Pardon me for a moment while I brag shamelessly, but – I still can’t believe this is my job: wardrobe stylist.
Whenever I tell someone what I do (like, at a networking event), they always say, “ooooh, that sounds so fun!”
And, it is!
Just this week, I spent 3 hours with one of my favorite clients, carefully editing her wardrobe, making outfits, and planning what to buy next. We had a blast trying things on and tossing things out.
In these private sessions, women usually let down their guard and are totally honest with me – it’s hard to lie to someone while you’re standing in your underwear. But, what women say when they’re being honest and vulnerable with me is sometimes kind of heartbreaking.
Almost 100% of the time, a woman I’m working with will always apologize for her body.
(It’s here that I should note that I work with women in a pretty diverse range of sizes and ages – not all styling clients are size 2.)
And it’s rarely like, “Hey, these hips of mine are wider than I’d like – but, whaddya gonna do, amirite?!”
No, it’s always like, “Ohmygod, this muffin top is ruining my life! If only this part of me was somehow slimmer, I would be soooo much happier.”
To be fair, if they’re working with me, they’re already part the way there when it comes to accepting their body. And, I don’t mean to mock them whatsoever – but sometimes it’s really dramatic, if not, completely defeated.
See what I mean? Heartbreaking.
And maybe women will never be totally satisfied with their bodies. But it’s the “coping” mentality that really saddens me. There’s an undertone of hopelessness, as if there will never-ever be true happiness or contentment with your physical form.
Which really does beg the question, is it possible to love your body without loving how it looks?
I’m not trying to convince you to “celebrate your curves.” In fact, that’s a worthless platitude I wish other style coaches would just stop saying, already (I seriously gag a little every time I read or hear it).
But I do wish you wouldn’t focus so much on your flaws – or, rather, your perceived flaws. Because, and this is me at my most honest, nobody cares.
There’s a big world out there, full of literally billions of people. All kinds of people. Men, women, children. Skinny people, fat people, skinny-fat people, people who are neither skinny nor fat. Rich people, poor people, people who don’t care about money. People who love fashion, and people who live in remote villages barely touched by civilization who literally have no concept of what fashion is.
And, you know what, no one cares about your muffin top. Except you.
So, when you look at me and act like this one part of your body is your biggest obstacle to happiness with your image, it’s intensely frustrating.
I don’t understand how you’re not able to see how amazing you look in those fitted pants – the way it lets your ankles peek out is sexy and flirty. Especially with those fierce shoes we picked out. And it’s incomprehensible how you can’t recognize your amazing beauty in the dress we chose for you – it shows off your womanly shape!
Believe it or not, your overall look has value because it looks unique.
No, I’m sorry, you don’t look like you did 10 years ago. But think of all the amazing life experience you’ve had since then! Can’t we just appreciate the women we’ve become?
So, ladies, this is how I see it: moving forward, your happiness with your image (or lack of) is a choice.
You can choose to continue to focus on your perceived imperfections, insisting that your body is somehow shameful and flawed. Or, you can allow yourself to detach from the emotions and habits that keep you perpetually frustrated with yourself.
For every flaw, you need to find something good.
I’ll start with myself. Here goes …
I have large pores, but I do have great bone structure in my face. I have an amazing Streisand-esque profile.
I have an impossibly lumpy ass, but I do have shapely legs. In fact, I’m almost 36 and I don’t plan on tossing out my mini-skirts anytime soon.
Back fat, I have back fat. But you know what else I have? Hot cleavage and a sexy neck and shoulders.
My hair is very fine, but when I have a good cut, it frames my face nicely.
All these things are me, for better or worse. And if I can’t find a way to love myself wholly, how will I ever allow myself to be loved at all?