How (and why) This Blog Got Started!

Hey everyone! I know I sometimes mention this as an aside, but I really want to make sure you all know the reason I’m doing this blog. It’s important to me that you know my motivation and how I started. Since I have many new followers, I thought I’d re-post this article from last year that explains the genesis. Enjoy!

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[These photos are how I used to dress before I figured out this fashion thing. I know they look bad. They are my sacrifice to knowledge.]

This post is different from the others because it’s not an outfit post. I wanted to take a moment to explain why I’m doing this blog. I was a stay-at-home mom for almost 20 years. Over those 20 years, I didn’t know what was in style or how to dress my body shape, especially since it was a very different shape from when I was younger. Usually, I looked at what the mannequins were wearing (I am not kidding) to see how outfits were being put together. As you can imagine, it wasn’t a good strategy. Usually I left the store with whatever happened to fit. I did not feel joy when shopping and usually came out of the store feeling pretty bad about my midlife body. It was very discouraging and I never felt good about my outfits. No wonder I hated having my picture taken.

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At least I have a jacket on, but, ooooh that necklace looks bad…..

Now, cut to 2014. I had just graduated from a grueling program at a prestigious school. I was excited to begin a new career! Nothing was holding me back! My girlfriend who had been in the working world told me she always wore black pants, black jacket and a colored shell underneath. Ok, I can do that. I went to JCPenney and found an all white blazer (it must be in style because it’s in the store, right?) and I even had the arm length hemmed to fit. I had a pair of decent looking black pants (how can you go wrong with black pants, right?) and I bought a pair of functional black pumps. Bare feet with pumps? Probably not for an interview, so I’ll wear black nylons. Gray print blouse that had a seam that was supposed to go under your bust but, of course, on me it cut right through, but who would notice since it’s a print and I couldn’t find any other blouse that would fit and I didn’t have time to go look for anything else.

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V-necks are supposed to be flattering right? Nothing left to the imagination with that shirt….Oh God, those heavy black shoes….Cringe…..

I walked into the interview and the woman interviewing me looked me up and down (yep, like it was high school) and I knew I was not going to get this job. Needless to say the interview did not go well and they had me out of there quickly. I realized I was going to be “interviewed” when I walked in, before they even looked at my portfolio or listened to my intelligent conversation. I had to figure out this fashion thing.

I started looking at fashion blogs to figure out what was in style. I started going to stores and trying on lots and lots and lots of items, though not buying anything. I went into stores like JJill and White House Black Market where the employees are so helpful and have stylist training. I did a smart thing and invested in a personal fit guide from My Private Stylist (no affiliation, no commission, no kickback) since I realized I needed professional help. It did cost money, but I knew I had already spent 10 times that amount buying bad items of clothing. It helped tremendously! I was reading everything I could find about what’s in style, what my personal style was, age-appropriate advice, professional dressing, most flattering colors…..Ack! There was so much to learn!

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Needless to say, I never wore this shirt again after I saw this picture and typical “ashamed of my body” pose

Through all this research, I still wasn’t finding advice about clothes that worked for my body, specifically a big bust and a wide torso. The plus size blogs didn’t work for me because, even though I’m not thin (size 16 top and size 12/14 bottom) the plus size clothing is too big. Plus, many of the plus-size models are hourglass shapes and I am definitely not an hourglass, nor could I fake it. I was looking up advice for apple shapes and they all say “this is the hardest shape to dress”. Great. Most of the sites have drawings of a woman with the apple shape (instead of showing a real human being) because there aren’t any models or celebrities who have that shape (one place even used Catherine Zeta Jones as an example of an apple shape, PUH-LEEZE). Plus, lots of the advice was confusing (emphasize your waist, don’t emphasize your waist, play up your bust, cover up your bust, etc.). Now, throw in the fact that I’m over 40 and it was a perfect storm of confusion, no real life images, conflicting advice and feeling invisible.

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Too many bad things about this outfit to even try to list

I knew if I felt this confusion there had to be others out there just like me. I see women all the time who have a body shape like me so I know we’re here. Since the internet covers everything, I was surprised that this demographic was not being represented. I took a deep breath and just started writing about what I had learned and I ignored the critical internal voice and just started taking pictures. I knew I had figured this out (and am still figuring this out) and I had to let others know what I had learned. Let me say, it’s still hard for me to look at my pictures because I remember I once was thinner, younger, and less tired, but now I feel I look good for my age and size. I like what I see in the mirror. I get compliments all the time. I think my clothes fit me and flatter me and I really love them. I have actually felt that uplifting feeling you get when you put on an outfit and you feel good in it. I have had an outfit change my mood from bad to good. It’s fun shopping again! I actually love getting dressed in the morning! It had been decades since I had felt a bit of confidence from my outward appearance, especially my clothing.

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This was the first outfit I felt good in in decades! Horizontal stripes? Wasn’t that supposed to be unflattering? Black moto jacket fit my style perfectly. Tall boots? This was my first pair ever.

So, stay with me on this journey as we continue to be seen and heard and have our needs addressed. I would like to start featuring other apple-shaped, big-busted women on this blog. If you are interested, pop over to the contact page and email me. How many years have we been trying to change our bodies to fit into their clothes when they really should have been changing their clothes to fit our bodies? I’m done with that. They need to change for us because GIRLS RULE!

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14 Comments

  1. OMG, Julia!!
    This is so relevant!!
    I was just talking to a friend, that we need so many more older bloggers of every shape. And I realize that women who aren’t model material, don’t want to put their photos out there—but it would be tremendously helpful!!
    Thanks for doing this!! Because just because you’re one shape doesn’t mean some things can’t work for others!!
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

  2. Thank you, Julia, for putting yourself and this information out for all to see. It is very helpful. Like you, I have subscribed and purchased multiple products to help me with my style. It is so difficult to translate what I learn to the shape of my body. I hope you will continue your work!

  3. Thanks. This gives me hope. It also looks like you trimmed your hair. This made me laugh “it must be in style because it’s in the store, right?”

  4. It’s very brave and takes a lot of courage to start a personal blog. Thank you for sharing your genuine thoughts about your own journey, Julia! I agree with Jodie and am looking forward to meet even more women bloggers. Too bad I am not an apple shape ;), but like you I also have to learn how to dress my changing body and at the same time express my authentic artistic self.

    I’m sure you will find many women who would want to be a part of your uniting project! That’s sort of what we do with Tina and Beate, my wonderful stylish team, on a monthly basis – Modish Matrons link-up that encourages women to liberate themselves from old habits and fears and be more creative with their clothes. You are very welcome to join our posts any time.

    Lots of love!

  5. I have just found your blog. I agree with everything you have written. Approaching 50 myself and a bit of an apple shape I have found it hard to find outfits to flatter me. Luckily there are some styles that I like around at the moment that don’t make me feel frumpy.

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