Sometimes, I make clothes look bad. I think.

(66 Posts)

Does anyone else ever experience this? Please tell me that I am not alone and there is a solution for it!

Backstory: Suffered a lot this year so far - grief, loss, health scare, sexual assault, etc, so I am wondering if it might be a matter of self esteem. I am 5"4, size 8, blonde and apparently attractive (so some idiots say). So I can't identify what exactly is wrong so obviously this is a superb first world problem. I appreciate that. I am also 39 yrs old and haven't noticed much in the way of aging yet. So it all looks good on paper, doesn't it?

But just lately I am at a loss to ever feel good in clothes. I have some lovely designer and high street stuff and have tended towards quality over quantity when shopping these past few years, so have amassed a fair few nice things. I do not have too many clothes or to few.

Body shape is slim with high-ish waist, some curve to thigh area, not much arse but high hips make me feel like arse is whopping. Also have 32 chest but don't much care about that.

So today I wore an Isabel Marant linen tee with loose fit old baxter jeans and nice sandals. Saw myself in shop mirror and gasped. I looked like a sack of friggin spuds! I seem to make everything look shabby and shit. Is this a common issue or am I at a sort of low point here?
I know it sounds indulgent and pathetic but it is bothering me and I feel kind of bad when getting dressed. I DO count my blessings, I really do, but something is off here.

Are some people just made not to suit clothes? Should I just sod it all off and go to primark for a tee and sweat pants and give up? I even have a Burberry mac, which I adore, and even in that I feel like a spud sack.

Am i just doing it wrong? And if so, how do you get it right? How do you feel better about this type of thing?

Sorry this is a colossal whinge, but....

FaddyPeony Tue 09-Jul-13 10:56:26

Oh and yes, if you get right yoga class and go regularly, you will feel so good about yourself - for a while, at least smile

CambridgeBlue Tue 09-Jul-13 13:59:52

I'm sorry you've had a rough time and are feeling down about yourself but I have to say when I saw the photo you'd posted I thought we were still looking at pictures of models - you are stunning and I am envy of how you have your own style, it's taken me 40 years to get anywhere close to that!

But I know none of that means much if you are feeling crap about yourself. Hopefully talking things through (with your Mum as you said you had or with your counsellor) will help you get your self confidence back.

I also wondered if you did much exercise? (Sorry if you have mentioned this, I'm on my lunchbreak and skimming a bit!) Having not done anything for years I have recently got into running and although I'm still spectacularly useless I'm a million times better than I was 6 months ago and it's really having an effect on how I view my body. I still see the 'bad' bits but I feel fonder of myself somehow (I know that sounds bonkers!) and when I was asked the other day whether there was anything I'd change about my appearance, I found myself saying 'not really'. Yes I'd like to be slimmer and definitely more toned, my legs are too short and I've got horridly pale skin - but I am me and I quite like myself that way just as I am fond of other people despite their physical 'flaws'.

I didn't mean to waffle on or make this about me but I've felt like you do (and still do sometimes) and wanted to help if I could - I think learning to love yourself - physically and in every other way - is one of the best things you can do in life. I hope you can work out how to do that smile.

Gillybobs Definitely worth some thought...but then if i have a spare £100 god only knows what i will spend it on!

Yonitime I really want to try it. Have recently begun mindfulness meditation and feel it would be a perfect compliment to it. Was meant to go with a friend who sadly flaked out on me, so may have to go alone.

libertychick Tried this today after bad session getting dressed again. Went for saggy skirt and tee, then threw the damn things off and wore a fitted summer dress. Actually felt much better and even got my lily white legs out. The sunshine helps! It's still bad, but I am making an effort to counteract the negative stuff. I do agree that focusing on something positive is the best reaction, even if it's difficult.

BabCNesbitt That's a great comment, thankssmile And that 'hypothetical other' can be so merciless. Much more critical and unforgiving than real human beings.

FaddyPeony Thanks! I feel that i can't quite relate to clothing creatively, just go with my gut usually, which is probably a bit odd as I am an illustrator/artist, but tend to only feel creative in that one area. Clothes excite me, I think, more than anything. Must admit though, before I could afford to treat myself to occasional luxuries, I seemed far better off! Less picky, and more appreciative of the meager amount of cheap stuff I had.

forgive any spellings, on my mum's laptop and it is a bit moody..

