I’ve been told my whole life not to wear certain things because they aren’t “flattering.” But do people agree on what “flattering” actually means?
posted on Aug. 27, 2015, at 6:51 a.m.
Charlotte Gomez for BuzzFeed
Hi, I’m Kristin. Like many of you, I have been told throughout my life that I can’t wear certain things because they are “not flattering on me.”
If only certain things were flattering on me, then all the personal shoppers would dress me in all the same styles, right?
1. I’d ask the personal shoppers to find outfits that they considered flattering. However, I did NOT indicate what precisely on my body I wanted flattered — I left that completely open to interpretation.
2. I’d ask (whenever possible) why something was chosen for me.
3. As with this post, I’d buy anything I really loved, so as to not willfully waste anyone’s time.
4. Wherever possible, I included links to the items online (for some items I struggled to find exact matches).
Huh boy. I feel like the mohair circus just rolled into town. The personal shopper tells me that this poncho “hides a multitude of sins,” which I don’t think is wrong, necessarily, but casually implies that everything from my neck to my knees needs to be cordoned off with yellow police tape. It’s one of those mom comments that sticks with you.
But when I’m told this looks flattering, it lights up something in my brain that causes me to doubt any and all opinions of my own. “This does hide my stomach,” I I found myself rationalizing, ignoring the fact that there was enough room for my entire body to crawl inside this poncho and roll away if I wanted to.
Look, I’m 5’3”. Cropped pants on me are just pants. But culottes are everywhere right now. So I guess it was only a matter of time before they got to me, like I’m a character whose legs got attacked and killed on the season finale of The Walking Dead Culottes.
The tops of both of these outfits are layering options that would look great on my mother, because she is 29 years older than me and lives in a climate where the mall Santa at Christmas doesn’t wear sunglasses and surfer clothes.
Look, we called the Time Warner guy, but he’s not going to be able get cable reception back to my torso and thighs until Thursday at the earliest.
The purpose of this skirt was to “make me look slimmer and taller” — and it did, in my opinion. (Though if that was the goal all along, then why pick out the cropped pants for me?) The problem was that I only looked “slimmer and taller” if I was also wearing a very bulky sweater. Which would be great if it wasn’t going to be 10000 degrees in L.A. for the next two months. Stop trying to make August sweaters a thing, clothing stores. IT’S NOT GOING TO BE A THING.
I thought this was cute, although admittedly a little boring — I did appreciate that I was offered an alternative to the sweater brigade.
Yeah, did not see this one coming. Prints and drop waists have always been deemed off-limits to me, unless the goal is to look like someone’s oversized lava lamp.
I’m not sure I understand the point of the “cold shoulder” sleeve in general. Am I supposed to tempt you with my bare upper arm area, or just make it really difficult for myself to decide whether or not I need a light jacket?
Here I am, doing my impression of the ugly comforter on top of the Days Inn bed that you immediately throw on the floor whenever you stay there.
The objective with this dress, according to my personal shopper, was to “nip in my waist.” So now I look like a creepy haunted doll with a nipped-in waist.
Hello, I’m the mom on Halloween who hits on all the single dads who are out with their kids trick-or-treating.
These were the best pants I tried on anywhere, by a mile, and still too baggy around the knees. I also enjoyed that the fringe efficiently pointed people directly to my crotch; that was a very convenient feature.
Skinny jeans were on the left, boot-cut jeans were on the right. When I asked about how these jeans were flattering, I was told that they were both “very slimming for my midsection.” To be honest, what was most “slimming” about these outfits was that my midsection was covered. If I’m being REALLY honest, while the skinny jean looks like it fits a little better, they basically look exactly the same.
And anyway, both of these jeans were a nightmare to wear while sitting, so they both went in the no pile.
I tried this on as a dare to myself, because the personal shopper was very enthusiastic about everything, and I wanted to see if she’d tell me the truth about this outfit. Like, come on. I look like everyone’s least favorite English teacher. There is no way that someone can tell me that this is a flattering outfit with a straight face.
And as I predicted, the personal shopper took one look at this outfit, made a concerned face…
When I turned the sweater around, her face softened, she declared this to be very cute. Which…I don’t know. Now I just feel like a package the stork might deliver.
This was meant to skim my body shape without clinging too much to it. But look, when a dress shows you how much it loves getting wrinkled, believe it the first time.
This one worked a little differently: Because ModCloth is an online retailer, I provided them with a full-body picture, my measurements, and a general description of my body. In turn, they were able to provide me with some recommendations, and I bought all this stuff up front in order to try it on.
The outfit on the left is the only time anyone tried to put me in a tie-front top — which was kind of shocking. I would have kept it, but it was a little too long on me.
The yellow shirt sort of makes me feel like a jelly bean with legs. It probably doesn’t help that I FEEL like a jelly bean with legs, and it’s coming through in my face.
The idea for both of these outfits, according to the stylist who picked these things, was to cinch in my waist. The outfit on the left is probably my all-around favorite of every outfit I tried on — I plan on keeping it. The dress on the right was also good, and not in a fit I would have picked myself — I thought for sure that it made my stomach look too lumpy from the side, although the person who took this picture did not agree with me. I have no idea what is real, guys.
