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4 Ways to Stay Fashionable Without Hating Your Body


(Image source)

For my last article here on CF (where did the semester go?), I wanted to once again focus on a topic that I have personal interest in: body image. While it is important to try and maintain positive body image on the beach, I feel this message needs to be carried over into other aspects of life.

Since all of us here on College Fashion are fashion-conscious individuals, this message is particularly important for us. Let’s face it: while fashion is a fun and wonderful hobby, it can sometimes make us feel a little self-conscious about our looks. To help you stay positive despite the pressure to look perfect, here are some tips to improve your body image while maintaining your love of style:

Girl measuring her stomach with a tape measure
(Image source)

1. Remember that the body type of a model is an impossible ideal for most of us.

This is something we have all heard a million times, but it’s also easily forgotten: Most models can thank genetics for their bodies, meaning they naturally look the way they do. (Not to mention that many models start as young as 13 years old, before their bodies have fully developed!) Therefore, it’s a total waste of time to chase the “model” body type.

Also, regardless of what type of modeling a model does (runway, commercial, plus size), there still remain strict expectations over height and proportion that most of us cannot naturally fulfill. Don’t ever beat yourself up if clothes don’t look the same on you as they do on the model. A dress will always look and fit very differently on someone who is 5’10 than it does on someone who is 4’11, regardless of body shape. This leads me to my next point…

2. Don’t dress as someone you’re not.

Sure, a form-fitting, low-cut dress might be something you can wear, but is it really you? By that token, trends will be trends, but if you feel uncomfortable with how they highlight your body shape or you feel just plain uncomfortable wearing them, why bother?

My point is, dress to bring out the best in you, and wear what makes you feel good – don’t just blindly follow the trends. As long as you genuinely love what you are wearing and feel it really expresses who you are, not who you want to be or think you should be, then there can be no wrong fashion choices.

Girl taking a photo of herself in the mirror
(Image source)

3. Keep your supposed “flaws” in perspective.

Let’s face it: no matter what anyone says, there are always going to be parts of your body that frustrate you from time to time. Even if you have what many believe is an “amazing body” that you normally love, you’re still not going to be 100% happy with it, 100% of the time. But it shouldn’t really matter if you don’t love all parts of your body all the time, as long as it doesn’t become a fixation.

I mean, I’m not a huge fan of my thighs most days, but does it honestly matter? No. They may not be perfect, but at the end of the day, I’m generally fine with the way they are, even if they’re far from “toned up” and “beach ready.” I try and remember that they are just one small piece of a puzzle that makes up who I am, just like your perceived “flaws” are just a small part of who you are.

4. Take joy in what you love to wear!

Instead of focusing on fitting yourself into clothes you feel uncomfortable wearing, revel and rejoice in what you love to wear! You could dwell on the fact that you feel uncomfortable in tight-fitting tops… or you could get excited about wearing fun skirts and shorts that you feel confident in.

Make an effort to focus on what you do love about you and celebrate it! It might not make you love the parts you’re not crazy about, but it can help contribute to an overall better self-image.

What do you think?

Do you think fashion influences the way you look at your body? If so, how? Do you think fashion can actually help promote good body image instead of just poor body image? How does fashion make you feel good about yourself? Leave a comment and let me know!

Posted on on June 26, 2011 / Filed Under: College Life / Tags: , , , ,

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27 Responses to “4 Ways to Stay Fashionable Without Hating Your Body”

  1. 1
    June 26th, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Great post, thanks!
    I think fashion definitely makes you reconsider parts of your body. If for example you have rather large breasts and because of that you have trouble finding bras, blouses and jackets, that will make you hate them. But on the other hand when you find that perfect top or dress that makes your cleavage look great, you’ll be the happiest girl in the world! :)

  2. 2
    June 26th, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    I always tell myself on my worst days “I may not love specific parts of me, but the sum of parts is pretty great.”

