Hello lovelies! I have exciting news to share! I have been chosen as a Society+ #FashionFreedom Ambassador along with 10 other amazing blogger babes! It is our collective goal to inspire women to break so called “fashion rules” that we have been told to adhere to our entire lives and to educate women on how to wear trends that fall outside of their comfort zones. We will be showing tummy, proudly displaying our legs, wearing bright colours, showing our arms, and wearing white in hopes of empowering women of all body types to do the same. You can visit the rest of this amazing blogger squad by going to societyplus.com!
Watch my #FashionFreedom Campaign video here!
I’m going to tackle and breakdown the misconception that plus size women shouldn’t wear colour. We are constantly bombarded by external voices telling us that bright colours are a no-no for fuller figured women and are reserved only for those whose body allows them to “pull it off”. We are told to hide our bodies - staying away from bright colours because they draw too much attention to us. It is always disheartening to walk through a straight size section and seeing the abundance of colours and prints made readily available, then turning the corner to see a sea of greys, blacks and neutrals in the plus size section. What if I want to draw attention to my body? What if I want to wear bright hues because they make me feel good in my own skin?
Chicest of Them All Vest in Mint - Society Plus
It is extremely detrimental when looking good is associated with a certain size or body type because it takes away the fun and creativity that comes with dressing your body. Women as a whole are always under a magnifying glass, our value being tied to how we look and what we wear. As a plus size woman, this magnifying glass becomes more pointed, with mass media constantly portraying unrealistic body ideals and painting us as less healthy and vibrant. Plus size women are forced to wear clothing that does nothing to improve our confidence in order to make everyone around us more comfortable with the bodies we were born with.
I have been fortunate enough to have grown-up in a home where I was allowed to experiment with colour and fashion. My parents would do nothing but embrace my creativity and give me the space I needed to truly build my own personal style. I grew up across the globe, immersed in a myriad of cultures that embraced colour and patterns. Moving to North America, however, was a drastic reality check as I found myself surrounded on all fronts by images of “the perfect body”. I went into grade 6 in a new school in a new country with the same Inemesit style that I had spent the better part of my early years developing and I was instantly scrutinized and shut out by my peers. I started veering away from my bold looks, losing sight of who I truly was. I dressed in black, big t-shirts and ran away at the sight of any pattern because that was what every magazine article taught me to do. With the loss of my personal style came the loss of my smile and my light. I shrunk myself in hopes of drawing attention away from a body I was shamed into hating.
My mother was the one who helped me break the notion that full figured women shouldn’t wear colour. We went shopping for back to school clothes the summer before my grade 8 year. As usual, I went directly to the blacks and greys, looking for pieces that would help me blend into the background as much as humanly possible. I remember my mom staying uncharacteristically quiet and holding on to the brown turtlenecks and grey sweaters that I sent her way. I went into the change room, changed into a slate grey cowl neck sweater and came out to show my mom. She didn’t say a thing about my clothing choice but rather uttered words that were instrumental in my journey to reclaiming my love for color – she simply said “you look unhappy”. I was stunned to say the least and looked at myself in the mirror. I realized that I had lost my spunk, my pizzazz, and the light in my eyes. I realized that dressing to please others around me and adhering to the rules was only hurting me. I no longer felt like myself, I hardly smiled anymore and I hadn’t worn colour in so long.
Understanding my despair, my mom grabbed the closest coloured garment she could find and made me try it on. In hindsight it was hideous (I’m talking poofs and shoulder pads here) but that didn’t even matter! It was a beautiful yellow hue that instantly made me feel 100 times more confident. I stood taller and I instantly changed my outlook on life. I was still very young, but that moment cemented in me the fact that I would start dressing for me again. I thought to myself enough is enough! It is time to reclaim my curves, honour my body and start dressing in pieces that expressed who I truly was.
The fashion industry as a whole pigeonholes plus size women, subjecting us to wearing all black to “slim our figures” and imposing ridiculous fashion rules. When it comes to fashion, the reality is that plus-size women are often shamed the most. I still get a momentary flash of self-doubt when I am about to step out in a lime green skirt and yellow top because of how I feel others will judge me; however, with the help of brands like Society+, I am able to rise above those feelings of doubt. Colour is one of the best ways to express your inner character and to show the world how proud you are of your body. Say good-bye to muted tones and opt instead to dress outside of your comfort zone. It took me a while to re-embrace my love of colour but the journey has been so worth it. I am beyond blessed to have partnered with Society+ to share my story in hopes that sharing would help ensure a young girl or woman out there that they are not alone.
I encourage you to join the Fashion Freedom movement and I challenge you to break the rules! Making small changes, like rocking a colourful necklace or opting instead for a pink blouse for work, will go leaps and bounds in helping you reclaim the love for your bodies. Crash through all the barriers headfirst and wear what makes you feel spectacular! Share your rule breaking looks on Instagram or Facebook using the hashtags #FashionFreedom and #iamsocietyplus. I look forward to seeing all your looks and being a part of your journey to Fashion Freedom!
Images by Edem Junior Etokudo - @junior.fam