My Style History

Sorry I’m a little late today! As you can see, I had a blog redesign done by Julie! We’re still working out a few tweeks but any and all feedback is appreciated. Also, please click over and “Like” my new facebook page if you don’t mind! I’m going to be fully switching over to the page and delete the group eventually… thank you! =)

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During some of the most of the critical years of my life, ages 10 to 25, I was very overweight and then obese. Throughout this time, I used clothes as something to hide behind, but lied to myself and others and just said fashion wasn’t really my thing. The truth was, I couldn’t shop at the same stores as my friends and they didn’t make cute, age appropriate clothes in my size, so clothes shopping was always a dreadful experience that often brought me close to tears.

I have a lot of bad memories relating to clothes from throughout my youth. I remember in 5th grade resorting to wearing my mom’s very high-waisted, tapered jeans from The Gap (size 12) so I didn’t have to deal with going to the store myself. I also remember wearing jeans with an elastic band waist that I ordered online because it was more likely they would fit. I was in school one day and bent over so you could see the elastic waist, and was made fun of by my classmates for hours and then days. Kids can be so cruel.

When my weight really started to get out of control in college, I mostly wore huge sweatpants with large t-shirts that hid my figure. I remember buying those shirts they sell along the streets of DC that are 5/$10 (or were at the time!) and using those to stock my wardrobe. The only option for me really was Lane Bryant, but many of the clothes at that store were geared towards older women and not so much someone in their young 20s, so I had so much trouble finding things to wear.

When I think back to that time in my life, it makes me really sad how much I let myself go. I never really thought about how GOOD I could feel if I wore things that flattered my body and made me feel confident. Instead, I wore clothes that worsened my flaws and made me look dumpy and feel really ashamed of myself.

Then, I started to lose weight after joining Weight Watchers in March 2009, and my body started changing. After several months on the program, I remember fitting into size 12 jeans from Express and how amazing they made me feel. I couldn’t believe I was finally at a point in my life where I could shop at (some of) the same stores as my friends and the clothes actually fit!

I think because I had missed so many years of developing my style from a lack of options, I had a really hard time figuring out what looked good on me and how to embellish otherwise plain outfits, and never really had anyone to help me break out of this rut. I learned how to wear flattering workout clothes, but I never really learned how to dress to flatter my new, fit figure, or knew what types of things would give me a sense of confidence.

And to be honest, this mentality of style being something that was beyond me and unimportant stayed in my head way beyond the time of losing the weight. I watched my friends transform their wardrobes as we adjusted to corporate life, and while I thought they looked cute, I never thought that could be me.

And as cliché as I know it sounds, this experience with The Washingtonian and specifically Kaarin, changed that completely for me, and it has affected me so much more than I thought it would. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I have things in my closet that I know how to wear that make me feel amazing. I have gained so much confidence through trying on clothes and experimenting with different looks, it’s really unbelievable. I’ve learned what it feels like to be in something that makes me feel beautiful, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

59 Comments on My Style History

  1. Amy @ Conquering Self
    July 27, 2011 at 10:56 am (8 years ago)

    That is awesome!! I can (and I’m sure many others will be able to as well) totally relate to what you are feeling and what you have experienced over your lifetime regarding clothing and weight. From borrowing my mom’s not-right-for-me clothes to having to head right to Lane Bryant at the mall because it was the one store I could shop in, there are so many things about your story that flash me back to my own past! I am so happy for you (and jealous!! haha) that you were able to have a stylist help you find what looks great on you! How cool is that!? Plus, I love that she is doing it mostly with your own clothing as opposed to going out and spending a ton of money on new stuff! Good for you!

    Reply
    • Beth
      July 27, 2011 at 12:48 pm (8 years ago)

      I know. It’s SO awesome that she is making stuff out of what I have, and that we only spent $250 shopping which was c/o The Washingtonian! =)

      I’m very excited about the final step to this process – putting together all the outfits out of what I have so I’ll have options!

      Reply
  2. Erika @ The Teenage Taste
    July 27, 2011 at 11:23 am (8 years ago)

    It’s amazing how far you have come, Beth! You are truly inspiring and I am so glad you are beginning to find your “style.” 😀

    Reply
    • Beth
      July 27, 2011 at 12:50 pm (8 years ago)

      Aww thank you Erika!! =)

      Reply
  3. Sarah
    July 27, 2011 at 11:31 am (8 years ago)

    Such a relatable post! The same thing happened to me in middle school with the elastic waste jeans… I was mortified. You look great and I love those blue heels! I am so happy for you!

    Reply
    • Beth
      July 27, 2011 at 12:50 pm (8 years ago)

      It really was MORTIFYING. That’s a better word for it.

