fat shaming will not work

How To Get Over Fat Shaming Right Now

Fat Shaming will not help cure the Obesity Crisis.   We need to remove the social stigma associated with obesity.  We’ve proven that making it easier for people to talk about stigmatized health conditions is enormously beneficial.  But we still have the barrier to break down in terms of obesity.  This week is National Obesity Awareness Week in the UK.  Hence I’m debunking some of the myths associated with the attitude towards obesity.

Fat Shaming Won’t Help

fat shaming is not the answerI despise any kind of body shaming whether it’s fat shaming or skinny shaming.  It’s bullying and downright harmful.

Fat shaming someone who is obese is unlikely to encourage anyone to change their lifestyle.   People who respond positively to being shamed are relatively uncommon.  If you doubt this my recommended reading is Gretchen Rubin – The Four Tendencies.

Fat Shaming is more likely to reinforce their feelings of low self-esteem and may lead to more comfort eating.

I was overweight as a teenager and was bullied for it.  I’d been underweight until I was 6 years old and had a tonsillectomy.  My parents so overjoyed that I was at last enjoying food encouraged me to eat and eat.  While my own unhealthy relationship with food then later manifested itself as anorexia, this had nothing to do with being bullied for my weight.

 

It’s Just A Matter Of Calories In Versus Calories Outfat shaming not simply calories in and calories out

It’s easy you don’t need to be fat you just need to consume less calories than you burn (Calories In V Calories Out  – CICO)

This is a more insidious attempt at fat shaming.  Implying that people merely need to eat less and stop being lazy.

Dr Jason Fung states before 1980 we didn’t count calories.  He argues that we ate without knowing how many calories we consumed. We expended calories without knowing how many we burnt.  He argues that myths perpetuated about CICO benefited the US corporations who drove these messages for the purpose of their own bottom line.

Is this a cynical view or simply reality?  This week I read that McDonalds, Taco Bell and Wendy’s had spent $1Billion on advertising targeted at Black and Hispanic youth.  If this wasn’t bad enough  they’d all pledged to support healthier lifestyles to deprived groups.

 

Fat Shaming Is the Same As Skinny Shamingfat shaming not the same as skinny shaming

No it’s not!

As above I don’t condone any form of body shaming.    But skinny shaming is not the same as fat shaming.  I have friends who are naturally petite and get upset when they are told – you must have an eating disorder.  But this is not the same as the every day discrimination and humiliation levied at obese people in every aspect of life.

Michael Hobbes – Huffington Post Highline Article ‘Everything you know about obesity is wrong’ . He cited how one reader told me that unsolicited diet advice from strangers feels overtly worse than direct comments about weight.   Another said she leaves the room when her colleagues start talking about their new diets.  This is because it’s only a matter of time before a woman smaller than her describes herself as “huge.”

 

Let’s Get Children More Active And They’ll Lose Weight

Well I would never disagree with more activity.  There are incalculable benefits to more activity including:fat shaming we must educate children

  • More face to face social interaction;
  • Team sports and events improving their people skills as well as exercise benefits;
  • Improved sleep patterns with reduced screen time;
  • Emotional wellbeing of being outdoors particularly in nature.

Interestingly a number of international studies looked at healthy eating and more activity within children.  They found that while the combination didn’t have a massive impact on weight academic results improved.

But we do need to educate and help children from an early age without creating issues regarding food.  My own mother was a habitual dieter.  She had a relationship with food that consisted of deprivation followed by indulgence.  She loved food but was on a diet whenever her weight crept up again.  Of course her body suffered.  Her disordered eating had, at the very least, a sub-conscious impact on my own relationship with food.

 

Featuring Large Models Glamorises Obesity

No it doesn’t.diversity representing society on the catwalk

I’m a huge advocate for diversity on the catwalk and within the media to represent Society.  It’s vital that people don’t feel discriminated against. They should be able to relate to what is on the catwalk and in the media.

The outcry in October 2018 over Cosmopolitan’s Cover featuring Tess Halliday last year got the fat shaming brigade ranting and raving.    Led by Piers Morgan whose argument was that the cover made it acceptable to be obese.

Everyone deserves to feel positive about themselves.  Equally everyone should have access to education, information and support to lead a healthier lifestyle.

What we need to do is create a culture where fat discrimination is ostracized. People are encouraged to have a positive attitude towards their own bodies, which is fundamentally the aim of the body positivity movement.

Summary

We need to de-stigmatize obesity in the same way we’re creating a culture that allows us to talk about Mental Health.

Last summer an electrician visited my house and the conversation turned to photography. He shared with me his passion for photography and painting.  When I asked if he’d always enjoyed being creative he said he’d never tried it until he started to use it to help with his mental health.   How many complete strangers (particularly men) would have opened up like that even a year ago?

Obesity isn’t simply about physical health it’s equally about mental health and emotional wellbeing.   We have made fantastic progress with regard to mental health let’s replicate that with obesity.

 

Like to feel more confident about your body?  Why not take a look at my 3 top tips to be body positive by clicking on the link below.

 

 

 

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month Julie Foster

Dancing With Breast Cancer: Happy To Be Alive

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  I’m thrilled to share with you the story of one of the most amazing, courageous and sassy women I have the honour to know.Breast Cancer Awareness Month Julie Foster

Julie Foster is, as she says in her own words, a survivor.  But Julie is much more than this.  She is a caring, fun-loving woman who loves helping people.   Julie leads by example and loves to nurture others.

I first met Julie in 2015 when she invited me to her Strawberry Tea Party fundraising event for breast cancer.  She raised £1250 in the space of an afternoon.  The venue was overflowing and the energy amazing.

It was evident that Julie radiated so much positive energy and love for others that they were attracted and wanted to reciprocate.  I wanted in!  So signed up to her regular networking and personal development group.

Julie was diagnosed with Breast Cancer when she was 59 years old.  She enjoyed a successful corporate career as well as running her own coaching business.  Julie had everything to look forward to.  She was due to retire from her corporate role, excited about spending more time on her business and quality time with her husband….. Sometimes though, life has some unexpected twists and turns.  Julie’s belief system and positive mindset have played an enormous part in helping her to deal with a very difficult time in her life.

In Julie’s Words…

Julie, please introduce yourself to our readers…

First and foremost I’m a woman, Daughter, Wife/Widow/Mother/Grandmother and a survivor. My mission in life is to enable success in anything.

Was Your Diagnosis Part Of A Routine Mammogram?

Yes it was part of a routine mammogram.  However, due to previous occurrences of cysts in my breasts I attended annually.  Thank heavens I did or this would not have been picked up so early and dealt with so well.

What Did You Go Through When You Were Diagnosed?

A sense of disbelief.   A letter arrived to tell me that because of an unclear mammogram result I should attend a clinic in Luton.  I still believed that nothing was wrong and the re test was normal in the circumstances.

I went through the process with my husband Kevin supporting me.  My mindset training over many years enabling me to keep my options open.  I knew not to create fear in the uncertainty, as this affects your cellular composition.Breast Cancer Supported By My Husband

We were called back to see the consultant  Mrs Brazier, (no joke, that’s her name!).  I saw a picture of my breast on the computer screen.  She looked at me with an expression that told me bad news is about to come.

True enough it was not good.  The x-ray clearly showed some ‘salt and pepper’ markings just behind the nipple.

These markings can be calcium deposits.  They can also indicate cells that are changing or are in a cancerous state.   Mrs Brazier asked me to prepare for a biopsy to test the tissue so we can be sure what we are dealing with.  I thought this would be in a week’s time or some time in the future. NO. She says we will do this right now.

At this point my mind is racing.  My husband’s hands are sweating, while he puts on a brave face for my sake.  I’m starting to feel like this is not really happening to me.

While being positioned on the doctors couch she and the nurse assisting are trying to settle my nerves by telling me that it will hurt.  In fact Mrs Brazier tells me it’s the most sensitive place to have a biopsy etc etc.  So I get all assertive and speak up.

Meditation And My Believes Were Vital

“Please stop talking to me as I am going to meditate my way through this procedure” I secretly wanted to tell them to stop frightening me and putting negative thoughts in my head. This is how I rock and roll!

