A recent post over at the thought provoking blog, “the blue kimono”, really struck me. The delightful Sallymandy posed the seemingly simple question, “Why do people post photos of their clothing?” What struck me in particular was that I didn’t really have a clear answer at first, yet I’ve been doing just that for almost 5 months now.
I guess my own answer to Sallymandy’s question all started with, believe it or not, watching an episode of “What Not To Wear”. I’d been aware of the show’s existence prior, but never actually seen it. I had made assumptions about it, though…it was sexist, mean, touted unrealistic ideals of beauty, focused too much on women’s appearances and there was quite enough of that already, etc. I've blogged about how I lost alot of weight a few times before. Yet I still didn’t always feel so hot about how I looked. Suffice is to say my body image was severely out of whack and the last thing I needed was some stupid show to make me feel worse!
However, when I happened to watch the program I found something unexpected. Bottom line -- they didn’t really criticize the person’s body, just how they’d been dressing it, how they presented it. And it wasn’t about trends or keeping up with fads, it wasn’t about being some slave to fashion. It was actually the opposite, it was about making a woman’s own particular body look good, celebrating her positive features and making her feel better about her appearance, which inevitably made her feel better about herself.
It may sound grandiose, but it seemed to me that dressing well could be an act of empowerment, and it belonged to every woman, no matter her size, age or wallet capacity.
That was HUGE for me.
Size didn’t matter, fit did. My body is what it is, and it was bound to change throughout my life anyway…all of our bodies change, our appearance is never static. I just needed to find the most flattering clothes for my individual shape and I could take some control over what I saw in the mirror. Whether we like it or not we each make a statement about ourselves based on how we appear, without even saying a word. Unless we live in a cave, that matters. It's not about being perfect or matching some arbitrary ideal. It's about attitude and reflections. How we present ourselves speaks volumes about how we feel and what kind of person we are. The good news is the impression we make is actually up to us.
So, the journey began. During the course of this process I discovered blogs, blogs by real women with real (and beautiful) bodies, wearing real clothes. They inspired me more than words can express. They continue to do so, every day – and I know for every one of them there are dozens more inspirational women out there finding strength in expressing themselves via their clothing choices in a world that can, sadly, twist that act into something negative…yet they, each in their own way, keep it real and beautiful.
I realized that if I could gain all of that from some TV show and a handful of blogs that maybe others could benefit from seeing me go through my particular journey, knowing that I am just like them, a regular woman with “flaws” and body issues, just trying to dress myself to my best advantage as an act of self-love and empowerment.
And so here I am.
I want to deeply thank the wonderful Sallymandy for making me really think about all this and find some clarity for myself. What a great, poignant question she posed...there are no doubt many possible answers…each as diverse as the lovely mosaic of women’s individual styles.