body image outfits real talk style

smock and awe

dresscardigan, & tights: Target // boots: old Steve Madden (similar) // necklace: gift Forever 21 (similar)

trigger warning: body image, disordered eating

Isn’t this dress fab? I walked right up to it in Target during an impulse trip with Dago, and I knew she’d be coming home with me (what, I have a deep connection to my clothes, okay!?). I love the floral print on the black dress, which makes for a perfect transition piece from winter to spring, into summer, and even back to fall again. But the best thing about this dress is the shape. 
Recently, I’ve gained what feels like a considerable amount of weight. I know I’m a slender gal, and a few pounds here or there aren’t that obvious in a blog photo or Instagram, but I feel different. I’m not quite/always a whole size or so bigger, but my clothes fit differently in a way that I’m not totally comfortable with. To be honest, I haven’t been totally comfortable in my body for a while. I mean, when have I ever, but now in a…different way? I’ve always envied girls with curves because they can put anything on and look slammin’. But I wasn’t sure that’s something I could ever do. Am I slammin’? Certainly not. 
Growing up, I was everyone’s skinny friend, so I felt I had to keep that up. I wanted to be frail and fragile so that people would both worry about me just enough, and so they would admire how strong and bold I was on the inside. I wanted to be vibrant, but not take up any space. I guess that’s really what most women want to be; it’s the image we’re sold in movies and magazines anyway.
Throughout college, I worked two or three jobs and went to school full-time, so it was really easy to skip meals. I was always rushing from one place to another, so I didn’t really have the time, or make the time, to sit and eat. Plus, I lived alone, and going from place to place all the time meant that no one could monitor my eating. I’ve lived most of my adult life eating one meal a day, if even.
Since landing a full-time gig, I not only have a regular schedule, but I have time to eat meals. I have people whom I see on a daily basis who expect me to eat something at some point in my eight hour shift, and I have someone at home who makes sure I eat something there too. This whole eating thing–the concept of meals–is really pretty foreign to me. I think I’m actually realizing this more now as I write this, which isn’t a comfortable feeling, but is probably an important one. Coming to terms with negative parts of yourself is rarely comfortable, and part of healing is wading through the discomfort into a healthier lifestyle, whether mentally, physically, spiritually, or otherwise.
So I’ve been eating lunch every day at work, and then dinner when I get home. I don’t cook, so I’ve always eaten out a lot, but I’ve been making a conscious effort to prepare my dinner at home. Eating more meals, and meals with more calories, has inevitably caused weight gain. Probably a healthy weight gain, at that. I am aware that I’m closer to the weight I’m “supposed” to be now that I’m eating more like I’m “supposed” to, which is why I’m not really fighting the gain. 
When I say I’m not comfortable in my body, I no longer mean that I hate it. Not all the time, anyway. It’s just that I, by definition, am not comfortable. It’s an unknown. How do I dress these hips? How do I make room for my fed belly? How do I balance out my now-noticeably smaller upper-half and short torso to my long and ever-gaining bottom-half?
Enter the smock dress. To be clear, hiding in baggy clothes definitely isn’t something I promote for anyone who isn’t feeling themselves in their bodies, because that idea stems from shame. It’s not about covering, it’s about adjusting and refocusing. Someday, I want to be slammin’ in a tight, short dress and accentuate the curves that are natural to my figure, rather than sliding off my starving frame. But for now, I’m digging showing off other parts of my body that I love until I’m ready to wear something that shows off what I’m more familiar with.
What I love about a smock dress is that it accentuates both my long legs and petite chest without having such a disproportionate imbalance of my bottom half. I can twirl, I can breathe, and I can eat comfortably in this dress, and still feel fabulous. In fact, I ordered this one too, and I’m so excited for its bold color and endless layering possibilities!
I never want my body to inhibit me from dressing in a way that I love or a way that makes me feel awesome. Fashion is something that brings me so much joy, and through it, comfort in my physical self. Clothes aren’t for hiding, but rather to style yourself in a way that feels good.
How do you dress your body when you aren’t quite feeling yourself in it?
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