This week in the Site Spotlight is Elissa Stern of Dress With Courage. I like the way Elissa mixes outfit posts with personal observations and astute commentary on a variety of topics. She’s also a powerful voice for positive body image.
Here’s Elissa to tell us more about herself and her blog.
I’m a married, almost 37-year-old freelance journalist, personal style blogger, and full-time mom to three children. I have been married for nearly 13 years and am grateful to be with someone who supports and encourages me to be, well me. I have a penchant for tattoos, vintage clothes, books, road trips, barbecue joints, and collecting glass milk bottles and medicine jars. Originally from New York City, my family and I have relocated multiple times and currently live in a North Dallas suburb.
I’m trained as a classical flutist, and was on the road towards becoming a professional musician when I decided to switch paths and study sociology and creative writing instead. Along the way I’ve struggled with anorexia and bulimia, and have been hospitalized countless times before finally reaching recovery two years ago. Writing has always been a passion of mine and I’m thrilled that I’ve found a way to combine it with my love of fashion through my blog.
About Dress With Courage
I’m an avid blog reader, especially of fashion blogs. These blogs chronicle the style musings of young, twenty-something women, who somehow manage to look consistently fantastic. I’ve learned a lot by reading these blogs. Mostly college students or recent graduates, they live in studio apartments with their hipster boyfriends and spend their days hanging out with friends, seeing concerts, crafting their own jewelry, and perusing thrift stores. They often get spending money from their parents and are gifted expensive clothes from relatives.
Because of these blogs, I’ve been encouraged to delve into my closet and look at fashion in a much more creative way. In addition, I’ve expanded the range of stores I visit beyond those at the mall. I now thrift with regularity, focusing on items that express my individual sense of style rather than what labels they are. I’ll admit that I used to have a teensy tiny problem as a label whore, buying things just because they were of a certain brand, rather than how they fit. I’m thankful that I’ve broken that habit because there’s so much more to dressing well than wearing the trendiest or most coveted brand.
I am not a unencumbered twenty-something living in a studio apartment with her hipster boyfriend. I spend my free time chasing after my kids at the park, cleaning up one of my twins’ millionth juice spill, and catching up on laundry. I’m lucky if I can grab a moment to read something other than the instructions for the Wii, much less attend a concert. And I have a husband to focus on, a mortgage to pay and school events to attend. I suppose that’s why I felt the need to create my own personal style blog.
I understand that as a parent, fashion means something different to me that your average twenty-something. It has to be comfortable and functional, while also remaining stylish. Affordability is also important, as it would be inappropriate for me to rely on my parents for a clothing allowance. And, for the record, I am a thirty-six year old woman. I have no desire to dress as these young women do. Tight skirts, thigh-high boots, and midriff-baring tops would look ridiculous on me. And I’m perfectly fine with that. [Editor's Note: Amen, sista!]
My blog focuses on personal style, fashion (specifically the subgroups of thrifting and vintage), and body image. As a writer I take great joy from researching and composing posts that challenge traditional ways of thinking, especially when it comes to the way women view personal style.
As an “older” blogger, I often find myself deciding whether to dress as I “should,” or how I really want to. It has taken me years to learn to embrace my individuality, and fashion is a great tool for which to express who I am and what matters to me. And as a woman recovering from a 20-year struggle with anorexia, writing about body image is a formidable tool in my recovery.
What she writes about
My blog is unusual in that it combines daily outfit pics with topics regarding fashion, beauty, and body image. I’ve been described as “the thinking woman’s blogger” and my writing focuses on issues that are relevant to a wide range of women.
I have written about everything from thrifting tips (I have a 21-part series regarding thrifting and shopping for vintage clothing) to female relationships to studies about shopping habits to what your underwear says about you. I write from the heart and take a very personal approach in my blogging.
Sometimes my posts are serious; sometimes they’re humorous – it all depends on my mood that day!
Her favorite posts
This is a difficult one to narrow down! Here are a few of my favorites:
- Thrifting 101: How to thrift for vintage clothing
- Anorexia, competition, and the quest for blogger “win”
- Haters Gonna Hate – Dealing with negative blog comments
- An exploration of fat talk and female relationships
[Site Spotlight is an occasional feature that brings you a new or noteworthy style and fashion blog or site.]
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Thanks to Elissa for participating in this month’s Site Spotlight, and thank you for reading. Did you like this post? Please leave a comment or share it with someone else; just use the handy sharing widget below.
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