Dressing With Confidence

TRIGGER WARNING: THIS CONTAINS TOPICS OF BODY IMAGE 

I know I’m not the only one who grew up learning that you must dress a certain way depending on your body type. If you have any sort of curve, your clothing can’t be too revealing. If you’re thin, your clothing should fit snug to the body. If you’re “bigger” then your clothes should be a bit baggier to hide the roll of fat that comes from your jeans. And if you’re thin, then you must wear jeans that come up above the waist to add the illusion of hips. These “standards” took over my life. I have always had curves. Even when I was “skinny” I was curvy. I was forced to wear a camisole underneath my V-neck tee shirts and my shorts had to be to my knees. I was constantly wearing clothing that I didn’t like. I thought I had to wear (what I considered) ugly clothing. Don’t get me wrong, everyone has their own taste and style. But I’m going to guess that if you’re forced to wear something that you didn’t choose, you’re going to end up hating it. 

I struggled a lot with my own personal style throughout high school. I was objectified by many men. Even my friends (who are girls) often commented on how great my butt was or something along those lines. Eventually, I began to cover up. My family would say the shorts I was wearing were inappropriate or too much cleavage was showing. So, I wore jeans that I did not like and a lot of oversized sweatshirts.  

It wasn’t until I reached college that I realized how badly I wanted to create my own style. To follow the trends that I wanted to follow and to wear the clothing I wanted to wear. However, I had begun to gain weight. My once flat stomach had begun to bulge, and my thighs were bigger than ever. There is nothing wrong with that, but when it comes to fashion, people seem to think that the more you add on in pounds, the more you must wear too. However, I wanted to enjoy crop tops and high waisted jeans. I wanted to wear leggings and a t-shirt to be comfortable. I was in college and I was supposed to be having fun. But every time I put something form-fitting on, I was reminded of my body type. I should add that my clothes always fit me properly. Nothing was ever too tight or short. I did my research and knew what would look good and what wouldn’t. But I let the judgement that other people had guide my fashion choices for a few more years after that. 

Up until about a year ago, I let those fears follow me. I let the words that others said to me, keep me from expressing myself in one of the most important ways. To me, style is one of the most important ways to express yourself. People see it right away and get a sense of who you are based on it. I wanted people to know I was confident in myself. So, I decided to start dressing like I was confident in myself. 

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t as easy as me going to the mall and buying a bunch of clothes. I first went shopping with friends and family thinking that I could get their opinions on what to wear. I quickly learned that shopping with them typically ended in me not buying anything because they didn’t like what I was trying on. So, I learned to go shopping my myself if I was buying new clothing. I realized that the only way I was going to buy clothing I liked was to make sure no one else's voices were in my head. 

I think it is important to note that everyone has a different style. It’s also important to remember that style isn’t cut and dry, it’s always changing. Also, each “type” of clothing has several “sub types” that not everyone pays attention to. Our bodies are different, and these different trends are made to suit everyone. I know my style revolves more around a color scheme than anything else. I love cropped tops, however none of mine show my stomach. They are cropped in the sense that they sit at the same place my belt does. I can feel confident in these types of tops because even though I have a “bigger” stomach, I still look damn good in a cropped sweater. 

No one can define your style but you. Don’t let anyone tell you how you should dress or how dressing a certain way should make you feel. You are special and the way you dress only emphasizes that. So, rock those crop tops or wear baggy clothes. Stick to neutrals or shine bright in those bold colors. Just remember that you look fabulous and no one should tell you otherwise!