Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Plus Size Summer Look Book & How Body Positivity Has Improved My Summer

When I think back to last summer and try to remember what sorts of outfits I wore, my mind is pretty much a blank.

Infact after a good 10 minutes of trying my hardest to remember even one thing I wore last summer, I can think of precisely zero.

A quick flick through Facebook reminds me of the sorts of things that filled my wardrobe, and I suddenly remember going shopping for our cruise holiday - trying to find things that would be comfortable to wear in hot weather but that ticked my LONG list of self-imposed "Rules For Dressing"

Those rules included:

*Do not show the tops of my arms
*No cleavage at any time (Not an easy ask for someone with a EE chest, although there are some great plus size lingerie retailers online now!)
*Never show your knees or above them
*Nothing form fitting
*Nothing bright and colourful that is likely to draw anyones eye
*Nothing that cuts off at the waist
*Tops must be long enough to cover my tummy...preferably to cover my bum

And so, my wardrobe - even my holiday wardrobe, consisted mostly of loose fitting long line blouses and t shirts two sizes too big, maxi skirts, loose fitting trousers and the occasional jumpsuit as long as it was black and had cap sleeves.

The most daring outfit I wore on that trip was a knee length dress that came SLIGHTLY above the knee, allowing the tiniest glimpse of my knee cap...and wearing that made me feel self conscious all night long!

So when I look at the clothes in my wardrobe this summer...I can hardly believe the change I've made in the space of less than a year.

I have at least one outfit in my wardrobe to break each one of those rules now. Infact most of them break more than one at a time!

And do you know what? I have LOVED wearing them all!

 Dress: Primark, Bag: Primark

This summer, for the first time in years, I have enjoyed clothes. I have loved picking out cute outfits simply because I like their colour or pattern, without forcing myself to stick to some ridiculous made-up rules of what I'm allowed to put on my body.

And more importantly, I have felt comfortable and happy while wearing them.

Don't get me wrong...I've had the odd body confidence wobble when wearing something eye catching or breaking one of my fashion takes time to overcome years of body shaming, it's never going to disappear overnight.

But on the whole - I have had fun, and I've felt lighter and more confident in myself.

Dress: Dorothy Perkins

Top & Trousers: TU at Sainsburys

I feel as though I'm finally dressing for the person I am on the inside....rather than for the person I'm not on the outside.

I thought that I needed to apologise for my fat body by covering it up and hiding it from society as much as possible, in order to try to meet with the approval of strangers and not offend them with my existence.

But that is some serious bullshit! I am here, I am alive and I have every right to be happy exactly as I am and to be seen - I do not need to hide my body or apologise for it.

And I can dress it in exactly what I like without ANYBODY having the right to any form of opinion on that.

And let me tell you...that realisation is the single most liberating feeling in the world!

 Top & Trousers: Primark
Top: Primark, Skirt: Years old!

Instead of spending this summer desperately trying to diet and force my body to conform to societal beauty standards, promising myself I'll treat myself to a nice dress if I can just lose a few stone...I've spent it buying clothes that make me feel bright and happy, and having fun with my family...enjoying ice creams at the beach, and doing whatever the hell I want to with no guilt.

And I think that's a feeling and an experience that everybody deserves to have.

People say to me all of the time lately that they wish they had my confidence...and it always makes me feel a little sad. Because honestly, confident is just not a word I'd ever have used to describe myself. I have always been the very opposite of that.

I have always hated myself and my appearance, berated and ridiculed myself for it, and told myself that I'm unworthy of being accepted by anybody else because of it.

So believe me...I get it. I know how it feels to hate yourself because of the way you look.

Top & Skirt: Tesco

Dress: Primark
Dress: Primark

And trust me when I tell you that the ONLY person who can start to fix that hurt inside is you. No matter what the reason for the way you feel, no matter who else might have started you on that road to shame and self loathing...only you can put it right.

It's not always going to be easy, and it will be a different path to walk for everybody...but it is so worth trying.

For me, the right path came from finding a bunch of incredibly inspirational women online talking about body positivity and fat positivity - from seeing and appreciating the beauty in those women and then starting to allow myself to see that same beauty in myself.

It has taken months to get to the point I'm at now, and some days are easier than others...some days I still want to hide myself away.

But I refuse to allow that negativity to win, because this is my one life and I deserve to enjoy it.

And so do you.

So if you do just one thing before Summers over, try treating yourself to just one item of clothing that makes you happy.

Don't force yourself to stick to any "rules"...throw them out of the window just one time. Buy something colourful, something form fitting or something that just speaks to your soul....something that you'd see on somebody and think "I'd love to wear that when I'm thin!"....and wear it NOW.

Even if just at home to begin with.

Jumpsuit, Pink Clove

And when you wear it, look at yourself in the mirror...and refuse to allow that negative voice in.

Tell yourself how beautiful you look. And try your hardest to believe it.

And if all else fails, send me a photo and I'll tell you how beautiful you look too.

Please don't restrict your enjoyment of the summer, or fashion or LIFE because you think your body isn't acceptable or worthy....I promise you, it is.

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