Color and Confidence 2: Seeing Red

Last summer, I posted my first color and confidence series, a series dedicated to wearing every color of the rainbow while discussing issues of body image, self-esteem, and following one's life passions.
Dress:  eShakti (Currently sold out; See here)
While I definitely prefer wearing neutrals, I find that wearing color projects a stronger message to others and makes other people take notice.  I'm finishing up the month of August with a second issue of this series, in which I hope to engage in some real talk about our bodies, self esteem, and more.

Let's start with the fashion, always my favorite topic! 

Blazer:  The Limited
Red is generally credited as the boldest of color choices, and there is definitely something statement-making about it.  Here, a red blazer and red lip help offset the sweetness of a floral summer dress and white accessories.
Heels:  Candie's (Available at Kohl's here)
I first featured this dress on my round-up of favorites from eShakti, and soon after that post, I ordered this gem using their custom fit options.  It fit perfectly right out of the box.  It's definitely quite low-cut, and I'm working through some ideas on how to wear it.  For today's look, I paired it with a white slip to get more coverage.  If I wanted to wear this dress to work or for a more conservative situation, I could pull this slip up higher to be less cleavage-bearing.
Glasses:  Valentino
Bracelets:  The Limited
Clutch:  New York & Company
While I like to have options for changing the look and feel of a piece, I realize lately that I am gravitating more towards lower-cut styles.  I love a little drama in my wardrobe, and lower-cut necklines definitely help add that flair.  I think as I get older, I am getting less apologetic and freer with my body.  

What I mean is that my body image is slowly starting to become less central to my life as I focus on life goals, my family, and other things that are more important to me.  At the end of the day, I have less time or desire to worry about whether my body looks acceptable to someone else.  I love short skirts and cleavage.  If I feel like rocking either or both, I do it now without feeling concerned about what someone else might think.  I'm learning to love my body in all its imperfections and to realize that, whenever possible, I should dress for myself first and foremost. 

Our bodies belong to us, and it's generally our right to care for them as we please, use them as we please, and show them as we please.  I'll be exploring some of these issues more as the week progresses, but today I really wanted to address the clothing aspect of this idea.

We live in a culture that tells women to bare their bodies, a culture that praises women who bare their breasts, abs, and other body parts, a culture that promises success to women who aren't afraid to show a little skin... of course, this encouragement and promised success is only available to cisgender women who fit the normative ideal of beauty. 

In U.S. culture, and many others around the world, fat women are generally discouraged from showing off their bodies in any way, outside of fetish pornography.  We're told from mainstream magazines, like O Magazine, for example, that we haven't earned the right to show our bodies if we don't have perfectly flat stomachs.  We're the target of cruel internet memes, social media hate groups, and fetish sites.

At the same time, the fatkini and crop top revolutions among plus size activists and bloggers has started to go mainstream, and larger women are being encouraged to lose the extra layers and loose clothing in favor of skin-baring options and body-hugging silhouettes.  This is wonderful.  Allowing plus size women the freedom to choose from a more diverse selection of fashion and to not live in hiding, ashamed of their extra flesh, is truly, truly inspiring.

But, is there now a pressure on women of all shapes and sizes to show off their bodies?  Are you less than confident in your body if you still prefer a skirted one-piece or a looser shape?  Not necessarily.  Do you prefer to not show your body off because you're not confident about certain parts?  That's okay too.  We're all at different places with our body image.  There is no wrong way to dress your body.  There is no wrong way to have a body.

Style should be personal, and we have all earned the right, simply by having bodies, to adorn them any way we please!

As women, we are caught in the catch-22 of either being defined as too sexy or too prudish, too fat or too thin. There is no right way to exist as a woman in this culture. Dress as you please, and let the judgments fall as they may. At the end of the day, the only person whose opinion of your style matters is YOU!!!!

If you're wanting to adorn those bodies in the color red, but need some ideas on how to incorporate more of this color into your wardrobe, I have some ideas for you:

Try adding red accessories for a pop of color

Left to right:  Black Pants for Work 2:  The JumpsuitComfy Work Wear
Coral reds are a softer version of red and feel a little more punchy and fun than true red
Left to right:  Maxi and Moto - 3 Ways!; Lounging in Flowers; Summer Crush
Pairing red with other primary colors is always a safe bet
Left to right:  Catting Around; Yellow and Red
Berry red looks fab on all skin tones, and is a subtler, richer version of red
Left to right:  Berry Professional; Honorable Mentions 5
Red blazers, sweaters, dresses, skirts and pants make a clear color statement.  Mix with neutrals and metallics to help temper the bright color
Left, top to bottom: Fall Color Week 2:  Sangria; Bringing a Little Color to the Workplace
Center:  To Belt or Not to Belt
Right, top to bottom:  Red and Plaid; Keep it Classic
 Stay tuned for more in the color and confidence series!

Do you like wearing red?  Do you feel pressure to either show off or hide your body?

For last year's color and confidence post featuring red, see here.

For the red blazer in other looks, see here, here, here, and here.

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