Three daring pieces to wear that should not be daring at all

It is that time of year where the weather is warm, but still unpredictable. I haven’t put my sweaters away just yet, but I am digging out all my pretty sundresses and favorite skirts and tops for summer. Last year, I discovered my love for bodysuits and crop tops. Of course, many people say that plus size people should wear neither. I say, “Screw them. I’m gonna wear what I want.”

All photos by Bellbird Photography. Styling done by Styles by Lucilla

Crop tops have been making a comeback for a while, and many of my favorite places to shop featured them over the fall and winter. They are more versatile than you might first think. You can wear them on their own with a cute pair of jeans. You can put a tunic tank underneath and wear with your favorite leggings or skinny jeans. You can also pair them with cute skirts as well. I love the idea of wearing them with a tutu style skirt personally and cannot wait to try that look later in the summer.
I mentioned bodysuits earlier. I have a small collection of Lindy Bop ones in my closet itching to be worn. I love pairing them with circle skirts for a cute pin up look. I remember when I got my first circle skirt a few years ago and was so frustrated that all the shirts I tried to pair them with looked kinda frumpy. I remember thinking how much nicer it would look if I could just wear a bodysuit instead. It seems the fashion gods must have heard me because I finally started finding some cute ones last summer. They look great with a circle skirt, but they can be cute with a great pair of jeans too!
While I am excited to bring out my crop tops, dresses, skirts, and bodysuits, I am also excited to pair them all with cute hats! I love hats. I seem to pick them up wherever I go. The last time I went to Philly, I picked up a Pikachu hat. When I went to Atlantic City, I found a cute Western hat that I decided I needed to wear at the beach. I love big floppy hats, and I have a hard time resisting the urge to buy one. I have a whole photo shoot with me and a Victorian Style hat that I found while shopping in Jim Thorpe once.  My favorite hats for summer though are big hats. I love wearing big hats and dresses and then walk around like I own the place. I think it is that part of me that is a little bit extra, but I feel like a queen in a big hat. Also, since I am pretty fair-skinned, I like to protect my head, shoulders, and face with them. I have been sunburned once this year already, and it is not even June.
While crop tops, bodysuits, and hats may not sound that daring, so many women shy away from them because of what society says. You wear a fancy hat, and people look at you like you are weird. You wear a bodysuit, and people say, “How Dare you be confident in your skin.” You wear a crop top, and people freak the heck out over exposed skin of a plus sized girl. I get it. It might make you want to shy away from these things. However, I spent so many years trying to fit in and dress the way “I was supposed to” and wear the stuff a fat girl should wear, and you know what? It was not fun. Fashion is fun! Fashion is expression! If you want to try a new trend, you should. I have found that wearing what I want…whether it is so-called “flattering” or not makes me feel good about myself. While I hate the saying YOLO, it is true. You only get one shot at this life. So wear what you want and be what you want. Try a new trend this summer. Rock a new look!
What is your favorite piece to wear for the summer, and how are you getting your summer wardrobe ready? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

Why you should not be ashamed to love yourself

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When this photo showed up in my feed a few days ago, it made me smile…not because of my expression, but because of seeing how far I have come since then.
I like to think of myself as a body positive activist. However, even I have times where I doubt myself and pick myself apart. It feels like society is set up for self-hate. With summer upon us, my Facebook feed has been flooded by self-hate memes for not having a “beach ready” body and having arms that are too fat to be seen in public. There are so many women that are going to spend this summer either miserable and sweating because they are wearing layers because they are afraid someone is going to make fun of their bodies. There are women that will not go to the pool because they have been programmed by society to feel that they need to be able to present the “perfect body” in order to enjoy some sun and splash time.

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Sadly, two years ago, I could not see how awesome I looked in this picture!

Why do we do this to ourselves? No matter what size we are, we are not going to be everyone’s cup of tea! Even if I wake up tomorrow magically skinny, there will be something else about me that I am supposed to hate, according to haters on the internet. I don’t feel that I owe it to the internet to not enjoy the summer because of ridiculous standards. I spent years not wearing tank tops or cute dresses. I refrained from wearing a swimsuit in public because I was afraid of what some ignoramus might say. Do I know that I am fat? Yes, yes I do. Does it make me worth less as a person? No. No it does not.
I know I have said it before, and I am going to say it again. Whether or not, we get down to the perfect size, it is okay to love ourselves as we are right now. It is okay to be you. It is okay to enjoy life, and honestly, it will make you feel better about yourself. The more we bash ourselves and put ourselves down, the more we are just feeding into other people’s expectations. If you want to lose weight, that is fine. I am not saying you should not. I am saying that you should not think less of yourself because your weight, your butt, your boobs, your arms, your tummy, or (insert anything here) does not fit the mold.
This summer, I challenge you to be bold. I challenge you to hold your head high. I challenge you to hold yourself to different standards than what we are being brainwashed to believe. Wear what you want. Do what you want. Be what you want, but above all…LOVE YOURSELF WHILE DOING IT!
*All photos were taken by Victor Devilbliss with MUAH by Making Faces Professional Make Up