This week, the spotlight is shining on Joy from Outfit Zest! With her adventurous spirit and infectious smile, Joy is the type of lady who inspires me to get out and LIVE! Her blog features style portraits of her friends and family, creative outfit posts, and profiles on ethical clothing brands. Today, she’s sharing a bit about her style journey and the perks of learning to define your style.
My name is Joy and I am the 4’11” sustainable fashion blogger behind Outfit Zest, a blog featuring ethical clothing and creative portraiture. Today I’m here to talk about body positivity and creating personal style. This is a journey that I want to share with you.
Let’s talk about being short – for real. One misfit to another:
Growing up, I was always the shortest in the class. Nicknames like ‘shrimp’ and ‘wittle baby joyjoy’ followed me around. Adults and fellow students often talked down to me, thinking I was younger than I was. At about 13 years old, I stopped growing completely.
Like anything in life, there are pros and cons to being vertically challenged. As a tiny person, I can’t reach cupboards in the kitchen without climbing up on the counter, I only see my forehead in the bathroom mirror, and I have conversations at chest height instead of seeing eye to eye. But in a positive light, I can sleep comfortably on a love seat, I get cute hand-me-downs, and children immediately seem to like me. Today there is a competition among my nieces and nephews to see ‘who will out-grow Aunt Joy first.’ So instead of resenting my height (like when I’m climbing the shelves to reach the peanut butter or after the five-hundredth short joke) I feel I have embraced my tiny stature. I have had a lifetime to get used to it, but I like being little. Little is cute. I think my sense of style reflects that because I find myself attracted to bright colors and fit & flare silhouettes. Ya’know: ladylike and cutesy outfits.
As styling advice to the petite woman, I recommend above-the-knee hemlines with a defined waist to accentuate your curves so you don’t look too much like a child. But I firmly believe that you should wear what makes you feel confident: confidence is the sexiest accessory. But even with a confident sense of style, there may still be days when you feel out of place, like you don’t belong. Like you aren’t sure who you are supposed to be. Like you are lost. Self-doubt is normal. Everyone goes through it. I know I don’t always feel worth it. I don’t always feel pretty. But the good thing about feelings is that they are temporary. Some days I might feel self conscious: that I’m too short or my belly isn’t flat enough. These feelings creep into my self-esteem and wear me down in other areas. They affect my confidence and my sense of personal value. That’s when I have to remember that being dissatisfied with my body won’t get me anywhere. Your body is the greatest tool you will ever have.
What I try to do (and encourage others to do) is embrace uniqueness. Personal uniqueness. Love your mind, your hands, your face, your height. Take care of your body, eat good foods, stretch, dance, and wear your favorite clothes because clothing is the second skin we get to choose for ourselves. Clothing is the most immediate form of self-expression. Respect yourself by dressing well. Wear what you feel confident in. This will define your style and make your wardrobe reflect who you are. You can define a sense of style playing dress up as yourself. Wear a fancy frock just because you love it. Experiment with your wardrobe and discover new combinations that make you feel good. Wear the things that make you feel like you.
Here are three easy steps to help you with your process:
- Create a mood board of collected outfit images you love.
- Notice similarities in the pictures and pull out 3-5 words to describe them.
- Experiment with these looks and be honest about how they make you feel.
Loving your personal sense of style won’t make feelings of self doubt go away entirely, but it will boost confidence and help you stay true to yourself. Everyone feels out of place some of the time. Don’t let that hold you back: fitting in is overrated. Nurture your personal style, try out different flavors and discover what works best for you. Soak in the little moments and have fun creating the best version of yourself.
All the best, Joy from Outfit Zest
It’s Devinne again–if you’re a petite blogger and would like to write a guest post for this series, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started!