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About Style Audacity and Karie

Karie - Style Audacity - Vegas 2012Why Style Audacity?

Audacity is one of the words that’s ever so often used in the negative, but also has such a strong positive definition that embodies how I feel about style.  Let’s start by taking a look at how it’s defined by a few popular resources:

  1. Princeton’s WordNet – audacity, audaciousness, temerity(noun) – fearless daring
  2. Webster Dictionary – Audacity(noun) – daring spirit, resolution, or confidence; venturesomeness
  3. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Audacity means extraordinary boldness, courage or chutzpah
  4. The Free Dictionary: au·dac·i·ty: 1. Fearless daring; intrepidity.

Do these definitions resonate with you? They do me!  I’ve always wanted to be known as being fearless, daring, confident, venturesome, bold, and courageous. And not just in my fashion style, but in my entire life as a professional woman, mother, wife, friend, daughter, and so on. You see, I’ve never been very good at living in the little box that society wants to put us in.  I grew up with a firm belief that I could do anything I set my mind to and to listen to my instincts and not all the negative noise surrounding me. For virtually every plus size woman out there, that negative noise includes a nearly relentless buzz that we need to loose weight and not “wear that.” The fact is though, not everyone looks good in everything, no matter what size they are.

I have to admit that I haven’t been plus size in terms of physical size my entire life, but I pretty much always felt like I was emotionally. Like so many girls, I grew up in a family so obsessed with making sure I didn’t end up plus size that the relentless negativity created some serious food issues for me. What kid doesn’t want whatever you tell them they can’t have? And in excess? I was actually quite thin through junior high and high school. The photos tell a much different story than my mind. Mentally looking back I would have guessed I weighed over 200lbs versus the actual 135lbs back then. I didn’t physically become plus size until I was pregnant with my oldest son who wreaked havoc on metabolism over nearly six months of being terribly morning, noon, and night sick. Over the course of the next 20 years and two more babies, I’ve fluctuated between a size 18 and 24 time and again. Realizing what this negativity did to me, I’ve worked very hard to protect my children from this crushing pressure and feel like I’ve done pretty good since they’re all average sized and don’t have any major food issues.  Candy, pop, chips, ice cream, and cookies are all readily available around the house. So are tons of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, beans, milk, and lean proteins. My motto has always been fuel your body with something healthy and have a treat when you like, so it’s not uncommon to see any of the kids or my grandchildren eat a single cookie or a handful of chips.  They’ve grown up never worrying about forbidden foods.

Over the years, I’ve come to embrace my curves after the typical bouts with extreme dieting and exercise that never resulted in my size falling below an 18.  When my oldest two children were little, I did aerobics for two hours per day and lifted weights for another hour five days per week.  I loved the exercise and it made me feel strong, powerful, and healthy, but I was still my size 18 curvy self and the rest of my life was suffering from all the time spent at the gym on my obsession with numbers. So I took a break from the craziness and lived instead and was happy and confident with myself.  That confidence gave me the strength I needed to make some major changes in other parts of my life and go after my professional goals for the next several years, during which I finished my bachelors degrees, divorced my first husband, did some of the best work of my life, and dated 99 guys in search of Mr. Right.  The great thing about dating all those guys was seeing that none of them had issues with my body or my style and that was ever so empowering. Number 100 turned out to be Mr. Right (and yes, I’m sure he was number 100 as I logged them all on a spreadsheet with lots of details since this was when online dating was a baby and free). He was everything I was looking for and more and loves me no matter what size I am. Even so, years later I decided to try once again to try to conform to societies view of beauty with obsessive calorie counting and one hour of aerobics and walking per day and while made it from a size 24 to 18 once again, I didn’t feel confident or strong, just hungry and full of self loathing. You see, spending all that time trying to be what I just am not meant to be and depriving myself of having fabulous clothes and accessories until I reach this crazy ideal sucks all the time, energy, and passion out of me that I need for other things. What’s really important is that my husband loves me as I am, not someone else’s ideal of beauty.

So here I am, in my mid forties starting this plus size style blog for women over forty. I applaud all of the amazing young women out there writing plus size fashion blogs for the 20 and 30 something crowd; they are doing amazing work!  But in my forties, their style no longer resonates with me. I’m at a different point in my life than they are, as are many of the other plus size women I know. Finding fashion that isn’t too young or too old looking can be challenging. At forty-four, I have children who are 21, 22, and 10 years old and grandchildren who are 4 years and 1 year. And I’m proud of it! I need a variety of looks ranging from professional to sexy to playful to simply great for everyday life. I like to walk into a business meeting and have my style make my clients and colleagues feel confident in me. On a date or a trip to Vegas, I prefer something sexy that’s inclined to make my husband take notice whether we’re taking in the sights in the afternoon or going out for some adult fun in the evening.  Playful outfits are simply perfect for taking the family places around town or on vacation.  And then there’s just outfits for looking great everyday. Don’t get me wrong, some days I like to bum around just like everyone else in yoga pants and a t-shirt, but I still think they need to fit well and have a little style to them.

So as you browse this site and the Style Audacity Pinterest boards, keep in mind that I am judging styles based on how they would work for the over 40 plus size woman and on their availability in sizes 20-22 and shoes in a 10 wide. I love a classic look, so what you find here is going to lean toward that with some edgy pieces thrown in. I’m a huge fan of picking up high quality classic pieces that can be accented with trendy accessories.  I’m also an avid bargain hunter, so I’m a big fan of Zulily.com, The Avenue, CJ Banks, Yonkers, and a few other stores. I’m expanding my online shopping and will share my experiences with new sources of plus size fashion with you and what to expect from different brands.  One of the biggest challenges I’ve found shopping online is getting familiar with how different designers cut pieces and how their sizing varies, so you can expect to hear reviews of pieces I pick up. I’m what you would call a curvy pear shape with a smaller chest (C) and waist and large bottom, hips, and thighs. I know lots of plus size women with apple, carrot, and cucumber shapes though, so I’m planning on covering styles that work for different kinds of plus size bodies. I hope you come to enjoy our style journey together and share your thoughts, favorites, and concerns with me.

 

One last thing, my other passion in this world is marriage.  I am a wedding officiant and have a website devoted to everything you need to know about renewing your wedding vows. I have a second Pinterest account for vow renewal style that includes a plus size vow renewal gown board – check it out!

Drop me a line anytime and share your story with me. I’d love to feature other plus size women over forty with style audacity!

 

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