      Reply
    • Beth
      July 27, 2011 at 12:50 pm (8 years ago)

      Thanks Ash!

      Reply
  4. Rebecca
    July 27, 2011 at 12:25 pm (8 years ago)

    This post makes me feel like you’ve literally read my mind! I’ve been overweight for most of my life, and I HATED going clothes shopping because I’d always end up in the Plus-size department of Macy’s instead of all the cool stores my friends were shopping at. I dressed more like a 50 year old than a high schooler/college student/etc.

    I finally decided to take charge, so I joined WW in October 2010 and have lost 76 pounds so far! I went shopping in the outlets last week and for the FIRST TIME I was able to fit into clothes at J. Crew, etc. I was actually trying on a size 14 skirt, and my mother asked me if I thought it fit. I said “it fits fine, but maybe it’s a bit big?” and she said, “yeah, it is!” I hadn’t even thought to go a size lower, that’s how much I’m so unaware of what fits or what’s right for my body. Size 12 (and getting smaller!) feels SO good!

    Reply
    • Gretchen @ Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen!
      July 27, 2011 at 12:44 pm (8 years ago)

      Holy moly, 76 pounds! That’s amazing, Rebecca! I love your story — isn’t being able to ask for a size down the most AMAZING feeling? I recently graduated to size M tops at Old Navy (which yes, I acknowledge is still the equivalent of an L at most other places, but still!) and I was so giddy I think I ended up buying way more than I meant to. That’s how they getcha. 😉

      Reply
      • Rebecca
        July 27, 2011 at 5:10 pm (8 years ago)

        Thanks! It really is the best feeling on Earth — I mean, I know that being healthy is the most important thing when it comes down to weight loss, but you know what? Fitting into smaller clothes doesn’t hurt ONE BIT!

        Reply
    • Beth
      July 27, 2011 at 5:02 pm (8 years ago)

      WOW 76 pounds since October – you are amazing girl!! I still haven’t ventured into JCrew – – partly because the clothes never fit, but mostly because its too expensive for me! Outlets I could do though… =)

      Reply
      • Rebecca
        July 27, 2011 at 5:09 pm (8 years ago)

        Aw, thanks! I’m pretty happy with it, myself! Oh, and it was the J.Crew factory store AND I bought everything on sale — now THAT’s a deal I can stand behind!

        I also want to mention that, as a relatively new reader of your blog, I look forward to all your posts! Really inspirational! 🙂

        Reply
        • Beth
          July 27, 2011 at 5:10 pm (8 years ago)

          A girl after my own heart – on sale at an outlet! Swoon!

          Reply
  5. Theodora
    July 27, 2011 at 12:25 pm (8 years ago)

    Yup! I had just moved to NYC from DC when I started my weight loss journey. Being able to dress in really fun, revealing clothes and try out things with a quirkier style was so completely new and scary to me.

    And your blog looks super cute!

    Reply
    • Gretchen @ Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen!
      July 27, 2011 at 12:45 pm (8 years ago)

      When I hit my goal weight can I come to NYC and can we go shopping pls?

      Sorry Beth, I’m done commandeering your comments section now. 😉

      Reply
        • Beth
          July 27, 2011 at 12:51 pm (8 years ago)

          It does feel kind of weird to be putting on all these outfits that I’m not used to wearing, but I know I’ll get used to them and it will no longer feel like dressing up!

          And Gretchen – commandeer away!

          Reply
    • Beth
      July 27, 2011 at 12:52 pm (8 years ago)

      =) You’re awesome. Thank you.

      Reply
  6. Gretchen @ Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen!
    July 27, 2011 at 12:41 pm (8 years ago)

    I lovelovelove the new blog design, Beth! And I think that what you wrote about is SO relateable. When I was obese, I absolutely HATED the act of actually going shopping. Online orders from Old Navy were my bread & butter, because of the anonymity and the plus sizes, naturally. But the thing is, I actually love to shop! I just was always too ashamed of my body, and hated going with skinnier friends who would shop at Forever21 and White House Black Market where they didn’t even carry anything above a size 12 (and even carrying sizes that “high” was a rarity!) On the occasion that I would venture into the stores, I would buy things all the time without even trying them on because I didn’t want to face myself in the dressing room, and I’d be GRATEFUL when something did fit — even if it was unflattering, or wasn’t really my style.

    Much to the chagrin of my credit cards, shopping is so much more of a joy to me now that I can shop in “normal” stores and not feel like I have to hide my body in frumpy, unflattering outfits just because they happen to fit. I can afford to be a little pickier now, which I love. And I know that as I continue towards my goal weight, the “new wardrobe” that my mom has been promising me for years (as a bribe to lose weight — which of course never worked in the past) is hanging over me in the most delightful way. Hopefully I can glean some of your newfound style tips when it does happen.