I then calm myself through practiced breathing and take myself into a place where I focus on a star, a star filled with only light and love.  Silently asking my Angels and Guides to give me the pain relief I need to go through the procedure.  Focusing on breathing and being relaxed and pain free. I feel some tugging and sensations around my breast but no pain.

Bandages go on and I resume my seat with the consultant and my Husband.  Her opening line to me.  “How do you do that?”  I need you in my waiting room to teach all my patients to do that.  Smiling I acknowledged the help I had just received.  I explain I have been practising focused meditation for years so not sure what I can do in the waiting room.

While I believe that I could produce a meditation for people to practice listening to, the challenge would be to get it to them early enough in the fast track treatment that followed.

The Longest Week Of My Life

I am told to expect a phone call the following Wednesday afternoon after the team have studied the biopsy and xrays.  This would be the longest week of my life.

The uncertainty is the thing that drives you mad.  I just wanted to know so I could plan what to do about it.  Any way the call came, and the result was that I had a DCIS.  Ductal Carcinoma in Situ, which means I have cancer cells grade 3 inside a duct behind the nipple.  I am told that it is contained but basically could blow at any time, cells would then be loose and free to spread around the breast tissue.  In the duct tube they were contained and safe for now.

More waiting, with what feels like a time bomb in my body.  The news was shocking and I felt like I wanted to escape, couldn’t breathe in the house, needed to get out in the fresh air. Kevin asked me what I needed/wanted so I asked him to drive us to our favourite spot The Three Lakes at Westmill Farm.  We had spent many happy hours there and I loved the feeling of space.  It was a beautiful day at the beginning of May, nature just budding into it’s glory.  We walked and talked for hours.  Deciding on how and what to tell the family.

I had a week to wait to see the Consultant surgery who would perform the operation needed to extract the cancerous cells.

 

How Did You Deal With Telling Your Family That You Had Breast Cancer?Breast Cancer My Family Organised A Barbecue

To be honest I don’t remember, and Kevin isn’t here to ask.  It’s all a blur of lost days and surreal times.  Walking around in disbelief and shock while trying to function on the outside I was very much in my own head, my own thoughts.

I do remember that my 3 children and my Mum treated me differently, possibly they didn’t and I was interpreting their behavior in a strange way.  They had a look of pity, of fear in their eyes and on their faces as you do when you hear the word cancer it strikes fear of death I guess.

My family organised a Barbecue for my Son’s Birthday.  I was angry with them as I felt the reason for organising was because they feared there might not be many more with me attending.

I don’t do pity and weakness very well.  My belief system is very much based on thoughts become things, so I didn’t want to fuel any negative thoughts.

Can You Tell Us About Your Treatment Process?

Physically I had to loose my left nipple because the carcinoma was too close to it to save. My Surgeon Miss Deol (wonderful woman) tried her best to save it but couldn’t.  After all this is about saving my life not my nipple.

I remember her asking me how attached I was to it, lol.  I replied I had had it for 59 years and quite liked it.  She did offer me a tattoo, stick on or reconstruction but it was too early to think about that.

Day surgery took care of things and I was soon home with my glued together scar and a pack or three of pain relief.  I needed it later that night.

A straight-line scar was all that remained of the offending cancer and for the first time in weeks I felt safe, glad that the time bomb was no more.

After further analysis of the cells and xrays etc I was told that I would not need Chemotherapy, but I would be given radiotherapy.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

Personal Conflict Of Beliefs

I had been happy to have the time bomb removed but I was not happy about the radiotherapy.  It conflicted with my spiritual beliefs about healing of cells.  There I was believing that through thoughts I would heal my body and assist it to do so with rest, goof food and spiritual healing.  Being asked to allow radio waves to bombard my perfectly healthy cells, burn tissue away just in case a random cancer cell had escaped and was running around trying to find a home in my breast was totally against my principles.

I was in real turmoil over agreeing to the treatment.  So, over the next few weeks I meditated on this, consulted my spiritual Mentor and others. I read lots of material on the treatment and looked at the benefits v the potential damage to my body.

In the end I decided to go ahead with the treatment and blend the sciences, so I could receive the best of both worlds.  I will always remember the look of relief on the faces of my family when I told them I would go ahead.

It was difficult to go into the chamber every day for 6 weeks and allow them to bombard my body with burning rays.

 

How Did Breast Cancer Affect Your Mental And Emotional Health?Breast Cancer Bra Competition

I do believe that my mental health was pretty good because of all the years of mind training I have done, because I have deep faith and a wonderful family who allowed me to express my feelings, who asked me what I wanted and listened to me.

Emotionally I was up and down and definitely in turmoil over the decision I mentioned before.

I am a natural researcher so I went researching for information on the breast cancer I had and what the treatments would do.  In the end I had books on this and that arriving from every day.  It had to stop.  There’s such a thing as information overload!

In the end I chose to relax and surrender to whatever was to come.

Did You Get Enough Support From The Medical Profession?

The surgical team, including the breast care nurses were fabulous and supported me while I was in clinic and if I telephoned they were very patient and reassuring.

I developed an abscess which created secondary problems for me and they supported me through this very well.

As A Mother, Wife And Daughter What Was Your Biggest Challenge?

Being conscious that my family all needed different things and that I could not always provide what they needed.

My lovely Mum just wanted to put me on the couch and feed me chicken soup!  She wanted to treat me like I was really ill and needed her to do everything for me.  Not easy for me to receive.  However, after discussing this with her I allowed her to put me on the couch and look after me for one whole afternoon.  Then I jumped up and got on with life.  I think it helped her.

Did You Have A Support Network Outside The Medical Profession And Your Family?

I am blessed to have a wonderful network of clients in my business and friends who understand me. My clients collected together items that they knew I would like and delivered me ‘A Box of Love’ I will always remember opening all the little packages and crying at every one because the thought behind the gift was so very meaningful.  They held parties, kept me cheerful and positive as well as allowed me to cry on their shoulders and share my thoughts.

Did You Join A Support Network For Cancer Patients And Survivors?

No.  I didn’t want to spend my time around others who were suffering and hear their experiences.  This may sound selfish and, in a way it was.  I chose to be supported by others who would lift my spirits and make me laugh.

How Did Having Breast Cancer Make You Feel About Your Body?

If you mean my image, then it felt quite odd to look at a body that was no longer symmetrical. Everything about us is symmetrical, well it was for me.  Therefore, looking at myself in the mirror felt very odd.

Looking down on myself was also strange as I was used to my curves and now I had a boob with a straight edge.  I was assured this would soften and round over time and it has.

The abscess caused an unfortunate dip in the center of the scar which I think spoils the amazing job Miss Deol did of trying to retain a natural shape.  I have been offered a fat implant, taking fat from my stomach to fill the gap.  I may have this, not sure.

Generally, I was happy to be alive and worked on being proud of my new original shape and look. My Husband helped me very much to feel beautiful too.

My body is still changing three years on, so decisions about any reconstruction are on hold.  I know I don’t want a stick on, can you imagine? The tattoo idea was appealing but I don’t want one.

What Impact Breast Cancer Had On Your Life?

Interesting question this as I am a person who lives, very much, in the present moment or in the future. Very little attention given to the past unless I am giving it focus for a purpose.

Three weeks after the end of my radiotherapy my husband passed away unexpectedly, so I didn’t really think much more about me.  My health was very good and with lots of rest I was recovering well.  Grief took over really.

I was reflecting on this question and realized I have probably just kept putting one foot in front of another and here we are.  Not a bad thing in my book.

Has Breast Cancer Changed Your Relationship With Nutrition, Exercise and Self-Care?

Yes, all the research I did at the time resulted in my awareness of what sugar does to the body has meant that I try not to eat it too much.  Whenever I can I choose good fresh produce and stay away from sweet cakes. I never did drink fizzy drinks (unless accompanied by Jack Daniels or Gin) so everything in moderation is my philosophy now.

I enjoy food and having the odd alcoholic drink.  Sometimes a Danish pastry jumps into my trolley when I’m shopping!  But I respect my body more now and treat it with kindness.  Not obsession just kindness.

What Would Be Your Message For Women Regarding Screening And Self-Examination?

We are very fortunate to live in a part of the World where we can access medical services, undergo tests to prevent some diseases progressing.  For me I consider screening potentially saved my life.  Self-examination would not have helped me. I do practice this but my cancer was too deep to feel. No lump or anything external to find.

