A Different Perspective on Dressing with Confidence

Surrounded by a sea of Old Navy wearing, jeans and t-shirt sporting family members and acquaintances, it’s no surprise that I’m sort of known as the eccentric “artsy one” who often hears, “Oh, you look so nice! I could never pull that off!” Oh yeah? Why not? It’s not as if I have the corner on the market of confidence. So where do I get all that confidence to wear what I wish, figure and opinions be dashed? It’s something I’ve been considering for a while, and something I’ve been dying to discuss with you. I think today I’m ready.

I see so many articles online and in magazines about attaining self confidence. Looking good shouldn’t be the ability to fit into a certain size, they say. And I agree. But I’m not so sure I subscribe to the mentality that in order to be a confident person, you have to love the way you look and embrace every detail of your body. Love your thighs! Love the shape of your arms! The size of your breasts, the proportions of your body… I just don’t know, you guys. I will never look in the mirror and like everything I see. Though I’m still comfortable in my body. I do not like my big boobs, I wish I didn’t carry so much weight in my middle, and boy wouldn’t it be nice if I weighed a little less. But guess what? Though I don’t like everything about my body, I don’t let its shape or my misgivings dictate what I am and am not “allowed to wear.” Dressing creatively is so much fun, and if I stuck to what made me look thin and young, it sure would be boring, and I certainly wouldn’t be very happy. So no, I don’t like everything about my body, but I still like being me, I don’t mind what people think about my body, and I find no purpose in putting a lot of time and energy into trying to hide it or change much about it.

I’ve learned through the years that insecurities stem from an absorption in self. Insecurities about what to say to people, how to behave around new acquaintances, and what sort of clothing to put on my body. How will people react toward me? What will they think of me? Me, me, meeee! Insecurities are all about me and how I am viewed. These fears quickly turn life into a narcissistic quandary. And boy if our culture isn’t great at cranking out narcissists who are subliminally taught daily to look out for yourself, to love yourself above all, and to believe that you are capable of anything as long as you believe in yourself. This mentality places the security of your happiness and confidence completely in yourself, what you are capable of, and how much you are able to love yourself. Love is an awfully unstable emotion to bear the weight of my self assurance. And love of self is all the more fickle. I might love my body today, but will I love my body tomorrow? If I don’t, then will my whole day be ruined because I just don’t love myself so much or feel that others love me either? It’s a self-absorbed and extremely precarious position to maintain as a human being trying to make it in the world.

Please understand, I think it is important to accept and love yourself, and it’s also helpful to examine yourself to see ways you need or want to change and try to be better. But brain washing yourself into happiness or flogging your body into obedience isn’t something I’ve ever found works for me. There came a point in my life when I realized I needed to have grace with myself. I might not like these double d mamma jammas, but they are mine, and I will accept them because they are just a fact of life. I will not convince myself that they make me undyingly happy, and I will not daydream about growing a brand new set of boobs. Instead, I will learn how to dress them appropriately to make me comfortable, and I will walk with confidence. You can tell me maybe this neckline isn’t the most flattering for my chest, but I probably already know that, and I probably like this outfit just fine, thank you very much. Otherwise I wouldn’t be wearing it.

Dressing creatively is fun, but I will not be absorbed by it, worry about it, or let it define who I am. I will not agonize over whether an outfit is perfect, and I also will not be scared to try something that might be rather unconventional. I am unconventional, so why be afraid to dress that way? I will not cry defeat when someone leaves a blog comment telling me that this outfit totally doesn’t work or makes me look five years older or ten pounds heavier (because let’s be real- people just don’t say those things to your face!). I’m sorry, but that is just not a priority to me. Since when does weight and age define what looks good, anyway? Okay, well, I guess it does for a lot of people, but once I start thinking that way, my confidence begins to slip away.

So how do you get that kind of confidence? How do you just not care? The idea is that you do care. Care lots and lots. But care about the things that matter. Care about your integrity, about your passions, about the well-being of those around you, and about how you are loving others and contributing to the world. Once your life begins to fill with grace for yourself and others, it will seem awfully silly when someone says to you, “You are really going to regret wearing that ten years from now.” And yes, I’ve actually had someone write that, among other really terrible things, about me. What was my response? I said, “Ten years from now I certainly won’t regret wearing something silly or fun one day, but ten years from now I really hope you regret saying hurtful things to me.”

So do I still worry about how I appear to others? Do I have days where I just feel ugly and wish I could jump out of my body? Sure! I’m human, after all. But as long as I remember the truth that living out love for others is more satisfying and lasting than obsessing over loving myself, I can keep the right perspective and I can be free to enjoy life and feel enjoyed by those around me.

For the record, I believe that living with love and grace is the key to happiness and I have found the ability to do so through my faith in Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit. I know a lot of people think that’s awfully silly, but it’s very real to me, and I would feel remiss if I didn’t share that with you today! Also, people who wear Old Navy can be stylish too! Ha! Don’t take offense, it’s just a lot of people in Canton, Ohio wear the same kind of clothes, often from places like Old Navy.

133 Responses

  1. Teresa says:

    Such a thoughtful and well written post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on a topic we all think but don’t often talk about.
    You’re right. We do all worry (to varying degrees) about body image but it’s all about perspective.

