Friday, February 21, 2014


I was debating with myself about what to wear with this happy orange stripy turtleneck which I have had for ages, it seems, and suddenly remembered this skirt I bough last Spring because I really loved the color. I started paying attention to Lane Bryant back then. I think before last Spring, I might have bought a thing or two from them (in case you don't know - it is one of a few American brands which designs clothes for women specifically in plus sizes, 14 and up). That in itself is a curious subject. As a gal who was on both sides, a regular 6-8 US, and gradually over the last few years grew into 16-18 US, I know a little too well how difficult this transition can be.

You say that 40+ women are better style bloggers 'cause they know themselves better than when they were in their 20s? They learned everything about their personalities and their bodies, what looks good on them and what doesn't? Their style became more refined, more sophisticated, more mature with years? Maybe some 40+ women. But it is not my story at all. I feel like a baby fashionista at 40. I am learning almost everything from scratch.

First of all, it is not so easy psychologically to just admit to yourself that you need clothing of a bigger size. Your mind refuses to recognize your new body size. So you try to squeeze your bigger self into familiar numbers until you realize that the clothes looks ridiculous on you. Then you look for bigger number... 10... 12... 14... until the last one (which is the last one on "regular size" racks) is too small to feel comfortable, not to mention to look pretty. The next thing you know is the dreadful "plus size" store is now your best friend.

Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Summer of 1999 (I am 26 y.o.)

Divnogorsk, Russia, Summer of 1999 (I am 26 y.o.)

In previous years, as a lucky owner of an hourglass figure, I don't remember having any troubles with clothes I chose fitting me - it seemed like no matter what I put on myself, it all looked really nice... if not pretty gorgeous, darn it. But all of the sudden, the reflection I saw in the mirror did not bring me joy any more. So I just started wearing mostly something loose to hide my body. I stopped having a full length mirror in my home. I just did not want to look at me any more. But something changed when I turned 40, or rather a little before that. Of course, I had some very nice items (I still wear and love some of them) during those "lost" years. Mostly though, dark blue jeans or black flare pants with a sweater, blouse or nice jacket. Very few skirts. All of them were midi A-line skirts. While I used to be such a pencil skirt kind of girl before! They are simple, easy, elegant and very sexy. And they go with anything! I love them. Last Spring, I bought this Lane Bryant orange pencil skirt - for the first time in probably 8 years. This skirt is somewhat a symbol to me - a symbol of my newly reborn interest in... myself as a woman, not a personality (never lost that interest), not as an artist (this only got stronger and clearer in the last few years), but as a woman, still young and still attractive woman - with changed, bigger, almost unfamiliar, but still beautiful body.

Tacoma, WA. Summer of 2013 (I am 40 y.o.)


Justin, who saw me through the whole transition, always sees me as a beautiful woman, and adores every single bit of me. And it really, really helps. Because other than him, nobody really does. Most of people are politely silent about my weight gain. Some of them decide that that is their full right to inform me about how much I've changed. Some others decide to advise me how to loose weight. There are a few friends who still compliment me when I dress up. But mostly it is silence... for years. In my 20s, almost not one day passed by without a compliment or two. And it affects you. A couple of words can brighten your day. If you are sad - they would cheer you up. If you are happy - they would bring you even more joy.

Tacoma, WA. Summer of 2013

I know that the most important though is the way you see yourself. And I began the journey of accepting my new body shape and size. Slowly, gradually, with lots of ups and downs. But I am getting there.

You may take any attitude towards "commercial" style bloggers you want, but I can tell you that without these two I am not sure how I'd get where I am now. Tanesha Awasthi of Girl With Curves and Stephanie Zwicky of Le Blog De Big Beauty opened my eyes and helped me to accept my new self. We practically became best buddies last Summer. (Of course, they don't know about it.) I went through probably most of their posts (and they posted a lot! especially Stephanie), admiring their courage, willingness to share and to inspire others, and of course their feminine style and in both cases what I consider a timeless beauty. Later I found many, many amazing, warm, talented, open, fun stylish women who blog about their style and themselves. Even a few months ago I had no idea about their existence. But those two were amongst very first style bloggers I discovered - both not in their 20s and both not wearing size 2... or even 8. To me, they are real women. Not "commercial". Not just successful bloggers. Real women.

So, waiting passionately for the spring, I found this skirt yesterday. I ironed it. I put it on. I felt so pretty! I totally forgot though the very reason why I haven't worn it more than I have. Even though I love the color very much, the fabric is a big disappointment. The skirt wrinkles way too easily and it is so clingy! The best way to wear it would be basically to iron it, put it on and just stand like I do on these pictures. :) No, thanks, not for me. :) Standing is good. But I also enjoy walking. And I pretty much drive every day (unless I have no places to go and feel lazy, then I can stay home, but I don't need a pencil skirt for that!) So this skirt now is my first candidate for donating. Fit is another problem. I am still learning how to find clothing which would fit me right. But I'll get there too.

