The New Year brings with it a shiny new hope for us to make a change for the better. We set lofty goals and declare resolutions for transformation to improve ourselves in some meaningful way. I would bet that the lion’s share of the $33 billion a year Americans spend on weight-loss products and programs is spent in January. We are bombarded with the ubiquitous television commercial making bold claims for weight loss programs, plastic surgery and products to “fix” whatever is supposedly “wrong” with us. Let this be the year we celebrate the beauty in every body, because God makes no mistakes. We can stop worrying about our imperfections and rid our closets of those sinister “cover-ups,” — the colorless, ill-fitting, and unflattering clothes in which we hide our personal style.
After working with hundreds of plus size women from all over the world, I have discovered there is one thing many of us have in common: a hatred of the fitting room. Instead we prefer to do any number of peculiar things. A woman once told me that she can approximate the fit of a pair of pants by wrapping the waistband around her neck. Really? That’s a dubious means of measurement for a plus size girl. With a sheepish smile on her face a woman once explained that if she tried on the clothes at home, they would look better. If that is not costly enough, one woman routinely spends twice the money to buy two sizes of the same garment, only to return the unwanted items later and waiting for a refund. I started to wonder what did they really fear would happen to them in the fitting room? Do our own perceptions of our body influence what we see in that mirror?
I call it rejection by reflection. Let us make friends with the fitting room and stop making silly excuses to avoid trying on clothes before we buy them. There is a difference between a body image issue and a styling challenge. We all have styling challenges whether we are carrying extra weight or not. Perhaps it is our negative body image that causes us to do irrational things just to avoid our reflection in the mirror in clothes that may not fit us properly or reject us. But it is so important for a curvy girl to find the right fit. As a stylist I can work on the outside to help you find the most flattering looks to build you wardrobe and your confidence. But the real makeover happens on the inside when we begin to value ourselves and take the time to get the right fit.
My advice is to listen to India.Arie’s song and have a “Private Party” with yourself. “I’m gonna take off all of my clothes. Take a look at myself in the mirror. We’re gonna have a conversation. And heal the disconnection. Don’t know when it all started. But this is where it’s gonna end. My body is beautiful and sacred and I’m gonna celebrate it.”
Style by its very definition is “a distinctive manner of expression.” Take a moment this year to think about what your style is saying about you. Declare that this will be the year we live by Psalm 139:14, “I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made, marvelous are they works, and in THAT I am confident.” Stop focusing on your flaws. We have more fashion choices than ever before and we should take advantage of it. Hopefully you will take my advice and create a personal style that will project a confident Brand New You in 2013!