Thursday, August 11, 2016

the woman that makes up the size

Hi you guys!
Today’s post has been a long time in the making. You could say since I was 14 years old, actually, I have been thinking about writing this post one day. However in the last six months it has been weighing more heavily on my heart and mind that it’s something I just want to TALK ABOUT.

Daily, I immerse myself in a blogging community that does not represent women who are my size, and there are a lot of us. There are a few bloggers who are making an incredible body positive movement, but they are still size 8 or maybe, 10. I’m so happy that they are making a place for themselves online and helping women like them feel represented. But I also feel like there is a place for me and the women like me. It’s my turn, too. Each day I grow increasingly frustrated that boutiques don’t make clothes for me and brands won’t work with me because of my size. So I’ve been frustrated and I’ve been pissed for about a year. After listening to an episode of This American Life called, “Tell Me I’m Fat” where total girl bosses were coming out and saying, “I’m fat and it’s fine!” I decided that today was the day I was going to talk about this dang thing called fat.

I have not always been fat, but mostly. I was a 00 tall in pant size until eighth grade when puberty hit me like a bus. I went from weighing 90 pounds to weighing 150 in one year. It was a lot for a teenager to handle! Of course, it was right around the time that all my friends were starting to date! I started to notice that boys liked my friends more than me. My friends were getting asked to dances and I wasn’t. My friends were getting boyfriends and I wasn’t. I wore the badge "Wing Woman For Life" and that made logical sense to me because I felt like I had nothing else to offer the world. I was not musical, artistic, and definitely didn't feel pretty....But I could pimp my girlfriend's numbers out like nobodies business. It was all good. Until it wasn't. I had some great times growing up, 90% great memories. But that other 10% contains memories of dealing with feelings of inadequacy, crying, heartbreak, and negativity. That 10%, small as it may be, dominated my feelings about myself. 
My freshman year of college it only got worse because for the first time, I was dating some guys and looked for their approval to make myself feel adequate. Again, the story of every women's life. 

The change started when I decided to join my Greek organization. Not to make this a, "Go Greek" post, but that is a place in my life that I can point to and say, "that changed everything for me." Because for the first time, women were supporting me and believing in me as I ran for positions, as I led, to a small degree, our chapter and Greek community. I was a leader, an example. I felt worth something internally for the first time ever. I felt so empowered by those who loved me, I felt like this is how every woman should feel every day.

As I have continued to invest in myself, I have felt happier with my body. I started to realize that for my entire life, I had been focusing on the size that made up the woman, not the woman that made up the size. Once I had people who believed in me, once I found a job that I loved and hobbies I am passionate about, I finally felt confident enough to wake up and be happy with who I am. Developing this mindset wasn't an overnight experience, of course.  Because I am human, this is something I had to realize and then practice. It can be hard to keep this mindset when all I am seeing online is skinny girls wearing skinny clothes, or when people come up to me in stores apologizing for not having clothes in my size. However the more I serve others and invest in myself,  the woman that makes up the size, the happier and more confident I am.

Recently I’ve decided to stop giving money to companies who don’t cater to all sizes. I am 100% not interested in companies who stop at a size large, and it’s a small large. I can’t. It angers me. It makes me and those that are my size like they aren’t even worth the extra bolts of fabric. It’s stupid and I’m done. A huge part of the acceptance and love of my size came when I started finding clothes that actually fit me. It may seem like a weird concept to someone who is a size small or medium, but once I found a few brands that cater to plus size women and were fashionable and affordable, I felt like there was a place for me in the world. 

I have always been planning to collaborate with a company for this post. One that caters to all women of all sizes so that the woman can focus on HERSELF and not her insignificant number. There was a short list of companies, unfortunately, but eShakti was number one. I’m honored and thankful that they understand me. They understand that I’m done trying to squeeze into something. They get that I have important stuff to do in life and that involves not worrying about my arms getting squeezed in a jacket or my muffin top popping out over some pants.

eShakti carries sizes up to 36W. You can customize the dresses to how tall you are, which totally solves another struggle I have, which is most "dresses" are actually shirts on me. You can add sleeves, take away sleeves, add pockets, etc. They have the best designs, from quirky to classic. They are in their prime right now, too. It was so hard for me to pick just this one dress.

eShakti's philosophy is one that actually made me cry when I read it, because I needed to hear someone say it so badly.
"It is not enough that clothes look good on mannequins. They need to look good on you – this is our philosophy. We make clothes just for you, not to just fit well, but also to have the neckline, sleeve and length work for you. We also make every garment to your exact height. At eShakti, you can, of course, also buy clothes as shown in the standard sizes from 0-36W - or you can have them customized to your specific size with your selection of neckline, sleeve and length. It is your choice and it is easy, fast and affordable.We like to think of eShakti as liberation from the size tag. eShakti is about empowerment. (Shakti in Sanskrit means "power.")"

So here I am, internet. I'm a plus size women who wants to stop squeezing into clothes and start making a difference in the world. 
Blue Floral Dress: C/O eShakti 
Lipstick: Lipsense in color Aussie Rose (order here and get 10% off and free shipping)
Shoes: Forever 21, not online but they had a ton on clearance at the South Towne Mall location.
Thanks to eShakti for sponsoring this post and to Sadie Banks for taking these photos in a complete monsoon yesterday. 

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  1. I have always thought you were beautiful and knew how to dress so fashionably! I LOVED that podcast and I love eshakti. You are doing great things!

  2. I love eShakti! I had been seeing their ads around on Facebook and what not, and finally decided to try ordering one of their dresses about two months ago. I am now up to 9 dresses, 4 tops, and a jacket, and everything fits amazingly well. I have several fitting challenges that make it near impossible for me to get a good fit with off-the-rack clothes: (1) I am 5'9", so nearly everything is too short on me; (2) I am busty, so I am 2 or 3 clothing sizes larger on the top than on the bottom. If it fits my bust, it will be way too baggy everywhere else, and if I fit my waist and hips, I cannot squeeze my chest into it; (3) I am plus-sized overall, with the same frustrations you describe above. There are online shops for tall women, but they use the same standard sizes that don't fit my shape, and often don't even go large enough to fit me in the bust anyway. There are websites with clothing for busty women, but the majority of them only go up to about a US size 10 or 12 for the waist and hips. There are, of course, a number of plus size brands, but they mostly make their clothes for a very different body shape from mine. They all seem to assume that the fitting issue they have chosen to address is the only one the customer has. I love that eShakti lets me customize for all of my measurements, including height, so that the clothes actually fit. I have room enough for my bust, without everything billowing like a tent around my waist and hips. Tops hang evenly all around, instead of hanging shorter in the front (because of the "hill" that they have to go over). Long sleeves are actually long sleeves on my, not 3/4 sleeves, waistline seams don't ride up around my ribcage, underbust seams stay under my bust, armholes don't gape, maxi dresses are maxi dresses, not ankle dresses, and I can get below the knee skirts that actually fall below my knee.

    Finally having clothes that fit was a revelation for me. I have come to realize when the clothes actually fit, they are much more comfortable and they look a whole lot better on you, no matter what size or shape you are. I find that my It is such a simple concept, but almost no one else seems to be doing it. I have heard good things about Ureshii, and I like that they are based in North America (Canada, to be exact), but I have not ordered from them yet. They only seem to do knits, and most of their clothes look to be a bit more clingy than I like. I will probably give them a try sometime. Meanwhile, I have been telling anyone who will listen about eShakti, as I really want them to be successful and stay around for the long term.