When I started creating Lalita, I knew that it was more than just making accessories; it was about creating pieces and curating a brand that evoked an emotional response. It means so much to me when I hear what each piece means to the owner when they wear it. These responses were so powerful that I created the Kickstarter campaign around the concept and around these women’s voices, because it is what continues to inspire me and drive the brand. The other night at a birthday party (with several Lalita wearers) a woman said to me, “It seems like your pieces really mean something special to each of these women who has them” and I could not ask for a bigger complement.
Along with these positive responses to the brand, a flip side has inevitably been elicited. While I thank each and every woman who shares her story with me about Lalita, I want to respond to those who have pulled away due to their own story. The most striking part for me is how body image has come into play regarding some the pieces, most notably the waist cinchers. For many of the women who adored the piece, it was followed by, “But I have to get into shape before I can wear that!”. . . my gut response is No you don’t, but I can’t always say that because many times it falls on deaf ears and I don’t want to encourage wearing ANYTHING you don’t feel comfortable in.
For anyone who has felt that way, did you happen to catch the Ashley Graham Lingerie show during NY fashion week last September, because those women are sexy as f*ck and they just happen to be “plus sizes”! You know why? They own every single one of their curves and there is nothing sexier than confidence. If they waited to get to some skinny “ideal” weight, none of them would have been walking the runway in a lingerie show!
I have yo-yo’d many times in my life and until recently, I was the heaviest I’d ever been. Did I plan on hanging out at that weight? Absolutely not, but did I still find myself beautiful and sexy? Absolutely! I had to, because if I sat in a state of self-loathing it would have only made it harder to lose the weight. I could have cut myself a break and said I gained it from stress after my father died, or from a car accident that made it difficult for me dance, the one form of exercise I love, or that I’d been so busy juggling two businesses that I didn’t have time to exercise. All of those things are true to an extent, but they are only a story around my weight; they should never define how I feel about myself at any given time. I looked back at a picture of myself when I was skinny and remembered I still hated my body then; I wish I had taken the time to love it every day, to love the journey it has taken me on and to appreciate that it has the ability to transform from skinnier, to muscular, to curvier, to everything in between. One thing I realize is I have the power to change between these different incarnations of my body based on my food and life choices, but no matter how I’m looking, why not love what I see?
Here’s the irony: I love myself in lingerie. No matter my size I can always tap into that inner vixen and feel sexy and beautiful. Throw me in a bikini, I’m horribly insecure. The thought of buying one gives me heart palpitations. Let me sunbathe in the nude, or topless even, I’m back to feeling good. It makes no sense, but it’s how I allow myself to feel in that clothing (or lack of). Same body, but the bikini elicits fear and self-loathing while the lingerie evokes self-worth, womanhood, beauty and confidence. I can’t say I’ve delved into therapy to understand why I feel so insecure in a bikini, but I can say I probably look so much better in lingerie, because I feel so much better about myself in it. I’m working on bringing that self-love into wearing a bathing suit. . .
A Lalita woman recently emailed me prior to purchasing a pair of corset boy shorts and I teared up when I received her e-mail:
“I am a US size 16-18 and it is nearly impossible to find products such as yours that will fit my figure in a flattering way, so if you do not currently make for us curvy ladies, would you consider it?? Or would it be possible to custom order with my measurements? As an aside, I think there a lot of us that do not fit the “typical” figure these types of products are intended for, but that doesn’t mean we “full figured” ladies don’t want beautiful, sexy items, too!”
What I loved about her e-mail was her honesty and yes, btw, – our size 5 did fit her perfectly. Truth is I’ve never intended these products for only the smaller range of sizes. I’ve had many custom orders for our waist cinchers and I’m thrilled every time. I love that women of all sizes feel beautiful and sexy in them! What breaks my heart is when women tell me they want Lalita, but have to lose weight before ordering. It’s like putting yourself in this constant cycle of conditional happiness where you can’t feel good UNTIL something happens. I say drop the delayed gratification and start the self-love of body Right Now. I guarantee if you can’t love you now, it won’t be easier in the future.
I’m gonna leave you with a trailer I just saw interviewing women on how they feel about their bodies for a film, Embrace. . . How do you feel about yours? How would suddenly shifting into feeling your body is beautiful right now change how you experience life and walk through the world? It doesn’t mean you can’t change your shape, but how about loving it every step of the way?
Filed under: body image, Lalita, Uncategorized Tagged: beauty, body dysmorphia, body image, eating disorders, lalita, lingerie, love, motivation, personal growth, self love