Ask A Woman: Losing weight and launching a business. Now what?
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I’m about to embark on a major career transition from an office worker in an insurance company to a professional photographer, and I’ve been advised that my wardrobe could do with some updating.
This career change coincides with a dramatic change in my appearance; I’ve recently lost 2 1/2 stone (35 lbs) and still going. I’m doing this partly for my health and partly to create a more attractive brand appearance for my business.
I’m still a bigger guy, with well fitting sizes in the Large to XL range. As I start my new career, what can I wear that will create a recognizable brand look for me, that will also fit me as a larger man?
This question is interesting because you’re dealing with a couple different things. First, your new career as a photographer, plus the desire to dress in a way that will solidify your brand. Second, your significant weight loss, which will change how you feel about your body. So let’s deal with both. You didn’t say whether you’d be photographing weddings or football games or body-painted models, so I’m working a bit blind here, but you probably want to dress in a sleek, restrained, comfortable manner. Especially if you’re taking photographs in public places–you are there to document the events taking place, not to become the center of attention. And, you’ll be moving around a lot, maybe getting into uncomfortable positions to get a perfect shot, so you need to wear clothing that will stay in place and be easy on your body.
Neutral colors (black, grey, charcoal, navy, dark brown) that don’t stick out like oranges or fuschias would, are going to be your best friends. The good news is that you’ll be able to wear neutrals until the end of time, so they’re a solid investment. The bad news is that you may begin to crave bright color like a PETA member craves filet mignon. I recommend iron supplements for both problems.
For pants, I love these black chinos. They’ll be comfortable, the cut is flattering for a larger guy, and they’re black so if you have to crawl through the bottom of the jungle to get photos of a rare species of worm, the stains won’t show. Plus, the first review on the page is from a larger-sized man who says these pants are the ticket. For a dressier option, here are some charcoal dress pants. Lots of sizes, plus it looks like these are made with a tiny bit of spandex, so they should stay in place pretty well as you move around. One more option: these classic dress pants are available in four neutral shades.
Keep the progression simple: Simple pants and shirt, a cheap blazer as a hold over, once the weight is gone a better blazer, then add a signature accessory, color, pattern, or item.
For tops, you have a lot of choices: dark, neutral, solid or small-patterned dress shirts, basic or slightly adorned sweaters, and my favorite for your particular situation, blazers. Stick a blazer on top of a pair of slacks and a button-down, and it instantly looks polished and modern. Plus, blazers look great on men of all sizes. If you’re still losing weight, for the meantime you probably want to buy a cheaper blazer that you won’t mind not fitting into in two months. When you get to your ideal weight, invest in a high quality blazer. It will be expensive, but you’ll be able to wear it most days, if you want to.
As to your question of how to create a recognizable brand for yourself, think about what you most like wearing. What outfits/pieces of clothing do you get the most compliments from? Retailers are making lots of great clothing for big people, so you have a ton of options, it’s just a matter of figuring out what you’ll feel most like yourself in. Maybe you’ll always dress in black and that will be part of your signature. Or you’ll always wear a blazer. Or a light cashmere scarf around your neck. Maybe you’ll stay in neutrals all the time, but you’ll curate an extensive collection of beautiful and colorful shoes. Or your outfits will always have a vintage vibe to them. It’s going to take a bit of experimentation, but that’s fine. Figure out what you want to communicate to the world–confidence, sophistication, artistry, etc, and then pick the clothing based on that.
Finally, be mindful of the changes going on in your body …wait, how did we get to 6th grade sex ed? What I mean to say is that in the past you’ve probably told yourself, I’m a big guy, I can’t wear XYZ. As your body changes, give yourself permission to try new looks and be kind towards what you see in the mirror. There are a lot of changes happening in your life–give yourself time to adjust.
Now, who can tell me what the vas deferens do?
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