    Out of interest, and feel free not to answer this if you don’t want to, but what size are you wearing now?

    Reply
    • Theodora
      July 27, 2011 at 12:47 pm (8 years ago)

      So true! After years of avoiding shopping because I hated it so much, it’s actually taking me a while to get used to loving it again because of the years I spent hating it.

      Reply
    • Beth
      July 27, 2011 at 12:51 pm (8 years ago)

      Thanks for that thoughtful comment Gretchen!

      I currently am a size 8-10, mostly 10. Those jeans in the photo are an 8 though and I have a few skirts and dresses in size 8s. Tops are usually mediums and sometimes on a very rare occasion small – which usually makes me squeal out loud! =)

      Reply
      • Lisa
        July 27, 2011 at 1:01 pm (8 years ago)

        I am shocked you are a size 8 or 10! You look much tinier than that!!

        Reply
        • Gretchen @ Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen!
          July 27, 2011 at 1:07 pm (8 years ago)

          Right? Guess it just goes to show how subjective sizing is! Just like weight (I always think that people weigh less than they actually do.)

          Reply
          • Lisa
            July 27, 2011 at 1:17 pm (8 years ago)

            It is VERY subjective. At Kohl’s I’m a size 4 in jeans, at JCPenny’s or Macy’s I’m a size 6.

        • Beth
          July 27, 2011 at 1:45 pm (8 years ago)

          I’m 5’8, so I think size 8/10 is perfect for my height! =)

          Reply
          • Lisa
            July 27, 2011 at 1:58 pm (8 years ago)

            Yep that’s the right size. I am very short. 🙂

  7. Lisa
    July 27, 2011 at 1:00 pm (8 years ago)

    When I was 250+ I wore big, baggy clothes–which just made me look heavier. As I lost the weight I had to buy new clothes every month because I was shrinking so quickly. Sometimes I wouldn’t even get to wear my new clothes before going down another size.

    Once I lost about 75 pounds or so I was dressing MUCH better. More stylish clothes, more flattering clothes. Now, about 8 pounds under my goal weight I love shopping for clothes! I love seeing my body in stylish clothes now.

    Reply
    • Beth
      July 27, 2011 at 1:44 pm (8 years ago)

      I bought a LOT of dresses while I was losing because they lasted a few sizes longer than everything else!

      Reply
      • Lisa
        July 27, 2011 at 1:58 pm (8 years ago)

        Dresses are a great idea. I wish I’d thought of that. I wasn’t really a dress girl back then though.

        Reply
  8. Linz
    July 27, 2011 at 1:00 pm (8 years ago)

    1. Love the new blog design
    2. LOOOOVE this post. I used to dread shopping trips with my friends for years because I couldn’t fit into the clothes at the stores they shopped at and was too embarrassed to drag them into the plus size department where my clothes had to come from. I’ll never forget the first time I walked into anthropologie and tried on clothes that actually fit me. Best feeling ever!

    Reply
    • Beth
      July 27, 2011 at 1:45 pm (8 years ago)

      It really is the best feeling!

      Reply
  9. Amber from Girl with the Red Hair
    July 27, 2011 at 1:02 pm (8 years ago)

    Omg you look SMOKING in that last photo. Great outfit! That is totally something I would wear.

    I think wearing clothes that FIT and flatter your figure are so so important. I’m so glad that your wardrobe overall is giving you more confidence – you deserve it 🙂

    Reply
    • Beth
      July 27, 2011 at 4:39 pm (8 years ago)

      THANKS. Those pieces were all new from the shopping trip courtesy of the Washingtonian!

      Reply
  10. Caitlin
    July 27, 2011 at 1:05 pm (8 years ago)

    Amazing photos! Totally can relate to your hating shopping – I still find myself in my old mindset and have trouble shopping sometimes.
    Unrelated question – I used to subscribe but stopped receiving daily emails, is that because of the switch? Will it go back automatically or should I re-subscribe? Loved reading your posts in my email every day on my way to work!

    Reply
    • Beth
      July 27, 2011 at 1:45 pm (8 years ago)

      Hmmm… not sure the answer to this one. Looking into it now! Was told I wouldn’t be losing any subscribers…

      Reply
    • Beth
      July 27, 2011 at 4:14 pm (8 years ago)

      Caitlin – If you could resubscribe by email by clicking the icon on the right side underneath my photo/blog description, that would be great! I guess I don’t lose feed subscribers, but those subscribed by email will have to resubscribe!

