“It Doesn’t Matter What You Wear,” he said, “You Can’t Cover Yourself Up.”

When it comes to fashion I consider myself somewhat of a rebel …
Not a rebel in the sense of being a fashion daredevil or pushing the envelope by wearing shocking items.

For the most part I play it safe but from time to time I like to walk on the wild side.

And at this point in my life, in my mid-thirties, I’ve come to (finally) realize that I can be myself. How about that!

It’s been a long journey but I now have the rest of my life to feel great about myself.

I now wear white after Labor Day and wear colors that, in an earlier time, I’d tell myself I probably have no business wearing – thanks to glaring public opinion that I kept myself slave to for much of my life.

Let’s face it, I’m a plus size girl living in a physically myopic world.

And in that world size means everything and substance is a word that doesn’t count for anything. In fact, in the fashion world, being and looking empty and thoughtless has an allure.

Because of this pressure, for the longest time, I wore the color black to blend in.
I wore black everything – black pants … black dresses … black on black on black.

And if I wasn’t wearing black, I was wearing baggy clothing to cover up my body.

It didn’t work.

When I was 17 my father informed me of this. “It doesn’t matter what you wear,” he said, “you can’t cover yourself up.”

As I write this article, it still amazes me that the best fashion advice came from my dad.

So, still struggling with my self-worth, I took this to mean that instead of covering up in baggy clothing, I would stick with the “black will make you look thinner” mantra.

Finding the Perfect Fit

I’d often go to nightclubs feeling like an outcast because I couldn’t fit into the typical Detroit ‘clubbing’ attire. The fitted jeans, fitted tees and leather jackets that most young women wore didn’t compliment my frame … at all.

A turning point came in my late twenties when my (soon-to-be-ex) husband attempted to coerce me into dressing in that style. Once our divorce was final, I left all the heels, boots and clothes he had bought for me behind … and along with them my insecurities of not measuring up to the other women who could pull-off that look.

I believe in many ways being a Detroiter taught me the tenacity to discover ways that allowed me to solidify who I was as a woman … including fashion.

Around 2006, the plus size fashion industry piqued my interest and I opened my first online clothing store for plus size women.
In doing my research I discovered plus size retailers, designers and boutiques. It was another ah-ha moment!

It was a world outside of the world that I had so uncomfortably lived in. I discovered plus size fashion … colorful plus size fashion.

I’m the Editor of a woman’s website dedicated to plus size women, DailyVenusDiva.com

In more recent years I’ve replaced black with pinks, blues and purples.

I love it but as I uncover my personal style, I find myself wanting to revert back to black.
This time for an entirely different reason. A healthy reason. I like the sleek sophistication of the color black and how I feel wearing it.

Yet ironically, now that I carry a positive body image – a different kind of pressure is tugging at me.

Someone close to me recently remarked, “I can tell you’re happy because you’re not wearing black anymore.”

I just smiled and said thank you.

But while getting dressed the other day I started thinking, “Why is black so bad and what makes white and brighter colors so right?”

So this time I found myself avoiding wearing an all black ensemble because I was afraid I was going to be accused of being too dark and not perky enough!

Oh these mind games. I catch myself and say why should I care what anybody thinks?

I know I’m not depressed or in mourning. I already declared to myself I’m not trying to cover up my curves anymore.

In the end, the color of my clothing has nothing to do with my spirit and everything to do with what I feel like wearing. I choose to wear black.
In fact, right now, I have a haute couture black dress in my closet and it deserves to be placed on display. On my beautiful plus size body.

So do me a favor, the next time you see a person wearing black, baggy, or something that makes you hesitate, look past their outfit and discover who they really are.

You may be surprised at the jewel you discover.




About Stephanie

Everything that Stephanie Penn does is done with purpose. Uplifting and encouraging those around her is what keeps her motivated. Her personal mission is simple, “I’m blessed, now it’s time to bless others.” As the Editor-In-Chief of DailyVenusDiva.com, a website dedicated to empowering plus size women, Stephanie's responsible for articulating the vision for the daily online magazine and its content, tools and online community. Her blogging contributions include The Huffington Post, Shetroit.com, Jukeboxdiva.com and Bizbrainstorming.com.

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