Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Like an Angel, Only Different

Seeing an outfit of the beautiful Austrian blogger Curvy Claudia made me realized that I can create a very similar all white outfit from the existing pieces of my wardrobe. Why this outfit has not happened to me earlier? I really couldn't tell. But I have a suspicion that maybe I felt that all white is not really for me - I don't believe I ever had many white things. All the three pieces here are relatively recent purchases (and all, weirdly enough, from Lane Bryant, bought of course on a really good sale, each piece at a different time). I remember having a snow white short Spring coat as a teenager - my auntie donated hers to me, and it felt so luxurious and out of a different world in the small working town where I grew up. Later, when I already was working for a publishing company and made my own living, I ordered a custom made long off-white coat - I ordered it from my other auntie (as a matter of fact, they are twins) and loved it to no end. It was elegant, dreamy, very dandy, and I was getting tons of compliments wearing it. 


After moving to the US, everything about my outfits slowly got much simpler, much more casual. And when it was still fresh to me (women in Russia do love dressing up, it's only in the last few years they started adopting a more casual style, but still not nearly as much as American women did), I had fun with it, and I think I knew how to look stylish even in my least stylish years, which were right prior this blog, when I was building a community like a mad scientist, or rather mad artist. Things all white were out of the question for me. Raising a child, being practically every day on the go and behind the wheel, working with little children - there was absolutely no time or energy, or inspiration for white things. On the top of which, I gained weight. And it traditionally is not advised to wear white if you are even a little plump - "it will make you look bigger", blah blah, blah. Now, honestly, whoever wants to look bigger? Not too many folks, I bet.

I don't typically make a big deal out of my size - I'm learning to really accept myself for who I am the way I am now. I was different yesterday, and will be different tomorrow. The one thing we all have is now, and why not live in the now, being aware and grateful for what it is, instead of wishing for things to be different, whatever these "things" may be. Why be unhappy if we actually can be happy? I realized that happiness is a choice very early on - I think I was not even 20 yet. It does not mean, of course, that I always feel happy - I do have my ups and downs as much as the next person. But I simply don't accept unhappiness as something that "happens" to me. It's a choice. I always know, even in my weakest, darkest days, that happiness is my and only my own choice. Always, no matter what. And if I instead choose to be miserable, then that's what I choose - no other reasons, explanations, excuses for it. Just because there are always plenty of reasons for both - reasons for being miserable and reasons for being happy. And there always will be. The choice is mine. It really is as simple as that.

So living in a larger-than-I-used-to body, even though it was not my conscious choice, still somehow is my own choice, and since there is no huge desire to make another choice now, I accept that this is the way it is for now, and I'm going to be OK with that. I don't really join any movements, though I sure respect people who do - including the body acceptance movement which bloggers are a huge part of (and size is definitely not the only thing that challenges us to really, truly accept our bodies and, to be honest the more importantly - to accept ourselves the way we are). But if you struggle with loving your body just the way it is now, you can find many inspiring bloggers who write about this topic all the time - and show the world that beauty is definitely not defined by size. 

The delicate mesh back detail of the sleeveless blazer.

 To name a few of such blogs, other than Claudia's
and there are many, many more talented, gorgeous women who demonstrate daily that beauty and style have nothing to do with a size. Go visit their blogs, get inspired - and stop hiding from the world, but more than anything, hiding from yourself and your dreams. That's exactly what I did a year and a half ago, when I wrote the very first post here, In The Writer's Closet. I stopped hiding.

Like Claudia, I opted for a little edgy take on styling this soft chiffon blouse. It's a little too edgy for America (might not seem so to my European or Russian readers) - but hey, I'm not quite American either. I'll admit that I tried to wear this blouse without a tank top the very day I bought it - it just is so beautiful. And yet, I never want to attract the wrong kind of attention - so to me, wearing this blouse with a bra instead of a tank top is for occasions when I am on a date with my love. 

I also admit that it is only after seeing Claudia showing off her gorgeous curves, I decided to do it too. I tried to talk it over with my family before posting. You'll never guess what my Dad said to me. "Why do you ask us? Just wear what you like!" Papa, you are so right! I don't really need anyone's approval. I'm soon to be 42 years old, grown up woman who had a courage to change her life more than a couple of times. I certainly am able to make my own decisions about what is right for me to wear.