  2. Sam says:

    This is a really great post, Mandi! Rarely do I read articles about body confidence that take the focus you have. It’s incredibly refreshing and I thank you for sharing. I think I’ve been going about this confidence thing from a less-than-helpful angle at times.
    Have a beautiful day!

  3. anka says:

    I love horizontal stripes and you look very much comfortable in them. And your post made me smile and ask myself some questions, so thank you!

  4. Diana says:

    Great post!
    I’m still not quite there. I know how I would like to dress but I still lack some of the confidence needed to “pull it off”. BUT I am much much better than I was a few years ago, when I absolutely hated how I looked. Not anymore! :) Baby steps, I say.

  5. Kelli says:

    I’ve often done been accused of being “the arty one”. So reading this, from the perspective of someone in the same boat, was absolutely lovely!

  6. What a beautiful post. I might not share your religious beliefs, but I do share your beliefs about accepting yourself, wobbly bits and all. This is lovely.

  7. Heather says:

    I really love this post! It irritates me that people are so insistent that I need to love every part of my body. I wish I could, but I just don’t. I don’t think I need to though to feel confident! As long as I love SOMETHING about myself and can focus on it rather than the bad, I think that’s just fine :)
    xo Heather
    http://ahopelessnotebook.blogspot.com/

  8. PepperReed says:

    Wonderful!! I really like your style, just as you are. I often wish I would dress more Fabulously than I do (more often than not, I look like I’m in the Ramones).
    I have an idea in my head of how I want to look (style wise) and I’m not ‘there’ yet. Some if it is finding/making things with a newbies sewing skill and some of it is the overwhelming amount of cool stuff out there to choose from (just look at my vintage pattern collection!)
    But, really, I just have to stop being a chicken and making excuses (tights never fit me, so I don’t wear skirts/dresses, I’ll look like I’m in a costume, what will THEY think, I’m not X, Y, or Z, etc. etc.) You’re right that it’s very passive agressive narcissism; I don’t want it to be all about me, but it is. I just need to make that a positive self expression instead of the negative moaning that it is. Thanks for the nudge to get over myself! Grace goes a long way…

  9. Stacy B says:

    “living out love for others” That’s deep-down, lasting beauty. You’re inspiring as always, Mandi!

  10. i absolutely love you for writing this. : )

  11. malia says:

    thank you for this! <3
    -m

  12. Nan says:

    Mandi, you are so cute and adorable and I just love your little blog. I’ve never commented before, but this post was too great to not say something. I am with you on the big boobage area- I have been a D since high school and since giving birth/nursing for the past year I have gone up THREE sizes and it can be so frustrating. I frequently beg my husband for a reduction, but of course he does not want to ;) I need to learn to accept them I guess?

  13. This subject has been on my mind all week. I think our culture sends such horribly mixed signals. It sends the message of the importance of self love and acceptance and self-centered-ness but simultaneously pushes unrealistic images of “beauty” before us as if there is only one definition. And then if someone changes something about themself a certain level of shame is assigned to that person because they couldnt “accept” the offending feature and are percieved as vain and shallow for wanting to change it.
    That’s why its important to know who God says we are! I love this post so much. Youre so honest and well-written. I have seen mean comments on some of your outfit posts and it really bothers me that people are so unkind sometimes. I love that you are unafraid and unashamed to tell what you believe about this subject and about God! Love this blog!:)

  14. Such a great post that totally resonates with me and my outlook on myself and my blog these days…
    Thank you so much for writing it and sharing with us Mandi :)

  15. Jennie says:

    Oh gosh, I SO AGREE. I got here via BBL, but I love this. There definitely is a difference between loving yourself but seeing ways you can improve, and being so absorbed in your flaws that is cripples you. Thanks for the fantastic piece!

  16. Nakita C says:

    Word sista!
    Mandi, you’re an inspiration to me on a regular basis and this just proves that. I love your perspective on finding confidence through love beyond ourselves.
    I know I needed to hear that and it came at a very appropriate time in my life, which can only mean so many more women might learn from your words too.
    Thank you for sharing, and for having the beautiful confidence to do so.

  17. Melissa says:

    This is wonderful:) Thank you so much for the pep talk today! As a mom of two kids…Ive let myself get washed away at times when it came to how other moms dressed and it’s so encouraging to read blogs like yours that give me the courage to be who God created me to be:) Thanks for sharing!

  18. Mary says:

    First of all I want to say how happy I am you’re posting again, as this is by far one of my favorite blogs I read! While you were away, my days were missing that bit of sparkle your posts bring.
    Secondly, this was such an inspiring post! I’ve always been overweight so have struggled with body image issues my whole life. I’m relatively new to the whole lifestyle and fashion blog world, but already I’m finding it’s improving my own body views because there are so many incredible “real bodied” bloggers who totally rock their style.

  19. mandie says:

    Mandi-
    I am so thrilled that you wrote this. I’ve recently begun wearing things that I previously thought a girl of my size shouldn’t wear. Nothing skimpy, but more fitted pieces & accessories. Yesterday, with a dress & leggings on, I saw my reflection in a window & didn’t love the size of the calves I saw. I immediately wondered if others thought my legs were too large to be wearing something like that & then almost as soon, I decided it didn’t matter. I felt nice & girl-y, and wanted to wear something pretty for the date that my husband was taking me on later that night. What you wear can most definitely make you feel a certain way, and flirty was my goal.
    Thanks for the reminder. This is a great piece & I wouldn’t be surprised if I read it in a magazine one day. ;)

  20. YES!!! Fucking love this – work it til you die girl!
    -Gillian
    http://www.oystervintage.com

  21. Lexi says:

    thank goodness for you, mandi, and for keeping it real! it’s so lovely to see a fashion blogger that doesn’t have the typical boyish, stick thin legged figure that a lot do – and of course there’s nothing wrong with that – but, like you said, you gotta love what you’ve got, and ain’t no way my thighs are ever gonna look hot in neon yellow skinny jeans.
    love to you!

