Listen, I’m not going to open this article with the plight of the fat girl trying to make it in the world – if you have even glanced at one of my previous articles I would hope that you get by now, the fashion world as a whole has essentially said for years to the fat female form: “You are not welcome here!” More recently, however, there has been a noticeable shift in what has become available for bigger bodied womyn in various size inclusive lines emerging from the mainstream. While this means that in the past couple of years womyn with bodies like mine can finally score esthetically pleasing high-waisted skirts, crop tops, and two piece swimsuits, there has also been one noticeable gap for the curvy queen on the go: cute, comfortable, and attractive active wear that honors our bodies just as they are now (not how someone envisions them to be in thinner form). Noticeably this gap has been very slightly lessened by some seriously amazing indie designers popping up all over social media (don’t worry, we will be divulging their names in a separate story).
(all Photography for this Lookbook: Sada Reed, @triple_f_soul Instagram)
However, it wasn’t until just this past month, that one major powerhouse label, Rainbeau Active Wear, launched it’s own “plus size” line (or as I prefer to call it, Size Inclusive): Rainbeau Curves. That’s right, not an extenuating envisioning bred from the contempt of thinner bodies stereotyped as “fit” or “athletic,” but a brand new line all its own respecting and celebrating the fact that bigger bodied womyn are active and enjoy it too (can’t believe what I’m saying is revolutionary as opposed to archaic, join my #FuckFatPhobia campaign)! I know, it was hard for me to believe at first too…In fact, I met one of the fashion consultants on the line, Xela Gaerlan, during my Street Style article for the Oakland Art Murmur – and when she asked me to come in to model some clothes, I thought it might be too good to be true! One look at the the brilliant colors and patterns that lay waiting for me couldn’t have put my fears (however justified from surviving the trauma of plus size retail) farther aside…and once the fabric hit my skin it was like love at first feel. I couldn’t be more thrilled or honored to partner with the first active wear line that has considered every detail of what my body, just like every womyn of any size, desires. Without further adieu, check out a Sunday in the life of me: a graduate student, yoga lover, nanny, writer, photographer, general nature enthusiast, and womyn about town – as I seamlessly transition from role to role in my new favorite attire!
Look #1: Naomi Layer Top (color: kiwi), Maya Print Capri (color: passion pink)
Location: Jack London Square Farmer’s Market
Activity: fresh food perusing, picnicking, and outdoor antics!
Look #2: Jocelyn Print Tank w. Bra (color: blue skies), Krysten Capri (color: passion pink)
Location: Square One Yoga Studio, Emeryville
Activity: Yoga, Partner Play, and Mindfulness Practice!
*One of the best parts of Rainbeau Curves for me, is my current uniqueness in that the line just recently launched, and yet my simultaneous excitement to want to spread the active wear word to all my fellow Body Positive babes – whether they are yogis, students, moms, or performers – if you are humyns with a pulse for fashion that actually honors you whole body (*gasp*), then I would say this is the line for you…all of you! The truth is, the empowered feeling I get whilst rocking my Rainbeau Curves gear is far to beautiful to keep to myself! Personally, the following look is my favorite combination (complete with actually supportive built-in bra) that has been absolutely perfect for my yoga and tennis practices – as well as when I need to find something cute yet comfortable to run an afternoon of errands in! From the ombred colors to the funky print and perfect curve embracing silhouette (not to mention that peep-calf mesh opening detail) – everything about this simple yet complex design elates and empowers me…so much so that for the first time in my life I flew into a supported handstand without thinking (“perfect” form be damned, for that is not what yoga is about – the feeling of pure joy as my body is inverted is the true essence of yogic practice)!
I am pictured below with my yoga instructor: Misia Denea, of Square One Studios who runs the Embodied yoga practice for full-figured womyn on Tuesday nights. Misia’s thoughtful guidance and caring adjustments have truly helped to re-spark my fire and passion for this practice. She is seen here sporting our adorable #WearYourVoice tank along with Rainbeau’s Jacylynn print leggings which match my top – and we are looking pretty damn good if I do say so myself!
