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.