On Wearing Sequins

Under the “Just Plain Fun” section of my Lovely Life List is this item: Wear a sequined dress to a party. (Because doesn’t it sound like just plain fun?) It seems like the kind of thing you could cross off with a trip to the mall and a date night, except there’s more to it than that.

This post started a few days ago as a fun, frivolous post with five or six sequined dresses. There would have been a sentence or two at the top, an image with all of the options, then numbered links. My favorite dress of the bunch was this one, but at $300 I wouldn’t have bought it. Today, I noticed that it had been marked down by nearly half, putting it squarely in the price range I was comfortable with. Yet I hesitated.

So then I thought, hey, instead of showing a bunch of pretty dresses today, why not expose some insecurities instead?

See, I’m not going to go super cheap on the dress because the really inexpensive dresses tend to be sized for juniors. I’m smaller than I used to be, but I’m certainly not juniors sized (or shaped). I figured I’d probably go for something in the $150 range, but if I’m going to spend that on a dress, it needs to be for something that I’ll get more than one wear out of. I’ve had it in my head that I would hold off on buying pricier clothes until I’m at a settled weight… but I am. Just not at the one I wanted to be at.

I was a size 12 when I got married, eight years ago. I was a 14 before I got pregnant with Eleanor in 2007, and a size 18 (and over two hundred pounds) after I had her. I lost weight and went back down to a 12, then promptly got pregnant again in 2010 with August. Back up to a 16. Now I’m down to a size 10 and have been for a while. I should be happy with that, because it took a lot of work and discipline, but to be totally honest, I had hoped to get down to a size 8 before reinvesting in a new wardrobe.

A size 8, thin to some, chubby to others, feels like a healthy, attainable goal. And one that I’ve failed to reach.

There is no end to the affirmations I could invoke to boost my esteem, but I don’t hate, or even particularly dislike my body. I am slightly overweight though, and it’s because I don’t eat well. I’ve been at roughly the same weight for about a year now. Running and roller derby (and laying off the peanut butter) did help me go from a size 12 down to a 10, but I feel stuck. Any weight loss I experience moving forward, if at all, will be gradual.

XO Sequins

Funny how we set limits for ourselves, even for something as silly as whether or not one can buy a fun new dress. I’ve wanted to be that girl in sequins for years. The one who is effortlessly confident and who feels comfortable enough with herself to wear garment that not only shows her figure, but flaunts it. I was waiting to buy the pretty dress I’d always wanted until I was at an arbitrary size, but perhaps it’s time to stop waiting.

I’m teaching an online class next week for Alt Summit, all about what to wear to the event. If you’ve been, or even if you’ve only seen photos in recaps, you know it’s a pretty stylish crowd. The last night of the conference features a dozen mini parties, and attendees flit about between them all. It’s a sea of glitter, silk, and yes, sequins. I don’t know yet which form of sparkle and shine I’ll be sporting, but I did order a dress.

133 Responses to “On Wearing Sequins”

  1. CTDC December 6, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    Nicole, You’ve written so many great posts over the years, but I don’t remember the others lingering in my head quite the way this one did. It was really surprising to hear you reveal that you struggle with these issues, because I think of you as already being that woman “who is effortlessly confident in her femininity.” I’ve even said to myself sometimes, “Nicole would wear this, why can’t I?” and then put on the shiny necklace or bright lipstick. But I guess we all deal with variants of this same theme. I, too, have recently come to the realization that life is short and it’s time to go forward and buy my equivalent of the sequin dress. I’m glad you got yours. CT

    P.S. I have read a great book lately about a lot of the issues people are discussing in the comments: INTUITIVE EATING by Tribole and Resch. Their approach has not only helped me lost weight without dieting (yes, really) but freed up my head to tackle other stuff besides a constant stream of negative thoughts about my body. Others might get something out of it….

  2. Monique (AKA Dr. Daily) December 6, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    Thank you so much for opening up to us about this. I am particularly grateful that you promoted gradual weight loss and the classic diet + exercise equation.

    In this day of FB, instagram, blogs etc. We, as mothers, are just so exposed. Our bodies are out there for all to see, and somehow the world has begun to believe that we need to “bounce back” quickly after childbirth. That’s not reality.

    What’s true is that you can feel beautiful at any size, and what’s most important is health. Cheers!

  3. Taia December 6, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    Nicole,
    I have struggled with this issue as well, and played roller derby! My advice to you is to go mainly vegetarian for 6 months. I never lost weight like that in my life. Seriously. I’m a couch potato otherwise, but eating mostly veggies and drinking 4 liters of water a day dropped 20 pounds with no extra effort. I hope you can reach your goal like I did!

  4. lsaspacey December 6, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

    Good for you on ordering the dress despite of your ambivalence. You’ll feel beautiful in it and maybe you won’t care about the numbers but how you look in the clothes instead. Good luck and can’t wait to see it on you.

  5. Elise December 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    Hi Nicole,

    Have you heard of Rent the Runway? You can borrow a designer dress (they have lots of sequins!) for a weekend. Most of the rentals are $50-100. You’d have a high-quality, gorgeous dress for your event without the pressure of investing in your ‘permanent’ size. They have really fabulous customer service reps who will help you figure out the perfect size and style, and they’ll even send you a backup size and ‘second choice’ dress. I don’t work for them or anything, I’m just a satisfied customer who thought it sounded like a good solution for you :) Good luck!

    Elise
    PS- And if it does happen to work out, you and I both get $20 credit for the referral (anyone else feel free to use it too!): http://www.renttherunway.com/referral/elisebrantley

  6. Kimberly December 8, 2012 at 12:57 am #

    I think it was very open and strong of you to post this. I think you’re great :)

  7. Erin @ The Great Indoors December 8, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    What a frank, relatable post. It took a lot of courage for you to write this, and even more courage for you to publish it. We all have goals and ideals that are tough for us to live up to, and they get in the way of us living our lives. Now you can live yours wearing an awesome glittery dress.

  8. Peden December 10, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    Just saw this and wanted to say: you’re beautiful as you are! Rock those sequins!!

  9. Loni December 11, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    I use the LiveStrong App when I need to loose the last few pounds that wont come off. I set it to loose 2 lbs a week and it keeps my calories super super low (healthy low). I find that I do this for a week or two and I notice that I am eating way more than I thought, or that further more what I am eating is more caloric than I thought. It works every time, its not a gimmick its just plain calorie counting, but on your iphone so you can’t really not do it. The other thing, is I gave up gluten 3 years ago, aside from making my skin super clear, I lost weight, and its super easy, just avoid gluten free carb like alternatives, I use Quinoa for everything to replace carbs. Its great and works too!

    Keep at it. Plateaus are the hardest part for sure.

    Sequins for life.

  10. amanda james December 16, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    hello nicole,
    it is sad to read that you don’t feel comfortable within a size 10. i have, according to the internet, a size 14-16 and i don’t feel comfortable with that. i always saw you as a person whos feels very comfortable within their body. always wearing cute dresses and shoes and making the most of oneself. i envy you for that. to me you are a very great woman. managing all the stuff you had to manage and having a husband and two kids growing up. and still be fashionable (is this even a word? i am not sure). to me you feel very comfortable as a woman so comfortable in her own skin i always wished to be. i like wearing dresses but to be it always doesn’t feels right. like playing a role i am not supposed to play. when i dress in a dress i always feel a bit too polished. but this is just me. but that is the reason why i envy you. you can pull it off and look so phantastic. i am sorry, i hope this makes sense to you. be who you are, because who you are is great!

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