We took my dearest parents to the airport today - as long as their stay might seem (5 months), time flew quickly. It's not easy. At times, the sadness is so overwhelming, you feel like your heart is being torn in two halves - one in America, another in Russia. And yet, as Justin often reminds me, there are not many people who spend so much time with their parents even if they live in the same city. To share a home together, to share our life, to live as one big three generations family for as long as we were able to do, and to actually like and respect each other, even though it is not always smooth and easy, is such an exceptionally rare gift.

Have a safe trip home, our dearest. Our little cottage feels empty now. It is very difficult to not feel your presence. I love Justin's idea to think of it as a preparation for our next visit together.

Blouse, vest (waistcoat, or sleeveless blazer, whichever term you prefer) and jeans - Lane Bryant
Coat - J. Jill (7 years ago)
Shoes - Rockport (via Nordstrom Rack)
Purse - B Makowsky (via TJ MAXX)
Jewelry and scarf to add Spring to my all white outfit - Chico's

Photos, as always, by Justin



  1. Oh Dearest Natalia, this is the first time commenting although I love your blog. I love your cream and white, it looks absolutely "heavenly" on you. You are so right, we are our own worst enemies and we are the ones who set our own limits. Godspeed to your parents.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment, dear Diana! I'm so very happy that you love my blog and this outfit, and that you share my thoughts about happiness. Thank you for writing! :)

  2. A wise man your father, such good advice. My own take on things is, if I am happy with the view in my mirror then that is OK, no matter what others may think. Glad you are embracing your curves, and dressing for you , your all white outfit is testament to your skill , its stunning. Thankyou for sharing your parents visit with us, I know you will miss them so very much. Thinking of you, xx

  3. Ah, saying goodbye never gets easier does it? We said goodbye to mine after 5 days today. It's true. If you live far apart, you spend more time together when you visit than those who live in the same city.
    I love your white outfit, and the backs of the shirt and the vest are stunning.
    Happiness is a choice, but when you have emotional instability which cause moods that feel like there is nothing else, you need to hold on hard to the conscious choice that this will pass as it has before! Some of us get a lot of practice at choosing! :-D thinking of you in your preparations for your next visit with your parents...there is the choice once again to turn it on its head. xo Jazzy Jack

    1. Yep, practice, practice and then some more practice, my friend. I really do understand what you are talking about.

  4. Your white outfit looks beautiful, but very different from your usual very colourful style. It's like another aspect of you, another side of your personality. We all contain multiple personalities in that sense, and some of them are more hidden at times, others more visible. But there's a time for each of these aspects to take centre stage. As for family, you are very lucky to have such wonderful, supportive parents. I would never in a million years have spent 5 months under the same roof with any of my relatives (lets just say I prefer to deal with other people's neuroses in small doses...)

    1. I know, Tiina - 5 months are possible only with such loving and kind people as my parents and my husband are - who just let you be who you are. It's extremely rare.

  5. I'm like Tiina...I love my parents, but in small doses. Like two week stints. 5 months would be pushing it. You are lucky though that you are able to enjoy all that time with your parents as one big happy family.

    I also used to think that white made me look bigger, and washed me out so I stayed away from it in the past. This year I broke down and bought some white jeans that I'm loving. I no longer believe they make a person look bigger.

    I do prefer colour and pattern on you, but this is a lovely serene look.


    1. I agree about colors and patterns, Suzanne, and that sometimes it's good to make a change.

  6. I just love the way the blouse flows down below the vest here. And I think the all white is very pretty on you. Your hair color stands out more and it all compliments your beautiful face. It's fun how these blogs inspire many things. I've been so lazy lately to post but it's the reading of other blogs I enjoy the most.
    I'm happy you're not in hiding, you inspire women more than you are aware which is a very powerful thing!

  7. can i hug you? with all my heart? i´m so proud of you that you´r proud of your body and that you show it! beautiful, wonderful natasha! no more fashion rules :-)
    your all white and transparent look has something of a matriarchal priestess. especially with you very female curves. no wonder the patriarchal america will see transparent and white clothes only on thin, adolescent looking women......
    i will miss your parents too - seeing them from time to time in pics and reading about your living and adventures together was so heartwarming for that almost-orphan.
    lots of love!!! xxxxxxxxx

    1. Thank you, Beatochka! Interesting association, I haven't thought of it, but I see what you mean! I will write more about our adventures together - in the last month or so, I just did not have enough time/energy to do so, but we had lots of great little trips. Hugses and love to you!!

