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....

AlwaysSleepingBeauty Mon 08-Jul-13 17:59:24

I think you've been through a lot and need to give yourself a break. You sound lovely and I think you are giving yourself a hard time unnecessarily.

Skinheadmermaid Mon 08-Jul-13 18:32:24

You know what...i know exactly what you mean. I was bullied all through primary & secondary school and by my own family for my matter what it was. So my attitude became 'well if i look so awful already what does it matter what i eat' so i ate and ate and ate and eventually, in a self fulfilling prophecy kind of way became morbidly obese. Last year i lost 7 stone and am now told by people i'm too thin and look like a twig and don't need to lose anymore- but i look in the mirror and just see a big fat ugly blob...
I'm sorry i can't give you any helpful advice but i know exactly how you feel. Its so hard to shake off past negatives that have crushed self esteem into powdered glass...

I'm sorry you have been through the mill recently and wish you much strength and happiness in the future smile
I would look terrible in the outfit you describe. I love Isabelle Marant but in my late thirties, albeit in good shape, I need more structure, and by structure I mean suction. Get some really good corset-tight skinnies instead of the trousers and some spanx pants to wear under dresses and skirts. Then stand up straight and tall smile


Skinheadmermaid Schooldays can be sheer hell sad
Also, if you have worked hard to get to a weight that you feel comfy with, it would be incredibly annoying to receive criticism (twig, etc). It will definitely take time to get used to a new body shape though. Our appearance, however much we would prefer to deny it, does seem to have this intrinsic link to our identity. And when it's damaged.....oh dear.

I wonder for myself whether I just put things together all wrong. Like maybe I've no idea how to style my clothes. But then I am quite visually aware, so this surprises me. I can spot great style, but maybe can't replicate it for myself???

I am actually considering using a little notebook to jot down outfit combinations that work well for me. This might involve trying all of my clothes on in different ways. I have already discovered 4 new ways to wear my Uniqlo summer skirt, so maybe there's hope!

And sometimes, something is utterly awesome when I try it on in store, then awful when I get home. I wonder what the hell I was seeing. And also whether I am actually becoming way too critical altogether of my appearance. I know that the issues have affected me badly, but am surprised it has manifested this way. I know I am not freaky or 'ugly', but whenever I get dressed there's this dreadful judge in my head, and everything looks crap!

Gillybobs Mon 08-Jul-13 19:06:09

Don't be hard on yourself, you have been through so much.

I can't wear "casual" clothes at all. Linen tees and loose fit jeans look dreadful on me. I need silk or woven tops, skinnies or 7/8 trousers, need my hair "done" and some jewellery on etc. I did the House of Colour style day (the next step after the colour day) and it helped me understand completely why I've always struggled to do a dressed down look. I'm a romantic classic and need an upscale look. Only those who are a Natural style type can pull off the linen t and slouchy jeans look. Worth looking into maybe?

curableromantic Suction! Haha, I love that! Can't see me in spanx, but then I don't wear anything like fitted frocks or bodycon. It annoys me that I have to wear a damn bra! I don't wear trousers either. I tend to prefer a mix of slim and easy fit, and my marant stuff only involves a fitted jacket, a cotton blouse and a tee shirt.

I still suit shorter length skirts to long, too. This really bothers me. I prefer knee length but my legs look better with shorter.

I kind of like Reiss styling, but not familiar with their fit or quality. Love full skirts with slimmer fit tops or good quality sweaters. I wear jeans a lot, which is fine, but even when they are great fit, I still think all of my outfits make me look awful. Like I turn them to crap by touching them, so this is probably a mind melt more than anything else.

The kind of styles I like:

Gillybobs That's really interesting to be honest. I hadn't thought of that.
The last time I recall feeling that I knew my style was in my 20's, and although I wouldn't have known it then, it was a bit Alexa Chung - except I didn't wear super short stuff or babydoll frocks.

Not sure how to translate that now.

I wonder if I am trying to dress older and failing?
I still look very similar to my 20's, but don't want to come over like I am younger if that makes sense.

Algorta Mon 08-Jul-13 19:31:04

Is it to do with being slim? I have a similar figure to you and look really scruffy in everything. Especially slouchier styles.

SofaCanary Mon 08-Jul-13 19:47:55

I can relate.

With me it's to do with being very pale and a bit freckly, my skin looks kind of cheap no matter how expensive my outfit. Yet I notice that women with flawless olive/tanned skin always look chic and pulled together no matter how they're dressed.

