Color and Confidence 2: Purple Haze

Trigger warnings:  Sex, sexuality, sexual abuse, sexual coercion

Today on the blog, I'm wrapping up my second Color and Confidence series with the color purple and some discussion about women's bodies as they relate to sexuality.

In order to live independent, fully authentic, free lives, we must be the controllers of our own destinies and our own choices.  Our career decisions, choices to marry or not, to be a parent or not, our decisions regarding our sexuality...all of these choices are ours to make and ours alone.

Skirt:  Eloquii
Confidence is built by living our lives as free individuals, free from the restraints that others would put on us.  When we are free to try and fail, to try and succeed, to try and just exist in the moments we create, then we develop our sense of selves.  Through this freedom, our identities, our truest concepts of what is right and wrong for us, etc. are allowed to develop and flourish.
Jacket:  Torrid (old)
Tank:  Target
Unfortunately, women in this society are often restricted in becoming full-fledged adults to the extent that our sexuality and free will regarding our bodies is often taken from us through socialization, lack of options, laws, etc.  Women's bodies are highly regulated within the culture through economic and political policies and normative ideals.  Many girls and women in this culture are still taught that their value as human beings is to be found primarily in their virginity and purity and in their roles as wives as mothers.  Girls are shamed for being sexually curious or adventurous, while boys are often applauded.  We can look to the double standards all over society wherein sexually active young men (or those perceived as such) are studs, pimps, and players, while sexually active young women (or those perceived as such) are sluts, whores, and hoes.  Girls tend to be much more likely than boys to receive shame-based sexual education that can have horrifying effects

At the same time that girls are taught to maintain chastity, they are taught that having boyfriends and male attention is a good that should be sought out.  They are taught that pleasing their boyfriends should be a primary goal.  Girls and women are surrounded by sexist images of highly sexualized women offered up as objects for male fantasy.  Females are taught that engaging in same-sex sexual activity is pleasing to (heterosexual) men and should be done for spectacle rather than true attraction to other women.
Blazer:  New York & Company
Clutch:  The Limited
Because of this, many women spend their lives highly constrained in their sexuality, afraid to ask questions, scared to share their activities even with their own doctors for fear of judgment.  Girls and women are more likely to be coerced into sexual activity because they haven't been taught that their bodies are theirs to share or not to share at their own choosing.  They haven't been taught to pay attention to their own sexual desires - in many instances, they are taught that they don't have or shouldn't have such desires.
Booties:  Sonoma life+style (Available at Kohl's here)
Boots:  Target
Then, there is this ridiculous, heterosexist stereotype of fat women as sexually promiscuous, founded on the premise that fat women are more desperate for male attention.  We are supposed to be thrilled and grateful that men might find us appealing enough for sex. 

News flash - being approached and harassed sexually is not alluring.  It's not a turn on, and fat women aren't all sitting around hoping some man can overlook their fat bodies and actually have sex with them.

Top:  Eloquii
Bangles:  LOFT
To the women who may be feeling lonely, I just want to remind you that you are better than these men, better than these encounters.  Our bodies are only one small part of who we are.  There are so many amazing men AND women out there who will love you and your body.  There is no need to settle for someone who simply has a fat fetish or who just wants to get laid (P.S.  even if you too are just looking to get laid - there are better choices than these men!)
Cuff:  The Limited
Necklace:  JC Penney
Our bodies are ours to use intimately or sexually as much as we want, including not at all.  Women should not be slut-shamed or made to feel uptight or prudish for their sexual choices.  As long as we aren't harming anyone else with our sexual choices and all participants are consenting, sexual freedom is part of living a healthy confident life in our bodies

Our perceptions of our bodies are often tied to the various uses of our bodies.  Breathing, walking, running, eating, sitting, hugging, sleeping, brushing our teeth, growing other humans, putting on clothes, having sex...all of these activities may affect our perception of self and our bodies to some degree.  Being able to fully engage in the sexual sides of ourselves, whether that means serial monogamy, abstinence, polyamory, monogamous marriage, or frequent sexual adventures with whoever we choose is part of what makes us full adults, complete women.  That freedom to choose how we use our bodies sexually is tied to our feelings of self-worth.  When we are free to make choices for ourselves and to listen to our own needs and wants, we can only be more confident as human beings.

