I remember growing up watching my aunt get dressed for a night out on the coldest days of winter. The final step was always the same: throwing a fur over her shoulders. The bristles of her scarf would move calmly when hit by the wind. Everything about it screamed luxurious. And to me, she was the picture of glamour. From then on I knew that there was something special about the statement that fur made.
Fast forward to high school, and that image stayed with me. I started being more thoughtful about my personal style and wanted to try on my aunt's look for size. But I couldn't exactly afford fur—and I didn't want an animal to suffer for my fashion statement, even if I could. I was shopping at H&M one day when I came across it: what would become my first faux fur vest. It was brown, so chic, so big, and—best of all—under $40. And when I tried it on, I felt like a '90s-era Lil' Kim.
From that moment on, I made it my duty to purchase a new faux fur item every winter, whether it was a vest, a stole, or even gloves. In recent years, I've taken the extra-ness of the style a step further and purchased colorful styles. Mostly fluffy friends from Forever 21.
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But, what made my H&M vest and every other faux fur friend I've brought over the years so special is the major confidence boost they give me the moment I put them on. Even on my worst days, faux fur makes me feel poised. And badass.
I'll admit, the power of faux fur was at first a crutch I used to cover up my insecurities. Four years ago, when I looked in the mirror, I did not like what I saw. I was pushing 230 lbs. I was unhappy, lonely at college, and constantly eating junk food to pass the time. The gaudiness of a fur can sometimes divert attention from other things, and that's exactly what I wanted. If I didn’t like how my curves looked in a dress, I would throw on a fur vest to hide them. While the intrepid colors that my furs came in may have seemed bold, I used them to hide what I was really feeling.
But the more I got excited about fashion—and a possible career in it—the more I got inspired. Inspired, too, to take care of myself. Over the next nine months, I lost 50 lbs. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done and required so much discipline, but I was and still am in love with the process and results.
Part of losing that weight was also learning to love my curves, which is something about me that is never going to change. Once I accepted that, my collection of faux furs felt less like a shield and more like a stage—a confidence boost as opposed to an insecurity hider. They transform my mood and make me feel like a complete badass who can tackle anything.
So today, when I woke up late and had no time for my usual beauty routine, instead of accepting that it would be a bad day, during which I'd feel underconfident, I threw on my a faux fur parka and knew it would be okay.