Fashion + Body Image

Seeing yourself for the first time

The good, the bad and the self love

“and I said to my body. softly. ‘I want to be your friend.’ It took a long breath. and replied, ‘I have been waiting my whole life for this”

For as long as I can remember there has been a timeline of my life where I have hated my body and not seen myself properly.

In primary school I felt too tall I would tower over the boys in my class then in high school this was not longer a problem, great right? No, you develop new issues for yourself.

Now I felt like the bigger one in the group, I had acne and felt like the only one in the world, I changed my hair colour from brunette to blonde because I felt I had to look more desirable. You grow up hearing people say blondes have more fun and models always seemed to have beach glowing hair but hindsight truly is a gift for your mentality towards self love because a key word in this small snip-it of my life is the word, I felt , it was never I was it was all my mentality on how I thought I should look.

Self love is your superpower

I was never the worst thought I felt about myself. What I was, was a girl growing who needed to learn to love herself instead of comparing myself to others around me.

The why – insights into the negative Fashion Industry

I start to wonder why I ever felt this way about myself. I have come to realised a factor was I saw it everyday, the fashion industry. It funds body image problems and fuels your negative mentality towards your own body image, this was one reason behind my thoughts towards myself as I am sure a lot of people can relate. I question looking back did I ever look at the real me in the mirror when I was younger? or did I see what the fashion industry painted me as. 

I would never see women or men in magazines on the TV that looked ‘real’ , there was no one you could honestly relate too, unless you change yourself. I would see the unrealistic looking models and feel I needed to be the same so you do whatever you can, healthy or unhealthy to get there.

This is a closed mindset to have but when you are young it imprints your mind because its all you know. Businesses should be more aware of their audience and who they are influencing as a lot of young people look up to this unrealistic beauty standards because more times than most the people they are comparing themselves too are impossible; they are Photo shopped or they are cosmetically enhanced.

There is not one standard definition of beauty or one perfect size.

Ashley Graham

We spend too much time wasting our day looking in the mirror comparing ourselves to what some fashion brands are like. Pretty Little Thing say we should look a certain way. We see models on these pages as we scroll for clothes we cant picture ourselves in as these people make them look perfect and us inadequate.

In a recent article by Metro, it criticised Boohoo for using fake plus sized models so their clothing is not realistically represented it sends a very damaging message to young people. In so many clothing stores the sizing is different, I can be a size 10 in one and a size 14 in another – this is no reflection on yourself but the businesses bad sizing!  We are all different and that is what makes each of us unique. So lets think, who care if it fits us perfect, am I comfortable? Yes so great!

What if we didn’t waste our time looking at the negative fashion brands and feed ourselves with the positive fashion brands. We all have the same 24 hours in a day how are we going to spend them?

Would this change our mentality towards our own bodies and can it help me change my own.

The future- a positive fashion industry

Some major Fashion brands are taking a step in the right direction to minimise the use of photo-altering tools to promote self love in your own body and to make fashion real with the look of real people! I say lets start speaking up for the cellulite, the stretch marks and all our scars that make us who we are!

Fashion brands who I have seen who are paving the way for a positive body image who I let fuel my mindset are :

  1. ASOS
  2. Misguided
  3. Nike
  4. Proactive
  5. Dove

ASOS was the biggest company that the media notice who were making the right changes for a better future for the fashion industry. 

A recent article by the Telegraph, praised ASOS for having more realistic representation of female beauty as they began leaving the stretch marks on the bodies of their models in every photo – this shows that real people are ‘flawed’ and there is no need to be ashamed. ASOS also use real plus sized models to show how normal sized frames look in their clothing.

In a perfect world, these campaigns would be the norm but until then businesses can take small steps to make a difference just like Missguided who followed ASOS by leaving any scars that their models had untouched to back this they came up with a new slogan.

 “All you have is what you’ve got, so own it every day.

Missguided

Nike champions women and inclusivity in sport by using rising feminists influences like Serena Williams and promoting intersectionality. Nike was also one of the first to have plus-sized mannequins they wanted to start the discuss on the internet and make other business see the positive from what they were doing.

Doing better as a brand does put pressure on other businesses to make changes as in a recent article by Glamour reported that Kim Kardashian was hounded by the internet for not representing real people in her campaigns and in less than a week she had changed her campaigns which now features more body types! A step in the right direction and the future. 

A brand that has always stood out for me is proactive which is an acne solution brand, they use real celebrities that have had real problems with their skin this makes it relatable for young people who are going trough it and adults , it shows these celebrities we relate to are human just like us.

Dove is a very famous brand who promote self love and body image, their campaigns are more inclusive, more inspiring and less singular in what “beautiful” constitutes. Dove celebrates people of all ages,sizes, and whatever so called flaws we have – we are all the same. Follow and listen to the right brands so we can have a better future for the next generation so they never have to question who are they looking at in the mirror. 

Do you know how you can tell a diamond is fake? It has no flaws. A real diamond has flaws , we are diamonds

The how- building a new mentality

Another women’s beauty is not the absence of your own

Body image is all about what you see when you look in the mirror, are you seeing your true beautiful self or are you always comparing yourself to unrealistic standards?

These are the can and cant controls, you need to concentrate on the can controls to get a better mentality and what you can control is what you fuel yourself with. Don’t shop at places that do not represent real people, un-follow social media accounts that make you feel bad about yourself. Feed your mind with positively not negatively, distance yourself from friends or even family members that put you down. Start putting yourself first.

What you can’t control are peoples opinions but the only opinion you should care about is yourself. You need to start seeing yourself for the first time.

You must want to spend the rest of your life with yourself first.

A habit you can develop to help you is to start saying affirmations, say them in the morning and at night. Start of with three simple and important ones

  1. I am beautiful 
  2. I am enough
  3. I will be happy

Every body is a beach body

Build a growth mindset and start off small everyday and soon this habit will become a personality trait you will wake up feeling enough just as you are.

Think of it like make up.  You put confidence on like foundation, a fake smile like lip gloss and a love yourself mentality like blush but if you start a new healthy mentality you will wake up already with all these traits on you, you wont need to put them on.

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health to keep it healthy. Start a new way of thinking and what is true is self love can be your superpower. Your body is not flawed, other peoples thinking is and if this pandemic has taught us anything its life is way too short to be unkind to yourself.

I hope this article helps you see yourself for the first time like it has me, as truly beautiful no matter what.

For more information on developing a growth mindset visit: https://www.lifteducation.com/growth-mindset-for-adult-learners/

For more affirmations to help with self love visit: https://motivationping.com/self-love-esteem-affirmations/

More importantly for help with mental health issues around your body image visit: https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/feelings-and-symptoms/body-image/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIiNPIgLr16QIVBLDtCh3MRAGgEAAYASAAEgIqMfD_BwE

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