January, I think It is a hard month, not only are fad diets being shoved in our faces, but it’s also long, cold & depressing! I know many women feel that they HAVE to diet and join the gym in Jan. But this really isn’t the case. Being skinny doesn’t make you happy, and happiness is always priority. On this basis, I decided to fill our social media with Body Positive stories from some of our wonderful models and customers. I chose 20 fabulous stories from ladies of all shapes, sizes and ages to be represented on our pages. I hope that some of them have helped to inspire you, make you feel better about your bodies and give yourself a break from comparing yourself to what society says we should be! Our dresses have always been designed to be for all women! We have always represented our size availability by using models of the sizes we stock – UK 6-24.
Here are the stories from all 20 of the ladies that we spoke to about how the feel in relation to their bodies, body positivism, mental health and what they are aiming to achieve in 2019!
This is a picture of me, modelling our Unicorn Dress. When this picture was taken I was a size 10. I am now an 8. This time last year I was a 12. I have worked hard at the gym and with my eating to lose around 2.5 st, but I did this for me. I did it because I wanted to be healthier, slimmer and fitter. ♀️ In Feb2018 I decided I wanted to change, without it being forced on me. And I honestly think that is the only way to succeed! Even though I have been at my slimmest ever in the past year. 2018 was also one of my hardest happiness wise! I’ve been thinking a lot recently about when I was happiest, and I actually think that was 2014-15. When I took my business into a factory for production, sales and events were good and I was really brave an always putting myself out there! 2018 I wasn’t brave at all, I let myself slip and I spent a lot of the year being unhappy. I also found business very difficult and testing as I have previously discussed. Anyway, that’s just for my point that being thin doesn’t make you happy! In 2015 when I was super happy I was two dress sizes bigger than I am today! 2019, I want to continue with my healthy lifestyle. As I think it helps me and makes me feel proud and strong! ♂️ I would like to make it to 8 st and a size 6. But with no silly diets! I would like to make my body stronger and know that I can kick ass if need be! ♀️ But more importantly than looks, I want to get back the fighter inside. I want to push myself and put myself out there again!
“I have had a love/hate relationship with my body – I had no idea there was anything wrong with it until I was shamed and ridiculed by a doctor during a routine check-up. What followed from that was a couple of years of barely more than 500 calories a day, mixed with what I would probably call in hindsight an excessive amount of exercise to burn it all off again. I got better, thanks to a good support base, but it’s been hard to watch my body change. I am now settled around a UK18-20 and trying my upmost to love what is right here in front of me in whatever form it takes.
I have modelled for national and international publications, modelling at U.K. Plus Size Fashion week in London and even at one point a photo published by Vogue Italia. Given I am a full-time singing teacher, I took a step back last year due to the need to look after my mental health, teamed with issues with self esteem and image. In 2019 I hope to slowly rebuild up my confidence again.
I’d describe myself as alternative in style and in thinking, I love my tattoos, particularly the one on my thigh; I got it to represent self love. I like to stand out, and I am a big advocate for body positivity!”
“For me I’ve become quite self conscious since putting on weight, but modelling for me makes me feel good about myself and motivates me to do what I need to do to get back to what I was. For my age as well I feel like I’m too young to be worrying about this kind of thing. Luckily modern fashion inspires me as there is now so much choice and diversity”
“For a long time I hated everything about myself, I still have bits of my body that I don’t like but I try to embrace my figure as much as possible! Of course I would like to loose weight but my goal has never been to be what society projects a women should look like! I learnt as I got older that I had to embrace my body and just try and ooze confidence. It was when I had other females coming up to me commenting on my confidence that I decided I would like to try model. I did it as motivation for myself but I also wanted other women to look at me and think if she can do so can I! I’ve had a long battle with fashion as I have never really been into the latest trend for me it all about dressing for you shape and feeling good!”
