When I look back upon my younger days, my angsty, early teenage years play in my head like old yearbook slideshow on a school projector screen. Images of dark lipstick, sticky eye makeup, and blonde hair with dark roots flip to a grungy 90s soundtrack of alternative rock, and I can’t help but feel nostalgic.
I’m not gonna lie, I don’t think I could pull off most of my nineties looks anymore even if I wanted to… Let’s just say, my days of greasy hair and beaten up skater shoes are behind me, but I have been finding myself drawing a lot of inspiration from the grunge trend that is in full force this fall!
Dark roots for example… Um, yeah— got that covered. Peeling nail polish, check! If there’s one thing about 90s style that I love, it’s how low maintenance you can be and still get away with looking trendy! Also, eyegloss is now a thing. That’s right! I no longer need to fight with my mom or get turned down by a boy (story of my 90s life) to get that trademark just-broken-up-with, been-crying-all-day look! If only I had known that I had to do was slap some gloss on my eyes, and finish up with a deep burgundy lip to look perfectly, gorgeously, existential.
I wore a lot of men’s clothes back then (mostly because I couldn’t fit into a lot of the women’s stuff that I liked), so my grandfather’s old Burberry trench and scarf (which incidentally, have lived through the 90s just like me) are a definite homage to that. Besides, they look freaking gorge over this stunning cutout dress from SmartGlamour!
Its silhouette is reminiscent of the 90s slip dresses that I never wore because they showed too much belly, and the cutouts are a shoutout to the bare midriff that never had the courage to show off when every girl and her BFF were rocking crop tops!
As much as a pair of Doc Martens would have worked with this outfit, I didn’t wanna go full grunge, so I slipped on a pretty pair of lace up flats to complete my 90s inspired look!
It makes me feel super old, but I love that the iconic style I grew up with is cool again. I also love how it’s been stripped down to its dirty, dingy core, and has come back minus the butterfly clips (not gonna pretend I’m not relieved). So give me all the 90s Gwen Stefani, Alanis Morrissette and Courtney Love vibes, because I think it’s about time that teenage me got a style do over!!!
Dress, SmartGlamour – here (use discount code CynthiaSG for 10% off any SmartGlamour purchase, plus free shipping)
Trench, scarf – vintage Burberry
Shoes, Aldo – similar
I love my body. I didn’t always, but this pasty white, jiggly mass of flesh and bones that is the vessel of my consciousness, we’re cool now.
It’s a good thing too, because this bod and I, are kind of stuck with each other. We may as well get along… After all, life is a lot easier when you’re in a mutually beneficial relationship, especially when it’s the one you share with yourself!
I used to avoid taking my body out to certain places. I didn’t want to be seen in public with it. I was ashamed. This hurt my body very much. It also hurt me. I began to resent it. I wished it looked better. I wished I had a different one.
I didn’t like eating in out because I would worry that my body might not fit into the booths. I worried that people would stare at us as we ate. I rarely went to places like the pool, or the beach. I couldn’t bear the thought of people seeing my body in a bathing suit.
I wanted to love it. I wanted to be able to look at my body and like what I saw, the same way everyone on TV and in magazines seemed to be able to. I just didn’t hadn’t yet realized that the answer wasn’t that I needed to change my body, but rather, I needed to change the way I saw it.
I started looking for beauty in the parts of my body I had convinced myself weren’t beautiful. I began looking, and I mean, really looking at it in the mirror and in photographs, and changing the language I used to describe it. I started feeding it the foods it liked without worrying about their calorie count. I stopped treating my body like it deserved to be constantly punished for looking different than the way the movie stars and magazines told me it should.
You see, I spent most of it telling myself how good I would look if only I had a better body, how I wished I could have somebody else’s— how much I hated it. The disassociation I made between my body and self became my reality. I separated myself from it as an act of self-preservation, and it took me all these years to get up the courage to apologize to my body for how badly I had treated it, and promise to it, that I would never let myself do that again.
So to you, I may just look like a fat girl on the beach, strutting around showing off my swim body in a floral bikini, and on the surface, you’d be right… But if you dig a little deeper, what you’ll really see, is the foundation of a newly rekindled relationship between a once very broken girl, and her body, that never was.
A big thank you to this bikini babe for these awesome shots!!! (Except for this one, which I can thank my mum for!)
