Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Self Esteem Through The Way You Dress

Ask any woman, and probably 99% of them will tell you they’re dieting, giving up carbs, or preparing for swimsuit season. It’s apparent that many of us are just not ‘there’ when it comes to accepting our bodies and body image. Wearing the proper sizes and styles for our body types can make a big difference in your self-esteem and self- confidence.

"I know that if I squeeze into my previous size I won't feel confident!"
Take moi, for example. I’ve packed on a few (oh, ok- about 15!) extra pounds within the last year or so, and I unequivocally blame the recently opened Culver’s down the street that offers the ‘mini Concrete Mixer’.  I’m joking, of course…it’s my occasional lack of willpower.  And yet, when I get off the freeway, it’s there…bright blue awnings & twinkly lights adorning the roof-line - beckoning me…consequently, I’ve moved up a size in clothing, and must accept that I can no longer feel comfortable, and look stylish when skirts hike up an additional 2 or 3 inches above my knee due to migrating waistlines that no longer hit where they should. I know that if I squeeze into the previous size (which is what 90% of my clothing pieces are), I won’t feel confident. Rather, I’ll feel that pesky ‘muffin top’ sensation in a pair of jeans, or realize that my upper arms are not yet toned enough to bare in sleeveless dresses or tank tops.   Shapers are a must, but if worn under too small a garment, the benefits are essentially null and void. Can I get an ‘amen’, ladies?!

Working out and eating right are tantamount to achieving the look you want; however, the clothing you choose is also an important consideration. Refrain from ‘showing off’ your newly tanned and buff legs if when you sit down, your skirt hikes up to mid-thigh. You likely won’t feel comfortable (especially on the job), and you’ll be more concerned with pulling and tugging, underscoring any self-esteem you may feel only when you rise from the chair. It may mean buying a few well cut staple pieces in a larger size (think black skirt/slacks/blazer) until you get to your desired weight, and where your clothing fits properly again. Choose fabrics that contain a spandex or polyester material to allow for ‘stretch’. All cotton garments are the better choice overall, however, there is no ‘give’, and clothing will look and feel tight. Darker colors tend to be more forgiving, and offer a slimming effect, and they’re always acceptable in a business environment. Also avoiding short jackets and lower riding slacks is a good idea if you’ve packed on a few extra pounds. That’s a self-esteem buster waiting to happen. I know that I feel best when my clothing fits, no matter if it is a size larger than 
 what I normally wear. 

Knee length skirts
Comfy well fitting slacks

With summer upon us, I have also found a product that enables you to go without hosiery, and I am wearing it often. It’s essentially a leg make-up in a tube that helps to conceal sun spots and small spider veins. Great for when you want the comfort of a dress or skirt, but not the hosiery.
While that product doesn’t give me self-esteem, it does provide me a greater sense of self-confidence.       

It’s important to keep in mind that self-esteem comes from within, and not from feeling great in a particular piece of clothing. Significance and acceptance from others are perceived needs in a human being; however, we already possess these from our Creator. 

Psychoanalyst Karen Horney describes self-esteem as a “Sense of personal worth and ability that is fundamental to an individual's identity”.   People lacking in self-esteem constantly seek the approval and acceptance of others. That could include dressing in a manner that draws attention to oneself.
If the thought of wearing a swimsuit or even a pair of shorts elicits a shudder, become more proactive by committing to healthy lifestyle choices including eating better (more fruits and veggies), and considering an exercise regime. You’ll shed pounds, gain muscle, and while you may not actually gain self-esteem, you’ll have the confidence that you’re looking healthy and making good choices-from a health standpoint, and by the clothing you choose. Most of us cannot afford to purchase a new wardrobe, so make that commitment to improving your body image, wearing properly fitting and flattering clothing, and in turn, that self-esteem you do possess will shine through!

Diane McLelland has been called a ‘fashionista’ from a young age, acquiring her love of a fashion after enrolling in Sears Charm School as a young girl. After earning her degree in Fashion Merchandising and Business, she gained experience by appearing in movies, commercials, and magazine layouts in the Phoenix area, and worked as a flight attendant for over 15 years. Diane considers herself to be a personal shopper as she shops for family and friends whenever possible. She has written for a travel publication and numerous newsletters and currently works as a Career Services Advisor, assisting students find viable work in their chosen fields. She has two grown sons, and along with dog Cooper and ‘his’ two cats, resides in the Valley of the Sun - Phoenix AZ.

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