Tuesday, 10 January 2012

On bodies and image

I'm a (NZ) size 10¿. But this doesn't stop me from having body issues, it's just that they're will hidden physically and psychologically. I’m not saying I have major issues and am a candidate for How to look good naked – I can actually look at myself in the mirror and all. But there are parts of my body I don’t like, and I concentrate on disguising.

I struggle to see myself as a size-10 – let alone an 8 or the 7 my jeans are*. I can’t see myself as skinny. Slim – just. Nearly. Skinny – never.

I think part of it is because I have breasts – in my head skinny girls don’t have breasts. At least, not naturally§.

Another thing that adds to my image of myself as not-quite-skinny is my height+. Only models and actors are skinny and tall. And, I’m not either of those. Therefore, I can’t be skinny.

I think I have an hourglass figure¤.

I’ve watched Gok’s shows, and What not to wear. According to Gok, hourglasses are THE figure designers love and are the best to dress. Maybe he could talk to the designers for the clothes I look at. Apparently, I’m long-waisted (ie long body) and most hourglasses are short-waisted. Ergo – I struggle to find clothes that fit all of my measurements at the same time.

For this reason I love hipster styles, because it means I can get trousers / skirts that fit my things (size 12ish) without gapping at my waist (size 8ish). But I always have to be aware of the dreaded muffin top. Yes, I have one. So sitting / standing straight – or slouching – ie, not sitting / standing naturally, disguises it.

My thighs are my bugbear. But I’ve learned to disguise them (mostly). Maybe I really am making more of them than they are. But it’s my image of my body. My mother didn’t believe that I had big thighs until I stripped to my underwear and showed them. You know what? They are bigger than they should be for the rest of me.

Now I’m this size, and have been for a while, I want to stay this way – not least because I can’t afford a new wardrobe so soon. After more than a year, I still have to think size 10 when looking at clothes. I will pull out a size 8, a size 10 and a size 12 when trying things on». I really have to concentrate when it comes to small / medium sizing. I can’t see myself as small. I really struggle with that one.

So… why have I shared this?

To let you know that appearances aren’t everything. If you say I look good – particularly if you use the ‘skinny’ word – my internal voice is saying something else. It’s all a matter of perspective and my self-perception is skewed.

Because, you know what? I’d much rather be happy with my body, whatever size it is. And, I don’t think I ever will be.

¿Mostly, on average - I have 8s, 10s and 12s in my wardrobe, all of which mostly fit.

*Seriously. Size 7. If I’m a 7, what in-the-hell size are skinny girls?! That’s also why I shop at Jeans West, they don’t make me feel fat. Unlike another jeans shop, where a size-8 didn’t get over my foot!
§I *think* I’m a D-cup, but I’ve never been for a bra fitting in my life. There’s an underwear manufacturer’s website I visited that told me they had no underwear for my measurements.
+And don’t get me started on my height. I’m 5’ 6” (168cm) and the tallest in my family. It’s taken many years to feel confident wearing heels around my family° – and towering over them. Just when it happened, my knee gave out, limiting my heel-time. Damn it. Although, it stills feels weird looking such a long way down on my mother, when I’m in heels.
°I’m not blaming them, but the constant comments about the height made me self-conscious. And having my brother not hug me, unless I was sitting down – or he was – for a few years didn’t help. Being taller than your brothers at 13 doesn’t go down well.

¤Again, going online, a site told me I’m actually straight up-and-down, ie shapeless, because there’s not 10-inches of difference between my hips/bust measurement and my waist. There’s 8. Don’t trust the internet. These things just add to my image issues.
I have been a size 14, and it wasn’t a good look. At all.
»Mind you, I don’t think that’s all just my image issues – the vagrancies of sizing / style / materials doesn’t help any.


  1. Hey Auntie Annie

    About 3% of caucasian women are happy with their bodies (from a study put forth on Oprah, so probably referring to American women but hey). I know lots of women who do identify with being 'skinny' and totally hate it. They are sick of being accused of having eating disorders on a regular basis when they just can't put on weight. It sucks that women who are smaller are expected to be happy with their body. Most people have at least one thing about their body they don't like - and the magazines definitely help promote that we never be happy with what we have, and strive for something else. That's how they sell products.

    You should get a bra fitting! It's great! And the shop lady doesn't have to see you naked, just see how bras fit you. AND you end up wearing more comfortable and practical bras.

    Also, you definitely are an hourglass figure. Your waist to hip ratio is a much more sensible way to think about this. Smaller people will have a smaller differences inch wise, but the same ratio. And if you are a different size in the bust then in the waist - then you are definitely an hourglass figure.


  2. Thanks Hannah!

    Not worried at all about the bra-fitting lady seeing me naked (see... that's not my body issue), I've just never got around to it :D.

    Just wanted to put it out there that we all have issues - just some aren't obvious.

  3. Go visit the lovely staff at Smith and Caughey's bra department - if they could find me a gorgeous bra when I was a 14GG (and much bigger breast feeding) without making me feel hideous, then they will be able to help you too! Believe me, I know all about the whole looking at your body and not believing/accepting that you could possibly be that (totally normal) size, as I still choose the wrong size top, instinctively going for the much larger one.
    I have clothing I wear that goes from size 12 to size 16, and I never know what is going to fit when I try things on, apart from a couple of labels that I have been buying for some time now as the way their clothing is made just works for my shape.
    I think you are gorgeous and love your elegant posture and individual clothing style!

  4. You are so brave for sharing that. I never thought you would have any body issues as I think you have a models body.I think of you as tall and slim with a great fashion sense. Then again its your beautiful heart and generous soul that means the most to me. love you.

  5. Thanks guys. Love you all lots.


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