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    Here's What Happened When An Athleisure Lover Was Dressed By Her Ultra-Feminine Friend

    And let me tell you, things got emotional.

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    If there's one thing you should know about me, it's that I'm super passionate about sports and exercise.

    That means that whenever I'm not at work or at an event, I'm living in activewear.

    Recently, my work friend Mariela and I were talking about how different our personal styles are, and what it would feel like living our lives in the other person's clothing.

    We put our styles where our mouths were and decided to undertake a fashion swap challenge. Over the course of a week, we'd swap three outfits: An office look, a casual weekend look and a night time look.

    Here's how it went.

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    Our dress code at BuzzFeed is super casual, which I love — it gives me the freedom to be myself even in a professional setting. While I don't turn up in activewear, I do try to include sportswear and streetwear-inspired clothing into my look. I like how comfortable they are, as well as sense of strength that these types of clothing evoke, which make me feel confident and in charge.

    Mariela, however, is the complete opposite: Heels, skirt, shirt — she is always dressed to the nines. So when it came to the office look, I knew she would be turning me into a corporate lady. With a satin skirt, white shirt and killer heels, this is the most dressed-up I've been at work...probably ever.

    While I thought I would feel a little awkward or overdressed in this incredibly feminine look, I actually felt the complete opposite: I felt strong, powerful and in charge. And it didn't hurt that I was getting compliments from my coworkers all day.

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    This crisp, white shirt from LONDE — which actually made me feel like a corporate queen.

    LONDE / Via instagram.com

    I feel like I've always been looking for a classic, white shirt that I can wear with everything — and I can't believe Mariela found it for me. With oversized cuffs and an almost off-the-shoulder neckline, this shirt has quickly become a wardrobe staple for me.

    The other thing that completely shocked me was that it is a one-size-fits-all item. As an AU Size 14 with a 12E bra size, this shirt fits me like a dream. On smaller ladies, it looks oversized but in a very chic way — as I've seen Mariela wear this same shirt time and time again. Unfortunately, I don't imagine the one-size-fits-all would extend to women above a Size 14.

    Buy for $89 from LONDE.

    This satin midi skirt from Nasty Gal that I didn't think I'd like, but ended up falling in love with.

    Nasty Gal / Via nastygal.com

    As a curvier woman, I'd somehow got it in my head that silky materials do not work for me, as I thought they'd emphasise my fat rolls and cellulite. I also tend to go for brighter colours than subdued hues. Needless to say, I was kind of hesitant to put this on, let alone walk around in it all day.

    However, I was SHOCKED by how much I loved this. It's high-waisted, gorgeous to touch and I loved the colour. It really did make me feel beautiful and feminine, which is new for me.

    Full disclosure: I did wear shapewear underneath this, largely because I was worried about chaffing. However, they did give me an added boost of confidence and I'm happy to own that.

    Buy for $24 from Nasty Gal.

    These gorgeous, blue, croc-print Sol Sana heels that I have already worn again (twice!).

    THE ICONIC / Via theiconic.com.au

    As soon as I pulled the shoebox out of the bag, I knew I was going to love these shoes. Sol Sana is one of my favourite Australian labels and it's not hard to see why: They're fun, on trend and well made.

    These pastel blue, croc-print shoes with a chunky, wooden heel are a real statement piece. They worked surprisingly well with the peachy-pink Nasty Gal skirt, and are equally as fabulous with an all-white ensemble or blue-hued look — both of which I have rocked post-challenge.

    However, while wearing heels to work may look amazing, by 3 p.m., I was missing the comfort and ease of sneakers.

    Buy for $199.95 from THE ICONIC.

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    One of the biggest hang ups I have about my body are my arms. I've always thought skinny, toned arms are the ideal, and mine have never looked like that. As someone with big boobs, I've also shied away from high-necked pieces. So when I saw that Mariela had picked a sleeveless, high-necked mini dress for me, I was...nervous, to say the least.

    When I saw that she'd paired them with some mules, I laughed. Mariela seems like a social butterfly, constantly going out to art galleries or to dinners with friends. Me, not so much. Weekends for me usually mean playing sport and hanging out with my boyfriend. While we might go out for a bite to eat, usually we just watch movies or chill out — neither of which requires heels. On the weekend of the fashion swap challenge, we were doing just that.

    While I really liked both of the items individually, I don't think they really worked together on me. As a curvy girl, I often find that clothes that look trendy or sartorial on slimmer women end up looking either too sexy or kind of matronly on me, and I think this outfit hit tones of the latter.