Bikini, GabiFresh for Swimsuits For All – here
Sandals, ASOS – similar
Cover up, Zellers – old AF (Zellers doesn’t event exists anymore, haha)
Is it really almost August!? In just over a month, will I really be back to fighting with my kids to wake up in the morning, packing school lunches, and arguing over homework!? Ugh. Where has the time gone? Am I the only parent that dreads the start of the school year every fall? I’m sorry, (not sorry) but those “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” Staples (or, Bureau en Gros, here is Quebec) commercials are all lies, and nobody will ever be able to convince me otherwise.
We still have another month to go though, so rather than get ahead of myself, which is hard to do with my daughter already breathing down my neck about locker accessories (She’s probably the only kid I’ve ever known who was actually excited about back to school, and did you know they sell locker chandeliers and carpets? Me neither.), I’m trying to make the most of what’s left before the leaves start to fall off the trees, spiralling downward, alongside my sanity.
It’s all about bright colours and all things summery for me these days (except when I just feel like wearing back, because black) and this dress from IBBI is basically my whole life right now.
I wore the magenta version of it recently on the blog, and you can imagine my surprise when its turquoise blue sister showed up on my doorstep! It’s not everyday your blogger mail is so absolutely perfect, and unexpected, to boot!
Now, I joke (mostly) about dreading the the end of summer, but if there’s one thing that can remind me that it’s not over yet, it’s vibrantly coloured leopard print! It’s bold, flashy, and everything summer clothes should look like! The irony is, that because of its incredibly versatile fabric, oddly enough it will actually be the ideal fall dress too!
It kind of makes it hard to resent a whole season when you realize that one of your favourite dresses will be perfect for it. So what if happy summer mommy transforms into her alter ego, stressed irritable mommy? At least she’ll look fab, right!?
I kid, I kid… But for real though, it’s always awesome when great clothes have the undisputed potential to transition effortlessly into another season, especially summer to fall. Let’s face it, for many of us, that’s already a frustrating enough passage, so not needing to rethink our wardrobes is a definite bonus!
This gorgeous leopard print dress from IBBI, paired with cute, lace-up wedges from Penningtons, and flamboyant yellow earrings is everything I need to keep me in the present. Its ability to be the perfect fall dress too, however, is a friendly reminder that it’s okay for me to plan for the future without getting ahead of myself.
Sometimes we just need to live in the here and now, and while it’s still summer, I will do my best to savour it instead of (as my mother would say) wishing my life away (which I have a tendency of doing each year around this time).
I have no choice but to think ahead. I’ve got my oldest son commencing his final year of high school (holy crap) and my youngest son starting his first day of kindergarten (um, also holy crap), not to mention my two middles (that’s what I like to call them) going into grades 5 and 8. Life now requires more planning than ever, but those little things that keep us focused on the present moment are key.
The important thing to take away from all of this is that we all need to recognize the little reminders that the universe sends out to us. They come in many forms, in my case, in the form of a surprise package on my doorstep. Don’t find yourself worrying so much about what’s to come (back to school, yuck), that you don’t let yourself enjoy what already is (summer, yay). We all need our own leopard print dresses every now and again… Mine just happened to be a literal one this time. See blog post about pink version of this dress here.
Dress, IBBI Collection – here
Shoes, Penningtons – similar
Earrings, eBay – old
(A special shoutout to my bestie, Crystal for the awesome shots!!! :)
I recently wrote a blog post speaking of a bout with anxiety that I had in the not too distant past, and in it, I shared photos of myself wearing this same grey dress from ASOS, but in a nudish, kinda dusty rose colour, where my VBO (visible belly outline) was very prominent. It was a meaningful post, where I discussed what I had been dealing with and how it related to the dress.
I shared my article, as well as some shots from the post on social media, and I was really surprised by how much people hated the colour of the dress on me! I mean, I’m used to the hate I receive online, so it didn’t bother me, but it just struck me as odd that, aside from a few “with the proper undergarments she’d look great” comments, (which honestly, come with the territory of showing off your belly in a world where we’ve been taught to hide it at all cost) the comments were of a much different nature than what I was expecting.
Instead of pointing out the parts of my body they thought I should be ashamed of, or mocking me for being fat and not giving a fuck, the way they usually do, they criticized the colour of the dress. Over and over again, the same type of comment popped up…
The thing is, people always like to make their unsolicited suggestions of how they think they can improve my outfits, but there was just such a unanimity in this case. They felt really passionate about their disdain for the hue, and all I kept thinking was why? Was it that they were attempting to disguise the fact that what they really wanted to say was “that nude pink really emphasizes your fat stomach which is unacceptable in our society,” or did they genuinely hate the colour? Personally I think it was a combination of the two, but for much more profound reasons than one might assume.