What Would Your Advice Be To Anyone Diagnosed With Breast Cancer?

Take one day at a time.  Be kind to yourself, ask questions and have a voice, ask for what you want and persist.  Do not allow fear to take over your life, but allow it to be your friend.  Thank it for showing up, but ask it nicely to bugger off!

Be open to receiving the help that people offer, but let it be on your terms.  Love yourself the hardest you ever have and be grateful.

My dance with cancer was brief, and my recovery has been wonderfully easy, I am cancer free three years on and sometimes I think I didn’t really go through much as I have friends who have gone through worse and are no longer with us.  But, my experience was mine and I honour that now.

Breast Cancer – The Facts (Breast Cancer Care)Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, one person is diagnosed every 10 minutes.

1 in 8 women in the UK will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month around 5,000 people will be diagnosed.

Breast cancer survival is improving and has doubled in the past 40 years in the UK.

Almost 9 in 10 women survive breast cancer for five years or more.

Every year around 11,500 people die from breast cancer in the UK.

An estimated 691,000 are alive in the UK after a diagnosis of breast cancer. This is predicted to rise to 840,000 in 2020. For many the overwhelming emotional and physical effects of the disease can be long-lasting.

A Breast Cancer Care survey found 1 in 4 women (26%) found the end of treatment the hardest part of breast cancer and only 1 in 10 (10%) said they felt positive and ready to move on when they were discharged from hospital treatment. More than half (53%) struggled with anxiety at the end of treatment and nearly a third (31%) with depression.

If you want to find out more or get involved in supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month this year then take a look at Breast Cancer Care

Inspiring Women Blog Series

We all have a story to share.  As Julie has shown, her story is an incredible one, of positive thinking and using her belief system to help her at a very difficult time in her life.   Her philosophy that no matter what you dream of becoming it is possible, if you embrace life, if you smile instead of frown, if you laugh and play, if you break free from your conditioning and listen to your soul.  Read more….

Your personal journey can be a real inspiration to others.  It may give them courage to talk about their own experiences.  Or it may help them to seek help or give comfort that they are not alone.

So if you have a story to share I’d love to help you.  It doesn’t need to be in the form of recovery from an illness it can simply be your journey.  Every woman I know is an inspiration.  something that may  gruelling physical or mental

By providing your personal details we will only use this to contact you in connection with your enquiry about my Inspiring Women Blog and Vlog Series

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Positive Body Image

Positive Body Image Missing On Love Island

LOVE Island attracted another million viewers from last year’s finale.  It broke records on ITV2 – with 3.6million fans in total tuning in but it discouraged positive body image. 

positive body image missing on Love Island

Why am I interested?  Well frankly I’m not either in the TV series or the viewing figures.  Although I admit to feeling saddened by the number of people hooked on yet another vacuous reality TV show.

But I was interested in was the media spotlight on Body Image, which was in response to the series.

News coverage included fierce debates about cosmetic surgery and use of steroids. Kim Kardashian was under fire for her insensitive remarks about anorexia.  Huff Post also covered the #strongnotskinny perspective.

If you follow my blogs and social media posts, you’ll know that I’m an ardent campaigner of positive body image.

There are enough pressures in life without adding an unhealthy attitude towards our bodies.    I’m an advocate of a healthy mind and body.    Yes we do need to work on the obesity crisis.  We should exercise and not lead a sedentary lifestyle.  We need to eat healthily but at the end of the day we are all different shapes and sizes.

But as a result of so much media attention last week I want to discuss the topics discussed last week, share my views and hopefully get your thoughts too.

77% Of Women Believe Cosmetic Surgery Is Fine

positive body image not cosmetic surgeryWhy do we feel that looking different will make us feel happier?

It’s complex and I’m oversimplifying it here!  But it has a hell of a lot to do with seeking others admiration and approval for the way we look.

We see unattainable body shapes and looks in our celebrity-obsessed culture and on social media.  Many of us honestly believe the fairy tale that says we’ll live a charmed life too if only I look like that.

One woman interviewed last week, said of one of the Love Island contestants, ‘she’s so gorgeous she can have anything she wants’.   Seriously?

This was the same young woman who’d had a boob job after having children in her 20s, because they sagged a bit after breastfeeding.  How sad that she can’t change her perspective.  That she can’t see what an amazing job her body has done in giving birth and nurturing a new life.

Let me be honest here and say that I did have a consultation about having breast augmentation.

I’m anti cosmetic surgery and procedures apart from reconstructive surgery or helping someone with disfiguring scars.  So I was really at odds with my own principles when I booked a consultation to discuss breast augmentation.  It was probably the main reason I couldn’t get out of the consultant’s office fast enough when he leered at me!

I had a wake up call as he stared at my breasts.  Surgery was not going to make me a happier person.   Being accepting of my body was going to have a much greater impact.  I needed to have a positive body image.

 

Up To 1 Million Britons Use Steroids For Image

Despite the well-publicized health risks of steroids, it appears to be a risk worth taking for many.anabolic steroids health risks

The most common age group who begin taking steroids are between 20 and 24.  But teenagers as young as 13 and men as old as 70 are using steroids to improve their body image.

The health risks are extensive and the long-term effects may ultimately result in death.   Risks are of course increased if the source of supply is not reliable.  Given that Steroids are a Class C drug it’s not illegal to take them, but it is to supply.

While not physically dependent, users are psychologically hooked on the way the drugs make them look and feel.     Coming off steroids can lead to serious complications if not done properly. The body needs to be weaned off the drugs and suddenly discontinuing them can lead to serious health issues.

But again I really worry that the misuse of anabolic steroids is another consequence of the pressures we put on ourselves and others put on us.  It’s bad enough when sports people use them to enhance performance.  But when they’re used to improve image that’s another symptom of our image-obsessed society.  But it’s a society that does not have a positive body image.

#Strongnotskinny

#strongnotskinnyAn interesting article published in the Huffington Post last month considered the unhealthy heroin chic of the 90s.  Katie Bishop asked if Heroin Chic had simply been replaced by an alternative equally unattainable culture of #strongnotskinny.

The blog points out that for most of us, sculpted abs and well-defined butt muscles are not the norm.  While mermaid thighs are more realistic than a thigh gap; the #fitspo movement has created another unobtainable body form rather than a positive body image.

I largely agree with Katie Bishop, that positive body image is complex.  But for me it’s all about getting our mental and emotional well being right.

That basic education has to start in the home for young children, who need to be given positive role models and attitudes towards food and body image.   Fads about food and attitude to body image can and will be picked up by impressionable young minds.

As a Society we need to change our attitudes to many things so that young people have healthier role models to follow.    Schools, communities and media all have a part to play.

We’ll never totally eradicate our perception of an idealized body shape. We’ve got some very basic instincts that program us when we’re looking for a mate.

But we can choose to accept a positive body image and be more accepting of our bodies regardless of shape and size.   Let’s make this the new ‘style’ for body image and not a fashion.   Fashion fades style is eternal – Coco Chanel.

It’s ‘Simple’ Really!

The bottom line is that we need to retrain our thinking and learn a healthier approach to encourage positive body image.

If you’re struggling to love your body, why not download my 3 Awesome Tips to Body Confidence, which will help you have a much more positive approach.

 

 

 

 

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How To Be A Positive Influence On Body Image

chris hoy body imageLast week you may have seen my rant on FB against Sir Chris Hoy’s insensitive remarks about MAMILs (Middle-Aged Men In Lycra).   I was outraged that Sir Chris, a great role model for sport, could be so crass.  How dare he criticise people who were trying to lead a more active lifestyle?

However, before I get overheated again, as the T-shirt I’m wearing is non-wicking, I should say that he redeemed himself 24 hours later! Sir Chris put his bike into reverse and admitted that his words were harsh. Thanks, Sir Chris, you went back up in my estimations for that!

Body image hits the news stories almost every day. This week seems to have seen particular frenzy but they all have all have a worrying theme. It seems like we’re spending a lot of time worrying about what we look like and obsessing over unhealthy body images.

Consequently Sir Chris’s comments prompted me to share some of this week’s stories, as I want to reflect on some of the issues.

