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It’s All in the Details

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“Luxury is in each detail.” – Hubert de Givenchy

In case you weren’t aware, I skipped blogging for a week. Recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia were so triggering and awful, I didn’t feel I could post anything on the Internet if it wasn’t somehow in response to the videos and articles I watched/read about the alt-right and counter protests. Fashion had to take a backseat because more important things were (and still are) happening in our country.

As you may know, I am a journalist. I used to work for several mainstream news outlets, so had I still been with, say, the New York Post last week, I undoubtedly would have covered Charlottesville in some way.

But sometimes fashion and the news collide. It did for me as I was sitting back, thinking on how I’d like to write about this particular photo shoot.

I wasn’t aware while taking these photos that the background would come together so well with my outfit and that I’d look like I came from the pages of an ad for a 1950s TV show. When I first looked at the photos, I thought, “Maybe I could relate this to the ‘Good old days’ in some way.” But then Charlottesville happened and I was once again reminded that the “Good old days” that we (and Fox News, etc.) talk about so fondly weren’t so good for people of color, queer folks and women. Back in the “good old days,” things were really good if you were a straight white Christian cis man, but not so good if you weren’t (i.e.: that’s what the Civil Rights movement was about). So, no, I couldn’t call this the “Good old days,” because had I been alive at the time, as a queer Native American/black woman, a lot of things probably wouldn’t have been so great.

That said, let’s just get into the fashion since I’m sure that’s why you came here in the first place. 🙂

There’s nothing that I love more than embellishments. Whether a vintage blazer dripping in sequins and beads or a pair of shorts with tiny pom poms on the hem…I love clothing and accessories because in my opinion, they not only take a look and kick it up several notches, but they tell a story. And, I think the small embellishments in my outfit did just that.

When I saw this soft pink A-line skirt on the clearance rack at Forever 21, I just knew I had to have it. I wasn’t sure how I’d style it, but I was excited for the challenge. I paired it with a crisp, white, sleeveless collard shirt from Eloquii that has little rhinestone on the collar. I wore my (second) favorite pair of pink satin Badly Mischka peep toe heels and as a main focal point, held an adorable clutch purse with ombré tassels that I found at Ross. (And, my dog Valentino even makes a cameo appearance.)

I suppose this is my “Remembering the good old days if the good old days had been good for a queer, Indigenous/Black, femme” look. A girl can dream, right?

Enjoy! <3

Outfit details: Top: Eloquii | Skirt: Forever 21+ | Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Clutch: Ross | Watch: Michael Kors

Photographer: CJ Edwards-Acton

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Letting Go of Worrying About Other People’s Opinions

Body Positivity Featured 0 Comments

“People will judge you. People will whisper about you. People will hate you. And there’s nothing you can do about it. Learn to make peace with this, and you’ll be free.” – Aletheia Luna

Growing up, I spent quite a bit of time worrying about other people’s opinions of me. I used to be a huge people pleaser and I wanted so badly to be well-liked. Thankfully, as I’ve gotten older, this need to please has dissipated quite a bit and I like to think I now have a much healthier and balanced way of thinking and feeling about other people’s opinions of me.

What absolutely hasn’t changed, though, is how many opinions people have and how strongly they feel them. More specifically, how badly they need to express those opinions about other people. Even more specifically, about people they may or may not know…and their weight and presumed overall health.

It’s undeniable at this point that “plus size,” is having a moment. Whether it be an article about plus-size model, Ashley Graham or a think piece on body positivity, It seems the whole world is contemplating the possibility that larger, curvier, thicker, fuller-figured…fill-in-the-blank-term-that-suits-you…women are beautiful and worthy of a platform, love, praise, clothing options, respect…(and anything else their thinner counterparts receive on a daily basis). With all of this positivity more voluptuous women are receiving, there has also been quite a bit of hate.

Just last month, model and plus-size beauty, Natalie Hage courageously stood up for herself when she confronted a man sitting next to her on an airplane. He’d been sending rude text message to a friend about Hage’s body size. Once confronted (Go, Natalie!), his response was typical…first denial, then an excuse, and finally, he asked why she was sitting in an exit row when she knew she clearly was unable to assist in case of an emergency. *eye roll* Besides being completely rude and offensive, what he said was just plain ignorant. But fat shaming is so ingrained in our culture, we can’t separate what we believe to be fact from what is actually reality. This man knew nothing about her health, stamina, strength…Hell, he had gray hair, so by using his logic, maybe he wouldn’t be able to help much either.

What I see over and over again everyday on social media and in the comments under body positive news articles are comments that are nothing more than cyberbullying. Everyone’s a doctor with a diagnosis all of a sudden. The way we hone in on and scrutinize larger bodies and ignore the health risks of being too thin or average size, but not eating well, working out, etc…is infuriating. Moreover, the fact that we as a culture judge other people solely by what we see on the outside is just maddening.

