Body confidence isn’t something that I easily found. I’ve been insecure for about 90% of my life and most of my insecurities are focused around my appearance, more specifically, my body.
For the past couple of years I’ve been fluctuating between being confident as fuck to being insecure as hell with my body. It comes in waves, however I’m happy to have finally (I mean finally!) reached a point where I just do not care. I still have those initial thoughts before I leave my house of “I look like a tramp” or “I do not look my best today” but they are usually quickly washed away with “Ahh I don’t even fucking care”. I still have my insecurities (trust me they are still there), but it’s become easier to accept them and I know I have a choice on whether or not I allow them to dictate my everyday life and sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t.
Last night I spent some time thinking over things. At the moment I am really happy with my body and my physical health (I genuinely mean this and managed to say it out loud for the first time ever a couple days ago). The relationship I now have with food is just amazingly astonishing (it has truly shocked everyone), I’m still going to the gym and my body feels stronger than ever. I feel good, but I was thinking about the past (remember it is good to reflect every now and again) and I realised my fashion choices have been hugely impacted by my insecurities (you can read about the start of my insecurities here).
I love baggy clothes. Absolutely love them. The baggyier the top/jumper/hoodie the better (I prefer to wear baggy clothes on my top half rather than my bottom). They are a comfort for me. They comfort my insecurities, but I haven’t always been a fan of baggy clothes. I used to prefer fitted clothing (back when I felt like I constantly had to show my body to be accepted), but when I was wearing them my insecurities would just repeat around my head. “You can really see the shape of your stomach in this top”, “You don’t look as good as you feel” or “Your thighs look huge in these jeans”. Unfortunately our minds can be a torturous place, so I began to switch from jackets/cardigans to hoodies/jumpers.
It didn’t take me long to realise that I was much more comfortable in my own space and especially out in public with a hoodie or whilst wearing a loose fitted top. Out in public I didn’t have the paranoia going round my head of what others might be thinking of my body because they couldn’t see it. They couldn’t make out the outline of my boobs, hips or belly. It felt amazing (still does). I didn’t have to worry about any judgements or comments, I was able to walk around and feel how I felt which was comfortable.
I’ve had many panic attacks when I have been out in public whilst wearing fitted clothes and I’ve just gone into full blown panic mode due to the paranoia in my head about how I look and what passers-by could be thinking about me (with anxiety you notice every single pair of eyes that look at you). The amount of panic attacks I have had whilst wearing loose fitted clothes is little to none (there have also been studies that show a decrease in panic attacks by students who suffer from social anxiety just from wearing a single hoody).
Safety is a big thing for me. I have to feel secure and safe with any aspect of my life. Hoodies became a safety net. I’d wear them when I was depressed, crying, ill, happy, out in public, I’d style my outfit around my hoodies so I could go to almost any occasion with my safety net (just in case). L and Z would also give me their unwanted hoodies which was even better. I’d also take my brothers unwanted hoodies and any of his unwanted tops, I began to buy more mens tops (their tops aren’t shaped to show off boobs and they come in better designs, colours and sizes). It’s all a comfort for me.
Back home I have this hoody. I haven’t had it for that long compared to some of my others but it is my perfect hoody (I do have an emotional attachment to it). I was back home for a couple of months after Australia and I went to Primark (fucking love Primark. It’s like the Kmart of the UK but better) and there it was…the type of hoodie I had been searching for, baggy, long, cosy and comfortable (and affordable). I bought it and I have never regretted it. I honestly wore this hoody all the time and when I wasn’t wearing it, I couldn’t wait to be wearing it. Whenever it went down for a wash I would be genuinely pretty sad for the following few days till I got it back. I love this hoody and I was gutted that I couldn’t bring to Australia with me (I was coming back for the Australian summer so sadly it didn’t make the cut). This hoodie became a safety net for me. Even though I have only had it during the better days of my life, I still rely on this hoody when I am sad, insecure, seeking comfort or when I just want to feel comfortable. This is my kind of comfort blanket.
