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!
Susan YoungFebruary 21, 2017 at 7:10 am
Thank you for, once again, addressing the realities of life.
BrendaFebruary 21, 2017 at 8:58 am
You’re so welcome!
Susan YoungFebruary 21, 2017 at 7:10 am
Also, where can those “instant buttons” be found?
BrendaFebruary 21, 2017 at 9:01 am
I buy them online. Here’s the link: http://www.instantbuttonforjeans.com/shop.html
If you google “Instant Button” online, there may be other brands that come up. I made a mistake one time and bought one of these other brands and they fell apart. This one does not fall apart. I try to have extras of these because I like to give them to clients in need. They’re so wonderful!
Katherine CramerFebruary 21, 2017 at 2:37 pm
Well, there it is…
Your insight and unwavering support are gladly received. How joyous it is to take your spirit with me as I deal with my rounding figure. Your suggestions are grounded and doable. Thank you for all of your reminders and for the tip to check real people presented tastefully. I’m inspired. Hugs and kudos.
BrendaFebruary 21, 2017 at 5:59 pm
Katherine, I so appreciate your comments and I really appreciate your open spirit! I so want to be taken with you as you deal with your rounding, beautiful, lovely, fabulous shape!
jodie filogomoFebruary 21, 2017 at 4:38 pm
It’s always amazing how people don’t realize that life is too short!! Too short to not take your advice, especially Brenda!!
My husband and I were just talking the other day, and I was saying that “why is it bad to be either old or bigger?” Our physical bodies change, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still look and feel great (no matter what the numbers say!!)
BrendaFebruary 21, 2017 at 6:01 pm
I agree with you 100%. Focusing on the essence, soul, and tender parts of our selves is to much more important than focusing on a darn number! A number, for goodness sake. Really, we give numbers too much power to mean things they don’t mean. How do you measure love? How do you measure soul? It’s immeasurable. There we are!
JuliaFebruary 21, 2017 at 6:35 pm
Hi Brenda! Great topic. We all feel that way sometimes. I really liked your idea of having outfits already for those days. Being a plus-size blogger myself, I have talked a lot about this. It really is just a number and it really is in everyone’s own power to not let that number have such a say on how you feel about yourself. And of course Kerry Washington is the queen of fashion no matter her size!
BrendaFebruary 21, 2017 at 6:42 pm
I’m so glad to hear you write about this too. It’s so easy to focus on numbers. The mind can just drift there. It takes discipline to change the course. I think this is hard work, don’t you? To change this message? Worth it! And yes, Kerry Washington is so fun to watch for everything she wears. Thanks, Julia!
micheleFebruary 22, 2017 at 2:18 am
Loved this article and great advice that I will use and share with friends. Thanks for the mention of the new jewels – that really does work. Wish you were on the east coast – if your travels ever bring you close to NC, would love to have you consult with me.
BrendaFebruary 23, 2017 at 8:41 am
I would so love to meet you, Michele. Remember that necklace I bought from you some time back now? I wore it on Sunday. It’s like an old friend. NC has been on my list! Maybe….!!!
Cindy La FerleMarch 25, 2017 at 5:45 am
Brenda, I would love to know more about that amazing bracelet you are wearing above — it looks like embellished black leather? I wear a lot of black and other neutrals, and I like the strength of this particular bracelet. Can you suggest anything similar if it’s not still available? Thank you so much. I saw the bracelet in one of your Instagram posts and came back here to ask you about it.
BrendaMarch 27, 2017 at 11:54 am
It is black leather cuff with embellishments. Check out the website for Calleen Cordero. I bet she might still have something like that. I’m sure she does, maybe not exactly, but others!
Paula RobinsonAugust 23, 2017 at 6:30 am
This was a lovely article – just what I needed today because you’re right, as you get older your body starts to shift all over the place and non problem areas suddenly become problematic.
BrendaAugust 24, 2017 at 7:59 pm
Someone else was just complaining about her disappearing waistline. Having been there, it was easy to share my experience and wish her well in her new body!
Anne Stuart HunterJanuary 26, 2018 at 3:58 pm
Dear Brenda , I will be 72 in April . I think you look absolutely beautiful in everything you wear. You are giving me ideas on how to look . I am overweight but I would love to look like you . I must try harder in my life . All the very best ❤️
BrendaFebruary 2, 2018 at 7:48 pm
Thank you, Anne. I hope the ideas I share help you feel great about yourself! You deserve the best!!!