Tank:  Old Navy
Glasses:  Firmoo.com
And with freedom of choice is the freedom to dress our bodies as we see fit, no matter our body size or shape.  Wearing color sends a bold message that as a woman, that as a person of any shape or size, that you won't be ignored and that you won't be made invisible by society.

Like any color, it can be easy to incorporate your favorite shades of purple into your wardrobe without going over-the-top with color.

Try a purple top

From left to right:  Marvelous Midis; This is What a Feminist Looks Like; Fall Color Week 2:  Plum Purple
Accessorize with purple shoes and bags
From left to right:  Leopard In Transition; Queen Cobra
Plum blazers and dresses look great mixed with faux leather and cognac touches
From left to right:  A Homecoming Look + A Review of My Pick from Altuzarra for Target; Dress Up Tee Time
Purple sweaters are cozy & easy
From left to right: Fall Double Feature: Sweater Glamour; I Resolve To Show More Leg

Do you like wearing the color purple?  Do you agree that sexuality is tied to body confidence?  Why or why not?

Hope you enjoyed my color and confidence series.  Catch up with the other posts in this series here:

For the first Color and Confidence:  Purple, see here

For the cropped black blazer, see here, here, here, and here

For the black lace crop top, see here, here, here, and here
For the black leather sleeve blazer, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here


Color and Confidence 2: True Blue with eShakti

Happy Sunday! 

Today, I'm singing the blues in a jumpsuit from eShakti.  I love the drapey fit and lightweight fabric of this piece.  The navy color is super versatile, and the tonal herringbone pattern adds visual interest.

Jumpsuit:  c/o eShakti (Available here)
EShakti reached out to me some time ago about trying out their new pants offerings. We had a few hang-ups and re-orders before I finally ended up with this jumpsuit, but I'm really happy with the choice.  It's relaxed and chic at the same time, and I have already imagined a few different styling options for this piece.
Heels:  Target

Cuff:  The Limited
With a focus on blue today, I've got lots of navy and cobalt, my favorite shades of blue to wear.  Navy is really the only "color" of the rainbow that is also a neutral, so it's like getting the best of both worlds when I wear it.  My favorite way to wear navy is paired with black, as I've done here today, for a subtle contrast.
Earrings:  Target
 Silver jewelry adds a brightness and soft contrast to the look.
For more ways to wear navy (and other shades of blue), see here:

Left, from top to bottom:  Style Inspiration from Garner Style; Flowers and Moccasins
Middle:  Black and Navy
Right, from top to bottom:  Fall Double Feature:  Blue Hues; Weekend Ready
In a Cobalt Moto Jacket and Printed Dress
From left to right:  Maxi Dresses for Spring, Part One; Spring Berries & And Eyewear Feature from Firmoo.com; Weekend Ready
Mix Blues
Left:  The Summer Maxi
Right, top to bottom: 
Double Draping; Fall Color Week 2:  Blues
With Animal Prints
From left to right:  I Resolve To Wear More Color; Brights and Leopard
In shades of aqua or light blue mixed with red and pink
From left to right:  Taking My Own Advice; Working It Like A Boss
In Royal and Cobalt
From left to right:  Bringing A Little Color to the Workplace; The Temptress; Fall Double Feature:  Sporty Chic
Hope you've enjoyed my round-up of favorite ways to wear blue!  I'll be back tomorrow with the final installment of my color and confidence series featuring the color purple!  Catch up with the other color and confidence posts below.
Catch the other Color and Confidence 2 posts here:
Seeing Red
Orange You Worried About Your Health?
Mellow Yellow

Green Queen
For my first annual Color and Confidence:  Blue post, see here

Color and Confidence 2: Green Queen

My color and confidence series continues today with the color green!  If you've missed any posts from this series, you can catch all the links at the end of this post.

