If you’re 40 or older, you have had a front seat to the evolution of plus size fashion in the last few decades.
When I hear 20-something year-old’s complain about how limited plus size fashion is, I always tell them, “You have no idea. What’s available now is leaps and bounds from where we used to be.”
Add being over a size 24 to that and you really know the struggle that we had to endure in the 70’s and 80’s.
With that said, we thought it would be interesting, as well as insightful, to spotlight plus size fashion bloggers over 40 in a weekly series, chatting with them about their style, favorite trends and how their fashion choices have evolved over the years.
This week, the 40+ Blogger Series features someone I have been personally following for years and she is one of the bloggers that has inspired me in so many ways… the always empowering and gorgeous Beth, who you may know as One Fabulous Mama, but has since rebranded to BethHallman.com.
Blogging since: 2010
Size: 3X to 4X (or 26/28) range
How would you describe your style right now in one sentence?
I wear precisely what I want with little, or no (on good days), regard for trends, what’s “flattering” and the societal conventions about how fat women (or women my age) should dress.
What were your favorite brands and trends when you were in your 20’s?
In my early 20’s, I was a thrift store junkie who put together outrageous, glorious outfits. Think florals with boots and plaids with sandals. In my mid to late 20’s, I was a mother who’d gained weight, but still wanted desperately to fit in with the other moms who were smaller and had access to trendy clothes in their sizes. I wore what was available in plus sizes in my small, rural Southern 90’s town – mostly muumuus of shame from K-Mart. Once I had access to a Lane Bryant store, Sears, and JC Penney, I branched out into the safe world of vests, matching tops and bottoms, pantsuits, and “elastic band in the waist” denim.
What are your favorite brands and trends now?
As a rule, I wear what I want regardless of what’s hot right now. I’m embracing the rebel I always wanted to be and now that I have more options as the fashion industry catches up with their consumers, I can express whatever style suits me. I do adore Torrid for its edginess and On the Plus Size by Making It Big, because I can get high quality clothes that actually fit. I live in their leggings and, come fall, will dive back into the most comfortable, gorgeous cardigan ever. Penningtons is amazing. I’m in love with an asymmetric dress by Tess Holliday they have! For budget friendly buys, my go to is Forever 21, but it’s trickier to find upper plus size clothes there. You have to ignore the size on the tag sometimes and see what fits. I’m still a big fan of thrift stores where I can find vintage scores. Gwynnie Bee has been a gateway to more fashion choices. They offer me more access to beautiful clothes.
How has your style changed over the years? Did your body image affect the way you dressed?
My evolving body image impacted my style in succulent, delicious ways. When I was 38, I decided I was going to work on being precisely who I am no matter who was watching. I used to hide my body, but once I actively began a journey of self-acceptance and love, I let loose. I get to decide what’s beautiful. What a radical notion! With that fierce (and sometimes fragile) body love, I’m willing to explore different clothes, looks, and be myself.
What advice would you offer your younger self when it comes to fashion and body positivity?
After this treacherous journey from self-loathing to self-love, I’d encourage my younger self to buck the system by not comparing her body to other bodies. I’d ask her to release unrealistic personal body standards by avoiding the diet industry at all costs. Despite what the media and her peers tell her, she’s allowed to dress any way she chooses and that means reaching beyond what fat women are expected to wear. I’d encourage her to accept her body just as it is (and celebrate it too!) by challenging what she defines as aesthetically pleasing. Best advice I can give my younger self is to ignore the status quo. The bold truth is she isn’t somehow less because her body is beautifully more.
Who are some of your style inspirations in the blogger world?
Lisa at MustangSallyTwo comes to mind immediately. We don’t have the same aesthetic. Her relationship with the camera, the soul shine, the personality she reflects in the outfits she wears – all of this inspires me. I enjoy Cynthia at Flight of the Fat Girl. She’s fierce. Seeing women who are my size wearing what they want empowers me. Both Lisa and Cynthia do this. And Marcy (Fearlessly Just Me), honestly, when I’m closeting at Gwynnie Bee, I ALWAYS look to see if you’ve reviewed the outfit. I adore your style and trust your opinion about the cut, feel, look of any given piece. You rock your style and help me crush those archaic fat fashion rules like wearing belts, showing your belly, or wearing a jumpsuit. I appreciate you and the other women who share their fashion choices (and personalities) online.
What trends are you looking forward to this spring?
Can I just tell you how happy I am to shed the sweaters and boots? I usually adore boot weather, because we see all of two weeks of it down here in South Georgia, but this year, I’m longing for the sun on my skin! Although I shy away from trends, preferring to wear what suits me from day to day, I’m delighted to see candy pink, raspberry, and lemon yellow on the horizon. I’m also looking forward to the throwback seventies style floral prints. I’m a sucker for the seventies. Metallics, leggings, and jumpsuits are pretty exciting this spring as well. It’s gonna be a rockin’ season for me.
What are your plans for the blog in 2017?
After blogging under the moniker “One Fabulous Mama” for the last seven years, I’ve just launched my new website BethHallman.com. It’s not even complete yet, but traffic is coming in daily. While I’ll still be freelancing and blogging, I’m fully embracing my dream of writing fiction. This is a huge step for me on my journey and I’m owning it!
You can check out Beth’s blog Beth Hallman.com here.
Check back next Tuesday on the blog to see who we feature next in our 40+ Blogger Series.