Sunday, June 29, 2014

I Like This Picture: Perfect Acceptance of an “Imperfect” Body in the Fashion Blogging World

Just a few days ago, I read an amazing blog post by a 19-year old University of Iowa student who wrote about her journey to body acceptance when she saw what she considered an unflattering picture of body. The flaw: cellulite. To everyone else, the picture highlights her natural beauty and genuine happiness walking down the street in the rain with her friend. But like so many women, so focused on the negatives of the image rather than all the positives. The article she wrote details her journey to finding acceptance in her own body and loving herself, cellulite and all*. 



This article really hit home for me because I also have cellulite. I have since I was 15. Growing up, I couldn't be like every other 16 and 17 year old wearing short shorts (something I am now grateful for) because I had those unsightly dimples that I was ashamed of and tried to cover up constantly. I also developed wide hips, accompanying love handles, and stocky, German legs before I turned 16. In effect, I had the body of a 55 year old woman before I could drive. This meant that I had to dress differently than all my lanky, pre-curves, model-esque peers.

Rather than fitting into the junior sizes and shopping at the trendy stores that sold the sizes most teenage girls wore, I had to get creative since I just simply wouldn’t fit into those clothes. I floundered for a couple years, desperately wanting to look like the girls in Teen Vogue and Seventeen, but realizing I just wasn’t built that way. Then, one glorious day, I happened upon the TLC show “What Not to Wear,” a show about ambushing real women and teaching them how to dress appropriately, not only for their job, but for their body type. I faithfully watched Stacy London and Clinton Kelly makeover hundreds of women who looked like me and I finally saw how clothing can make you change how you feel about yourself. I saw how to dress my womanly body and was inspired to highlight my figure rather than try to hide it.

I went off to college ready to impress my fellow classmates and professors with my snappy styles, and thankfully I attended a college where dressing well was encouraged. Unfortunately, the freshmen 15 turned into the freshmen 30, and I became disillusioned with my new body. I gave up on dressing well for nearly a year because I hated how nothing fit anymore and all I wanted to do was fade into the background. After I graduated, I was determined to regain my pre-college figure, and after a few months of hard work, I accomplished my goal. Fashion became fun again and I felt as if I had been given a new opportunity to let me adult style shine through.

At 5 feet 9 inches and 150 pounds, I consider myself pretty average. I would like to think on the bell curve of women’s weights, I would be mostly central, and that the majority of women would be some variation of this “normal” size. In most industries, you cater a product to the average demographic (plus or minus a deviation or two) since it will, by definition, contain the most number of people. Fashion and fashion blogs seem to defy this trend. When I reentered the world of fashion post-college, I went looking for inspiration from women who looked like me. Not super thin and not in the plus sizes. And I couldn’t find anything! All the fashion blogs I looked at had thin, attractive, and seemingly rich authors who looked nothing like me.

Like any modern woman, I am constantly bombarded with images of perfection and the products the promise to make your imperfections perfect. I am especially inundated with this being in the fashion and fashion blogging world since it is my job to look through the magazines dedicated to destroying your self-esteem and making you feel utterly worthless and unattractive then offering you the miracle product to build yourself back up into a more beautiful and desirable women. It’s enough to make any woman, even the most attractive one, feel like she doesn’t measure up.



One of the main reasons I started The Lady Lovely was because I felt that there was a gigantic void in the fashion blogging world with no “average” sized women being featured. I desperately wanted to see someone with flaws like cellulite or bad skin show that you don’t have to be perfect to have a fashion blog or to dress well. Since there wasn’t anything out on the internet like that, I decided to fill that void with my blog. That’s why I feature shorts that show my cellulite and sleeveless dresses that show my arm fat because I want women to know that they can dress beautifully at every size and take inspiration from someone who looks like them.

Through this blog, I have gained so much self-confidence and body peace because I have stopped trying to look like every other fashion blogger and focused more on what makes me unique and feel beautiful. I realize that I will probably never be a size 2 or 4 and will never have cellulite free legs, but because I chose to put myself out into the world, I have had to learn the important lesson of being at peace with yourself right where you are at in this moment because you could spend a fortune and a lifetime trying to be someone you’re not. That’s just not how I want to live my life. I would rather be grateful for a healthy body and celebrate my individuality, and I hope those reading this will be challenged to do the same.  



*article and image here


4 comments:

  1. Good for you! It's a hard thing to do, I personally have a difficult time being comfortable in my own skin when the magazine covers scream at me to change everything. It's nice to see someone advocating for healthy beauty.

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  2. You're perfectly adorable. I was once too skinny, then too fat, with pregnancies in between. So what? http://bigdeemagnifies.blogspot.com/ Related topic on my blog.

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