Saturday, April 30, 2016

Trunk Club

I have a love-hate relationship with shopping.  I love looking around, eyeing and feeling all of the fabrics.  I love seeing all of the new seasonal colors and putting together outfits.  I love finding a new shirt or dress that really makes me feel like a million bucks.  On the other hand, I hate that I rarely am able to actually find anything that makes me feel great.  I hate trying on pants, I hate the glaring lights of the fitting room that enhance my cellulite and stretch marks.  I hate not knowing what size I wear in each brand.  I hate that I’m too fat for the cute clothes, and too young for the clothes that seem to be cut for my body.  Love-hate.

After reading this article from BuzzFeed, I was inspired to step out of my comfort zone and try a styling service.  I tend to get stuck in a style rut, and lately seem to have forgotten how to actually dress up.  Stitch Fix seems to be popular, but I’m turned off by their size limitations and their monthly fee.  After searching around, I settled on TrunkClub (not Trump Club, as one of my friends thought she heard me say – no definitely not that).

What appealed to me specifically about Trunk Club was that they offer plus size styles – because while I am not thrilled with how my body looks right now, I still want to wear cute clothes and feel good in the body I live in today.  Also there is no monthly fee.

The sign up process was easy, and the survey was fairly thorough.  After being matched with my stylist, Erika, I answered a more in-depth series of questions that focused on my style, sizes, and lifestyle.  I opted for an email survey, because, well, I’m awkward on the phone.  I also provided her with a link to my Pinterest style board and a few pictures of myself for reference.

After a few days, in the Trunk Club app I downloaded, Erika showed me a sampling of the clothes that would be included in my trunk.  I was able to remove any items that I disliked or that were out of my price range.

I eagerly anticipated the arrival of my trunk, and was thrilled when it finally came.  It was literally a trunk.  A trunk of clothes, picked just for me.

Because I had just gotten home from the gym, I hopped in the shower before peeking inside.  While I didn't style my hair or put on makeup, I did shave my legs (it just felt like a special occasion)!  I expected angels to sing when I opened my trunk of clothes, but alas, I heard only the sounds of my snoring dogs.

After sorting the items into categories, I made Mr. B stand by to take pictures while I began my fashion show.

First up was a pair of blue pants that felt a lot like old lady slacks.  I threw on a white tank from my own closet, and paired the blue pants with a grey slouchy shirt.  I didn’t mind the shirt and briefly put it in my maybe pile, but ultimately decided I didn’t love it enough for the price.

I wish I wouldn't have chosen to stand in front of this super bright window!

Next up was a gauzy scoop neck off white tee.  I don’t feel like the picture does it justice.  I fell in love with it immediately, and it was priced perfectly.  Because I had only been sent one pair of pants, I paired the top with my own favorite Big Star jeans.  The shoes were okay, and were actually pretty comfortable, but the white soles were just asking to be scuffed.

I'm standing so weird because I wanted to show the shoes.

The next top was a great color, but the style didn’t do much for me.

Maybe a little matronly?

This blue top was adorable in cut, but I didn’t love the blue daisy pattern.

I think I used to have a "Blossom" hat that would've matched this.

Following were a series of plus-sized tops that were all way too big.
Fiesta time!

Maternity was not what I was going for.


The absolute worst was this tropical bat-wing poncho top.  It was just awful.

Smiling Sarcasm.

Also in my trunk were four dresses.  I had high hopes for the dresses, particularly because we have an upcoming beach vacation.  The first was the same pattern as the terrible shirt from above.  It didn’t seem quite as bad in dress-form, but it still wasn’t my favorite.  Although I did love the cut of it.

This dress was the only plus-sized dress in the bunch, was too big, and made me feel like a water-color painting.  The tan sandals were surprisingly hard to walk in; I literally fell over.
Paint me like one of your French girls.

This blue dress was amazing, but was unfortunately too small.  It fit great in the waist, but my damn wide ribcage didn’t allow it to zip up.  That green belt was such a great pop of color.  I hope to be able to try it in a larger size (and with a different bra).

The one that got away.

