30x30 | twenty

stripes and denim
red stripes, denim jacket
jacket: Nordy Rack (similar) // shirt: old Zumiez // pants: Gap // shoes: LuLu*s (similar) // necklace: J.Crew // glasses: BonLook

Photos by Briley Noel

I love the way these photos came out. It's so weird having photos taken of me this often, especially when I'm going through some really messy, insecure, contradicting issues with my self, and more specifically my body, lately. If I'm being honest with you, I have three posts in my drafts that have to do with recognizing, loathing, and celebrating my body. I'm not ready to share them, and for now anyway, I'm not sure that I'm planning to. I have to remember that even though I have this space to share and empower, I don't owe anyone anything. Maybe I needed to write those posts in order to write this one. Blogging, both the posts I publish and the ones I don't, helps me be more aware. I love having this space to explore those feelings and the changes in myself, both emotionally and physically.

When I look at these pictures, I see a lot of things about my body that I don't like. I see things have have changed drastically in the last six months, from the way I fit in my clothes to the way I carry myself. What I also see is a real human with a good body. Gaining twenty pounds doesn't mean I'm taking up too much space, it means I have more of me to celebrate, to consider, and to explore.

As aware as I've tried to be lately about sucking in and angling my body to make it look smaller, what I see in these photos is forgetting that for a moment and being genuinely happy in an outfit, with my friend, in the park. I can't speak for everyone, but for me, style blogging isn't vain. It's about sharing real pieces from my closet and life.


  1. Hi Nicole, my name is Christina and I'm from Germany, so please ignore every grammar mistake.
    I just wanted to tell you something my dad always tells me, when I'm whining (you are not! :D) about my weight:
    You are a good person, so it's good to have more of you!

    It was difficult to translate that from Russian into German into English. So it probably lost something of it's charming wittiness, but it still always makes me smile and it applies to you just fine!

  2. this is a fab outfit. love the top.
    also, it is so hard for me to look in the mirror or at a photo and not see everything i hate. every time someone takes a photo of me and you do the look immediately, i always make a scoffing gross noise because i just hate myself sometimes. and that is so ridiculous, i know.
    i hope you get through this phase soon, as you have nothing to be insecure about, or anything to loathe. so, you share what you want to share and you absolutely dont owe anyone anything! :)

  3. the sentiment (as well as the words) translate perfectly. i so appreciate you sharing that message with me. thanks for reaching out with your sweet words--in any language!

  4. As someone who has gained thirty pounds or more in the last three years, I feel you. It's weird adjusting to the size of your body, even if you love yourself. I catch a glimpse of my profile in window reflections as I walk around campus and am surprised by the thickness of my body at times. But I also feel like mostly I've learned to love myself more at this size than I ever was able to when I was smaller. Since you're the same age as me, something I'll say that I don't hear women talk a lot about is that your body is still settling/changing in your early 20's, so some weight gain is really super normal (most people won't stay their high school size, no matter what). And for you, it is especially makes sense that you would gain weight because of the way you were eating before (you talked about this on here before, I believe, with eating inconsistently in college). Body change is uncomfortable, though, no matter the reasoning, and I'm glad you're being self-aware about it and giving yourself a chance to figure out your feelings. Here's an article I read recently that might help you with that (the title is over the top, but actually some good content): http://www.xojane.com/relationships/3-easy-exercises-to-ease-self-loathing-if-you-completely-freaking-hate-yourself-like-i-do.

    Love the outfit. You make me not hate leggings as pants.


  5. i agree with this so hard. i know that bodies change a lot in these years, and, like you said, my body is changing a lot for other reasons too. i wish people talked more about the weight all women gain during this time. like, of course none of us stay our high school size, but it's still so shocking! i'm partially just freaking out because of the...way? places? i'm gaining weight and trying to hide it, when i feel like i shouldn't have to or want to hide it. i actually love the weight gain in my lower half, but the majority of the weight is going to my belly and, to be frank, i look pregnant. i wish it would go out to the sides or down to my calves or something! i don't at all want to sound like i'm against being a certain size, because i'm not, but the weight gain is still shocking and uncomfortable. i so appreciate your affirmation that this is natural and that i'm not crazy though.

    ps. i know it's crazy, but these aren't leggings! they're real pants! they definitely fit more like pants before the weight gain....however, i AM an advocate for leggings as pants!

  6. Loving the change of scenery. I realize it's a park but somehow I'm seeing an Asian vibe, with the use of red on the bridge and the green trees looking almost like Bamboo leaves, if you squint. I keep expecting Kung Fu Panda to pop out, which incidentally teaches kids to be accepting and loving of their bodies no matter how are big or small. Plus, Seth Rogen.

  7. Gaining weight is a weird thing. Those work-out pants that didn't fit me in Austin? I bought those when I was doing hot yoga this winter...maybeeee in January? February? Since I've stopped doing yoga I've noticed by body creep back up to it's higher numbers, but I feel like the way I've been gaining is different this time. Sometimes pictures, mirrors, or shop windows surprise me when they reflect my body. It seems impossible that changes like that can happen so fast. Like Jennifer said in her comment, I feel like you and your body go through a lot of changes in your 20's. With all of your life changes and growths, your mind and body change with it.

    I love the way you talk about your new curves, though! It's refreshing and honest and brave. and I love when you talk about loving your new bottom! I talk more negative things about my bottom half than anything else, so your views always make me smile and reset my thoughts.

  8. So... since your photos come first I was looking at the pictures and just kept thinking, "wow, this girl is so cute and pretty and just quintessially.. that iconic all american girl." So color me surprised at the subject of your post. You are so gorgeous and I am also consistently amazed at how cute the outfits you have with the limitations of your 30x30. But, at the same time, I really appreciate the honesty of saying what you are saying. And get that there are also posts you have written and aren't ready to share. Putting out there even that there is stuff you don't want to share.. to me, takes guts.

  9. The Adored LifeMay 1, 2014 at 8:35 AM

    You are so amazing. You are such a skinnie minnie, in fact I have wished before that I had your skinny legs! So just now, no one thinks you are anything less than amazing!


  10. THANK YOU. I just wrote a post earlier this month about something very similar to this - that strange dichotomy between being in a rough place with body image and continuing to take photos of myself and my outfits for my blog. I applaud you for always being so reflective and vulnerable on your blog, and I appreciate your honesty. Although I hate that other people struggle with their bodies, it is really nice to know that I'm not alone, and to have another smart woman like yourself who thinks about it intelligently and reflectively (sorry to use that word twice in one comment...) is really refreshing. Keep on keeping on, little lady. XOXO

  11. I tried leaving a message yesterday, but the Internet ate it. So here's take #2:

    You look adorable! I have had my share of similar issues, in the past and more recently, and yet I don't think it's something others can necessarily see in my photos, as it isn't in your photos. So, in a way, it's good to have this message next to these photos; insecurities are common and natural, but they don't have to hold us a back for a minute.


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