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Woes of a Curvy Girl in the Workplace

Photograph by ThinkStock

Over the last few years, curvy girls have become more accepted as the image of what a real woman looks like. Are you a curvy girl? If so, have your curves ever gotten you a side-eyed glance from both males and females at work? Did their glances make you look down at yourself to be sure you didn’t accidently leave your skirt on the bathroom floor? I’ve had experiences like that in my past and sometimes still do. I am a curvy woman.

So what do I do when I get the side-eyed looks or the elevator up-and-down glances from other women? When I was younger I would look back, with an annoyed kind of, “what are you looking at?” glare, but as I get older, I’m much more comfortable in my own skin.

I admit I’ll still do the quickie glance to make sure that I haven’t lost a noticeable button. I’ve learned to take such glances as appreciation for my appearance rather than judgment about me as a person.

When I was a teenager, it was intimidating to accept my curves. I didn’t want to have parts of my body pop out when most girls my age didn’t have what I did. Back then, I thought I was supposed to have an athletic build like my fellow swimming teammates; because I didn’t I have that lanky look, I spent most of high school wearing jogging suits to hide the curves I was cursed with.

I’ve never been a flashy type of dresser and I’ve always despised the stereotype image that I remember growing up seeing on telenovelas—you know the one: women who would only wear a dress or sweater if it was skin-tight. Even if she portrayed a lawyer or a nurse, she had boobage busting out all over. It disgusted me and still does. I still refuse to be that woman. Why should I? Even at an early age, I knew that skin-tight reputation was a personal image that I didn’t want. I also knew that skin-tight would show my body’s flaws.

I love fashion. There’s no doubt about that. If other people can’t handle my curves then that’s just too bad. I am a proud curvy (most of the time I refer to myself as a “proud medium-sized”) woman because I know the image I want to project and have learned how to dress as myself in a professional environment.

For my hourglass figure, I tend to choose items that aren’t too tight, but do hug my curves. I’m blessed to have a vivacious figure and while I am still young enough to have it, I will be proud of it.

I choose fabrics that won’t cling to me (like silks) and are not overly stretchy, so my appearance doesn’t come across as cheap. The most important thing is to wear things that fit your body type, size and shape.

The most important rule for any body type is to choose fabrics that you feel most comfortable in. Keep in mind that if it feels too tight then it probably looks too tight, especially for a work environment. Keep it simple. That’s my rule.

These days, I have not only accepted my body for what it is—even if it is getting harder to keep my hourglass figure. I love my curves. As I get older, I feel I look better (sans having to work out a few more times a week than when I was younger) than I have ever looked in my life. I’ve also adopted my own body image as adequate for the corporate and wider world. I am certain what I wear is appropriate for whatever arena I bring myself to, so long as I wear it well.

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