Man, I’ve been wanting to write this post for months now!
Growing up, I’ve had some body image issues that worsened as I got older. I was able to lose weight when I was 16 and learned how to enjoy eating veggies and enjoy working out. However, I got pretty strict to where it almost became disordered. I was also in a long-term relationship at the time, and while he never ever made me feel bad about my body, I felt uncomfortable being “bigger” than him (he was super skinny).
Fast forward: after the breakup and during my first 2 years of dating Cecilio, I was eating intuitively (without realizing it was intuitive eating) for the most part: eating what I liked without much guilt or worry. I gained a little bit of weight but was still pretty slim.
However, a little bit before our two year dating anniversary, I started getting very sick. My lupus was flaring up badly. I was put on prednisone to help with my joint pain and kidney problems.
While prednisone helps me feel better and is a good treatment, I strongly dislike the weight gain side effect from it.
I’d be more accepting of gaining weight from getting older or as a natural part of life. But prednisone weight is different: it redistributes the fat to go to my stomach to where I look 5 months pregnant (without the miracle, of course). And it makes my face huge and round (aka the moonface) when I have naturally slimmer cheeks. And it makes me painfully hungry, not just the “I’m craving for pizza” kinda hungry.
I’ve been taking prednisone on and off for 9 years. I’ve weighed as low as 115 and as high as 158. I was around 130 during my wedding and I would love to go back there because I was “slim-to-medium”-sized but not terrifyingly skinny. I currently weigh 153.
But what does this have to do with fashion?
I’ve always loved fashion but felt like fashion didn’t love me back because of my wide hips, thick thighs, and larger breasts. I wanted to be teeny tiny. And even when I was thinner before, I felt like I could be even smaller. I still had curves when I wanted the straight body type that I saw in fashion magazines, Tumblr and bloggers. My parents were skinny growing up, why couldn’t I be? Or, why did lupus nephritis ravage my body to where I have to take prednisone long term? My heart sank a little bit when I see fashion bloggers say “Check out my likeittoknowit, I’m wearing XS for reference” because I sure as hell don’t wear an XS. But it seemed like the majority of the mainstream, popular fashion bloggers are/were around that size.
I’m not plus-sized either, but it is nice seeing plus-sized bloggers rock different outfits with confidence. It’s was hard to see how their outfits would look on me though.
When I started seeing mid-size fashion bloggers, I felt like there is a space for me in the fashion world. It was a game-changer for me.
“Mid-size” fashion ladies are those who wear sizes 8–14, and are often overlooked between the mainstream tiny bloggers and the plus-sized ones. But now they are taking over the fashion world and are growing exponentially. Just check out @midsizecollective for reference.
Anushka Moore founded Midsize Collective last year as a space for women who fall under that category to express their style. Midsize Collective currently has 26.3k+ followers on Instagram. Click on this article from Who What Wear to learn more about mid-size fashion.
Before I discovered the world of mid-size fashion, I would wear my favorite pair of jeans that were too tight and uncomfortable because I refused to size up. I’m still afraid to buy new pants though, I have to get over that fear. I would still try to dress stylishly, but I also had moments of being a bit sloppy in what I wear because I was trying to hide. I often thought that not many clothes would look good on me and that I was/am just plain unphotogenic. But seeing influencers who share my body shape and size makes me feel like I too can rock whatever they’re wearing!
Now that’s not to say that I no longer struggle with body image issues. I most definitely do, and everyday I ask myself, “would I not be constantly worried about my weight if society wasn’t pounding it in our brain to be as small as possible?” It really helps to unfollow a lot of influencers who make you feel bad about yourself and your looks and body, all while following the others you CAN relate to.
That said, I still do want to lose weight, and I’m taking 5 mg of prednisone and it’s not coming off. It does make me worry that it never will and that I’m at my new set point even when I taper off. It has before, but I worry that I won’t be as lucky this time. But nevertheless, mid-size style bloggers have shown me that I (and you!) can be chic at any size, and that I should love myself no matter the state or shape my body is in. Because my worth isn’t based on my shape or size and that I still deserve cute clothes. And you too deserve to feel comfortable and confident no matter who you are and what you look like.
Hannah is a travel writer, graphic designer, and the founder/editor of Hannah on Horizon. She is based in Sacramento, California, living with her husband and two adorable dogs. She shares tips on how to experience luxury travel on any budget, and how to maximize time at each trip or destination, no matter what your budget or amount of vacation time at work. She enjoys making you feel like you have visited each destination with her through her storytelling and informative writing style.