#EmbraceAmbition with Tory Burch

I know this photo is fuzzy, but it is one of my favorites!

I wanted to share with you all something very important to me, that has changed my life in a big way.

I have loved the Tory Burch brand and everything it stands for since I discovered it back in 2012. Not only do I adore her classic bags, statement making shoes, and chic jewelry, I also love the messages and inspiration that the brand brings to the table.

There is a powerful new movement within our midst for women. It’s called Embrace Ambition, and it’s part of the Tory Burch Foundation. The foundation was created for female entrepreneurs, and offers so many resources that allow these amazing women to achieve their dreams.

From the Tory Burch page itself: “Our goal at the Tory Burch Foundation is to give women entrepreneurs the tools to level the playing field by providing access to affordable loans, education and networking. But we also believe that in order to succeed, women must embrace ambition… I look forward to the days when the cultural norms that hold women back are simply a part of our history and not our present circumstance. When ambition in a woman doesn’t have a negative connotation. I no longer shy away from the word ambition. I embrace it.”

I love everything about this powerful statement. It’s true; many women are afraid to be ambitious. There is a stigma that surrounds us, that it’s a positive trait for men to be ambitious, but for women it’s perceived negatively. I want to end that, and Tory wants to end that. Why shouldn’t we be ambitious, and chase after our dreams? Why shouldn’t we have the courage to put ourselves out there?

I started this blog back in August of 2016. I had (and still have) big aspirations of becoming a fashion blogger full-time. I want this because fashion is a huge part of my life. But, real talk: I see myself and my body very negatively. Surprising from someone who shares photos of themselves every day, right? It’s true. I don’t like what I see in the mirror. When I try to talk to people about these feelings, I usually get the “but you look fine!” response, or “I mean, you could probably lose a little weight, did you think about toning up?” Neither of these is okay.

It’s extremely frustrating when you don’t feel confident in yourself. It’s been a long journey, and it’s a journey that will continue for quite some time, but I am learning slowly how to love myself. I adore fashion; it makes me happy finding that perfect dress that highlights all of my assets, or the shirt that looks flattering directly off the rack, without any additional tailoring needed. I have followed fashion bloggers on social media for years, and it always saddened me that they all seemed to be gorgeous, rich, and the same size (teeny tiny!) No one was my size, and there were not many plus sized bloggers either at the time. I was always worried if I was too big to be a fashion blogger, not pretty enough, or not having enough money to always be buying these expensive items and jet-setting all over the world. I dreamed of the fabulous life, and I still do. But in reality, I know I don’t have the means currently to do that, and neither do most of the women that follow these accounts.

Finally, that all seems to be changing. We are all beautiful in our own shapes and sizes, and I am trying to learn that for myself. I want to look at myself less critically in the mirror. I want to be able to say “this dress looks gorgeous on me” instead of “this dress would look way better if I was ten pounds lighter.” I know that I am not the only woman who feels this way, or struggles with accepting themselves. There is also a new wave of influencers out there who cater to women on a budget; how to shop and travel without spending a fortune. We’re not perfect looking, and most of the women you see behind these blogs are not always confident in themselves either. It’s easy to fool people online, to make it seem like life is easy and perfect. It’s not, and that’s something I am coming to terms with.

So I chose to start my own blog. I wanted to share beautiful outfits that you can wear every day. I wanted to show other women how they can learn to feel more confident in their own skin using clothing as an outlet. How the right pair of shoes can change your entire attitude because let’s face it, rocking those killer heels is a huge confidence booster! But ultimately, my goal is to teach other women how to completely love themselves, with or without clothing. I have a very hard time with myself in photos, especially when they are taken by other people. I am not confident in front of a camera. I prefer selfies, because I can control the photo. But when others take it, I have less control. I see myself the way others see me, flaws and all. Slowly, I am learning to see myself the way others see and accept me. My husband is my photographer, and he is my greatest fan. He pushes me every day to be the best person that I can be. To chase my dreams and dream big. To see myself through his eyes. When I see myself through his photography, for a moment I can see what he sees, and I love it every bit of it.

