My guest blogger this week is Dr. Melito-Conners. I met Theresa at Studio Poise a few years ago when we were both taking fitness classes together. We clicked over discussing our love of fashion and style and nail colors. Theresa is a wonderful lady who earned her Ph. D recently. Here is her guest blog:
Learning to Love Fashion in a Larger Body
By Theresa Melito-Conners, Ph.D. (Dr. MC)
After years of struggling with my body image and only feeling “good” when I was at my thinnest, I finally learned to embrace my body regardless of its size. I accept that every BODY is different, and a small body is not necessarily better or healthier than a larger one. Regardless of size, I have always received compliments on my ability to accessorize and coordinate an outfit. A skill that I mistakenly thought was directly correlated to my weight. In other words, I thought I could only look good if I were thin. After recovering from disordered eating and exercise bulimia, I have come to realize that it is not true, and there are ways to express myself and my creativity still while celebrating my body size.
As a professional, my wardrobe consists mostly of dresses, leggings, pencil skirts, patterned and plain, blazers, and coordinating tops. I cannot tell you the last time I wore pants that were not sweatpants. In a larger body, my go-to places to shop were not an option, and I have never enjoyed the anxiety I feel in a department store dressing room. At first, this was devastating to no longer have my favorite clothing designers on deck. It felt like they abandoned me in my hour of need, but that is a blog post for another day.
Through some exploration and the help of their generous free return policy, Macy’s online is my favorite place to shop. It is not uncommon for me to order several items in multiple sizes to try on. When the items arrive, I get to choose a time to have a “fashion show.” Sometimes, the whole order gets returned, and that is ok, but most of the time, there are winners!
Some of Macy’s in-house brands like Style & Co. have been an absolute lifesaver. At a reasonable price point and lots of options, I have a collection of flattering dresses that I can jazz up with various scarves and jewelry. Kate Spade’s fun and playful novelty scarves are a big win in my book when it comes to adding color. I have scarves with taxi cabs, chili peppers, Cadillacs, cherries and more. Some with earrings to match. Other fabulous Macy’s plus-size designers include Jessica Howard, MSK, Bar III, Connected, Karen Scott, JM Collection, and more.
Of course, I can also still shop some of my old favorites like Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors. However, my best discovery is the brand City Chic. Based in Australia, they know how to make a larger body look great day and night. Nordstrom also carries trendy plus-size clothes. During the quarantine, they have had great sales, and I was able to score two blazers that I had been eyeing for work. I will be stylin’ in the office whenever I can go back.
Another favorite item I love to rock at the office is LuLaRoe Cassie skirts. Lots of fun patterns, colors and a slimming look for my body. Paired with a solid top and a blazer, I am destined for compliments with this look.
Amazon also shines in the clothing department as a beacon of hope in both office attire and athletic clothing. I love their Core 10 brand of workout pants. Comfortable and flattering without a high price tag. My other fave for workout gear is Nike! Lots of plus-size options that keep us looking fierce during a sweat session.
For footwear, Danskos have come a long way in the style department. If you immediately thought of their original nurse clog, get that image out of your head. While they still make those, they also make super cute and stylish heels, flats, boots, sandals, and more. I have my eye on a leopard pair of sandals for this summer.
Speaking of summer, bathing suits, anyone? For me, that is a job for Land’s End. Owning a pool, I have to look good in my poolside attire. Land’s End offers a wide range of flattering, supportive swimsuits that do the trick. And if you watch for their sales, you can get a great deal. Same rules as Macy’s apply with Land’s End. I will order multiple options to find the best fit.
Since I love to accessorize, I am not afraid to wear a large flower in my hair or statement jewelry. Women in larger bodies can be made to feel like they need to hide or shrink, and their clothing choices often reflect a desire to blend in. I say, dare to be bold and don’t be afraid of a form-fitting outfit, or a bright pattern. You might just be surprised at how good you feel and look!
Now, as a recent Ph.D. graduate and self-care expert, I love to share my lived experience to help others take better care of themselves. We are often very hard on ourselves, and we don’t appreciate all that we have. I enjoy celebrating all body shapes and sizes, and I don’t see size as a limitation. I move my body in ways that are joyful for me, and I don’t punish myself if I skip a “workout.” I fuel my body with healthy and nutritious food, and I don’t restrict my intake. Instead, I try to practice intuitive eating and honor my hunger cues. And I am much happier and healthier as a result. For more information, please visit my website at http://www.drmcselfcare.com or find me on Facebook at Dr. MC’s Self-Care Cabaret (https://www.facebook.com/DrMCselfcare).