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By Lauren Deloach, Editor of Category5Style.com
Today I found myself in a conversation with a woman who after seven months into nursing her infant, has found herself completely mortified with her body. In a never-ending cycle of no sleep, which in turn propels a cookie and chocolate breakdown, she has been left to feel as if she will never get back to the place in her style she was before baby.
Her current dilemma: With an upcoming trip approaching in which she will see tons of friends and associates for the first time since having baby, and nothing in her wardrobe that fits, how in the world does she reconcile where she is with her style and pull herself together? This chick is a bit of a heartbreaker, and at the same time totally relatable. How many times have we as women gone through life experiences that rock our style world, leaving us in denial that we must indeed go on? Countless. Babies, menopause, aging, or even too much indulgence in cold weather seasons…whatever the case may be, for most of us we’ve been there at some point. Let’s break down a couple examples that can leave us a bit heartbroken in the world of style, and ways we can still “go on.”
I have to start with babies. Babies are a joy and a gift, yes it’s true. That said, can we be totally honest and say that lovely baby does rock your style world? In the case of the mom referenced above, her baby weight knocked her right out of contemporary sizing (0-12) and into plus size. For her, this transition was a shocker. So much so that she no longer had a desire to even shop, no matter how desperately she needed the clothes. But the answer to her problem resides in a simple question: Is it better to be a size six with horrific style, or a size sixteen with fabulous style? I’d take the 16 any day of the week! A woman’s love of style should not be completely centered on the size of her pants. You have to do your best with the tools, gifts, and resources you have. If you gained a significant amount of weight in your belly and that weight just won’t move (whether it’s nursing, lack of sleep, or simply zero desire to exercise), getting yourself back in the style game and shopping is the best medicine.
Get your feet wet with accessories and makeup, areas that don’t require you to think about the circumference of your thighs. Then work your way up to sweater jackets (think Free People’s Coat of Arms Jacket), cotton tees, and scarves, which are still all areas that won’t make you want to jump through the store window and slap the size 0 mannequin. As you begin to get your rhythm and confidence, that is the time where you look to finding pants that fit properly (remembering that unless your belly wasn’t affected by weight you avoid dresses like the plague). Just as the doctor tells you right after you have a baby, same rules apply to style, “Easy does it!”
Winter weather is tricky business. It can leave you craving “comfort foods” like generous plates of rich pasta soaked in mozzarella and ricotta cheese. Fast forward a few weeks of “doing what you want to do,” you may find that your pants are also going to do what they WANT to do and not zip up! I swear the proof is always in the pants. Whether you gain weight in your belly or thighs, those pants are the ultimate lie detector of whether or not you’ve been eating healthy. So what do you do in the world of style if you’ve eaten yourself up a size? As you would prepare for any winter storm coming your way with proper supplies, same principle applies to style.
You should always make a point to purchase pieces that offer you flexibility in your sizing. For example, while it’s always great to own an amazing pair of fitted dark wash jeans, you should always always always own a pair of loose fit boyfriend jeans (think Current/Elliott). Yes they’re super chic, but more importantly, they allow you to camouflage temporary body shifts in both the belly and thighs. Another example is the babydoll-inspired tunic or shorter shift dresses (think Free People Blanchfleur Dress). Loves, a tunic can cover up so many different sins! Paired with leggings you’ll look comfortable yet classic, all the while whatever “lies” beneath that tunic is between you and your bathroom scale. Next, if you don’t have at least 2-3 fabulous print scarves (think Sophia Costas), you are missing the style boat in the world of weight. Yes, a scarf can make an outfit pop. Yes, a scarf can accent your neck and a chic bun on top of your head. And YES, a scarf looped like an infinity scarf or styled where it’s laid across the back of your neck and hangs on both sides evenly can HIDE a multitude of meals! When you’re approached by a chick wearing a truly beautiful scarf, what’s one of the first things you notice? Ummm…the scarf. Maybe later you notice her face looks a bit fuller than when you saw her last, but by then you’ve either said hi-bye or the conversation has moved onto more important things than your weight.
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No matter what type of temporary heartbreak you may find yourself in, the key is to never get so discouraged with yourself that you let go of style reason and hide in your closet waiting for the magic day when you get back to being you. Crucial truth…you may NEVER get back to being you, and why shouldn’t that be OK? We are multi-faceted creatures of change. Let us change as the clock moves and the wind blows, and continue to find the things in the world of style that excite our minds and pump an extra bit of life into our heartbeats. Between the clock ticking away and those few extra beats, you may find your heart not so broken after all.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.