*unfinished word vomit alert*
“What’s your style?”– the most difficult question someone can ask me.
I LIVE for fashion and beauty. Bright colors, dark colors. Bold prints, subtle patterns. Mixed textures. Asymmetry. Show me something that makes a statement and I’m quick to hit you with an “OOH, YASSSS!” or a “C’MOOOON!” From my hair all the way down to my toes, I’ve been known to speak through my styling choices. I find inspiration from all that’s around me (I live in NYC, there’s a lot to see) and I’m definitely an avid Pinterest user, so I’m far from lacking in resources. Soaking up style is what I do every day, so it’s needless to say I was so lost once I realized my confidence in wearing all those things I mentioned was gone, I was heartbroken.
From ages 18 to 25, I lived in a size 6. When I was almost 20, I found out I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It’s a very common hormonal disorder that involves an imbalance in male and female hormones. It’s absolutely treatable/manageable, but it brings along its share of difficulties. I decided to go with hormone therapy, i.e.; birth control pills, and was on taking them from my diagnosis up until I turned 25. Without the pills, my hormones return to their unbalanced state and the weight came on steadily. I gained about 20 lbs within the first year and another 40 within the second. During that first year, there were no major changes to my eating or exercise habits. So, for that second year, I started seeing a nutritionist and working with a personal trainer to see if that’d help. Ultimately, I couldn’t handle the associated costs and stopped after seven months. I went from my longtime size 6 to a size 12 and my self-confidence took a major hit.
I went from feeling bold and confident in my outfit choices to purposefully blending in the background. I know clothing comes in ALL sizes, but my innate “vision” of putting together outfits never updated to include my new body type. Try as I might, I always had a mental picture of a slimmer me. So when it came time to try on those looks, I’d feel horrible. Don’t get me wrong– it’s as if I wasn’t purchasing the sizes I needed. It’s just that the overall look was never hitting my desired mark and as a result, I felt uncomfortable in my own skin.
I’m no stranger to plus-size fashion. As a matter of fact, I’ve always envied a lot of their pieces when I peruse their section. I’ve even tried to make some of their smaller sizes work for me, but it’s still too large for me. I’m at this weird stage (for my body type) where the juniors sizing is too snug and the plus sizing is too large. I’ve sat back and looked at the evolution of my shopping and clothing and found two patterns:
- I purchase oversized items (boyfriend cuts, t-shirt dress, tunics, etc.) and try to add some shape by tieing a knot or belting.
- I continue wearing the same clothes all the time.
All in all, I lost a lot of my desire to dress up or even attempt styling outfits. I’d focus more on my makeup and accessories to make myself feel cute. The blow to my confidence has been so tough.
Recently, I was honored to be a bridesmaid in my line sister’s wedding. The dresses that were designed were beautiful- high neck, streamline, and a beautiful view of side boob. I was so excited to wear it… until I went to my fitting. Seeing how far my body had come honestly broke my heart. The designer was amazing and she made alterations to better flatter my shape (no side anything for me), but it didn’t help how I felt. I spent my entire fitting engaging her in conversation because I didn’t want to start crying in front of her.
Now, I’m currently 29 and have been back on birth control for about 6 months. The pills along with some dietary changes have helped the numbers on the scale to finally start coming down. I have a remaining 15-20lbs of that gained 60lbs to lose and I’m teetering between a size 8 and 10. I realize that I never came to terms with the weight I gained and that really stopped me from doing things like buying better fitting clothes. I know it sounds simple fix, but I didn’t want to spend money on a size that I “wasn’t going to be in long anyway”. I came to terms with that at the beginning of this year and have bought enough things to get me by as I continue to lose more weight. My aim for the last few months has been to focus on being healthy and happy. I’ve honestly been happier as I’ve continued to slim down and I’m excited to get back to my old self.