      Reply
  11. Cait @ Beyond Bananas
    July 27, 2011 at 1:14 pm (8 years ago)

    First off – I am LOVING the new blog design! Very nice 🙂

    I think it is so awesome that you are loving style and clothes..and every thing about your body! I remember vowing that I would NEVER be a girl that wore bell-bottoms (when they were popular) or flares.. because baggy pans was the way to go!! In reality – it was because I was inches taller and lots of pounds heavier then everyone else in my grade – and I knew it wouldn’t look good on me.. like it did on some of my classmates.

    Reply
    • Beth
      July 27, 2011 at 4:15 pm (8 years ago)

      Thanks Cait! It’s pretty much finalized now!

      Reply
  12. Roz
    July 27, 2011 at 1:20 pm (8 years ago)

    What a great “feel good” post!!! You are such in inspiration Beth!!!! Love the outfit in the photo shoot (especially those hot blue shoes!) Have a great day!!!

    Reply
    • Beth
      July 27, 2011 at 4:38 pm (8 years ago)

      Aww thank you. You always leave the nicest comments!!

      Reply
  13. Mindy
    July 27, 2011 at 1:24 pm (8 years ago)

    I feel the same way… I joined weight watchers in August of 2009… I’m now down 90 pounds. Not at my goal yet, but I actually have mini panic attacks when it’s time to go shopping. I have VERY few clothes since I have no idea how to dress this new body of mine. I’m training for my first half marathon so I also have workout clothes, but not much day to day clothes. I still wear my over sized PJ’s too! LOL Thanks for this post.. I feel now like I’m no longer the only one!

    Reply
    • Beth
      July 27, 2011 at 4:38 pm (8 years ago)

      90 pounds!?! Incredible!!!

      It is tough, but I found that buying some basic dresses and things that would work across multiple sizes was the best way to make it work in the interim. Also, lately I’ve been obsessed with belts! They can make an outfit or dress look completely different.

      Reply
    • Beth
      July 27, 2011 at 4:16 pm (8 years ago)

      the feeling is mutual!

      Reply
  14. Kerry
    July 27, 2011 at 3:07 pm (8 years ago)

    Ahh awesome post Beth! You’re making up for lost time with your fantastic new look – you look pretty damn glamorous! xx

    Reply
    • Beth
      July 27, 2011 at 4:15 pm (8 years ago)

      what a compliment! thank you!

      Reply
  15. Liz
    July 27, 2011 at 3:43 pm (8 years ago)

    great post Beth! and I love the look of the blog.

    Reply
    • Beth
      July 27, 2011 at 4:15 pm (8 years ago)

      thanks x2!

      Reply
  16. Erin @ A Girl & Her Mutt
    July 27, 2011 at 5:16 pm (8 years ago)

    You look fantastic and so does the blog! You can tell you are confident in your outfit! So glad that you were able to have this experience!

    Reply
  17. Heather
    July 27, 2011 at 11:10 pm (8 years ago)

    This was a great post. You are having an amazing experience. I remember the first time I was able to shop at White House Black Market (after I lost a bunch of weight prior to baby #4) and I bought the cutest top. I never thought I’d be able to buy something there. It was amazing. I think I wore that top every time I had to dress up for something for a while. I can’t wait until I fit in it again!

    Reply
  18. Nina
    July 28, 2011 at 6:52 am (8 years ago)

    HI Beth,
    Love your new blog site, and you look so amazing! You really show how one can change their appearance and lifestyle without have to starve to death. Congrats on all of your accomplishments.

    Reply
  19. Jennifer
    July 28, 2011 at 11:38 am (8 years ago)

    Beth, I am so excited for you!! You look and feel great, you’re offered this amazing opportunity to have someone help you discover/define your style, and your new blog layout looks fantastic. You are on a roll!! 🙂

    I so much appreciate your honesty in your posts. I think I’ve said this before, but I believe it’s why so many people (me included) can relate to you.

    I can’t wait to see some of the outfits that she creates for you!

    Reply
    • Beth
      July 28, 2011 at 11:50 am (8 years ago)

      Thank you so much Jennifer! I always appreciate your kind, thoughtful comments. 🙂

      August 8th (a Monday) is when she’s coming over to do the outfit assembly and help me check of the “wardrobe basics” checklist she has of everything everyone needs in their closet to start off! I am SO excited for it!

      Reply
  20. christine
    July 28, 2011 at 5:27 pm (8 years ago)

    wow was it a surprise to see THAT picture in the post.. Goodbye [good riddance] early twenties!

    Reply
    • Beth
      July 28, 2011 at 10:45 pm (8 years ago)

      haha while i LOVED hanging out with you, i don’t wish to go back there.

      Reply

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