4 Ways to Stay Fashionable Without Hating Your Body

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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

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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

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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!

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