Posts tagged “Body Image”

It’s lunchtime, Wednesday 17 October, I’d been out to a networking coffee morning, Paul had been pottering at home on a day off. 
We’d eaten lunch and were chatting about this and that. It was an ordinary day. Paul was clearing up the lunch pots one minute and the next he was down on one knee asking me to marry him! It wasn’t one of those grand gesture pre-planned proposals, it was very spontaneous and from the heart. Of course, without hesitation, I said yes! Ten minutes later he’d left to do the school run and I was sitting at the kitchen table letting it sink in! 
 
We decided to tie the knot sooner rather than later and the date was set. Then we had lots of decisions to make…including the dreaded WHAT TO WEAR!!!???!!! 
 
I started to think about what I might like to wear to get married in and like any self-respecting bride set about creating a Pinterest board and looking for ideas. I pinned everything that I liked and began to see patterns forming. It was becoming obvious what I liked and there were themes emerging…so far so good. 
 
Then I had a rethink, I changed my mind and went off in a totally different direction. I got a picture in my head of EXACTLY what I wanted. This, of course, does not exist on ANY Pinterest boards, only in my head. I realise that this dress is going to have to be a bespoke creation and set about researching the typical cost with a seamstress. 
 
At this point I had a word with myself and decided that for the type of dress I wanted I was more than capable of making it myself. besides which I'm 54 and it's a second wedding fo both of us blah,blah, blah... I just needed to find the right pattern and get my sewing machine serviced. 
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me… 
Remember the ditty from school? 
 
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. What bollocks that is...on my Facebook feed recently an article came up from Twitter July 2017 with the hashtag #TheySaid. 
 
#TheySaid 
The article is basically women relaying stories about comments made by parents or other people during childhood or teenage years that stuck well into adult life. Quite often offhand, throw away comments from our nearest and dearest that weren’t necessarily said with malice but have an enormous impact for a very long time. 
 
These words have cut deep. 
 
There are scars. Some are still open wounds, twenty, thirty or forty years on...comments made about our bodies, our physical appearance, our weight, perceived inadequacies related to our appearance. 
 
Tree trunk legs 
 
There are women in their 40's and 50's in my client group who have avoided showing their legs because of a comment a parent made when they were young. Legs like tree trunks. Legs like two pieces of string with knots in. Look at the size of your arse. You’d be pretty if you weren’t so fat and all kinds of other hurtful remarks. 
 
 
Self- Image Demons 
 
Do you talk to yourself (maybe out loud or in your head) sometimes but not in a nice way? Does your inner critic say nasty things to you as you get ready for a night out? You’re trying a new top on that you really liked in the shop, it’s a bit more colourful than you’re used to or maybe it’s a different style that you’ve not tried before…you aren’t 100% sure and need a bit of reassurance that you look nice. 
Then those little voices start in your head. The self -image demons can be proper nasty little buggers with viper tongues, making vile and vicious comments. They’re evil, they know too well about all the things we’re not sure about, they play on our insecurities and affect our self-confidence. 
 
Whiney, Nasty Bitch 
 
I recently asked in my online community, the Style Sisterhood group on Facebook, about the kind of things SID* (Self Image Demons) might say. Most of the responses would be deemed horrid and offensive if we ever actually said them to anyone else…we’d be seen as a whiney, nasty bitch on the attack. 
In December 1999 I was very heavily pregnant. Waiting for a baby that should've been born in November. I thought someone was playing a joke on me and he wasn't ever going to come out. I'd gained almost 5 stone in weight and my boobs were like a couple of shiny watermelons. I was so uncomfortable. I'd had heartburn since the fourth month of pregnancy; it had started literally once the morning sickness passed. Liquid Gaviscon was my friend for the duration and I never went anywhere without it in my handbag. 
Reluctant to be born 
I ended up being induced 10 days after my due date. Even then he was reluctant to be born. Finally, with the intervention of forceps I delivered an 8lb 10oz baby boy with tufty blonde hair and beautiful big blue eyes. He was just perfect and I fell immediately in love with him. 
 
Life changer 
The reason I'm telling you about all this is because it was the ultimate life changing time. Having a baby changes everything about your life. If you are a parent you'll know from experience. Your priorities change and what was once important becomes less so. I had planned on going back to my college lecturing job just 3 days a week after maternity leave. That never happened, I couldn’t face leaving him with someone else looking after him while I commuted 140 miles a day to look after and teach other people’s kids. 
 
Not sensible but perfect 
As the main breadwinner of the household this was probably not the most sensible decision I’ve ever made. We had no savings and credit card debts – oops. This is where the Virgin Cosmetics Company came into my life. That’s a story for another day but suffice to say that it was a perfect solution and my main source of income for 8 years. 
 