Sir Chris Hoy: MAMILs Over 8 Stone Shouldn’t Wear Lycra

First of all I’d like to say that anyone calling out anyone for what they are wearing when they are exercising needs squashing fast!

These ‘Lycra Shamers’ need to think about what it’s taken that person to get into the gym, out running/training or in to the swimming pool. Consider how self-conscious they might be feeling about showing their bodies to strangers.

Gyms can be intimidating places apart from anything else many of them have walls full of mirrors. While these are not actually for self-adulation, they can add to any feelings of being self-conscious when you’re working out.

How people feel about the way they look in gym clothing does sometimes prevent them from exercising or scares them off from regular attendance. Instead let’s be inclusive and encouraging.

You Must Talk To Your Sons About Body Image

I’ve seen at least two articles this week about the alarming growth in muscle dysmorphia among teenage boys. It’s the male equivalent of size 0 where adolescents and Millennials are striving for the perfect ripped effect.

The concerns are that this is leading to a culture of gym obsession, overtraining, and an unhealthy relationship with food. Again this is about tipping points and what is a normal relationship with eating well and exercising to what becomes a emotional and physical health risk.

A friend commented on a post I’d shared on FB. One of her sons is a normal healthy looking boy who is panicking that he’s fat. As she said it’s such a difficult tightrope to walk for children and parents supporting them.

TO THE BONE POSTER BODY IMAGEDon’t Talk About Diets In Front Of Your Daughters

This story dominated the front page of the Evening Standard on Wednesday.

Deputy Headmistress Fionnuala Kennedy was compelled to write to parents of pupils at Wimbledon High School after watching ‘To The Bone’ (Netflix Drama). To The Bone, according to critics, glamorizes anorexia.

Ms Kennedy was horrified that teenage girls would watch this drama over the holidays and use social media to discuss the points it raised.

Consequently she also used her letter to parents to stress the pressures faced by young girls in regard to their bodies.

She urged parents to act as positive role models.  Furthermore her advice was that parents constantly talking about dieting or following a restrictive diet were not acting in the best interests of their daughters.

Pink Packs A Punch With VMA Speech To Her Daughter

Pop singer and crusader Pink used her acceptance of the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award this week to communicate a powerful message about positive body image.

Pink relayed a conversation with her six-year old daughter who had told her apropos of nothing “I’m the ugliest girl I know. I look like a boy with long hair!”

Pink is often criticized for being too masculine and she posed four powerful, questions to Willow. “I said to her, ‘Do you see me growing my hair?’ She said, ‘No, mama.’ ‘Do you see me changing my body?’ ‘No, mama.’ ‘Do you see me changing the way I present myself to the world?’ ‘No, mama.’ ‘Do you see me selling out arenas all over the world?’ ‘Yes, mama.'” And that’s how it’s done.

Images of Slim Women Distort Our Perception Of Body Imagebody image

We are continually bombarded with images of extremely slim or underweight women by mass media.

This is having a negative impact on women’s health according to researchers at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

The researchers claim that looking at images of slim women for just 15 minutes changes our perception of the ideal female body.

So does this show that if we were exposed to less ‘thinspo’ and a more achievable body image that we’d have less eating disorders and negative body image. I suspect that the media has an influence on women who are already vulnerable – I don’t subscribe to a theory that we become anorexic or depressed simply by looking at images.

So What Does All This Mean?

Good question! My own views are:

  • Offer positive support to anyone making an effort to lead a healthier more active lifestyle. Encourage them and don’t make them feel awkward.
  • It’s our duty as parents, teachers and influencers to educate the younger generation. Offer them a safe environment to share their concerns and worries.
  • Don’t set a bad example. As a child I remember that my mother was often on a diet. This influenced me and was a sub-conscious contributor to my own eating disorder.
  • We shouldn’t blame the media for causing a distorted view of ideal body image. But I strongly believe is that the media is an influence. However, so does Society and our good old friend social media.

Now it’s over to you. Please share your thoughts and views on this. Do you agree with my comments? If not what are your views? How can we improve our perception of ourselves without obsessing about body image?

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be authentic

Being Authentic Is Easy If You Know How

One of the current buzzwords is authenticity. Being authentic in the way we act, we communicate and do business. Hurrah! – I’m all for it!  I want to do business with people that I believe are genuine, have similar core values and the same kind of integrity that I hold dear.

Equally I want my clients to feel that they are getting the real me. For me being authentic is a whole lot easier than masquerading as a version of me! Afterall it’s so liberating to just be oneself?

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than you – Dr Seuss

Being Authentic Dr Seuss

 

OMG don’t you just love Dr Seuss?

As a child every Saturday we’d visit the local library as a family. On arrival I’d rush to the children’s section, scouring the shelves for Dr Seuss books. It didn’t matter that I’d borrowed every one of them multiple times!

Now back to being authentic. Authenticity is something that we need to feel both internally and externally. So naturally this extends to the way we dress.

If we don’t feel authentic and true to ourselves with our style, we’re likely to feel uncomfortable.   If we’re not comfortable with the way we dress and appear to the outside world this will show up and we will not be confident. This impacts our life in many ways as I explained in my post last week Clothing Choices: How To Have A Great Day.

So how can we ensure that we are being authentic when it comes to our wardrobe?

Stop People Pleasing

Hands up if you remember as teenager being told: ‘You’re not going out dressed like that!’ What was your reaction?

Having spent hours getting ready you were probably pleased with the outcome.  So how did you react to that onslaught? No doubt you were angry or upset? You may have stormed upstairs to change or just rushed out slamming the door behind you. Neither option being a positive outcome!  Our early wardrobe influencers often have a lot to answer for!

stop people pleasing

My father hated green. Result was that neither my mother nor I owned a single green garment between us. Before I had my colours done and appreciated which shades of green really suit me, I’d acquired every type of green in my wardrobe after my father died! I’m still in a bit of a rebellious phase wearing the odd splash of lime green, which is not in my palette!

But seriously it’s about dressing for you and not for others. If you are being authentic in your style you will feel more confident.

Accept Your Ugly Bits

Being authentic is about accepting yourself for who you are. It’s about accepting yourself and loving the good bits about your body.

Stop being so critical and really look at your body. Embrace the positives about your body. Even if seems insignificant use it as a starting point.

Take for example the colour of your eyes. You can really highlight this by wearing colours that make your eyes stand out.

highlight the parts you love

Recently when I was working with a client I asked her to tell me which parts of her body she loved. She told me that she really embraced her curves, how she felt sexy and feminine. She told me how she hated her thighs and wished her legs were thinner. Then she stopped and started to laugh.

An ‘aha moment’ as she realised that if her legs were skinny she’d look out of proportion.

Live Your Truth

As your life changes you may feel that to be authentic your wardrobe needs a makeover.

If you are going through a major life change, it can be a catalyst for seeking help with your style. I refer to this as the Chrysalis stage, as the butterfly starts to emerge and spread its beautiful wings. You want them to shine out and be authentic to you.

being authentic living your truth

Working with one client recently, she proudly showed me her recent purchase, a biker jacket.  This was a statement piece that she wanted to embrace a new phase in her life.   But to be authentic she wanted to embrace her soft feminine style.

We worked with the jacket pairing it with various accessories and in addition to the jeans/boots and soft blouse look, we created outfits with jersey dresses to create a gentle rock chic style.

Listen To Your Body

Sometimes being authentic is simply about listening to the messages your body is giving you.

There are some days when I want to feel nurtured.  All I want are soft natural fibres close to my skin. I want to be in touch with nature and feel its healing powers. I find it difficult to do this if I’m wearing man made fabrics.

listen to your body

Equally to be authentic to the way I’m feeling I want bright bold colours and fabrics that cling to my body in the right places. I want to stand out from the crowd. Sometimes I’m drawn to certain colours and other days where the same colour won’t look the same.

Your subconscious is often more in tune with your wardrobe than you give it credit for! Don’t fight it and let it guide you.

Don’t Always Speak The Truth

You are asked by a friend what you think about her new dress.   Believing it to be awful how do you handle it?

Being Authentic and Speaking the Truth

Do you feel it is better to just state your opinion and would you expect that from your friends in return?

Many of us do feel it’s important to be honest with our friends but equally we don’t want to upset them.

