I've been pretty open here on Who What Wear about my long-standing battle with accepting my body as it is in each moment—my long-ago battle with an eating and exercise disorder, how I've been unhappy at a size 2 and super-happy at a size 10, and so forth. One thing I really haven't touched on enough, however, is how I've managed to use clothing to help me overcome it all.
The fashion world at large gets a pretty bad rap for being generally superficial—that all we editors care about is the labels inside our clothing and how we look in front of street style photographers. This, of course, is far from the case; the way I approach fashion is the same way I approach pretty much everything in my life: as a tool to improve my experience of it.
And, as it turns out, both clothing and accessories can be very powerful tools in this regard, if you know how to use them. I've spent much of my life pondering why it is that I love fashion so much, what it is about the design of clothes, accessories, and more that speaks to me on such a gut level—and I think after nearly 30 years on this planet, I've finally figured out the answer to that query: Fashion is an armour.
As a human being opting to participate in civilisation, I don't really have the option of wearing exactly what I want at all times. (If I did, I would no doubt live in pajamas; my favourite place to be in the world is in my bed.) But alas, I have to earn a living, interact with other people, and so on—and for these pursuits and more, I need a uniform. I need something that will simultaneously shield me from the world and help me present the best version of myself to it. I need fashion.
All of this is particularly true when it comes to my body being shamed, which it certainly has been throughout my life. But fashion helps give me my power back—if my body feels truly good in my clothes, then no one else has control over how I feel about it. And I've noticed that on the days when my outfit feels less than ideal, my vulnerability levels creep up: Does my body look weird? Do my legs look stumpy? Does my arse look flat? Whereas normally these questions have no place in my internal monologue, on days when I haven't necessarily put forth my best effort at getting dressed, they do make their way into my psyche.
But on the good days, I do feel as though my clothing becomes a very real armour that protects me from the body- and woman-haters out there in the world. I may not have control over what they think about me, but I certainly have control over how I respond to it—and fashion helps me form the response that best serves me.
Keep scrolling to shop some of my favourite body-affirmative pieces now!
ASOS Curve Bodycon Dress With Lace Up Detail, Black ($51)
ASOS Curve Oversized Longline Blouse, White ($54)
Levi's Plus 580 Defined Waist Straight Leg Jeans, Black ($40)
ASOS Curve Bardot Jumpsuit With Cropped Wide Leg ($40)
ASOS Curve Denim Shirt Dress With Patch Pockets in Light Mid Wash ($72)
What are your favourite ways to use fashion to put a stop to body-shaming? Tell us below!