They Don’t Want Me To Wear Miniskirts — But I Do Anyway

I'm a size 12, and I also love fashion. Those two things shouldn't feel contradictory, but it seems that the fashion industry has always told me that the clothes I'm drawn to — things like white jeans, head-to-toe prints, cropped tops, furry jackets, and miniskirts — aren't for me. According to the rule book, I should stick to monotone looks, sleek fabrics, and loads of black. But, that's always seemed like a real snooze. So you know what? I do what I want, and I've never looked back!
Inevitably, every spring, what I want to wear the most are miniskirts. When sashaying around in one (really — it's the only time I sashay), I feel effortless, sexy, playful, and French…i.e. the four best things to feel. And if fashion isn't about feeling good above all else, then what is it? But you know what doesn't feel good? A lifetime of being directed toward silhouettes that are meant to hide, conceal, or minimize. Having spent the past 10 years working in fashion where I can usually count on being the only size 12 in the room, I’m acutely aware that I'm expected to dress by a different set of rules. I would like to say that I’ve never paid it any mind, but I'm not superhuman. The truth is I know what it feels like to be the odd one out, unsure who is scrutinizing my shape more — me or everyone else. And it stinks.
Photo: Courtesy of The 12ish Style.
Despite this experience, or maybe because of it, I’ve managed to grow a thick skin and have learned to care less about other people, and love myself more. I know it sounds cheesy, but the first thing I put on in the morning is my confidence. Even if you need to fake-it-till-you-make-it (that’s me many days), I’ve found there’s no substitute for feeling good in your own skin and believing you are good enough as you are.
To that end, I’ve always wished the fashion industry would stop telling me and girls like me how to hide our bodies, and instead start helping a size 12ish sister out! With so many mainstream and contemporary brands not even making my size (many drop off at size 10), and plus-size brands starting at a 16 or 18, just finding clothes I love and that fit is no small task for a medium-sized woman.
I finally decided to stop wishing and do something about it, which is how my blog The 12ish Style came about, aimed at girls like me who love fashion even if it doesn’t always feel like fashion loves us back. I’ve been spreading body positivity, and dispensing shopping and styling tricks ever since, eager to show other size 12ish girls that great style is more accessible than it may seem.
A consistent fount for outfit inspo is celebrities. They’re up on trends, have access to the best stylists and shopping, and — let’s face it — look cute as hell. Of course, most celebrities aren’t rocking a size 12, which is why I love the challenge of proving celeb looks can work on different body types. I’ve recreated an on-the-go Kendall Jenner outfit to show a travel day doesn’t need to look ugly, and took on the '90s (a decade I’m honestly a little scared of) via one of Gigi’s sexy nighttime looks. This time around, I wanted to get personal with a Carole Radziwill outfit hack. Carole has been a friend and supporter of The 12ish Style since we met filming RHONY, and is simply one of the coolest (and chicest!) women of all time.

Nothing feels better than breaking the rules and wearing what makes you happy.

It may seem ironic, but we’ve both taken some heat for the way our bodies are made — Carole’s been vocal about skinny-shaming, and I’ve had to deal with more fat-shaming Instagram trolls than I can count. So when Carole agreed to let me steal one of her looks, I wanted to celebrate both of our body types — no hiding in a long dress or pants!
This look is fun, flirty, and also happens to be perfectly layered for hot-cold-hot-cold spring days. Yes, the silver sequined miniskirt (Carole and I are both rocking this one by Forever21) shows a lot of leg and makes a sparkly statement, but when toned down with casual basics and sneakers (mine are by Saturdays NYC) it really works for daytime. I will never shut up about bodysuits (my go-to for staying tucked and looking polished), so not surprisingly I am wearing one by TUXE for an under layer, topped off with the American Apparel sweatshirt you probably already own.
I love this outfit because it works on anyone, looks harder to pull together than it is, and is so versatile (not to mention comfy). I also love it, because I think most people would hear "size-12-sequined-miniskirt" and think Not your look, honey, but nothing feels better than breaking the rules and wearing what makes you happy. And if you should happen to show some athlete-grade leg muscle in the process, then I say all the better!

It's your body. It's your summer. Enjoy them both. Check out more #TakeBackTheBeach here.

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