Love What You've Got

We have all been there… it is time to go shopping! You need some new pieces. Jackets. Pants. A great dress. Maaaaaaybe even my favorite: SHOES!

You hit the store, peruse the racks, and then enter the dressing room. Your arms and expectations piled high. Big plans to strut out of the store shortly after.

Exceeeeeeeeept…

Mirror, mirror on the wall - why, oh why, aren’t I the fairest of them all!?!?

Have you ever felt like the garments all looked better on the hanger than on you? Have you ever thought that NOTHING seems to fit? It is in this moment that for some reason we jump right to the nonsensical notions that something is WRONG with our bodies. It must be weird, out of shape, and that we have somehow “lost” the great body we once had, or maybe if we are really feeling dramatic; that we have NEVER had the right body. This is a fallacy. And so so detrimental to our selves.

Thinking you can put on any piece and it will work perfectly for you is insane. Believing every piece works for everyone is an assumption we must let go of. However,

If we understand our body shape, and the shapes of garments, you can find the clothes that look and feel right on you. No matter your size: fit goes beyond size.

It is entirely possible to learn and train our eyes and minds to seek out, and choose the clothing that is the perfect fit for the body you were blessed with. Let’s repeat that: THE BODY YOU WERE BLESSED WITH. Every body is a blessing. Especially those that are healthy, functional, and get us everywhere we want to go, doing all of the activities we want to do. Some of us are further along on our journey to self love, but I hope you will understand that clothing should never highlight anything wrong about you. If anything it means the piece wasn't right for you, not that you need to conform somehow for it.

Your basic body shape is set by your skeletal structure. Trimming and toning are possible, but it will result in a more trim and toned version of what you are now. Fundamentally changing the shape of our bodies just isn't possible.

Some things to help you better view your distinct shape. The location of your hip bones determine where you carry your weight. Those with a more tapered hip will find they have a tinier waist in proportion to their hips and thighs. Any gained weight will seem to automatically move to your rear. A woman with a high hip will have a longer leg, and slimmer hips but will struggle with shirts that accentuate the torso.

NO BODY TYPE IS BETTER THAN ANOTHER.

I LIKE TO POINT OUT THAT EVERYONE WILL HAVE FIGURE REALITIES (not flaws) THAT WE MUST DEAL WITH AND WORK AROUND WHEN GETTING DRESSED.

Let’s chat about life, social media, and comparing ourselves now shall we? We are constantly surrounded by images of beauty, most often youthful, and even more often manipulated. The world pushes an unrealistic body and beauty standard. It has been a long (and a continuous) journey for me to find happiness and contentment with my own body and look. A big part of that for me was coming to realize and accept that I cannot feel great about myself and learn to love the differences in me that make me, ME until I stop comparing myself not only to others but to my younger self as well.

Unretouched photos of myself. I have a small chest, dimples on my legs, eczema all over my skin, a tendency toward acne prone-ness, and thin, fine hair. Just to name a few.

Unretouched photos of myself. I have a small chest, dimples on my legs, eczema all over my skin, a tendency toward acne prone-ness, and thin, fine hair. Just to name a few.

Women clients of mine have shown me they are never satisfied with their bodies. I have come to see that often women’s insecurities or unhappiness doesn't even stem from a reality. What I see about them isn’t often reflected realistically in their minds. What they felt about their own bodies was not necessarily what I or the world saw. NO matter their size, they could always find something they didn’t like. We can all find things to obsess over, and more often than not, they are something so obscure. The thickness of ankles, skin imperfections from normal life activities (stretch marks, laugh lines etc.) gangly arms etc. I believe what we are really all worried about is not conforming with a societal norm that actually has NO BASIS IN REALITY. We often worry we don’t live up.

I want to insert here that although I am talking about this all, I am no different. Once I start critiquing myself, it is a real slippery slope. I struggle with the very negative affects of demeaning self-talk and comparison. I am just as able as any other woman to zone right in on my least favorite, or down right hated parts of my body when I look into a mirror. Sometimes we focus so intently on these things, it is hard to see anything we like. Making matters worse, we are constantly comparing the things we don’t love about ourselves to the best part of someone else. Comparing our height or weight to anyone else, especially those who have been “perfected” in an ad makes us conclude we are not enough. This affects every area of our lives when we do this.

Vacay snacks made sure my little belly stuck out just about as much as my chest. But not enjoying food or my vacation because of how I may look in a bikini is CRAZY!

Vacay snacks made sure my little belly stuck out just about as much as my chest. But not enjoying food or my vacation because of how I may look in a bikini is CRAZY!

As a stylist I help my clients with their sizing issues. I am able to objectively look at them and help them find clothing that accentuates and enhances and express their beautiful aspects. They are all complex, interesting, capable and beautiful women. If I can see them that way, they can too. And if I can see others that way, then I can see myself that way too.

Try looking in the mirror and seeing yourself with the acceptance you give a good friend, a sister, your daughter or your mother. You will have good days, and you will have some not-so-good days but deep down you must know that numbers on a scale, or a tag don’t define you. Only you can decide to love yourself today, the way you are.

Sometimes insecurities can be paralyzing, or cause us to hold back from our goals out of fear or shame. So I challenge you to find ways to love yourself, as you are, and be happy to be in your own skin. Wanting to better ourselves, or make changes is great, as long as we start from a place of acceptance, and happiness for what we have been given to work with.

Be forgiving. Let go of the ideal of “perfection”. Show yourself a little kindness. Remind yourself those models have squads of people to obtain their looks, and even they need the help of photoshop! Pay yourself a compliment. Invest in research or working with a good stylist who can advise you how to dress. Seek out shapes and fabrics and prints that compliment who you are, and the body you have.

When we abandon the fear that we won’t ever live up, and accept ourselves the way we are, our ability to succeed is so much more powerful. Self acceptance is a huge key in the quest for a happier life.

We come in different sizes and shapes. Let’s celebrate each other, and most importantly, ourselves for that fact.