Back when I was 311 pounds, shopping was tedious. I did it out of necessity more than anything else and while I tried to at least attempt some sense of fashion, nothing ever looked or felt right on me. I was also working at a job where the one thing you didn’t want to do was draw any sort of attention to yourself, so I wore a lot of bulky sweaters, blouses with no shape, and whatever size 28 pants I could squeeze myself into. High heels were a joke: just imagine trying to carry around 300 pounds on tiny little sticks at the bottom of your feet for eight hours a day and you’ll understand why my closet was full of flats.
Now, though, shopping is a brave new world and with it comes a more precise understanding of style. Of wanting to be stylish and wanting to use style as a form of expression. I often compare myself to a butterfly who spent years tucked safely away in her dark cocoon. But 23 months and 120+ lbs later, I’ve finally broken free from my isolated shelter.
For the first time in a very long time my spirit welcomes the chance to fly high. Be it sleek shoes, adorable accessories, or daring dresses, style is my opportunity to show off my wings.
|Blinged Out Paisley Watch & Chunky Leopard Print Earrings. That’s how I roll, yo|
Of course, when you’re losing weight, shopping can bring it’s own element of tediousness. Having to buy new clothes every few months (or weeks, in some cases) is annoying and, frankly, expensive. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t have a huge disposal income to allow me to go to the mall that often. Nor do I really want to fall in love with a $50 article of clothing that I know I’m only going to be able to wear for a short period of time.
In the past I would scour thrift shops for deals, and while that certainly helps the economical dilemma, very rarely do I find the chic bargains my friends always seem to luck into. My stuff would be a bargain but definitely not chic. And, let’s face it, you just naturally feel better wearing clothes you know you look good in.
Which is where the fabulousness that is consignment shopping comes in.
Thanks to a local store, I have a closet full of well-known brands all purchased at deeply discounted prices. I think the most expensive piece is a high-end label maroon sweater which the store was selling for $30 (I’m guessing originally it was at least $45). However, because I was trading in some of my too-big clothes, I paid zilch for it. Nada. Zero dollah.
For the same price of just one or two of those labels off the rack at the actual store, I’ve managed to build quite a clothes collection. Each can be paired with either basic black or grey pants and are perfect for work and going out. They aren’t brand spanking new, but I know the store is very picky about what they take and I have managed to buy clothes with the original tags still on. Sure, they are a couple of seasons behind, but who really cares when each piece has something that lets my personality shine through? Maybe it’s the color or key hole back or sparkly star detail. Dressing to impress doesn’t have to be about keeping up with the runway. As Coco Chanel once said, Fashion changes but style endures.
With the holiday season upon us, now is the perfect time to flex a little flair in your wardrobe. Dressing up for Christmas parties is one of my favorite parts of December, and with a new silhouette to show off, you know I’m gonna pull out the style and spirit for my friends’ annual shindig.
In this case, it’s the brand new red sweater dress I bought a few weeks ago. Normally I wouldn’t go anywhere near a sweater dress, never believing they were flattering on me. But it’s a lovely shade of red and shows off my figure quite well (if I do say so myself). Plus, since it was purchased on Black Friday, it was quite the steal.
The other half of the outfit is leggings, another piece of clothing a year or so ago I wouldn’t have touched with a ten foot pole. But as soon as I put the dress on, I knew black leggings with black wedge heels was just what was needed to help me feel super foxy. Headed over to another Black Friday deal where leggings were on sale for $5 and I just happened to have a $5 rewards coupon. Holla!
Clothes speak volumes. What we wear matters, for no other reason than they make a first impression long before a single word is spoken. As such, it’s important to cultivate and define your own sense of style, whatever it may be. Don’t worry about what the media or industry is telling you to wear, make sure you like what it is and remember that you don’t have to break the bank to let your inner fashionista out. Case in point: when the sweater dress is eventually too big, I can just turn around and take it the consignment store and hopefully get some moola that I can use to score some outfits for the spring!
And that, ladies & gents, is how you do it.
Love from the ashes,