The last dress was also too small.  But I wouldn’t have kept it anyway.  The pleats in the skirt didn’t do anything for me, and the flower pattern just felt old.

This would've been great with keds and a 4:00 dinner.

After I decided what I wanted to keep, I packed the other things back into the trunk, provided feedback on the Trunk Club app, and scheduled a time for UPS to pick up the trunk.  For free.  It was so simple and easy.  I was only charged for what I kept and shipping was free both ways.  And I got to try on clothes in the comfort of my own home, with my own lighting, my own mirrors, and my own wardrobe nearby to create looks using what I already had.

Ultimately I only kept the plain white top.  But I’m thrilled with it.  Every wardrobe needs a great plain white top.  I apologized to Erika and she assured me that it is to be expected for the first trunk.  At the beginning of the whole process, she told me the first trunk or two are “get to know you” trunks, and that the more feedback I provide, the better she can understand my style needs and provide options I will love.

The winner, plain and simple.

I was surprised to find that I didn’t really fall into the plus-size category (at least not in women’s sizes – in juniors I am absolutely plus sized).  If I was modeling, I would be way too big even for a plus-sized model – but, as you can tell in the photos above, I have exactly zero modeling talent.

I am excited to receive my next trunk and to see what items I might find that expand my style repertoire.  I hope to collect a few things that make me feel good in my skin in the size that I am right now.  Pieces in my price range that maybe I wouldn’t be able to find in stores locally.

Dress up.  Treat yourself.  Love your body for what it is today.

Thank you for keeping me In Good Company.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Peace Settles In

Peace.  Peace is a feeling I have been unsuccessfully trying to achieve for the past two years.  Contentment has evaded me; serenity out of reach.

For the past two years, depression has been swallowing me whole, and anxiety has been eating away at my brain.  Though these are issues I have fought my whole life, this particularly long and grueling episode was brought on by our failed fertility treatments that ended early spring 2014.  All of the pain resulted in me protecting myself by turning off the ability to feel and process emotions.  Depression and anxiety became the only feelings I could appropriately identify.

In order to begin taking the necessary steps toward living a healthier life, I began seeing a therapist.  Therapy isn’t something that most people will talk openly about, or talk loudly about at the grocery store (which is a fairly uncomfortable).  But I think the vast majority of us would benefit from seeking at least short-term therapy.

Therapy isn’t easy, but it’s also not laying on some strange man’s couch in a dimly lit office.  I’ve found it incredibly uncomfortable, yet emotionally beneficial.  Unearthing the decaying feelings that have been long buried under the unsteady foundation of everyday life – that is challenging and frustrating work.

What I have only recently realized is that by protecting myself from pain, anger and sorrow, I had also stopped allowing myself to feel grateful, peaceful, joyful, and happy.  I felt the first glimpse of true joy one day last week when I was watching Little K play soccer.  The sun was out, the breeze was perfect, and he ran past me with the smile and gusto that only a 6 year old with missing teeth can manage.  He made eye contact with me briefly and smiled a little brighter.  My heart suddenly felt warm and I couldn’t help but smile.  My guard had lowered just enough to feel the presence of happiness, my old forgotten friend.

It only then that I realized that I have been so busy mourning the child that will never be, that I have missed out on the last 2 years of enjoying the beautiful child with who I have already been blessed.  Enter stage left: my familiar frenemy, mom guilt.

This weekend Little K and I traveled to my hometown to meet my best friend’s new baby.  Leading up to the weekend, anxiety was very present.  I had worked myself up, anticipating the tears that would creep up as I held this tiny new life in my arms.

As it turns out, the only tears that crept into my eyes were tears of pure joy for my best friend of over 20 years.  There was no jealousy, no yearning for a second baby of my own; just very real happiness.  Her baby is beautiful (all three of her children are), motherhood suits her beautifully, and our honest friendship is beautiful.

As we spent most of the day together, laughter took over, old stories were told, and new memories were made.  Best of all, peace started to settle in.  And though I know I still have work to do, I think peace will be hanging around more often.

Thank you for keeping me In Good Company.