I love this shirt by Girl With Curves. I love it because it's a bold declaration of my pride in my body and my curves. But that's only a part of me. I'm proud that I'm 50 years young and still here to love and enjoy life. In fact, I should have a shirt that says "50...Curvy...and Fabulous" because that's exactly the way I feel. It's also the reason I decided to start blogging.
I've reached a weird place in my life where I don't often see myself represented and/or the representations are unfavorable. Women in their 50s are in a precarious position of not being old enough to be seniors but too old to be considered youthful. In many ways we're invisible. We are constantly in search of other faces and role models that represent these "tweener" years in a youthful yet sophisticated manner. When you add curviness to the mix, the representation becomes even smaller and less flattering. The intersection of age and curviness is a relatively invisible segment of the fashion industry and blogging community with only a handful of representatives.
The curvy community on a whole is very much present and have become social advocates and activists for #bodypositivity, #bodyconfidence, and the #vbo (visible belly outline). The gorgeous Tess Holiday started #effyourbeautystandards and made history when she signed with a mainstream modeling agency as a size 22. On the age front #advancedstyle has moved 60-70+ year old models and fashionistas back into the limelight through representation in documentaries, Ari Seth Cohen's photography and Iris Apfel's feature in Kate Spade ads. I'm inspired by the change and encouraged for the younger generation coming of age and even myself as I move into my second life, or third act as it's sometimes called. However, it's at the intersection of these two places that I still feel a void.
What makes this particular segment of the population unique? Perimenopause, menopause, hysterectomies, hot flashes, children entering college, aging parents considering retirement communities, pending retirement, hormones, estrogen patches, gravities perpetual tug on every inch of our bodies, unexplained weight gain, forgetfulness and weaker eye sight just to name a few. And yes, I said just to name a few. For a lot of women at this stage in life all of the above issues take precedent over fashion and style and the clothing selection in stores don't do much to encourage an effort. I'm loving the blogs by those 40+ and 50+ year old women who are reclaiming their sense of fashion and sharing it with the rest of us. I'm adding my images and voice to the mix by including the curvy perspective. Finding a selection of clothing that represents both my age and size in a sophisticated, edgy, fun, and on trend manner remains frustrating. I hope to remove that frustration and present images that will give my sisters some hope, ideas and inspiration.
As a social psychologist I'm aware of the importance of positive representation and its impact on the health and well-being of women. It actually aids in identity formation and the development of a positive self-esteem, which guards against things such as high blood pressure, hypertension, and high blood pressure. It's my hope to continue the forward motion of positive and empowering advocacy, particularly (and proudly) at the intersection of age and curviness.
Yep, I think I need a t-shirt that says "50...Curvy...and Fabulous!"