The end of the summer and the idea that a new school year lies ahead means a lot of different things for some people. In our house, my daughter – Delaney – loves to go back to school shopping. She is so excited to get all her new supplies for her class. She adores picking out a new back back, lunch box, and water bottle. She also really enjoys picking out a couple new outfits. This year, she picked a pretty sweet Wonder Woman backpack!! I have to say, I had a feeling of pride as she picked this iconic female superhero backpack out from the mundane and a little bit cheesy other choices.
For me, back to school clothes shopping has not really be a good time. Oh, but, I love shopping for supplies!! As a teacher – I’m always buying lots of new stuff for my classroom. I love the smell of fresh pencils and paper!! Prior to me turning over this healthy leaf shopping for clothes really was the worst. I would have to say that my “style” was – if it fits, buy it. As a result, my closet and dresser is not really a fashion filled wonderland – it was drab, bulky, and frankly – unpleasant. However, I had clothes that fit and worked and were professional enough to wear to school. I never bothered with hair, makeup, or accessories. To me, I just wanted to be comfortable and get through the day so I could get home to my sweat pants – which loved me at any size or shape! Now…I am totally putting myself out there with different styles and colors and it’s fun but also very intimidating.
I recently hung out at a high school football game (shocking) with a very good friend of mine – Kate. She and I were talking about going shopping for clothes – in particular how she accompanied me on a trip to Old Navy with my sister-in-law Bree. She recalled that shopping with me was like a scene (possibly this one) out of Encino Man – which by the way, is a great early 90ies movie in which two high school dudes find Link a cave man who was frozen in time and is defrosted in the 1990s. He has no idea about life int he 1990s…lucky for him, Pauly Shore shows him the ways!!
I literally realized that I did not know how to shop for clothes that were more than just comfortable. I had zero fashion sense and almost no style. Since most of my adult life I have been obese, I feel like I have been only able to buy clothes in certain places and that those places really were not up to date on the fashion trends. As a result, I feel like I missed out on so much. There were so many things that I wanted to try that I just couldn’t or wasn’t confident enough to do. Blazers – I remember in the early 2000s when blazers were in. I wanted one so bad to wear with light denim jeans. I remember going shopping with some gal pals and they were all having great success – I could not find one big enough. Leggings – I longed to wear a tunic and black or super loud and colorful leggings. I was never confident in my appearance or size to do so. I felt like only really fit or skinny girls could wear them. Now I feel different about clothing all together. Like my relationship with food – my relationship with clothing and appearance has also evolved.
First, I have to confess that I have spent WAY to much money on clothes this summer. I have had to purchase – pretty much – a whole new wardrobe. From underwear and bras to shorts, t-shirts, and of course school clothes…I needed the basics and some signature pieces! I would not say that I broke the bank, but – I probably won’t be making any huge purchases until spring time! Luckily for me, I have had a bunch of hand-me-downs and got some great deals at retail stores. I have also had great success locally at an amazing consignment shop. I am doing a full blog post about them: Posh in October – so please stay tuned!! Equally lucky for me – I have a great squad of ladies around me that are stylish, fashion forward, and know what they are doing!!
I guess one of the first things that I had to do is decide what look I was going for. I am still not sure what that look is. I am really into vintage styles, but I also like to keep things pretty simple. I feel confident enough now to wear color and print. Before – at my highest weight – I just wanted to wear black. My grandmother always told me that black hides everything. I don’t think that I was fooling anybody…but I always kept that in the back of my mind. All black everything: sweaters, pants, shirts, skirts…anything that I could pour myself into. Now, I like to have some pops of color here and there. The truth is, I could have been wearing color all this time – but I hid myself and tried to be unnoticeable. I am not sure how much I like the attention now…but I enjoy looking in the mirror and feeling good about what I see. I am also trying with my hair and makeup. In the past my girlfriends would make me or forcefully pluck my eyebrows (looking at you Bree and Shirar). They would encourage me to do my makeup and hair. As sad as this phrase is – I lived by it – secretly: You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig. It hurts for me to realize that that is really how I viewed myself. That it wasn’t worth my time or energy to put on lipstick or even brush my hair because all everybody else was seeing was a fat girl. Nothing hurts more than not knowing that you are worth it. If this journey has taught me anything it is that I am and I am willing to put myself out there – if people like it or not. This journey is about me and my comfort level.
