As a personal fashion stylist, my work with women gets pretty intimate. And while there are certain themes that continually show up, the most prevailing issue is around body shaming.
I’ve got clients who think their butts are too saggy, their stomachs are too big, and one woman won’t show her elbows. As a response to this shame, they’ll dress in oversized, ill fitting clothes to hide their bodies.
Me – I don’t like my arms and hands. It’s not unusual to see me wearing long sleeves in 95°. So yeah, I’m hiding too.
Click play to watch the video where I share how to keep your body shame from getting in the way of your personal style so you always feel amazing in your clothes.
And keep reading for more stylist advice!
It’s Always Been Like This
Often the negative body stories started when we were young. For me it was in high school. I studied those calorie books that they sold in the grocery store and memorized how much everything cost (calorie wise) from saltines to a big mac. When I gained the freshman 15 in college, the negative body stories got louder and they continued to yell at me through my 20s.
In my 30s I got pregnant, and discovered a newfound respect for my body. Little did I know there would be a whole new story waiting for me around the corner which is where I sit now.
Present Day Body Shaming
I had an interesting awakening when it came to my aging body. My daughter was around 5 and she had a friend at our place. I could hear them playing dolls together in the other room. They were cuddling the babies, pretending they were moms. Then I heard them say, “Let’s go see Grandma.” They came over and said “Hello, Grandma!” It was cute. They were the moms. I was the grandma…it made sense!
But then they said, “Let’s go see Auntie.” I asked, “Who’s Auntie?” They told me it was the other mom. I started to get confused so I asked, “Why am I Grandma and the other mom is Auntie?” Without missing a beat, my daughter said, “Because you look like a grandma and she doesn’t. Look at your crinkles!” She pointed to my hands.
A New Story
Let’s be real – the negative stories around our bodies run deep. They’re not going to suddenly disappear because we want them to. It takes a new set of beliefs to change the narrative.
What I’ve discovered are a few things you can do right now to start feeling better about your body.
** Build a closet that supports you, and doesn’t shame you. If you have clothes that are too small or too big, get rid of them. Nobody feels good in clothes that don’t fit.
** Have clothes that flatter your body today. Once you determine what you want to highlight and what you want to downplay, you can use your clothes to draw the eye to these areas. If you want people to look at your upper body instead of your hips, wear a strong shouldered top. (If you’re wondering what is my body shape, click here.)
** When you’re deciding if you like what you’re wearing, take a picture instead of looking straight into the mirror. By putting the distance between yourself with the camera, you become the witness. When you view yourself as the third person, it enables you to connect with a place of real empathy.
Body acceptance is a practice you can work on everyday. I’d be lying if I said I still didn’t look at my hands and think EW because of how crinkly they are. But then I remember that my mom has crinkly hands. And her mom had crinkly hands. I come from a lineage of women with crinkly hands. And that’s who I am.
As I feel less shame over my hands and arms, the more free I become. It takes a lot of energy to shame yourself! Imagine how much space you’d create by letting some of those negative stories go?
What can you do today to move closer to body acceptance?
On your article regarding body shaming of ourselves. I have quit looking at other people who are flaunting their beauty on social media. I noticed that what one woman doesn’t like about herself another women wishes she had. We all have something that we don’t like about ourselves and there is no one excluded from this. A move which I have began is with positive affirmations. To look good on the outside we also have to feel good on the inside. When this happens you will go from having clothes on to actually wearing them. There is a difference.
Hi Rita, It sounds like you’ve developed a nice practice of affirmations to help nourish your body confidence. Thanks for sharing.