It's well known I have a bit of a penchant for draped and voluminous clothing. I am quite aware this is generally not the most flattering for me, though sometimes I demand to know why I must flatter my figure at all. Is the goal not to please myself? Do I have to look good for you? No, of course I don't. Complex individual that I am though, I don't only hold one way of thinking and at other times I am most eager to flatter the body I've got which is still a form of pleasing myself not others, but what is pleasing to my eye is probably not too far off what is pleasing to another eye. (That was a horrible sentence but I'm leaving it like that cause I'm tired) There tend to be cultural standards and those who study such things will even tell us that certain body proportions are attractive to others cross culturally. The goal is to look fertile, and although I am, I am certainly past the desire to advertise it not to mention use it! Or am I? Fertile=attractive and so in many ways we fake that fertile look well into our non-fertile years.
I will never be thin but have no wish to look like a podge and no ability to say oh so what, I'm a podge and I love me anyway. When I gain weight I look like a sausage, not a sexy goddess with killer curves. Keeping my weight down to a point where I maintain a slim though by no means thin figure is not effortless. I cannot eat anything I wish to in the quantities I wish to and for the most part I am okay with that. I have a healthy diet and don't deny myself treats. But I do sometimes think that given the effort put into not looking like a stuffed sleeping bag I had best avoid dressing like one. Stuffed sleeping bags are apparently not fertile..er, I mean attractive.
I have never been able to claim skinny as my body type except perhaps for a few short adolescent years and by my late teens I had come to think of my body as pear shaped. This seemed to be my skeletal shape as much or more as fat and muscle distribution. I learned how to dress to maximize the appearance of my upper body and slim my lower body. I had a tiny waist, eleven inches smaller than my hips which was not something coveted in those days. Boobs were in and I had little of them. Something changed and I woke up twenty years later with a completely different body type. I guess my top half was a late bloomer because I found myself with a bust, with fleshy upper arms, well padded shoulders and a deep rib cage. After pregnancy my waist thickened and never returned to it's tiny proportions.
Old habits die hard, as they say and it has been a very steep learning curve for me to stop putting the volume on top when I dress. I am perhaps just barely qualifying as an hourglass shape if I wear a tight dress, but otherwise I appear more rectangular and if the volume of my clothing gets to be too excessive, I can appear quite shapeless. In my head I am apparently a sylph, since I am drawn to lots of draped fabric of the sort where one needs be so skinny that even a potato sack layered over a tent cannot disguise the lithe and graceful shape underneath. Could somebody please invent a magic wand that allows me to be voluptuously sexy when naked and willowy slender when I get dressed? Thank you. That would make life so much easier because then I could pile on the layers and not feel totally disheartened when I later see a photo of myself looking like a sausage.
Now, getting back to reality and how I deal with the body I have, I must admit that what I really want is something I vaguely recall was a catch-phrase in a television commercial for some kind of convenience food back when I was a child. The phrase was "Fix it and forget it". Or maybe this was for Crazy Glue or some sort of denture adhesive. Anyhow, "Fix it" is American jargon for making something or putting something together. Not all but some, will use the term 'fixing supper'.
Digression: As a Canadian constantly exposed to our American cousins' media, I learned to speak or at least comprehend American-speak at a young age. For instance, that letter at the end of the alphabet is Zee, if you are American, which very nicely rhymes with 'won't you come and sing with me'. Although I determinedly say Zed, I was always a bit put out when singing 'ABCDEFG.......WXY and Zed...now I know my ABCs, won't you come and sing with me.'
So fix it and forget it is how I would like to get dressed. Put it on, feel great about it and get on with things. Go out there and be faaaabulous dahling! For me what feels fabulous are layers and what my clothes feel like is very important. I have to be comfortable. I will not suffer for beauty, but damn it I still want to look nice. Figuring out how to make them also look fabulous has taken a completely new understanding of the body shape I now have. I have reached a point where I can finally say truthfully that I love my body and I want to take care of it. It cannot do everything I would like it to do but it works hard and it has done some amazing things and it looks like me. It deserves to look and feel good in the clothes I put on it. So layering needs to be less voluminous than I might instinctively go for and I have learned to make the items on the top half of my body less bulky. In this way I don't get a shock when I see photos of myself. I keep my layers close to my body and use more fitted shapes than I would instinctively have chosen in the past or choose very light weight and draping fabric. When I play with volume I do it with skirts to avoid a top-heavy look and I no longer instinctively put a darker colour on the bottom and a lighter one on top.
I'm a slow learner apparently but I am happy with what I have figured out. To put on my clothes and feel like me has been a strangely difficult task and I think this has much to do with the fact that the period in my life where my body changed was also a period where I was not paying much attention. I had a child, a husband, a career, a health concern and a body that had changed but I didn't know what to do with it and didn't have time to figure it out. Now I have the time. Now I have figured it out and I no longer have a career or a husband. I have figured out how to look my best at a time in my life when I am truly dressing for myself. This will not cure cancer or bring world peace, but it allows me to fix it and forget it regularly. To get dressed and feel like me and be happy to be me is a treat I will not take for granted.
So quick, now let's take the photos before my ankles are swollen at the end of the day.
I am mad about this scarf and it contains all of my favourite colours. The mornings are cold so it is useful as a shawl too. Don't I just look so pleased with myself?
In these photos I appear to only be wearing one earring, but I have just checked and I am in fact wearing two. Now, off to Qualicum for a day trip with my ex-sister in law who is still a dear friend and really needs a better title than ex-sister in law. She is doing the driving, thankfully!