So – let’s talk clothes. I am not into showing too much skin or anything tight and/or form fitting. I am still into comfort – I’m on my feet most of the day and I want to be able to move in my clothes. I do a lot of shopping at Old Navy because – frankly – it is affordable. Thanks to their killer clearance racks, Super Cash, and general low prices – I was able to outfit myself pretty well for the summer and now the fall. I have some pictures of some of my favorite back to school outfits so far and styles. I am going for a signature look – and I think it will be my lipstick. I had a student tell me the other day that I was so brave for wearing bright red lipstick. She told me that it was bold and beautiful…that’s not a bad thing, I’ll take it!
I have also started taking care of my appearance in general…not just clothes. I have been keeping up with a face routine – washing, toning, and using lotions. I’ve gone pretty old school and chose Clinique as my system of choice. Again, not sponsored by anyone – just like these products. My grandmother bought them for my many moons ago and I still think they are great! Back then I didn’t need the age defining face cream – but I do like the result thus far. I also take the time to brush, blow dry, and style my hair. Sounds so lame…but again, something that I did not think was worth the time and effort before. I even brought my curling iron to my hair dresser (Lida…you are fabulous!!) and she gave me a lesson in how to use it correctly…Still very much a work in progress, but everyday I am getting better at it. I’ve gotten to the point where it isn’t taking me forever, which I like. I’ve never been one of those gals that needs a half a day to get ready – no thank you, I want to get out there and do stuff!! As far as makeup goes…I am so very basic!! I want a little mascara, a clean eyebrow, and a bold lip. I am currently trying out two shades from Maybelline’s line of Super Stay 24 Couleur – in Constantly Cabernet and Always Blazing. So far the students like both colors and I’ve gotten more positive response from adults on the Cabernet. When they say that this stuff stays on…WOW…it really does. I actually have to use makeup remover to take it off!!
I’m not sure that I will ever be the kind of lady that contours or even does a full face of makeup to take on the day. My mom always told me that I was a natural beauty….I am starting to believe that she might be on to something. I’ve always been a fan of the old adage – less is more. I could not get too much less than before – so I’m starting slowly!!
I have discovered that I am really missing out on accessories!! I have always worn the same earrings – I never change them out!! My rings have changed over the years. Currently, my wedding band, engagement right, and my old left had ring do not fit. I need to get them all resized. I do have a bit of a “thing” for Alex and Ani bracelets, so I have many of those that I change out daily. I have started to wear different necklaces and bracelets that compliment my outfits. It is fun! I get why my 6 year old loves to play dress up. Again, something that I feel I have been missing out on for years. I am slowly adding to my collection from yard sales, antique shops, my Aunt and Grandmother, and anywhere else where something catches my eye!! It is a process and I’m slowly gaining.
So – here are some of my finished looks!! I will tell you where I got them and ballpark figure on cost.
So that’s what I’ve got going in the STYLE department this month. I am thinking that I am coming out of my Link-like frozen stage and really defrosting into someone that knows how to put themselves together. What is sad, is that I am also realizing that I should have been doing this all along. I have been missing out on feeling good about myself because I just equated being fat with being ugly. NOT TRUE.
I could not put myself together without the help of my squad…who gets pictures of me more often than not in the group chat. They are key when it comes to what color shoes to wear with what and of course – they are the best to lift me up!!
As always….I hope you found something useful here! If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please make sure to reach out – I would love to hear from you!!