  22. Alessia says:

    you look beautiful in this picture. It always impresses me how frank and intelligent your opitions on fashion are.
    I can say that I’ve had moments in my life where I’ve absolutely felt as you describe…but body image and confidence have always been a sturggle for me. You share a really great perspective and have difinetly given me somethings to think about…

  23. I really enjoyed this post and i love that scarf in your hair. looks very sweet with your new short do. :)

  24. Katie says:

    This post was amazing! I agree with everything said. You write very eloquently and your post was uplifting to me. I’m surrounded daily by those whom I think are more attractive than I am, but I just need to stop worrying how I match up and just be confident in looking the way I do. I love to dress quirky and fun, even if it isn’t the norm at the elementary school I work at!

  25. Miranda says:

    Thank you. I loved reading this blog post – and I love the head scarf as well! You have been and continue to be an inspiration.

  26. Courteney says:

    Great post. I agree wholeheartedly. Dressing in what makes you happy as opposed to what the mannequins at the mall tell you to wear is always more satisfying. Period.

  27. Sarah says:

    I looooove this outfit!
    I’ve thought a lot about the self-confidence issue too. People say I have a lot of it, but honestly, I don’t see how anyone can be otherwise. You can only ever really be just yourself. If other people don’t like it, well, it really is just their problem. Sure, I look with envy of the dainty “bralette” sets at Anthropologie, knowing my DDs will never be contained in there, but I also know that a lot of ladies pay absurd amounts of money to be this size. AND they’re healthy, and complement my also “healthy” derriere.
    I think this is your best post yet.

  28. bonita says:

    ~ * ? * ~
    Your post really touched me Mandi, particularly your ending paragraph. I too believe that grace and happiness in life comes through a personal relationship with the living God through Jesus, and your boldness sharing that, and your honest explanation of your thinking makes for a powerful, uplifting statement.
    Thank you for sharing and encouraging us all to be who we really want to be – body issues aside! :D
    xox,
    bonita of Depict This!
    ~ * ? * ~

  29. Carolina says:

    i totally agree with everything you just said, it was so nice to read your opinion about such matters.
    bottom line…Haters gonna hate…so we shouldn’t be upset with the things they say, instead we should be happy with who we are and spread the love and joy of Christ everyday and everywhere.

  30. Serena says:

    You’re my hero.

  31. Maren says:

    Thanks for this post, Mandi! I tend to struggle a lot with my self esteem and image and you are totally right that it is narcissistic. I think it’s really important to remember that. Like, sure, you’re gonna have icky feeling days, but also- get over yourself, you know?
    Also, I had to laugh because I totally wear old navy jeans and tees pretty much always these days. No offense taken, though- it’s just what works for me. ;)

  32. steffy says:

    such a well written post, although my insecurities about my body don’t stem from what others think of me or how i look, they are just from within. idk im weird :)
    Steffys Pros and Cons

  33. Steph says:

    LOVE this Mandi. Such a good message : ) and you look smokin’ in the outfit!! Ow ow!

  34. Claudia says:

    Mandi,
    You’re one of my favorite fashion bloggers and I sometimes find myself asking, would Mandi dig this piece/ensemble?
    I particularly like your style because you are of the curvy type (I sport doubled d’s also), and I’ve learned much from you. You clearly convey through your styling that being curvy is not a barrier. And now I can see how/why.
    Thanks for this encouraging post. And it’s unfortunate people leave such rude comments.
    -Claudia

  35. Amanda says:

    Very positive! Stripes suit you well! Don’t be “insecure”!
    Best,
    Amanda
    Check out my blog:
    http://amandagrisham.blogspot.com/

  36. Emma says:

    This is a wonderful post, I’m so glad you shared with all of us. I think all of us gals need a reminder that we don’t need to be obsessing 24/7 about what other people are thinking of us, we just need to be ourselves. You look lovely.
    xo,
    Em

  37. Hannah says:

    Mandi, YOU ROCK! I work in an office full of people who wear black pants on a daily basis. I hear at least once a week “I could never dress the way you do! I’d look so weird.” And I always get this sinking feeling that it’s sort of an insult. “I’m not saying you look bad, it’s just.. I could never wear that.” Somedays those comments really wear on a girl. I will certainly find comfort in this post on those days!
    THANK YOU :)

  38. yume says:

    This is the most awesome post! It was really the highlight of my evening, you’re an amazing person and everything you’ve said in this post couldn’t have been truer or worded better.
    Rock on.

  39. Karen says:

    Thank you for sharing this! I needed the reminder today as I am surrounded by a campus full of people obsessed with being thin and attractive. Also, it is always wonderful to find another sister in Christ. Thanks for sharing your faith online. :)

  40. Nicole says:

    You are so Beautiful.
    and i absolutely love that you have a heart for Jesus–it totally shows.
    the Loveliness He has spoken over you is stunning.

