In our society, we are constantly being told who, how, and what we should be. From how our bodies should look to what we should wear. This is not only extremely overwhelming but detrimental to our wellbeing. We are under pressure to believe that if we look like someone else, we can be someone else, and that will make us happier.
But the opposite is true. Looking and feeling good in the skin we’re in leads to a sense of empowerment in all other areas of our lives.
I, too, struggled with embracing my body. It was my obsession… not just what I put into my body but also what I put on my body. Sometimes I would dress myself to hide behind fashion. At other points in my life, I would dress to impress or attract others.
What I was really searching for was a sense of belonging.
I was obsessed with following trends. In hindsight, it seems ridiculous that I believed what I wore defined me as a person.
Rather than being true to myself, I was dressing for others.
For me, cultivating my own style has been a life-changing experience. Just like cultivating a meditation practice, I went deeper on my inner journey. I began to explore my wardrobe, style, and my relationship with my body. This helped me learn to embrace being my authentic self, instead of trying to fit into the box or others’ expectations.
I Finally Stopped Trying to be Someone Else.
This boosted my confidence and made me feel uplifted, and, ultimately, more myself.
Although style can rank low on your priority list, it is a proven powerful tool to help practice healthy self-love and self-acceptance.
As I continue along my own journey, I’ve learned that by playing with style, I transformed my relationship with myself, and it literally changed my life.
Here are some of the ways I have learnt to embrace my body through style:
1. Love Where You’re At
Stop waiting for the right moment, it doesn’t exist. Whether it is losing weight, moving, or having more money, there really is no better moment than right now.
Often I hear women say, “I can’t wear that until I have lost or put on a kilo or two”… but why?
We are constantly living for something that hasn’t happened yet, instead of embracing the moment and our bodies as they are.
When we are able to live in the moment and accept where we are in all aspects of our lives we become more present. We feel more gratitude for who we are and what we have.
I encourage you to incorporate self love practices to cultivate the relationship you have with yourself and your body. Consider setting some style and body “love” goals of what you would like to achieve and by when.
Writing them down is key. You can also find an accountability partner, which is always fun!
2. Change the Conversation with Yourself
Pay attention to how you speak to yourself on a daily basis. Observe what comes up when you look in the mirror and when you are getting dressed in the morning.
It’s likely that you already have internalised some of your style rules; “I can’t wear that because…” “that doesn’t suit me because…” Notice these thoughts and train yourself to change them to more positive thoughts like, “I am going to explore wearing this new colour today…” or, “I am going to embrace a new aspect of style and try something different,” etc.
Ask yourself if you bully yourself or are you speaking to yourself with love and kindness?
Often we are so unaware of how we talk to ourselves. Our inner voice is so subtle and so powerful, regardless of whether it is a positive or negative dialogue.
Be open to trying new items, new styles, colours, and fabrics that were on your so-called “forbidden” list. You may well be surprised!
Choose to rewire yourself into talking to yourself in a more loving and kind way.
3. Know Thyself
Knowing what looks good on you is half the battle when it comes to embracing your body through style, but it’s also about finding what feels good.
In the styling world we often hear this idea of body shapes compared to fruits: apple, pear etc.
This is useful in many ways:
- To understand how certain cuts fit you
- Learn more about what you can wear to highlight certain parts of yourself
- Know which shapes and forms balance out your silhouette
I think it can be, depending on where we are on our personal self-love and acceptance journey another way of putting women into a box and conditioning to believe we can or can’t wear something because we are a “certain” body type and that we must try to make ourselves look a certain way to fit in, which can ultimately emphasis negative body image and that there is something wrong with you.
I suggest finding out what you like, why you like it and what feels good to you.
The more you know what you like and what feels good for your unique taste, the easier it is to find your authentic style that expresses who you are.
4. Highlight Your Assets
Highlighting what you love about yourself is empowering and makes you feel good. Camouflaging what you believe are your “imperfections” is disempowering, as your focus is on what you don’t like about yourself rather than what you do like about yourself.
Maybe it is your legs or your arms. Whatever parts of you that you love, look for silhouettes that emphasise those parts and feel good to you.
Get rid of the clothes that no longer fit you, that are too tight or too big, or the ones that you use to camouflage yourself with and that disempower you. Basically, get rid of anything that no longer serves you for whatever reason. Be here in the now!
Letting go of clothes that no longer serve us is liberating, it creates space for the new to come into your life.
When you have a wardrobe that makes you feel confident, YOU shine in all your beauty.
5. Develop Your Own “Unique” Style Story
Never try to be someone else, use others as inspiration. Be really aware when searching for style inspo that you are not emulating anyone, as that is when we can often fall into the comparison spiral.
To create your style story, collect pictures and images of items, looks, colours, and fabrics that you like. Don’t overthink this process or let any negative thoughts come up.
I always tell my clients to spend time in the changing rooms, to try everything that they like, using their mood board to inspire.
By investing time in this way you can really get more of a feel for how things look and feel on you, what works and what doesn’t. Apart from it being a really fun experience, it’s even better with a friend.
Developing your style story takes time. Enjoy and embrace this experience. It is a way of getting to know yourself on a deeper level and learning to love the skin you’re in.
So there you have it, my 5 ways of embracing your body through style. Love is healing, and the more we learn to love who we are and where we are in our lives, the more we can truly embrace every aspect of who we are, from our inner world to our outer world.