Yeah, I’m just as shocked as you that I was put in horizontal stripes. I was told that the horizontal stripes worked even WITHOUT the slimming lines of the jacket. To be honest, I can’t decide if I look like an adorable French girl detective or a Sexy Hamburglar.
Confession: I did not try these vests on in good faith, because they were not cheap — the vest on the left costs more than the total rent on my apartment. BUT UGH THAT VEST WAS AMAZING. You get the idea: I believe the vests are supposed to my make my torso look like it isn’t 6 inches tall and 20 feet wide.
I normally HATE shapeless dresses like the one on the left — best-case scenario, they just hang limply on me, like they don’t want to be hanging out with me any more than I do with them. But I actually liked the dress on the left better than the belted, more waist-cinching option on the right. I loved the pockets, the high-low hem, and honestly, just the way it felt — I bought it.
1. “Flattering” is at best a personal opinion, and at worst a sales tool aimed at getting you to buy things based on your insecurities — often a combination of both. This is why women shopping for wedding dresses with seven of their family members makes great TV.
2. Flattering means something different to different people. I was put in literally every fall trend under the sun at least once — it honestly depended on the person’s taste and what they did or did not feel like I should be hiding or maximizing.
3. Because no one agrees about what “flattering” is…that means YOU’RE FREE. Professional and/or event-specific dress codes aside, you should never have to feel like a trend is “off limits” just because some hater told you so — especially because when styles change in three to five years, that hater may very well change their mind!
The favorite all-around outfit was the ModCloth red top and black skirt. An earlier version of this post accidentally indicated it was a different outfit. Aug. 27, 2015, at 12:27 p.m.
Have you ever noticed how a specific sound can transport you to a certain place and time? I’m not talking about a song on the radio, made up of words and a story. I mean a real sound like a lawnmower or a drill?
My sound is a dishwasher. No, I don’t mean some pimply faced teenager screaming to the chef in the back of a Denny’s. Instead it’s the low deep hum and the slight sound of water gradually filling the inside of my Whirlpool.
It takes me back to my grandmother’s kitchen. After finishing dinner, a few of us would be packaging up food and I would be loading the dishwasher. It may sound dumb, but there was a sense of pride in cleaning up the dishes. For starters we were lucky enough to have food on the table and even luckier to have a dishwasher.
The sound of the dishwasher meant the day was done. I just wish I enjoyed unloading and putting the dishes away. Oh well… for now I will just focus on the sound! 🙂
As I was looking for a picture to go with this post, I ended up finding a 70 MINUTE recording of a dishwasher. Hey — I can’t make this stuff up. 😉 Enjoy!
A friend of mine came over for dinner and when she walked in the front door she looked up toward the ceiling with a questionable look on her face. I didn’t notice right away until I turned around and saw her standing there looking at the “Happy Birthday” banner hanging on the wall. She cautiously asked, “Isn’t your birthday in July?” With a smile I said, “Yes, it is.” She then asked, “When is Gary’s birthday?” Knowing where this was headed, I started to laugh and replied, “Oh his is in August.” She slowly lowered the bags of food onto the kitchen counter and grabbed a bottle of wine. With a slight WTF look on her face she poured me a glass and asked, “So why are there Happy Birthday banners still hanging all over your house in December!?”
As we started dinner I explained, “Well, my birthday is July 31st and my husband’s is August 11th. So when we decorate for my birthday, we have always left them up for his as well. This year is the first time that we just never got around to taking them down. There is something wonderful about waking up each morning, shuffling into the kitchen half awake and being greeted with a “Happy Birthday” message to start our day. It is a constant reminder that while we are all born on one specific day at a certain time, each day is truly something that should be celebrated.”
We clanked our wine glasses and enjoyed a wonderful dinner. Later that night as I was cleaning up the dishes, I couldn’t help but think of the reasons why we should all make each day a birthday.
1. Life is Short – Celebrate Long and Often!
Let’s face it, the older we get the faster life passes us by. Who says you can only celebrate once per year? Give gifts to people for no other reason than to celebrate who they are and what they mean to you. I will frequently send birthday cards at the wrong time of the year with a note that says, “I know that you weren’t born today, but I am grateful for you EVERYDAY.” You would be amazed how that simple message can positively change a person’s day.
2. Enjoy The Best First
Instead of saving the best for last, enjoy the best first! My husband and I will eat out often. It’s our thing. We love going to restaurants and enjoying good food. Often times when we go to a fancy restaurant the waiter will ask for the occasion we are celebrating. The truth is, the occasion is just being alive! Some people may think it’s funny, but for a man who recently recovered from a brain tumor, the truth is, we have so much to celebrate. Let’s face it, we all have struggles that we have overcome. So enjoy your favorite things as often as possible. YOU deserve to be celebrated, not just once a year but every day!
