She – Part 2

She looked in the full-length mirror in her hallway. She had carefully put together the pieces of her outfit for today and in her minds eye it looked awesome. Right up until she looked in the mirror. Somehow the clothing faded to the background and flaws were glaring back at her. So much so that it was painful to look at herself any longer.

‘What happened?’, she cried in her spirit. “Why do I have such a hard time with this?”

She calmed herself and truly began to look inside. Back to elementary school first. Being the first in her class to develop was a cruel reality. Teased by the boys and taunted by the girls. As if developing breasts and hips made her “loose”. She wished she could hide all of it, just bury it all away. Just be normal like the other girls. But she wasn’t. And those rumors followed her to middle school. She had to learn to fight because the boys would always try to touch her. God forbid some popular girl’s boyfriend try to corner her… She would always be the one to take the blame. And thus the love-hate relationship with her body began.

She was almost comforted when she gained weight after becoming a mother. It rendered her invisible to those who would chase her down simply because of her figure. But then a new breed of jerk surfaced. The guy who thought he was doing her a favor by liking her.

“Because, you know, a big girl should feel honored to have attention. Well you know girl, you got some slammin boobs and thick thighs… but you ain’t all that in the face.”

Really?

She rolled her eyes and chuckled to herself. She was blessed now to be beyond the scum at the bottom of the dating pool. But even though new skin had long since grown in place, the scars were still there under the surface.

As much as she tried to dress it up, her soul was still raw and exposed. And so she avoided the mirror because  it was like picking the wound all over again.

She – Part 1

She sat looking out of the window of her home office. The rain would come in spurts, a downpour one minute and then to a drizzle. Condensation weighed down the branches of the bushes right outside. Amazing how nature could so closely reflect her moods. How did she get here? Moments of euphoria followed by depths of sadness. But most time spent in a numb state. Not really feeling, sometimes not even really seeing. Just existing.

None of this was remotely reflective of the woman she wished she was, the woman she’d see in her head when she pictured her best self. No, that woman was bold and well dressed, confident and articulate at all times. A role model to women everywhere.  She was intellectual with a human side, kind to those who may have otherwise been intimidated by her. Her laughter was like music and every day was a new and great adventure.

Funny, she mused to herself. It is interesting how you can want so much so passionately and still feel stuck. It was as if her feet were glued to the ground and no matter how much her spirit tried to lunge forward… just stuck. What was it, she wondered. What is that magical “thing” that frees someone to live out loud? Why do some people seem so bold, so fearless? Why do they even seem spectacular in their failures?

But such thoughts made her head hurt and brought forth even more self-doubt. She was caught in a debilitating cycle. Feeling better meant making moves, but fear and anxiety kept her paralyzed.

What would she do, what could she do? Could she grab hold of the proverbial walker and will her spirit to just take one small dragging step forward? Which was worse, falling or standing still?

Go-To Tuesday – Ann Taylor

Ann Taylor is a brand that I actually just discovered a couple of years ago via the Factory Store. That’s probably for a couple of reasons. I frequent outlet-type malls more than regular retail/full-price store malls. So for a long time I don’t think I’d ever seen an Ann Taylor store. On top of that, everyone who knows me knows that I’m a bargain shopper to my heart. My first journey into a standard Ann Taylor store with its monotone colors and my first look at the price tags at the front of the store caused me to do a quick u-turn back out into the mall.

But one day I wandered into the Ann Taylor Factory store and was hooked. Colorful cardigans? Pretty sheath dresses? Ladylike pencil skirts? Sold! Ann Taylor is one of those brands that has captured trendy patterns in classic shapes. It makes for timeless pieces that won’t be out of style a year from now.

But the cincher? The pants! I have an ample backside, a little pooch in the front, and what my mom has called “thunder thighs” since I was a teen. But the Ann Taylor pants hang on me like a dream and look wonderful with pumps without needing alteration (I’m 5’5).

Also, don’t sleep on the accessories. Like everything else, I look for the sales. But often their sale items are anywhere from an additional 30% to 50% off!

As long as Ann Taylor keeps delivering classic style with contemporary flair, it will be in the top picks of my “Go-To” list.

Note: The above post is my personal opinion and I am in no way being compensated by the above-mentioned brand.

Killing Two Trends with One Piece

I don’t speak much of trends because I consider what I love to be pretty timeless. But it just so happens that many of the things I love are “trending” right now. Jewel tones, animal print, pencil skirts, cute flats, and wedges are all over the place and all over my wardrobe. I also have an affinity for dresses, cardigans and denim. But how do I stock my closet with a little of everything? By combining multiple “trends” into a single piece.I won’t wear animlal print leggings (at least not in public) but I will rock animal shoes, blouses or cardigans. I’m not going to buy a fuschia leather jacket but I will find a beautiful sheath dress in that color. By shopping smart you can find a way to make a “trend” become a classic piece that can stand the test of time in your wardrobe.

Tuesday, Blues Day

No, I don’t have the blues but I guess my wardrobe did today. I started to wear the shirt with a pair of trouser jeans and it was cute but it just didn’t feel right. I’m not sure if I’m feeling the denim on denim look. So I quickly switched it out for the navy skirt. Yes, much better. I’ve never worn this shirt or these shoes – I like the snakeskin shoes as a snazzier version of a nude pump. It blends but it isn’t invisible. By now, you know I love my animal prints!

When I put this look together, I had this inspiration photo in mind (Source: Essence.com) Totally different colors but the same shapes in the pieces.

Source: Essence.com

S/N Yesterday’s outfit was nice in concept but I’m not feeling the execution 100%. A longer blazer would have worked better with the skinny jean. There’s just too much going on around my midsection when I’d rather camoflage that area. These pictures are great because they allow me to pick apart looks and usually a small tweak is all that’s needed to go from “eh…” to “ah!”