#StoriesOfStyle: Dressing For You

Author: Janet Earling-Bencivenni

I had the pleasure of meeting Janet through the facebook group "The Fierce 50 Revolution". Full of women from around the world, the group is a fantastic source of inspiration and positive energy and, whilst I'm not in my 50s or beyond, they have been more than enthusiastic about the-Bias-Cut.com and our values. 

Janet reached out to share her personal journey of style discovery after she lost a significant amount of weight, and realised whatever your age or size, you don't have to dress frumpy or a certain way... 

Do the clothes you wear reflect the real you? Do you dress to hide your body? If so, do you even realize that’s what you’re doing? Do you think you must dress “for your age”? What is age, but a number?

Do you have a signature look or style? If not, are you working on it? If you aren’t, you should. Being overweight or a certain age, doesn’t mean we have to be frumpy or dress a certain way; but that’s often what happens.

We get in a rut. Who wants to shop for bigger clothes? How much fun is it to go out and try on larger clothes? It’s not. After a while chances are you just pick something that works. You don’t like it, but it does the job.

I had got to that point. It didn’t help that I stopped having to dress for work. That was my own doing and what I now know was a mistake. I talked the doctor I worked for into getting us polos and sweatshirts with the company name and such, then knit pants that were comfortable and I was able to grow with, came into play. At first I liked not having to buy “special” work/dress clothes. It was a money saver. I could just grab a pair stretch pants off the rack and go. As I gained more weight it was harder to find larger clothes to fit me, being short made it harder and I didn’t want to admit I was growing out of my larger clothes. After a time I even wore my work pants on the weekends. Or leggings. I still wear leggings but not because that’s all I can find to find to fit, they look good now!

Below are a couple of pictures of how I dressed during that time.

These weren’t even at my heaviest. For the most part I thought I looked ok. Seeing the pictures showed me otherwise. I don’t have very many full length photos either.

I have also realized capris, that aren’t made to work out in, may not be for me and my short legs. They cut me off and make me look shorter . I may try them in petites to see if I can wear them, with something beside athletic shoes, but I have a feeling they may be out.

Here are a few of my current looks for the weekends. One day I’m going to learn to get “good” pictures….dressing room selfies aren’t exactly the best, and well, “the man” isn’t a photographer (even though he thinks he needs every camera known to man)lol!

This is pic below is from New Years Eve, heading out to dinner with “the man”. It was the first time in almost 37 years we’ve ever gone out on New Years! Now mind you we had 4:30 reservations and were back by 6:30, lol! But baby steps!

It’s taken a while for me to be comfortable in my own skin. I’m still constantly trying to find the best look for me. First and foremost I ask “how does this make me feel” am I comfortable in what I’m wearing, do I like the fit, do I like the way I look, do I feel confident when I walk out the door?

These are what I call my weekend looks, because I am way more casual during the week. Hanging out with infants and toddlers all day doesn’t lend itself to wearing heels or white (and I’m one of those people who probably should never wear white…..especially on days that end in Y). So it’s usually jeans or jeggings (I can wear them comfortably again) and a shirt or sweater, this time of year, that I bought on clearance. I actually have to learn to be careful of that, as I still have quite a few unflattering things that I bought cheap, just to get clothes that would fit.

I am learning through searching other style sites and blogs how to shop for my body, and what works for me.

I actually bought myself a pair of “destructed” jeans the other week. I swore I would never spend money on clothes with holes in them, but I did,  lol! I’ll show them to you soon.

During the weight loss phase I went through a period of time where I could shop in my closet. I bet most of you can relate. When I started having to buy new clothes, I tried to get as much on clearance as I could. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on things I wouldn’t wear for long, and once they didn’t fit I donated them. I didn’t want anything around to “grow back into”. I did not keep even one thing from that time.

Now that I’m at my goal weight and maintaining where I’m happy, not only with the number on the scale but my body, I try to buy the best I can afford, instead of cheap, throw away clothes that don’t fit properly. It’s one of my rewards. I don’t reward myself with food.

I do still shop sales, I like getting more for my money, and I’ve found that if I wait a couple of weeks after something I like is released it will be marked down. If I would have bought it at the highest price, I’ll get it, if I like the way it fits and looks on me.

About the author:

Janet Earling-Bencivenni is a 50+ SAHGMa, New blogger, Marathoner, and PowerLifter. In March 2014 she set out to lose a little weight and return to a healthy weight. Janet wanted to stay healthy; as she had not developed any of the medical problems that can come with aging or being overweight. To date, Janet has lost 70 lbs; 20 more than she set out to. After losing close to half her weight Janet started running and has since run numerous half marathons, one full marathon, and plans to run her second full marathon this October. Just this year she has started powerlifting and after the marathon plan to train to compete in that. With losing weight came the challenge of finding new clothes. Janet wasn't worried about them being "age appropriate" as much as if they fit and look good. As Janet puts it "one problem I have is: being only 5' on a 80's hair day...even petites can be too much. I really could shop the "little girls" sections at some stores. Now that would not be "age appropriate". I lead a rather casual lifestyle, so being put together, casual, and not sloppy can be a challenge too."
Janet is the founder of the Gradma2Glamma blog which you can read here


  • Posted by jodie filogomo on

    This is such an inspiring story to read, Janet!!
    So many people think that clothing doesn’t affect us internally, but it’s easy to see how it can make you feel so much better about the progress with your weight loss!
    And I said the same thing about distressed jeans—ha ha! And now I have 2 pair!

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