Does your clothing define you? At my last blogger meet-up I was asked the question how I would feel wearing an oversized shapeless dress and I … [Read More...]
Does your clothing define you?
At my last blogger meet-up I was asked the question how I would feel wearing an oversized shapeless dress and I instantly replied,
“I’d feel ugly.”
The Power Of Clothing To Define Our Identity
All of my life I’ve focused on accenting the good and de-emphasizing the bad when choosing my wardrobe. As I am 5’4″ and have a curvy figure that has meant lots of figure hugging, waist cinching clothing with some kind of heel.
With age I can see some unwelcome changes in my body which are forcing me to reevaluate my preconceived ideas of how I dress myself. The feet want comfy shoes and the sometimes fluffy waist doesn’t always look best defined.
It’s a slow process learning to give up long held beliefs. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not quite there yet.
I wore a 1950/60s vintage gown for a photo shoot during my last blogger meet-up and upon reviewing the images my heart sank. I didn’t like how I looked. It made me look substantially larger than I am. This influenced my behaviour. I felt inhibited, self conscious, less vibrant and funny. Why?
I was still the same person under that dress.
In the photos I no longer saw myself.
The person that I feel and believe I am would not be the person everyone else would see.
I’d share some of the offending photos with you but then I’d have to kill you.
I made sure all incriminating evidence was destroyed.
Wearing shift dresses without a belt is still a big leap which can, depending on my body confidence that day, make me feel unattractive.
I find the thinner I am, the less likely I am to have a problem with wearing oversized clothing.
The larger I am the more I dislike it. I want people to know exactly where my body ends. I don’t want to feel like I’m covering up or trying to hide something.
Surrendering The Waist – Wearing The Shift Dress
My collection of shift dresses has been growing since I passed fifty a couple of years ago.
I am very aware that shift dresses add visual weight.
Often put my hands on my hips in photos when I wear this kind of dress just to prove that, yes…I do still have a waist and here it is!
So many women after a certain age wear floaty shapeless clothing and look amazing in it.
Are they so empowered that they no longer care if they add visual weight to their physique?
Do they just want to be comfortable?
Or have they moved past caring?
There is a fine line for me between not caring, being comfortable and simply giving up.
If I were thin and tall I’d be happy to wear oversized items regularly. The clothing wouldn’t be covering up a secret I’m trying to hide.
I found this wild and crazy oversized kaftan thrifting a while back and wanted to see how it would make me feel. I was attracted to the bold, bright, oversized florals and the dramatic swishy-ness of the piece.
Could I make it work for me though?
Would I feel like Mrs. Roper or would I feel like myself?
Would it make me feel older and heavier than I am?
There is no doubt this adds visual weight.
It’s like wearing a tent disguised as a wildly blooming garden.
The infamous “here is my waist” pose.
This piece comes alive when I’m moving, creating blurry bold swooshes of colour and fabric in my wake. It is very Melanie.
Sadly, I haven’t learned how to capture the movement with my camera in the small space where I take my photos.
Upon reviewing the photos I’ve decided I can’t do it.
I’m still adverse to wearing oversized, shapeless clothing, in particular, kaftans.
I’ve analyzed the problem and the dress doesn’t correctly communicate how I want people to remember me. It’s not properly defining the way I feel about myself. It’s close, the colours, the boldness but the shape is a miss.
I think this bright kaftan will be showing up in my Etsy shop soon. Some fabulous, artsy, confident woman will buy it and feel like a million bucks.
How about you? What type of clothing makes you feel less “you”?
Hindsight is 20/20 vision and looking back I’m able to see that some of my choices made in the quest for beauty weren’t the best.
Here are a few that I won’t be repeating anytime soon…
5 Mistakes I Have Made In The Quest For Beauty
I was the manager of a tanning salon for a few years and tanned in tanning beds religiously for 45 minutes a day. It must be noted that at that time I was such a hedonist I didn’t think I’d live beyond thirty. I didn’t think it would matter how old and wrinkly my corpse was. Needless to say, I was an idiot!
I also laid in the sun by the pool on tinfoil and rubbed baby oil over my body when I was maybe fourteen. I burnt to a crisp. In fact I burnt often and never seemed to learn my lesson. I have very light sensitive skin. Once, when I was in Acapulco, it was so bad I felt like I might need medical intervention for my burn. Instead, I took it upon myself to ease the pain with Tequila slammers. In Mexico at the bars they had helmets they’d bring out onto the dance floor and pour out shots of Tequila mixed with 7-up. You’d slam it upside down on your head/helmet, it’d fizz like a volcano and you’d throw it back. After a couple of those I felt no pain.
This was of course all in pursuit of that “golden glow” which, in reality, actually made me look radioactive.
I’m paying for all that sun exposure now with age spots and wrinkles everywhere.
#2 Getting A Tattoo
It wasn’t a typical tattoo. It was my lash line on my eyelids so I could try to avoid using eyeliner. You can read all about the drama here. While I did like the look of this initially, the tattoo shrank by 80% and the pain just isn’t worth it. Also, did I mention? It has to be redone every 4-5 years.
#3 Not Learning How To Apply Eye Makeup
I didn’t learn how to apply eye makeup till I was in my mid 40’s.
Learning the right way to apply my eye makeup has made a huge difference for my photos. My eyes are small and hooded so learning how to make them appear larger is helpful.
This was self-taught through experimentation.
Full makeup me.
No makeup me.
It must be noted that I’m not a huge fan of makeup. On a regular day the only thing I normally wear is lip balm. If I go out to the post office I might smear on some lipstick.
If I’m heading out to meet people then I will take the time to apply makeup.
I have very sensitive eyes and skin (sometimes makeup exacerbates my Fibromyalgia) so I feel better when I’m not wearing makeup.
#4 Bad Spas
I tried out this nightmare of a Spa. My face needed weeks to repair the damage.
#5 IPL (Intense Pulsed Light Laser)
*Warning: Graphic Photos*
If the insane, torturous pain of IPL wasn’t enough (it felt like a fully heated iron was being placed directly on my face) the crazy swollen and excruciating Mr. Puffy face certainly was.
I did not think I’d get through the extreme pain and came very close to telling her to stop. Then I would have had only half a puffy face.
Cabbage Patch Kid
Cabbage Patch Suzanne
BTW…this photo was taken over 36 hours after the treatment.
It took a week for the swelling to go down.
Did it make a difference? Who the hell knows?
Do you have any regrets about choices you’ve made in the quest for beauty?