  3. 3
    June 26th, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    I really appreciate these body positive posts!
    So much of fashion and style advice focuses on what you “should” wear for your body type and usually that kind of advice has you fixating on your flaws and attempting to hide your body in clothes, rather than celebrating it. For a long time I worried so much about what I “should” wear as opposed to what I wanted to wear, so I traded in my a-line skirts for wiggle dresses and never looked back. Happiness is sexiness.

  4. 4
    June 26th, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    when I look at myself in the mirror before I go out, and their is something I don’t like about how I look, I just look at the “bigger” picture!
    I try to see how I look all together instead of focusing on one small thing! ^^

  5. 5
    June 26th, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Love the post, so refreshing to hear that in a fashion blog!

  6. 6
    June 26th, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this! I personally feel comfortable with my body. Maybe not all the time but mostly It’s something I’m proud of. My mom on the other hand hates her body and likes to point out that I need to work on my tummy. It really bothers me because I know I like my shape. I was blessed with an hourglass figure. It really helps me to remember my own feelings rather than pay mind to my mom’s insecurity. Once again, thank you :)

  7. 7
    June 26th, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Thank you for this. I grew up with a best friend who constantly pointed out what was wrong not only with her body but also mine. Even though we are no longer friends, I still struggle with body dissatisfaction and have even suffered from a form of anorexia. These are great tips for both people who seriously struggle and for those who just have their moments.

  8. 8
    June 26th, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    This article hits so close to home for me – I also suffered from anorexia for almost 2 years and have NEVER felt like my body is good enough, or even normal. The worst part is that I am 5’3″ and wear a size 0, which I guess just goes to show the incredibly warped body image the fashion industry promotes.

    If clothes were shown on a wider variety of body types so that seeing an outfit on someone who is almost 6′ tall is no longer the norm a lot of girls would feel a lot better about their bodies.

    I love that you guys posted this article.

  9. 9
    June 26th, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    My legs are probably really bad for anyone my age and even for ladies 20 years my senior, but their functionality outweighs the cellulite and ingrown hairs.
    Even though I’d love to be able to look good in hotpants, I’m always also a little scared of hygiene (bike, sitting in public places..), so I don’t mind spending my summer in knee-long shorts.
    I compensate for my slouchy pants with my always flawlessly manicured hands ;)

  10. 10
    June 26th, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Excelente post!
    Uno de mis lemas es que el 80% de una persona es su actitud, lo demás es sólo un adorno. Por lo tanto cada una de nosotras tenemos que aprender a querernos y a aceptar el tipo de cuerpo que tenemos, y en base a eso buscar la ropa que nos siente mejor y muestre al mundo quiénes somos.

    Excellent post!
    One of my mottos is that 80% of a person is their attitude, everything else is just an ornament. Therefore each of us must learn to love and accept the body type we have, and on that basis find the clothes you feel better and show the world who we are.

  11. 11
    June 26th, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Good message but I don’t see how it connects to staying fashionable. Perhaps including tips on how to take advantage of trends that works for your body type, etc.

  12. 12
    June 26th, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    I like that in your 3rd point, you stated that it’s okay to not love all of your body, all the time. So often, I see articles telling women that they should “love their body, banish any and all negative thoughts, etc” and while I know the articles mean well, that’s just not realistic advice. No matter how much you love yourself or how many mantras you repeat in the mirror, you’re still going to have those “blah” days when you feel like crap. And it’s okay! You just have to be able to get past it and learn to focus on the big picture.

    Another thing that I wish got pointed out more often is how size isn’t the only thing a girl can be self conscious about. I’ll use myself as an example: I’m 5’8, 115 lbs, and have what most people would consider a “great body.” But sometimes, I think my hip bones are too sharp. My feet are too bony. My butt isn’t round enough. See what I mean? A lot of women seem to think that if they were just skinnier, they would be happy. But at any size, you’re still going to have little insecurities. Even if you wake up tomorrow at your dream weight, you’ll have something else about yourself to “pick on” by noon. So just learn to accept your flaws and dress in what looks good on you today!

