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Friend Friday: Body image

Capsule wardrobe Challenge day 7

Capsule wardrobe Challenge day 7

Just the one Capsule Wardrobe Challenge outfit today, because its’ also Friend Friday day. I’m also showing you my coat again (which is exempted from the challenge), because I took the light testing pictures with it on, and it seems a shame not to. Hope you’re all happy that I am following your request and taking more outside pics! It’ll still only be an occassional thing though.

dress – people tree
top – zara
scarf – gifted
shoes – el naturalista

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So, Friend Friday. Today’s questions were suggested by Fabienne of the House in the Clouds, and I must say I love them!

1. Since you started blogging has your image of yourself changed?

I wouldn’t necessarily put it all down to blogging, but my body image has improved a LOT since I was younger. It used to matter so much when I was young, how thin you were and whether you wore the popular clothes. Neither of which I did particularly well in, so it wasn’t great. But now my looks are just one tiny aspect of myself among many. Partly it’s just been growing up, gaining independence and having success in other areas of my life, which puts the importance of the body into perspective. Also studying a social science topic and understanding more about social constructions of bodies and clothing work, as well as having counselling (for something else, but it made me think myself through, which helped in general).

But also, the positive feedback I got from people on wardroberemix and then the blog has been amazing and has played a big part. It’s just been SO great for people to appreciate my clothes, and sometimes how the clothes fit my body, and to get a chance to be in a community where you can think about these things and see some examples of people who dress in the most amazing way without following the latest trends or spending lots. The blogging community (or at least the part of it I frequent) is so diverse in style and body shape and everything that I fit right in. Really!

2. Are you self-conscious about any aspect of yourself? If so, do you go out of your way to avoid it or do you post it/talk about it anyway?

Yeah, there’s definitely bits of my body I am not keen on and there are days when I just want to hide them away. I have big thighs, and that is never going to change, but on some days I feel all fabulous and Joan Holloway, and on others I just feel so HUGE, and not in a good way. I also have a major thing about my arms – they’re just so big. Exercise makes them more toned but also bigger.

I don’t think I either hide my insecurities or make a big deal of them. I have talked about the arm thing before on the blog and my weird body dismorphia about my ginormous hips. I’m certainly not ashamed of my hangups, everyone has them!

But I also don’t want to talk about them too much, just because they’re not that important to me. In this respect I differ slightly from many body positive blogs: I don’t feel the need to love every bit of my body. I am perfectly able to dislike the way my cellulitey thights look, without hating myself. I don’t particularly like my occassionally flabby belly, but I like me, and it’s part of me, so I accept it. Accept, not love. I’m fine with a bit of negativity.

Ultimately, this blog is more about clothes than bodies. I like the thought that someone might look at my outfits and see a slightly overweight short person with spots wearing lovely outfits and not hiding anything away and maybe taking inspiration from that do me more adveturous in their own clothing choices is nice, but I don’t really have a mission. I talk about body image occassionally, because it’s intesting to me, but it’s not a key thing for this blog.

3. Based on how you are feeling now, what do you think the future holds in the evolution of your body image?

I intend to do the done thing for brides to be and lose a bit of weight before the wedding, and depending on how that goes I expect my body image will improve or worsen in the short term. But still, I hope and expect to still be feeling a-ok about my body as it gets bigger and saggier and whatever the ageing process will chuck at me over the years. I’m all about acceptance and not wasting energy worrying. And that applies regardless of what things actually look like.

4. Do you photograph yourself for your blog? If so, how do you feel about the experience when you’re having your picture taken? If you choose not to post pictures of yourself, what prompted that decision?

Well, you know I do. And it has really helped me accept the way I look, in a funny way. I used to hate having my picture taken and would feel awful about unflattering pictures of me. But eventually I realised that the best way to get a good picture is to take lots of them. Now, I will still take about 15 or so picture for every outfit post, and in some of them I look horrendous! Half closed eyes, double chin all the way! I used to cringe horribly at bad photos of myself, but now I do it all the time it doesn’t bother me. Now I know I don’t actually look like that. I just look like that for the fraction of a second that it took to take the picture, and immediately after that I look fine. And sometimes I look really good!

5. What would you want every person who struggles with body image to take to heart?

I think it really helps to focus on all the things your body does for you every day, like hold you upright, let you walk places, pick things up etc., that have nothing to do with how it looks. We take them for granted, but just imagine how much harder life would be if you couldn’t do all these things! I’m not at all one of those people that says ‘love your belly’ or anything, but I do think we need to appreciate the functional mechanics of it much more. Our bodies are awe-inspiring machines, really! I’ve found that thinking about it this way puts in perspective the worries about our bodies’ appearance.

The other advice is to find a form of exercise that you love. I hated PE at school because I can’t hit a ball to save my life, and all throughout my late teens and early twenties, the exercise I did was all going to the gym type stuff, which I did to control my weight, but didn’t really enjoy, so it became just another thing to worry about. Now I do yoga and swing dancing, and its so different! I enjoy that for itself, and the calorie-burning thing is secondary. The right kind of exercise makes such a big difference, because it makes you feel great, you become more in control of your body, so it stops being this thing to love or hate and starts being a part of yourself. And you discover all these things it can do! Which kind of links back to my other point about bodies being practical tools – my thights might not look very nice at all, but they are strong!

