No trend is off-limits to you because of your body.
Spring has arrived!
And along with it, clothing racks stuffed with spring clothes, magazines pushing spring trends, and renewed pressure to buy more stuff, lose more weight, and look a certain way. Here's a beat poem that sums up the spring fashion frenzy that happens this time each year:
Buy this and this and this RIGHT NOW.
DON’T WEAR THAT.
Here’s what you should look like.
WHY DON’T YOU LOOK LIKE THAT?
Here’s how to pretend you look like that.
BUY THIS TO LOOK LIKE THAT.
*snaps* It’s a little ridiculous, no?
To cut through the crap, let’s take a few deep breaths and go over some straight talk reminders about spring fashion, body image, and the pressure to BUY BUY BUY:
1. No trend is off-limits to you because of your body.
Height, weight, curves (or lack thereof), softness, cellulite, skin tone, gender identity/expression, or disability do not preclude you from wearing certain pieces of clothing. Fashion magazines might tell you you’re too “short” for bell bottoms. Society might tell you you don’t have the kind of stomach that’s “allowed” to be shown off.
Thanks to countless messages like this, you can probably rattle off 10 reasons why your body doesn’t “deserve” to be seen or adorned in the way you’d like to adorn it.
But none of those reasons are valid. Flared jeans, skinny jeans, short shorts, crop tops, maxi dresses, tank tops: If you want to wear it, you can rock it.
2. You get to show as much or as little skin as you want.
Speaking of crop tops, they’re just one of many spring styles that involve flashing some skin. Which is great, if you feel comfortable showing skin. It’s also totally fine if you don’t.
You’re not required to show skin because it’s trendy or to prove your self-confidence and body positivity to the public. You might feel better when you’re more covered up, and that’s 100% OK.
We all have our reasons for choosing modest or not-so-modest clothing. Sometimes, these reasons inform our fashion choices for life. Sometimes, these reasons change day-to-day or hour-to-hour.
The most important thing is that you feel comfortable and confident as you move through the world.
3. Personal style is not dependent on money.
When a new season rolls around, there’s a lot of pressure to buy a ton of new stuff: You have to look current! All your old clothes are boring! Your worth as a human being depends on your urgent acquisition of a pair of designer overalls!
You know what’s not stylish? Going on a mad rush to buy a bunch of trendy stuff, and racking up a huge credit card bill in the process.
Know that you don’t have to buy anything new this season if you don’t want to or you can’t afford it. Know that it’s possible to have MAD style while only shopping at thrift stores or skipping shopping altogether and maintaining a simple, expertly-edited wardrobe.
Know that self-expression doesn’t have a minimum price tag attached to it.
4. Your winter body might not fit into your spring clothes.
Pulling spring clothes out of storage can be something of a rude awakening: Was this dress always so tight? Did I always need to contort my body into a rigid bridge pose to be able to zip these shorts?
Many of us accumulate some winter fluff over the colder months, and that’s totally natural and lovely — until we have to reconcile our winter bodies with our spring wardrobes.
Find compassionate for yourself and your body during this transition time. A couple extra inches, a little extra softness is not wrong or bad or ugly! Our bodies are constantly changing. Be patient. Be loving.
5. It’s OK to pass on trends.
Not feeling any of the new trends this season? Take a pass.
Use the money you save on new clothes for a weekend beach trip, because guess what...
6. ...You already have a beach body!
‘Tis the season for the diet and fitness industries to rev up their body shaming machine and remind you of all the reasons your current body isn’t “beach” or “bikini” ready — and how to change it.
Fuck that noise. Wear a bikini if you want. Or wear a one-piece if you want. Or wear a baggy t-shirt from a Def Leppard concert and knee-length bike shorts if you want.
Wear whatever you want. But definitely go to the beach.
7. “Flattering” is subjective, and you get to decide on the definition.
One of the most empowering changes I made recently for my personal style and self-esteem was to question the definition of flattering. When I’m trying something on and catch myself thinking This isn’t flattering, I pause and dig deeper: WHY do I think it isn’t flattering? By what standards am I making that judgment?
It’s freeing to examine our narrow definition of what looks “good” and then make a conscious decision whether or not we want to abide by it.
I bought a pair of slouchy pants recently that I absolutely love. Are they flattering by conventional standards? Absolutely not. They make my short legs look shorter and do nothing to flatten my non-flat stomach.
But they’re super cute and super comfy and when I put them on I feel like I’m channeling Diane Keaton in the 70s — which is always a good feeling.