The ideal woman of the Renaissance as depicted by Peter Paul Rubens was fleshy and pear-shaped, having large hips and smaller breasts to signify fertility and physical and spiritual heartiness. In paleolithic times, she had large breasts and large hips. When tuberculosis was was rampant in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the ideal quickly changed to a thin frame, brought on by the symptoms of the disease.
Now, in the 21st century, we’re finally approaching an era where all body shapes and sizes are celebrated and body positivity messages abound. But have things really changed about how we actually feel about our individual bodies? I have held countless trunk shows and pop-up events in the DC area. From these events, I’ve noted one recurring theme. It’s very difficult to get the average DC woman into a dressing room and it’s almost impossible to get her to try on lingerie and swimwear because. . . you have to take off all your clothes. There is simply no foundation garment or shapewear to hid behind and this can make you feel very vulnerable.
Some common excuses I frequently receive are: my body is not where I’d like it to be, I feel bloated from brunch, I can’t pull this bathing suit off. These women were all standard sizes that there was nothing unusual about their bodies. Rather, they would likely be considered average-sized for a US woman. The fact that the average US woman feels uncomfortable trying on lingerie and swimwear in a public fitting room (versus her own home) really bugs me because it signals that we have not abandoned the concept of a single, ideal woman archetype that dominated each century before.
We still don’t fully love our bodies, but here’s the clincher. . . this has less to do with our actual bodies and more to do with how we feel about our bodies. It’s all about attitude. And, it’s not rocket science that when we feel good about our bodies, we adorn them by shopping for everything from the practical to the totally glamorously impractical. I would really love to see more women get into the habit of buying more swimwear and lingerie, not only because I own a store, but because I consider this a measure of self-love and acceptance.
So, how do I start taking off my clothes [figuratively]?
- Take off your clothes [literally]. Stand in front of a mirror every morning naked and appreciate your body. Concentrate on a feature about yourself that you like, then pick another, and another.
- Get a proper bra-fitting. We are living in a decade where bras are made in just about every size. Have questions on whether your current bra fits? Ping me and I’ll give you a complimentary bra fitting via Skype or in-person.
- Remember that you alone are responsible for your own body-happiness. If you don’t love your body, that’s on you. That is not discounting that other people with try to influence how you feel about your body. So, remove yourself from these negative people.
- Exercise power postures in your lingerie and/or swimwear frequently. Pick your super hero suit-whether it be a chemise, bra and panty set, or a cut-out swimsuit.
So, the next time you are confronted with pretty lingerie or sexy swimwear that you’d like to try on, I dare you to. I dare you to take off your clothes and love your body.