There 2wks ago I donned my 50’s style Lindy Bop dress, put on my face, failed to pin curl my hair in a 50’s style do, and headed off in search of Collectif Clothing‘s store on Commercial St. I was heading to Abby Russell‘s (AKA Curvy Living) “Self-Love and Style” evening.
*Just to be clear, when I say “self-love”, I mean, like, love yourself for who you are not “manual self-love” ye dirty feckers!
I don’t think I’ve ever been 100% body confident in myself but I don’t think I’ve ever really let it affect me to much. I like to think I wear what I want, be it in fashion or not, if I like it I’ll wear it. If I’m suffering from a “bad skin on my back” day I’ll wear something to cover it and if I’m feeling fat then I’ll wear something that makes me feel less fat or covers my lumpy bits. If I feel comfortable and I’m happy wearing it, then why shouldn’t I? The choices I make, I make to suit my height and my shape, I make them for me. Of course I love people to say, ooh you look great or I love what you’re wearing, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder and you can’t win them all lads! Obviously, if you’ve read my previous post Slima-marinky-mee! or follow my FB page you’ll know I’m a Slimming Worlder, so yes my weight did bother me but even when I was heavier, I like to think it didn’t affect my clothing choices to much, or made me feel like a bad person. Yes I do feel better that I’ve lost weight, but I wore a jumpsuit at my size 16 heaviest, I loved it, I feel like I rocked it, just like I love my new size 12 jumpsuit….my weight does not define me…it annoys me but it’s not the sum of me.
I was a little bit nervous as I was going on my own and so knew nobody. Normally I’d see an event like this and think well nobody to go with so not going, but as time waits for no man, one must seize every opportunity, and so I booked it. Thankfully I was greeted by a smart looking waitress with a glass of prosecco. Phew! At least I could just stand and drink…it would make me look like I was doing something. Anyway once I was in the door, armed with my prosecco, I could take in my surroundings. I’d never been in a Collectif shop before and I was obviously missing out, looking online is just not the same. Everything is so bright and colourful in store. So many colours, so many fab items of clothing….and sweet baby Jesus, there was a sale on!! It wasn’t only the clothes that were so bright and lovely looking though, there were amazingly dressed ladies of all shapes, heights and sizes everywhere and one cool sales guy. The outfits! The hair!! OMG the hair!!
As I was coming in there was a gorgeous blonde with an amazing figure and the biggest victory rolls I think I’ve ever seen greeting the ladies who came in before me, this was Abby, the hostess. It’s hard to imagine that this gorgeous lady ever had any body confidence issues…or any confidence issues at all tbh, I’m pretty sure her atoms are made of sunshine!
On walking around some more, I spotted Georgina Horne (AKA Fuller Figure Fuller Bust or as I like to call her, the woman who can work everything, she’s the shizz!). It was through her FB page that I learned about the event. There was another babe, with close cut hair and one of the few of us not wearing a dress, that looked so familiar, like you know when you feel like you know someone from somewhere but you can’t think where or how…turns out it was Miss Leyah Shanks, Mother of The Body Confidence Revolution #TBCR.
It was so weird, like meeting celebs, although I only know these people through social media, it was kind of surreal meeting them in really real life. I wandered about the clothes rails, making mental notes of what I obviously NEEEEEDED in my life, cos I have “NO” clothes and made conversation with a few people. Inside I might have been slightly nervous and wondering why I came alone, but I normally just suck it up and go for it, so I did, and nobody thought I was nuts. I really wanted to say hi to George as she’d helped me choose an outfit via Snapchat the week before, but I thought I’d seem like a sack so took a seat. As I watched ladies have their hair teased into retro up-dos, Abby made her way over to say hi. She was really sweet, we had a great chat about where we were from, work, the event and she suggested I go get my hair done too. So I joined the short queue and Abby introduced me to another girl, who’d come alone. Whilst loitering I went in for the kill and tapped George on the shoulder. I explained who I was and was delighted to find she remembered our snap convo annnd I just had to tell her her boobs were even more mahooosive looking in really real life….haaa #starstruck!
After having the opportunity to shop, try things on, get our hair & photos done, eat yummy canapes, drink prosecco annnnnd receive goodie bags, Abby asked us to take a seat. Herself, Georgina and Leyah all spoke about how they’ve all had issues with their bodies, their weight, their shapes, their confidence, anxiety and how the media has affected how we think we should all look. There were three totally different shaped ladies standing in front of us and I wanted to look like all of them, but at the same time why? There is only one of me, I am so rare I should be on an endangered list lads! There may have been somebody in that room wishing they looked like me! It’s so hard to remember everything that was said but one quote that stuck with me was from George, “try finding influences in YOURSELF that don’t make you feel sh*t”. We can look to others for inspiration and we can look at others in admiration but we still need to be us, not a copy. None of these women have said they are 100% happy with themselves every day, they have all said they have crap days where they don’t like what they see, as I think all of us do. What they are trying to say is what we see on the glossy pages of mags has been tweaked and airbrushed to Barbie-like proportions. For the most part it’s not what a normal woman looks like. For a start not “every” woman in that mag should be a size 6-8 and 5’7 because not every woman is a size 6-8. Most women will have blemishes, or scars, or stretchmarks or uneven skin tone…some even have tattoos, piercings and God forbid…..BODYHAIR!!! Nobody is saying don’t strive for YOUR version of perfection if it makes you happy but make sure you’re doing it because it makes you happy, not because it’s how society says you should look. Shur if we all looked the same it would be pretty boring eh?
I don’t think I’ve said everything I want to say here but as this post is getting quite long, I need to draw to a close. I know that I came out of the Self-Love and Style event feeling confident, feeling positive but the whole time I was sitting there I kept thinking of how much somebody very dear to me along with one or two others could really, reeeally benefit from being here and hearing from all these really cool, stylish shapely ladies. Just to hear from people you don’t know, that you don’t have to be tall and slim to be beautiful. If any of you ever get the chance to attend one of Abby’s events or an event like this, I’d highly recommend it.
I’ll finish by telling you about a conversation I had with a friend…. I sent her a couple of pictures of what I might be wearing to this event. She text back to say I look amazing and that she has no fashion sense. I replied saying, you probably do (have fashion sense) but you have convinced yourself you can’t wear something because of your shape. I told her about an epiphany I had whilst ironing a few nights before. If something bad happened to me where I ended up not dying but maybe paralysed but with full brain function, something where I was pretty much bed bound forever, I would hate to have all that time to think about all the things I should have done or worn but didn’t because I was afraid of what other people might think or say. Better I just do it now while I still can and not regret when I can’t.
*I hope I haven’t offended anyone with my “epiphany”…it’s not intended that way.