During the summers months I obviously don’t wear a hoodie. It doesn’t take much for me to overheat so as much as I would love to wear a hoodie all year round, it just isn’t possible for me during summer.
On the hotter days I have to put a lot of thought into the type of top I wear. If it’s hot enough for me to sweat easily or if I am going somewhere where I could get the panic sweats, then black is my go to colour as it hides the sweat patches easier. But then I also have to think about whether or not I go with a t-shirt because it’s baggier but I’ll be warmer or a strappy top as that way I’ll be cooler but it is more fitted. I then also think about the shape of the top, whether or not there is too much boob for the occasion, too much arm or too much back. Then there’s the endless wonders of whether or not the top will make me over heat even quicker than normal, whether it will collect the sweat that drips down my back or whether it is breathable. All of this usually results in me wearing the same 3 tops despite having many choices. Once I am comfortable in a top I create a bond with it (same with my hoodies), I just can’t help it. What doesn’t help is that my anxiety is usually worse in the summer months compared to the winter. I think this is because usually have more skin on show and I fret about how much I sweat, so yes, I put a lot of thought into my summer day outfits (even if it doesn’t also look like it).
When it comes to nights out…I am the polar opposite. I like to be risqué. I like to be a bit more daring, flaunt what I have, appear to be confident (although I think sometimes my body language defeats this purpose). I enjoy making an effort with myself, pushing some of my personal boundaries/insecurities and I enjoy the feeling that my evening outfits give me. The outfits aren’t always necessarily the most comfortable but I like to feel as though I am screaming “I AM SECURE WITH MY BODY!!” even if that isn’t always the case. I like to show a side of me that not many people in my everyday life will see or maybe even expect from me. I like to be bold whether it is a bold choice of lipstick, top or overall outfit, when it comes to my dress code for a night out, just drinks or a nice restaurant I like to make an effort with myself and show off my level of confidence on that day. As I said before, my confidence fluctuates every now and again so I might be feeling bold enough to dress a bit more daring, but those doubts might still be in the back of my head so I will also wear an oversized jacket/hoody (yes I will wear a hoody with an evening outfit).
I hardly ever wear a bra (you can read more here). 90% of the time I am braless because I just don’t do bras. Now, I don’t have the smallest of boobs, mine are on the slightly larger side which I both love and hate but because they are on the larger side they are more noticeable which is a reason why I prefer baggy tops and wearing oversized hoodies. I have absolutely no issues or insecurities about going out in public without wearing a bra. I can honestly say I genuinely have no fears about doing this but when I am out and about, the amount of eyes that go straight to my nipples is fucking laughable (mostly from the older generations and from both men and women I would like to add). Womens nipples have been sexualised for many years so it doesn’t come as a surprise to me, what gets to me is when I speak to other girls/women who are too scared to go braless because of how sexualised breasts and nipples are or because of their insecurities surrounding their boobs. That’s what makes me sad and a bit angry. It can be hard sometimes going without a bra as you will get the odd few people who either judge you for it (either with their eyes or their words) or they will make you feel uncomfortable/vulnerable. It can be a scary thing sometimes but this is a choice I made several years ago and I have still managed to stick by it despite some of the judgemental comments I have received and even worse scolds. I have never regretted this choice nor would I ever go back.
Our mental health can have a huge impact on how we dress ourselves. Sometimes we need to feel a bit more freedom within our clothes, more secure or bolder. Sometimes all we might need to do is curl up in our favourite hoody or flaunt our bodies on a night out. My fashion choices stem from a number of insecurities but I’ve managed to find some common ground. Most of the time I will wear baggy clothes as this is what I am most comfortable in. I then make up for it by treating myself to an evening out where I can make more of an effort with myself and express my confidence. I try and balance it out so every aspect of me is happy and fulfilled.
If you know you dress a certain way because of your mental health, insecurities or just by your own choice, do not let others try and change that. Your fashion choices are YOUR fashion choices and for your own reasons. Forcing someone to change that might not be the best solution for them, just let them be them.
Thank you for reading, it genuinely means so much to me,
Sending so much love to you all,