Making Peace With My Inner Fashionista (Plus a Bonus on How I Embraced My Curves)

Somewhere in this blog, I once claimed that I no longer cared about being trendy when it comes to fashion. Well, that is not entirely true.

I just thought that once I became a mama, I should not be caring about such things. After all, I have more important stuff to take care of.

But the truth is, I do enjoy shopping (or should I say thrifting) for clothes. And I do enjoy expressing who I am through my everyday wear. And I do like getting ideas from what’s trending at the moment.

And that no matter how superficial it sounds, it does make me a better mama when I take time in the morning to shower and get dressed in clothes that make me feel alive, creative and beautiful. Even if I’m only hanging out with my daughter for the better part of the day.

Maybe a big part of it is because it’s so easy to let ourselves go, being mothers of little wee ones (much much more if you are a stay-at-home-mama). Our time is mostly devoted to the nitty gritty not so sexy stuff, like going to the potty, washing those little undies that have a little nice surprise stuck to them,  making snacks all day long, and practically putting ourselves back in our childhood shoes in efforts to connect with and love on the tiny people in our lives.

Why even bother putting on a nice blouse to wear when I know it’s probably going to get stained at some point in the day?

Oh but bother we must.

It’s a statement, really. To ourselves. That even though what we do throughout the day consists of caring for another person, we declare ourselves, our lives, our needs to be just as equally important.

So I’ve been making a statement for about a week now. I’ve been taking the time in the morning to pick out clothes I feel like wearing that day. Clothes that make me feel like the woman that I am. And it’s been merry fun. My daughter gets to see me in action and my hope is that she picks on the inner gesture of self-care that I hope to grow in more and more over the years.

Because it’s really not about the clothes at all. It’s what you want it to mean.

:: Pause ::

There’s this other thing I had to get over though. About dressing up without feeling silly. Like I was trying so hard. I didn’t want to try too hard.

But sometimes I look like I am.

And I finally figured out why.

I didn’t know how to work with my curves. Or with my God-given body.

For a really long time, I always wished I had that nice long lean body that most models have. And I would always try on or buy clothes that really, were made and meant for nice long lean bodies. And it would make me feel like crap. How come these clothes don’t look good on me?  I figured there was just something wrong with my body. That I was too fat.


And then I realized that my body wasn’t long and lean. It was short and curvy.

But that it was lovely all the same.

So I read up on how to dress for short and curvy bodies. And then the rest was history.

I learned to honor my curves with the clothes I’m wearing instead of making my curves fit the clothes that weren’t meant to be.

And now, shopping is SO easy. I know exactly what to look for and how to use clothes to flatter my unique body type. And if by any chance you are Short and Curvy like me, here’s a few tips:

BELTS! Belts are awesome for the short and curvy. Or even if you are tall    and curvy, belts work well for us because they emphasize our natural waist  and glorify our curves! So I’ve been collecting belts from the thrift store and it’s been really fun transforming a plain old white shirt into something juicer just by adding a mere belt! Whee!

Flare Skirts!
And especially those that stop just right below the knee. Mini skirts are awesome too (I like mine with some leggings underneath) but this one is also thrifted. They are made of corduroy by Levis and this is one of my favorite skirts to wear during Fall. It’s been fun trying to wear skirts all week long!

(And I had to take this picture while giving my daughter a bath because (1) I don’t know yet how to take a picture of myself without a mirror and (2) welcome to the sometimes multi-tasking world of a mom!)

Patterned Socks! And lastly, not really a tip but more like a fashion fetish that I have when Fall comes around. Patterned Knee High Socks! They are just so much fun. Sometimes, I wear boots over it but when I want to show off my nerdy socks and it happens to not be rainy here in Seattle, I just wear loafers. Aren’t they fun?

So what about you mama? Have you made peace with your inner fashionista yet? And have you embraced your curves, no matter how big or small? Do share!

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  1. Kesha says


    Vina. I LOVE your style. You are so cute! :) But what’s even better is the self-confidence you exude. You just glistened all over this page. And isn’t it wonderful to know that your daughter will grow up learning to love herself because she has a wonderful role model? I’m so glad that there are mothers like you out there. This gives me hope.

    Keep shining! You’re a Woman!

  2. Vina Barham says

    @Kesha, oh blush. thanks kesha. i don’t always feel confident but i’m glad that it does shine through when I am. at least online. :)

  3. says

    AHH! Vina, I freaking love your blog more and more. I can relate to this so much. (except I am not a mama just yet….) My mom had low self-esteem, and wasn’t “up” on anything, so I had to learn how to be feminine in my 20’s. And I TOTALLY felt exposed in high school/college, like it was obvious I was trying too hard, if I even wore eye-makeup to school….because I’d get comments like, “who are you dressed up for?”
    To use makeup as an example, I only started regularly wearing it a a year ago because my husband liked it. :) And I’m still enjoying learning how to dress for my personality, be comfortable, but still look nice. I have a weird body shape in that I am short as well (5″3), but skinny everywhere except my belly, where all my weight goes……i think if I tried that cute belt and shirt idea, I’d just look 3 months pregnant! LOL! 😀

  4. says

    No matter what size I am, I always feel big. Not fat, although that too can and has been the case, I’m just big everywhere – when I tell people what I weigh, or a salesperson what size I’m looking for (be it shirts or shoes) they’re always surprised. So then when I start to gain weight it’s just another bigness, right? And after a certain size – no matter what kind of body is filling it – they only make sacks anyhow, so there’s no point in stressing. But now I’ve lost a bunch and still feel big. At yoga this week I said to the girl beside me ‘I can’t get into that pose; I think I’ve got too much thigh between me and the floor’ and she said ‘I seriously doubt that’s the problem’. I looked at her, a lovely woman with a luscious, powerful, curvy figure (and adorbale hair) which my eyes tell me looks like mine, and then I looked at myself. And I’m half her size.
    I wear jeans and white t-shirts pretty much 24/7/365. It’s easy, it’s flattering, it’s affordable, and it means I don’t have to think about how not fashionable I’ve become because, hey, I have a uniform.
    All of which is to say that, you have just given yourself and your child a gift of fun and cheer by deciding to add dressing yourself for yourself back into your self-care routine, and that you are most certainly not the only one who sometimes struggles with it. (The Great Fitness Experiment had an amusing post about this recently, which starts with an observation of one of those perfectly-put-together moms in stilettos pushing a toddler in a cart around Costco).
    And Vina? I like your sidebar too :)

  5. Vina Barham says

    @Becca, high school, ugh. Make up will be my next great experiment. :) looking forward to hearing more of your attempts at marrying comfort and your personal fashion style! I suppose wide belts aren’t for everyone…wonder what could work for u? Happy experimenting!

  6. Vina Barham says

    @Lauren, oh dear Lauren. Thanks for sharing that. I can relate to that feeling of bigness. Which is strange because I am really small. I wonder where we get these perceptions that obscure reality. I wonder about the stories we grow up with….and the stories we continue to tell ourselves now…your eyes certainly told u the truth at your yoga class…Lauren….I really appreciate ur vulnerability, it’s luscious, powerful and curvy just as u are. 😉


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