But remember that often when we are asking for someone’s opinion it’s because we don’t trust our own judgment.  We feel that something’s not right or we want our decision to be ratified.

So why not ask your friend what she likes about the dress. Ask her how does it make her feel?   You may draw out of her what she’s uncertain about so that she then makes a decision on the dress.

BTW from a professional point of view I would then expand on what worked with the dress and what doesn’t work.   As I see my role as a style coach and educator.

I want to leave you with one more thought about being authentic

be who you are

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clothing choices confidence

Clothing Choices: How To Have A Great Day

 

clothing choices confidence

I left the house today for a series of meetings and wanted to make an impact.

It was hot and I was going to be spending a lot of time in the car and wandering around.  So I chose a sleeveless sundress which wouldn’t crease when I got hot.   There’s nothing worse when you’re wilting in the heat to think that your clothes are dissolving into a heap too.  I also chose some distinctive sandals.

But there were deeper reasons why I decided on this particular outfit.  The last time I’d worn it had been to a fashion event in London and I’d received some great complements.  I’d worn it before at a networking event and several people had told me I looked lovely.

Complements make us feel good and give us confidence.  While basing our clothing choices purely on the opinions of others isn’t a great idea, there’s nothing wrong in having our own decisions about our wardrobe ratified.

It worked! Five minutes after I’d parked the car I was stopped by a lovely gentleman who told me what a beautiful dress I was wearing.  He went on to say how he loved to see people when they really made an effort to dress well. Result?  I had a very successful first meeting (not with the gentleman who had commented I hasten to add!).

My second meeting was also a great success and by the time I got to my third meeting of the day I was flying high as a kite (nothing to do with the quantity of caffeine ingested!).

Conversely do you find yourself resorting to well-worn comfort clothes when things aren’t going so well?  Our clothes can have such a big impact on us that it can distort our thoughts and judgements said Professor Karen J Pine.

The clothes we wear affect our behaviour, attitudes, mood, confidence, and how others respond to us.  Termed “Enclothed Cognition“ by Adam Galinsky and Hajo Adam.

clothing choices impact our behaviour

Let’s consider each of these elements in turn.

 

The Way We Behave

Take my example today.  I had just received a complement about my appearance, which reinforced my decision on my outfit, but more importantly made me feel fabulous.   The energy I exuded was positive and bubbly and helped to build the rapport quickly with the other party.

I’m not the only one testing this theory!  There have been more scientific studies have been carried out than my example today!

In one such study 50% of students taking a cognitive test were asked to wear a white coat. They were told that the coat belonged to a doctor. The students wearing the coat performed better in the tests than those who were not wearing the white coat.

We attach a symbolic meaning to our clothes. So using the doctors coats as an example. We associate doctors as:

  • Careful
  • Meticulous
  • Rigorous
  • Educated

 

Our Attitude

Today my outfit choice meant that I was feeling really positive.   I didn’t have to try hard I could simply be myself in meetings, feeling confident will automatically help us to relax.

Again this theory has been tested by psychologists.  In a study carried out at Harvard, this was tested by giving participants a pair of sunglasses.

Half of the group had been told they were wearing genuine designer sunglasses. The remaining members of the group were informed that their glasses were fake designer sunglasses.

The group was then given a competitive game as an exercise.  Those who were told they were counterfeit glasses were more prepared to cheat in a game that the group was assigned. They were also more suspicious of others!

Our Mood

How do heels make you feel? Most women feel more powerful when they are wearing heels, they act more confidently.  I certainly do although wearing heels was not even a consideration for  me running around between meetings in 27 Degrees!

So can our clothing choices have the opposite effect?

One woman I know has a ‘grumpy jumper’.   If she’s going through a low period she allows herself to put on the grumpy jumper and to allow herself to work through the emotions. When she is ready to face the world again the grumpy jumper gets consigned to the back of the drawer.

We can choose to dress for the way we feel when we get dressed. Alternatively we can dress for the way we want to feel.    I work from home a lot and my clothing choices around the house are pretty casual when I’m at my computer all day.  But when I come back from a meeting although I do get changed into jeans, shorts etc, I’ll usually leave my jewellery on.  It’s amazing how different this makes me feel.

clothing choices heels

Our Confidence

Who has heard of the Red Hat Society?   The idea originated from Sue Cooper in 1997.

Sue  bought herself a red fedora from a charity shop for $7.50 as a present to herself to celebrate her 50th birthday.

She immediately noticed how confident, liberated and playful she felt when she wore her red fedora. So Sue started to buy her friends a red hat for their birthdays. They added a purple outfit to their red hats and so the Red Hat Society was born.

With over a million members globally the Red Hat Society is a sisterhood. It’s a powerful social group which has helped to empower women. They spread their playful and positive approach to aging across the world.

A date for your diary – 25th April – The official Red Hat Society Day.

clothing choices red hat society

How Others Respond To Us

A study carried out at University of Hertfordshire, participants volunteered to have their photo taken in roughly the same body position.

The participants were asked to complete a questionnaire about their mood at the time they got dressed that morning.  After they had been photographed the research team pixelated out their faces from the images.

A second group were given the images and asked to determine the subject’s mood purely from the clothes they were wearing.

The study revealed a high level of accuracy in being able to determine the wearer’s mood by sampling looking at the clothing choices.

 

So how can we give ourselves a confidence boost every time we get dressed?

 

Know Your Colours

If we wear the right colours we look healthy and radiant. Other people are drawn towards us and want to engage with us.

They won’t necessarily know why they are drawn to looking directly into our eyes.

This can be really powerful if you’re meeting with someone and want to ensure their attention!

Conversely if we wear the wrong colours we can look tired or unwell. The colours may overwhelm us and people can be distracted by what we are wearing.

Have you ever been asked if you’re feeling okay, but until that point you’d been feeling fine?  What’s your reaction? Do you surreptitiously start feeling your forehead? Or do you make an excuse to disappear to the loo and poke your tongue in the mirror?

Well don’t – chances are that you’re simply wearing the wrong colours!

finding your style recipe

Understand What Suits You

Sadly most of us spend far too much time worrying about what we don’t love about our bodies.

80% of women are unhappy with their body image in the UK

87% of women opt out of an activity due to the way they feel about their body

These statistics are frankly frightening.  These findings are from the survey commissioned by Unilever as part of the Dove BeReal Campaign.

Wearing clothing that flatters your body is going to make you feel more confident. This applies to all of us, regardless of gender.

Style is a game of illusion. We can use styles, patterns, prints and textures to draw the eye in certain directions and change our shape. Conversely we can draw unwanted attention by wearing the wrong thing.

Take one very simple example. If you are a petite woman with an oversized handbag, this will have the effect of making you look even more petite.

Equally if you are a large scaled woman, and you carry a small clutch bag you will look bigger.

 

Clothing Choices Are Just About Colour and Style?

Not really we also need to think about our personality and how this is visible from our clothing choices.

With seconds to make that vital first impression, how much easier is it when someone ‘gets us’ immediately.

93% of communication when we first meet someone is non-verbal.

While our clothing isn’t the main factor in that non-verbal communication, it has more than a bit part to play.  So how do we express ourselves through our clothes?

By thinking about our clothing choices and what they say to the world.

Someone who is looking to appear calm and serene is hardly likely to rock up in a neon pink jumpsuit.   This is an extreme example but illustrates the point.

clothing choices reflect our personality

Discovering Your Style Recipe

When you’re thinking about the messages you want to communicate I’d recommend you start by doing this exercise. Keep a journal based on you, your wardrobe and your clothing choices.

The things you will be taking note of on a daily basis are:

  1. What Was I Wearing – remember how your clothing choices made you feel. Are there some pieces that are your ‘go to outfits’, in which you feel really confident?
  2. Do some items in your wardrobe attract complements when you wear them? They might not be clothes but could be accessories. Note these down too.
  3. Are there some colours that you wear that attract more complements or make you feel happier when you wear them?

Do this exercise for at least a couple of weeks.

When you’ve done this see what emerges. You will see some patterns emerging from your clothing choices. Whether it’s colours, shapes, fabric textures.

Take photos of the clothes that make you feel special and the ones you receive complements when wearing.

