I’m Kristina, and I blog over at Eccentric Owl about fashion, life as a stay-at-home mom, and styling clothes through many different stages of weight gain/loss and changing body shape. Currently, I live on the coast of Washington with my husband Nehemiah and our son Asa, and I’m pregnant with baby number two (it’s a girl!). I am a photographer on occasion, but aside from motherhood and fashion blogging, I aspire to publish my novels. Seeing as how that’s a work in (long) progress, I’ve been channeling much of my creativity through fashion instead.
Styling a baby bump has always been a fun challenge, and I’m excited to remix a few swapped items to show that they can be worn just as well by a pregnant lady as they can by the fab bloggers who loaned them to me! I tend to thrift most of my clothes, although you will see me wearing the occasional Modcloth skirt or higher-end garment if I just really need it, but the thrill of hunting through the racks for vintage garments has always been my favorite thing! My style ranges from total 1950’s housewife to 70’s flower child to modern mom-on-the-go, but overall I love sticking to a retro theme.
Here are a few ways I’ve styled garments while pregnant and not pregnant.
As a little girl, I had a definite taste for fashion, as many little girls do, but having three older brothers I was also bound to be found outside playing in the woods or in the mud, oftentimes in a dress. Due to my will to be different, I rejected playing baseball with the rest of my family (because the boys did that, and I was the girl) yet also contradicted the little-girl expectation to love and wear pink all the time. Because of that, I only just started adding pink back into my wardrobe. But I still loved dresses and makeup and high heels and everything to do with being girly long into my adolescent years, and it wasn’t until nine or ten that I remember not caring as much what I was wearing so much as when I could swim or rollerblade or rake the yard again with my best friends of the time.
Then, for a while, I didn’t care as much about fashion as I did about make-believe, though my friends and I often dressed up in fancy gowns from the costume box (and stuffed our pre-teen bras with socks to fill them out), and I didn’t really become aware of fashion again until I reached 16 or 17. By then, though, I had gone through the cursed land known as puberty, filled out in the hips and not so much in the chest, and gained a self-demeaning attitude based on the fact that my legs jiggled in shorts and my belly (then undesirably) rounded out slightly while my slender friends ran by the pool with skinny legs and flat bellies.
And as I gained a drastic amount of weight over the period of four or five years and reached a number that, according to BMI standards, was considered to be just at the cusp of obesity for my height, I started to hide myself in clothes that blended in with everyone else. I chose jeans and tees and baggy sweatshirts that hid my love of Pringles and chocolate, only put dresses and skirts on for Sundays, and did my best not to focus on my curves versus my friends’ size 4 bodies. At 19 years old, I was more concerned with hiding as much of my 180 pound, 5’6″ frame that I could, instead of finding ways to bring out the good things.
But, as it happens, one day I determined to lose weight, and over the next six months I dropped forty pounds and realized just how little I liked jeans and sweatshirts, and how much I desired to feel as pretty every day as I did on Sundays in my church dress. So some time after losing weight, experiencing the heartbreak of a certain summer, and realizing I didn’t have to wear pants just because everyone else did, I challenged myself to wear skirts for an entire week. In the middle of winter, through rain and snow and the typical wet cold of a Washington December, I doubled up my tights and wore skirts and felt beautiful. When the week was up, I kept going.
To find some inspiration, I Google imaged “how to wear tights with skirts”, stumbled upon a fashion blog, and the small spark of that five-year-old girl, who stubbornly clung to femininity and dresses just as much as she insisted she could climb trees and play in the mud in skirts, grew into a flame, and my love for fashion was rekindled and emboldened.
These days, I’ve gained back some of the weight I lost, but knowing how to dress my shape has made me care less about that.
Fashion, for me, is so much more than just the clothing, than just looking pretty or wearing a twirly skirt. It’s a story of finding contentment in who God made me — a girly girl, a woman who will always weigh more than most of her friends, and a person whose worth is more than just the numbers on the scale. Though it might sound funny, because of fashion I’ve learned not to be as vain as I once was, because I’ve learned that weight and looks are only a small part of who I can be and what I can do. Through blogging I’ve made friends with whom I can connect; because of my love of style, my husband noticed me above all the other women at church; because of fashion, I’ve developed photography skills and writing skills and life skills that likely I would not have pursued had I not been led to just try wearing skirts and dresses for a week that December.
God has brought a job through my blog, friends through the comments, and a way for me to encourage others through what I wear and post and photograph, and it continually amazes me how much more there is than just the fashion.
Sartorially, I always aspire to have a closet that fits my body no matter what shape I am. But more than that, I aspire to spread joy and encouragement through sharing my own stories. I’ve blogged through weight loss, weight gain, two pregnancies, bigger bustlines (hello, nursing), smaller bustlines, body confidence issues, and settling into myself as a person whose value is about more than her weight. Though I still struggle with body image from time to time — and what girl doesn’t, even when she’s at her best? — I’ve come a long way from the teenage girl who rarely wore shorts and felt out of place amongst her skinny friends, who was shy about her faith and her shape and her abilities. It is always my prerogative to encourage women of any size, whether thin or shapely, plus sized or extra small, average or unusual, that style is not limited to one body type, and that fashion is more than just the clothes.
So, I hope you are all encouraged by this wonderful group of women that I am privileged to blog with! I am so, so excited to be a part of these diverse gals and get to show how one garment can be styled for many different body types, and, hopefully, learn more about how fashion has affected each of our lives in a positive way!