If you're a woman alive in 2015, then you don't need us telling you that body shaming is a very real thing. It feels like at every turn, we women are entrenched in a battle for our right to bodily autonomy and dignity—and the fashion industry, though certainly making strides to be more body inclusive, isn't exactly innocent.
While there are many things one can do to promote positive body image, as experts primarily on giving fashion and styling advice, we have a few thoughts on how your personal style can help you conquer the negative effects of body shaming. We've actually found that how you choose to dress your body can go a long way in helping you combat the body shaming we as women so regularly experience.
Your clothes and accessories can (and often do) have a major impact on how you feel about your body, the strength with which you guide it through the world, and ultimately how actively and confidently you engage in that daily battle—so we want to do what we can to help you put on the armour you need to emerge victorious, and vanquish body shaming forever.
Keep scrolling for five styling tricks that will help you conquer body shaming for good.
Blindly following trends doesn't just mean you run a higher risk of becoming a fashion victim—it can also mean you're doing your body a tremendous disservice, by dressing it for other people and not for yourself. The most important factor to take into consideration when you're dressing yourself is how things look and feel on you, not what the outside world is telling you to wear; if you apply this philosophy not only to your style but also to your life in general, you might find yourself empowered and emboldened in ways you never predicted.
There's an old piece of style advice that still manages to ring true today: that the most powerful outfit a woman can wear is the one that makes people entirely forget what she was wearing. It's the outfit that allows your personality and voice to shine through more strongly than your appearance—and no outfit is more capable of doing that than a go-to uniform.
If you establish certain pieces as your go-tos and wear them on a highly regular basis, then you will quickly establish your "look" in the eyes of others—and they will likely stop putting your body and its décor at the forefront of their minds, instead focusing on the brilliant force behind it all. (We like to think of it as a very subtle form of sartorial mind control, just for fun.)
Free People Juno Floral Print Maxi Dress ($248)
Study after study has shown that uncomfortable shoes are seriously bad for your health, having numerous not-so-savoury ramifications on spinal wellness, posture, and ankle stability. But walking around all day in painful shoes can have another, less scientific, but just as noticeable impact: It can straight-up make you miserable. As a miserable person, you are more prone to notice all the little ways you dislike your body in the moment: Your feet hurt, your legs are tired, your back feels wonky, and so on.
In our experience, if you give your body a solid foundation upon which to walk, literally—with a good, comfortable pair of shoes—the confidence with which you take it out into the world will be immeasurably beneficial.
Chloé Fringed Suede Sandals ($695)
What do you think of Gigi's under-$100 dress? Tell us below!
We're going to go ahead and assume that, as a Who What Wear reader, you are a forward-thinking, fashion-loving, and generally awesome woman of the world. As such, you already know not only that the fashion trend landscape is defined by its constantly changing nature, but also that its very survival is dependent on said nature. Keeping this in mind, it's smart to build a wardrobe of well-tailored basics that will not only suit your body but also never go out of style—and to reserve your serious cash expenditures for a rotating carousel of accessories you utilise to add pizzazz to those basics.
After all, we stand by our assertion that a personal uniform will go a long way in conquering body shaming, but that doesn't mean you need to be bored!
Aquazzura Leather, Rope, and Wood Sandals ($650)
Implicit in the experience of body shaming is that some other entity—a person, a fashion magazine, a celebrity, or pop culture at large—has power over how you feel about your own body. So it follows that if you take away that other entity's power, you also take away your experience of shame; if they don't have control over your perception of your body, they also can't control how you feel about it. And the first step in taking away that external control is placing ultimate, utmost importance on your own perception of your body; if you place your own feelings about your body above others' feelings about it, their feelings will get smaller and smaller and eventually shrink down to nothing.
When you look in the mirror as you're getting ready, instead of imagining an entourage of people you think you should please, try to see only one: you. Realise that only one opinion really counts: your own. And know that the power to either love or hate your body no matter what it's wearing lies only in one person's hands: yours.
What do you do in your daily life to combat body shaming? Share your story in the comments below!