“My name is Cassiopeia and I am a transgender woman. Life as you probably guessed can be very hard for us all and feeling good about yourself inside and out can make a big impact on how the outside world affects our attitudes and well being. When I finally started living full time I was full of apprehension and very nervous about going out into the world as Cass. I wore everyday jeans and jumpers and tried to fit in. Still people stared whether out of curiosity or disdain and contempt, I do not know but they stared none the less. This caused me great anxiety and stress as I couldn’t even wear general everyday clothes. Then I got invited to a wedding. I chose to wear a vintage retro style black and red dress.
I felt amazing in it and I got lots of compliments. This was the birth of my love of vintage and retro fashion. I now own over 50 dresses of various styles and accessories to go with them. This style suits me and I wear these every day. I feel much more confident despite the fact I appear overdressed for everything LOL. People still stare but who cares as I feel fabulous. My friends look surprised nowadays when I just wear jeans and jumpers. My goals for 2019 are to move further along in my transition and finally get my body to match my head. Also to own more dresses and go to more vintage fairs. I met the ladies of Silly Old Sea Dog at @thevintagecarnival and they were amazing and had so many pretty dresses to buy. So for anyone feeling low and nervous. Listen to the wise the words of Harry Winston “People will stare, Make it worth their while”
“Christmas is a time for indulgence, food wise, but I can honestly say I’ve never dieted. My size 10 at age 67 is the same as when I was in my twenties. However, in the zero size fashion world where a model has to be stick thin and Giraffe tall, I am considered out size. I recently applied for a fashion shoot and was told politely that the maximum size they could cater for was a size 6. Body awareness is an interesting subject. After my major surgery eight years ago to remove a tumour. I was left with a nine inch body scar.
I honestly didn’t expect to return to modelling. However, a photographer gave me back my confidence just 4 months after my big op and I’ve never looked back. I still model bikinis and lingerie. The scar is still there if somewhat faded…but more importantly I am still on the planet and very grateful to the surgeon that saved my life. When I model Silly Old Sea Dog’s gorgeous designs, I am reminded that the dresses suit everyone, regardless of age or size.
THAT is how fashion should be. For everyone…not just size zeros. Be yourself, whatever size or shape you are. Be happy not worried about perhaps you don’t fit the fashion mould. Fashion should be fun to wear!”
“I am no model, I desire to be the one making the model pretty in the hair department for a shoot! But I have modelled on 2 occasions for photoshoots to empower the curvy girl look and always to give myself a little boost. I’ve always been a size 14-16 and now after having 2 children I am at my lightest weight wise and I’m feeling OK! I don’t feel under confident because of my weight. I have done slot of yo-yo dieting over the years, but I know exercise would be so beneficial for me. So I need to work on that. 2019 I will focus on getting stronger,healthier and fitter to help my mind, body and soul”
“I’m happy with my body right now. I have had two children so everything has moved slightly south and I’m slightly larger but I’m ok with that. When I was a size 6 pre children I was a lot more critical about myself. The mums I socialise with help with my confidence as we are always bringing each other up – body confidence or mentally as woman trying to do everything we should support each other. Love your body, it’s been through a lot and the only one you will ever have”
“I’ve always been very underweight, all my life. I had thyroid cancer at 15 and the medication kept my metabolism high and my clothes at a size 8. I took it for granted. It wasn’t till I hit my 30s my body changed – I was still considered ‘skinny’ but my body was becoming alien to me. I’d spent 3 decades with a ‘model’ body but it wasn’t till I started losing it I realised what I’d had and started modelling to boost my confidence and prove to myself that my bad thoughts about how I looked were all in my head. I did lots of great shoots, got on front covers of magazines and even did a swimwear shoot for Vintage Life Magazine. But last year I got Breast Cancer. The treatment has been really harsh; chemo, steroids and hormone blockers have left me 1.5 stone heavier again and a size 14. A new me. One that is still a healthy BMI but a me I don’t recognise in the mirror”
“I had my son when I was 17, so my body changed massively very early on. As a teenager I wasn’t happy with it at all but then all of a sudden I had stretch marks and no more flat tummy. It has taken me until a few years ago (I’m my 30s) to really feel confident in my own skin, I think the change came after adopting my little sister. I’m now a role model to a young female, I want her to be proud of who she is inside and out and I need to show her how to love herself. The most beautiful thing you can wear is confidence and self worth, I want her to know that being a kind person who empowers and cares for other people will create a beauty from within that no one will be able to not see. There is no negative body talk in my house and she’s not allowed to follow anyone on social media who makes her feel bad about who she is by looking at them. I have lots of tattoos and I’m not as young as lots of the usual models you see. I love that Silly Old Sea Dog choose models because of these things and represents everyday “real” women. I feel like a queen everytime I put on one of their dresses to model”.