Look at the images – what words spring to mind? Become more mindful of the clothing choices that make you feel fabulous. This in itself will do wonders for your self-confidence!

I’d love to hear from you about your experiences of the way your wardrobe can help you to have a really fantastic day.

If you’d like to explore how I can help you to discover your style and make clothing choices that help you to feel fantastic, why not book a 30-minute call with me?

 

 

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How To Look Awesome In A Skirt

So what skirt styles are ‘in’ or rather on trend for Spring Summer 2017?

Anyone who knows me will be scratching his or her head in wonder at that one!

I don’t do trends!  While I’d love to claim Coco Chanel’s lovely quote for my own, fashion is not and shouldn’t be the primary reason for buying clothes.

Coco Chanel quote fashion

Whenever a client asks me about trends I suggest they simply ignore them. But depending where you shop this isn’t always possible.

It’s worth noting that when fashion buyers are looking what they believe will sell, trends play a part. Remember the buyers are now making decisions about what will sell in 6-9 months’ time so need to start somewhere!

Right now we’re in the midst of the fashion shows for Autumn Winter 2017. This is while stock is being unwrapped for Spring Summer 2017.  It’s an exciting and stressful time of year if you work in fashion.

It got me thinking about this week’s post and in particular which style skirts are going to be available. But more importantly who can wear them.

What To Consider With Skirt Styles

The factors you want to consider when choosing what skirt styles to buy, are broadly the same as other garments:

  1. Style – its fullness and cut. Which skirt styles are right for you will be determined by your body shape
  2. Length – this is important for your height, the shape and length of your legs.
  3. Fabric – texture and print – this takes into account the size of your frame
  4. Colour – the most important colours to get right are those close to your face. But as I tell my clients it’s much easier to co-ordinate your wardrobe if you buy from your colour palette.
  5. Details – the pockets, pleats and embellishments that designers add to finish a style

But at the end of the day, the most important thing to consider is whether the design is right for you and the message you want to convey through your clothes.

Let’s take a look at the key skirt styles that are showing up in the new collections for Spring Summer 2017 and who can wear them.  I want to warn you that this gets a bit frustrating!

We begin talking about what I call proper trends! These are obvious skirt styles. Then the collective changes more to skirt lengths, which cover multiple styles.

This drives me mad, as it seems like the goal posts have moved! My perception is that this is the fashion media’s attempt to group and order things in a logical way.

Ruffle Skirt Styles

Ruffle Skirt Top Shop

Ruffle Skirts

With the emergence of the throwback to the 1980s, it’s no surprise that ruffles are making an appearance.    On the SS2017 catwalks, ruffle style skirts were very popular. I’m delighted to say that this look has been toned down for the high street audience.

As much as I think the designs are superb, the look is much more of a catwalk style than something that translates to the High Street.

Who Can Wear Ruffle Style Skirts?  The simple answer is anyone who has narrower hips than shoulders. So this means:

An inverted triangle body shape looking to create balance on her lower half

An athletic body shape and is looking to create curves. Just be careful that the bottom half doesn’t become too out of balance with the top half.

If you are tall and have long legs a ruffle style skirt will look great. But if you have wider hips than your shoulders and your legs are not slender, avoid ruffle style skirts. They will add bulk and draw attention to the wrong places!

Tiered Skirts Romantic ‘Boho Chic’

With very feminine looks on the catwalk for Spring Summer, there were quite a few tiered skirt styles on the runway.

These do not appear in the new styles being released by retailers at the moment for spring styles. But I would not be surprised to see tiered skirt styles in the summer collections for the festival and holiday seasons.

Tiered skirts, like ruffle skirt styles, work most effectively for inverted triangle body shape.   They are also great for athletic body shapes. They are a very feminine look. Tiered skirt styles can be made to look more boho and less ‘girly’ with denim or leather jackets, and ankle boots. The latter providing it’s not too hot!

If you are a curvy petite frame or curvy hips or a tummy then avoid tiered skirts as they will not flatter your lovely curves.

If you are slender petite frame you can wear tiered skirts if they are not bulky. Bulky skirts will simply overwhelm your body.

Pencil Skirt Styles

John Lewis Pencil Skirt

Pencil Skirts A Return To The 1980s?

As we’re looking back at the 1980s there’s no escaping the pencil skirt styles.

Pencil skirts look fabulous on all body shapes. But you need to pay attention to the fabric, how tapered the skirt styles are towards the hem. If you are a pear shaped body and carry weight around your hips then avoid pencil skirts that are too tapered.

If you have an hourglass body shape, you will look particularly amazing in a pencil skirt that accentuates your curves and your waistline.

Pencil skirt styles in the 1980s were focused on power dressing and were often the skirt design for a women’s suit. Later they became more noticeable in eveningwear, clinging fabrics or sequins.

Style tip – if you feel overdressed in pencil skirt styles then dress them down with denim jackets or a camisole top and an over-shirt.

Midi Skirts

There is no prescriptive length for a midi skirt. The hemline can fall just above the ankle right up to mid-calf.

Midi skirt styles vary immensely. The most popular styles for midi skirts are: A line, full skirts, pencil styles, pleated skirts or wrap over.

But midi skirt styles are not for everyone.

If you are a slender petite frame then be cautious with midi skirts, unless they are slender styles. The danger is that they will overwhelm you.   You can play down the effect with high heels.

For curvy petite women midi skirt styles are not a great look. With a horizontal line across your calves making you look shorter and broader.

For taller women and in particular athletic body shapes or inverted triangle body shapes a midi skirt will look great to create curves and balance on your bottom half.

Desigual Mini Skire

Desigual Mini Skirt

Mini Skirts

Again not a skirt shape but they do refer to the length.

Like midi skirts the mini has no formal length. The hemline can rest anywhere on your thighs.     Mini skirts can be figure hugging, straight or pleated or a flared out skater skirt.

Great legs? Show them off with a mini skirt. If you are tall or petite, mini skirts will look fabulous.

If you have broad hips and thighs then mini skirt styles are not really for you.

Wearing a mini skirt is partly about making a statement and you need to have the self-confidence to do that.

In winter it can be easier. I will team a dark mini skirt with opaque tights and boots and will be incredibly confident.

I wouldn’t feel so happy to wear a mini skirt in warmer weather with bare legs.

Tips To Consider

If you want to wear a skirt but are not sure what suits you and really don’t have the patience to shop around, then consider:

  1. Flattering length for most women is around knee length. So the hemline finishes just above or below the knee.
  2. Straight to Pencil Skirts are broadly speaking the most flattering skirt styles for most body shapes
  3. If you have broader hips and thighs don’t try to hide this look under A lines or voluminous shapes. It will have the opposite effect
  4. If you are wearing skirts that are quite figure hugging, look in the mirror before you leave the house. You don’t want a VPL!
  5. Have fun with skirts! Skirts can be really versatile and great way to mix and match your wardrobe.

I’d love to hear about your favourite skirt styles in the comments below.

 

 

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large bust styling tips

How To Embrace And Love Your Large Bust

This week’s post looks at how to embrace your large bust and how to dress to love your curves!

large bust wardrobe malfunction

A large bust can create a number of problems. Not least of all a desire to hide it away. Women with a large bust often suffer from;

  1. Unwanted attention, from men who are fascinated by a large bust;
  2. Not being taken seriously by others – particularly in the workplace
  3. The potential for wardrobe malfunctions
  4. Many women with a large bust suffer from back pain
  5. Women with a large bust sometimes find it difficult to lie on their back.

So how do you get comfortable with a large bust, not just physically but also in terms of styling it up?

large bust styling tips

A Good Fitting Bra

It goes without saying (or at least I hope it does) with a large bust you must wear a well-fitted bra.
It’s very important that you renew your bras regularly. Don’t just keep hanging on to a bra because it’s comfortable. Chances are that the more comfortable it feels the less support it’s providing.

This does not just apply to women with a large bust but I always recommend getting your bra fitting checked every time you buy a new one. Different styles, brands and your body all change. That’s a lot of variables to consider in terms of the fit.