  13. 13
    June 26th, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    I actually felt much better about my body since I stopped wearing jeans and tee shirts and started developing my own personal style. I feel not only do i know how to flatter my body more, but when I look at myself in, for instance, a cute dress and wedges, I see a stylish, confident girl. When I wore jeans and a tee shirt, the outfit wasn’t interesting and so the focal point of my reflection in the mirror was my tummy pudge, my big boobs, my flat butt, etc…. always some kind of flaw.

  14. 14
    June 26th, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    i love these body image posts.. please do more!

  15. 15
    June 26th, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    love this. thanks.

  16. 16
    June 26th, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    I loved your second paragraph. Most people think I dress like a freak (Goth, Punk, Lolita, Victorian, etc) but it makes me happy and I get giddy just thinking about lacy parasols – so I would never give that up for all the latest trends that, frankly, just don’t do it for me. ^_^

  17. 17
    June 27th, 2011 at 1:23 am

    thnx!! it’s really helpful!!

  18. 18
    June 27th, 2011 at 4:32 am

    “Let’s face it: no matter what anyone says, there are always going to be parts of your body that frustrate you from time to time. ”

    Uh no, there are not. I have never felt “frustrated” insecure or annoyed at certain parts or my entire body. And don’t you think this contradicts the point of your article?And no, I am not a size 0. I am a comfortable size 4, 5′ 7 and 125 lbs.

  19. 19
    June 27th, 2011 at 8:28 am

    I’m struggling with my body image but I find that the best way to help me deal with it is to treat my body well and dress up in a way that makes me feel good and makes me happy. Once you treat your body with respect, body image will follow!

  20. 20
    June 27th, 2011 at 10:07 am

    I would just like to say, going along with your first point, models are also not even up to the ideal that we see them as. I used to model a bit, in the smaller Midwest market, and I knew tons of girls who modeled in New York for agencies like IMG, One, Next, etc. What I mean by the “ideal” is that a model to the general public is taller than 5’9″ and 34 24 34, now while some girls are this size, many are not and are still listed as such. For instance, I know a girl who is a working model in New York. Both her agencies list her as 5’9″ 34-24-34, while I know for a fact that she is “5’8.5″ and 33-25-37. I have seen many of her photos from magazines, etc, and we just laugh at the photo shop and editing that has gone into the production, because she doesn’t look anything like the photos!

    I also have felt this, in my smaller market, I am 5’7.5″ and 34-25-36, but one of my agencies use to list me as 5’8″ and 34-24-35, and the amount of makeup and hair magic they use to do on me for shows/shoots made me look nothing like myself.

    Just coming from the other side of modeling/fashion, I understand what goes into fashion shows, shoots, magazines, etc. and understand that the final image looks nothing like the real person. I wish other girls would realize this too because I struggled with an eating disorder back in my mid-teens because of this ideal that is dangled in front of young girl: be super skinny like the super models”. Now that I see what is done to achieve that look: lighting, makeup, camera angles, photo shop, editing, etc., I feel better about myself knowing that “ideal” is not real.


  21. 21
    June 27th, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Why are posts like this the only ones accompanied by photos of girls who look remotely like me? As if it’s a revelation that a fatty like me can have self-confidence? As if girls who are not as fat or fatter than me don’t have body image issues? Okay, you’ve thrown us a bone, now go back to posting pictures of nothing but rail thin models*.

    (* Not that being rail-thin is a bad thing, it’s the “nothing but” that gets to me.)

  22. 22
    June 29th, 2011 at 11:10 am

    This is a GREAT post. Women have to remember that models are just the people designers show their clothing collection on. You can sometimes see clothing on the runway that hangs off the models in an unflattering way that makes you think ” that dress isn’t as flattering on her as it would be on a women with a few curves”.
    I just always remember… Yes. I may hate how my legs look but these legs have carried me hundreds of miles. I may hate my stubby hands but they can type incredibly fast, draw, paint, sew, etc… And when I’m much older I will look back and cringe about how much time I wasted caring about what other people thought of the body that has carried me so far.

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