The Tory Burch #embraceambition movement means so much to me, because I chose to push myself outside of my comfort zone, and am learning to embrace being ambitious to achieve my dreams. I put myself out there, for millions of people to see me every day, because I’m hoping I can help even just one woman learn to love herself a little bit more. I started my own campaign, Styled by Confidence, so I can share my story and help to inspire other women to be their best. It’s my dream to one day be able to not only blog full time, but to start my own personal styling business that focuses on teaching you how to feel confident through clothing.

So please. Don’t tell me I “look fine” when I am trying to open up to you. Nor is it okay to tell someone to hit the gym (unless it’s a serious health concern). We all get insecure about our looks. But when we do, don’t just tell us we look fine, or where to improve upon. Dig deeper, and tell us we are confident, ambitious, strong; powerful, big dreamers, successful, or kind. Beauty is only a small part of feeling truly confident in your own skin.

If you want to support the Tory Burch Foundation and help other women achieve their dreams, sign the pledge to #embraceambition, and consider purchasing one of these adorable Embrace Ambition bracelets. They’re $30, and 100% of the proceeds goes to the foundation. (I have the rose gold!)

As always, we are accepting posts from readers to share your own Styled by Confidence story, which you can email to us here

Body Confidence- Style Bloggers

I wanted to share with you a few photos of some of the incredible, talented, intelligent women that I have met and become friends with during my journey as a style blogger. As you may now be aware, I have started a campaign to teach women to love their bodies, and dress themselves in a way that makes them feel confident and beautiful. Of course, there is so much more to you than looks, but feeling amazing and exhibiting confidence can also help lift our confidence, and give us the courage to succeed without fear holding us back.

These amazing women come in different shapes and sizes, and we are all connected by at least one thing: our love for style. Please take a look at these incredible ladies and their blogs as they too will be helping me out along the way.

Miriam Elizabeth from Herrendezvous 

Karina from Let’s Do Chocolate!

Irina from The Fourteen Carats

Mycaila from Booty and Beauty

Mycaila says: “I think most of us girls struggle with body confidence and body image, which it shouldn’t be that way because we’re all beautiful in our own ways. I think we all try and compare ourselves to other people who we think might look great to us, and strive to be like them, when in actual fact, we could actually be those exact people that maybe someone else looks up to in the same way. With being almost 8 months pregnant, I am getting used to my bigger shape. My whole body is expanding and growing for my baby, but I’m learning everyday to accept the changes that are happening and though I might have gone up a few sizes in clothing, I am learning to love my new shape more and more every day.”

I hope these women help to inspire you on your journey with me to learn and love yourself. Please check back daily for updates, and if you would like to participate, send your story and a photo of yourself in an outfit that makes you feel beautiful and confident to styledbyconfidence@gmail.com

Why I’m Learning to Love My Body

Hi there! My name is Renee. I’m a style blogger, and I weigh 158 pounds. I have stretch marks, scars, cellulite on my thighs, and tiny spider veins on the backs of my knees.

Does that make you think differently of me? If so, maybe you and I should part ways. If not, which I’m hoping, you’ll stick around and hear what I have to say.

Screw the scale! That’s right; to hell with it!

I dreaded getting on the scale to check my weight for that annual doctor’s appointment, a time I knew I’d be scolded because maybe I’d over indulged at brunch with my girlfriends, or helped myself to dessert after a big meal (gasp!) I was always embarrassed with the number that showed up, even when I thought I looked good and, dare I say it, even a little leaner.

But you don’t need a scale, and I’m here to tell you why.

I will be honest with you: I do own one. It’s hiding under my dresser, out of sight, but I drag it out daily to weigh myself for a medication I’m on. The number doesn’t bother me as much anymore, but there are days I wish I was smaller. Still, there was a time in my life that I was completely and utterly obsessed with the number that appeared when I stepped on the scale. That number controlled my life, and it’s not something that brings me joy. You know what does? Having a donut for breakfast because I love them, and know I’ll burn it off in spin class later. You know what isn’t fun for me? Eating salads every day for lunch and dinner and always feeling like I should pass on dessert. All I want out of life is to be happy and healthy, and enjoy the food I eat. I’m not going to deprive myself of my favorite foods. Everything in moderation, I always say.

