Why I Feel Confident in Unflattering Clothes
People often talk about clothes being flattering as if that’s the only thing that should be considered, “Does this colour suit me?” “This dress is hugging me in the wrong places.” A large number of people, I assume, would feel that if something made you look bigger where you wanted to look small, or smaller where you wanted to look big, or short where you wanted to look tall (vice versa and so on), then you shouldn’t buy it. As women, we are handed ever-changing images of how we’re supposed to look and in many ways, they dictate how we not only dress but live our lives, the way we eat, exercise, sit, do our makeup, and so much more.
Up until recent years, I’ve subscribed to the philosophy that clothes should be flattering and much of my wardrobe was dictated by what made me look skinnier. But the emergence of straight-leg jeans and oversized jumpers (to name two ‘unflattering’ trends) into popular culture and my increasing interest and awareness of fashion, trends and the clothes that I’m wearing has really allowed me to let go of that way of thinking.
I hadn’t really consciously realised that this was the case. I mean, yes, I have become aware that my Saturday nights are usually spent in jeans (or pyjamas, let’s be honest) rather than body-con dresses but I’ve put that down to lifestyle change, rather than a change in how I think about what I’m wearing. It was the skirt that I’m wearing in this photo that made me come to the conscious realisation that I feel great in ‘unflattering’ clothing and that most of my wardrobe is, in fact, made up of it, by the standards of popular culture.
This beauty of a skirt immediately stood out to me on the hanger; I’ve been looking to incorporate some pastel-coloured checks into my wardrobe for the season and this skirt ticked all of my boxes. However, when I tried it on I felt immediately conflicted about it. I was sure I had to have it but felt conflicted about wearing it. I put this down to the print, the shape and the unique nature of the skirt, making it a piece that is out of my comfort zone in these ways. However when I got home and my mum told me that it didn’t fit me properly around my waist, I realised that the reason I wasn’t sold on it was because it’s not a flattering item of clothing.
I ordered the size up because I was now certain that this skirt needed to be a part of my life and the medium does fit me better, but it’s still not a flattering piece. But I now don’t feel skeptical about wearing it at all. I love everything about the skirt and I can think of endless ways to style it. And it is what I’m wearing that really makes me feel confident, as I’ve written about before. I’ve realised over time that it isn’t looking slim or having clear skin or anything else that makes me feel good about myself, it’s the clothes on my body. So it doesn’t really matter to me anymore if my clothes make me look skinnier or more tanned, or anything else like that, it’s only important that I truly love the clothes I’m wearing and that they represent what I want my personal style to be.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I definitely do consider if an item is flattering, if that’s the look I’m going for, but even outfits I wear that I consider to be sexy aren’t necessarily flattering in the way that popular culture prescribes. I think this defiance against these rules of dressing also allows me a certain confidence. To know that I am able to disregard these rules and go with my gut when it comes to what I wear is empowering and I think getting dressed is the part of my life in which I feel most secure and sure of myself in.
Anyway, let’s talk a little bit about this outfit. It all started with the skirt, as is probably obvious at this point, and I was very excited to coordinate some of the other pieces in this outfit with the colours in the skirt. Made up of mauve like pinks, navy blue and mustard, some of my favourite colours of the season are incorporated into this picnic blanket dream of a skirt, a trend I am loving for spring. I found this jumper at the back of my wardrobe and was very pleased to find it almost perfectly matches this skirt, as do these trainers which I don’t wear very much for the rest of the year, but always feel compelled to wear them during the springtime. Finally, this bag, which I think this is going to be a really nice addition to my wardrobe for spring/summer, as it has the feel of a woven bag but without their usual structure, and is a really nice size for everyday.
Worn in front of these dreamy pastel houses, in which it’s my dream to live in one day, I love this outfit and, for me, it feels like everything spring dressing should be. Although, it could be improved, in that regard, if the knit wasn’t necessary, but as long as I can get my legs out, I’m not complaining!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you feel about wearing ‘flattering’ clothes in the comments! And please do note that I use the term ‘flattering’ by the standards of what popular culture dictates as such, because obviously flattering is what you make it to be, and for me, what flattering clothes really are those that compliment my personal style and who I am, rather than my figure.