Let’s be real: my style is not… fancy. At all. There are a few reasons why I just do not feel stylish, but much of it comes down to me wanting to not be visible, like, at all. I’m generally more of a background person. I work in Social Media, so I put other people’s faces on the internet, not mine. I hate dressing up. Makeup makes me feel super uncomfortable, like I’m trying too hard. I would honestly rather be invisible, or a bird, or something. I’m one of those people.
I’m also like, not very skinny, so I don’t feel comfortable in a lot of “trendy” outfits. While fashion has gotten better over time, it still often feels like only thin girls are really welcomed into fashion communities. In many spaces, a skinny girl in jeans and a t-shirt is “chic,” while a bigger girl in jeans and a t-shirt is “sloppy.” It’s bullshit, and you should wear whatever the fuck you want at whatever size, but it’s messaging that I’ve internalized, and that’s often left me feeling like leggings and oversized sweatshirts are more doable for me than anything aggressively on-trend. After all, few things feel as shitty as feeling like you look cute because you put some effort in only for A) no one to comment on how freaking cute you are or B) for someone to make fun of you for thinking you could pull of that tiny romper or showy top.
Me (normally) wearing a sweatshirt someone gave me and old leggings and socks I stole from my girlfriend, plus sneakers I got on sale:
So chic, right?
I’m also not straight, so fashion becomes this weird space where I feel like if I look too “girly” that no one will know I’m gay (which sucks because it makes me feel invisible in my own community. Even though this is a fake concept, because looking “gay” is like, fake, it still gets to me) BUT MEANWHILE if I look too “gay” then I worry about my safety.
Shit is a mess, y’all.
But, for one week, I decided to just not give a fuck. I got the chance to work with Lulu’s on an Instagram Story, and I’ve been not-so-secretly obsessed with the brand for a while now. I thought it would be just a cute fashion roundup, but it honestly ended up being a good lesson for me in like, embracing fashion and trying something new and pushing my own boundaries.
So here’s what I did: I tried to dress like an influencer for a week, like a real, live, fashionable human who puts effort in and doesn’t feel ashamed of Being Visible and asking for someone to take her pic. Because it’s kind of badass.
Here’s what I came up with.
Outfit 1: The Dress and Combat Boots
When I first saw this outfit, I was like, Wow, that’s cute, but Rachel, you could never pull it off. It’s amazing the awful voices that get in your head. I consider myself to be body positive, and yet here I was, slamming myself and my body and not feeling like I was allowed to wear something. I also haven’t used a purse in probably like four years. But when I put the dress on, I felt sooo comfortable, because clearly I somehow forgot that dresses are magic (especially this one from Lulus) and require 0 thought, and the boots were a throwback to my regular combat boot days. I kept the look messy, with the shoes untied and my hair just ~doing its thing~ and it made me want to go wandering through a field or something in a very good way.
Outfit 2: The Jumpsuit
You guys, I can’t lie: I loved this outfit with my entire heart. I never wear jewelry, or tiny heels, but I love a good jumpsuit, and this outfit made me feel Very Cool. I felt like myself, but trendier. Even though the neckline was super low cut, the light fabric combined with the easy to walk in shoes made me feel pretty, and yet chill. I dig this one with my entire heart and will never let that jumpsuit go.
Outfit 3: The Red Miniskirt
This look was beyond outside of my comfort zone. It’s bright. And it’s TIGHT. And I haven’t worn a miniskirt since I was in 8th grade and some shitty dude told me my legs were too big to wear it (they weren’t, he sucked, and your legs are PERFECT AND WORTHY OF WEARING ANYTHING YOU WANT). This was definitely the most on-trend outfit IMO, and it took about 20 pics for me to loosen up and feel comfortable. No, I don’t have a thigh gap. Yes, you can see the zits on my cheek. But like, I’m kind of cute, right? This is the sort of outfit I’d admire on someone else, so why wouldn’t I admire it on myself?
My fave part was the tee. Omg, it’s so soft.
Outfit 4: The Crop Top
This was one of those outfits that made me feel like I was pretending to be very, very cool. Between the lucite hoops and studded sandals, I had a lot of questions about whether or not I could wear this outfit. That’s not to mention the crop top, which gave me major anxiety. The fabric was super, super soft, though, and the hoops were way subtle, and by the time I got to this outfit, I felt way more comfortable ~striking a pose~ and prepping for a pic. Because, you guys, there’s no shame in asking for your picture to be taken. Who knew?
Outfit 5: The Beach Goddess
Is that header cocky AF? Yep. But can we talk about how glam this outfit is? Glam would never come up when I describe myself (like, nope not even close). But this bathing suit, cover up, and gorgeous sandals combo was such a far cry from my giant t-shirt and flip flops I normally wear to the beach that yes, I felt GLAM, and now believe everyone deserves to take to the beach in a flowing, goddess-like cover up at least once.
Outfit Six: The Pink Set
By the time I got to this one, I was READY. I honestly don’t even recognize myself in this picture. The sass. The confidence. The heels. Like, what? Is this what people mean when they say fashion is empowering? Why did no one shove me in a millennial pink set sooner???
So here’s the deal: am I an influencer now? Lololol, nope. But do I feel weirdly confident striking a pose and making someone take a zillion pics of me for the ‘gram? Hell yes. I never realized how awkward and weird I felt wearing Nice Outfits, and I’ve honestly got a lot more thinking to do about my own body image and my relationship with clothes. It sucks that society can make us feel so strangely about our bodies, and I say that as someone with relative thin privilege.
If you only take one message away here? Wear what you want, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad for wanting pictures of yourself. You deserve to feel glam and glorious and goddess like, no matter what you look like. And also, support and uplift other girls, especially girls impacted by our fatphobic culture and our culture’s desire to shame young women for liking their bodies.