People get caught up in the importance of first impressions on others. But wait. Think about it. The first impression is really on ourselves, as we look down and see or feel the clothes on our body; as we see ourselves in the mirror or in a window glass. The way we present ourselves to be perceived, in front of the mirror or in front of others, starts with a line–the silhouette outline of our clothed body’s shape.
As I work with so many women, and see so many articles about negative body image, it occurs to me that nearly everybody has some degree of a negative body image. We perceive something about our body shape that we perceive as “bad,” less than ideal, making us feel inferior. And it’s not just women. Men also fall victim to negative body image, to the extreme of BDD–Body Dismorphic Disorder, wherein they perceive something about themselves as absolutely hideous and go to incredible extremes to rid themselves of that image. One fellow I am aware of does not allow a mirror in the house, will not walk in front of any store window. Another man smashed his nose with a hammer to rid himself of its shape. Now that’s extreme!
As I shop with clients in a mall or am out with friends at the movies, we so often see bodies of all shapes and sizes dressed in clothes several sizes too small, stretched tightly over the body, without an eighth of an inch of ease anywhere. The silhouette outlines every body crevice, curve and bulge–sometimes bulge after bulge. People tell me “that’s more exposure, more information about the body than I really want to see.” You have to wonder, just how do these individuals perceive themselves?
Whether perceptions or self-presentations are due to ignorance or arrogance, shapes can be shocking! Whatever the case, I highly recommend we learn to be kind to ourselves and kinder to others–more respectful. It’s really so easy. It’s a matter of ease.
We simply need to select clothing styles and sizes that actually accommodate our body, plus ease. Then the clothes slip easily, smoothly over the body. It works! This Spring and Summer, avoid wearing tight t-shirts and pants. If the clothes are made of all cotton, buy a size larger. It will shrink with the first washing. Both men and women can comfortably and attractively camouflage midriff bulge, a tummy, or bigger bottom by layering with a larger, lightweight shirt-jac or duster.
Take a good look at the difference in the attention going to the body of this model wearing a form fitting dress with basic fitting ease, on the left, as compared to a looser-fitting dress with added fashion ease, on the right. With a little more fitting or fashion styling ease, the clothing silhouette becomes dominant and the body becomes subordinate. You not only look slimmer, but you feel slimmer, more confident, and able to forget about the shape of your body.
Our clothing choices reflect and affect us. We know this. When we gradually learn to use our clothing lines, shapes, colors, textures, and patterns to reflect or communicate our personality traits, our values, interests, roles, and goals, that’s image from the inside out. When we create an attractive image on the outside and experience a positive response from others, that’s a positive effect of image from the outside in. Image management leads to the best of both. In the months ahead, let’s get up, get ready, and get out with enough ease in the fit of our clothes, confident and able to forget about ourselves at work or play.
Oh, that we could all feel this good about ourselves, for life! Speaking of which, Conselle’s Style For Life Retreat is coming up May 18-23, 2015. We have put together the ultimate experience that is educational, entertaining, and empowering. During this exciting 6-day retreat in the beautiful Mountainlands of Utah, you will learn image strategies and skills you’ll use for the rest of your life.