Alex Michael May

Alex Michael May

by Melissa Magsaysay

Even a quick glance at Alex Michael May’s Instagram feed would pull the most sullen person out of a funk. It’s awash in rainbow color, the blogger and body positive advocate’s shock of a blond mane just as vibrant as her signature highlighter-hued clothing.

The palette and upbeat tone of her images are perfectly in line with her personality: upbeat, positive and pure sunshine. It’s this mindset that makes her following flock to her feed and blog daily watching her navigate a full force fashion journey.

May’s sunny outlook is infectious and reinforces the fact that fashion is self expression and whether through accessories, high end designer or vintage clothing, style has no boundaries of who gets to participate.

"I was sick of feeling like I didn’t belong, that I couldn’t do what I wanted to do because I didn’t fit a single limited standard of beauty that is frankly antiquated. I learned that I was creating my own limitations, and realized I could live a new story."

Q & A With Alex

Have you always loved fashion? Describe your personal style?

I feel like I was born into loving fashion. Growing up, my mom and grandmother were the most stylish women I knew, and they dressed me like mini versions of themselves, not in the kiddie clothes my friends were wearing. My grandma was a seamstress and could make anything. She made me a gorgeous gold quilted lamé cropped jacket, a metallic tiered mini skirt, and so many more iconic pieces. My mom put me in fur coats, a leather bomber with a scarf, and plaid shorts and a blazer with tights and loafers, and I remember she always had at least one room in the house dedicated to being her closet. She had hundreds of pairs of shoes, literally.

Today my style is a mix of things: vintage-inspired, statement-making, full of pattern, color, texture and structure. I’m having a major moment with coordinates, and wearing head-to-toe monochrome. I definitely gravitate towards pieces that are unique and that are conversation starters.

What are your thoughts on the fashion industry? Could it be more inclusive?

I absolutely think the fashion industry could be more inclusive, but I also think it’s come a long way, so I am excited about the current state of things. I think we’re finally seeing a major shift in thought and that it’s leading to real change. I think things will continue to progress, and that by being vocal about what we want, we’re leading positive change.

What more could the industry do to be more inclusive and diverse?

For me, it seems pretty simple: reflect the customers for whom you exist. That means, simply, everyone. Clothing is made for every human body, and fashion transcends age, gender, sexual orientation, race, size and any other limiting descriptors.

How did you embark on being body positive and incorporating it into your platform?

For me, it truly arose from a need to make a decision: either stop hating my body and waiting to live my life and be happy or be miserable. I was sick of feeling like I didn’t belong, that I couldn’t do what I wanted to do because I didn’t fit a single limited standard of beauty that is frankly antiquated. I learned that I was creating my own limitations, and realized I could live a new story. The actual steps I took to put this radical idea into practice were small, brave baby steps every day. I declared love and gratitude for my able body. I decided to find clothes that actually fit after years of hiding in yoga pants and ill-fitting outfits meant to conceal. I did a media detox and stopped consuming images, messages, tv magazines that didn’t make me feel good about myself. I was able to completely change my mentality and ultimately, life. I just took people along for the journey in the most honest way I knew how.

What do you think has been the biggest challenge for the body positive movement?

For body positivity in terms of size inclusivity for plus size, I think the idea that we all want the same thing, lumping us in together and not having representation of different sizes and body types are some of the challenges. Also continuing to perpetuate these impossible standards that aren’t real. We are not one consumer with one need. We don’t all want to wear a plain “flattering” black dress and be covered up and not seen. We want to be able to wear beautiful, thoughtful pieces that fit well, are well made and enjoy the trends and styles our straight size friends and sisters enjoy.

Is there anything you’ve been told you “should not wear” in the past that you’ve proven wrong?

Oh, yes! Many, many things. Crop tops, loud patterns, bold colors. Mini skirts and dresses…the list goes on! I think we’re proving people wrong every day, and I for one have stopped limited myself, which has been positively liberating!

You seem to love color! Where does your love of color come from?

Honestly, I think I’ve always loved it, but I think this recent resurgence (it may border on an obsession) stems from feeling like I “HAD” to wear black and choose drab, shapeless things for so long. I now feel like I’m not myself if I’m not wearing color or a bit of flair. It reminds me of what it felt like to feel like I had to hide, and couldn’t shine or be seen. Now I wear color because it makes me happy, and my clothing can be an icebreaker and conversation starter wherever I go. I love that. I do think the pendulum has swung to both extremes, and maybe in the future I’ll find a balance. But until then…HUMAN RAINBOW.

What inspires you?/Where do you go to get inspired?

I think my inspiration is derived from a multitude of places, but mainly moments that I’m present for. For me, presence is the ultimate inspiration—and in fact it’s required to be able to witness the inspiration itself. In our world, we’re rarely disconnected from our devices and don’t let our minds wander, travel as much. For me, it’s those times awe-struck and observing the world around me that get me fired up! Bits of nature, hearing people’s stories and exploring new nooks and crannies (or just paying attention to those that surround me daily and seeing them in a different light!)


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