Don’t let your clothes wear you
A few months ago, I was watching the classic movie, “Gone With the Wind.” I’m sure most of you over 35 years old have seen it at least once replayed on television (shame on you if you haven’t – watch it with some friends!). Aside from the film’s historical significance, the dresses and other costumes are amazing.
During one scene, the main character, Scarlett O’ Hara, was in the bedroom with her servant who was putting on her corset. Back then, women wore corsets under their dresses to lift their breasts, make their waistlines appear smaller and they have even been used through history to help correct posture. I’ve always loved the way a corset enhances the female body and admire some of the extravagant styles throughout European and early American history.
In the 1930s and through the 1940s, my grandmother and her generation wore girdles under their clothing with the same purpose that the corset had years before. Beautiful pictures of perfectly-fitted A-line skirts that gave women sleek looking frames graced most of the fashion scene at that time. When I take a closer look at some old pictures of my female relatives, a lot of them didn’t exercise or diet as my generation does now. My family lived in the city of New York, walked a lot and always seemed to be eating whatever they pleased. In fact bread, pasta and cheese was on their menu most days. Despite the fact that they ate whatever they wanted, they still looked incredibly stunning and slim – with smiles on their faces. (My Grandparents and family in photos below.)
For me and most of my friends, growing up in the 80’s and part of the 90’s, MTV was a big deal. Supermodel Cindy Crawford was everywhere and hosted a show, “House Of Style” – remember that? Every now and then, if I wasn’t listening to a music video, I would stumble across her show. She covered the latest clothing styles and trends and gave suggestions on what she thought people should do with their wardrobe. I will never forget one statement she made about picking clothing styles for your body type. The gist of it was that everyone has a different body type and a different personality, so why be uncomfortable in something that doesn’t make you feel good about yourself? She said, “Don’t let the clothes wear you, you wear the clothes.” I have never forgotten that quote, and always try to remind myself when buying clothes that just don’t fit my body type. (Cindy Crawford back in the day on “House of Style” in photo below.)
How many of you have bought jeans that are too tight or skirts that don’t lay right around your posterior? How often do we buy material that makes our frame look larger than what it actually is? We end up buying these types of clothes, wear them and then possibly feel miserable or less confident about ourselves. When we choose the wrong clothes for our body type, it leaves us in a bad mood and challenges our thought process of how we feel about our bodies. What can you do so your clothes don’t wear you? How can you look put together at work and when you’re being social? Let’s start by being honest with yourself.
For me, that means I don’t buy “skinny” jeans! Why? Well, I work out a lot and have muscular legs. Skinny jeans would make me look like I had big thighs, when I actually have muscular ones. So, I don’t buy them even though that’s what’s in style these days. What about when you feel bloated? Don’t wear form-fitting clothes on those days. Instead, try to dress for comfort and you won’t be reminded of how bloated you feel. Living in Florida, where it’s warm most of the time, skin-baring styles exist year-round but that doesn’t mean those styles are the best for your body type. Choose outfits that enhance your strong points and leave you feeling confident no matter your size.
In the sauna at the gym the other day, I overheard another personal trainer speak to her female client who was slightly overweight and in her 50s. She said, “It doesn’t matter what size you are right now, you need to make the choice to be happy no matter what stage of life you’re in. Being healthy should be your main goal – not worrying if you will be a size four.” I loved hearing that! We can be hard on ourselves, and I find myself doing it every now and then as well. We’re exposed to so many images daily of what size society thinks we should be (it’s madness to say the least). Collectively, we have more important things to worry about in life than to focus on constantly seeking vanity and trying to portray an image that is approved by all people.
So when it comes to your clothes, classy and comfortable wins over trendy any day. The next time you go shopping, keep Cindy’s advice in mind and I think our grandparents would agree!