For eons, my body image hang-ups have centered on my little belly-pooch. Why is it there? Why won’t it flatten? Will doing the “wrong” kind of sit-ups really make it MORE prominent? Were low-rise pants designed specifically to create a small, uncomfortable shelf for it? Do other women have similar bellies and just disguise them more effectively? Why, oh why, will I never look like Blake Lively in a Herve Leger bandage dress?
I fretted and stewed, moaned and groaned, cursed my lot and tried my damndest to change it. And yet, through weight fluctuations of more than 50 pounds, my tum has remained. I’ve been a size 6 and a size 16 and everything in between. The tum abides.
Originally posted 2014-05-06 06:17:29.
At the beginning of virtually every conversation about style, I ask a very important question:
What do you love about your body? How do you dress to highlight these features?
Can you answer this question for yourself? If you cannot, you’re not alone. The vast majority of women I speak with – as clients, at my classes and workshops, at Corset, and elsewhere – are stumped by this question. They’ve been taught to think of their bodies as a mass of negatives, flaws to be disguised, weaknesses to be downplayed, features that need to be masked and minimized at all costs. Getting dressed is primarily about hiding what causes shame. Considering dressing from a positive standpoint – focusing on features to highlight, aspects that inspire pride – is a novel idea, and a challenging one. When asked to name even one physical feature that they’d like to dress to show off, most women draw a complete blank.
Originally posted 2014-03-05 06:15:56.
A few weeks ago, a lovely reader reached out to me over e-mail. She said many kind and supportive things, but one stood out in my mind and is still rattling around in there. She’d just finished my book, and said she was so grateful that I hadn’t forced her to donate the contents of her closet or make drastic changes to her dressing behaviors. She loves neutrals and muted colors, and had been toting around an inferiority complex for AGES, convinced that her disinterest in bold, bright colors constituted a shortcoming. It was such a relief to her to read that she could wear those neutrals and muted colors forever if she wanted. I was thrilled to hear that my book had been helpful to her on her personal style journey, but also dismayed to hear that she’d felt pressured to dress in ways that didn’t resonate with her personally.
Originally posted 2014-03-31 06:50:11.