I’m passionate about body positivity. I want women of all shapes and sizes to feel great about themselves and, hell, I want to feel great about myself too! Here are ten tried and tested body confidence tips I use regularly. I hope they help you feel good about yourself and your beautiful body.
As a teenager I felt so out of place trying to force my curvaceous figure into high street clothes. Shopping trips were a blur of muffin tops and changing room meltdowns. When I discovered the flattering superpowers of 1950s style, I made a pact with myself not to wear anything that didn’t make me feel like a goddess. I banned hipster jeans, baggy T-shirts and trendy chunky shoes from my wardrobe. Those “comfy” basics always made me feel uncomfortable in my own skin. Instead I embraced a mid-century movie star inspired aesthetic that brought me pleasure and confidence. The clothes I choose don’t deny or battle against my body. They celebrate it. Now I skip the high street altogether and instead buy my outfits at vintage reproduction boutiques like Lindy Bop, Top Vintage and Collectif. I also find it really useful to have a few failsafe, backup outfits for those days when nothing seems to fit properly. For me that means knee-length wraparound dresses, flowing tea dresses worn with cropped cardigans and stretchy pencil dresses with a slightly looser cut than normal. For more advice on vintage style clothes to flatter your figure, click here.
Having a realistic body role model means finding someone you think looks smoking who has a body you can relate to. If you can’t find a suitable hottie to inspire you, take a look at the Pinup Girl Clothing website. This retro reproduction brand uses stunning models of all shapes and sizes from XS-4X. You can also use Instagram to search for plus size and pinup bloggers to inspire you with their fabulousness. Whenever you find yourself criticising your body or feeling down about it, remember that it’s like your role model’s and she looks fab so why can’t you? Channel some of her confidence and walk with pride because you are both gorgeous.
My body role model is Christina Hendricks. She’s a similar dress size and shape to me, plus Joan’s closet on Mad Men is my fantasy wardrobe. If I’m having a “fat day” I try to change my thinking. I’m not having a fat day, I’m having a sexy-ass Joan day, which means I’m going to need to harness a bit of Joan’s sass and voluptuous beauty to get through it with my self-esteem intact.
Self-acceptance doesn’t always come easily, especially when you live in a society obsessed with losing weight and passing judgement on other people’s bodies. I get it mass media, I’m a woman and in your eyes my body is the most important thing about me. You’ve successfully contributed to a lifetime of insecurity for me and countless others, bravo! I say, ban any bodyshaming media that make you feel insecure about your beautiful body. Instead surround yourself with media that promotes a positive body image. Read plus size fashion blogs (some of my favourites are www.fullerfigurefullerbust.com, www.pamperandcurves.com and www.gabifresh.com). Follow body positive accounts on Instagram (check out @effyourbeautystandards and @positivebodyimage). Create a Pinterest board full of body positive images, quotes and women who inspire you. Watch programmes like My Big Fat Fabulous Life, The Mindy Project and Girls, which all star awesome women with realistic bodies. Choose to consume media that makes you feel good about yourself and try not to get sucked in by all that toxic stuff.
Make a playlist of songs that uplift your mood and have it on while you’re getting ready or whenever you need a pick-me-up. Mine is saved on my phone as “Strong Confident Goddess” because that’s how I want it to make me feel. It includes Demi Lovato’s Confident, Destiny’s Child’s Bootylicious, Hailee Steinfeld’s Love Myself and Christina Aguilera’s Vanity, which earned its place in my playlist with the fantastically body positive lyric, “Everytime I look at me I turn myself on”.
It’s so easy to focus on the negative, to stand in front of the mirror scrutininising your reflection and hating everything you see. But that really isn’t helpful when you’re trying to learn to love yourself! Instead, focus on the positive. You might have dazzling eyes, you might be bloody hilarious, you might have a real flair for accessorising. Write down all the compliments you receive – the ones other people give you and the ones you pay yourself. Save them in a pretty notebook or in your phone notes so you can take a look whenever you need a boost.
Celebrate and appreciate other women of all shapes and sizes online and in real life. Pay them compliments and don’t compare yourselves to them. Her being beautiful doesn’t make you less beautiful. Surround yourself with women that make you feel powerful and full of possibilities. Don’t trash talk your bodies with each other. There’s no room for self hatred in a goddess circle. Be positive and supportive and always be each others’ biggest cheerleaders. If I’m doubting my own self-worth, I think about the incredible women that I’m lucky enough to call my friends. I rationalise that if people as brilliant as them want to hang out, I must have something going for me.
Be empowered, inspired and comforted by social media. Look for hashtags like #effyourbeautystandards, #nobs, #body positive and #honormycurves. Share your own selfie and lap up people’s likes and comments. So many wonderful women are feeling good about themselves by embracing retro fashion, sharing their looks on Instagram and showing love to other pinup fashion enthusiasts of all body shapes.
Display pictures you like of yourself where you can see them. They’re a reminder of how amazing you look. Either put them up in your bedroom or save them to the Favourites on your phone for an instantly accessible confidence-booster.
Paying attention to those finishing touches makes all the difference to your confidence. Having your hair done, painting your nails or wearing your favourite perfume can make you feel polished, put together and empowered. Glamour is armour and it’s not weight dependent.
Would you tell your best friend she was too fat or too ugly or needed to change? No, of course not, because you’re not a bitch. So stop being a bitch to yourself. Appreciate your body and what it does for you. Treat it to long bubble baths, relaxing massages, nourishing food and long lie ins. You’re a goddess. Behave accordingly.
What about you, you beautiful bombshell? Do you have any tips or tricks that help you feel good about your body?