to showcase my girl. I utterly adore her and in my book, she can do very little wrong. I love the daring lip color and the dramatic touch of the veil. The plunging neckline, high split and train are pure Beyonce magic. I want to be like her when I grow up.
Charlize Theron in Dior Haute Couture. The ultimate show stopper in my opinion and the winner of this best dress list. She is flawless. The lines, the flow, the colors. She played up the accessories a little more than others and I love it. This dress is so elegant, diamonds were truly its best friend last night. I want this dress and I gotta have this dress. I would def wear a diamond statement necklace with this Dior number.
These are my top picks but there was a score of others. Who do you think was the best dressed?
Today I am springing into action in a chic yet professional look for the office. I am working, which seems to be always lately, another awesome Gwynnie Bee find. I mean who would have thought that a try before you buy monthly subscription service for plus size clothing would be so convenient (raises hand) and that's why I love them. You should check them out. The first 30 days are free!
The blouse is the Long Sleeve Lace Peplum Top by Soprano and it is all kinds of cute. Of course it caught my eye because of the lace, but I love peplum too so it was a no brainer. I paired it with a pencil skirt that has been in my closet for a while (surprised and happy I was still able to fit it). My shoes are some comfortable black pumps. A nude shoe would also look great with this outfit.
My necklace is from Side Dish, a cute little mobile jewelry boutique I found at Boulevard of Chic, a mobile fashion truck rally that came to Baltimore a few weeks ago. The multi-strand beaded necklace style is my new fav. The earrings are black and gold studs that I got from Forever21.
For the professional working ladies, you can handle your business and not only look good but be fashionable while doing it (there is a difference).
Get the Look:
This is a beautiful Saturday morning in Baltimore as I head to the Blogger Week UnConnference in DC. So I figured I'd bust out my new denim Blue Jean Babe Distressed Shorts from Forever21.
I love these babies. They are very comfortable and so are awesome for the curvy girl who likes to show her legs. I am also sporting another great find from Gwennie Bee, The Chantal Chiffon Blouse in Rose Print by Kiyonna which I'm loving!
The necklace I am wearing is the Nature Girl Beaded Necklace also from Forever21. Since I've got it has become a staple in my jewelry arsenal. It is just so versatile because it's so colorful and the beaded style is definitely in this season.
I decided to go a sexy for today so I'm wearing my Nine West pumps to really extenuate my legs. They are low enough for me to be comfortable in for the day. I also am using my Steve Madden tote to carry around my necessities.
My overall theme for my outfit is fun and sassy. I want to encourage the curvy girls who may have thick legs to go for. Let the hem line on your shorts go a little. The key is to find a pair that really flatter your legs and you can sport them with just about anything, dressing them up or down. Make a good pair of denim short a stable in your closet this spring and summer. Don't be afraid because you don't have thigh gap or Serena Williams gams. You can still rock short shorts and rock them well.
Today I am feeling so bright and pretty in my Jessica London Shift Lace Dress on this beautiful morning in Baltimore. I ordered it through onestopplus.com which coins itself as "the first plus-size online shopping mall." It really does have a lot of brands that all cater to the plus size and curvy woman. I have found some hidden gems shopping on that site and I have been doing so for years.
The dress is very feminine and perfect for spring. Lace is another of my signature fashion favs so any chance I get to grab up a cute lace anything, I jump at it. The color is amazing too.
I paired it with some leopard flats that I got from Dots. To me and for me leopard is like black, it can go with anything. I also wore a thrifted wooden necklace that really brings the whole outfit together.
This dress is easy to wear and doesn't require a lot of extra stuff. I do suggest that you wear some comfortable shapewear underneath to make sure that you have a smooth look. The dress is for the most part flattering but if you still need to work on your tummy area, because it is a shift dress and not A-line or empire waist, a solid foundation garment is a must.
I will be wearing this to my blogger event in DC today and I definitely feel confident in it.
This spring season is so full of awesome trends and things to try and one of my new favorite shoe trends is the d’ Orsay flat. These little darlings are oh so cute and they go with just about anything.
They are a more chic take on the ballet flat and the styles are endless. I recently bought two pairs, one of course, in my signature Leopard. The thing I like about these is that designers have really played with the print on a lot of the ones I've seen. From polka dots and stripes to just stripes to Chevron, the colors and patterns are all over the place and I absolutely love it!
You can find them everywhere and they range from pretty cheap ($17 on amazon) to way up there ($458 at Nordstrom). Of course there are some reasonable prices in between and it all depends on what you are looking for. I particularly love this Kayla d'Orsay flat from Nordstrom.
I tend to gravitate to black and white stripes everything - dresses, shirts, pants and shoes. There is just something about the look so you know this shoe is right up my alley. It goes up to a size 11 so those with big feet (like me) grab it up while you can because 10's and 11's tend to be the first to go in most styles.
Now, I must say that while I love the d'Orsay flat, I had a really hard time wearing my leopard ones. They were very comfortable when I first put them on and even when I walked around in them... in the house. Once I wore them outside, it was a whole different story. They started to slip off my feet in the back so majority of the time I was trying to maneuver my foot so that they didn't make me fall. I am in the process of trying to find something I can put in the shoe to help the fit contour to my foot in a more comfortable way so they don't slide off.
