We’re turning the spotlight on our community to share their stories and flaunt our styles — after all, who would we rather see than the women who really wear them? Watch this space for more incredible style and stories. If you would like to be considered for an upcoming installment of “We’re Inspired By…”, submit your unique story!
For this edition, we travel to member Lori’s beautiful cabin in Michigan. Lori tells us about connecting with the GB community, doing fashion shows with her littlest ones, and how a single pair of pants changed her perspective on fashion limits. Read on to learn more about why We’re Inspired By… Lori!
Tell our readers a little bit about yourself!
I am a 54-year-old married mother of three – two children grown and flown with homes and partners of their own, and a seven-year-old still at home.
During my workday I am the manager of news services for a medium-sized university and promote research and related stories with the media. I have a background in journalism and am essentially a storyteller by nature, which is why I gravitate to the Gwynnie Bee member stories so much. I love hearing everyone’s inspirational words about how they’ve finally found a service that recognizes their unique body type and shape and encourages them to be their best and most beautiful every day.
I am also a crazy dog lover – did I mention crazy? I have two of my own, as well as grand-dogs, and god-dogs, and foster-dogs, and…the list of pooch-ness goes on and on. My dog Morty is a certified therapy dog and we volunteer with a non-profit organization that provides animal therapy for people with physical, mental, educational, and social needs, through visits to hospitals, schools, and group homes. Morty visits each week with a gentleman with a profound brain injury and the two of them have become great pals.
What inspired you to become a Gwynnnie Bee member?
I love looking beautiful and stylish – who doesn’t? But I really don’t have the time or the interest in spending time at the mall. Besides, who needs the bad lighting and judgement? I got tired of sucking in my tummy in front of department store dressing room mirrors and freaking out because I didn’t fit into conventional sizes.
When I heard about Gwynnie Bee I thought – ‘this is too good to be true!’ Gorgeous clothes, in my size, delivered to my door? Why didn’t I think of this??? Bonus that the GB community is made up of women like me. Real women with real lives and real bodies. It’s fabulous to know that we’re out there – yes folks – plus-sized women who don’t feel bad that we’re plus-sized. We just are what we are and love how we look.
How would you describe your sense of style? What influences your fashion sense?
I love classic looks and the occasional head-turning pattern. I work with women from all over the world and am often inspired by the textures and patterns of the clothing and scarfs I see on my friends and colleagues.
My days can also be long so I really like comfortable pieces that look as good when I arrive home at night as they do when I put them on in the morning.
What has your Gwynnie Bee experience been like thus far?
From the moment my first box arrived I knew that Gwynnie Bee was for me. It’s a gift from me to me. We now have a little GB ritual at home when my package arrives – an impromptu fashion show with ratings and lots of applause from my husband and daughter. I especially like how my husband narrates my fashion shows, which goes something like:
“It’s Gwynnie Bee time again and the lovely Lori is wearing a spring dress with flowers…”
My daughter just howls and it’s a lots of fun for everyone. Not every piece is a winner but I don’t feel obligated to wear something that doesn’t work for me – just drop it into the purple bag and send it off to wait for something else.
The other amazing thing is that my little one is getting a sense that fashion can be fun and occasionally silly – not the big, nightmarish ordeal that it has always been for me. She is seeing me enjoying clothing and feeling good about myself – something very important for a little girl in a world dedicated to Size 4.
How has Gwynnie Bee changed the way you approach fashion?
I’m much braver than if I were buying a piece outright. GB has allowed me to step outside of the “black-zone” of neutral colours and varying shades of gray and black. Building a wardrobe is very expensive, so it’s natural for people not to want to commit to a bold pattern that is easily recognizable after the third wear (“oh – that again?”).
Since I’m a redhead I wouldn’t normally consider wearing clothing in a “clashing” palette. I am now happy to say that I have a number items in my closet that may or may not be redhead-friendly. If not, in the bag they’ll go – no harm, no foul!
In recent years I’ve become all about reducing clutter. If I don’t need it, I don’t keep it around. GB is allowing me to pare down my closet to fewer, more essential items and fluff up my wardrobe with goodies that I might not normally want to commit to. If I really love something I know that I can treat myself and keep it forever at a price that can’t be beat.
I also love knowing that I have flexibility with my fashion choices without the guilt of knowing some pieces are sitting unused in my closet, or worse, in a landfill.
What pieces have you been most excited to receive? Has any piece surprised you with how much you love it?
I was so excited to receive the Melissa McCarthy Seven7 Back Zip Pencil Jeans and actually found that I was holding my breath when I was putting them on. I had a vision of what those pants would look like on me and was prepared to be disappointed, but I was just absolutely thrilled!
Those pants really helped me understand that you can be gorgeous and sexy no matter what your size or age. I wore them to work on a Friday with a tucked-in tailored blouse and plain black pumps for a classic look and felt professional and confident. I loved those pants so much I didn’t want my day to end – so my husband took me out for a drink after work!
That’s the thing about GB that is quite remarkable. The right clothes can help a woman expand her horizons. Struggling to find the right thing wear and dealing with the hassle of shopping can be a barrier to women getting out there and making their mark. I’d much rather do something I like and spend time with the people I love than traipsing around from store to store in the mall and buying the first thing that fits me. GB clothing is a confidence booster like no other!
Who are the women who inspire you?
My daughters – they are incredible, bold, and fearless young women who view the world with wonder and optimism. The women’s movement has always been about empowering women to be true to themselves and pursuing their dreams and passions with confidence – free from restrictions based on gender. I am so happy to see that my girls take for granted that they have something valuable to contribute to the world!
I am also inspired by the young women on the university campus where I work who are finally getting the support and encouragement they need to make incredible contributions in all areas of study – especially in science, technology, engineering, and math. The world can only benefit when everyone is given a seat at the table.
If you would like to be considered for an upcoming installment of “We’re Inspired By…”, submit your unique story!
Photography by Kellie & Jean Photography