For example I took a bra back recently that I’d only bought two weeks ago

I might have felt awkward had I not known that you can fluctuate bra sizes. This can be due to the a number of factors from the stage of your menstrual cycle to the temperature in the changing room

Large Bust Style Tips

Now that’s where the general advice for women with a large bust stops! Why? A large bust is not the only thing that defines your clothing choices. While it may seem like it at times! You need to primarily consider your body shape, scale and proportion. With these factors in mind you then need to consider your large bust.

I will share with you some key styling tips for women with a large bust. But I will point out, where applicable, the differences for body shape and height. If you are not sure which body shape you are check out my guide to determining your shape.

dress for a large bust marisota-jd-williams

Marisota – wrap over dress with V-neck

Dresses

If you have a large bust, you probably struggle to find a dress that fits? When you do find one to fit your bust, it’s likely to be too big everywhere else.

But hopefully I can show you that it’s not all gloom and doom. The first thing to consider is that you want to show off your lovely curves and so you do not want to hide in a big voluminous shapeless tent.

You want to consider stretchy fabrics that will flatter your figure and enhance your shape.

If you are an apple body shape and carry weight around your tummy then look for A line styles that fall from the bust line but have shape.

An hourglass body shape look for styles that will flatter and show off your curves. If you are an inverted triangle body shape, you want to create curves. For both body shapes a wrap dress is perfect.

With a V-neck and an asymmetric style this will show off your large bust and perfectly enhance your curves. You can also add a belt to emphasize your waist.

If you are comfortable wearing a one-shoulder dress this will look fabulous with a large bust. The asymmetric neckline will flatter your curves. However, you need to be comfortable that you have a strapless bra that will give you the support.

The most flattering sleeve length regardless of your body shape is three quarter length. Avoid sleeves that end in line with your bust as this will simply make you look broader.

Jackets and Coats

coat for large breasts curvissa-coat

Curvissa – single breasted coat

Keep lapels narrow on jackets.

You want to flatter your silhouette and show off your shape, but not add width. Single-breasted jackets are a good option with a deep v. neck.

Perhaps you find that a jacket that fits on your bust may be too big everywhere else? If so, choose styles that can be worn open, but still offer some shape.

For example an edge-to-edge shape jacket will create vertical lines to elongate your shape.

Avoid anything that has no shape, or is a chunky fabric, this will simply make you look much bigger.

In terms of jacket length, this will depend on your body shape.

Jackets should not end on the widest part of your body. Equally you don’t want a jacket that is too cropped and ends just below your bust. It will simply make it look larger!

For coats a similar principle applies. You want shape – cocoon or blanket coats are simply not for you. You want some structure. If you are an apple shape then look for the structure to come from just above the tummy. If you are an hourglass, you want coats with a belt to emphasize your waist. For an inverted triangle look for coats that have a belt to create a waist.

If you are petite then consider coats that end above the knee line.   If you are taller then wearing a coat with a hemline below the knee will elongate your shape.

 Tops

blouse for large breasts bounteousV-Necks are your best friends and will enhance a large bust.  V-necks will elongate your body and draw the eye upwards. A deep curve will also look good.

Figure hugging wrap-over tops are a great option and will flatter your shape if you have a large bust.  If the V-neck is a bit deep try wearing a cami top underneath.

Avoid anything with details around the neckline – ruffles, bows and cowl necks are not great looks for anyone with a large bust. Avoid breast pockets. These all add unnecessary bulk to your large bust.

I would not advise wearing a turtleneck. It simply makes your large bust look even bigger because of the expanse of fabric from your chest to your neckline.

The exception is to wear a turtleneck with a scarf or necklace, One potential danger of wearing a scarf, is that you get too hot with the turtleneck and remove your scarf.

If you have a large bust then blouses in a traditional shirt style are a real challenge and represent a serious danger of a wardrobe malfunction. Gaping or worse still a button coming undone will just mean total embarrassment.

One option is to invest in a handmade shirt, designed for a large bust. These are not a cheap option but if you want a tailored look for special occasions this may be an option.

Alternatively if you have a smaller frame with a large bust, check out my link below to Bounteous, as an option.

Choose fabrics that will show off your curves and avoid those that are too light and will create volume.

 

Accessories

Jewellery

You can also add jewellery to draw the eye upwards to your face, but avoid long pendant necklaces that sit in your cleavage and require fishing out! Also avoid big chunky necklaces, which lie on top of your bust.

You want to choose necklaces that finish above your bust line and add detail.

You don’t want anything that is too delicate. This will simply make your large bust look bigger as the necklace will look smaller. A large pendant from a short chain is a fabulous look.

 

Belts

Depending on your body shape, adding a belt may help to draw attention to your waist and away from your large bust.

If you have an inverted triangle body shape, a belt will help define your curves. Or if you are a curvy hourglass body a belt will help to further define your curves.

But if you are petite (regardless of body shape) avoid a belt in a contrasting colour as this will simply add a horizontal line and make you look shorter.

 

Handbagsbags for large bust zulily-handbag

If you have a large bust then avoid a handbag that sits on your shoulder and ends in line with your bust.

This will simply create width at your widest point. Instead look for will simply create more bulk at your widest point. Instead look for bags that end at your waist.

You will probably find cross body bags uncomfortable, but even if they do work for you they are not going to look great with a large bust.

 

Shopping Guide

Bras

Brands to consider for large busts are: Bravissimo Elomi Royce

Blouses

Handmade tailored blouses Cast

For a petite frame Bounteous

All Items

It’s also worth checking out a site called Zulily.

Zulily caters for all sizes, menswear and children. It is an American site which features up and coming designers.

The stock is heavily discounted (up to 70% off) and is only available for only three days.

Items ship from America, but they handle the import so you just receive items as a UK delivery. If you need to return goods you return to a UK address.

The lead-time is the only drawback, but from my experience the wait has been worth it.

Conclusion

Embrace your gorgeous curves.   You are beautiful and you will draw attention if you have a large bust, so make sure you’re making the most of your beautiful body!  If you have any shopping suggestions then please share them in the comments below.

 

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small boobs styling tips

How Excited Would You Be To Increase A Cup Size?

If you have a large bust then you’re probably shaking your head in despair at the thought of a bigger bust.  But if like me you have small boobs then you might be nodding enthusiastically?

I recently got fitted for a new bra and found that I’d gone down a chest size but up a cup size. As someone who spent years lamenting my pancake chest I was grinning like a Cheshire cat!

Over the past 18 months I’ve added box fit and weight training classes into my workout routine. One of the positive effects this is apparently having is to reduce my back fat.

boxing training and weight training

But as I’ve mentioned before in my recent blog how many of us wish we were taller, the grass always seems greener!

A survey carried out by the Daily Mirror in 2015 found that 30% of women don’t like their boobs. Interestingly 20% of those surveyed wanted smaller boobs and 20% longed for a bigger bust!

While surgery may be an option, for most of us it’s about embracing our bodies. By following and applying a few styling tips we can make the most of our lovely busts.

Regardless of whether you have a bigger bust or smaller boobs all of us should get fitted for the right bra.

I’ve got small boobs – why do I need a bra?

I spent years not bothering with a bra – after all I had nothing to put in them!  As I recovered from anorexia and gained some weight, I saw my shape change.

I still wasn’t convinced I needed a bra. A chat with a lingerie expert made me realize I was wrong.

It’s obvious when you have a bigger bust that you need the support but why do you need one when you have small boobs?

  1. Gravity – sorry but regardless of your small boobs, time marches on! As we get older the ligaments that hold up your breasts will start to sag.
  2. Posture – you carry more weight at the front. Even with small boobs! The result is that your shoulders will start to slump forward.
  3. Confidence – the right bra will enhance your small boobs. It will give you shape and definition.   A bra can offer a real confidence boost.

 small boobs buying a bra

 Styling Tips For Small Boobs

So if you have smaller boobs what are the best styling tips I can give you to help you embrace and enhance your assets?

This will depend on your shape scale and proportion but if you have small boobs you are more likely to be:

  1. An athletic body shape -slender shape with no real curves. Or
  2. A pear shaped body smaller on top with larger hips

My tips will indicate any differences for your body shape.

Jackets

You want to add width to your top half; so wide lapels are perfect for this.  Double-breasted jackets are another great way to make the eye believe your top half is broader

In terms of jacket shape, choose something structured that defines or creates a waist.  You can also use shoulder pads to add shape and definition to your top half.

