The Mirror Lies – and so can your friends and family, only trust your camera.
Do you ever get someone to take a photo of you in an outfit because you can’t trust your mirror?
You might remember this from a couple of weeks ago…
And so here is the dress…
Yes, that is clearly my weird post surgery belly showing.
I don’t know why I’m smiling about it. As soon as I saw the photos I was horrified. Visually that massive white dot is a big target on my stomach. It doesn’t look as obvious here because I have a turtleneck on under the dress but the solid colour and fabric of this dress magnified every single wrinkle, lump, scar and bump on my body.
I did not see that in the mirror. My husband didn’t notice it either.
I had to wait till my camera laid out the sad facts, simple and clear.
The only way I’d be keeping this dress would be if I magically lost my kangaroo pouch (like a sock in the dryer) or decided to invest in a tall crotch girdle (AKA Spanx). I’ll remind you again about how I feel about Spanx.
Some would choose to view the scar on my stomach as a well earned war wound, a permanent medal of personal endurance. Personally I like to try to forget it is there. It is just a reminder of one of the very worst times in my life. Often when I notice the scar all those emotions come rushing back to the surface and I remember my body sticking to a narrow stretcher, trapped in a crowded hallway suffocating in pain and fear, trying to ignore the nausea and dizziness so I could close my eyes and will myself to disappear.
I don’t need to be reminded of that.
Needless to say, I sent the dress back.
Any dress that points a massive arrow at a small flaw in my body or makes me feel self conscious or doubtful about how strong, beautiful or fierce I am doesn’t belong in my closet.
End of story.
Clothing should boost our confidence, happiness and joy, not diminish it.
Linking up with Visible Monday, 52 Pick-me-up, Shoe and Tell
I just read through your old posts about the nightmare you endured after your surgery. I am so sorry! I totally understand why you want to forget about the scar and not wear things that highlight it for you. Personally, I actually really like the dress on you (you styled it perfectly, and I especially like it with the turtleneck), but you need to do what feels right to you!
And, yes, I do think pictures often show you much better than a mirror how things look…
suzanne carillo says
Thanks for popping by Andrea : )
So much yes to that last line. So, so, so true.
It is interesting to see how the expectation of how an outfit will come together and the reality of it really work here seeing this as a collage and then on you.
You know, the other thing about cameras are they catch you at different angles than you yourself can in front of a mirror, and sometimes, such as here perhaps, the clothes move in a way you don’t think about and it can be important to think about how the clothes move and change as your body does.
suzanne carillo says
What you wrote is so very true. We often just stand there, still in front of the mirror. Everything looks different when you’re moving.
Rachel G says
I think it’s definitely true that the camera is the harshest critic (along with ourselves). A hairstyle that looks perfectly fine in real life…well, captured in a high-def photo, you can see every single rebellious frizzy hair sticking out. Because I don’t wear glasses most of the time, I never tend to see little imperfections like that in real life, only in photographs. (Hurrah for being short-sighted?) It’s probably why so many women hate photos of themselves–there’s so few photos of my mom and my grandma for that reason, they hate photos of themselves. I hope that I never let insecurities of any sort steal my joy in photo-taking….but yes, choosing the right and flattering outfits makes a difference. Some fabrics just don’t do anybody any favors.
suzanne carillo says
Maybe we are all a bit short-sighted when it comes to seeing ourselves in the mirror. We have an internal image of ourselves that we project.
CiCi Marie says
Ah that’s such a shame as the outfit otherwise is fab! But I completely get your reasons. I don’t have anything in my body with such emotional connotations, but I do find the camera is harsher about muffin tops – my personal nemesis!!
suzanne carillo says
I hope and wish for you that you never have to go through the nightmare I did. I guess Doctor’s screw up just like other people.
Happiness at Mid Life says
I honestly didn’t even notice it. I think we are our own worst critics. I really like it layered with the turtleneck. But if the dress does not make you feel good, than it’s not worth keeping.
I definitely agree that the camera tells a different story compared with the mirror; not always, but now and again, an outfit I feel looks perfectly fine when I look in the mirror seems very different when I see the photos of myself. And that can be for better or worse. Mostly, I suppose it doesn’t matter that much, but occasionally I think uh-oh, that’s a combination I won’t wear again!