  41. Kaycie Eddie says:

    I LOVED every bit of this post! Go Mandi! I also love that skirt on you!

  42. Haley says:

    I love this post! Something a lot of girls need to read, struggling with body image is very detrimental. This coming from someone who has done everything to fit into a smaller size and so on. Thanks for this :)

  43. Janelle says:

    This post is amazing. I’m glad you have come to these terms and while I try to be politically correct sometimes, when I see you post about Jesus, it makes me so happy. I have always loved your blog. I’m a bigger girl and the way you pull things together just click. Thanks for the wonderful posts.

  44. Katherine says:

    Great post! Girls get so hung up on hating our bodies, it gets a bit ridiculous. As soon as we all accept that no one is perfect and we aren’t always going to love everything about ourselves, but just accept things as they are, I think it would make life so much easier! I think you always look fab – so classy – and you seem so comfortable in your skin.

  45. KimS says:

    Great post. I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years now. I’m an atheist, so I don’t read it for the occasional times you talk about your faith (I’m a live-and-let-live atheist, anyway, not a militant one, and I’d never begrudge anyone their faith). I wouldn’t wear the clothes you wear, but I still enjoy and keep coming back to your blog, looking forward to your next post. This post is why. Because I find your honesty refreshing and wonderful to read. And, differing tastes in fashion aside, I love that you have so much fun putting together outfits – it’s fun for me so see what you come up with, what you put together. I enjoy the tales you tell, the personal style that you bring to your house and your home.

  46. Hi Mandi
    That was a beautiful post. It has taken me 33 years to realise that when I am worrying about what others think of me they have so much in their wn lives that what I am wearing, or doing, or what I am saying is not even on their radar.
    So I have stopped worrying if people think I am cool, funny, smart, fashionable etc and just look tho the people I love the most and think do I make them happy. If the answer is yea then I am content.
    I still have days when I want to put a bag over my head but far less now than years ago.
    Inspiring words again
    Nic xo

  47. BTW I forgot to mention conventions of horizontal stripes are out of the window beacause that skirt is very sexy on you x

  48. jessica says:

    Oh Mandi this is such a good rendering of your soul! I really connected on this one. I love Jesus too and ask him (even if it is silly) to not worry about my spare tire around my waste so much. I do this all the time! What do I wear to hide my fat the most?! Instead of just wearing what I want to! This was a realy eye opener. You are definitely my all time favorite blogger – have been for a long time. You are so real and so confident in yourself. I cannot connect with the fashion industry most of the time with the skinny 6 foot model or blogs with very fashion forward outfits that make no sense for daily life. But you are fashion forward backwards and sideways!!!! You look fabulous in this outfit. Smashing. Your hair is just looking so sweet too!
    Thank you for being a woman we can all look up to. Right now in this moment as I just read your post, I feel like I could conquer the world.
    Love,
    A Christian Friend named
    Jessica

  49. EXACTLY. Thank you for having such a unique and true perspective on this subject. It’s so refreshing to hear someone say it’s not “all about self”. I’m so tired of reading fashion mags, blog posts, etc. that tell me that I just have to love myself completely to rid myself of insecurities- I just have to take extra time to pamper myself, and love myself, and exercise myself so that I am “truly happy”. That’s just not the case.
    The reason that I am able to dress the way I do and deal with comments from readers/family members/friends about how “different” I dress is because I realized that it just doesn’t matter that much. What I wear is just one part of who I am, and if I want to wear a shapeless 80s sweater that makes me look 15 lbs heavier, I’m going to wear it. Like anyone, some mornings I wake up and dislike my physical appearance, but instead of letting myself get absorbed in that, I remind myself that my physical appearance is just a facet of who I am, and in the general scheme of things, not a very important one. My character and actions are a much more important thing to be concerned with. “I’ve learned through the years that insecurities stem from an absorption in self.” How true that is! Thanks for this awesome post Mandi!

  50. Krystle Rose says:

    Beautifully written. And a beautiful woman, inside and out.

  51. Casey says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful post. Having stuggled a lot over the years with looks and realizing how self-absorbed I had become (and still deal with on a regular basis–I’m sure we all do!), I’m beginning to see that it really doesn’t matter. My relationship with Christ does. My family does. Getting things that need to be accomplished on my to-do list does. Spending time with friends does. But if I “should” wear a certain style or not because my body does or doesn’t fit the criteria? Nope. Nor should I be wasting as much time as I was critiquing what I do or don’t like about my body–I can’t change certain things, no matter how much I try! One of the most freeing moments in the past few months was having to let go of working out 5 days a week. Now, I’m not saying exercise is bad, but I’ve had to take it down a notch due to other commitments (like moving, getting settled, spending time with my husband after he deploys, seeing friends and family, etc.)–suddenly having a perfectly toned abs wasn’t as big a deal. People were. I found I had spent so much time the past 6 years obsessing over how I looked, that I no longer had as strong a relationship with people as I’d have liked. And you know what? Yeah, I’m a little more soft and flabby in spots, but honestly I haven’t been this content in years. Other’s critiques of me and what society says I “should” look like are not as important. I’m terribly glad that even for a moment, I’ve been given the grace to see what my actions and decisions led to, but also been given the grace to repair some of the relationship damage and care less about the silly pressures around me.
    Boy… Did I get a bit off topic! But I wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart–this was a much-needed encouragement. Blessings!

