Our perceptions of our bodies is constantly influenced by outside sources. Whether it’s the media, Instagram comments, self-doubt convincing us we aren’t good enough or the sabotage of comparison, we’re exposed to a heightened level of critique, and it’s something so many different women can relate to.
We chatted more on the topic with some of our most admired social media super stars and were so encouraged to hear the moving stories that have empowered them. Representing different colors, ages, shapes, sizes, ALL are beautiful in their own way. It’s time we engage in a conversation about what has effected us so we can celebrate what has made us stronger and embrace a realistic standard of sexy. We’d love for all you readers to participate in the conversation and share your story! Tag @velvetnvinyl on Instagram and share your thoughts.
“I grew up being bullied for having hips and thighs, even as a preteen. The boys in my elementary class had this running joke – whenever I walked past them in the hall, they would yell “earthquake” and pretend to tremble. I think everyone has experienced some form of bullying as a child, but it’s interesting that as a woman it never really stops. We’re taught to criticize our own bodies everyday. And [we’re] sold on how to be better because for some reason we’re not “good enough”. I honestly never thought I could be a model because, like most, I didn’t identify with any of the girls I saw on magazines and advertisements. Now, as a model, I’ve been bigger and I’ve been smaller. I worked really hard to try to become a healthier stronger version of myself, but that landed me in this strange in-between realm where I’m not always large enough to be considered plus size and I still have way too much curve to be placed in any other division. I think the industry is changing and I’m so glad to see it blossom. I hope there will become more opportunities for women of all sizes to be represented in fashion and I’m grateful as well as humbled to be apart of it!”
Certified Phlebotomist/Fashion Blogger
“Since I was a child I have always been bigger than my surrounding circle. Growing up it was hard to adapt to the fact [that] I couldn’t wear what I wanted because I couldn’t fit in to age-appropriate clothes. When I started on social media I became more exposed to those who think that “If I get skinnier I will be prettier”, and the comments like “She is cute for big girl”. I have always accepted the way I look and if I ever decide to change, it is going to be for me. I accept my body and love myself the way I am. I encourage everyone to do the same. Embrace who you are and how you look while working to get where you want to be mentally and physically.”
Social Media Influencer on YouTube
“I have an older sister who has been battling anorexia for about three years now. She has been in and out of a full time treatment center and has had her ups and downs. Seeing someone close to me battle anorexia really made me appreciate the body I have. I respect my body so much more and I am okay with my flaws. The first time I really ever felt like women’s bodies were accepted fully by mainstream media was when the brand Aerie vowed to never photoshop their models ever again. Seeing real women of all sizes being displayed on such a large platform helped me know that every woman is unique and beautiful. As far as my personal body image goes, one trick I use is if I ever feel down about something I will force myself to think of three things I really like about myself, be it looks wise, personality, achievements or values. This always helps counteract the negative voice in my head. I have seen first hand how detrimental internal and external pressure to look perfect can be and how it can become a deadly battle. Because of that I understand the value of thinking positively about myself and I also appreciate when I see brands who reflect that same value. “
Scheduling Registrar, Hopestillstands LLC
“Can you see beyond the road blocks that may have been set before you? Are you fearful of what others may say about you? I was self conscious of what others thought about me. In elementary school, my classmates called me “Dark Vader.” They always asked me why I was so dark. I started to feel inadequate and not welcomed in this world. I had loving parents and a supportive family, but I could not see past the naysayers that called me names. I was bullied all through high school. A boy that I had a crush on called me “Ugly La-Anna”. In the last week of school right before graduation, he said “You know what, you’re kind of cute now.” I still didn’t feel worthy of anything because I wanted to be called beautiful, not cute. But now I know what others say about me does not validate what God feels about me & what I feel about myself. I learned that from my Daddy. We must know how much God loves us and we must love ourselves. People can say what they want but if you don’t love who you are than their words mean nothing! I am moving forward with my journey by sharing my experiences to help others that have gone through the same thing I have. You must believe in yourself, have confidence & know thyself!”
Education + Outreach Investigator for the Office of Fair Housing and Equity
“Growing up, I never had a problem with body image. My family members may have said some harmful words when I was younger, but they didn’t stick.