I have issues, obviously hmm

teatimesthree Mon 08-Jul-13 19:55:13

I agree that you have been through an awful lot and must feel very fragile. I bet you look a million times better than you think you do.

BUT I wonder whether it has got a bit to do with your taste in clothes. IMO, the outfits in your first and third links would look sack-like on almost anybody (and without wanting to sound like a granny, I don't think they do the models justice either, and they are 6 foot tall and 18!).

I have a similar thing - I love the look of the outfits in the Toast catalogue, but they look ridiculous on me. Like I've raided the bargain bin of the charity shop.

teatimesthree Oh god, I have a Toast nightie that fits me like a wedding tent! I can never shop there, they don't even indulge my shoe size. I am definitely going to mull over the 'taste' issue.

SofaCanary I am the English rose type (got lots of compliments on this growing up and hated it!), quite pale and red cheeks. I don't mind this too much as there's a delicacy to it I suppose, but perhaps it does have something to do with not suiting certain things. I look killer in lilac!!!!!! Not what I wanna wear!

Algorta This also. I am what they call skinny-fat. I eat very well and do enough exercise so don't fancy trying to alter my shape. In a short sleeve tee, my arms are slim but the whiteness makes them look flabby. WTF? I also hate that I even mention this, because it is so picky and not easily altered. I need to find some appreciation of my poor body in this respect.

I am sure it is the styles I choose, but fear the thought of having to redo my wardrobe!

If i link to a pic of my body (no head i dont think, but maybe i could find one in my tumblr) could anyone advise what might suit me?

BTW anything nipped or elasticated at waist is dreadful on me. I have a high waist and it looks sort of unflattering unless the style is slightly loose fot.

Would a wrap dress or tunic work on you?

QueenCadbury Mon 08-Jul-13 20:26:42

toasted having seen pictures of you I know that you are totally gorgeous and have a figure that a lot of people would love. But I know that doesn't help you at all right now.

You've been through a really rough time so be kind on yourself. Do you feel like this every day or is it a cyclical thing (those hormones at our age can play havoc with our self esteem)?

I'm a very similar height and size to you and I would look like a sack in a loose tee and loose jeans. I need to have either a slim fitting top or slim fitting jeans.

The styles you've linked are lovely but I think could be hard to transfer to real life iyswim. The jumper and skirt looks fab on the model but I just can't see it working whilst out doing the weekly shop.

You've been though a lot, you're approaching 40 (and however much it's not really a big deal, it is) so it sounds like you're maybe going through some kind of re-evaluation stage? Have you talked through all the things you've been through with friends/family? Even counselling may help. When I was at my lowest ebb with pnd, my appearance (or my lack of ) that bothered me most. Everyone else seemed impossibly glam whilst I just felt like I looked crap. I think most women can identify with how you're feeling right now.

me in jeans

You can tell my colouring from this I think, too.

What i dont suit and would not like to wear:
Slim fit skirts
Anything bodycon
Skirts too short
Most tops and shirts bury me.
Can't get with dresses. They never fit right on chest if they fit my waist.

QueenCadbury Thanks for that, it makes a lot of sense to me. I am in counseling right now due to the assault, so able to talk there, which is good.

It is cyclic I think. Whenever I need to go outdoors! I just sigh a lot and think I look like shit. I often seem to look best in stuff that I got at bargain prices, but that is so terribly hit and miss. I know what you mean about the linked styles not applying in real life, but I do like the full skirt and top thing. If I don't wear such skirts, there are only mini's, and I hate maxi skirts with a passion.

I think a wrap dress would be too revealing for me. I don't know why. They are cut really low and I don't want to show that much. It is true that any type of masculine style is a no no.

True about the age thing, too, I suppose. It's like I don't want to go back, but I am not quite settled going forward. On the cusp, sort of.

SofaCanary Mon 08-Jul-13 20:32:48

Wow, your skin is flawless! You look beautiful from what I can see flowers

QueenCadbury Mon 08-Jul-13 20:33:49

toadted I really don't think you are going to believe anyone right now but you look lovely. You totally have your own style and without knowing you it seems to totally suit you. I petsonally think you are just in a bad place right now and would recommend that you don't make any major wardrobe changes yet until you've come to terms with everything that has recently happened to you x

Gillybobs Mon 08-Jul-13 20:36:30

Mumsnetter Hopefully is a House of Colour consultant, she has a blog which is worth a read

Despite what some might think of it she is the perfect example (I think) of someone young and fashion forward giving the house of colour thing a chance. the style days can really transform your approach to shopping and dressing as you get to understand your body and your look so much more clearly. They analyse your proportions and you complete a lifestyle and personality questionnaire which is a fascinating exercise. I promise you will come away from it with so many answers including why certain looks just don't work and which clothing shapes look best for your body and style or. It's a revelation

Oh and from a colour perspective, if you suit lilac you are probably a Summer...