  52. melissa says:

    I love this post–thanks for sharing such inspiring words and ideas! This is just the kind of encouragement I needed to break out of my shell a little.
    Also wanted to say I really love your short hair and it’s great to see new photos of how you are styling it!

  53. Patty Crawford says:

    Beautiful words. Thank you for being you and being beautiful. The most beautiful things in life come from God and faith. I fall into that selfish superficial hole sometimes too, and your blog just reminded me that we are more than our imperfections, we are made in the image and likeness of God. That is the most amazing “look” in the world. Also, keep wearing unique, fun, and amazing clothes!

  54. mandy ford says:

    Love this. Love your honesty and the beauty of your words and your authenticity. We are so bombarded with images of skinny women and how that is supposed to by our goal, and it just isn’t realistic or healthy. I was met with lots of them this morning on Pinterest…it was overwhelming and sad to be honest. Should our goal in life be to have a six pack? A healthy body yes but that comes in so many shapes and forms. I hope you don’t mind but I shared this on my blog’s FB page. Thanks for the inspiration and reminder to love what God has given us!

  55. janelle says:

    t h a n k y o u.

  56. Jill Sutton says:

    What is so great is that you didn’t have to say any of this because your blog shows it in every way. You express yourself perfectly in this post, and I loved reading it, but you do even more so in the way that you’ve always expressed yourself here.
    Keep up your great work.

  57. Thank you Mandi for such a great post! I appreciate it a lot. You are a brave and beautiful lady!
    I am so glad we met….
    Anna

  58. I love your style and look ! Especially love that scarf. I love being different , but don’t always have the confidence to ” carry it off ” :) Thanks for this post !

  59. jenloveskev says:

    oh goodness I think I love you even more now! What a great post. Thanks for honestly sharing this with us all. Something we all need to read. xoxo

  60. Elizabeth says:

    I agree with every word you said and so wish more of my friends felt this way. Thank you so much for writing this -I’m passing it along. Life is too short not to have fun and be yourself. And way too short not to do the stuff that matters – like sharing grace.
    Grace and peace to you.

  61. kendra says:

    this is my favorite thing that you have ever written. well said. well put. especially the last part!

  62. Danielle says:

    those people obviously haven’t met you in person. You are a beauty inside and out.
    love you!

  63. Amy Dusek says:

    Well put! You rock. :)

  64. Kara says:

    I have never commented on your blog before but have admired your elegance from afar! This was such an inspirational post. And so beautifully written. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  65. denise says:

    beautifully written!

  66. sarah says:

    I think it doesn’t matter what you wear, if it’s Old Navy,Walmart,Target,thrifted,vintage or designer, as long as you learn what works for you and it makes you feel good wearing it, that’s all that matters. I do agree that learning to work with the body you have is the best thing you can do for “clothing confidence”, because you learn that no matter what size you are,you can find what works for you and that is so freeing.

  67. Mary Brewster says:

    Thank you so much for this. I like that I can come to your blog and it will be thoughtful and inspiring. Thank you thank you thank you.

  68. Joanna says:

    thank you so much for posting this. I’m always struggling with body insecurities. so reading this has challenged me to be more self-confident, yet content with how God made me!
    i also am so happy to hear that you believe in and serve God. its so encouraging to see another fashion blogger who is not ashamed of her faith!

  69. Jan says:

    you rock dude. I love the way you dress for your self. You are such a style inspiration. And from this most recent post you have a lot more than just style to inspire people about.

  70. Tori Pohl says:

    Mandi- I’ve been following your blog since August but this is the first time I’ve commented. I just felt compelled to tell you that this post captures beautifully what I was able to gather from your photos the very first time I visited. On the top of the page there you were on a beach in a little cropped top and pair of high waisted shorts. I thought “Yes, this woman enjoys her body but doesn’t let it dictate what she wears.” Your line, “… I’m not so sure I subscribe to the mentality that in order to be a confident person, you have to love the way you look and embrace every detail of your body,” resurrected that moment for me. You decorate yourself with such joy and I thought this is worth coming back to. This is the type of influence I’d like to keep in my life.
    Visiting your site brings a sparkle to my day. I love to watch the ebb and flow of your creativity and find a kindred spirit when i read your words. Thanks for sharing of yourself
    God’s Peace
    Tori

  71. Heather says:

    Love this! The older I get (says the 26 year old) the more I stop caring what others think and just do what makes me happy. Life is too short to live in a box. I definitely needed this reminder. I need to love myself, love others and wear whatever the heck I want. :)

  72. Lisa says:

    Thank you for the post. Your style of dress does look like fun – and I’d like to have fun too! Also have to compliment your new hair. It’s super cute!

  73. beth says:

    thanks for writing this. it’s terrific. I wholeheartedly agree with all you wrote.

  74. Love this look! You are adorable!

  75. Sue says:

    Wonderful post! Its great that you feel comfortable wearing whatever you want and not care what any one else thinks….its a shame that I didn’t realize that myself until I reached my 40s. You definitely have a unique style that is inspiring. Thanks so much for sharing your encouraging words.

  76. bea says:

    man, what a lovely, lovely post. this is full of grace and maturity and wisdom. you’re absolutely right– it’s all of grace. all the time.
    i, too, am an unconventional dresser. sometimes people think that if you live like that, it must be because you want attention. when in truth, i couldn’t care less. the only way i have the ‘confidence’ to dress like i do is because the Lord has blessed me with grace not to take myself so seriously as to think that what i wear matters very much at all.
    bravo for being so genuine about your faith, and thanks for sharing your heart.