Small Boobs - Look great in double breasted jackets

Karen Millen – Double Breasted Jacket

Printed fabrics are another great way to make enhance your small boobs.

In terms of jacket length, this will depend on your body shape:

Pear Shaped Body – you want to avoid jackets that end on the widest part of your hips, as this will simply create a horizontal line and make you look broader.   Your best shape will be something that ends just below your hips

Athletic Body Shape – you want a jacket that will create the illusion of curves, so look for a jacket that ends on top of your hips.

Tops

You may be self-conscious about your top half but you have a great opportunity to wear tops that show off your small boobs.

Add detail with cowl necks or high necks. The trend for ruffle blouses is one that really works for you.   Pussy bow blouses are another option.

small boobs ruffle neck blouse

Ruffle Neck Blouse – Topshop

You can also add jewellery to draw the eye upwards. Another great trend that works for you this season are the choker necklaces.

You can also wear slash necks or crew necks. Scarves can also add another dimension of interest and add volume to your top half.

A shirt with a traditional collar unbuttoned at the top will also draw the eye upward.  Gathers and details that create shape are a great way to add definition and shape.

Halter necks are another option if you have an athletic body shape. The narrowing effect of a halter will not work for a pear shaped body.

Dresses

If you have small boobs and are a pear shaped body you may struggle to find dresses that fit properly.

One option is to choose a vintage 1950s style. But be careful that the skirt is not too full or the fabric too stiff. As this will simply have the effect of making your hips look wider.   You want fabrics that will skim your hips.

If you are an athletic body shape then shirt-dresses are a good choice for you and accentuate your waist with a belt. Shirt-dresses will often have a breast pocket. This is great if you have small boobs, as this will add volume.

You  may also want to consider backless dresses. Backless dresses cannot be worn with a bra, but many styles offer shaping around the bust line and a level of support.

Articles that I’ve read recently suggest that women with small boobs should go for a plunging neckline.  You may suffer from unwanted remarks and be too self-conscious to carry this off.

small boobs warehouse shirt dress

Warehouse Shirt Dress

Nuggets

The following are a few quick tips you might find useful

  1. Handbag – if you like to wear your handbag on your shoulder, ensure the strap length means the bag finishes in line with your bust. This will add volume to your top half.
  2. Trousers – this is for tall athletic body shape – wear flares to help add width and balance to your overall body shape
  3. Stripes – Wider stripes will make you look broader. Just be careful if you are a pear shaped body that the stripes end before your hips.
  4. Keep colours on your bottom half darker and plainer. This is important as well if you don’t want to draw attention to your hips.
  5. Layers on your top half will help to create volume. Bolero jackets and shrugs work well if you have a pear shaped body.

Conclusion

Embrace your body and learn to love your small boobs. Remember you are beautiful. That’s really the best possible advice I can give you!  If you have small boobs and would like to share your tips in the comments below that would be perfect!

 

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taller woman

Wouldn’t You Just Love To Be A Taller Woman?

Hands up those of us who are average height or below and have dreamt what it would be like to be a taller woman?

Many of us believe that those added inches would make all our style issues simply evaporate!

Well as we know the grass is always greener isn’t it?

grass greener taller woman

Now put yourself in the shoes of someone who is >5’10” (1.78M), so considered a taller woman. While it might feel great to survey the world from a different perspective; think about the challenges you face and if you’re stepping into those shoes you will probably find that they are too big!

Just for a moment envisage what it might be like to struggle to battle with jeans which appear to have a Mexican stand off with your shoes and sleeves that argue with your wrists!

Add to that a posture with a few legacy challenges; as you struggled not to be taller than your friends during that frenzied teenage growth spurt.

Like most style challenges if you are a taller woman it’s about following a framework. But as I will keep reiterating it’s about how you express yourself in a way that feels right for you.

Like my recent blog about petite fashion, if you are a taller woman you are not a unique body shape. Being tall is another dimension on top of your body shape. You are most likely to be either a slender athletic shape, an inverted triangle or a pear body shape.

I hope that the following tips and advice, along with my suggestions on where you can shop will be useful if you are a taller woman.

1. Jeans and Trousers

If you are a tall slender athletic body shape or an inverted triangle you are going to look great in most styles of trousers and jeans.

You will look fantastic in skinny jeans, but equally as good in flared jeans or trousers, which will add some width to your slender frame.

If you are a tall pear body shape, you want to look at trousers and jeans with a wide or straight leg but the key is to keep the area around the hips as fuss free as possible!

The real difference though comes around the detailing on trousers and jeans. Tall pear shapes should avoid adding bulk with pockets and pleats as this will add width at the widest part of your body.  But if you are a slender tall woman then you may want to add some detail and width at your hips to create a slightly curvier silhouette.

 

skinny jeans for taller woman

Bell Sleeve Blouse Taller Woman

Lipsy Bell Sleeve Blouse

2. Sleeves

I’m going to lump sleeves into a general pile rather than explore blouses, dresses, jackets and coats as separate elements.

The problem is the same regardless of garment – finding sleeves that are long enough for a taller woman and what to do when the sleeves are not quite right.

Bell sleeves look great on tall slender women. Flaring out from the shoulder and ending anywhere between elbow and wrist. The width of the sleeves will help to make your arms look shorter.

Regardless of your body shape, look for double cuffed blouses that you can create a slight boho chic look by wearing the cuff extended.

Sleeves that are just a bit too short can be pushed up to give a ¾ length appearance (versus finishing just shy of your wrists). Add chunky bracelets and a wide strapped watch to create balance.

 

Black Jersey Maxi Dress3. Hemlines

You will look great in mid-calf length skirts and dresses. This length is really difficult to pull off unless you are a taller woman. This is because it creates a horizontal line just where you don’t need it at the widest part of your calves.

Maxi dresses will look amazing. If you are very tall just check that the length is long enough! A fitted maxi dress with a split for a party will just make your legs look endless!

If the style is quite loose then consider making a waist if you are a slender frame. If you have a tall pear shape body then consider styles that skim your hips and drawn attention to your top half. Strapless or spaghetti straps are great.

You will also look great in skirts that finish just above the knee and for those with slender legs then you can opt for mini skirts.

4. Heels

Do not feel you are consigned to a life in flats if they don’t appeal!taller woman can wear heels

Like most style tips that I give, it’s about your own confidence levels and not about what you ‘should’ do.   If you feel good and want to wear heels then go ahead.

I’m forever giving women tips on how to make their legs look longer. I normally advise avoiding shoes with chunky ankle straps and details. These make the wearer look shorter as they create horizontal lines.   Guess who will look absolutely fantastic in chunky ankle straps?

I would however look at more rounded toes and styles – avoiding pointy toe styles, as these will make your feet look longer. If you have very slender legs beware of footwear that’s too chunky as it will have a ‘Minnie Mouse’ effect.

You will also look fantastic in over the knee boots with those lovely long legs.

5. Accessories

Belts – As a taller woman you will look fantastic in belts.handbag

They will create a horizontal line and add definition to your waist. If you choose contrasting colours this will create even more of a horizontal line.

Remember that every horizontal line will add width and reduce height to the eye.

Bags – large day bags are yours to wear and hold! Just a note of caution that any bag styles that are too chunky may still overwhelm you if you are very slender. So consider this when you are choosing handbags.

Large jewellery will look great on you, but again I will just say that if you are extremely slender be careful that the styles you pick are in proportion.

Choker necklaces look amazing on tall women as you have the height to really show off the look. If you are a pear shaped body then even better as you’re drawing the eye upwards.

Learn to love your height and not feel it’s a hindrance. I can guarantee that most women under 5’ 7” would love to be taller!

 

Shopping Suggestions If You Are A Taller Woman

Long Tall Sally – ‘At Long Tall Sally we don’t just sell clothes for tall women. We champion tall women.’ Since 1976 LTS has been specializing in sourcing clothing and footwear brands for tall women.

Legs For Days – only supplying fashion to long tall girls!

6 Foot Fashion – launched by Kelly Scott as a one stop shop for clothes and accessories for taller women.

Several High Street brands also offer a ‘tall range’ but their ranges are not as wide nor do they cater for the really taller woman as the specialist retailers I have listed.

 

 

 

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