Like most young women growing up, Sudzy Nixon didn’t really feel comfortable in her own skin.
“Being a fat girl since puberty, I know people bear scars from adolescence that can last most of their lives. I remember seeing my babysitter read Cosmo as a small kid and feeling like magazines like these were there to celebrate femininity,” explained Nixon. “As I got older, I realized a lot of the trends my peers were sporting weren’t available in my size. Cosmo, Seventeen and all the other fashion mags forgot about girls like me. In time, my interests shifted to art, friends, romance, and most of all rock ‘n roll.
“I idolized women like Bettie Page and studied the girls in John Water’s movie, Crybaby. I was in love with their looks. I heard that look called everything from Pinup, punk, a bit goth, rockabilly and retro. Whatever you call it, my fashion sense was edgier and I had to be creative. Before the 90s, plus-size fashion companies thought you needed to dress like a pilgrim. It wasn’t really until the early 2000s that I saw people carrying plus-size styles I liked.”
Now at 36, Nixon, an advocate for the body positivity movement, has left her career in nursing and has made it her mission to help others find their identity through clothing, no matter their size, shape, ethnicity, gender or religion.
The body positivity movement, at its core, represents the idea that all bodies are good bodies. All bodies are worthy of self love, self care and acceptance. All bodies are allowed to feel beautiful, regardless of their color or jean size or health status or how attractive you personally find them to be.
On August 27, Nixon will open the doors to her clothing store, Sudzy’s Pin-Up Palace, located at 843 Gallia St., in Portsmouth . Sudzy’s Pin-Up Palace specializes in retro, vintage and pin up-esque attire from sizes extra small through 6X.
“It’s a hospital disguised as a dress shop, it’s to empower people, and make people feel confident with the way they look. A lot of people think fashion is vapid and shallow but it’s how you identify yourself. Recently, some of my close friends lost everything in a house fire, and they collected things like band T-shirts, movie T-shirts. A lot of who we are shows through the way we dress,” said Nixon.
Nixon has hopes that her shop will serve as a gateway for spreading body positivity, diversity acceptance, equality for all and a haven for those who just like to shop.
“I’ve had people say to me, ‘I wish I could pull that off. I can’t dress like that or do that kind of makeup.’ It is hard to break away from that way of thinking,” explained Nixon. “I try and tell them that fashion and cosmetics are for anyone who wants to use them. Sometimes they make you feel glamorous and sometimes, if you don’t feel like being glamorous, they won’t. It runs deep and finding comfort with your own body is difficult.”
She also has plans to host artist events, live music and workshops about fashion, gender, body positivity and other topics.
Sudzy’s Pin-Up Palace will host a grand-opening ceremony on August 27, featuring live entertainment with contests, prizes and snacks.
For more information, you can follow “Sudzy’s Pin-Up Palace,” on Facebook or by visiting the website at www.sudzyspinuppalace.com
- Sudzy Nixon, holding her keys to her shop, set to open August 27.
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-353-3101 ext. 1932 or Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara