Marcy Cruz is a writer, public speaker, and one of only a few fit models who wear a size 28. After working in marketing at a plus-size e-commerce company, Marcy realized that women who looked like her could also love and appreciate fashion. This aha moment led her to start her own blog, which quickly solidified Marcy as a fixture in the plus-size fashion space.

We chatted with Marcy during a recent photo shoot to learn about how what you wear can have an incredible impact on your mental health and self-esteem—and she’s here with steps to make it happen for you, too.

1. Look to fashion as self-care

The big thing that I say on my Instagram stories every day is, “Self-care matters.” That’s been my mantra. One form of self-care is wearing what makes you happy. Tune out the voices of people that say, “Oh, you shouldn’t wear that.” I once had somebody say, “Oh, you can’t wear polka dots. It makes you look like a whale.” Are you kidding me? I love polka dots. When you wear something that you love and you don’t care what anybody else says, it can make you feel so empowered and free. Because fashion is a way you can express yourself.

2. Invest in yourself

Everybody hates to shop, but I see that as self-care, too—treating yourself to the hat or pair of shoes you’ve been wanting. And if money’s an issue? I’m a budget chick. I hit the sale racks. That said, I also believe in investment. I always tell people to put $5, $10 a week in a jar. Save your money. At the end of the season, you can invest in one or two pieces that will make you feel good.

3. Take it one body part at a time

Expressing yourself through fashion takes courage—you have to take it one body part at a time. It can become overwhelming if you try to love yourself completely, all at once. Dress that one body part. Say, “Today, I’m going to wear some skinny jeans and show off my legs.” Live in the body you have now and dress that body as it is now. If you wear something that you love, it’ll make you feel good when you’re walking down the street. I like to imagine that I’m walking down a runway when I’m walking down the street and it makes me feel amazing.

4. Live life to the fullest

My niece was 18 when she passed. She had a bad asthma attack and then panicked, so she went into cardiac arrest. She always wanted to be a fashion designer. Her passing was a reminder that life is short. You have to be present. We worry about too many things that are so minuscule. I see women who want to hide their arms because they think their arms look terrible. You have to change your mindset about that. If you say, “Well, 20 pounds from now, I’m going to wear that.” Why are you going to wait? You don’t know if you’re gonna lose that 20 pounds—and tomorrow’s not promised. Only the present moment is promised.

Has celebrating your body through what you wear impacted your mental health or self-
esteem? Share this post with your story!