So a few months ago I watched a marathon of What Not to Wear on Netflix. I wasn’t proud of it but it happened. And though the advice isn’t particularly helpful to anyone beyond the beginnings of sartorial experimentation or interest, sometimes some subtle thought nuggets would stick in my head.

For example, after watching 5 episodes in one night I went to Zara the next day to have a look-see at their new arrivals. Generally when I walk into any store I understand 2 things immediately…

a. If there is anything in there I would even be remotely interested in

b. Where that item might be located

The result is 1 circle of the perimeter of the store to grab the things I might like to try on and then I swing back around to the fitting room. I very rarely browse as some people do, wandering aimlessly from rack to rack in a little zigzag pattern. (This by the way is what I think frustrates people about shopping but that’s a topic for another day.) I think it’s a waste of time and energy and often it ends in purchasing something you normally would never wear but caught your eye and/or bringing something into the fitting room that will fit you terribly and make you feel bad about yourself.

This time though, I saw a black and speckled bodycon midi dress hanging near the back that I had been passing over a few too many times online. I had also been debating a similar dress on the Forever 21 website. I kept passing them over because in my head …

“I’m way too fat to wear a bodycon dress.”
“A midi length will make me look short and stubby.”
“Black head to toe? I’ll look like a funeral director.”
“Even if I did buy it I would also have to buy some Spanx surely.”

“Do I even want to try it on. I mean it’s going to show every ripple and bulge.”

Then I remembered 3 things from What Not to Wear. The first, if a friend spoke to you the way you speak to yourself would you keep them around very long? At this moment the answer to that would have been No. Second, sometimes it’s okay to buy something just because you love it and it makes you smile. So you wear it once. Who gives a shit. Everytime you see it in your closet it will make you happy. Third, many of us never move beyond the image we have of ourselves in high school. Oh, sure we do things to “correct” it for example if we were picked on for being poor we may become a stock broker. If we were made fun of for having bad hair and acne, then a life as a makeup artist and/or hairstylist is in order. Or in my case the gothic girl with the bad teeth and the cankles who went into the fashion industry (also got adult braces and discovered what a gym was for). But we never really forget what we thought of ourselves and what other people presumably thought of us. So since high school I have refrained from anything bodycon, short, tight, or otherwise ladylike.

Long story long I grabbed the dress and tried it on and fell in love. Not just with the dress but with myself. I hadn’t done anything to prepare for this moment, I hadn’t had my hair styled, or put makeup on. I didn’t use the one fitting room with the best lighting. I wasn’t wearing shapewear or the best shoes for the occasion. And it still looked amazing.

I didn’t buy it of course because one step at a time little ducklings but I did discover that I have moved beyond the body and the body image of a teenage girl and into adulthood and I had to start dressing like it.

Here’s a few properly bodycon, midi dresses from Asos to get you started…

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