Monday, September 28, 2009

She has Style, She has Grace

Ok, not so much with the Grace, but I'm working on the style thing.

When I shared a cab from the hotel to Midway with Susan at the end of BlogHer, I had absolutely no idea who she was. It wasn't until I got home, wrote my post BlogHer post and then all of a sudden started getting a lot of traffic from her site that I looked up what she writes. I do believe that she may have changed my life, just a little.

Before BlogHer I was struggling with defining what my style was. I never seemed to achieve that level of comfort that some larger women have. I was never comfortable with the weight I was at after M was born. I would see women much larger than I was and their confidence made them glow. They always looked so put together. I always felt like I looked like a mess. A sloppy fat mess.

It wasn't until I started losing weight this spring that I felt comfortable enough to being to care about how put together I looked. Getting ready for BlogHer was my first real attempt at putting myself together. I knew I would be meeting some of my favorite bloggers. I knew that their style would but stunning. I tried to up my game. I did OK, but I was discouraged. I am thirty-two. I'm not a young adult any more, but I'm hardly an old woman. I had a hard time finding a style that was age appropriate. Then I met Susan and read what Susan writes. Susan has a style that looks positively effortless. She got her shoes complimented by Tim Gunn!

Inspired by Susan, and a dress code at work that got a LOT more strict, I've been trying to define my personal style. As I've lost weight I've had to buy a lot more clothes, and I'm trying to make sure that I make an investment not just in the items that I buy, but in their ability to define who I am through my style. Here is what I've learned. I hope Susan is proud.

  • Cardigan sweaters are my new best friend. They're an easy way to dress up something plain. They can be very slimming (contrary to what I had always thought). I can wear them in to work, but take them off when I'm being physical and moving equipment.
  • I will never be as funky as the teenager who once wore tie died leggings and velvet mini skirts. No matter how much I try to convince myself, it just isn't going to happen. I will think I can do it, and then never wear what I buy.
  • Shoes are the exception. My feet from having M means I have needed to replace a lot of shoes. I can pull off a far more funky shoe than I thought I could. Susan is directly responsible for that. I would have never fallen in love with the cool flat if it hadn't been for her. I would never have gotten my birthday present shoes. I still didn't get the red patent peep toe, but I may change my mind about that.
  • There is no substitute for proper fit. I feel better and more confident if my clothes fit. Contrary to what some in the business world may believe, I don't think it is about power suits and high heels. It is about how much you like yourself in what you are wearing. A good fitting pair of jeans and a great top beats a suit that doesn't fit any day. If your clothes are too big, at least stow them away. Better yet, donate them for a tax deduction. (six bags to Salvation Army on Saturday, four more ready to go already)
  • I can't do woven shirts or jackets. My arms are still proportionally too large for the rest of me. If my shirt/jacket is too tight in the arms, I feel confined and like I want to crawl under my desk and hide. I do a decent amount of physical labor in my job. I need to be able to move. I would kill for a structured jacket that fit me, but I have yet to find one that fits my small boobs, broad shoulders and huge arms. That is why I now love the cardigan sweater.

I have a wedding to go to on Saturday, and like any good social media girl I went to Twitter for help. Which I got, from Susan. She suggested a little black dress. It was harder to find than I thought (I have a relatively low price point, since I plan on losing the next 55 pounds I need to), but I finally found one this last week at Target. Apparently requiring all of their downtown staff to dress up while no longer having the benefit of a high end retailer in their portfolio has meant that they now stock pretty snappy stuff, at least downtown. I couldn't pull the trigger on the wild shoes, since this is my boss's wedding, but I did find a nice purple cashmere wrap. MY hair will be simple, and pulled back, so I can show off some fabulous earrings (I still have to find). Thanks Susan.


Syl (previously known as Shib) said...

JC Penney, Dressbarn and Kohl's have a great sale on dresses. I scored a really nice leaopard print one at dressbarn for $20. I got 2 dressy ones, one black and one orange at JCP for $20 each and Kohl's, I think I paid anywhere from $15 -$25 each for 3 dresses. On top of that, there's always coupons online for all these places. I have found that I am in love with dresses since I've lost weight. They're easy to put on, easy to go pee in (you needed to know that) and they look better than pants.

We want photos of the dress :)

darcie said...

YES - Photos please...

This is just so awesome! so proud of you for figuring out who you are as a woman - not just as a mother!

::off to check out this susan character to see if there's hope for me::

Anti-Supermom said...

It's totally ghetto here, but Burlington Coat Factory has some fabulous deals - on pretty much everything.

This is a great post - you even make me feel more confident. I agree with the others - pictures after the wedding are necessary.

RookieMom Whitney said...

You are just as fabulous as Susan, just with a less spectacular haircut. (No offense!)

Do you have an easy-to-fit foot size? I think you can do wonders for an outfit with a sassy flat shoe.

Have fun at the wedding! Your lovely smile will engage anyone you meet more than your clothing.

Marketing Mama said...

I really loved this post. Do you have pics from the wedding?

My secret? I use a personal shopper at Macy's. Not for everything or kick-around-clothes, but for work clothes and special occasions - like being on tv. It's free, but I find I spend more than I plan to because they always pick out great clothes that fit well and look good.