  77. arielle says:

    I loved this post and I love that the outfit you chose has horizontal stripes, which they say bigger girls(like myself) shouldnt wear. But who cares, I love horizontal stripes so kudos to you!

  78. Can I just say that I’ve been following your blog for almost a year BECAUSE you try new things, even if they aren’t the MOST flattering they could be. I am inspired by you and get new ideas for my own outfits, always changing thing sup.
    If we only wore the MOST flattering pieces in our wardrobe, we’d all wear spanx and black from head to toe!
    I also have a heavy top 34 DDD, am 5’4 (and a half) and my waist is 32 inches. I’m not fat, but I’m not tiny. Like you said, we all have our off days. We are unconventional in the sense that we have our own style, and we aren’t discouraged by others (who may be skinnier) to flaunt it.
    I often hear the same thing ‘you are SO brave for wearing that.’ Uh, why? It’s ignorant. I’m not BRAVE, I just have my own ideas of what looks good ON ME. This post is what many women need to hear, especially if they don’t subscribe to the wear-what-everyone-else-is-wearing mentality (which is not a bad mentality, it just doesn’t work for everyone).

  79. What a brilliant piece, well said! You have articulated my attitude precisely: really, who actually cares what I’m wearing or how I look? “In a hundred years, who’s going to care?” It is far more important to me to try and be a good person, and it’s so nice to hear a fashion blogger re-iterate that message! I’m sorry you get insensitive comments sometimes – they must really hurt – but you certainly seem to know how to handle them. “Grace and dignity maintained throughout.” You’re a treasure x

  80. Nina says:

    I think this is one of the most wonderful posts about fashion I have ever read. Also, you are beautiful!

  81. Katrina says:

    wow, an amazing post!! you look great anyway.
    ashamedly, i do limit myself when it comes to fashion. i wear something that would make me look a bit thinner.
    after reading this post, i have a sudden urge of going out and shop the items i loved and didnt buy because it doesnt make me look thinner.
    xo katrina
    theyoungbridgetjones.blogspot.com

  82. Krystle says:

    love this!! i don’t know if it’s the small town midwest thing but i literally squeal when i see anyone around town that seems to be anything like me haha! what i consider a normal dress/tights/vintage something combo stands out here as different or kind of weird..i get called granny a lot, i love it! i’m not even sure what normal 26 yr olds would wear..the salvation army is my favorite store. i’ve shown luke your blog before and he took one look and said “fancy pants” so that’s your blog nickname, as in “omg fancypants just cut off all of her hair too!”
    keep wearing what you love, we love it on you!
    ?
    Krystle

  83. Maryse says:

    I think you are pretty fantastic and love your sense of style.

  84. L says:

    I want to start by saying; I think you are BEAUTIFUL , and I LOVE your blog !
    This is the first time I comment , but I always read your posts (especially like your wardrobe posts :))
    This was so gracefully written, and I love how you are so honest ,I agree; I don’t always love every part of my body but my confidence and joy doesn’t depend on that ,As I enter my twenties and leave my teenage years behind I’m learning more and more how to find my joy and confidence from knowing who I am in Christ , because God’s POWER and LOVE is constant unlike my feelings.
    Thank you so much for this beautiful and inspiring post,
    Love,
    L X
    (P.S I love your tattoos!)

  85. SE says:

    I am 55, and as someone who has struggled with insecurities all my life, I am awestruck by your wisdom. I absolutely love what you’ve written here- if I could send it out all over the web, I would. Please find some other avenues for it… we need it.

  86. Jessica S. says:

    Mandi, what a wonderful post… I love your honesty, and your grace! Blessings!

  87. Charis says:

    Good for you Mandi! Wear what you want, whatever makes you happy. I have always done so, I hate those off-days where nothing feels right. Dressing should be fun, an expression of your personality, not a battle with your body shape.

  88. Monique says:

    Mandi, I haven’t been around to visit for sometime and this post was so heartfelt and honest. Again, I applaud you for your courage. I think you make an excellent point about this extreme idea of “loving everything about your body”. I had no idea that you got such hurtful comments. I just wanted to let you know that I think you are beautiful. You value your friendships and making a comfortable home for yourself and your hubs. You have a powerful spirit and I hope your confidence continues to grow.
    P.S. I was brought up in a Caribbean household where curvy was the standard of beauty. While I do have a hefty booty. I’m not as curvy as my family would like me to be. I would sometimes wonder what it would be like to be a little thicker and have what I’ve been socialized to believe is a sexier body.

  89. Erica says:

    New reader here, I found this through a link on another blog. I just had to stop and say how much I LOVE this. This is such a refreshing change from those sort of articles you talked about at the beginning of the post. It’s amazing how much a perspective change can transform your life. I needed this tonight.
    Looking forward to reading your blog and seeing your outfits (that striped skirt is AMAZING!!) :)

  90. Danielle says:

    This is my favourite of your posts EVER. I especially love the last paragraph. I got shivers! I, too, have found that the only way to find true confidence is to find it outside myself, in something so much bigger than me — in fact, in the God who made me. <3

  91. Marie says:

    That was perfectly expressed.

