This past year has really opened our eyes to a ton of different things. It’s shown us how valuable time is, it’s shown us how important relationships are, and it’s shown us how quickly things can change.
The summertime can bring up a ton of feelings. The hotter weather typically means fewer clothes, more time outside, and more social gatherings (when it’s safe, of course). But when you’re feeling insecure, or you’re struggling with your body image, these exciting times can quickly feel overshadowed – and that’s not what we want at all. So today, we wanted to share a few little tips to help you feel more confident in your summer outfits. Think of them as tools for your tool kit: on their own, they may not work as a magic fix, but when used together, and along with other resources at your disposal, they may help you feel your best, most confident self this summer.
Also read: 4 Self-Love Inspired Home Workouts
3 Tips For Feeling More Confident In Your Summer Outfits
Find your style
Okay, so this may feel a little easier said than done, so let’s start slowly. For years and years and years, representation in media was so limited. Think back to the early 2000s – magazines were filled with highly photoshopped images of thin, predominately white women. And since most people didn’t fit the mould of what they conceded to be beautiful, so many people were left out. Social media has totally changed the game by providing more representation of bodies. It connects us with different shapes, colours, and sizes of people from all over the world. So while you may not have been able to find representation in a magazine 20 years ago, chances are you may a little bit of an easier time now. Use social media to your full advantage by filling your feed with people you resonate with. Save posts on Instagram and Tiktok for outfit inspo, or even create Pinterest boards. Get comfortable seeing similar bodies in clothes you like, and then you can go from there.
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Tackle the fears preventing you from wearing it
Even if you think the answer is obvious (ie: I don’t like wearing tank tops because I don’t like showing my arms), it’s still a good idea to do a deep dive into your own mindset. Sometimes we may get caught up in the surface level, we may miss out on what’s really happening deep down. You can do this in several different ways: through journaling, meditation, long showers or car rides – whatever works for you.
If you’re not into this and don’t know where to begin, you can try this simple exercise where you ask yourself “why” several times (7 is a good number to try). Yes, it’s sort of like the game kids play where they repeatedly ask the same question, but it’s used to understand where you’re coming from. You need to remember that a lot of us have grown up being told to ignore or suppress our emotions, so unpacking what’s going on can take time. Be kind and patient with yourself during the process.
Let’s do an example:
Thought: I don’t like wearing tank tops.
Why don’t I like wearing tank tops?
I don’t like showing my arms.
Why don’t I like my arms?
They’re too flabby.
Why does that bother me?
Because I don’t think they look good.
Why don’t I think they look good?
Because they’re larger than I’d like them to be.
Why does the size of them change how I feel about them?
Because that’s what society tells me I should look like.
Why do I feel the need to listen to what they’re telling me?
Because I want to feel like I fit in.
Why do I feel that covering them up will suddenly help me fit in?
Because I’m able to hide in the background more.
Doing an exercise like this is not a magic solution for solving everything, but it can give you an idea of where your thoughts are coming from. What you need to remember is that you’re not alone in this: you’re not alone in unpacking and understanding your emotions or processing what you’ve uncovered. If you need to, speak with your doctor or a licensed therapist to better understand what’s happening.
Make it comfortable
There are several ways to make this more comfortable. Firstly, this may sound like a given, but try on the clothes at home first. The pandemic has sort of (ish) made this easier since a lot of us have become much more accustomed to ordering things online. Trying on clothes in the comfort of your own home can make it a more enjoyable and safe experience by allowing you to stop and take breaks when needed. Secondly, to build off this point, try on the clothes when you’re feeling the most comfortable. Again, this may feel like a given, but after you’ve eaten a huge dinner when you’re not feeling as confident may not be the best time to try on clothes. Wait until you’re feeling your best, throw on a playlist that makes feel excited and happy, and focus on making it fun.
Next, let’s talk about making it comfortable to wear. It’s important to set yourself up for success, and part of that is making sure you have the tools you need and be kind and patient with yourself along the way. Firstly, if you are new to showing off your arms and you’re taking a huge step to wear a tank top out, remember that it’s okay if you want to leave a cardigan in your car just in case. Release any judgement you may be holding – throwing it on doesn’t mean that you’ve failed or you’re less than, it’s just part of the journey. Next time, maybe you’ll be able to show off your arms for a little bit longer, and then even longer the next time. Give yourself baby steps and listen to your needs. Additionally, think about ways to make yourself feel good physically. For example, if you’re wearing shorts for the first time, you may wish to pack some anti-chaffing cream or gel to keep your legs feeling good and comfortable. Or, if you’re wearing heels for the first time, you may wish to pack some slip-on ballet flats just in case your feet get tired. Have more options than you need is always a smart move.