When I told friends I was writing a fashion blog about the Upper Valley, I was met with many questioning looks. I understand their confusion. The Upper Valley is not known for its cutting edge fashion or shopping options. The closest mall is an hour away, and often the task of finding the perfect outfit proves frustrating and at times impossible.
Growing up in this area, I remember the panic that would set in when faced with needing something for a special occasion. I have always been a bigger girl and as a teenager and young adult shopping felt like torture, fashion felt like a private club reserved for only the thinnest people of the world, and I was convinced that until I wore a size 2 I would remain an outsider.
In 2008 I started working at Revolution, and my perspective on fashion began to change. Revolution encourages customers to “shop outside the box”, choosing clothing based on how it makes you feel, regardless of the current trend. Working at Revolution led me to a major realization: fashion is not about how others see me, it’s about how I see myself. This began my own style revolution, one in which fashion was no longer the enemy but a powerful tool for self-expression.
My first step was deciding to stop caring about what the tag said. One thing I have learned first hand working with consignment is that there is no standard when it comes to sizing; every designer is different. Vanity sizing is a common practice among retailers, which means labeling larger clothing with smaller sizes and therefore increasing the likelihood of the sale. In 1937, a 32” bust was a size 14, today a 32” bust is a size 0, a size that didn’t exist in 1937.
You can’t imagine the world that is opened up when you stop telling yourself that something won’t fit based on the tag. Try it on! The worst that will happen is it won’t zip up.
Once you have freed yourself from the prison of size, take some time to figure out what styles make you feel good. For me, I tend to go for clothes that accentuate my waist and show off my hourglass figure. When in doubt, I add a belt. Once you know your favorite shapes, use those in place of sizes when perusing the racks.
The next step is my favorite: when you get dressed in the morning ask yourself, “Who do I want to be today?” You could also ask, “Which me do I want to be today?” If I’m having a bad day, I know putting a little extra effort into my outfit will change my outlook and usually makes the day better. Sometimes all it takes is red lipstick and the world is suddenly a much more appealing place.