June 28, 2011, I saved up enough money to buy a bathing suit from one of my favorite designers, Monif C. It was the Barbados Swimsuit. I couldn’t wait to wear it for my vacation, so I posted it on my Tumblr to share with my following. While my loyal followers, all 20 of them, praised how amazing I looked in the bathing suit, a website once titled “Oh You Fancy, Huh”, reposted my photo of me in the attempt to make fun of me. They posted my picture alongside Nicki Minaj, who I thought looked equally as beautiful in a similar swimsuit. Under my photo is said, “Reality” and under Nicki Minaj’s photo is said, “What She Expected to See”. After reading the hundreds of negative comments left under my the picture, I threw away the bathing suit in the hopes of never trying to wear it again. $120.00 down the drain–along with my confidence. I was never more broken than I was once I saw hundreds of people call me fat, ugly, and referring to me as a whale.
Today, I still feel the scars from that experience over 5 years ago. Although I’ve posted photos of me in bathing suits since then, there’s always a mental barrier that I have to overcome just before sharing with my followers. Have the internet trolls stopped
trolling? NOT AT ALL! But will it stop me from being the sexiest version of myself–not for one second. When I learned that I was living for me, all the negative voices started to silence. My advice for anyone learning to love themselves: it starts with you, no one else. No one has the capability to love you the same way you can love yourself.”
“My personal experience with body image in the media has always been a difficult one. Growing up “plus size” was never easy, I struggled for so many years with my body image and self love. I was told many times through out my life that I needed to lose weight in order to be healthy, in order to be loved and in order to be worthy. I never saw anyone that remotely resembled me in magazines, on television or in movies not until a few years ago. It was so disheartening never seeing someone that looked like me and that was my size. I spent most of my life trying to find ways to cover my body, I feared being seen, I hated shopping and trying on clothes because nothing fit. I told myself for the longest time that I had to be smaller, I needed to lose weight. I equated my worth to the size of my jeans. I spent so much of my life seeing what was wrong with me and creating a negative mind set that was centered around my body image. It wasn’t until a few years ago that one day I woke up and just said enough is enough, I looked myself in the mirror and told myself “You are loved, you are worthy, and your are beautiful”, I finally started to live myself for me and I stopped worrying about what everyone was telling me about my body. And I couldn’t be happier.”
These pictures make me want to book a flight and head down to Palm Springs asap! A special thank you to our fabulous tour guide and photographer for the weekend. Head to her website to check out all of her amazing work.
As spring arrives we transition to shorter hemlines, printed fabrics and open toed shoes. Anthropologie gave us some serious inspiration at their Spring fashion show. Featuring a diverse line-up of models aged 17 to 70, it was amazing to see women come together and bond over fashion for the night. The fashion industry can be cut-throat, competitive and toxic, so to see women in different walks of life come together in the pursuit of a common goal was truly empowering. It was also neat to see each woman portray her own personality and style on the runway.
Trends throughout the show included embroidery, vibrant prints and statement earrings, as well as the go-to seasonal accessory of sunglasses.
Here’s a peek at some of our favorite looks from the show. Soak it in, ladies! Spring is here and it’s time to style with sunshine and warm weather in mind.
As women, we exist in a critical, judgmental world. We compete, we are beat over the head with the notion that we aren’t enough, we are critiqued. We endure and persist. This reality suggests a need for women to stand up.
blank NYC leather jacket, free people tank, J brand jeans
This world fails to convince us that we deserve respect. So lately, I’ve been seeking it. I’ve found it to be liberating to take control of your own life and to shed the toxic energy. Whether its friends who don’t reciprocate an effort, a job that doesn’t fulfill you or a family member you doesn’t add value to your life, stand up against the things that don’t make you better.
One of my favorite quotes reads: “No one can make you feel inferior without your own consent”. I took these words to heart over the last few weeks and have held myself accountable for believing them. I discontinued my involvement with two different organizations where I was no longer growing. I distanced myself from relationships that radiated negativity. I stopped investing my energy in people who didn’t encourage me, and instead I started working on myself.
All the women reading this need to let the following truth seep in to their minds and hearts. You are worthy. You have potential and a future full of wonderful things. Take control of your life and surround yourself with people who celebrate the person you want to be. The ladies of Velvet + Vinyl are like a family to me, some of whom I talk to daily. It is truly a blessing to find positive, like minded people who push you to strive for your best. Libby, our founder, and I talk daily and without her support and uplifting attitude, I wouldn’t have been able to stand up. Each and every member of this girl gang brings something so special to the team and I have never been happier to be apart of such a badass team of ladies. Wherever you may be in life, regardless of what you might be up against, I hope you find whatever inspiration will empower you to stand up.