3. Celebrating Little Moments Become Big Memories
When you take a small piece of sand and place it under a microscope, that little spec looks enormous. The same goes with moments in our life. Something simple if looked at differently, can be amazing. Last night while my husband and I were out to dinner, our waitress was extremely friendly and attentive. She looked a lot like Celine Dion, however, it was obvious she had extremely bad acne that she had tried to cover with makeup. When she came to the table with our food, she asked if we needed anything else? I asked her, “Has anyone ever told you that you look like Celine Dion?” Her hand went over her mouth and her eyes filled up with tears. She smiled so big and shook her head no. You could see she was afraid to feel beautiful, yet accepted the compliment with a huge smile. When she left the table Gary said, “Did she start to cry because she thinks Celine Dion looks like a horse?” I said, “No, you jackass, she is a very pretty girl and deserves to hear it! Hell, we all deserve to hear more positive things about ourselves.” (Sorry Celine, you don’t look like a horse.)
4. Make Life An Experience Not An Expiration
For many years I would give gifts to people that didn’t require much thought or action on my part. As I have gotten older I have become more aware of the feeling I get when I give a gift that takes some thought and consideration. The smile on someone’s face when their lifetime dream is being fulfilled is something that no gift card could ever provide. Make your life an experience. If you have a dream of driving a Ferrari, or flying in a Stearman Bi-Plane, go for it! There are several companies that provide the opportunity to fulfill your dreams, no matter how big or small. Live big…you deserve it. We all deserve it.
Last night I did something I haven’t done in a long time. I picked up the PHONE and called a dear friend. I didn’t text, Skype or post a message on Facebook or Twitter. I used the “old fashioned” way of communicating… and I realized very quickly how I have been sucked into the social media abyss.
After we got off the phone I sat in my recliner and scrolled mindlessly through Facebook posts. Occasionally I would “like” a photo or post a comment. As I did this I could feel the guilt start to consume me. I could see the pile of clothes on the couch, just waiting for me to “find time” to fold them and put them away. Yet, I continued to scroll through selfies, food pictures and now the latest trend of random videos of the “ALS ice challenge” that everyone is doing, including Oprah and Gayle. I have projects to write and things to accomplish, yet watching people dump buckets of ice water on their head is more important. Or is it?
Then I asked myself a very easy question: If I were to die tomorrow, was my time well spent? Was that video, or selfie or political rant really worth a minute of my life? The more I asked myself that question, the easier it was to answer.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I have become consumed with this immediate need to share. I LOVE seeing my friends adopt their precious new kids, and seeing photos of friends and family or reading posts about the latest happenings in life. However, finding that perfect balance is something we all try hard to achieve.
For me, it starts with the pile of clothes on the couch. 😉
I will say this…portion control is the fat person’s chastity belt.
It’s cruel, it’s mean and it’s something that I have struggled with for a long time.
My friend Christy started on a program where she learned about portion control and how to eat right. When I saw her latest Facebook posting of her before and after picture I quickly messaged her to find out what her secret was. When she first mentioned “Take Shape For Life”, I was thrilled at the idea of drinking milk shakes for the rest of my life. She quickly spelled out S-H-A-P-E not shakes and sent me to her website.
I scrolled through the website. I read the articles. But the proof I needed was that my friend, who I had known for several years, had taken back control. She wasn’t selling me anything. She wasn’t pushy and demanding. She was just simply Christy, minus (at that time) about 80 pounds.
I signed up for the program and I waited for my box of chocolate happiness to arrive. I explained to Christy that there might be a good chance that I would eat all of the boxes of chocolate bars within the first few days and could possibly die of my rectum bursting from constipation. She laughed and simply told me to print out the articles and read them over the weekend. For some men the article titled, “Lean Shrinkage Chart” might make them squirm for a moment. However, the information is great and easily accessible.
I am happy to say I made it through the first week on Take Shape For Life, and survived eating the bars without my rectum exploding. I’m down 12 pounds which is really a no brainer since I’m cutting back my freak show way of eating and pounding more water than Niagra Falls.
Thank you Christy for being so brave in telling your story and inspiring change!
More posts and pictures to follow…
People will hurt you and all that matters is how you react to that hurt.
I want to make something perfectly clear when you hurt me, I get stronger. I don’t assume the fetal position and wait for the storm to pass. I learned long ago that you stand up for yourself and you don’t allow people to treat you poorly.
Yes, I have a weight issue, but that doesn’t mean I left my self esteem, pride and morals at the All-U-Can eat buffet. People have medical, personal or financial issues and some have struggles that we may never begin to understand. They had to adapt and overcome those struggles and maybe just maybe they made it through by eating more than they should have. Maybe they survived a death of a loved one by stuffing their face with carbs, sweets, sugars, sodas or anything else that might be bad for them, but in turn saved them from giving up on themselves or life as they know it.
I don’t point my finger at someone who has PTSD and shame them for having their issues. Their issues may not add twenty, thirty or sixty pounds to their frame, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t fighting every day to be a better person.
In turn, don’t point your finger at me and blame me for being fat. I get it. I see it everyday and I certainly don’t need a reminder. Someone said this today and I wanted to post it here…
“Step into my shoes and walk the life I’m living – and if you get as far as I am, just maybe you will see how strong I really am.”
Sometimes it helps to know that we’re not alone. You’re not alone and I’m not alone. If someone has an issue with you or shares your issues with other people, use their weakness for your strength!
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