Mirror, mirror on the wall – you’re not feeling fair at all. Too many of us believe we are too “big” to be stylish.
I’ve come to know a lot about women from the other side of a dressing room door. I’ve seen and heard women of all sizes, shapes and ages berate themselves.
Why is it when they look at themselves in a full-length mirror they zone right in on what they don’t like about their bodies? Then they conclude they are not “good” enough. What they are really worried about is the fact they don’t fit into the sick, so-called social norm and they won’t ever measure up.
It was easy for me to look at my clients objectively and help them put on clothing to enhance and express themselves as beautiful, interesting, complex and capable women.
Why couldn’t they see the same person in the mirror that I did? And why don’t I see myself the same way?
We all have our body bugaboos. I struggle with I, too. I refuse to starve myself for vanity metrics. Full disclosure: I had the perfect fashion body once – the one with no chest, no waist, no hips, and legs that looked like they belonged to birds. I was 10 at the time. Now, I wish I had the body I complained about 10 years ago when I was in my fifties.
Seeing your body shape change before your eyes can be wrought with all sorts of emotions. It might be nature, age, or personal choices made throughout a lifetime. This doesn’t mean compromising on style and hiding behind a big, boxy and black five-year-old ratty sweater. Over-sized garments only work for waif-like, 20-year-olds. For the rest of us, it leaves our figures undefined and as a result, we look heavier than we are.
Some women insist on punishing themselves by waiting for their bodies to be at a certain weight before paying attention to their style. They let the pounds weigh them down. We all have lumps, bumps, rolls, and ridges. They are not flaws. They are realities. We can wait to lose those pesky pounds, but we might wait forever.
Getting comfortable in the skin you’re in will help you feel more confident. Our weight is not our worth. That means we need to come to terms with our appearance right now.
If you elevate your style now, you will have the self-confidence to decide if losing weight is in the cards and if so, to get the momentum for the journey. Looking and feeling great in your clothes doesn’t mean you must lose weight. (I think we can all agree that thinner thighs and a flatter tummy would be nice.)
So many women seem to be convinced their body is uniquely weird. A fashion fundamental is that you are not meant to fit into clothes. Clothes are meant to fit onto you.
Each body is unique, long in places, short in places, curvy and straight in places. You are not a size; you are a shape. We are all different. The key is to balance your shape with the silhouette of the garments you are wearing. If you understand your body shape and the shape of the garment, you can find the perfect clothes that will look and feel good on you.
My advice is to work from the inside out. The attitude you bring to the clothes makes the difference. The outside is just a package. Body positivity simply means acknowledging that your body will evolve and so will your closet. Before I dress the shape of a woman’s body with flattering clothes I address how she feels about herself. You can’t hate your way into change. It doesn’t work that way.
One of my clients said: “I want to get the pretty back. I’m feeling schlumpy. What about my weight? I’ve given up.” She shared the story of what made her seek me out for a makeover. She told me she was shopping on-line for a dress and her tween-age daughter was sitting next to her. She pointed out one that was shown on a Size 2 model. She told her daughter it probably wouldn’t look good on her. Confused, the young girl looked at her mother and said: “I don’t understand. Why wouldn’t it? You’re not the same. The dress is nice. It will look different on you, but still nice, Mom.”
I couldn’t have said it better.
Copyright: Helene Oseen 2022
This article first appeared in the Calgary Herald, MSN and more