Judging by the commentary, I feel like people seemed uncomfortable with the vulnerability of how I presented myself. A neutral shade that didn’t hide my body, paired with a similar, monochromatic makeup palette consisting of variants of my own skin colour, which to me looked velvety like pudding, but to them, it would appear, looked like everything that scares them about looking at themselves naked, ironically, embodied in an outfit.
I think this is what scares people so much about wearing nudes. Regardless of skin colour, when we dress in a scheme that blends into our own bodies, we become human clay, a homogenous mass of flesh and fabric, melded together as one with nothing to hide under— and not hiding, can for many people, be downright incomprehensible.
Oddly enough, when I purchased the dress, I loved it so much that I actually bought it in two colours— the oh so controversial dusty rose, as well as this gorgeous grey. I thought about not sharing it in this colour— about not letting the haters win, but I came to the conclusion that doing that would be more of a victory for them than if I just wore it and called them out on the fact that their negative comments were just a reflection of their own insecurities.
The post in the pink dress was proof to myself that I could be both emotionally vulnerable and vulnerable in my style choices, but this post is to prove that I can also be anything else I want to be, too.
Paired with an elegant felt hat, an absolutely stunning, and unique necklace from Amadora Jewelry, a rhinestone clutch and some flashy, neon yellow flats, this grey dress is now a reminder for me as well…
No matter how much anyone criticizes what you wear, whatever their reasons may be, they’re not seeing you, your clothes, or the thought you put into how you chose to present yourself, no. All they’re seeing is an image of themselves looking back at them and challenging that voice inside their heads that’s telling them they can’t.
View the original post in the dusty pink dress here.
Dress, ASOS Curve – here
Necklaces, Amadora Jewelry – gorgeous pieces available here
Shoes, Aldo – here
Clutch, Aldo – here
Hat, Addition Elle – old
A little while ago I took a brief, unplanned blogging hiatus. I had been feeling extremely exhausted, I’d been sick, and I was also dealing with some stressful family stuff as well. I kept meaning to blog, and went to bed each night with the idea that tomorrow’s going to be the day, but no matter how much I tried to convince myself, I always just ended up putting it off because something inside of me just wouldn’t let me be productive.
That’s all I thought it was… Just me procrastinating, but when I look back on those couple of months, the reality was that I was having a bit of an anxiety induced melt down. I was still functioning— going about the motions, putting a brave face on, but inside I was at the point of breaking down.
I did my best to remember to keep up with those little self-care rituals that helped keep me sane. I cooked, cleaned, took care of my kids. I took bubble baths, got my nails done, but my struggle with blogging slowly began to weigh on me… I started resenting it, because I hated the feeling of having an obligation, even if it was self-imposed.
It’s strange because, I love being a blogger. Blogging is at the top of my list of self-care activities because it makes me feel good, from getting made up and dressed in beautiful clothes, right down to the writing process, which I find calming and therapeutic… So why was I running away from it!?
The answer: because I was in denial about what I was really running from. It was much simpler to tell myself that I was taking a nap instead of blogging, rather than taking it to avoid my own thoughts, not to mention that writing would have forced me to confront myself about how I was feeling. In that moment, my only defence mechanism was to flee my own brain altogether.
You may be wondering what all of this has to to with this dusty pink/blush coloured dress I’m wearing… It’s such a silly little thing, yet it’s all I can think of when I look at these photos… My nails don’t match it.
I had purchased it (as well as in another colour) from ASOS as an attempt to rekindle my blogging spirit. I remember being excited because I had gotten my nails done in the exact same pink to match. I never shot any blog pics though. Hell, I never even wore it, and my nails grew out. Still determined, I got my refill and asked for the exact same colour again! Dusty pink nails, take two, but again, I just couldn’t make myself get dressed for a shoot. Slowly, they grew out once more and I forgot about the dress.
At some point in May, I came out of this difficult period. I had blogging obligations and had no choice but to fulfill them. Once I started back at it, the anxiety was lifted. I remembered that this wasn’t some cruel form of punishment, but rather an activity that fills me with joy!
It felt like coming home, and I couldn’t believe that for a while there, I had even debated going ghost on my followers. I had felt unable to keep the blog up, but feared the imagined humiliation of actually formally excusing myself from the community and exposing myself as a failure who just couldn’t cut the mustard.
I’m glad I didn’t, because getting up every morning, getting dressed, and maintaining the dialogue with myself that blogging requires me to uphold was what helped bring me back; and my followers, your kind words upon my return were more uplifting than you can imagine! I have once again been given the gift of being reminded of just how much support I have through blogging, and the amazing body positive community.
So even though my manicure doesn’t match my dress, I wanted to wear it as a very personal symbol of the power we all have to give another person hope, encourage them when they feel hopeless, and raise them up when they’re feeling low, and also as a reminder that anxiety and mental illness are invisible.
Coming from a person who, in the moment, when things get tough, is very guarded, and tends to withdraw into herself, you may think someone looks fine. They may smile, engage in conversation and list all the right reasons for why they’ve been acting a little differently— I’m just tired, I’ve been sick, I’ve been busy, etcetera etcetera… But it can be next to impossible to notice when those reasons begin to spill over into something more debilitating.
I was fortunate that this was just a minor bout with anxiety brought on by temporary stressors, and solvable problems that pale in comparison to those of others, but not everyone is so lucky. Not everyone has an amazing support system, or are able to recognize when it’s time to seek professional help.
So, like this dress and my mismatched mani remind me, let me remind you to be kind, because your words can have more on an impact on a person’s life than you may ever realize. Remember that someone’s struggles may seem trivial to you, but are very real to that person, so be mindful. You can never truly know how someone is feeling inside, unless they are willing and able to express it, which I can tell you honestly, isn’t an easy thing to do.
Dress, ASOS Curve – here
Shoes, Aldo – here
Bag, Louis Vuitton – here
Necklace & Earrings, Walmart – old
I used to be afraid to wear white. I loved the way it looked on others, clean and crisp, but on myself, I thought all it did was exaggerate my flaws and make me look like a refrigerator. I did everything to remain inconspicuous back then, assuming that being noticed equaled being laughed at. Needless to say, I never really wore much white.
That’s the problem though… From very early on, as soon as the world realizes we’re fat, we are given this set of rules to live by, which are drilled into our brains so deeply that we forget how ridiculous they are, and we end up truly believing them.
Society is sitting there thinking they’re doing us some wonderful favour by teaching us how not to look fatter than we already are, while its really they, who are in need of a lesson, oh, perhaps on how not to be a complete A-hole? Yeah. That sounds about right.
And most of all, I wear it because I love it. I always have, and it makes me feel beautiful!
No fictional set of rules will ever be able to convince me otherwise. I make my own rules about my bod, how I dress it, and nobody can take that away from me!!!
Top, Tess Holliday for Penningtons – here
Jean capris, Penningtons – similar
Scarf, Penningtons – here
Shoes, Aldo – here
Clutch, Aldo – here
Every once in a while, I get an amazing reminder that I deserve to love myself as much as anybody else does. This time it came in the form of this stunning, sequins embellished dress from SexyPlus Clothing.
Seeing beautiful pieces like this reminds me just how far plus size fashion has come since I was growing up and struggling to find clothes that didn’t make me look like my grandmother (no shade, granny got style— just not mine).
The simple fact that options like this exist now, which are very obviously not designed to mask our bodies, but to celebrate them, is proof that the world is recognizing that us fatties are refusing to hide in the shadows any longer!
We have the right to be viewed and admired if we wish it, and most of all, to feel worthy of wearing the fabulous clothes that we love without thinking we are somehow undeserving of style because we’re overweight.
I know we’re not quite there yet when it comes to inclusivity, but I’m more than happy to rejoice in tangible victories like this dress, because bold, attention grabbing pieces validate my belief that I, as a plus size woman, am worthy of shining, turning heads, and feeling sexy.
Obviously, I don’t need that validation, but it sure is nice to have it. It feels good to know that all those years I spent being crushed over not being able to wear what I wanted are behind me, and that speaking up in the name of fat women everywhere hasn’t been in vain. It feels good to be heard.
All of this is to say, be aware of those reminders, life’s little Post-it notes telling you to remember that the frustrations of your past were for a reason, and your hopes for the future are possible!
Be grateful when your opinions are validated, but never depend on that validation to come from anyone but you. Remember that to love yourself, you must listen to yourself. Don’t dismiss your feelings because you think you don’t deserve to have them… I did that for a very long time, and one of the greatest gifts I’ve given to myself has been allowing myself the right to acknowledge how I feel as a fat person, with a voice as true as anybody else’s.
Dress, Joseph Ribkoff from SexyPlus – here
Shoes, Aldo – here