  8. I like so much about this post, Natalia - the no hiding stance, the sexy angel outfit, the decision to be happy, the sense of immediacy and living in the present, the deep love of family. You are a wise, wise woman.
    I don't buy with the idea that wearing white (or light colours or big prints) makes you look bigger, I just don't see that at all. And I also agree that size is only one issue faced by women who are working towards self-acceptance. Society places all kinds of unhelpful conventions in our way about attractiveness, and it's up to us to kick them down, one by one, until we all feel our very best.
    Sending love, my dear. You feel sad, I know, and your parents will be feeling the same way, but what happy memories you have made during your time together. And yes, there are many more to come! xxxx

  9. Hi Natalia. I know why I don´t rear white color for such a long time. Because everybody was telling me that white color is not for curvy women. That is so not tre. White (and other bright colors) are so amazing and sexy on all women.
    I am so happy for you that you have so beautiful and respectful relationship with your parents. You are blessed.o)

  10. I totally agree with your dad Natalia, wear whatever you want, if someone doesn't like it, its their problem not yours. I think you should wear white more often because this outfit is a ripper. You are beautiful, you love yourself and that's all that matters. xo

  11. As you know Natalia, I too prefer colours and prints. But once in a while I like to put on all white outfit. You feel a bit different when wearing all white, isn't it? Beautiful blouse, what an interesting back design! I agree with you that happiness is a choice though I realized it not in such early age as you, but I am happy that I did after all :) Quite understand your sadness about parents leaving, when you know that they have to leave five months don't seem long enough.

  12. wouu, I like so much this post!. Firts, I like your 'happiness as a choice' approach to life, it's a lovely attitude and I feel encouraged to be the captain of my own ship!. Second, love particularly your words about body-acceptance, it's all about living this moment and enjoying whatever you have, including your own fabulous body!
    I can understand your sadness, dear lady, but I'm sure you'll feel better soon. It's not a bad kind of sadness actually!
    And last but not least, love your white outfit, love those different textures, and that pleated back!! Really not a huge fan of white but thinking about it in a different way now!.

  13. I love seeing you in the bold colors you wear. Very va va voom with the top {wink}.

  14. Dear Natalia, sorry I'm so late!

    This outfit is gorgeous on you - the colours and the cut. The back of the shirt is of course like an angel spreading it's wings (tank top or not!), and the colour compliments your skin colour and your lovely hair.

    So, finally you can enjoy your body in an otherwise "forbidden" colour. I wonder how many other things we deny ourselves, because they're "forbidden" for us by other people's rules or prejudices? It's time we make conscious choices about what to wear and how to feel about it. Rules are made to be broken, right? :-) And we can choose to be happy doing it!

    It must be so hard to see your family go so far away. But what a great comfort to choose to think about their return instead, and maybe already begin to make plans?

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings Natalia, it's so inspiring to the rest of us!

  15. I know exactly how you feel torn between two countries. I'd love to live in US tho cuz english is so much easier to me than french. Communication barrier makes my living in France quite harder than I expected. Anyways, I'm sure you are left with beautiful memories and you have a wonderful family in US.
    The white outfit is very nice and I'll tell you a funny thing. I don't wear a bra and I'm fine with it everyday but to actually wear a bra and a seethru shirt would make me feel somehow uncomfortable. I'd rather put on something over it or best just replace bra with some stretchy simple top. You look great in both versions. With a camisole t's a little more casual.

    Happiness is such a werid thing. I can't really say what it means. I wouldn't know what to answer, if someone asked me "Are you happy?". From a time perspective I can judge me in my life as happy or just going on with my life and having done what needed to be done. To me it's so much easier to notice unhappiness.

    Self acceptance is indeed very important. It's a key thing to all the positive changes. Living in a struggle just creates more troubles. Once we take facts as they are we can shape certain things and make fuller life for ourselves and our beloved ones. I wish it was easier to be comfortable with oneself:)