Your Body as a Summer Accessory
Summer! Already? How did that happen so quickly? I haven't used that Groupon for the personal trainer yet - maybe I can trade it in for the miracle fat freeze/melt/sculpt/laser/chisel/vibration thingie.... Ugh. My bikini body is so. not. ready. My arms are so. not. ready. Why are all these shorts so short? Why are all these tank tops backless? Why is it so hard to find a t-shirt that doesn't cling in the middle? I don't even like t-shirts! I wish I could wear my favorite silk blouse/blazer/scarf/jeans, but I'd end up with heat stroke and pit stains the size of Arkansas...
If your inner monologue sounds anything like this as summer encroaches, you aren't alone! My clients of every size and shape tend to fear warmer weather, whether it's because of extra weight, skinny knees, varicose veins, or anything in-between. But what I always like to stress with my clients is that this has far less to do with our inherent lack of perfection (nobody's perfect!) and more to do with the fact that summer clothing tends to put our bodies on display, effectively turning them into statement accessories which we don't have the luxury of shopping around for and choosing with careful precision.
What Your Body Says About You
Many people (men and women alike!) worry that, if they don't look like perfectly-sculpted "fitspo" adventure models, then they don't deserve to bare their arms and legs to beat the heat. That kind of thinking is simply impractical, because you have to ventilate to stay comfy - but it devalues all the useful things that your body can communicate about you. For example:
- Sports & activities preferences - should friends invite you to join a triathlon or a yoga session?
- Indoor/outdoor preferences - are you a more likely partner for a desert excursion or quiet night in?
- Personality - are you austere or indulgent? Regimented or relaxed? Modest or exhibitionist?
- Judgement - do you have good judgement? Are you dressed appropriately for the weather as well as the dress code and your station in life?
- Practicality - did you make allowances for the heat, or are you neurotically bundled up just so no one will ever ever ever see your ankles?
- Taste - are you willing to let it all hang out, or are aesthetics important to you? How refined is your "eye"? What features are you willing to show, and which aren't you?
When Your Body Does NOT Reflect Your Values
You may have read the above section and worried, "Well, that's all well and good, but my butt doesn't exactly represent my aesthetic standards right now...."
That's perfectly OK!
The truth is that most people don't jude us solely on our figures when there is additional information to consider. So all you have to do is give them more information to consider! Think about:
- What body parts would be exposed if you dressed purely for comfort? Which ones bother you, and what type of inaccuracy are they projecting?
- Conversely, what is the inner truth you'd like to project instead?
- Are there other ways to cover up that you may not have considered? Lighter fabrics? New technologies?
- What kinds of details might you use to more accurately describe yourself, and how can you incorporate them into an outfit?
We'll have more on creating visual interest soon! But for now, if you have any anxiety about summer outfits, take a moment to jot down a few notes about your current summer style, what it says about you, and why you might feel uncomfortable.
Just don't beat yourself up!