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It’s My Birthday So Let’s Celebrate

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There are two great days in a person’s life — the day we are born and the day we discover why. — William Barclay

Today’s a very special day. Yes, today is my birthday. And like on any birthday, I like to think back on the past year: all that I’ve learned, how I’ve grown and what I want to accomplish during the upcoming year.

Last year, I launched this very blog, The Chief of Style, a project I’d had in mind for so long, but was too scared to pursue. I never wanted to put my name on something that wasn’t of the highest quality, so I made excuse after excuse for not actually doing it…until I ran out of excuses.

In July, we went live with something I was proud of. I still have a lot of growing (and perfecting) to do with my blog, my Instagram and my brand overall, but I’m happy with what I’ve done thus far, in under a year, with The Chief of Style.

I’ve also learned a lot about myself this year. After having my heart broken (I mean, completely shattered), I refocused my attention on myself. I became my priority again and focused on loving myself more, just as I am. Instead of picking myself apart, the time I spent looking in the mirror was dedicated to noticing all of the beauty that I saw in the reflection looking back at me. I unfollowed folks on social media whose posts made me feel less than and I began following folks who inspired me to be great and reminded me that I already am. I began really and truly loving myself inside and out. I even gained some weight (thanks to the breakup), but have never loved myself — or my body — more.

And then, I was invited to join Parfait Lingerie’s “Perfect Figure” campaign which was a game changer for me in so many ways. Besides being photographed in my underwear and having those photos shared with the world (literally), through our ongoing partnership where I blog about all kinds of things under photos in their lingerie, I started to reflect on the many ways I wanted to love myself and the reasons why doing so is so critical.

I kind of feel like the last 33 years of my life were a practice run and now it’s time for the real thing. Armed with more knowledge, a lot more experience and a hell of a lot more confidence, I’m ready to take on this thing called life. And I’m so excited to share each and every move with you.

So, please stay tuned, babes!

xo

chief of style Amy Stretten in a birthday photo holding balloons in front of the Paul Smith wall on Melrose in a red plus size jumpsuit from fashion nova curve

chief of style Amy Stretten in a birthday photo holding balloons in front of the Paul Smith wall on Melrose in a red plus size jumpsuit from fashion nova curve

Outfit details: Jumpsuit: Fashion Nova Curve | Shoes: A’gaci

Career Advice: Do What Makes You Happy

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“When nothing is sure, everything is possible.” – Margaret Drabble

A while ago I had a heart-to-heart with my Dad about my career. I was lamenting that I’m not making as significant of an impact in the world as other people I know and as much as I wish I were. I told him that he saves lives (he’s a doctor) and all I’m doing is talking about clothes [and self love and body positivity, etc.]. His response? He said that he may be saving lives, but I’m helping make the world a more beautiful place in which to live.

Lately, I’ve been holding his words close to my heart. Despite what it looks like, the freelance struggle ain’t easy and I’ve considered taking opportunities that wouldn’t leave me much time to continue blogging. But, you know what, I just can’t give up on my mission to motivate and inspire other women going through similar struggles that I’ve gone through. I really love what I’m doing here at ChiefofStyle.com and on my Instagram. I’m loving the community I’m creating and the feedback I’m getting. I appreciate the DMs and the comments expressing solidarity. And I really love fashion too much to stop talking about it!

Sometimes, I do wonder if my life would have been easier if I had taken a more straightforward career path. If you want to be a doctor, for example, the path is laid out for you. But when you’re a journalist/communications professional/blogger/consultant, you’ve got to create your own path and that can be scary AF! Thing is, I really wouldn’t want it any other way. I truly think I was born to do exactly what I’m doing and I’m where I’m supposed to be.

We don’t all have the same talents and interests, but we can each make our mark and improve the world for the next generation in some way, big or small. That’s something to be proud of. If I can provide encouragement to even just one Native teen or young queer femme or newly plus size mother or anyone else struggling in some way…I will have done what I’m here to do.

I hope you’re doing what gives you joy and you spread it everywhere you go.

xo

Amy Stretten, the Chief of Style, wearing a Printed Trumpet Dress with Striped Sleeves by Eloquii at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York.

Amy Stretten, the Chief of Style, wearing a Printed Trumpet Dress with Striped Sleeves by Eloquii at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York.

Amy Stretten, the Chief of Style, wearing a Printed Trumpet Dress with Striped Sleeves by Eloquii at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York.

 

Amy Stretten, the Chief of Style, wearing a Printed Trumpet Dress with Striped Sleeves by Eloquii at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York.

Amy Stretten, the Chief of Style, wearing a Printed Trumpet Dress with Striped Sleeves by Eloquii at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York.

Amy Stretten, the Chief of Style, wearing a Printed Trumpet Dress with Striped Sleeves by Eloquii at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York.

Outfit details: Dress: Eloquii | Earrings: Xehar | Shoes: DSW

Photographer: @M76Photo

F*ck Skinny, Get Fit – a Trip to Indian Alley

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“Perhaps, we should love ourselves so fiercely, that when others see us they know exactly how it should be done.” – Rudy Francisco

This was the very first photo shoot I did for The Chief of Style. As you may have gathered by now, the word “Chief” in my name means more than just the boss (i.e.: CEO), but I’m also Native American. Essentially, it’s a play on words.

For this inaugural shoot, I went to Indian Alley in Downtown Los Angeles. Very few people know about this particular street. It’s actually gated on both ends, but if you’re lucky, you can get in. Along the walls are incredible street art murals – most feature Indian empowerment-type images and many are political. I felt so badass posing with them. (It’s not everyday you see Indigenous culture represented in an urban area and in a modern way.) The murals, to me, say “We’re still here and we’re not going anywhere.” I love the juxtaposition of the Indians on horses, spray painted with a stencil. Where past and present, urban center and the rural plains meet.

I chose to do a fitness-style shoot because working out makes me feel strong, like a warrior. And, I’m renewing my commitment to a eating clean and moving more. For the shoot, I wore my new favorite workout tank that says, “F*CK SKINNY, GET FIT.” That’s truly become my mantra along this self-love and acceptance journey. When it comes to my fitness routine and overall lifestyle, I’ve adopted a much more loving way of looking at things. I’m done punishing my body and ‘hating the weight off.’ I truly want to be health, plain and simple. Fitness is what I’m after, not a stick thin figure (as I once would have killed for).

Many communities of color value extra meat on the body, mine included. It’s possible to be healthy and curvy and that’s what I’m after. So, there’s no more fat and body-shaming going on over here.

You should really check out Indian Alley if you’re ever in Downtown LA. The murals are constantly changing and they’re just glorious. Enjoy!

Amy Stretten, Chief of Style, plus style blogger modeling Forever 21 Plus and Nike in front of the murals on Indian Alley in Downtown Los Angeles.

Amy Stretten, Chief of Style, plus style blogger modeling Forever 21 Plus and Nike in front of the murals on Indian Alley in Downtown Los Angeles.

 

Amy Stretten, Chief of Style, plus style blogger modeling Forever 21 Plus and Nike in front of the murals on Indian Alley in Downtown Los Angeles.

 

Amy Stretten, Chief of Style, plus style blogger modeling Forever 21 Plus and Nike in front of the murals on Indian Alley in Downtown Los Angeles.

Amy Stretten, Chief of Style, plus style blogger modeling Forever 21 Plus and Nike in front of the murals on Indian Alley in Downtown Los Angeles.

Shirt: SquatLife Apparel | Leggings and jacket: Forever 21+ | Shoes: Nike

Photographer: Trey Jones (IG: @cjonesphotog)