In one week’s time, I’ve heard three people talk about their bodies in unflattering tones.
Do I look fat?
I feel fat!
I’m so disappointed in myself!
I’ve got to do something about this!
I’m sure there are oodles of things one could do about “this” but that’s not my area of expertise. What I am an expert at is how to wear fashion that makes you feel good and look good through thick and thin.
I can’t resist telling you my Jack story. (Men do this to themselves, too.) I’d worked for a while with Jack’s wife Suzanne. She worked on him until he agreed to work with me. He was fussing about going shopping. “I really want to lose some weight before I go shopping.”
“Jack, what have you been doing to lose weight?” I said.
“Nothing,” he said.
“Okay, so how about this? Let’s work with your body as is. We’ll go shopping and I’ll put some outfits together for you and I’ll help you look thinner. Sound good?”
My point of the Jack story is that losing weight may be a lifelong project for people. Maybe it’s a wish and not a reality. I’d like to strip away the focus on “fat” and move us into the light of feeling good about ourselves right now, as is, today. Besides change takes time. If unlike Jack, you are “doing something about this” there’s still no reason to spent 80% of your self-talk on weight. It just isn’t! I’ve worked with so very, very many bodies and curbing the struggle that comes with wishing yours was different or lusting after someone else’s is a waist (just had to do spell it that way!) of time. Time is precious. Living is precious.
“Waiting” for something to be different is not sustainable.
When I had Jack standing in front of a full-length mirror in an outfit I’d chosen for him on that shopping trip, I said, “How much are you thinking about waiting to lose weight right now?” He chuckled. “Not at all.” He was glowing and walking on air after that shopping trip.
So listen, if extra weight is an issue or a project, I have some tips for you.
- Keep to the No Surprises Rule if you’ve gained a few pounds. Create a few outfits now that fit you well. Write them down or lay them out on the floor and take a picture of them. That way you have several outfits guaranteed to look great, no discussion need. When you’re getting dressed under pressure (it’s the last minute), getting more and more frustrated as you go because things aren’t fitting well, you’re heading into a pretty bad outlook. If have have a few things planned out, you won’t go through that yucky process. You’ll start the day respecting yourself just fine.
- Be generous with others when you’re having a hard time being generous with yourself. Get that fat-fretting self-talk far, far away from you. It’s not helping. Complimenting others can shift your focus.
- Don’t dress in other people’s clothes. What are other people’s clothes? They are clothes that were designed for other people’s body shapes. If you have a tomboy shaped body, trying to wear hourglass dresses isn’t going to work. If you’re curvy, wearing clothes that are more straight up and down just isn’t feasible. Follow the lines of your body first and foremost. That will relieve a lot of headaches right there.
- Decorate your wrists, fingers or neck with pretty bracelets, rings, long scarves or long pendants. Always have something pretty to gaze upon and or entertain you all day.
- Try an Instant-Button if your jeans are too tight at the waist. It will add another inch to the waistline of the jean which may be just enough to feel comfortable in jeans you already have. I’ve used these a lot and LOVE them.
- Buy two new tops if your menopausal middle has thickened. Some people have middles the same size in their 60s as they had in their 20s. I haven’t located those people, however. Our bodies shift! No need to fret, just adjust. Buying a size bigger can make you look a size smaller in an instant. Too tight is never right.
- Buy two new pairs of pants if you’ve added some weight to your backside or thighs. No one wants to be in clothes that are uncomfortable. Ease is pleasing and I want you to be pleased all day. You may think it’s impossible to find pants that fit. I disagree and prove it to my clients often. One client has found great success at White House Black Market. I’ve loved the slimming pants she found for her curvy body. Solutions ARE available. I PROMISE.
- Buy something that makes you feel pretty or sexy. You owe it to yourself. Buy a dress in a print you love. Get into a new jean style that delights you. Bring some happiness into your wardrobe. Always lead with happiness. If clothes in your closet are dull, dull, dull, you can’t afford to wait another minute or for another pound. Misery is not acceptable.
- Watch TV for characters who have your body shape and see how they’re dressed. Check out Kerry Washington’s wardrobe in the current season of Scandal. She’s pregnant but her image is still put together and powerful. I’m getting lots of ideas about how to dress a body with a thicker mid-section by looking at her outfit changes.
- Pay attention to your grooming. Get a new haircut that makes you feel sexy. Get highlights or lowlights. Get your makeup done professionally. Buy a new scent if you wear scents. Get a fresh manicure and pedicure. When you are demonstrating that you care, you are proving that you care.
How Kerry Washington dresses an expanding middle
How do you deal with fashion when your weight has shifted? Let’s teach each other how to navigate life with kindness!