It was a lovely, very changeable day with sun in and out every few seconds, with wind... Still cold for exposed legs. But I'm daring. And I am brave.

On the lighter note - look who wanted to be in a photo shoot! My old, old friend! She remembers me when I was probably 4 or 5 years old!

Let me introduce you to my friend. This is Lena, and she used to be my favorite doll when I was little. I didn't have many... 5 or 6 perhaps. Lena for years was my number one. I loved her so much - I chewed on her fingers, they are all squished and wrinkly now. I brushed her hair so many times - she lost all of them on the upper part! (That's why she wears her bandana now - or косынка in Russian... yes, bad hair day is for dolls too!) She lost half of her eyelashes (I bet I had something to do with that too) and all of her original clothes, so when I asked my Mom to bring one of my two favorite dolls here, so Anya can play and I can have my childhood memories, Mom got creative! She asked our neighbor to tailor make new clothes for my old beloved doll! Can you imagine? She is now very stylish - Nadia (the tailor) did an amazing job! (I have to say it - even the little underwear is so adorable, in matching fabric!) Strangely enough, I remember Lena having darker hair though... and being taller... I wonder, what's with that? :) 

Skirt - Lane Bryant. Turtleneck - Chico's (old). Belt - Target. Coat - my auntie made for me in 90s (the whole post about it here). Stilettos - Sam Edelman. Ring, necklace, earrings - boutique and vintage (all old).

Location - Renton


  1. Oh dear, you are amazing and beautiful, inside and out. I love your story here. It touches me also because I have been a size 12 not so long ago. You have it right, deciding to say I'm here and I'm going to enjoy life today. Today as in right now. I think you look beautiful and orange is striking on you. You are taking and writing from a place of strength and I admire you for this!

    blue hue wonderland

    1. Ann, you touched me to tears! Thank you so very much for your very warm, very sincere, very encouraging comment... All we really have is right now, our life is happening right now - so we better be living our life right now... Hugs!

  2. How very interesting, Natalia, and of course you're right; if your size changes dramatically, either bigger or smaller, you have a different body to dress and that means re-learning what to wear. You were a beautiful woman in your 20s, for sure, but you are certainly a equally beautiful and stylish woman now too. Orange is a wonderful colour on you, so even if that particular skirt is not satisfactory, it's definitely worth hunting for a better quality version!
    I'm particularly interested in what you said about compliments, and the radio silence as your size changed. Leaving aside those who feel they have the right to criticise (for shame!), I find it astonishing that anyone has such a narrow view of what looks good and deserves to be complimented. Surely, we all know by now that there is no single way to look fabulous, no one size which is sexy and beautiful, that there are no limits/rules on being stylish? Any woman, any size, any shape, can look amazing. YOU look amazing! I am sure that blogging will be a really powerful tool in your process of self-acceptance and confidence-building. xxxx

    1. Curtise, I feel so happy that I am now finding such wonderful blogging friends who can say such wonderful things in response - with intelligence, sensitivity, warmth and charm all at the same time! You are a treasure! Yes, you got it - it's a different body to dress. Self-acceptance doesn't come easily - they did not teach us it in school, did they? I think that is why a lot of women (and men too as I can see) around 40 start this journey of self-acceptance, because otherwise it just hurts too much and really doesn't make any sense, everything is harder when you don't really love yourself the way you are right now, at this moment. I am glad that I started blogging and let it out. I just want to be myself, my real self, and those feelings are a part of what I experience. Fortunately, not always, I have a positive picture of me too. But those feelings are still not completely resolved. I am sure that letting them out is a part of letting them go process. Thanks so much for your support and encouragement!

  3. The first time I visited you blog I thought to myself what a beautiful lady you were and how you oozed confidence and sex appeal. You were gorgeous as a young women but ever more so now. I think, as we get older, our true style sits much better. You were obviously born to wear sassy, head turning brights and I bet your man loves every inch of you. xxx

    1. That is sooo wonderful to hear, Vix! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! I hear quite often that I seem confident - I wonder that maybe it IS partly a reason why people don't bother with compliments? :)) I do have confidence... sometimes. And I do have doubts... some other times. We are such complex creatures, aren't we? Anyway, I just want to say that I appreciate very much your response! Such warm and sincere comments are what one hopes to get from blogging! Hugs!

  4. Natalia, I enjoy reading your posts, you have such great skills in expressing yourself through writing! I browsed through your blog and in every post you look so confident about your look and about clothes you're wearing. And that is one of the things that makes any woman beautiful - her confidence!
    Oh, I too have a doll that my father bought me when I was just one year old. It has big blue eyes and yellow braided hair. I love it.

    1. Oh Olga, you don't even know what it means to me - your kindest words about my writing! I have to admit - even though it is always good to hear compliments about my outfits, or my confidence, I treasure comments about my writing even more! English is tricky, especially for the one who has never really "learned" it. But I learn as I go! I have so much fun writing my blog these days!

      I would love to see your beloved dolly - please make a post about her!