Are You Apologizing For Your Age or Body Shape?

I meet with a lot of women who comment about the physical changes that have taken place after crossing the monumental threshold of turning fifty, with a shift in weight in one direction or another. Some changes that are perceived as undesirable by those who dictate the "standard" for physical beauty are actually positive and necessary for our emotional (and physical) well-being. Some women benefit by gaining weight and only need to shift over to a different garment shape that accentuates their new curves to feel beautiful once again.

Why do women ignore (or loath) the beautiful changes that age brings on? Perhaps it's our society that celebrates youth over wisdom. Perhaps it's the fault of a fashion industry that is myopically in love with the young prepubescent body. It doesn't matter. It only matters what YOU think about your age and your body image.

A recent client wrote to me, "My body size and shape have been morphing and changing since I was sixteen years old. It was only after I met you [Linda Waldon] that I realized I had been trying to keep up with every body shift by purchasing more clothes. Clothes that often hung awkwardly or were what I considered pretty colors as opposed to the colors that were right for me. The most powerful gift I received from you was awareness. Learning how to align your outer style with your inner being creates a steadiness to one's personality that translates in the outer world as CONFIDENCE.

The point is if you're in "body hate" mode all the time, you're sabotaging your confidence and your potential. What good can come of that? I help women rediscover, revitalize, and reinvent their beauty, body, and style so they wake up every day feeling beautiful.

Here are 4 simple ways to reconnect with your feminine beauty:
  1. Acknowledge your body shape and love the skin you're in. I wrote an article several years ago called "Seeing Your Body as a Work of Art." What I discovered after marrying an artist was that artists look at the human form as a work of art. No judgment. No "body hatred." The human form has lines, curves, shadows, folds, and colors, all creating a unique presence that cries out for fabric to be draped beautifully over each fold and curve. Wear clothes that create flattering lines, don't pinch and pull, and most of all, elongate and slenderize. Learning about your body shape and how to drape it beautifully can be a transformational experience.
  2. Do something every day that brings you joy. Someone commented to me the other day at my husband's artist reception that I looked beautiful and radiant. I responded with, "happiness shows." If you love what you do, the joy will permeate every cell in your body and you will radiate attractiveness.
  3. Be unforgettable in your appearance. It's about time you had fun with fashion! Create your own signature look and flaunt it. See some examples of cool summer outfits below. I love colorful, figure-flattering tunic tops with leggings for a casual look. A maxi dress will take you from beach to lunch. For more outfit ideas, visit my Polyvore page.
  4. Do a closet purge. Do not hang on to one piece of clothing that reminds you of the "old days" or the way your body used to look. Move on. Make peace. Make room for new and interesting pieces that accentuate your beautiful curves and light up your eyes.

I'd love to hear how you feel about your age and body shape. Do you find that it holds you back from manifesting your dreams? If you've made peace with your age and body image, I'd love to hear your advice for other women who are struggling with self-criticism.


Gail Gates said...

I struggle with body image on many levels. Some of it comes from comments in my childhood, some of it because I choose to buy into cultural nonsense, and some of it because of the endless changes that come with hormones and aging.

However, I love that my body is strong and healthy. I love that I have the choice to select my look based on mood, sass, or event. And I love that my husband loves every inch of me. My "look" tends to be classic with a twist. I'm an hourglass shape, which can easily look frumpy if I allow clothing to hang loose from the chest.

To answer you question directly, no, I don't apologize for my age or shape. This is a time for exploration, and I'm loving the challenge.

True Colors by Linda said...

Gail, thank you so much for responding to my question. I am so thrilled to read that you acknowledge the struggle, but you refuse to give in or apologize for your age or shape, and that you consider this a "time for exploration and loving the challenge." Whooohooo!! -- Linda

BTC said...

My biggest body frustration kicks in about this time of year: my batwing upper arms prevent me from wearing sleeveless or even short sleeve tops and dresses. I spend Spring and Summer sweltering in 3/4 sleeves. I love Fall and Winter because arms are always covered. When my trouble spots are covered appropriately, I feel very attractive in my clothing and think I do a pretty good job of styling outfits. I thank God for 3/4 sleeves and cropped pants to survive these two seasons.

Diane McAllister said...

For those who struggle with 'bat wing' arms and would love to wear sleeveless tops, do what I do. I wear light weight tops that have cap like sleeves. Cut on the bias is even better! They come in all kinds of summer colors. When playing golf, I just bite the bullet and wear a sleeveless top! Golf requires being focused on the game, not how one looks on the golf course.

Tamara Reddy said...

What a wonderful article about the freedom crossing into our 50's, and beyond, suddenly generates for many of us.

In my case, I struggled to incorporate skinny jeans into my wardrobe until recently, when I discovered stretch skinny jeans, and began pairing them with tunic tops. I am so in love, and comfortable in this look! The stretch in the jeans is just enough to accommodate a variety of curves, the tunic tops hide what I don't want to show, and I have enjoyed accessorizing with a variety of shoes and jewelry. The possibilities are virtually endless.