  92. Bunnykins says:

    This is the first time I’ve read your blog, being directed here from the Stitchers’ Guild. What a clever and insightful young woman you are!

  93. Scout says:

    A beautiful post, a beautiful woman, and I LOVE your scarf! I’m working on incorporating more of those into my wardrobe :)

  94. Alex says:

    You’ve never looked as beautiful to me as you do in that top picture. I just love your curls and fresh face. And your outfit is great! Flattering, interesting and stylish. I read a study that stripes, regardless of the way that they run, are pretty much always flattering. Anyway, I love your attitude, your creativity and your inner strength. Keep it up, gorgeous! <3

  95. At last an opinion on dressing that makes sense!
    I loved this post and it made me realise that I am probably far to narcissistic for my own good and when i am apparently thinking about everyone else all I am really thinking about is me.
    It is who I am and what I give to the worl that is most important.
    And there will always be haters but I think you look amazing!

  96. you look amazing! thank-you for your truth…it has given me the desire to sport my confidence!

  97. Jayrin says:

    You’re so inspirational. I <3 you!

  98. Aya says:

    AMEN sister, on everything you’ve said :) Also, not too many bloggers I know openly state their faith in God (we’re entering a time where many things are PC, but displaying your Christianity is not). I’ve found some major inspiration today :)
    ? Aya

  99. Yes, it’s hard to put on a “love your body” mentality when there are just some things you’d rather do with your body which, unfortunately, your structure does not allow. It is kind of reassuring that you can try to be fashionably unique and hide those delicate issues among the folds. There’s also surgery if you’re up to it, but clothes can do for those who aren’t so ready.

  100. Yes, it’s hard to put on a “love your body” mentality when there are just some things you’d rather do with your body which, unfortunately, your structure does not allow. It is kind of reassuring that you can try to be fashionably unique and hide those delicate issues among the folds. There’s also surgery if you’re up to it, but clothes can do for those who aren’t so ready.

  101. Julia says:

    I LOVE this post!!! And I’m so happy that someone has the guts to say it. Good for you! You’ve inspired me to let go of some of my own insecurities and just be me, so thank you. I am an actor, and my industry is really based on image rather than talent most of the time. But this post makes me realize that I’m happy with myself no matter what happens in an audition room (where I’m headed in a few hours), so thanks!!! PS: You always look splendid to me! PPS: CONGRATS on the baby!!!

  102. Sequins says:

    I just stumbled across your blog today (congratulations on your baby news! very exciting!) and I read this post and just loved it. I get the “Oh I could never wear what you wear” comment a lot, and my (internal) response is always “Why not?”, so I have to say, you made some great points.
    Thanks for this post–it can be hard to accept your body the way it is (I had jaw surgery that took away any definition from my jawline, and a stomach condition that means I’m almost always bloated), and it’s a good reminder to just accept yourself the way you are and go from there (I have awesome biker’s calves and very long fingers, yay!).
    Thanks!

  103. Mary says:

    As I read this, I just knew it was someone who had found their self worth in Christ. This is something that I’m working on, but with prayer and hope I’ll get there someday! Great post, I think you’ll reach a lot of people through your honesty.

  104. Taylor K says:

    this is exactly what I needed to hear.
    you are such an inspiration to so many ladies out there. thank you!
    xoxo

  105. Meredith says:

    Awesome perspective. Thank you for sharing! Praying for you & the health of your new growing Little One!

  106. Susanne says:

    Great post! I love how fashion blogs like yours show that you don’t have to be supermodel skinny and tall to look great, and that working with what you’ve got is the best way to look good.

  107. Jules says:

    I read your post a few weeks ago and meant to comment then, and in a way I am glad I waited until now, so i could tell you what an impact your words have had on my thinking. I was very over weight for a number of years, and then when i became slimmer I still seemed to be obsessed with what I looked like / being thinner / eating less. These days I am much much more balanced in my thoughts, and happy to be slim – ish / curvy ;) But your words really touched something in me, as i am still so guilty of letting a day when i feel a bit bloated or not 100% how I might want to look and feel totally ruin my day, and effect the way i react and interact with my other half and friends. Since reading your words, i now catch myself thinking those horrible negative thoughts like “goodness you look fat today! / look at your thighs in those jeans!” etc and just STOP. And think “i am lucky to be me, and have the people in my life that i do and be healthy, if I have put a couple of pounds on, it doesn’t matter and i am not going to let this ruin this day or even this minute” And its really worked for me. So i thought the least I could do is let you know that you have radically changed my body image issues and my self confidence for the better, all through your insight and honest openness, so a big thank you :)Jules x

  108. Julianne Cronin says:

    Wahoooooo I LOVE this post and your amazing blog! Thanks for keeping it real!

  109. Ohh Mandi!! My face is all squinched up and I just want to hug you and thank you so much for the perfect post!
    Truly!
    You are so so fabulous!!
    XOXO Jenny

  110. roxy says:

    Your last paragraph was amazing. I have been reading your blog off and on for awhile now and I am so glad to know you are my sister not just in Art but in Jesus. XOXO and God bless.

  111. Thank you for writing this article.
    It’s made an impact on me.:)
    Also, I just started my own blog on blogspot.
    I would like to make a post about you/your outfits. Please let me know if this is not ok and I will not do it/take it down.
    Thank you so much!

