Room to Breathe


A few years ago I never would have worn this piece. I wanted everything to be fitted. Not tight all-over, but without realizing it, I had told myself that I needed to prove that I was thin; that if I wore clothes too blousy, baggy or big I would look heavier.

[Backstory, I was 20 pounds heavier at one point which at 5’4” and at the time a professional dancer going to work-aka-auditions in a leotard, was a tough season.]

Many women have the opposite instinct — if they keep everything a little roomy, layered, not too tight, they’ll make sure to never expose a back roll or stomach bump. As a stylist when I encourage them to wear clothes that simply flatter their shape, it feels like they’re showing too much rather than simply no longer making themselves look larger than they are.

Neither choice is better or worse. What I’m passionate about is simply disrupting, questioning, hopefully resetting and shifting the voices in our head about our style and beauty.

This is not the most flattering dress I own as far as my shape. But I’m betting you didn’t think that when you saw these photos? You saw a beautiful color, flowing fabric, a big smile? In fact, wouldn’t it be worse if your first thought was “she’s skinny”? Do you find your mind exclaimed “beautiful” while registering the colors, flowers, smile all superseding shape or size?

Unless you’re auditioning for the Rockettes [the day the executive director told me I looked skinny I was thrilled] or on a sexy date, why is how slim our shape appears the first thing we’re concerned with?

I know that’s a big question. And I don’t expect either of us to let go of it overnight. But I do have a theory, that if you start dressing more joyfully, more colorfully, you’ll receive more compliments that have nothing to do with whether or not you lost ten pounds.

[ dress: thrifted, amsterdam // shoes: boutique, gains // purse: street vendor, gains // belt: vintage, london // sunglasses: target // photographer: christophe serrano // location: gains, france ]

P.S. A few tricks from this particular dress:

  • Ignore sizes when shopping thrift or vintage

  • If it has shoulder pads cut them out [as I did here]

  • If it’s a size too big, try belting it

  • If it’s rather modest overall, you can get away with a lower neckline [especially if you’re small chested]

  • Those last two bullets are my Line and V principle: emphasizing the natural feminine shape of our cleavage and waist is flattering on every body

  • Remember the better you’re dressed or the more stylish you look, the more you can get away with, including a 2-sizes too large $10 thrifted dress in the French Riviera [wink]

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