Fashion, body image, and wellness are often very interconnected concepts. This week, CHICago Style sat down with the girl who knows it all when it comes to those three things. Mary Kesinger is a senior marketing major and dance minor at Loyola, the LCA for the Wellness Learning Community, a fitness instructor at Halas, a member of CHAARG, and has killer style to boot. In our interview with her she tells us all about positive body image and feeling great in your own skin.
CS: Describe your personal style.
MK: My personal style is usually pretty comfortable. I like to wear things that I feel confident in. I’m usually found in athleisure—work-out clothes—but other than that I like to dress edgier. For me, it would be anything black—I love black.
CS: Talk about CHAARG. What is it, how did you get involved, and how can others get involved?
MK: CHAARG stands for Changing Health Attitudes and Actions to Recreate Girls, and I heard about it through some of my fitness friends from other universities around the country. It started in 2012 and it’s pretty much, to compare, a fitness sorority. You can be a virtual member and you still get access to all the Fit Plans and a great community of girls especially in the Chicago area. If you want to get involved you can become a virtual member or you can apply to start a chapter at Loyola.
CS: What does body positivity mean to you?
MK: Body positivity is all about feeling confident in your own skin so that you are best able to be yourself in all other areas of life. So it’s not just about being great in the gym, but being confident to pursue all your other dreams. And I feel that the more empowered you are physically the more empowered you can be emotionally and mentally.
CS: How do you think wellness and body image relate to fashion?
MK: I think that body image is so important in fashion because if you aren’t confident in what you are wearing then it shows. People can tell and it reflects that you are feeling insecure, which sucks, so you always want to make sure you are wearing something that you feel comfortable in, because confidence is the best accessory you could ever wear.
CS: What is your best advice for other women to dress in a way that makes them feel comfortable and confident in what they wear?
MK: Something I’ve had to learn in the past year especially is that you cannot pay attention to size. It’s been hard buying new clothes that fit me because I don’t want to accept that my body has changed, but sometimes you just gotta go up a size and then you realize that you feel better in clothes even if it’s not the size you always imagined you would be. But if it fits and you feel confident then it’s the right fit for you.
CS: Do you think there is anything that women can do in particular to keep fashion as a tool for empowerment and not as a means of others to objectify them?
MK: I think that you have to remember to always respect yourself and dress for yourself and not for anyone else. You may feel the need to confine yourself to society’s ideals, but make sure you are dressing for yourself only.