More often than not, I compare my body to other style bloggers and other women. You know the ones: tall, gorgeous, no bigger than a size 2- and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I was jealous of these women, who seemed to be born with everything I didn’t have. I always hear people complain about style bloggers not being “real sizes” or “real women” and let me tell you, that makes me angry. They are real women; real women come in every shape and size. They are beautiful human beings with feelings, hopes, and dreams, and yes, even insecurities. I know there’s a stigma that surrounds these women that they must not have insecurities, but everyone has them. Everyone is a little insecure about something, and there’s nothing wrong with this. Too often, we find ourselves comparing our bodies, our faces, and our lives to others. For me, all that ends up doing is making me feel bad. We’re all perfectly imperfect in our own ways. I’ve realized that I don’t need a scale to be happy. I’ve become so in tune with my body, I can tell when I’ve gained or lost weight simply by the way my clothes fit, or how I look in the mirror.

I’m finally getting to a place where I’m learning to accept my body, but still make healthy changes after many years of abusing it by not exercising and eating poorly. But it wasn’t always this way. In elementary school and middle school, I was average. I was no bigger and no smaller than the other girls in my classes, and size wasn’t something I really noticed back then. I was pretty fit in high school; I ran cross country and track, running 8 miles a day, 5 days a week. We had meets once a week and pasta parties the night before to fuel up with carbs. I think it’s partially why I don’t enjoy pasta much anymore!

When I was in college, I hit my heaviest weight of 175. I was so embarrassed, so miserable with the way I looked and felt. Even my skin was bad from all of the terrible food I was eating. I had stopped running too; I was so stressed all the time and never exercised. I was way overweight for my 5’3” frame. Yes, you read that correctly. I still clearly remember the day I stepped on the scale, feeling completely hopeless. My weight had always fluctuated, but I’d never come close to this heavy before. I was more upset with myself for letting this happen. I knew I was eating poorly, I knew I needed to work out, and I knew my clothes were getting smaller and smaller. Still, I did nothing. Seeing that number just made me feel worse about myself, like I was worth less because I weighed more.

We put so much pressure on ourselves to look and feel good: why define ourselves by a number on a scale or the size of our clothes? I have an hourglass figure, and the type of body that gains weight easily. I’m tired of hating what I see in the mirror; I’m tired of comparing myself and my body to others. It never accomplishes anything positive, and it makes me a nervous wreck. I get obsessive trying to eat healthy, and sometimes not eat at all. I decided to change all that.

To me, it’s more important to feel good. When I eat healthy and still let myself indulge here and there, I’m much happier than I would be if I had to count calories or avoid my favorite foods. And I’ll also let you in on a little secret: I hate working out. Hate it. Going to a gym, I mean. If you ask me to play tennis with you, go kayaking, go for a walk, or go hiking, I’m all for it. Ask me to lift weights at a gym with you or run on an elliptical, the answer is no (sorry Megan!)

I was hesitant to share my story. There’s a lot of stigma around women’s weight and size, and keeping it private. I say, who cares? Who cares if you’re a size large or an extra small? I’m a size 10 in pants, because I have wide hips. I wear a medium or large in tops because I have wide shoulders and I’m busty, but I have a small waist. Yes, this does make shopping difficult sometimes. Size does not matter. What matters is how you feel. Every woman carries her weight differently. You can line 5 women up in a row who are all the same weight, and they’d all look completely different. Most women I know have struggled with their weight, and this size they think they should be. Take this photo for example:

If I told you all of the women in this picture were 154 pounds, would you believe me? Proof that everyone carries their weight differently, and that the number really doesn’t matter.

Of course I still have moments where I struggle with how I look. It takes time to truly love yourself for who you are and all of your imperfections. I still hate my stretch marks, but I’m learning to love my hips. I may hate the way my scars look, but they have made me stronger. I want other women to learn to love their bodies the way I’m learning to love mine. I want to support you on this journey, and make you feel amazing! Please join me on my campaign and learn to love yourself along the way.