  112. Sophia says:

    You are a beautiful daughter of the King, and I thank you for blessing me (and so many of us!) with this post and yourself.
    Shine on, Mandi!

  113. Megan says:

    Thank you so much for this post. You’ve helped to change my perspective of myself and how I think about my body for the better. You are an inspiration to me! I’ve been so consumed about “looking perfect” for my girl’s trip to Arizona for spring break next week, and I got the idea into my head that I’d only be truly happy on the trip if I met my goal weight/loved everything about the way I look. Now I’m going to focus on loving others more than myself, and on gratitude for the opportunity. Thank you for helping me change my views in the nick of time!

  114. Charlotte says:

    Totally needed to read this post today so glad I stumbled on it. Thanks for the inspiration! xo

  115. Grace says:

    Mandi,
    I completely agreed with this whole post, down to the part about your faith. I was happy to hear you share this, and it’s great to see how our faith affects our confidence.
    Thank you for sharing!

  116. Naya says:

    Thanks for that beautiful post.

  117. jaymi leigh mcdonald says:

    i dont know your name, found a picture of your tat on pintrest. by the way like the coolest tattoo ive seen. what you wrote here is so inspiring. thank you, thank you for being a light on a hill, no light is lit to be placed under a covering. thank you

  118. Michelle says:

    Hi Mandi,

    I have been reading your blog for a while now and am currently going back through your archives to read or reread anything that I may have missed. Let me just say this is the best post on so many levels. I have two daughters one 20 and one almost 14 and I am printing off a copy for each of them. My 20 year old and myself are definitely more eclectic in our dressing and have the same attitude (and love of vintage and thrifting) towards outfits as you, however it is always good to have a reminder about love and grace and to put our faith in Jesus Christ and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. At 14 my other daughter is at peace looking like everyone else and I think that your post will really relate to her ( she is very faith filled). Congradulations on your baby to be, you are going to be a fabulous mama!!!!!

  119. Bethany says:

    whaaat!!! this is so beautiful! yeesh. I haven’t read through many comments but I’m sure I’m not the only reader who resonates with everything you said–and how well it was said! I need to bookmark this post and read it all the time.

  120. Emily Polci says:

    Great message Mandi :)

  121. Laksh says:

    Hi there,

    I just arrived at your blog today and I want to tell you, that honestly, I’m touched by this post.

    It’s really beautiful to know that fashion bloggers understand what beauty is. And though the world is harsh, you put yourselves out there, you believe in yourself, and you face the world, fearlessly.

    I know that courage is not the absence of fear, but feeling that fear and marching straight into the face of it anyway. For each woman, image is where a lot of confidence comes from. I’m so glad that you put up this post – because i’m sure it will help hundreds of women out there and touched their life in some way; or at least, stopped and made them think for a second. What is beauty all about? What is confidence all about?

    Surprisingly, I once thought fashion was a crime. Looking beautiful was never a “must”. It was a “well, if you have the money” kind of thing. But first impressions do count. And second impressions (character) even more.

    Fashion is not about spending money or trends. It’s about expressing who you are to others. And that’s really important. Because you are representing yourself. It sets the tone for how people respond to you.

    Thank you for writing this post – and through this, helping others -as God would have willed. (;

    Many women still struggle with accepting their image, or themselves. Some harbor secret dreams. Would you share with us in future posts, how you came to accept yourself more fully – to put yourself out on this blog?

    Cheers!
    and God Bless (;

    (I do hope I don’t sound all formal here)

    • Mandi says:

      Thanks for your response! I really appreciate hearing your thoughts and encouragement. I would like to eventually share more about this topic, and probably will when I find the right words! :)

  122. Rachel says:

    Appreciate you sharing on a topic so intimately! I just read the book, Made to Crave, by Lysa TerKeurst – talking about how God gave us the ability to crave…but that is to be Him, not other things (alcohol, sex, food, entertainment, facebook, etc.) While you don’t address food specifically (and she does, in the book), I really believe that it ties in with your message. God desires us to honor Him with our body – cause really it’s His body, He gave it to us! And that can relate to just about everything we do – putting stuff in it, or on it.

  123. Jessica says:

    For the record (not that my opinion even matters) I think you rock those horizontal stripes! I’m totally sharing this, thanks for such a great read.

  124. carol says:

    well put!
    thank you mandi,,,you must be an old soul. i might be twice your age, my what you’ve learned in half the time. just stumbled upon your blog today. will be stumbling in this direction often.

  125. Trish says:

    Excellent post! I too am in similar shoes as you- big-busted and heavier than “normal”. It’s so easy to get stuck in the cycle of looking around and comparing yourself to others. Thank you for inspiring me to be more open minded and able to enjoy the fun of wearing things I like!

  126. This is SUCH a wonderful post! I kept seeing things I wanted to highlight and comment on, but then my comment would be really, really long. So I’ll just stick with saying… wonderfully said! I needed to read this and be inspired and encouraged to have more fun with what I wear, and not worry about what people are thinking. Because it IS selfish to be insecure about everything, and it’s definitely more worthwhile to live out love for others than it is to obsess over trying to love myself.

  127. Akilah says:

    Thank you for acknowledging our Lord and Savior. Keep Him first in your life and you will see, serving Him is never in vain!

  128. Lydie says:

    You’re a brave lady, and you’re inspiring others to be brave. Thank you for having the courage to explain why you live the way you do – praise God for a better way to live than living for ourselves!

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