I want to be clear that I’ve been really lucky thus far. I honestly haven’t had a single person leave me a mean comment or send me a rude message about my body/size possibly ever (not counting family – *sad face*), but especially since I started my @ChiefofStyle Instagram account and this blog. Everyone has been so supportive and kind. I certainly hope it stays that way, but I can imagine that it may not.

In any case, should the mean messages start rolling in, I’m going to do what I want you to do: Not give any f*cks. One’s own opinions are the only ones that should count.

On a more practical note, should you receive rude comments, here are three things to help you get through it:

  1. Step away. Take a break from the app, or at least the comment. Take some deep breaths and remind yourself that you’re an incredible human being worthy of love and kindness. Don’t let the opinions of others – especially people you don’t know – affect how you feel about yourself.
  2. Consider the source. This person is probably a stranger who has nothing better to do with their time than to be mean. Keep their comment in perspective and don’t take it personally. They’re likely projecting their own issues onto you. Don’t take on their “stuff.” Remember that no successful person is without a hater or two. Also, consider that they may not know that they’re being mean given that fat shaming is so ingrained in our culture.
  3. Decide whether to respond or not. If you decide to engage (for a teaching moment?), make sure you’re not jeopardizing your own self-care. What works for me with criticism is being as straightforward and calm as possible. Don’t let the person get to you. Better yet, if you can shrug it off with a joke or something relatively funny, do that. If comedy isn’t your forte and you’d prefer not to engage, simply delete the comment. Also, having friends who have your back in these situations is really helpful. I’ve seen other people’s followers come to their rescue when a trolls come through. Know who will have your back and reach out if you need support. Then do the same for them when they need you. Look out for each other.

And, don’t forget, you have the option to report and block trolling comments and direct messages on just about any platform. Do it if you need to. Here’s a great post by Bustle that gives even more great ideas for dealing with body shaming comments. And, the advice can be applied to any form of cyberbullying.

Take care out there, babes. You’ve got so much fierceness in you, some folks just can’t handle it. Never let their opinions change how you feel about yourself. For some of us, it’s taken years to get to where we are in our self-love journey. Let’s not let anyone steal that with a mean comment.

Sending you so much love always.

xo

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style, lover of plus size fashion, wearing Forever 21 Plus.

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style, lover of plus size fashion, wearing Forever 21 Plus.

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style, lover of plus size fashion, wearing Forever 21 Plus.

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style, lover of plus size fashion, wearing Forever 21 Plus.

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style, lover of plus size fashion, wearing Forever 21 Plus.

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style, lover of plus size fashion, Louis Vuitton neverfull tote bag, iPhone, trendy glasses, and coffee.

Shirt: Target | Skirt: Forever 21+ | Shoes: Bar III (Macy’s)

Photographer: Trey Jones (IG: @cjonesphotog)

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Recap: Website Launch Party + Contest!

Events 3 Comments

A few dozen plus size style bloggers, models, influencers, photographers, stylists, MUA/hair stylists, my long-time friends and family gathered on the ACE Hotel rooftop in Downtown Los Angeles to celebrate the launch of this very website. In case you weren’t able to make the event, below are a few photos and a recap video to give you an idea of what you missed.

Thank you to everyone who came out. It brings a tear to my eye knowing how much love and support I have in my life. <3

A very special thank you to my sponsors:

*CONTEST DETAILS:

To celebrate hitting 10,000 followers on Instagram, I’m having a contest. The prize will be one of the few remaining gift bags from the event. (So, there you’ve got several chances of winning!) To give you an idea of how awesome the bags are, they include vouchers for a pair of Bandalettes and Undersummers (among other fab items from the brands listed above)!

To enter the contest, you must do the following:

  1. Follow me on Instagram (@Chiefofstyle)
  2. Like one of my most recent posts
  3. Tag three friends under the post you liked
  4. Subscribe to my blog (on the home page there’s a signup box on the right once you scroll down about half way)

That’s it! I’ll announce the winners next week. Good luck!

xx

 

 

Outfit details: Dress: Eloquii | Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Necklace: Ryze Project

Videographer + Editor: @JorgeLopezMedia (jlm.videography@gmail.com)

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Cold Shoulder on a Hot Day

Collaborations Featured 0 Comments

“Elegance is the only beauty that never fades.” –Audrey Hepburn

I don’t know if it’s just me, but this summer has been hotter than any I can remember. And the day we shot these photos was no exception. My friends thought I’d lost my mind when I told them I was planning to shoot on such a sweltering summer day. But when I set my mind to something, there’s just no changing it. Especially because I couldn’t wait to rock this fierce outfit courtesy of Universal Standard.