Green is one of my very favorite colors, and I love wearing it.  For today's look, I went summer minimalist with a faux wrap skirt and simple tank.

Skirt:  Eloquii (Available here)
As much as I love wearing neutrals, wearing color can definitely make me feel more vibrant at times.  Ultimately, feeling comfortable and good in our own clothes (and your own skin) is what gives you confidence, but I think color projects a confident vibe.  Color announces your presence to others and demands more attention than neutrals.  If you're not feeling as good about yourself as you'd like, wearing color can be a great way to fake it til you make it.
Tank:  Ava+Viv for Target (Available here)
Heels:  Candie's (Available at Kohl's here)
No matter how great you feel about yourself, we all have our less confident days.  Whether you're working on your self-esteem or just need an occasional pick-me-up, I have a few strategies I employ.

Look at yourself in the mirror and smile
When you look in the mirror, what do you see?  Do you like the person staring back at you?  Do you think this person is attractive?  Smart? Caring? Loving?  It can be very easy to look in the mirror and only focus on what you don't like.  Instead, I encourage you to look at your reflection and pretend you're staring at a good friend.  You would be kind to that friend, right?  You would know this person's flaws, but you would focus on the qualities that endear him or her to you.  Treat yourself the same way.  Smile at your reflection, say hi to that person staring back at you.  Tell that person what is right about them, why you love and care for them.  Show yourself the love you would show someone else.  Be your own best friend.  This exercise will make you feel silly, and that's okay.  Laugh at yourself, smile at that gorgeousness you see reflected.  You're changing the energy around you and sending yourself good vibes.

Necklace:  The Limited
Clutch:  The Limited
Surround yourself with diverse, body positive images
For years, I read oodles of fashion magazines, compared myself to supermodels, and just felt woefully inadequate.  Blogging has really changed that for me.  With so many fashion bloggers of diverse body shapes, sizes, ethnic backgrounds, and styles, I have learned to love and appreciate my own body more.  Clothing looks different on different body types, and that diversity is nothing short of beautiful.  I still read fashion magazines to catch up on the latest trends and runway shows, but I do so now with a more critical eye. While I think the models featured in the magazines are gorgeous, I no longer find myself comparing myself to them.  Instead, I've learned to appreciate their unique beauty without letting it invalidate my own.

When I find myself feeling down in the dumps about my appearance, I seek out body positive bloggers for inspiration.  I'm never in shortage of powerful, fierce, beautiful women who will put a smile on my face and give me the permission I needed to see my own beauty.
Glasses:  Valentino
Take the focus off of yourself
Whenever I start to get too focused on what I don't love about my body, I try to turn the focus outward.  I try to spend more time with my kids, talk to the man, engross myself in work or the blog, re-connect with friends, etc.  By taking the focus off of my body, I am nurturing important relationships and the other aspects of my life and of myself that have nothing to do with what I look like.  My confidence grows as I am reminded of how my body is only one small part of who I am.  Life is too short to spend your time focused on what is "wrong" with your body!

Ring:  The Limited
As I talked about yesterday, partaking in fashion also allows me to explore and expand my relationship with my body.  Whenever I'm feeling down, I turn to my favorite clothes to help me feel my best.  Wearing a favorite color instantly improves my mood.  In particular, I tend to find green to be a calming color, and since I find most shades flattering with my coloring, I also tend to also feel a little prettier when I'm wearing it.

Want to incorporate more green into your wardrobe?