The dress looks fine, especially with the polo neck underneath, but if you don’t love it, then it’s not for you. There are so many fabulous clothes in your wardrobe, you don’t need something which doesn’t make you feel great! xxx
Point A: Clearly you are not taking enough photos, Suzanne. Usually my 500 or so yield me one or two good shots. Point B: Why do you think I take photos in alleys and dark concrete studios? Hmmm? Plus I’m usually moving – lots of blur is your good friend. Tsk, tsk, and you call yourself a blogger?! Hahaha.
Seriously, I was scrolling wildly up and down looking for your heinous flaws and didn’t see them. I wanted to because I thought, jeez, they must be hideous! But, nope, nada. The point is, you feel them. So BA-BYE DRESS!!! Sayonara. We’ve got no time for anything less than fabulous. Mwah!
Debbie Stinedurf says
Honestly, I didn’t see it until you pointed it out. But with that being said, I feel your pain. I know that there are women who totally own their flaws and view them as a sign of a life well lived. I, unfortunately, am not one of those women. I agree with you 100%; if something in your closet doesn’t make you feel completely fabulous than it needs to be gone…even if it is a super cool mod dress!
I am with you 100%, although I did not notice the belly until you pointed it out. No matter – if a piece of clothing doesn’t bring joy, out it goes. There are so many beautiful things in the world (and in your magnificent closet). Thanks for sharing and xox.
The camera can be evil. I feel about two hundred years old at the moment and does that show in my photos!
You look fantastic, honestly, but if it doesn’t feel good than it has to go back. Life’s too short to waste time feeling unattractive in dresses. Y and you’ve got so many gorgeous clothes that make you look like an absolute goddess.
I’ve got horrendously wonky hips from my total replacement. It shows in pencil skirts (which I don’t wear ‘cos I hate them) and in bikinis (which I do love and couldn’t give a damn about my deformity!) xxx
anne the spygirl says
I’ll be honest, I noticed it right away. Photos are brutal, for better or worse.
I just read your surgery saga. WHAT A NIGHTMARE. Glad you came through. xxox
anne the spygirl says
Oops. So shaken by the surgery posts that I forgot to say “Thanks” for linking.
My hospital experiences seem so lightweight now…
When I read the beginning of the post, I scrutinized the photos looking for some serious flaw, and truthfully, I did notice that there was a “bump” around your tummy. It’s one of the unfortunate things about so many fabrics these days – they are clingy, but not substantial and show off all our lumps and bumps that we hate. The camera does reveal all, and sometimes it works in your favour for an outfit you weren’t sure about, but often it amplifies things you were insecure about in the first place.
I agree with the other commenters – why keep something in your closet that you don’t feel great wearing? Especially if it reminds you of a terrible time in your life that you only want to forget. You have so many dresses that you look gorgeous wearing, and I’m sure there will be others in the future.
i don’t know why it has taken me so long to figure out the brutal truth of photographs. But they really do help. I have so many non-photogenic issues from this and that so I just have to pick which one I want to hide on any given day because if I hid them all I would have to wear a burka. You look cute in the dress. I know. It’s sad to have to let go of cute things. But you look so great in most of your clothes. I remember reading your nightmare story. In a wierd way it made me feel less alone in all of my medical misadventures. So thank you for that. Meanwhile you are healthy and kicking fashion booty!! Yeah Baby!
You raise a very valuable point- if it makes you self-conscious and unhappy, there is no point in it. I’m sorry it’s reminded you of the traumatic time you had with your tummy and whilst I think these photos look great, the point is YOU don’t think they look great and that’s all there is to it!
And you are right about the camera- I see my bra shining through tops or the bra line really badly which I don’t see in the mirror!x
Petite Silver Vixen says
In general, the camera can be very unforgiving. I did notice a teeny weeny bump but thought Suzanne can’t mean that? But of course, that bump is a reminder of past horrors and nobody needs to be reminded of past horrors especially surgery. There are plenty more gorgeous dresses for you out there and in your wardrobe. You are quite right to send it back if it doesn’t make you feel anything less than fabulous – which you are.