In case some of you have been under a rock, today resembled the conclusion of New York Fashion Week. NYFW is a monumental event in the fashion industry. Designers use the catwalk to showcase their looks in hopes of dressing the elite. Every last detail is expected to emulate absolute perfection. A key element to making each look complete is hair and makeup. The crowds and critics expect something unexpected… something inspirational. We experience makeup envy from every catwalk, but this season three designers in particular stood out to us. Jill Stuart gave us some amazing smokey eye inspiration and complemented by subtle braids, Desigual painted all their models with a swipe of red on the outside of the eyelid crease calling it the “red paint stain” and Tommy Hilfiger made us all envy Bella Hadid with her topknot and “barely there” makeup. With this look, all it took was a swipe of mascara and a light pink matte lipstick to win me over. We used this inspiration from these three designers to bring you these looks.
Jill Stuart – Smokey eyes and subtle braids
Desigual – Paint red stain
Tommy Hilfiger – Barely there
Let’s get real – by now you’re in the heat of Valentine’s Day everything. We have the stuffed bears with the hearts, we’ve seen the trailer for Fifty Shades Darker enough times to recite the whole movie, and we’ve been counting down the days until the holiday candy goes on sale. But single, taken, or somewhere in-between you still must do this: have some self love time (get your mind out of the 50-shades gutter). I’m talking about a day to totally pamper yourself. Believe it or not you must love yourself before you can fully give yourself to another person. I sound like Doctor Phil, but in all honesty, it’s the best way to get yourself feeling 100 percent. So, go get yourself your favorite hydrating face mask, some Lush bath bombs and turn that phone on airplane mode. No matter what you have going on in your life if you don’t take a little time to enjoy where you are you will never get the time back. So be a little selfish, indulge in that extra chocolate covered strawberry and give yourself a break!
Here are some of my go-to self-love tips that you can practice every day:
- Give yourself daily affirmations. Write them on your phone, put new positive quotes next to your bed, or write them in red lipstick on your mirror! Anything to give yourself that extra boost you need to start your day on a positive note.
- FORGIVE. That’s right, I said it. No matter what someone has done to you, remember your well-being is more important. Holding on to that negative energy is not good for anyone, so write all your feelings out and rip it up or find it in your heart to just let all of that sadness go.
- Find time to do whatever makes your heart happy. For me, it is taking baths and doing facemasks. For you it might be going on bike rides or sitting in your local coffee shop reading a book. It is so important to put what you love first.
- Splurge a little. I am not talking about buying a brand new car here. You can buy yourself little things on even the smallest budget to practice self-love. Buy yourself some flowers, your favorite dark chocolate, or go get your nails done.
- Look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself you are enough. You can do anything when you put your mind to it and confidence is key. Even the most beautiful women have insecurities, so start to love yours! All of those freckles, dimples, and your “flaws” make you unlike anyone else.
We are all looking for the next best thing to try that doesn’t break the bank. We all want to have celebrity hair, but without the damage from the heat. During the week I am 100% on the go from class, blogging, photo shoots, and friends I feel like I don’t have enough time to breathe let alone take time to perfectly curl my hair. I confess I was not blessed with a head of thick hair and I feel like I am balding everyday (okay being slightly dramatic) , but seriously I needed a visit from the hair gods. I have about 30 products under my sink from all the best brands and I swear I just end up spending dollar after dollar to be disappointed.
During this month in-between midterms, I feel the most stress it is so important to take time for myself and just slow down. Spending time on your outer appearance is just as important as how you feel on the inside. While I try to get my perfect curls with SoCal hair products I take time to meditate. SoCal Curls makes it so easy to use their ties because it only takes a few minutes to put them in your hair then they are up out of your face for about thirty minutes. YES, you just read that correctly. You do not have to spend hours on your hair and can still have celebrity beachy waves.
In that time, you can do plenty of things to give yourself some much needed self-love. As I mentioned I love meditation, it gives your mind a rest in our over stimulated world! Take a little time to do whatever makes you feel centered, read your favorite book (Recommended: milk & honey), write in your journal, or use our favorite playlist for this month and have a dance party. Make this month all about YOU because YOU deserve it!
The holiday season is no less than something magical. The time between the crisp leaves in November, to the brisk cold in January has people running around with a festive glow, even when our Oregon weather is less than desirable. During these months people take bigger fashion and makeup risks that force them to go outside of their everyday boring routine.
Ulta beauty gave me the opportunity to pamper myself and try out this winter’s latest beauty trends. Bringing in glow was one of Smashbox’s main goals this year, in a collaboration with Meryl Pataky they created a luminous blush palette. Last season was all about contour so I am loving that blush is coming back in full force. The palette is perfect for all of your holiday needs; stocked with a mix of 9 essential highlighters, coral blushes, and a rich bronzer. Matching the blush color with a liquid lipstick from the Ulta beauty glossary let me create a natural, radiant look.