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Mama's a Pimp.

Finding your style post WLS

A long time ago, before I'd even thought about having weight loss surgery, I ran across an article in whatever women's magazine was hanging around at the nail salon on these two women who' made a succesful business out of defining other women's personal style in two words.  Imagine: tow words that completely encapsulate your wardrobe philosophy.  What would they be?

I'm sure these two style mavens also provided recommendations for your style if you wanted to change it up some.  Imagine if you came out with a "dowdy dowager" when you were going for "yummy mummy!"  You'd want some advice, wouldn't you?

Well, that article pinged around my little brain for a bit while I analyzed my big ol' plus-sized wardrobe.  Were I a fashionista armed with a thesaurus, I'd have declared it "frumptastically stodgy."  I've always leaned toward the classics - well-made, fairly conservative investment pieces - and had tried to cobble together a collection of ensembles from Roaman's, Jessica London, and Lane Bryant.  There was no ultra-cool Torrid or chic Igigi when I was plus-sized.  Ultimately, though, I fell short: many of the pieces, though expensive, were ill-fitting or cheaply made. 

Facing facts was hard, too.  I'd never gone into wardrobe planning at a size 24 thinking I was going to stay a size 24.  After all, I was always on some kind of diet.  I'd always seen my clothing as temporary or disposable, so I really didn't invest much thought into them beyond "Does it fit?  Does it cover the bulges?  Is it a dark color?"  Clothes shopping itself was done on a desperation basis - when everything else was either completely unsuitable, too small (again!) or stained/ripped/holey and the choice was between going shopping or calling in to work naked the next day.

After weight loss surgery is when I began seriously thinking about my clothes.  I was shrinking out of them at such a rapid rate, that replacing them often was a priority.  Suddenly, calling in naked was an all-too-real scenario!  Add to that the sudden influx of possibilities in the styles of clothing I could wear, and I was headed out to sea in the misses department.  Remembering that article helped me a lot.

The first thing I did was to try and put the style I admired and wanted to emulate into a two-word capsule.  That forced me out of the "temporary" mindset and to believe that I was going for a permanent change.  I thought about the dainty clothing that I'd always loved - the soft fabrics, delicate lace, and feminine frills - but had felt to awkward and ungainly to wear.  I reexamined how I felt about the solid elegance of the classic pieces I'd always wanted in my closet - the clean tailored lines that flattered the figure.  I wanted to wear both, so I needed a combination that reflected that.  I distilled it down to Modern Romantic.

The next thing I did was to ask my real-life style inspirations where they shopped.  It was so easy!  I've found that almost as soon as you compliment another woman on an article of clothing, they can't wait to tell you where they got it and if it was on sale (and with my friends, it usually was!).  I found a bunch of stores that I'd previously avoided had turned into veritable gold mines of inspiration.

Lastly, after years of watching Trinny and Susannah, and then Stacy and Clinton, I took that advice on the road and "shopped" in these new stores.  I didn't buy anything for the longest time - I was still too large for most of them.  But I'd analyze the clothing according to my new criteria: would it be flattering?  is it a nice color?  would it work with anything else in my closet?  is it a "Modern Romantic" sort of piece?  All those years of What Not To Wear had finally paid off!

I now have a complete wardrobe full of clothes that I've been able to wear for the last two years (sort of - this is the third fall that I've fit into the same clothes, so I suppose it's "going on" three years).  It's got tons of frilly blouses, lacy camisoles, fussy skirts, and delicate accessories combined with the classically-styled staple pieces - the trousers, blazers, and pencil skirts.  I can mix and match with the best of them.  And they last, too!  No longer do I have to throw away my pants because my thighs have rubbed holes in the inseams.  My shirts are no longer irrevocably stained from falling sauce splattering my bounteous bosom.  And nothing has to leave my wardrobe because it's gotten too small.  Fancy that!

There is a downside, however, to having an extensive wardrobe full of clothing that fits you, though: you find yourself getting sick of your clothes long before you'd ever have to get rid of them!  Ah, it's a tough life, sometimes... ;-)

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