4 Tips for Dressing Without Body Image Angst
Battling with body-image angst? Stressed about what to wear now we're socialising more? Fretting that others are going to notice what your shape and size is beneath those layers? STOP RIGHT THERE.
- Wear the right size. Not the size you think you should wear, not the size your eating disorder tries to convince you is acceptable, and not the size your mum, brother or friend is striving to fit into. No, the size which truly fits your body so that you can feel genuinely comfortable and confident. Wearing clothes which are too small for your shape can leave you feeling distracted, uncomfortable and self-conscious, and more prone to self-critical thoughts, while donning oversized, shapeless garments can feed into the thoughts that your body is something to be ashamed of or hidden away from the world.
Remember: Your worth is not defined by a number on a label.
- Wear something which makes you smile. It might sound cheesy, but clothes can be a brilliant way to express your personality, have fun and get creative. Even if at times you wish you were invisible, there’s nothing wrong with celebrating your body and rocking a more vibrant style.
Remember: Eating disorders can make us very prone to black-and-white thinking, so introducing colour and prints into your wardrobe can be a key step in expanding your horizons beyond the confines of your illness.
- Give your wardrobe a clear-out. Do not keep hold of clothes which no longer fit you, either physically or mentally. No good will come from holding onto items of clothing which only fit you when you are restricting or purging, or which remind you of times when you punished your body in other ways. Hard as it may be to let go of your “sick clothes”, keeping them will serve only to keep your eating disorder alive.
Remember: Clothes should fit YOU, and not the other way around!
- Mantras at the ready! If you find your heart-rate rising and your breathing getting faster as you survey the contents of your wardrobe or catch sight of yourself in the mirror, have some mantras ready in your mind or on post-its to refocus your thoughts. E.g.:
“My happiness does not depend on my weight or size, but on who I am and what I do”
“I deserve to treat my body with respect”
“I am allowed to take up space”
“Other people’s opinions of my body do not involve me”
“My body is for doing things”
“I will treat my body like it belongs to someone I love”
“People do not love or value me because of my weight or shape, but because of who I am”
- May 2021