OOTD: Personal Revolution

Today I presented at my first academic conference ever. It’s a pretty intimidating process: submitting your work, getting feedback and accepted or rejected, preparing for…


Today I presented at my first academic conference ever. It’s a pretty intimidating process: submitting your work, getting feedback and accepted or rejected, preparing for the actual presentation itself, which for me meant reworking a 20 page essay down to 8 pages. I’ve been nervous all week, sick on my stomach with anticipation. I have a tendency of getting a shakey voice when I’m nervous, and I kept picturing myself up there wobbling my way through a painstakingly long 15 minutes.

It wouldn’t have been that big of a deal had this presentation been about teaching or writing, but it was about fat, something that I own quite freely here in my safe place, but something that has been scary to bring into my daily academic life. I knew that my peers and faculty would be watching, and it terrified me, but it was also incredibly liberating. There is something magical in the act of owning an aspect of your identity in front of a group of friends and strangers, to unapologetically be fat, own the identity, and then bring to question their notions about fatness. I knew that the conference, a first for many of my fellow grad students, would be a sea of gray or black suits, so I picked this ASOS dress that is appropriate but fun to showcase my body acceptance while I talked about it. (Plus Kathryn wisely suggested I power dress for the day!)

The dress photographs okay, but it’s much prettier in person in shape and in pattern. I’m in love with the long sleeves, which I wish more winter dresses had. Since I was already being a little out there for a conference, I decided a thin black belt at the waist and a purse were all that I needed. P.S. I had to wake up at 4:40 AM for this! Since I live an hour from school, I had to get ready super early to make it there on time. The good part of this is I got the beautiful sunrise in my pictures :).

This purse is my new favorite. It’s BCBGeneration, and I got it on super sale at Ideeli. I love the handles on it because it can be both a shoulder bag and a handheld bag depending on whether you pull one strap or both.

ASOS dress, MIB tights, Target wedges, BCBGeneration purse

Ultimately I had a great time at the conference. A few of my classmates sat in on the session and were very complimentary and supportive. I felt brave and strong talking in front of the group. And it’s in moments like these that I realize how much I have changed over the past year and a half, how school and blogging has created spaces for me to go beyond what I thought I could. Pretty awesome :).

Have you ever chosen outfits specifically to make you feel brave before? If so, how do you “power dress”?

P.S. Thank you to everyone on twitter who let me whine about anxiety and let me in on all of your tips on dealing with stress. They worked!


  1. I am so proud of you Rebecca! I would love to hear your presentation. I think the fact that you spoke about “fat”, which is something that most people are uncomfortable with in these “skinny” times truly liberates you. I hope you got some applause. If you didn’t, just know we are applauding you. WOOOO WOOOO! I love your dress, your whole outfit was just perfect for the presentation. It is conservative yet has some design in it that is pleasing to the eye. It is not overwhelming but says You are a colorful person. I like black with a pop of color, maybe red, blue, or white. I like scoop neck tops because it emphasizes the bust in a good way. I would have worn a black suit of some kind, maybe a pantsuit with straight legs or flair or a black rounded skirt to de emphasize my hips, black tights and some black shoes with a little heel or flats, or I would have worn the black bottom and a colorful blazer and white top with a small chain necklace or colorful long patterned scarf. In public speaking, a person wants to be seen for what they are saying not for what they are wearing. But you do want to be pleasing to look at. The right make up is also essential. Your clear bright face is so pleasing to look at and your smile sincere, I know that the graders took what you had to say very seriously. By the way, you must live in the most beautiful place in the world! I love the lake pictures. I know it was a cold crisp morning as you went out the door and maybe that was a good thing. As we say in the mountains “You done good!”

  2. So proud of you and LOVE the dress. When I get over some of my financial issues – replacing cars, car repairs, etc., etc., I might actually break down and try and order some clothes from the different companies you’ve mentioned.
    I always struggle with my self-image. I never actually see what is in the mirror. When I was thin (ok, thinner), I only saw that I was bigger than my friends, and gave up. But as I was putting on weight i also couldn’t see the amount of weight I was even carrying on my body, thinking, “I’m not that overweight”. I’m so sick of hearing people talking about losing weight, etc., and while I want to find a way to live a healthy life, I can’t do that “diet” thing ever again. And so, I am inspired by you to find a way to dress my body and accentuate to its fullest potention and not just camoflage and hide MYSELF behind a a loose shirt.

    I’m not thin, I don’t like sports, I admit I watch old movies people find boring, etc., etc. I need to do as you said, own up to every aspect of me.

    Keep up the fantastic work that you are doing for your career and for yourself!!

  3. Awesome post! You look so good in that dress! Kudos to you! When I need to “power dress” & feel brave I wear red. Red is such a powerful color. When I wear it I instantly feel energized.

  4. Good job! I know you were nervous, but it sounds like you did amazingly well. You should be super proud of yourself!

    And gorgeous dress, btw. 😉

  5. You look splendid in that dress and the sunrise that day is magnificent (and colour wise even fits your dres :D). And congrats on successfully holding your presentation : )

  6. Conferences can be sooo much fun, but the first one is always a bear. I’m glad it went well and you looked GREAT! I definitely power-dressed for my biggest, most important conference. Straight-leg grey trousers, cream blouse, and a sage green sweater (gathered at the waist) with a nice, small crochet pattern to it. And kickass black leather boots, of course. I felt fabulous!

    Cheers to you!

  7. Amazing! I’m so proud you! The dress look amazing too. I like to wear similar pieces when I “power dress”. Crisp and tailored but with a little bit of edge to make me stand out.

  8. I’m so proud of you & would love to see/read your presentation, if you’ll consider making it available to your readers! I think “power dressing” is a great idea & a great concept. it’s something I do, but it’s not a term I’d ever heard. You rocked this!

  9. Well done! You should be so proud of yourself.
    I tend to do the ‘power dressing’ thing a bit. I pick something that I love and which I feel great wearing. It’s usually a piece of jewellery that has a special meaning to my or my corset belt. I feel fierce when I’m wearing that!

  10. I’m so happy to hear it went well! It truly is so amazing how the bloggin world can build personal confidence, and I love reading about your possitive body acceptance! I can’t wait to see where your adventure goes next 🙂 xx

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