Friday, July 15, 2011

School Daze


Yesterday I met a friend for coffee and we got chatting about body image. She was commenting on how all her recent bike riding was making her feel fit, and I was moaning about how my never-ending cold (2 weeks now!) has kept me from the gym and made me feel like a great lump of ick. After patiently listening to all my whining, she said something really interesting. She has read lots of feminist theory over the last few years, and now won't let herself think about her body in terms of 'fat' or 'thin'. Every time she finds herself sliding into these constructed categories, she just refuses to continue the thought.

I'm not sure I could do that- though I don't feel like I have a particularly negative self-image (in fact discovering the fashion blog-o-sphere and seeing the wonderful things women of all shapes and sizes come up with in the way they dress is something I love about this online community). Nevertheless, I do think about shape- not usually in terms of "fat" or "thin", but in how silhouettes can be. constructed.

I thought it was fitting that this discussion should crop up in time for this post. I walked into the room with this skirt the other day and Ian said 'are you going to school?' So I decided that yes, I would - and went school girl all the way. It was when I was younger, at school, wearing a uniform day in, day out, that shape didn't really figure into the equation. I was forced to wear a tie, a shapeless white shirt and drab tan pants/skirt, so silhouette was something I had no control over.

These days shape is something I love to play with. Learning about cuts and clothes has allowed me to come to love fashion and its great transformative power. Occasionally I battle with my body, wishing I could pull off some waifish, flat-chested style, but more often than not I think of it as just another element in the creative process of dressing. So what do you think? Could you take shape out of the equation?




13 comments:

  1. I know how you feel with the shapeless uniform, I wore the same uniform for six years and it was awful. I like your friend's way of thinking, I tend to think like that too.

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  2. That plaid skirt looks amazing. I really like the school girl you.

    What to say about shape, well I dont think it exists any right or wrong. You look the way your looking, and most of the time its hard to do something against it. No person is similar the other. which I find beautiful. I don't say Im not looking on my body, because I do, but I try to focus on the parts I like on me, instead I focus on what I do like. You can probably not take shape out of the equation without trying hard to change your thoughtsprocess, but you can change the positive/negativ feeling about it.

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  3. Hmmm, I find the shape discourse pretty much impossible for me to overcome. It's not that I don't appreciate different shapes as beautiful--I do, and I wouldn't say I subscribe to the waif look as being the best. But I'm very conscious about my own shape, and would like it to be the best it can be. Not that I go to the gym or anything. ; ) But I've also been riding my bike a lot this summer, and I simply feel much happier about my shape than I did during the extra-sedentary winter of student life.

    I actually think fashion could make a lot of people feel better about their shapes. Looking at women on the street, I recognize that a lot of them aren't happy with their shape by the dark, boring and shapeless clothes they wear. I think you're right that fashion is transformative in that sense, and we get to decide which shape we want to embrace (although we can't really minimize ourselves into waifs.

    Blah.... none of this makes any sense. Back to the thesis. Buffff.

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  4. Cute!!

    This might sound weird, but it's only since I had a baby and gained some curves that I actually feel okay about having that extra weight on me. Before when I was a fair bit thinner, I was always uncomfortable, trying to loose some weight!

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  5. I know how you feel not being able to exercise while suffering from a cold, I am now sans flu after a month and today went back to the gym.

    I never weigh myself I just know when I start to feel like I need to tone up and feel better in my own skin.

    I think I came to terms with my shape in my 30's - yes I have a bust and a bum so dressing like I don't have curves is just rediculous - Yay for the female form in whatever shape it comes in.

    PS I love your skirt and shoes ^U^

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  6. So adorable outfit! And good writing!

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  7. Looking gorgeous :)

    My relationship with food, exercise and above all my body image is the sickly side of healthy. I practically grew up on diets and I was under constant scrutiny when it came to my weight. I was a grade-A food hoarder, invading the larder on tip toes most nights and hiding sweets away so I could eat without being told I was greedy and fat. Old habits die hard and I still don't like eating in public, I still binge in secret and I still step on the scales daily to ensure I hold my weight. If I gain a kilo or two I am grum-py as hell and no fun to be around until I am back to my regular shape. I am well aware nobody else can spot the difference but as far as I am concerned I might as well have turned into a sumo ringer over night. I count my daily calories just like I was taught to. See what I mean? I don't have a disorder but my relationship to food/weight/body shape is pretty unhealthy nonetheless. Ugh. I'll get there eventually. One fine day I'll throw the scales out the window ;)

    Such an interesting subject and a sore one for me. Keeping a style blog has really helped me with the body image side of things though. It definitely helps to look back at yourself in a little more objective fashion.

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  8. ~ * ♥ * ~

    I know that I really can't stop thinking about myself in some sort of shape or size way. I don't get hung up about the label on my clothes as it ranges from a 8 to a 14 depending on the fit. For me, like yourself Rebecca, it's all about the shape.

    That being said there are times {like now. Post baby =s not so great} when I definitely do not like the shape of my body and want to change it. Slimming time!

    xox,
    bonita of Depict This!
    ~ * ♥ * ~

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  9. a very flattering and delightful outfit! You have an amazing body. I used to have quite a body complex over being really thin, especially since snide female coworkers were always asking me if I was anorexic, to which I would reply "Why don't we take this outside & I'll show you whose anorexic." That was a long time ago though. I've been an athlete & I have a healthy work out routine, and I think that's what is most important. I can't change my body too much, but I can make a conscious effort to eat healthier (very hard for me, but I try), exercise regularly, and love myself unconditionally.

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  10. WOw! this outfit is wonderful! Love it! <3
    Also this red shoes, so sweet and they fit amazing with the skirt! :)


    Ps: Join our giveaway

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  11. You're spot on about shapes/silhouettes being "another element in the creative process of dressing."

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Go on then!