Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Size, Expression and Fashion: Musings from Columbus

 Returning to Columbus, OH last week for a visit was a great chance to rediscover the colorful, eccentric vibe of one of the Midwest's most fashionable cities. It also reminded me of a few important aspects of the connection between fashion and life:

*It's okay to dress for personal expression
In Columbus, the artsy people of all ages display their style as an exclamation mark of their own expression, rather than a means of fitting into a narrow idea of flattering, professional, or average. Of course, there are plenty of people wearing subtle outfits and uniforms, but you see more than a small amount of people who wear bright colors, crazy patterns, huge accessories, neon hair, baggy vintage dresses, oversized hats, and shoes meant to garner attention.

There's a freedom that comes in dressing how you want, regardless of whether it's considered flattering to your body type, or appropriate for your age. It's scary at first, of course, but if wearing a color you love, or oversized plastic accessories, or 80s jean jackets, or clashing patterns, or a design worthy of a couch from the '70s is something that makes you feel like your best self, it might be time to go for it.

Conventional wisdom tells you to dress in colors and shapes that are flattering for your body. This is an important talent to learn if you're wanting to achieve a slimmer (or bigger!) silhouette. There's no harm in trying on all different types of clothes until you can achieve that desired look! But it's not your only option. If you truly want to wear clothes that you've been told you shouldn't because of your coloring, age, or size, there is great freedom in doing it anyway... and, like the people of Columbus, doing so with confidence. That confidence becomes infectious over time, and allows you to experiment more, carve your OWN image out for yourself, and even inspire others.

So why not give it a try?

*It's okay to love fashion at any size
One thing that really struck me during this visit to Columbus was that women of all sizes walked through the artsy Short North area in their favorite dresses, heels, boots, jeans, accessories, or shorts with an equal sense of confidence and vigor for life. It's different than in some cities, where plus size or even average sized women feel uncomfortable walking among the glitzy, well dressed Friday night crowd. In Columbus, you see people of all shapes and sizes laughing, enjoying their lives, and partying together. I've seen people in other cities that seemed to send out an apologetic message above their heads, something along the lines of, "I'm sorry I'm fat! I'm on my way to the gym, though, I promise!", even as they dash about or hide in crowds. I've been that girl, myself.

During my time in Columbus, I remembered that it's okay to be a size 14 and still enjoy life, unapologetic. It's okay to be a size 14 and have a drink with girlfriends, wear a short dress, and eat a delicious meal in front of people.

*Dry shampoo and a topknot can be your best friend
When it's hot as balls out, it's totally okay to spray half a can of dry shampoo on your hair, and pull everything into a topknot. No one will judge you, and you'll feel a lot more comfortable in the sun. This dry shampoo by amika is especially amazing, as is this volumizing powder by Got2B. Enjoy!

(With my best friend Dusty, for her birthday! <3 )

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