*Outfit Addition: Madelynn Top (color: Neon Green). One thing I can safely say as a womyn who hails from the land of four seasons; fashion, like life, can be all about the layers! And, I am certainly a sucker for this bold yet sexily sheer 3/4 length sleeved top (my favorite being this lemon-lime color) – perfect for the cool-down stages of my yoga routine or as a lightweight addition to my backpack for the many times I have already worn this outfit from the classroom to the grocery store and beyond amidst varying body temperatures and Bay Area degrees – especially traveling from Oakland to San Francisco and back again, daily!
*Not only does Rainbeau Curves make me feel comfortable enough to want to join in on any type of yoga class, but it makes me feel confident enough to want to lead an entire workshop of my own! So, alongside yogis Misia Denea and Naomi Finkelstein, we have some amazing Body Positive Yoga Workshops fast approaching (Full Moon & Full Figured happening May 2nd at Square One Yoga in San Leandro – email [email protected] for more info until our site launches!)
Look #3: Lillian Striped Tank (color: black and gray), Jacylynn Print Legging (color: passion pink)
Location: Temescal Alley
Activity: Shopping, strolling, and getting some sun!
What more can I say besides the fact that I was totally feeling myself in this look, horizontal stripes (*gasp*) and all! I never thought I could feel so sexy in a tank top, but post-yoga or any physical activity I would do in them, paired with these stellar ombred red leggings, a smattering of red lipstick, and some serious combat boots – I was ready to turn the mean streets of Oakland into my own personal runway (or at least this hipstery alleyway)!
*Outfit Addition: Kayla SS Tee. I stealthily swapped out my shirt (and shoes) before heading inside to this amazing one-of-a-kind sustainability collective we stumbled upon mid-photo shoot! I absolutely LOVE this simple yet well-designed lightweight tee (complete with sexy cut-outs in the back). It is amazing to see how the swift shift of a mere pair of shoes or accessories can take my Rainbow Curves gear from active wear to all-day goddess attire seamlessly! There is something so unique about the fit that words cannot serve proper justice too – but you will have to take mine at their worth when I say these clothes were absolutely made to celebrate and decorate our bodies, fellow “plus size” womyn of the world!
(photo location: my new favorite store featuring amazing local craftswomyn and sustainably-focused artists: WALRUS)
Look #4: Addison Print Tank w. Bra, Faith Print Pant, Daria Print Jacket
Location: Diamond Heights, San Francisco
Activity: Sunset Yoga and Evening Meditation
I’ve said it once and I will keep on saying it infinitely: I am obsessed with mixing prints and patterns. For the whole of this shoot, Sada and I actually ended up styling outfit concepts in unique fresh ways that Xela said Rainbeau hadn’t yet utilized. That being said, however, it is extremely important for me to note that each piece in the Rainbeau Curves collection provides its own mixed-media essence so-to-speak! To clarify, although this last outfit featured is in fact all pattern-coordinated as intended, there is in fact a mix of fabrics within each piece – little mesh nuances providing breathability and extra movement as well as secret pockets abound throughout the line – not to mention the thumb holes provided on this jacket, which pretty much makes it the best sporty coat I have ever owned (also note the single striping down the back, which is flawless – most of Rainbows tops, sweaters, and coats have surprise elements in the back that make them classic yet totally unique)!
I find it only fitting to end this article returning full circle to Rainbeau Curves original vision. When I asked Xela more about how this beautiful line came to be she explained accurately: “Rainbeau has been in the ladies activewear business for over 30 years. We’ve designed activewear for many respected plus size female clients. We understand the body and fit needs of a plus size woman, but we noticed that her fashion needs were hard to find. Many known brands offer extended sizing, which does not specifically cater to the plus size figure and for those that do, they are only offered in uninspiring color pallets, such as black. Rainbeau Curves was created to fill that void in the market – a brand that offers comfort, support and style for the active woman.” I couldn’t agree with the need more, and thank you greatly for existing Rainbeau, and for showcasing and honoring all womyn’s bodies!
*Stay Tuned to WYV next week for an upcoming Photo Essay featuring my recent shoot with Misia, Naomi, and Rainbeau Curves to promote our upcoming workshops!