CambridgeBlue Not waffle, I am glad you shared it! I am surprised to hear anyone senses a 'style' to what I wear, as I tend not to see it....I am similar with my artwork and often get irritated that it isn't coherent enough. Typical. It certainly helps to hear that my clothing choices aren't going against me, anyway.

It's quite odd, to be honest, to hear compliments. I think it's been about 7 yrs since I last received one. I think the end of my long term relationship left me a little low about it, too, even though we are still great friends. It seems silly to consider compliments as a source of self esteem, but to 'never' receive them can occasionally make you wonder....It's been a tough few yrs I suppose.

CambridgeBlue Tue 09-Jul-13 15:39:43

I was interested to see you're an artist/illustrator. I am too and also work from home as I think you said you do. I think people expect us creative types to have it all figured out style-wise but I actually find it much harder to be imaginative and 'get it right' with what I wear than I do with my work!

Keztrel Tue 09-Jul-13 15:57:41

Toasted I just want to say I've seen your blog in the past, and you are gorgeous, as is your style. I also love your illustrations!

Having read your posts, I can relate a little bit to how you feel. I'm sure you know, objectively (or maybe it's buried somewhere deep inside at the moment), that you are attractive and have a great, original sense of style. But that doesn't mean that you feel pulled together and attractive at all times, especially if you're feeling down. I could be completely wrong here and just projecting my own feelings onto you, but I find that when I'm at my most stressed and uncertain, or when life is chaotic, I tend to over-focus on external things that I know I can control. When I was a teenager, it was being overly restrictive with my food; when I was writing my thesis, I become obsessed with make up and clothes and finding that perfect item that would pull everything together. I think it's just about wanting control and something safe to focus on. What comes across to me from your posts is not a lack of confidence in your style (which you don't truly sound like you want to change) but a general feeling of temporary unease and uncertainty with life, which as others have suggested you might be projecting onto your clothes.

On an completely different, shallow note, I think pairing skirts with tops is one of the hardest style things in the world! I can't do it to save my life.

FuturePerfect Tue 09-Jul-13 16:57:14

From the picture, it looks as though you could carry off some really bold accessories, if the outfit itself is v simple. I'm thinking of beautiful bracelets, or a big cuff? I particularly like my wrists (!) and when you look down throughout the day at a lovely bracelet you have bought for yourself, it can make you feel sort of secretly cherished iykwim smile

Keztrel this part of your comment: When I was a teenager, it was being overly restrictive with my food; when I was writing my thesis, I become obsessed with make up and clothes and finding that perfect item that would pull everything together. I think it's just about wanting control and something safe to focus on.

...really resonates with me. Although I'm not experiencing the same things you did as a teen, the pattern may be somewhat similar. And it has all really taken off with a bang since my dad died unexpectedly in April. I know that I shall just have to ride it out, but this thread has given me some great perspective (esp parts pertaining to my clothes and self perception), which is so helpful. Thank you!

CambridgeBlue Me too, I have never felt like I have a clue about dressing creatively. When it comes to clothes I am more of a follower than an inventor (which is fine). I see stuff I like and I chase itsmile If you are ok sharing your work online I would love to see it!

FuturePerfect I love accessories, and ought to be a bit more daring there, but I tend to get irritated with them, like a scarf will flap in my face and a bracelet will bash against my hands, and at the end of the day I'm really eager to throw the damn things off, much like my bra! I do love simple jewellery though, and have a few little pieces which are special.

Matsikula Tue 09-Jul-13 22:12:15

I'd second and third lots of what people have said here. I am sorry you have had such a difficult time, it is not surprising you feel a bit down. I think you have great taste, and you look lovely in that photo.

I am rubbish at exercising, but one thing I do do for my own self-esteem is to look at myself at flattering angles. I am fairly pear-shaped but with a flat stomach. Looked at sideways on, I look really slim -face on, a bit of a sack of spuds. So I just try not to look at myself face on, but make a point of checking myself out sideways in shop windows. Prbably makes me delusional about my appearance but I figure that's better than wasting time worrying about something I am not sufficiently motivated to fix.

Oh, and I suit lilac too. Looks okay with grey I find, and I also have a beige trench coat that makes it less Miss Marple.

