Back in February, I doubled down blog posts that were both about my personal style and (more importantly) body issues. We've all got 'em, right? Mine? Well, those are currently coming from a quarter-life weight-gain crisis and the fact that I no longer have the body I had when I was 23. Or even 33. Because I am slooooowly creepin' up on FORTY, ya'll. And that's terrifying.
You know what's not terrifying though? Hiring a stylist (or therapist, as I like to call her) to help you rediscover your confidence in this new, slightly squishy, slightly older body - which was a process I talked about here. SO many of you responded to that post with stories and struggles of your own that I knew it was a topic I wanted to continue writing on. And because body-acceptance and self-love is an ongoing evolution, I thought I'd pop in with a little update on how I'm handling it on my end. My hope is to continue talking about bodies while bringing you some inspiration and tips on what's working on my own 'new' body (as I like to call it). So yes, they are fashion posts, but they are also - hopefully - an ongoing conversation.
If there is one thing that can set you back when working on your body it's summer. Everything gets more exposed, and that means one thing to me: ARMS. My weak spot. (What's yours!??) It's the part of my body I hate working out the most, and the one I know genetics (hello Italian grandma) will never be kind to me on. Anyone else get upper arm anxiety the second the sun comes out? I get so excited to put on a dress, and then, I'm like.... oh, right. These things.
So, my goal in finding a few new summer wardrobe pieces was to find ones that hid my arms just enough. Little did I know that this current little puff sleeve trend? Well, ladies. It makes your arms look downright good. Find the kind where the shoulder puffs out, and the arm tapers in. Trust me, you are going to love.
The very act of purchasing this dress was a direct result of me pushing myself to get back in the habit of just trying things on. We never know if something is actually going to work or not unless we put it on our bods. Once you know a certain shape or style just isn't for you, then great. Move on. I hadn't tried this look yet, but the Dolce Vita vibe it was giving me made me cave in. And guess what? I loved it.
Why it works on me: The neckline (and back!) is low enough to feel sexy but age appropriate. The longer hemline helps balance that out, but I also love that it buttons down so you can choose to reveal as much - or as little - as you like. The puff sleeve gives it a very fun shape, and the length of the sleeve covers my 'trouble zone' while also sucking it in a bit. The fit has shape (I can see my waistline!) but isn't skin tight. I'm wearing a size 10, for reference!
Ah, the jumpsuit. A trend that I just feel horrible about myself in. Until this one!
The problem with most jumpsuits is that they are either shapeless utilitarian or sleeveless and hugging in all the wrong spots. But when I saw this one out of the corner of my eye at TARGET of all places, I had a good feeling. It was linen (yay!), it had sleeves (double yay!) and it wasn't bulky. I still fully expected to put it on in the dressing room and be like, "meh", but instead I was like, "huh. this might actually work".
Whenever I put on lighter linen tones I feel like I want to be in a scene from Out of Africa. Safari hat please! Instead I opted for a fun earring which is something I never do. Again - trying new things! Making an effort! It's crazy, I know. And just think about how good this creamy color will look with a tan. Gotta get me one of those.
Why it works on me: In case you missed the memo on my height, I'm a whopping 5'2". The length on this is just enough that with a very high pair of heels, I don't have to hem it, which is magical. That also means that it's helping elongate my body in all the right ways! If you're short then you want to wear a heel with this. It's part of why it works! Also, like the dress before, the fit is loose but has shape. Full disclosure though: I am 100% wearing spanx here to ensure the tummy pooch doesn't ruin my angles. Unlike high waisted pants, linen is not going to help you suck that in. But the rest of the jumpsuit does provide just the right amount of shape. Also, for the money? C'mon! This is such a win! I'm wearing a size Medium.
You may recall from my post with my friend and stylist Tiffany Wendel that one of her challenges to me was to start wearing pants with a higher, defined waist. So, I am. And it just so happens to be very much a trend right now. My go-to pair of pants has been skinny black jeans forever, so in an effort to make the smallest possible leap, I bought black high waisted pants. And in honor of summer (and the obvious theme of this post) yes, they are also linen.
Because I'm still working on this style, it was only after I got the photos back that I failed Tiffany bigtime in one area of this outfit: the blouse. Great in theory, yes, and I did tuck it in for bonus points, but I think it could have chosen something a tiny bit more form fitting that helps show off the waistline. But part of finding your style is failing and learning from our failures, right? Right. And, in the moment, this felt good on me, which is half the battle. The other half being, hiding my arms, and I'm definitely winning there.
In contrast to the dress and the jumpsuit, these pants were more of an investment piece. Which I'm ok with. Tops I rotate through a lot, pants need to be a staple for me, and therefore I can justify the cost when it comes to purchasing ones that will last a long time. (I promise if I find some affordable styles to update this post!) I'm also way into the return of the knotted head scarf or headband. They're adorable, and I'm here for it. This one happens to be a vintage scarf that belonged to my grandmother, and I love any excuse to wear it!
Why it works on me: When trying on high-waisted pants, what I've realized is that the ones that fit me well aren't as much about the waist as the thigh. They've got to be just tight enough from my waist down through the upper thigh and then drop to a straight leg at just the right point. These do that and I gotta say, they're pretty perfect! And, of course, the waist definition is what we're going for with these. Bonus: they come in a variety of really good colors, and a lot of stores carry them, so you should be able to find ones that speak to you! I'm wearing a size 8.
As for my journey with body acceptance, I think we're actually getting somewhere, and a big part of it - as petty as it may sound - is outfits like this. Moments in a dressing room where I put something on me that I don't hate. It's also been fun to work on further defining my personal style through my wardrobe. I do it so much in my home, that being able to do it for myself and my body has been a really interesting exercise, and one I'm excited to talk about more, too! Obviously, I'm working on the arm thing. Like, literally. My goal is by the next blog post to have my arms exposed to the world! So... brb. Gonna go lift some weights now, byeeee!