Terrenea Beach, California

“Fashion is a way of expressing who you are in an instant.” – CatherineGraceO 

Outfit Details:
Featured DressDress 2Dress 3Dress 4, Bangles 1, Bangles 2, Bangles 3, Bangles 4, Sunnies 1, Sunnies 2

It’s hard to believe how dramatically my life has changed in just 3 years! At the time, my days were consumed by a life-threatening illness rather than by life itself. Lately, I’ve been peppering my feed with Wednesdays being dedicated to the brilliant concept of “Wonder.” What do wonder, fashion, a red dress, and life-threatening illness have to do with one another? Absolutely everything for this girl!

Fashion is in my DNA. It’s embedded in the fiber of my being. In last week’s post, I shared that I was raised a tomboy in a rambling house filled with 4 brothers rather than the fashionista I am today. I found that fashion allowed me to dream and opened up parts of myself I didn’t know existed. Although fashion was in my DNA, confidence wasn’t. Confidence has been hard won over a lifetime of inner work. I learned early on that beautiful fashion had a life-changing power. I would pore over endless glossy fashion magazines and dream of being in them one day. It could change the way I felt in an instant.

In the spring of 2015, I was coming out of a year of being bedridden with late stage Lyme Disease. My daughter came over one day with a gift of the most beautiful handcrafted Mantra cards. Each had a picture of me and a saying filled with questions to open up my energy with wonder. Questions like, “I wonder what fabulous friends I’m going to meet today!” or “I wonder what beautiful countries I’m going to be traveling to this year!” The idea was to read them before I went to bed to program my subconscious to dream and scheme, and to begin to change my focus from one of illness to one of wellness. I would read them again in the morning and spend time meditating on my dreams and visualizing myself out in the world and living those dreams. That was a far stretch from the reality I was living but it didn’t take long for the Universe to hear my intentions and begin to conspire to make them happen.

Where does fashion fit into all of this? Well, I had a closet filled with beautiful clothes…many of which no longer fit me as I was slowly gaining my weight back at just over 100 lbs. I felt like anything but a confident fashionista. But with a little poking and prodding from my girl, she grabbed her iPhone and encouraged me to get dressed up and throw on some makeup, and she began snapping pictures. I was frail, exhausted and certainly not looking my best but I was game to give it a go. Over time, I found my confidence being restored slowly, little by little, day by day. I had no idea how to be a model. Trust me, in the beginning, when you’re not physically well, it’s a really awkward process! My daughter graduated to an old Canon camera that had been collecting dust in my closet. We began to play around and do some shoots at some of the painted walls in LA. We would venture out time and again, and slowly I found my health returning and a glimmer of joy, passion, and purpose returning.

It’s been a healing journey that continues to this day. I’ve found that fashion has the ability to shift the way we feel about ourselves in an instant. I’ve also discovered the power of creativity as dreaming up fabulous photo shoot ideas and bringing them to life has been empowering, inspiring and the best healing medicine in the world. There’s something about the energy of creativity. It’s making something out of nothing but your imagination. A few weeks ago, I shared a blog post on “Boho, Beaches, and Ball Gowns” as I had a vision of creating my own Vogue Editorial spread by combining a glamorous look in the most unlikely, rustic, boho setting. It was a brutally hot day in LA with temperatures climbing in the 90’s. That didn’t stop me and my photog in making my creative vision come to life. As we tend to do, we shot 3 different looks at once. As we have limited time these days, we pack in a lot into our days dedicated to photo shoots.

Red has been a favorite color of mine. Color is symbolic and the color of red encompasses passion, fire, determination, strength, and of course, love. I found this stunning red gown at Nordstrom and it had recently been marked down. There’s something about a dress that’s simple and elegant, allowing the clean lines and vibrant color to speak. It’s super fitted with fabric that tends to stretch which flatters a bit of curve. Off the shoulder will always be a classic in my wardrobe and although we chose to do this shoot in Bohemian fashion, this maxi is anything but Boho Style. It could easily go from a black-tie dinner to an elegant evening wedding. I loved the way it hugged my body with the effect almost like wearing comfortable “Spanx” without the Spanx! Red connotes both elegance and fire and lifts both my energy and my spirits. I intentionally styled it with bare feet and minimal hair and makeup to go along with the beachy boho theme. For a dressier event, I would add some rhinestone earrings or a gorgeous cuff bracelet, strappy sandals, and a clutch, and be off for the night like Cinderella at the ball. I’ve tagged a few more of my favorites as a girl can’t have too many classic gowns in her closet so she’s ready to go for any occasion.

Fashion is life changing. Fashion is our ultimate calling card. It’s like announcing our personality to the world without saying a word. Fashion speaks volumes so we don’t have to. If you’re looking for a way to shift your energy in an instant, just like a young girl, consider playing dress up. When we look beautiful, we feel beautiful. When we feel beautiful, life looks more beautiful. Cheers Beauties. Have you found fashion to be life-changing and transformative?

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