A few months ago I bought this blush pink off-the-shoulder shirt from River Island, with the intention of it becoming a summer staple in my wardrobe. However, after a few forced attempts at trying to style it and figure out how best to wear it, I fell out of love with this shirt, it was left abandoned in the back of my wardrobe and I contemplated feeding it to the lions of Depop for someone else to savour it.
Because when I saw this shirt on the hanger it gave me the casual, easy – yet bang on trend, summer vibes that I was looking for (this is what made me hang on to it for so long). But when I put it on my body, I hated it. It was too long at the back – making me look shorter, it was a loose fit and hung off my shapely chest– making me look fatter, and the dropped sleeves made it impossible to tuck in and recover any figure I had (this is what made me refuse to wear it).
I know what you’re thinking – “Chloe you’re a size 8. What the fuck do you know about feeling fat and hating your body?”. To tell you the truth I don’t really mind my body, in fact I think it’s pretty bloody amazing; it functions properly, it’s healthy, I have all my limbs, it allows me to move, it allows me to breath and be alive, it gets me from one place to another and another and another. I like my skinny waist, I like my bum and although they’re short, my legs don’t cause me any great offence either. And yet I still ended up standing in front of my mirror for half an hour in this shirt, picking on all the things I didn’t like about how it made me look, trying to decide whether to just wear it, wear something more flattering, or just not even leave the house at all because I don’t look good in anything and what’s the point if I don’t look like I have a good figure. Ok that’s maybe an exaggeration but trust me, it’s only a mild one.
It’s not just that shirt either, it’s all clothes. We are taught to buy clothes that make us look good which ultimately translates to looking “slimmer” or “skinny” or “hiding” the parts of our bodies that causes us anxiety because it doesn’t match the petite ideal that is presented to us in the media blah blah blah you’ve heard it all before. But we still do it. As I said, I’m a size 8; you could say that I meet the “skinny ideal” that many people wish for, but I am not exempt from this self critical analysis when it comes to buying clothes. I find myself turning down items that I love because “that will make my short legs look even shorter”; “that will make me look about 12”; “that will give me too much cleavage, which would make me a hoe”; “that will give me no cleavage at all, which would make me a prude”; “I can’t wear loose fitting things because they hang off my big boobs and make me look bigger”; “I can’t wear tight fitting things because they cling to my tummy and make me look bigger”. It’s ridiculous and exhausting but we all fall victim to this over-selective behaviour in the hope that the clothes that we buy will make us happy and love our bodies. Spoiler: it doesn’t come from clothes; it comes from you.
As I stood in the mirror that day, staring at this River Island shirt I once loved and despairing at how it made me look, I began to question why the fuck it matters if an item of clothing makes us look a little bit bigger, or doesn’t show off the parts of our bodies that we like. Do I really have to show off my assets all the time? Do I really have to hide my insecurities all the time? Do I really look that much bigger in this shirt? Am I really going to cause any great offence to anyone if I wore this shirt? Are people going to stop me in the street or shout “you look fucking dreadful in that shirt” out of their car windows? Will the world stop spinning? No. A resounding no to all of the above. So with that I decided to wear the shirt anyway, “see how it goes” and in all honesty I felt great; it was comfy, it was casual but sassy at the same time, a couple of friends I saw complemented the shirt I hated so much just hours ago. I felt pretty damn good once the mirror and my self criticism were out of the way. Not only did I just not care and go on with my day, I felt a little bit liberated and relieved because I didn’t allow myself to fall into the same overwhelming routine of wearing something that makes me look as slim as I can without accentuating my body hang-ups.
The truth is, it really doesn’t matter. You would be surprised at how little you or other people actually give a shit about how slim you look in whatever it is that you decide to wear. So go and buy that item that is screaming from the hanger at you, even though your “logic” is telling you otherwise. If you love it, you’ll feel great in it because you can allow yourself to feel great in it, you have my permission.
Love and Positive Vibes to you all, have a great weekend and slay all day in whatever you wear and whatever you do!