One of the good things about me when I was younger was that I wore whatever I wanted. I loved expressing myself with my clothes and hair colours/styles. Vintage, goth, whatever style/fashion/colour I liked I got and wore proudly whether people gave me sh*t about it or not.
Over the years I gained weight and struggled with my mental health, and I lost that confidence to dress any way I pleased. I’d been in a relationship with someone who made me question my sense of self, they always had something to say about what I was wearing, suggesting something different or ‘less me’ to wear and I started quieting myself, my wardrobe and my social life down to fit their needs and expectations. I no longer thought that dressing how I wanted to would make me happy as I felt I’d be judged for being overweight or out of place, the way I was judging myself.
Well, I miss living my life that way and I decided I’m gonna try and get that back. To help me feel more comfortable and happy I started following more and more plus size models/influencers on social media, as well as people who’s fashion choices/creative outputs were just super fun!
One person that came up on my feed was Josephine Dervish. If you’ve never heard of her, Josephine describes herself on her social media as a size 22 model/stylist/content creator. She is also the founder of the # joyous dressing movement.
Joyous dressing is about self expression and happiness regardless of society’s preconceptions about age, body type and gender, and ignoring the ‘fashion rules’ we all grew up with.
‘Going into Friday all shy and retiring. You know how passionate I am about older women in general but very specifically plus size older women being represented in fashion and style ads and campaigns. It’s just NOT happening people. Now LOOK at this photo. Plus size older women have got style. And we have got money!!! See us!! Hear us!! SHOW us!!!! For we are magnificent.’
This was the caption posted under the above picture on 7 February 2020. I did go back further than this when scrolling through Josephine’s posts, and she was very passionate about representation for those who might be older, bigger or different in some way, and has always encouraged people to be themselves.
A week after this post Josephine let her followers know that she’d started using the # joyousdressing. She suggested that people use it if they too wanted to ‘share a joyful look, an item, a quote that epitomises joy in being yourself, expressing your creativity, perhaps in your new found freedom to to feel fabulous at any size and any age.’
The idea was that along with her insta pal Rae (@mybestdecade_) they would comment on and maybe even share the posts to their stories to share the joy with everyone. Bearing in mind this was in February 2020, if you look at the # today there are 24.4K posts!
Essentially, I completely fell for Josephine. Her passion, her movement and all around loveliness, she’s ace! People like her are a genuine inspiration and I have been introduced to such a wonderful community on Instagram through joyous dressing, I’ve even started joining the posts and the challenges that the group do when I can.
Rae (@mybestdecade_) as previously mentioned was with Josephine for the beginning of this particular movement. She suggested they find a specific hashtag for what they were doing, and found that joyous dressing was available.
There were some concerns that people might think this had religious connotations but after searching for a few different #’s, they decided to proceed with joyous dressing.
Because of her involvement in the movement, and her friendship with Josephine, I ended up seeing a lot of her posts, and just had to start following her too.
Her insta bio reads: (She/Her) Too many outfits, too little time. 40- something. Size 16ish to 18-20 depending on cakes/exercise/pandemic ratio.
She has such a wonderful sense of style that I end up commenting on almost all of her posts as they make me so happy and she looks so good!
The colours, the patterns, the chunky jewellery and dungarees.. they all speak to me!
On top of her great outfits, she is also a lovely and genuine person who spreads a lot of joy and positivity on social media. If I ever had the opportunity to meet these ladies in ‘the real world’ I’m sure it would be such a fun day filled with laughter.
If this is all new to you, I highly recommend checking it out for some feel good viewing and maybe even taking part and feeling your funky self 🙂
Note: I got permission to use the pictures and feature the accounts prior to writing this.