Miss Lori wants to feel pretty for the OSCARS®
“I FEEL PRETTY…” I love that song from West Side Story. It speaks to an inner desire that every girl has, to feel pretty. Not to the World, but to themselves, because that’s what really counts. Ever since the birth of my third child 7 years ago, feeling pretty has been harder and harder. Though I have been struggling with my weight, I have come to accept my current size. I don’t look in the mirror and cringe as I had been. I feel stronger at my core because of changes I have been making in my life. (Blogging has been a huge empowerment tool especially). However, all of that seems to disappear when I go shopping.
I have never been an enthusiastic shopper anyway. I’m very practical. I buy what I need. Hanging in a mall hasn’t been a big pastime of mine ever. However, lately I have had a great number of concerts at Westfield Malls in the Chicago area, in conjunction with my work with WTTW, (PBS Kids Chicago). There are no malls in the city proper of Chicago so when my children accompany me to my mall shows they loose their minds and want to stay in the shopping center for hours. It’s like an amusement park to them. (Poor deprived city kids!) It’s an amusement park ride to me; a big scary roller coaster that I am strapped into too tightly and yet still feel out of control. “Why?” you ask. Because shopping as a Plus Size Woman in America is a terrifyingly uncomfortable experience. (At least it is for me.) Being plus size is hard enough, but I am a tall, ethnic plus size woman. I have a 33 inch inseam, the shoulders of a line backer, the wingspan of an NBA star, a chest that could feed a small nation and a back side that puts JLo to shame. IE I am not a size that can be easily fit off of the rack.
So many of the plus size styles are empire waist lines. Can’t do that without looking like I am going to give birth to octuplets. (I would be the OctoMAMA!) Then there is the wrap style. Well, that just makes it look as though my breasts are individual missiles locked and loaded for launch. Then there are the pants with the tiny pockets on the backside, which make my but look like it’s squinting at you as I walk away. Not to mention the fact that most of the styles are too short in the cross shoulder, inseam and sleeve length to even cover my long frame.You get the picture. It’s definitely not PRETTY. And I haven’t even gotten to the colors, fabrics and stitching. So often it seems as though the Plus Size outfits are reduced to the scraps that no one else wanted for the more fashionable Misses. Ok, I am starting to rant and that is not the point of this post. (Well, not completely).
So here’s the point. I have been given a great opportunity as a blogger. I am going to Los Angeles, courtesy of Kodak, to cover the Oscar Red Carpet from the bleachers as a blogger. YIPPPEEE! I am extremely excited and honored in equal parts. Well, at least I was until reality set in. I would need to go shopping for an OSCAR worthy outfit. (Insert lump in my throat). First of all this trip wasn’t planned so it is completely off budget. With three kid birthday parties happening over the course of the next 34 days, I don’t have two nickels to rub together let alone OSCAR dress money. But second, and more importantly, I’m not into torture. And shopping for an OSCAR worthy outfit, when clothes just don’t wear well on me these days, is what I call torture. (Right up there with water boarding!) But…I can’t go naked. Nor would Kodak want me to. (That’s NOT the kind of memorable moment they want me to create). So yesterday, after my concert at the Westfield Fox Valley Mall, my youngest and I stopped in at Lane Bryant. The clothes that I wear as Miss Lori I have bought from Ashley Stewart, Torrid and Macy’s. But after receiving a tweet from the Lane Bryant Social Media Manager, sharing a link to some of their new styles, I decided to stop in there. My heart was pounding in my ears, but my 6 year old took me by the hand and led me through the store picking out a couple of outfits that she thought would be good for me. I gathered my hangers and went nervously, but dutifully into the dressing room.
The first outfit I put on required leggings. LEGGINGS! (The lump in my throat was now so big it threatened to cut off my airway). I wriggled into the ruched micro fiber material, drapped over the dress and stepped out into the bright light of the store. “Oh my Mommy, you look like Queen Latifa!” my daughter exclaimed. (Never necessarily a goal of mine, but she does have a Cover Girl contract, so the Queen’s way may be the way to go!) I trepidatiously looked into the mirror, and what do you know, I didn’t flinch, lurch or throw up. Not bad at all. We added a little jewelry and a banging red purse to the Geometric T-shape dress, and here is what we got.
I actually felt good enough to go back into the dressing room and try another. This time I donned a 70’s era pantsuit called the Python Halter Jumpsuit. The material was really slinky, which felt cool against my skin. (A tad decadent to tell the truth). Walking out to the store front I felt a little like Cher with the halter neckline and the swinging hem. I received a number of Oos and Ahs from other customers. (Which actually made this seasoned performer blush.) We added a Silver link belt that the sales associate placed perfectly on my waist and… Voila!
I was ridding high now! I practically skipped back to the dressing room. But once inside the stall I tripped. The Shimmer Stripped Chiffon halter dress that we had pulled from the sale rack was an empire waist line nightmare. No pictures of that. No way! I quickly moved on to a blue top. A typical Miss Lori choice. I couldn’t help myself. It was so soft, and equal parts clingy and flowy. I had to try on the shirt, sweater combination with the ruched leggings. Oh my, not a pretty sight. Unfortunately the shirt didn’t cover my back assets, so I added the Ruffled Trench Coat to keep my dignity. Though the trench coat felt a little tight in the cross shoulder and was a little shallow on the sleeve length, the ruffled pattern disguised all of that and slenderized my frame. (Slenderized, not tenderized. Where is your mind going?)
I did it! I tried on all of the outfits and I didn’t even hyperventilate once. AWESOME! I got dressed in my Miss Lori clothes and my daughter and I rushed back to the car. (I had another performance to get to in the city.) No, I didn’t buy a thing, because I still don’t have any money. But I did leave the store with something very important, a feeling of being pretty. I FELT PRETTY! And that, my friends, is priceless!
Miss Lori can be found Musing from her Minivan at MissLori.TV , Wearetherealdeal.com , YoungChicagonista , and ChicagoMomsBlog. She is also the new Chicago Family Entertainment Blogger for Examiner.com and a Discussion Leader for MomsLikeMeChicago. You can also see her Activating to Be Great at Miss Lori’s CAMPUS on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.