“I have always had issues with my self confidence. I was bullied throughout school because of my blue eyes and long blonde hair. Growing up I didn’t like the way I looked, as an adult I am still unhappy. I guess it stems from the bullying. Over the years I have had many tattoos done, they cover a lot of my body, in a way it’s making me like my body more. When I do Photoshoot’s I do feel uncomfortable but I’m self critical always. I try and see what other people see, a confident pretty face but it hides a lot of sadness. I will hopefully over the years start to like what I see and embrace modelling again”.
“Hi! My name is Daniella.. Lella for short I’m 25 and from Cornwall. I’ve always been different to everyone else growing up, chubby, bubbly, outgoing and happy! I’ve always been big! As far as I can remember I was squeezing into clothes that didn’t fit. It never stopped me. I always knew I was beautiful in my own way! I’ve struggled with bullies, diets and even starving myself to try and fit in! But over the years I found I LOVED fashion, not on trend fashion but my own style! I love making my size look good! I’ve had loads of tattoos over the years and they represent my journey in life! Lots of birds and beautiful flowers to represent flight, beauty and strength. Modelling really empowers me! Makes me feel strong and confident! I feel sexy and powerful when in front of the camera. I love my body and what it does everyday. I embrace my curves and lumps and bumps! I’m healthy and very happy. I know my beautiful top to toe. I want to be an inspiration to all women who feel low and ashamed! Wear what you want, eat what you want, be who you want to be! It’s your life! Not everyone else’s! Be beautiful on the inside and love your body as it does amazing things everyday”
“I used to feel really uneasy about my body when I was a young teenager. I was very uncomfortable in my skin – I didn’t feel I looked remotely like how society had taught me a girl “should” look. I dressed like a stereotypical boy, and was rather flat-chested and awkward. Make-up and nice dresses were as alien to me as Mars. I especially didn’t like my fingers, or my hairy toes, and I was self-conscious about my breasts, which sometimes felt as alien to me as the dresses.
These days I am not only an advocate for increased inclusivity in fashion campaigns, but an advocate for a more inclusive supporting world for identity in general, regardless of size, age, nationality, religion, gender identity, or sexuality. I began performing spoken word more and more, and I now work professionally as a writer; from articles to poetry, and everything in between. Every poem I write is bursting with passion, such as “My Body, my Hair”, “Atypical Beauty Advert”, “Arrivals”, “Evolution” and “I’m English-Italian” – all metaphysical empowerment poems on the topic of identity . It’s been a rough ride but I am finally happy and healthy, and comfortable in my own skin: a 20-something gender-fluid feminist writer, who loves travelling. And those who matter do not mind, and those who mind do not matter, and you realise: it’s my own self-worth which matters most.“All that I am I know not how to measure. All I can do is know what I am not. And that comforts me”. To find out more about my creative projects, please visit ‘Laura Kestrel’ on Facebook, or @laurakestrelpoet “
“January, for the most part, is a great time to reflect on the past year. With everyone getting on the band wagon of posting pictures 10 years apart you start to realise how much your body can change in a matter of years. I am a professionally trained dancer, singer and actress and so whilst performing I always had to be at the top of my game, fitness wise. Now when I say fitness this doesn’t necessarily mean being skinny. At my smallest whilst performing I was a size 8 verging on a size 6 (that’s never happened again) but for the most part I was a size 10. This was also me “not really trying”. When I’m performing I naturally lose weight and can for the most part eat and drink what I like. However 10 years on, and now mainly sitting behind a desk this is not the case. I am now a size 12, something which when I was younger I never vowed I would get to. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with being a size 12 or any size but for me size 12 was my limit. Now that I am not dancing as much I have to find extra ways to keep fit and active. I am yet to find what best works for me. I used to be a swimmer but it’s so expensive so I’m dabbing in a few non-boring ways to get back to the size I feel most comfortable being. I have curves and even as a size 8 I had curves. Curves are great, embrace them and if you don’t have curves that’s also fine. I have never ever in my life weighed myself, I go by how my clothes fit and how I feel in myself. I am so happy that I found 1940s and 50s styles. Vintage clothing is so flattering for someone of my shape and really embraces the feminine side of fashion something which Silly Old Sea Dog has constantly delivered. So when I was asked to model for Alison, all those years ago, in the pouring rain, I jumped at the chance. I’m not a model and never will be one but I am a performer so if you put me in front of the camera I will give you all the smiles and all the pouts. And hey who doesn’t love being made up and getting to beautiful clothes”
“I have my own challenges to a perfect body including height, shape and size, but then I thought hey what the heck that’ll never happen so get on with it. I LOVE how my Silly Old Sea Dog dresses make me feel about myself, and have had so many supportive comments whilst wearing them. Life is there for the enjoyment it brings”.
“I’ve always been a big girl, I was born 10lb5 (my poor mother ahah) and I’ve never been thin! When I was younger I always dreamed of being thin like barbie, like my friends and had a lot of self hate. Thinking because I was bigger meant I was somehow a worthless person. It was only when I was about 17 I met a wonderful friend who was a bigger girl but only wore colour!! Every colour of the rainbow and I was sat in nothing but black (very slimming don’t you know)! I decided to try adding some colour and soon realised it was so exhausting hating who I was! So I decided to say I’m fat and that’s ok!!! That’s when my journey began, I hear so many women say how they avoid mirrors at all costs, especially naked but I often stand in front of the mirror naked and think ‘Not bad’ ahahah! I’m 30 now and I never turn away from a photo! If I have 100 chins in the picture but I’m laughing I’m like get it out there!!! When I’m 80 I wanna look back at photos and think look what a happy life I had!!! I still don’t quite believe it when I get modelling, fit model things to do but it’s just so empowering!!! As for shopping and clothes available for bigger girls, it’s getting so much better than it ever was! It’s so nice that designers have now realised that just because your bigger doesn’t mean you don’t want a waist or a shape! Long gone are the huge sacks with no shape and it’s so nice to have fitted dresses available!!! If I could go back and talk to younger me I would say ‘less hate for yourself, what makes everyone perfect is how perfectly imperfect we all are! If we all looked the same it would be such a boring place to be in!’”
“Anyone that knows me well, will know that the last three months I have been battling with severe depression and not only has my mental health been dangerously low but my physical health has also suffered a lot because of this. A combination of different medications notorious for extreme weight gain, not leaving my bed for days on end and generally disregarding all care for myself led me to put on over 2 stone in less than three months. Not only had I neglected my own well-being, I actually just didn’t care if I was healthy anymore..all I could see was darkness…I had given up on my existence completely.
Thanks to a huge amount of incredible support from my amazing family, doctors, a handful of wonderful friends and a lot of inner strength I must have had hidden deep inside, I am now finally seeing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and am very much looking forward to getting to know myself again and start taking care of the girl I have neglected and slowly watching that light grow stronger. I’m taking baby steps in all areas of my life right now, tiny positive movements in the right direction and I’m feeling good for it. ❤️☀️ Some days are full of grey, it can be hard to find light in the darkness. Please don’t be alone; don’t give up. What you might feel is only a small, blind step forward in to the terrifying unknown could be a huge movement in the right direction towards something bright and beautiful. You are important and supported. I hope one day you will feel proud of how far you have come, for getting yourself out of bed on those horrible days, for taking a shower, for brushing your hair, for leaving the house…for braving the scary, exciting world to find adventures with those that nourish your soul, keep a smile on your lovely face and sunshine in your heart”.