    However, I could definitely see myself rocking both the dress and the shoes separately. And as an outfit, it definitely pushed me waaay past my comfort zone, which I appreciated. It even got me to work through some of the internalised body hatred I didn't know I'd bought into for so long.

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    This cute linen dress from Sportsgirl that pushed me out of my comfort zone (in a good way!).

    Sportsgirl / Via instagram.com

    A linen blend with a tennis dress vibe, this versatile piece is just as perfect for a café as it is for a bar. While I was worried that it would stain easily if I sat on the grass, it didn't at all, which I was impressed by. However, it did crinkle and crease not long after I'd put it on (but I guess that's to be expected when you're dealing with linen).

    As mentioned above, this dress made me confront some of the negative feelings I was harbouring towards my body. And I'm really glad I did. While this is the kind of dress I'd see on other (read: thinner) women and think they looked gorgeous, it was nothing short of game-changing to find out that it also looked good on me. It even got me more comfortable having my arms on show.

    Buy for $99.95 from Sportsgirl.

    These vintage-look mules from Sportsgirl that are the epitome of "smart casual".

    Sportsgirl / Via instagram.com

    These beige mules with a tortoiseshell buckle are so stylish, versatile and — dare I say it — comfortable. With their thick heel and high-but-not-crazy height, I could have happily walked around in them all day.

    While I would never really wear them on casual occasions, they're the perfect partner to a blouse and great pair of jeans for the elusive "smart casual" dress code.

    Buy for $67.46 from Sportsgirl.

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    When it comes to going out, I usually opt for flowy, boho dresses or jeans and a nice top. Tight, figure-hugging clothing has never really appealed to me — probably because every time I've tried them on in a shop, I've felt like a stuffed sausage.

    Again, it's hard as a curvy woman to find clothes that suit your body type that are glam without being overtly sexy. I think that's because often curvy bodies have traditionally been hyper-sexualised to be seen as appealing or acceptable — and while thankfully, that's all changing, I still have some internalised habits that need breaking.

    When I saw the outfit Mariela had picked for me, I knew this was the perfect opportunity to face those fears. And honestly? She NAILED it. The dress was the perfect mix of sophisticated and sexy, and I genuinely felt really glamorous in it.

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    This not-so-little but oh-so-perfect black dress from MOSSMAN, which I will be wearing to every formal occasion here on out.

    Amazon Australia / Via amazon.com.au

    When I first saw this dress, I was simultaneously excited and scared. I love an asymmetrical sleeve, but I don't often go for anything this figure-hugging for fear of it not flattering my body.

    Turns out, I had nothing to worry about. This dress was sexy, comfortable and showed off all my curves — while still looking elegant and classy. I really felt super glam and I loved it. I was initially worried that some of my rolls were showing through, but once I'd gotten over my own insecurities, I was really vibing this look.

    Buy for $83.97 from Amazon Australia.

    These killer Billini strappy sandals, which go with literally everything in my wardrobe.

    THE ICONIC / Via theiconic.com.au

    Mariela oozes sexy from every pore of her body, so of course she'd find me a pair of strappy black heels to go with my LBD. These Billini ones are chic, minimal and timeless. They're easy to walk in, and while I was worried that the straps would cut into my feet, they have a lot of flexibility and next to no rub. I would suggest breaking them in before a big night out, though.

    Buy for $89.95 from THE ICONIC.

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    Initially, I thought this challenge would be just a bit of fun. Instead, it became an opportunity to face some real body issues that I'd compartmentalised for a while. And I'm really glad it did.

    I realised that I had garnered a lot of my sense of strength and self-esteem through sport, which I'd also carried into other areas of my life through my fashion choices. Growing up with thin, Western beauty ideals also meant that I felt left out of a lot of mainstream fashion trends, so I anchored my identity more in the world of sport.

    As a result, I'd never truly identified with a classic, feminine style. But undertaking this challenge has shown me how I can still feel confident and strong in ultra-feminine clothing.

    I have emerged from this challenge feeling more confident and excited to have more fun with my fashion choices. I've also left with a little more self-love and self-kindness, which is worth more than I can express.

    If you want to find out how Mariela felt about the clothes I put her in, read about her story here. You can also watch our challenge in real time below!

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    What should we swap next? Exercise routines? Daily meals? Let us know in the comments below!