I actually love lilac, but never sure how to wear it. Possibly best being a tee or top. Grey would work well, wouldn't it? And the trench (I have a beige one too!). Would never have thought of this!

Oh, and I have always admired pear shapes. But truly, shop windows are a work of evil - they always distort me, I hope!

BadSkiingMum Wed 10-Jul-13 07:16:06

I am going to play devil's advocate a little bit here and say that I think the top in your first picture, the white one, would make anyone look like a sack of spuds. it is square shaped and ends mid hip, so looks really boxy.

I think that you need to find tops that make contact with your waist somewhere, or possibly go for empire line.

My favourite picture of you is the black jersey dress.

Also, try to resist the urge to stand with toes pointing in and arms by your side. Let your arms, legs and body take up more space.

Also think about accessories, especially as the autumn arrives. You would look great in a big knit cowl/scarf.

Writing quickly so apologies if a little blunt.

No, blunt is fine! thankssmile

Agree about the top, although it did occasionally seem sweet with jeans - and I say did because it turned a terrible colour over time and I tend not to wear it anymore. Makes me realize also that I do cover up my mid section a lot, not sure why. Have always done so. I think it's because my waist isn't small in comparison to the rest of me (if that makes sense) and I probably want to hide it.

I wore the black dress to my dads funeral and got a lot of compliments on it, not my everyday kind of thing, though.

I am a lot more boring in real life than my tumblr pics to be honest. I feel crap about myself so opt for jeans and loose fit tops a fair bit. Lately I have been trying to wear my 'best' stuff more often, because it's silly to just see it sitting there.

And I hate posing for the shots. Got sick of seeing myself in uncomfy poses so don't do it much anymore (hate being snapped!) so I am not surprised if they look a bit lifeless. Try as I might, I can not behave naturally on camera.

kerstina Wed 10-Jul-13 13:50:12

Teacakes I was really surprised it was you starting this thread as I had noticed your posts before and knew you were very pretty,arty ,petite and had wonderful taste. It just shows even those we think have wonderful style can doubt themselves.
I have not read the whole thread yet but I think there are a few issues. 1)You do sound a bit down because of what has happened and it can affect how you feel in other areas of your life.
2)I am slim and petite too and find the most flattering clothes are quite fitted. You look fab in skinnies. Shame I lived in shapeless too big clothes in my youth but pulled it off because I was young.
3) It is hard getting older even if you don't look that different. Suddenly clothes look a bit different on. Talking about myself here not you always looked younger than my age but in my 40's now and have to think more about what I wear. Not for anyone else but for myself. I don't care if people think i am too old for dungarees i think they suit me grin
4) You need a bit more fun in your life so you don't worry so much about your clothes That goes for me too.smile

Notcontent Wed 10-Jul-13 18:24:57

I can really relate to everything you have said.
I am the same age, also slim, and have some great clothes but often feel like they are just a waste on me and I tend to obsess about it a bit. Probably because clothes are a source of pleasure to me, but, having also gone through some tough times, including a relationship break up, I often feel unattractive.

happyreindeer Wed 10-Jul-13 21:02:26

I cannot believe you have started this thread and feel so sorry you are feeling bad at the moment. I have looked at your blog in the past and in fact I am delighted to have discovered it again. I love YOUR STYLE. i ALSO LOVE YOUR INTERIORS STYLE. vERY LIKE MY OWN. nO ADVICE ON FASHION BUT JUST WANTED TO SAY "CHIN UP HEN!"

kerstina Am definitely more aware of how I am trying to hide now, so making a more conscious effort to enjoy some of my more fitted (and badly neglected) stuff, which I prefer anyway. Wore white jeans today, didn't feel awesome about it but did receive a compliment!

Notcontent I do think break-ups can have a delayed effect, too. Although mine was complicated due to him losing interest in sex over a long period of time, so it hit my self esteem a bit harder. It obviously wasn't so much about me, as he has still not met anyone else 3 yrs down the line, but it did create a feeling of 'am I so grotesque?'.

happyreindeer Oh if only you could see the rest of the house - I have a damp problem now and need so much work done.....upstairs is a sorry story, haha! But the downstairs rooms are lovely and airy and light, so do make for good photo's sometimes. Anyway your comment made me smile!

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