Monthly Archives: May 2014

Drew Barrymore I am not, but Brooklyn Gundlach I am

Do you ever see an outfit in a window and picture it on you? Or do you ever lie in bed and night thinking about what you want to wear in the morning, and you can see perfectly how it is going to look? However then when you put it on, it looks NOTHING like you thought, even when you have worn that outfit a thousand times. I love wearing jeans and a tee shirt. In my mind I look like Drew Barrymore when I wear them. I even went through a phase in high school in which I wore suspenders because she wore them in the movie “Bad Girls.” However when I look in the mirror, there I stand. 5’2, size 14/16, boobs that don’t fit with suspenders, without make-up, and often un-showered (remember I have a baby). Besides the blond hair there is nothing Drew about me.

In high school I spent the first three and half years depressed about this, and ate more. I tried shopping with my skinny, beautiful mother at Neiman Marcus and Saks where she shopped. She got me a personal shopper there. Still I struggled to find my look, as did the shopper. Nothing fit, and the stuff that did fit, looked horrible. The clothes I liked that did fit, my mother and the shopper didn’t like. I eventually found clothes that fit, but no jeans, and lots of sweaters. By senior year I hated myself. I hated my body. I was depressed. The depression was brought on by much more than my weight, and the clothes I could wear. But clothes and my weight were something that I had control over and could alter.

I convinced myself that I had to be skinny to be beautiful. Not my best idea, but I was 17. I lost a lot of weight very quickly and suddenly I was the jeans and tee shirt kind of girl I always pictured. The suspenders looked good on me. Drew still didn’t look back at me in the mirror, but I was Drew like.

What happened next I’m sure you can guess. Over the course of college I gained back all my weight and went back to my 14/16 size self. But I learned some lessons when I was too small for me. I learned that when I looked good, I felt good. I also learned that I saw beauty in all these women who had similar weight struggles as me. I mostly learned that I wasn’t Drew. I mean logically of course I knew I’d never look like her, I’m not crazy. But I learned that I could look good as me.  If I looked good, I felt good. I started to have a different view of who I was physically. I looked for clothes that worked for me. I gave up my jeans and tee shirt look and went for a Los Angeles look. I went for black pants, and tight tops, and was projecting sexiness quite bit. Looking back at pictures, not my best yet again, but it was mine. My choice, my style, my look, my body I was proud of, and it all radiated out me. Personal style is not about the trendiest look, it was about finding something that made you feel good. And in my tight black pants, and my tight little tops, plus size and all I had found my college style. Later I would get back to my jeans and tee shirt look, however I learned too look in the mirror and see Brooklyn. And when I went out, people saw me.

Mornings in my house are currently so busy with Stella, so every night before bed I pick out my outfit for the next day. I think about how it is going to look on me. I picture the accessories I am going to wear, and the purse I am going to carry with it. I think about being at the grocery store in that outfit and feeling confident and rocking that look. I picture me just being awesome. In the morning I put on that great outfit that I have worn a thousand times before and nine times out of ten it’s a no go. I’m thankful that I no longer picture Drew when I imagine outfits, but I now imagine the perfect version of me. I love that version. I love that I have that version. It means I believe in myself and I am confident and I want to exude that. But it’s not always realistic. Our bodies can change daily. We can have days when we didn’t shower. Days when our make-up just isn’t working. Days when we are just not the Drew versions of ourselves. So I change my outfit to something that is going to work with what I am feeling that day. I sometimes attempt the Drew hair and make up, although most times I am lucky to get the mascara on, and I look in the mirror and I give myself an honest look. The outfit I picked out the night before wasn’t working, but this one is. I look good in this one for the day. I love the necklace, or I love the scarf, or I love the jeans. Something I find to channel my inner Drew and feel the best me I can be, so I can rock it at the grocery store with my hair a mess, little make-up, and covered in spit up.

The moral of all this is that when I look like the spit up covered version of Drew/Brooklyn is I look my best. You know why? It’s because I am being me. I am in the style that fits who I am. I am confortable in my own skin, and my own clothes, and it works with my everyday life. Every morning I put on something that makes me feel good, and I tell myself I look good in it. It’s all about finding our style and rocking it, spit up and all.

Below are 2 pics of me dressed up. One is the right before I got pregnant.  I’m plus size and in my own style.  The other is homecoming of my junior year.  The outfit was picked out with the help of others who had their style in mind not mine, and didn’t understand curvy girls.  Really no girl wants to wear a power suit to homecoming.  Style must be personal.

IMG_1262 photo-25

A bit more about Brooklyn

One of my best memories as a child was making clothes out of scrap fabric for my Barbie and then having a Miss America contest with two of my friends.  My Barbie won, not because of the clothes that I made but because when I was asked how much she weighed I said 10lbs.  Now as an adult 3 things come to mind about this.

1. 10lbs sounds like a lot for a Barbie but my friend’s parents actually gave me the win, because I had an “anorexic weight” for my Barbie.  The rest of my friends gave normal weights.

2. Why in the world did my friends at the age of ten know what a normal weight was?

3. Why was this even a question? Shouldn’t it have been about the clothes we made, or the personality we gave our Barbies.

As I got older my weight fluctuated between “normal” to “thin” to “heavy” and back again.  I was always told I was heavy, even when there were pictures of me concave.  Furthermore the quote my grandmother is most remembered for is “you can never be too rich or too thin.”  Tough crowd!

So what does all this mean to me as an adult? I’m fed up.  I have a daughter now and I never want her to feel the way that I felt.  Furthermore I never want her looks to be her focus.  I vow never to use the word diet near her.  I vow never to say I look fat in front of her.  I vow for every mean thing I say about my looks to myself and quietly, I have to say something nice about my looks to myself loudly.  And mostly I vow that for every time I compliment how beautiful, pretty or cute Stella is, she will also get a compliment from me about how good, happy, sweet, funny, kind, smart, etc. she is.  In other words enough!

The greatest pleasure in my working life was co-owning Vive La Femme- a plus size women’s clothing store. I loved every woman who walked through the door. I loved styling her. I love getting to know her. I loved seeing her inner beauty and her outer beauty.  Ladies every one of you is beautiful, and I don’t just mean on the inside. What I loved most about Vive La Femme was helping women find a style that worked for them, with clothes that fit, and watching them find their beautiful selves inside and out.  Once a woman finds an outfit that looks great on her, she is ready to conquer the world.  I am so passionate about helping women find their fit and show what they are made of.