Sunday, February 8, 2009

Thoughts from the Desk : Clothing and Body Confidence

I've been feeling compelled to write something about how losing weight is such a good propellant for a total life transformation. A make-over if you will.

In my weight loss travels, I've definitely gone out of my way to develop my new sense of style. Really, it's the same sense of style I've always had, but lacked the guts and/or the ability to fit my big butt into. I remember when I was at my heaviest, the discovery of Lane Bryant stores being my saving grace. Discovery might be the wrong word, it's not as if I didn't know they existed, but I didn't realize that I could mix and match pieces from various stores to put together outfits that flattered my size 18/20 shape. It may have been more of an acceptance and excitement about still being able to feel "put together" at a larger size. My excitement about my outfits and the way I looked exuded confidence, and I felt beautiful.

I wish that clothing didn't have that affect on me. It ends up being a costly hobby and practice. However, this isn't Woodstock and I can't run around naked - nor would I want to - so I feel fashion is a perfectly acceptable thing to be obsessed with. We have to wear clothes, society rejects nudists as weirdos, and shopping is a fun way to kill time.

The first step to finding your style is understanding your shape. When I was at my heaviest, I didn't really have a shape - I just knew that I had to find things that fit. When I was going through stages of embarrassment, I would buy maternity clothes, thinking that if there was a lot of fabric hiding my growing fat baby, no one would know it was there. The end result was counter-productive. I ended up getting asked numerous times when I was due, or being told that pregnancy really agrees with me.


Now that I've shed some of that, and I've taken my measurements, I understand that right now, in this moment, I am a classic hourglass. (I do have a sneaking suspicion that when I reach goal I will be more of a Pear... but for now, I'm HG.) Finding ways to draw attention to the smallest part of my body (the waist) has been a fun fashion adventure. I've collected over 25 belts in various colors and widths and began my love affair with high waisted trousers. I've also discovered that t-shirts should probably not hit mid-thigh if I intend to show off any of my curves and high heels do wonders for elongating a 5'2" frame.

I feel shallow writing about this, but I do associate my fashion and sense of style with my femininity. A friend of mine was recently discussing finding her femininity. She had always believed it meant to wear makeup, do your hair and wear dresses, but has discovered it is more about power, confidence and nurturing. I agree with that, but I also agree that I draw those traits from the way I present myself to the world. Feeling beautiful, in this society of ultra judges, gives me confidence - which in turn keeps my spirit up, which then allows me to nurture others, which unfolds the power.

It's a domino effect, in a positive manner.

The reality is, as we drop pounds and sizes, clothing can be a huge motivator and a wonderful way to reward yourself. Spend some time discovering your shape, and play around with different styles. Overdress for everything, wear heels to the grocery store, have fun with it.


LTer4ever said...

What a fun post! You shouldn't feel shallow at all. Wow, I was just thinking today how some people just look put together naturally. I love that you have found your style and ways to accentuate the positives. I try to do the same with my clothes. I'd love to see more pics of your fashion sense!

antgirl said...

I've love reconnecting with a sense of style since shedding Lane Bryant. I used to find shopping drudgery. It's nice to rediscover the girly side again that likes spending a little time in search of a nice outfit.

kristen said...

I, too am 5'2" with an hourglass/borderline pear shape. I used to try to hide my hips and thighs, thinking it made the rest of me look fat. Sometimes I'm still hesitant to accessorize with belts (although I do have a bunch!), but am slowly learning to appreciate my figure.

It's hard to feel confident and beautiful in a society of "ultra judges" where a size 0 is what most people strive for. But I have to say that reading your blog, among others, has really helped. There are so many of us out there, we need to embrace our curvy, soft bodies and strut our stuff! :)

*Irene* said...

Great post! =) I too have an hour glass figure and I'm learning to embrace it.

Diane said...

I love shopping for clothes now that I've lost 43 pounds. I still have a ways to go, but I lived in Avenue/Lane Bryant for a very, very long time and now it's so much fun to shop in regular stores and have more choices. Since I've shed the weight, I've definitely been dressing more stylishly and in clothes that don't hide my body, because I like the way I look so much more.
We have all worked so hard to shed the weight. I think being able to indulge in nice clothes that make us feel really good about ourselves can only help keep the momentum going! It's not shallow; it's a rediscovery and we're worth it! Now if I only had unlimited money to spend.... :)