I am not going to lie, a part of me was thinking that d'orsay flats may not be for me because of this, but I am not giving up that easily. They are just too cute and fashion is about making things works for you. There are some styles that have a strap on the ankle which would def help with my slippage problem, but I prefer the strapless. It is just more my style. They also come in peep toe so, yes, you will get a chance to show off your fresh pedicure in these cuties.
I encourage you to give them a try. With all the variety all there, I promise you will find something that works for you.
I have listed some of my favorites below. Enjoy!
With the recent crowning of Lupita Nyong'o by People Magazine as the most beautiful woman in the world, it brings to my mind something that is always on my mind- can plus size women ever be accepted as a standard of beauty in the eyes of the media?
People all over the world praise Lupita for breaking the mold of what it means to be beautiful. A dark skinned woman gaining attention (although in my opinion to the point of over saturation) by all facets of the social sphere – fashion, media, TV, magazines, the internet – is indeed a powerful thing, but only the skin color “barrier” of beauty has been broken (in my view really only penetrated). What about the body shape barrier? A black woman being hailed as sexy and attractive, even by the media, is not new and it sure isn’t news. I have yet to see that done to a full figured woman of any color on a consistent basis who don’t have abs or thigh gap. While the media’s agenda of placing Lupita at the forefront of everything entertainment, trendy and “in” right now has people groveling, I am waiting for the little curvy in me to be able to raise my glass and clap my hands (in the same way that little dark skinned girls are able to now) to seeing an image in the main stream media, getting unprecedented coverage, that looks like me.
I am bringing to court the case of the plus size woman in the eyes of media. Why? Because the media is so strategic in how they influence our minds. My background is in communications so let me give you a quick lesson on the media’s reach and something called agenda setting- pay attention here because this is so powerful. Cultural Hegemony is when a culturally diverse society is dominated by a ruling class that manipulates said society’s beliefs, perceptions and even values so that the ruling class’s worldview becomes the worldview, through imposing and therefore acceptance, of that culturally diverse society. The worldview becomes the cultural norm and is seen as the universally valid, dominate ideology which justifies the social, in particular, status quo. So you have a small group of very powerful people controlling the things that affect the majority. The media is a part of that ruling class and their agenda is to bash into our minds as much as possible what is socially acceptable, what is beautiful and what is sexy so that those who aren’t the status quo will do whatever they have to do to become it. That is why we only see images of skinny women or women with small waists and big butts portrayed in a positive light and plus size or out of shape women portrayed in a negative and mocking light.
I am telling you, there was a point where every time I got on Facebook my timeline was over flowing with Lupita Nyong'o. At first it was encouraging but then it just became annoying, with one person even saying that she is the epitome of black beauty. “What a big statement” I thought. Can that ever be said of a plus size woman or a woman that doesn't fit the societal mold? Perhaps if the media gave one person as much attention as they have Lupita it can. In fact, I know it can because that is the power the media holds. And just like that, little curvy girls all over the world would be inspired to take that dance class or sign up for that voice lesson because confidence in your body image spills over into other areas of your life. For some, it just takes seeing a woman that looks like them doing it to push them to do it.
This brings me back to my original question- can plus size woman ever be accepted as a standard of beauty in the media? Some people reading this will say, “Who cares, just leave it alone,” “Why are you hating on Lupita” or “It doesn’t matter?” But the truth is, we all should care, I am not hating on Lupita, it does matter and cultural hegemony is the reason why. If we don’t see a true representation just as vivid of plus size women, how will our daughters who don’t fit the “perfect body” ideal know that they are beautiful, that they are worthy, that, in the words of People's Most Beautiful Person herself, their dreams are valid?
I am thrilled that a black woman, only the second one in the 25 years that People Magazine have been publishing their 50 Most Beautiful People issue by the way (Julia Roberts has been on the cover 3… I’m just saying), who represents a large majority of her community got the top spot. It is a boost to chocolate girls’ self-esteem everywhere. But how much longer do we have to wait until people look at someone who is plus size and see, not the nuances deemed by society and maybe even herself as imperfections of her body, but the beauty of her spirit, the awesomeness of her talent and the sheer badassery of who she is, not just as a plus size female, but as a woman?
Over the weekend I attended a really cool event in Baltimore as a VIP guess blogger. Boulevard of Chic was a first of its kind in the DMV area and fashion lovers came out in full effect. I sported another great Gwynnie Bee find, the Portia Pin Up Dress by Kiyonna. It was a hit and I felt oh so joyful and happy in it.
I decided to really bring out the reds in the dress so I paired it with my fav red pumps, earrings and red lips and my new red thrifted clutch.
I don't wear red lipstick too often but when I do I only wear Sonia Kashuk Shine Luxe Lip Color Sheer Rouge #27. I really like the burst of red it gives and to me, if I'm going to do a red lip, it has to be a deep, vivid red.
The necklace, Forever21 Nature Girl Beaded Necklace, is a medley of colors and is one that I've been wearing often since I bought it because it really does go well with a lot of my outfits.
All in all, I loved my look and I was so comfortable the entire day. Everywhere I went was my runway.