One of the toughest aspects of my job is to make a client see her body as it is, accept it and then dress to flatter the body not the ideal of it. We are so used to zeroing in on our faults, imaginary or real (but even the real is exaggerated in our heads) that we cannot see ourselves clearly. And thus we spend years if not decades trying to look better without realizing that we do. I always ask about style idols and I do get Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie a lot. However, its important to realize that your body type dictates the style decisions. You may like Angelina Jolie but you might not look great in similar clothes. It may not be the best you. It’s human to want something different, the grass is always greener on the other side, but its time and energy waisted and ultimately, you’ll be disappointed and make some bad decisions clothes wise. I love J Lo, we’re the same heights but sadly these curves I do not have.
That led me to think: do we think, as we approach our midlife, that our best ass and hair are ahead of us if we really, I mean reaaaaaalllllllyyyyyy work at it or is it all downhill from here? I am of the former thought, delusionally maybe, but I am not sure if I ever will get there. And maybe that’s ok, the worst would be to let go and not care at all, right? But what if your idea of your best self is completely and utterly unattainable? See, one thing I wish I knew in my 20s, hell, in my 30s even (am 39 now, thank you very much) is that I did look good. My hair (well, there were some regrettable moments but moving on) did look amazing and so did my body. But I was forever trying to be more and thus never really stopped to smell the roses. Inherent insecurities of being a woman? Maybe. But as the dust settles on my last year as 30 something, I’ve come to accept myself more than I ever have. I am trying to look the best me I can be. But how do you tell someone that they ought to give up that Angelina Jolie dream because that ain’t gonna happen BUT that their reality, their bodies, their looks are beautiful. Not in a Loreal ad kind of way, not in mom will always love you as you are, but that there really really is something totally awesome about your looks? I have tried brutal honest, even cursing (when one of my clients who is so so so gorgeous I don’t like seeing her as I will always feel bad about myself tells me she doesnt like wearing short dresses because she doesn’t like her legs. Ugh.
Do me a favor if you are nodding along at all, look at photos of yourself even 5 years ago. Now do you not think that you looked good, much better than you thought? Are you not wistful for the body you never appreciated? I am!
So, should we meet randomly, don’t be shocked or, worse, offended, if I tell you I like you arms, calves (just told that to a woman at Costco) or boobs. a) because i mean it and b) its totally objective, c) you should think that too because we all know I am rarely wrong about these things and D) we should complement each other, woman to woman, without any pretext. Because maybe then, just maybe, we let go of all of our preconceived notions of what we should do/be/look like to be beautiful and truly come to realize that hey, I don’t look half bad. Wink.
-haiku aka Mother Theresa of Fashion and Beauty