Try a green jacket in forest, olive, or mint
From left to right:  It's Only Rock-n-Roll; Unconditional Body Beautiful - Part 3:  My Journey on My Legs; A Midspring's Night Dream
Florals, leopard print, and painterly prints in green are a great bet
From left to right:  Holiday Double Feature:  Office Party; Black & White & Green Florals; Water Baby
Try green pants or a maxi dress
From left to right:  Transitioning a Maxi Dress; Fall Color Week 2:  Dark Green
Green shoes, purses, and jewelry add a pop of color
From left to right: Lines & Laces; Vintage Floral; Midi & Crop Tops

Do you like wearing green?  Have a favorite shade?  What are some of your strategies for boosting confidence?

For the white skirt in other looks, see here.

For last year's Color and Confidence:  Green, see here

Catch the other Color and Confidence 2 posts here:
Seeing Red
Orange You Worried About Your Health?
Mellow Yellow


Color and Confidence 2: Mellow Yellow

I hope you've been enjoying my second Color and Confidence series.  Catch up with my red and orange posts here and here.
Skirt:  Eloquii (Available here)
I've delved into the issue of body policing, especially of women's bodies, as it relates to fashion and to concerns over health, but today, I wanted to step back from these larger socio-cultural issues and get a little more mellow.  Today, I'm going to talk a bit about building confidence through fashion and the barriers to personal style that might be holding you back.

Fashion and style don't necessarily come naturally to everyone.  Some people enjoy fashion more than others.  Maybe your joy in fashion has been tempered by lack of options, lack of money, self-esteem issues or other factors.

Top:  eShakti
Jacket:  LOFT Petites (old)
I'm really of the mindset that fashion is for everybody and for every BODY.

For some people, fashion just isn't their thing and thinking about how they adorn their bodies isn't really a big concern.  That's totally okay - we all have our interests and the things that don't appeal to us.  That said, maybe you've turned away from fashion because it seemed too hard to fit your body, because you don't know what looks good on you, or because you're not loving your body at the moment.  If that's the case, then I'm talking to you today.

Please never wait to lose weight to enjoy fashion.  Fashion is your right simply by having a body.  Throw the rule books out the window and wear whatever the heck you want!

Booties:  Target
Afraid?  The best way to conquer fears is by tackling them head on.  Don't think you'd look good in leather pants?  Want to try the 70s trend this fall, but are worried that fringe will look silly on you?  You won't know until you TRY.  Try everything on in the store.  If something even remotely appeals to you on the hanger, give it a try!  You might be really surprised by how you look or feel.

If your self-esteem is down in the dumps, it can be hard to see your fabulousness no matter what you try on, so I also recommend bringing an honest friend or two with you while shopping as well as a phone or camera to take some dressing room selfies.  Those friends will tell you when something looks great.  They will notice that glimmer in your eyes that maybe you have not let yourself see.  They will encourage you to break out of ruts you may have created as a personal safety zone.

I personally tend to prefer shopping alone, but sometimes I have a hard time deciding if something works for me when I first try it on.  I take dressing room selfies to get a different view and capture the look, sometimes sharing it with a friend for a second opinion.  Often, I will take those images and study them a bit to look at myself more objectively. 

Glasses:  Valentino
Clutch:  c/o Cameo de Bore (Sold out; see other options here)
Maybe you're not partaking in fashion as much as you'd like because you have difficulty finding items that fit your body shape or size.  First, please let me reinforce that most ready-to-wear clothes are made to fit one specific body type.  There is NOTHING wrong with your body if you don't fit into that body type.  Clothes are rarely a perfect fit off the rack for ANYONE regardless of size.

I've talked about this on the blog before, but I can't emphasize how much I highly recommend tailoring.  It is simply amazing what a few small tweaks can do to make a garment your own.  A simple change in hemline can take your look from matronly to modern.  Developing a relationship with a tailor can breathe new perspective to your shopping.  Some of us are NEVER going to find a great fit off the rack.  I'm short and curvy - clothes really aren't made for me.  It can be frustrating at times, but your mind opens up to more possibilities when you recognize that every garment can be changed.  Changing closures, sleeves, adding pleats, etc. can give you pieces that are truly one-of-a-kind.