I’d heard some buzz about the brand, so when I got the opportunity to review their clothing, I jumped at the chance. (I just love discovering new +size brands!) From start to finish, ordering from Universal Standard was a pleasant experience. I was impressed at how easy it was to figure out the sizing having never tried on their clothes. And, after putting my order through, I was able to track it seamlessly.

I ordered the single cold shoulder Candice blouse in ivory and the black Mosman leatherette skirt. While the clothes aren’t cheap, they’re definitely well-made and, to top it off, the brand offers the equivalent of a lifetime guarantee! If you change sizes, they’ll even replace the clothing items that no longer fit. (Where they do that at!?) As someone who goes up and down sizes quite regularly, I can really appreciate this service. I also like that they carry bridge and plus sizes 10-28! And, if you’re in the NYC area, they’ll gladly welcome you into their showroom for a fitting.

When my package arrived, I was pleased to see that everything was folded carefully and wrapped in tissue paper. They shipped my items in a gift box (that I’m now using for jewelry) and included a custom tote bag and a note. (Nice touch!) The whole process felt very V.I.P.

The pieces I chose are both comfortable and elegant looking. My only critique would be that the blouse should have a key hole closure with a button or a hook so it’s easier to get on and off. (I admittedly have a big head, so I was so nervous putting it on having already done my makeup. Pro tip: If you’re ever in this situation, grab a cloth napkin, a clean rag or an old t-shirt and use it as a barrier between your made up face and the clothing item you don’t want to soil.)

If you’re looking for a minimalist, classic, high-fashion look, consider giving Universal Standard a try. You really can’t go wrong with their lifetime fit guarantee!

xx

Outfit details: Blouse & Skirt: Universal Standard | Shoes: Mango | Clutch: Vintage | Necklace: Poshmark

Photographer:  CJ Edwards-Acton

*Clothing provided by Universal Standard in exchange for an honest review.

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Out of the Blue

Featured Thoughts 0 Comments

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch

This isn’t going to be a post about body positivity – per se. And, I won’t try to explain (once again) how revolutionary (to me) it truly is that I not only wore a cobalt blue lace romper on the streets of Downtown LA that showed off my legs, but I let someone take pictures of me…and then I posted those pictures on the Internet (un-retouched no less)…and why you should, too! Nope, this isn’t that post.

Instead, I want to focus on what happens after you choose to show a little skin on a hot day. What’s on the other side of those triumphant, almost magical moments when we give the middle finger to Fear and choose to be Brave.

I assume (hope) you’ve had moments when you’ve done something your old self never would have imagined you’d do. Picture how terrified you were to do it and remember how it felt doing it anyway. (Say, sky diving or swimming with sharks…or even “just” wearing a bikini to the beach!) I don’t know the exact number, but I’d guess nine times out of 10 once it’s over (whatever “it” is), we’re glad we did it. Why is that? Because when you face your fears and do something that challenges you, you’re truly living.

So, now, I know I said I wouldn’t get all #BOPO on you, but I will say that ever since I decided to let go of the fear of wearing rompers and skirts that stop above my knees and bikinis at the beach and crop tops and and and…once I made that choice, I realized I wasn’t living my best life before. I really was merely existing, as trite as it may sound.

You see, I’ve loved fashion and clothes and shoes and all the things(!!!) my entire life. I wished so badly to wake up one day and be thin so I could wear a cute mini skirt because for some reason I got it in my head that I couldn’t. Putting ridiculous restrictions on myself, essentially self-body policing, was like living my own, personal version of Hell. I know that sounds extreme, but seriously…it was just awful not to “be able to” wear cute skirts (even in my size) because they weren’t 25″+ (the length from my waist to my knee because I measured it to make online shopping for modest clothing easier). Not only did my wardrobe suffer, but I felt like I was living a half-life, unable to fully express myself. You’d think that would motivate me to hurry up and get over it. Nope, old beliefs die hard.

Fast forward to where I am now…Now, I buy clothes that I love whether they show off no skin, some skin or alllll the skin because I’m not hiding anymore. I’m not living for other people’s opinions. I’m living for me. Once I made the choice to step outside of my comfort zone, I really began feeling alive and soon, I began living big in other areas of my life, too. I started making amazing connections (both personal and professional) and I started this blog (something I’d been thinking on for years). I really began to ‘lean in’ in so many areas of my life. Once I stopped allowing fear – of anything – stand in my way, I was unstoppable. This slight shift in attitude made all the difference for me.

If you haven’t let go of whatever is holding you back from living your best life already, I hope you will soon. Life is full of opportunities given to those who move through the world courageously. If you’re struggling, then start small. Maybe you need a cobalt blue lace romper in your life, too!

Outfit details: Romper: Charlotte Russe+ | Shoes: Macy’s | Necklace: Amazon

Photographer:  Jorge Lopez (IG: @jorgelopezmedia)

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