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In the spirit of full disclosure, I ran out of time on the last questions and so I recylcled an answer I gave in an interview with me on British Style Bloggers a year ago. Read the full thing here.

I noticed reading this back that I seem to have interpreted these questions as being around body image, when they could be seen much wider than that. I guess I had bodies on my brain!

Thoughts, anyone?

For a roundup of this weeks answers, see here.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sacramento 18 February 2011, 9:08 am

    Wow, your outside pics are so much better, sorry to make you go cold hehehe.
    You are so wise in your answers my dear Franca.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

  • Mojca_stefanic 18 February 2011, 10:53 am

    Another GORGEOUS outfit!

  • two birds 18 February 2011, 3:22 pm

    I like this line: Ultimately, this blog is more about clothes than bodies. great answers!

  • Kristin & Megan 18 February 2011, 8:46 pm

    I've found it to be a pleasant surprise the way my self image has improved with age!

  • Jane 18 February 2011, 9:36 pm

    An interesting round-up and well done on your colourful capsule challenge.
    Jane X

  • Stef 19 February 2011, 12:01 am

    Awesome outfit 🙂

    Taking so many photos has done wonders for me too. Mid blink photos, tensed jaw double chin and mid sentence mouth used to make me feel horrible about myself in the past but now I too am safe in the knowledge that I don't look like that all the time 🙂

    It has also shown me that I am a lot more cross eyed than I thought I was – which is nice because I'd rather know – ignorance is no bliss. After so many photos I don't mind about my mad eye moodie look anymore. Like you said, it is the style that counts. I love blog world for that – variety is welcome. Perfection is boring.

  • Terri 19 February 2011, 3:09 am

    OUr answers to number 5 were somewhat similar. Our bodies are amazing in their many functions!

  • Pull Your Socks Up! 19 February 2011, 7:48 am

    Firstly Franca dear, I must say how much I adore your green scarf and shoes with the gorgeous red and blue. I've always admired the way you look and you look so confident and happy in your skin that I never even noticed anything like the "trouble spots" you describe. Nevertheless, time brings wisdom and it's encouraging to know that you think more about the outfits than the body – finding exercise that is fun and makes you laugh and brings you contentment far outweighs the gruelling punishment that many women put themselves through.
    Thank you so much for all you kind, sweet comments recently:))) xo

  • Tracey 19 February 2011, 9:54 am

    Great answers! 🙂

    I love your outdoor pics too … they really bring the colour to life.
    PS. I adore that lovely red dress … I should have bought one for myself! 😉

  • ::Amber:: 21 February 2011, 7:54 am

    I went back and read the post from last year — I'd love to see what your daily wear-to-work outfits are like! You are so beautifully creative, Franca!

    xo,
    Amber (OhAmber from Flickr)

  • Lysy 21 February 2011, 10:22 am

    Hi! Dolly Clackett told me about your post and I particularly love the sentence about appreciating all the mundane things your body does for you. We all have our hangups but actually our bodies are generally pretty amazing! Great dress too – and a very cute photo 🙂

  • LORENA 21 February 2011, 4:43 pm

    As usual, I enjoyed reading your post.
    Before I go on and comment on the content, I have to say these pictures are probably my favorite of yours: the dark colors in the back and the pops of color in your garments are magical.
    Now, regarding the content, I do agree we DO NOT have to LOVE everything about ourselves.
    I think it would make us a little narcissist. I know narcissist and I do not want to be one.
    Parts of my body are not the way I wish for them to be but at the same time I am not willing to sacrifice or do the things I have to do, to get them that way- and I am ok with that.

  • Veshoevius 22 February 2011, 9:18 am

    Great outfit – such great bright red and blue! Very balanced answers! I'm with you on so many things. Like gaining independence and having success in other areas of life putting the importance of the body into perspective – very true. And like you I wouldn't say I can like my cellulite when I look at it in the mirror but it's there and I'm not going to waste energy worrying about it. I do think the whole love every part of your body can be taken a bit far – sometimes changes in your bodies shape can indicate health problems that need attention (like a widening girth in relation to the chest can indicate an increase in probability of getting diabetes).
    And of course I agree with you wholly on 5! I suspect that you geared away from the gym towards yoga and dance for similiar reasons to me mainly being a crucial organ wasn't getting much exercise in the gym (my brain!)

  • Tanja 23 February 2011, 9:11 pm

    So lustig: ich habe fast den gleichen Schal. Etwas anderes Muster, aber haargenau dieselben Farben! Faszinierend! ;o)

  • oranges_and_apples 10 October 2011, 7:25 am

    perfection is boring – exactly!

  • oranges_and_apples 10 October 2011, 7:26 am

    Thank you!

  • oranges_and_apples 10 October 2011, 7:26 am

    Thanks!

  • oranges_and_apples 10 October 2011, 7:26 am

    I'm not done yet! 5 more outfits to post!