Even better than tailoring?  A custom fit!  There are more and more on-line retailers, like eShakti, Smart Glamour, and Chubby Cartwheels, to name a few, that offer a custom fit for little to no extra charge.

Extensive tailoring can get expensive, and maybe you steer away from fashion because of lack of money.

I definitely understand this issue.  Money's always going to be a concern to the majority of us, no matter our incomes.  While I'm a little better off today than I have been in the past, I spent most of my life struggling with money and haven't always had as much disposable income or credit to spend on fashion.  Lack of money can definitely be frustrating when you're trying to get your look on, but there are still lots of amazing options.  In my college days, I definitely frequented thrift stores and rummage sales to find unique and interesting fashion pieces at a fraction of the cost.  Thrift shopping has gotten much better over the years, and there are even on-line thrift stores nowadays!!  I love hitting pawn shops for unique jewelry at a fraction of the retail cost.

Fast fashion options like H&M, Forever 21, and City Chic offer the latest trends at a low price, and I always scour the ASOS sale pages for superb deals.  Previously, I offered some of my tips for shopping on a budget, and you can check that post out here.

Earrings:  Target and The Limited
After I had my daughter, I had NO clothes that fit.  My husband was in nursing school at the time, and I was working part-time as a sociology instructor.  We had five kids to support on very little money, so shopping was minimal.  As I slowly started rebuilding my wardrobe, I also learned how to get more creative with my clothing.

I mixed prints and color palettes that I normally would not have.  Dare I say it, being broke actually helped me have better style!  Without the ability just to go buy what I wanted or felt I needed to make an outfit just right, I improvised and in many cases, I came up with something a little more daring and unique.  Coming from a low-income family, as a kid, I became an expert at experimentation, using accessories in creative ways, wearing skirts as dresses, layering pieces to create a new effect, etc. 

I also taught myself some simple sewing techniques as a kid.  Before I could afford to get pants altered, I usually did them myself by hand.  It can be a little time-consuming, but it's a super easy alteration.  I also created higher slits in skirts, took tank tops up in the shoulders, repaired small holes, and replaced buttons myself. 

It is easy to get discouraged by fashion when it feels like the deck is stacked against you, but fashion can be such a great joy in life.  It can help you on a path towards seeing your body in new ways.  For me, fashion can be an incredible confidence booster.  Knowing that you deserve to look and feel amazing in your body can help you see fashion in a new light.

As I've said, fashion experimentation can be really fun.  It can lead you on a path towards developing your own personal style.  It's also fun just to mix things up now and again.  Fashion can help you express all the sides of your personality or your mood on any given day.  For example, today's look is definitely a little outside of my personal style.  I love the skirt and blazer, but I wouldn't have normally thought to pair them together.  The floral crop top is sweet and delicate, and the overall effect of this outfit is so soft and springy.  I usually prefer a more modern and edgy style, but sometimes it's fun to play in a new combo.

As for the color yellow, it's one of my favorite colors to wear!!  I just love the way it adds a pop of sunshine to any look.  For me, it's bold, soft, and feminine all at once.

Here are some of the ways I've worn yellow over the last year:

As an accent color

Left, from top to bottom:  Loving Our Bodies vs. Loving Our Fat; Reader's Choice:  Casual Wear; Skirt Week 2:  50s Flair
Middle:  Style Inspiration from Garner Style
Right, from top to bottom:  Unconditional Body Beautiful - Part 3:  My Journey on My Legs; Summer's End
In a great print

Left to right:  Art of Work; Garden Party
As a Central Color Statement
Left, top to bottom:  Bzzzz...Black and Yellow Aren't Just for Bees; Weekend Natural + JORD Wood Watch Feature
Middle:  11 Twenty Eight Designs
Right:  The Slip Dress

Do you like wearing the color yellow?  Do you feel any barriers to partaking in and enjoying fashion?

For last year's Color and Confidence:  Yellow, see here