I'm Evolving My Style Thanks To Instagram and Gwynnie Bee

As much as I love fashion, I have not been a fashionable person for most of my life.I grew up in the 90s, with Filas, Cross Colours, and Guess jeans with the matching jackets. I can also show you some tragic school photos, in everything from crazy prints to denim outfits with suede patches. Basically, young Jubi had zero style, LOL. Seriously, it was tragic. Why did I walk around like this??? Seriously, why did folks let me wear this???

As I got older, I loved to look at fashion magazines, but I still didn't know how to be fashionable myself. I wore a lot of tees and jeans, or cardigans and jeans because they were simple. I was also working in the lab, and nice clothes aren't the place for the lab. It wasn't until I changed careers that I attempted to make changes with my personal style. First I figured out my body shape, and what worked for me, which helped immensely. I have a natural hourglass shape, so I learned to accentuate my waist. I also learned to stay away from any bottoms without stretch, due to my hips/thighs. Even as I learned things, I still didn't feel like I had style, you know? Not the style that I saw in magazines or blogs. And I didn't know how to put things together. Worst of all, I felt like all the stuff I loved, I couldn't wear, cause I was too big.

The past few years, plus size fashion blogs have exploded, and I've been a faithful reader. I started picking up tips and slowly incorporating items into my closet. I bought my first crop top...but I was too afraid to wear it. I let go of my tees and started adding nicer pieces to my closet. I started wearing dresses! I shared pics of my outfits, but sporadically. I also was very conservative with my looks, and I wore things that were squarely in my comfort zone - I was afraid to really step out of the box.

To satisfy my fashion habit, I would screenshot lots of pics from Instagram, of looks I loved, or outfits I wanted to try.When I would show them to LM, hIs question to me was always "what's stopping you from wearing this?" Good question! There were two things stopping me: my fear that plus size women can't wear certain things, and my wallet!

Finally, one day I heard what he was saying. I also really took to heart blog posts from my favorite bloggers Garnerstyle and Gabifresh - they talked about their own plus size fashion journeys and how they wore what they loved fearlessly. I felt encouraged, so I took the plunge with a few things. I started with a simple look - leggings with an oversized shirt. I got some new sweater dresses and wore them proudly. When Gabifresh did her 2015 plus size bikini line, I ordered 2 for our honeymoon and I wore them! I finally wore those crop tops! I wore a dress without shapewear underneath, and I loved the freedom so much, I spent my summer in dresses/skirts that didn't need shapewear.

Crop Top

Honeymoon Bikini Pic

I took my style evolution to the next level when I signed up for Gwynnie Bee. Gwynnie Bee is a subscription service that specializes in plus size fashion. With your monthly subscription, you have 1-5 pieces out at a time, and you wear them as much as you want to, before you send them back. Gwynnie Bee has clothing from a wide range of plus size brands, including a lot of online-only brands. It's a great way to try different brands, see how they fit on your body, as well as different styles. During my 30 day free trial, I decided to concentrate on adding prints to my closet, because those are items that I typically don't buy. From the very first shipment I received, I was hooked! I love that I can rotate different items into my closet, especially things that I wouldn't normally buy. If I really love an item, I can buy it at a discount and keep it forever (which I've done with several items). Gwynnie Bee has a strong social media presence and they encourage their members to share photos on Instagram. I would take photos, or have LM take them, and share my review of the item on IG.

Gwynnie Bee dress

Loved this skirt! I should have bought it when I had it.

The more I took pics of my Gwynnie Bee items, the more I realized that I really loved sharing my outfits. I started to get into it, and sharing photos of items I already owned. Browsing through IG I discovered that people do fashion challenges and post their outfits each day. It looked fun, so I decided to jump in too. Fashion challenges gave me the push I needed to start "shopping my closet" and put together new looks. I love the challenge of taking items I've worn multiple ways and putting them together differently for a new look.Over time, I've figured out how to pose, how to edit and the best spot for the pics. I've even got LM in on it - he used to hate when I asked him to take a pic, but now he's asking me if I want a pic!

A recent look - I would have never worn something like this before.

This year my personal style has evolved immensely, and its raised it to a new level. I still love classic style, but I've learned how to accessorize, layer, and elevate. I've also become more brave, and I'm not afraid to wear what I love. My Gwynnie Bee subscription lets me experiment and expand my closet as well. I still screenshot lots of items from IG, as I look for inspiration. And I'm still doing fashion challenges :-) Check out my Instagram @Jubilance1922 and follow along! Interested in Gwynnie Bee? Start your free trial here!

Fashion collage