I’m finally figuring out, at my advanced age :), that if I don’t think something looks or feels quite right, then I shouldn’t keep it. I still have lots of work to do in this area. Like others above, I honestly didn’t even notice the “bump” until you pointed it out. But it you don’t feel 100% beautiful, then it doesn’t belong in your closet!
Elements of Ellis says
I did not even notice your belly! You crazy lady! lol. This dress is so cute!
nancy @ adore to adorn says
aww..you shouldn’t have felt horrified. Honestly, I didn’t even notice it until you pointed it out! When you asked us to “see it” I thought, “what?” haha.
BUT, I do get trusting the camera concept. I think the same as well. On the other hand, how you look on camera is all about angles and perspective, too. Sometimes, a certain twist of the body can make a difference. SO…what do you trust then? haha..food for thought?
No Fear of Fashion says
Although I agree with your end plea, I wonder whether a good underdress of form material wouldn’t help?
Shame of the dress, but you are right, it is better to spend your money on something you can love entirely.
No Fear of Fashion says
I meant firm not form.
I didn’t notice anything, only that the dress was nice, but I understand what you said and I sometimes also photograph a particular outfit… and see the picture and decide to either go on a diet – which is not realistic, because of a piece of clothing? Or to donate the item 🙂 (Because many I had during the time I was thin, 4 years ago). I TOTALLY understand you about sending back a dress that shakes your emotions about a hard time, when you were in pain. I have a sad time – 4 years ago, the time when I started getting huge – and I avoid reading about things that remind me of that. Unfortunately, I am reminded everyday, and it’s part of life, I guess. But in your case, do avoid remember whenever you can! I hope you have a nice week! Bisous!
I read the story, but not the end, and an anxiously awaiting to hear more.
Yes, I have found this to be true, only the camera shows the real picture. BUT maybe the interpreter is being a bit tough on herself; a small flaw can be part of a beautiful photo ! I did not see it when you wore the turtleneck, maybe the camera lies….
we, none of us, is perfect! and therein lies the beauty.
suzanne carillo says
The full story is there, in about 8 entries. It starts here
and if you just keep hitting the arrow at the end of blog entry it will take you to the next post. It happened 2 years ago now. Big mistake by the Dr.
Good decision, Suzanne. Clearly that fabric enhances every detail that’s under it. Never a good thing:-(.
Jan Graham-McMillen says
How glam and Carnaby street you look! As always, of course. Excellent dress … I envy with admiration!
I totally agree that the camera is a good tool, but the wrong lens can lie like a dog on a rug. But then, you knew that. Good, always to get some distance from a look.
Jodie filogomo says
So I agree with you that the mirror is not a perfect reflection of how we look. But I’ll also be the devil’s advocate and say that in real life, there is movement and three dimension and I think it’s very rare for someone to see us like the camera. Personally, I truly liked the dress on you and I would venture to say that every woman (especially by the time they reach our age) has some sort of scar or wound. I’d also say that you’re lucky that you can cover yours up, whereas I have three scars on my face which are quite a bit harder to camouflage!! Of course, what you wear should make you feel fabulous, but I also think we get quite micro critical of our appearance at times! jodie
ps…I agree with you on the spanx thing…our bodies are beautiful not matter which parts stick out or bulge!!!
Can’t believe I missed this post. Well actually Molly was here for a week so I basically missed everything but her. First off, I do love the dress A LOT! But I couldn’t agree more with your decision to send it back. You said it perfectly, our clothing should boost our confidence and bring joy to our day, never diminish it. I needed to hear this, I’m going to use those thoughts tomorrow as I clean out my summer closet.
Great article!!! Love the honesty.. We always like to trick ourselves don’t we? AND… do we really want to wear spanx? uggghhhh..
“Any dress that points a massive arrow at a small flaw in my body or makes me feel self conscious or doubtful about how strong, beautiful or fierce I am doesn’t belong in my closet.” Yes! This is something I consider when cleaning out my closet as well. And you’re right that photos reveal things you don’t notice in the mirror. It’s a blessing and a curse, right? Because you want to love the dress, but only when it showcases you and your body in a way that you love. I’d rather see the photo and realize I shouldn’t wear something again. What a bummer because I loved this outfit inspiration board when you first posted it. Oh well. You have too many other fabulous pieces to waste wearing this one!