 
What size is PLUS Size? In Nov 2015 I put it out there in various social media groups that I belong to and asked ”at what size do you consider plus size to start?” 
My question was for market research purposes, not to be controversial or start a debate. Someone had suggested I ought to use the term in my marketing and was curious to see what people thought. I got quite a few responses and it seems to be a subject that ruffles feathers and divides opinion. Some people find the term offensive, mean and rude, others see it as an alternative term for unhealthy. 
 
Is it a classification or an insult? 
I personally don’t like it but it seems to be the recognised term within the fashion industry. If I’m looking for clothes online I Google ‘plus size’. The answers I got ranged from size 14 upwards but most people thought size 20 was the starting point. Is it just a term to describe a body shape? Like short, tall, athletic, curvy etc? Some of the people who responded were apologetic, as if they were worried about offending people. Others thought it might be better to use terms that seem less derogatory. 
 
Are you normal? 
I wonder why it is seen as a negative term? If you look for the dictionary definition of the word plus it has quite positive connotations… Advantage, asset, higher end of the scale, extra, a perk, prerequisite. It also says it can refer to larger than normal size in women’s clothing. What’s normal? Is it the same as average? Because the average woman in the UK is a size 16, 5ft 3″ and weighs 11 stone apparently. 
It’s hot, hot, hot and you want to stay cool.Long floaty maxi dresses are great, but for many of us (who don’t have a thigh gap) hot weather and dresses just don’t cut it because of the hell that is often referred to as ‘chub rub’, inner thigh chafing. 
If you suffer from this you know how uncomfortable it can be. 
Me and my trusted gang of researchers in the Let's Chat Wardrobe Wobbles group on Facebook have been on the interweb for you and found a few possible solutions that might help widen your wardrobe choices this summer and beyond. 
 
Talc/talc free alternatives 
A low cost, portable option that your nana might have used back in the day 
 
 
Longline pants/cycling shorts 
Not the sexiest thing in the world but neither is red raw skin 
 
 
Bandalettes 
The ‘sexy’ solution - make sure you order the right size though or they roll up or fall down 
 
 
As with clothing styles some shapes and styles of swimwear will help you feel more confident if there are parts of your body that you would prefer to disguise. Certain cuts and styles are going to enhance your assets too.This content will be shown in the summary on the main blog page. 
 
If you are looking for swimwear, the shops are starting to get stock in for the summer, buy early as they tend to sell out quickly especially online, in my experience. Here are a few tips for you… 
• Invest in bra sized swimwear if you are well endowed 
• Solid colour side panels give the illusion of a smaller middle 
• Mix and match tops and bottoms to suit your body shape 
• Shorts styles can make your legs look shorter/wider 
• Strapless and bandeau styles are best for smaller boobs and shoulders 
• Wide straps will make your shoulders look smaller 
• Heavily patterned tankini tops disguise spare tyres 
• Swim dresses are good for creating balance if your shoulders are wide 
• Triangle bikini tops and halter necks are good for column shapes 
• Brief skirts (all in one) are good if you are conscious of your hips/thighs 
 
Do you know Tryer Tracey? She’s always on a diet of one kind or another.  
She’s tried WeightWatchers, Slimming World, Rosemary Conley, 5:2, the F Plan, Cambridge, Lighter Life, Cabbage Soup, Dukan, Paleo, Slimfast, Atkins…you name it. She’s even been for hypnotherapy, had her thyroid checked, wonders if she’s got a slow metabolism and heavy bones…Bless her, it doesn’t matter what she tries, she can lose weight but then just can’t keep it off. But you know what? She’ll never give up trying because she REALLY wants to lose weight....She wants to lose weight so much she’d do anything, but life keeps getting in the way.. 
 
It’s October now, it’s half term next week and she’ll have the kids off school. They’ll need entertaining, that means days out and treats, they love pizza hut and the lunchtime deal is really good, the dough balls are delicious too. She’ll just have the salad though (those bacon bits make it worth it) and a diet coke, then perhaps nick a slice off the kids. The kids have pick and mix at the cinema but she resists and just has popcorn because that’s better for you. 
Halloween is a nightmare these days too! Where did the trick or treat thing and big parties come from? She just had a hollowed out swede as a Jack O’ Lantern when she was a kid. 
 
The supermarkets don’t help either, putting those big tins of chocolates on offer. She buys them to give to the kids on the estate when they come knocking –one of them is just full of empty wrappers by the 28th. It’s just the odd one here and there with a coffee and before you know it – gone. The tins are getting smaller every year though too. 
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