“I first started modelling about 10 years ago. I was really inspired by magazines such as Bizarre ( which is no longer in circulation!) as they featured weird and wonderful models and it gave me lots of ideas for photoshoots. I then started getting tattooed, pierced and I dyed my hair millions of colours. My body has changed a lot over the years, and I feel my body is the best it has ever been! For over a year I have been attending the gym about 2 to 3 times a week, and I feel that recently the hard work is really paying off. Over the last 3 years, I no longer drink excesses amount of alcohol, I cut down on eating sugar, I quit eating meat and I maintain a really healthy diet. I feel there is a lot be said for what we put in our bodies. The areas of my body that I wish to improve are my ’hip dips’, and I have set this as my challenge for 2019. Of course, it should not matter if you have ‘hip dips’, but for me, I really want to build the muscle around my hip, to give me a curvier figure. Another area of my body that I really struggle with is hormonal acne as it completely knocks my self esteem and it feels completely out of my control. Some months are better than others, but when I have a bad month, I honestly feel terrible about my skin. I use many different products to try and combat it but the spots will always appear deep under my skin and they will work their way up to the surface. I have noticed dairy can be responsible for bigger break outs, but it is not always the case. My modelling career really blossomed last year and I am really proud of myself for what I have achieved. My favourite photoshoot was for Jaguar cars, where I was casted as a ‘yummy mummy’, it was amazing to work with such talented people and I am very grateful for the opportunity”.
“When Alison first asked me to do a shoot, I’d never done anything like it before but I loved the idea of giving it a go, the girls were amazing fun. They made me feel so comfortable. I’ve always considered myself to be a body positive person, I’ve never owned a set of scales and I don’t weigh myself unless absolutely necessary I go by my dress size and how I feel. I don’t think weight is something we should obsess over and I’ve never been fussed about knowing. As long as I’m happy and comfortable. Being tall I have never been skinny, I was a 12-14 from early teens until I turned 22 when my weight changed and I settled at a size 18, but I can honestly say I had never felt more confident in myself, and Alison and the girls definitely helped me with that. I even modelled swimwear which is something I never thought I’d do. The second time Alison asked, I had gone up a size to where I am now from some bad habits and I’m the biggest I’ve ever been. For the first time I’m making a few changes. Not because of any pressure I feel to look different I just want to be slightly healthier and start making some better choices. I’m not one for magazines or news I haven’t been for years so I have no set goal in mind. As long as you’re healthy and happy I’m a firm believer of eat/drink what you like and enjoy it”
“I’d always just relied on my body without thinking – I’d been a dancer, so my physicality was part of how I saw myself. I was a strong, toned, athletic size 8, curvy with a tiny waist, and stayed that way into my thirties. I then became disabled… First arthritis, then Fibromyalgia meant I couldn’t move properly, and I put on weight. I began to really resent my body, feeling that it had let me down because it didn’t work properly anymore. I’d gone from.dancing all night to not being able to walk. By the time I was 40 I’d been medically retired from a successful career in arts management and my life had completely changed. I’d gone up 2 dress sizes and I knew I needed to do something to come to terms with how my body had changed as my feelings towards it were really affecting my mental health. I’d modelled in the past, so I tried again… I discovered that my body did still work, that it was just different now, and I began to accept and even love it again. Am now approaching 50, and following a car accident a couple of years ago that left me less mobile and needing surgery on my hip, am currently a size 12/14. I’ve learnt that what’s important isn’t my size or shape, but that I’m as healthy as I can possibly be, and that self care isn’t just about bubble baths and pampering (not that there’s anything wrong with those!), it’s about eating well, keeping active and listening to what my body’s telling me. Self care is making sure I look after myself physically, so my body can do what it’s capable of, and am grateful these days that it’s still as good as it is. I treasure not resent it now. I had to stop modelling following the accident, but have been thinking recently about going back to it, so who knows, hopefully I’ll appear in Silly Old Sea Dog again!”
Thank you ladies for sharing your stories with us! Be sure to tag us in your pictures on Facebook and Instagram wearing your purchases. We love to see your feedback about how they make YOU feel!