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
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!
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!
For a roundup of this weeks answers, see here.