Recently I got to live out a real live episode of Sex and the City (sadly, not the one in which Aidan proposes; I know, right?).  The one where she’s invited to be a real-person model.  You know what I’m talking about…jewelled panties?  The creepy “me likey” guy?  Becoming “fashion roadkill” and then high five-ing Heidi Klum?  That one.

Last month I had the awesome opportunity to be part of the Smithery Style (a Canadian owned online boutique) spring / summer collection photo shoot.  Themed “Renaissance Women,” the shoot was all about showcasing great clothes on great gals who’ve got it on lock.  Clearly I was excited to test drive a bunch of new threads, have my hair professionally beach waved, bathe in the muted white light that only a paper white can achieve, and meet a new crew of creatively driven, entrepreneurial women. 

And if I’m being honest, I was also excited to lean into the challenge of facing some long standing body issues head on.

I remember being told as a kid that I had a cute butt.  I remember being told as a kid that if you wore lipstick, you’d never need to put sunscreen there.  And I remember being told as a kid to stand sideways and look at my belly in the mirror, then getting a “tsk tsk” for it being a little too round.  Pretty sure any body issues I’ve had in this life took root riiiiight about there, and grew a huge tree that’s only just shaking off the last leaves. 

We all have, or have had, body image issues, to some degree at some point.  Talk to any employee of any bridal shop and they’ll enlighten you with a whole world of body insecurities you didn’t even know people could feel insecure about.  And at some point, we all need to decide if that issue is rational, if it’s something we want to work towards changing, or if it’s a feature we can choose to love and embrace as a part of us in our natural state.

The photo shoot was a chance to embrace not only a love of clothing, but a love of self in a glossy, pretty, and really fun way.  Each woman there – of each shape and size – ran her own creative business, from baking to interior design, the prettiest flower shop to lifestyle blogging, and  was there to be celebrated for her dedication to just killing it in her field, while keeping it oh so real.  Looking around the room there were girls changing in the corner, girls changing in the loft, girls strutting and posing for our unbelievably talented (and hella cool) photographer.  And running it all were the two awesomely grounded, make you feel comfortable the moment you meet them, pretty from the inside out gals behind Smithery, Rena and Mavis.  

What sets Smithery Style apart is its authenticity and accessibility.  Mavis and Rena not only have a great collective eye for the good stuff and how to style it, but, coming from the insanity of advertising – and the lifestyle that goes with it – they also get that time is finite.  Wanting to look great for work and play – and being able to afford the time to do so from anywhere in the country – is what they wanted to make easier.  The tricky part about online shopping is usually its virtual nature – it can be a bit of a swing in the dark if something will fit you or not.  So they’ve organized the clothes on their site by body type. 

Each of the “honey, you’re a model!” models on location that day were styled according to their shape, and then posted online for shoppers to see what their favourites look like on real women.

That authenticity and accessibility is what made the shoot so lovely and comfortable.  Having someone style you in clothes perfect for your body has a funny way of making you feel instantly sexy.  Any areas that you’re not 100% comfortable with start to fade away as you wear clothes that love and understand your body.  The last remaining thread of insecurity or anxiety loosens, as you realize in first person that clothes can work for your body, not the other way around.  And suddenly, you find yourself officially on the other side of “only photos from the waist up!” to being entirely comfortable in your skin.

Here’s what that means for you: if you want to have a similar experience and discover clothes hand picked and styled to suit your body, check out, learn and shop your body type…and enter HELLOLOVE at check out for $20 off your purchase of $100.  Exciting right?  And although Heidi Klum might not be there to high five you when your package arrives, you’ll feel great knowing that you’ve got a rad outfit that your body will thank you for.

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