Who remembers 2007-2009 or so, when empire-line dresses were the rage? It was the dream! I was a bit of a late bloomer, but when “the ladies” came in at age 15, I suddenly became a bit top-heavy. Anything hanging from the chest with nothing to accentuate my waist didn’t flatter my shape. To top it off, in all my self-conscious teen glory, I would do anything to mask my cute tum-tum, so those empire-line dresses were sweet perfection to me. Not only did they really suit me, but they were on trend. Bonus! Then came a year or two where belting our dresses at the waist was in - I scored here too!
But imagine my dismay when here I am, over a decade later, browsing the shops and finding nothing but oversized sweaters and loose, tiered-dresses. As someone who works in the fashion industry, I understand trends and they’ve always been interesting to me. But, I’m also conscious of the fact that, as a woman living in 2021 being bombarded by diet culture and fitness fanaticism, I’ve been told to believe that if nothing in the shops suits me, I need to diet and exercise more to change myself for the trends. And that’s what I believed for a long time. But while browsing the shops last week it suddenly clicked for me: my body isn’t the problem, these clothes are. *Sidebar: I will say that there are some great local designers making imcredible clothing right now… I just happened to be in a shopping mall when this particular revelation came to me.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “clothes aren’t to be worn for everyone else’s enjoyment, but for your own. If you feel comfortable in an oversized sweater, just wear it.” I feel you. And there are days when I do just that. But I’m also learning to celebrate my curves and accentuate the parts of me that I find beautiful. I’m trying to avoid the reverse shame that can be found out there, telling us that caring about how we look is wrong too. It’s like walking a tightrope, and I just don’t have time for that!
We’re all amazingly unique so, while it’s fun to keep up with trends, there are going to be seasons when the latest silhouettes won’t make all of us feel ourselves in our skin. I’m hanging tight for that empire-line to swoop back into style, but until then, I’ve decided that I’m ok with looking a little less ‘cool’ and looking a little more ‘me’. I’ve found some really fun sewing patterns online that I want to try making up for myself, and I’m going to get creative with how I accessorize some of those old-faithful outfits that make me feel good. My main focus is to remember that I don’t need to change myself to be beautiful and to be happy; if anything, I might need to add some darts or a waist sash to my dress.
I hope you can find some encouragement here. If you’ve been feeling down on yourself, I hope you will remember that it’s not your job to walk into the shops and love everything, or to change your body to fit anything just because it’s “in”. Loving and enjoying your body is far more important than wearing what someone else told you is cool this season.
Until next time x