Most women, regardless of size, struggle to keep pace with current fashion trends. This is understandable as a lot of trends don't translate into "real life." (After all, it's pretty clear that designers purposely favor stick-thin models because their bodies mimic hangers. Even superstar fashionista Rihanna called out the fashion industry for its "unhealthy" obsession with turning women into "human mannequins".) Once you add in the high turnaround among trends ("...one day you're in and then the next day, you're OUT!") and the sky-high prices of certain apparel, it becomes all but impossible for us "regular folks" to stay on top of what is in style. But, just because you don't have the latest gear doesn't mean that you can't look fabulous at all times.
Now, I'm not going to give you a list of "Five Things You Absolutely MUST Have in Your Wardrobe" . . . at least not right now. That's another post for another day. (If you can't wait, check out this great video on Itsabellavita's YouTube Channel.) But, in the meantime, I do want to share what I call "Curvy CEO's Tenets of Style." Basically, these are my style "rules" that - regardless of your size, shape, or the clothes you wear - will help you look and feel amazing.
- Always be comfortable, but cute. If you ever watch makeover shows (and Lord knows I love me some makeover shows), you often hear the fashion victims arguing with the hosts, defending their clothes because they are "comfortable." On one episode of "How Do I Look" (or, was it "What Not to Wear"? Hmmmm....) the host got so exasperated that she yelled out, "Comfortable is NOT a style!" This is very true. Rarely is the sentence, "She looks really comfortable" uttered as a compliment. At the same time, though, that doesn't mean that you have to be uncomfortable in order to look good. I, for one, cannot look cute when walking around tippy-toe in sky-high stilettos. But that doesn't mean my only alternative is ratty gym sneakers. Instead, I'll go for, say, a wedge heel or dressy pair of flats. This is just one example of finding a way to be comfortable and cute . . . always try to achieve both!
- Whatever you’ve got, make it look good. I once dated this guy who was gorgeous. Movie star good looks, complemented by a nice, football-player physique. Really, y'all, he was almost *too* fine. (I don't much care for pretty boys.) But he aggressively pursued me, so I said, "Eh, why not?" He told me that one of the things that made me so attractive to him was the fact that I was so well "put together" and comfortable in my own skin. It seemed that one of his mottos was "Whatever you've got, make it look good!" The relationship didn't last, but that phrase always stuck with me. A great reminder for all of us - regardless of our height, weight, body shape, or physical capabilities - whatever we have, it's ours. It's all we're going to get. (As Joyce Meyer once said, "It's not like you've got a spare body sittin' around somewhere . . . .") So, treat it well and keep it looking good!
- Know and embrace your size and shape. This is an off-shoot of making what you've got look good . . . basically, the idea is to know your body. What are your best assets? What are your trouble spots? We all have something that we could highlight and something that maybe we should downplay. By knowing and embracing your size and your shape you can make better fashion choices and this knowledge will guide you when evaluating current trends. For instance, a few years back swing jackets were a huge trend . . . and I really, really wanted one . . . . But I knew that trend would not work for me as it would hit me right where I am widest (i.e., my hips) and hide one of my best assets (i.e., my smaller waist). So, yeah, no swing jackets for me. And, somehow, I survived that fashion season. Knowing and embracing my size and shape helped me do that.
- It’s better to overdress than to underdress. You're heading out to an event. Maybe you've never been to that venue or you're meeting a group of people for the first time. If you aren't sure of what to wear, err on the side of overdressing as opposed to underdressing. But be careful with this . . . even if you "overdress" it should still be suitable for the occasion. Do not show up wearing a ballgown to a networking lunch. Speaking of . . . .
- It is never out of style to be event appropriate. When I was going into my second year of law school, I remember a classmate and I were talking about preparations for on-campus recruiting by law firms. And when I say preparations, I mean what outfits we were going to wear for interviews. At that time I was just sort of coming into my own as far as my personal style goes and I was telling her how excited I was about the new fill-in-the-blank fashion trend. She stopped me right there and said, "Curvy, get a black suit. It's a job interview. Not the time to say, 'Hey, I have style!'" She was absolutely right. I donned a boring black suit and landed two job offers. While I don't think it was my ensemble that won the interviewers over, it certainly didn't detract from my intelligence and qualifications.
- Try to dress as if something important is going to happen to you that day. We all have days when we don't want to bother with trying to be fabulous and would rather laze about and be a shlumpadinka. But you never know what is waiting for you when you step outside your front door. Just like your mother and grandmother told you to wear clean underwear in case you get into an accident, Curvy CEO is telling you to always look your best because you never know . . . you just might meet your future employer . . . or bump into an ex-boyfriend . . . or spot a potential new boyfriend. Each day is full of possibilities and you want to be ready to take advantage of them all.