Thursday, February 14, 2013

This Fashionista Inspires Women of All Ages and Abilities

In a recent blog post entitled “Passionate about Girls Who Eat Lunch,” Spashionista Alicia describes a trip to an upscale clothing store, where she found nothing on the racks above Size 8. “Where are the clothes for the girls who eat lunch?” she jokingly asked the salesclerk. It’s not every day I find a fashionista with a great sense of humor. At the Spashionista Report, Alicia uses both humor and heart-warming sincerity to entertain and inspire women of “all ages and abilities.” And she does it while managing her Choreoathetotic Cerebral Palsy. Recently, I had a chance to interview Alicia via email. Click “read more” below to learn about this inspiring over 50 blogger.

Spashionista Alicia’s experiences with Choreoathetotic Cerebral Palsy fueled the creation of the Spashionista Report, which launched 10 months ago. On the blog’s “About” page, she reports being frustrated by the way people treated her when she was in public. “The majority of people glanced at me quickly, dismissed any notion that I might be able to engage in any kind of meaningful interaction with them,” she writes.

At the time, she didn’t think what she wore would make a difference. “I was dead wrong,” she insists. “I cleaned up, dressed up, and started paying attention to how other people reacted. The difference was undeniable…They stopped asking my husband what ‘she’ wanted and asked me directly. They treated me like any other person; finally.” Women also began complimenting the way she looked and asking her opinion. “The Spaz became the Spashionista,” she declares.

The 50-something fashionista is quick to point out that her blog isn’t focused on disabled rights, activism, and politics. There are other blogs covering those topics. Instead, the Spashionista Report aims to “empower women, especially those over 40 and the physically handicapped, to look and feel beautiful and claim their own sense of self-worth.”

Alicia believes women ought to “bury idealized perceptions of what they should look like” and start loving and dressing the bodies they have today. “Commit to making [your body] healthier and stronger so you have a better tomorrow,” she recommends. “Self-esteem is sexy, and it can't be bought for any price; wear that first!”

Not surprisingly, Alicia told me that Mae West is one of her style icons. “It’s the vibe I admire. [West] could've worn a burlap bag and still looked appealing because she wore her confidence with everything else she put on her body.”

When I asked Alicia to describe her style, she said “colorful, classy, a little quirky and a little sexy.” Chanel and Valentino are two of her favorite designers. “I do love the timeless quality. Their clothes are wearable and almost universally flattering.” She’s also a fan of McQueen, Saab, and Marchesa. “I love the shapes, the colors, and the attitude these labels bring to the table.”

In addition to being a fashionista, Alicia is a digital artist. “If you get sick of reading me gush about fashion you’re welcome to visit my artist’s blog Celesta Gallery. In the future, she hopes to resume some of her 3D artwork and incorporate some themes that “are consistent with what I've been writing about."

As for the future of the Spashionista Report, Alicia says she’d like to attempt some more video posts. “I really want to show other women with disabilities, especially those with Cerebral Palsy, that they can be fashionable, approachable, and seen in a more positive light” by other people. “It's an interesting dichotomy: Many women over 50 feel invisible, but don’t want to be; while women with disabilities often want to be invisible but can't be. I'd like to help both groups of women meet me in the middle.”

In addition to sharing her experiences, she encourages readers to share theirs. “I want to know what trips you up when it comes to looking your best.” I encourage Flattering50 readers to visit the Spashionista Report. If you do, be prepared to laugh and learn from this delightful Spashionista!