I will stop nagging you now grin

MarshaBrady Mon 08-Jul-13 20:38:14

I think you are being very hard on yourself too. You look lovely.

I can't do wrap dresses either, I think because I am pretty small boob wise.

It really is fine to have a small window of style which suits you. I know I can't do many things and that's fine, saves bad shopping!

You have a great figure and look very good. I hope you can feel you do.

teatimesthree Mon 08-Jul-13 20:52:17

OMG you are stunning! I feel embarrassed to have even offered you advice. You look far better than the models in those links. (I looked at some of your other pics too.) What beautiful colouring you have. And great style!

Agree with those who have said you should give it time, and perhaps find somebody you can talk things through with. You certainly don't need a style rethink. flowers

Whoknowswhocares Mon 08-Jul-13 20:52:30

Omfg.You are gorgeous! Is this the alleged sack of spuds outfit? You couldn't look less like a King Edward if you tried!
It's definitely all in your mind, almost certainly due to the tough time you've been having. Give yourself some time and stick with the counselling.
You sound lovely so I'm fighting the urge to be envy.

You look lovely though I'm sure you find that difficult to believe right now. Concentrate on feeling better before you make any drastic changes to your appearance. I speak from experience when I say that the inside needs to be dealt with before the outside. I hope you feel better soon and if you need to talk, about anything, you can PM me anytime thanks

Thanks you lot! I have to admit that the online pics are obviously best of a bunch and chosen due to being more flattering to me than usual. Everything translates so differently when we are in motion, of course. I have a photo of my Marant tee and it does not show the 'sack o spuds' effect like it did in town today sad

I have been thinking more about this issue and had a long chat with my mother this evening. I asked her honest opinion and she couldn't understand what my problem was, that I looked fine in all my clothes - except loose tops and tees. I think tees look better under blazers or cardi's, etc, but make me look boxy & shapeless on their own.

One practical thing that makes sense is that I like all of my clothes but not sure how well they work together. So I have these nice skirts but the wrong type of jumper/top to go with them. Will have to think carefully about future purchases.

I do appreciate the kind words, and feel a bit foolish for making the post - but the idea of the problem being technical (style related) was worth asking for. I can definitely see how my self esteem factors here, too, and shall have to work on that.

It must be my faulty thinking - for I am now about to urge people to ignore the photos as they are possibly lying! I am sure some pics make me look better than I really do.

It is lovely to hear nice things said about us, and I am extremely flattered (and a bit embarrassed). I just don't see anything that good in the mirror. I wonder if i have developed too critical an eye.....or else I am transferring my inner issues on to my physical form.

MarshaBrady Mon 08-Jul-13 21:13:57

I think you should buy tops that fit your shape and you can tuck in. You have a great figure, so no need to hide it.

And that's it. The one change.

I think you are being too critical because you do look good, but hey everyone does every now and again.

Whoknowswhocares Mon 08-Jul-13 21:15:23

I don't think any of us see the person others see reflected back at us in the mirror. We are conditioned to seek out the imperfections and focus on those alone, blurring the up overall impression. I know I do!
When we look at others we don't do that.
How we stop doing that though, I have no idea. confused

this should probably be in the psychological/mental health section confused

but i did want to focus on whether my clothing choices/style were working against me. it's good to figure out where the issue is coming from though. i agree with what you are all saying. and appreciate how gentle you've been!

KatyS36 Mon 08-Jul-13 21:23:27

I think I can relate a little to how you are feeling.

I had a horrible pregnancy with severe pelvic girdle pain (in a wheelchair) and severe carple tunnel (wrists in splints could barely do anything). Both improved post pregnancy but neither got to properly functional level until three years and a lot of physio and rehab later, along with some super frightening health scares.

I've just turned 40, like you look younger, and whilst I'm bigger (12-14) with an hourglass figure, think I scrub up pretty well. Similar wardrobe in spending better.

But..... I become super picky about my appearance. Almost as a case of having been through so much (relatively, agree with first world viewpoint here) thinking if I look good people will think I'm pulled together and a proper valid person.

Whilst I'm not having a full blown crisis I am worried about being judged as a failure if I don't look my super shiney best all the time, which is tough to achieve.

Does any of this sound familar - apologies if I've come from the wrong perspective here.


santamarianovella Mon 08-Jul-13 21:24:04

dont judge yourself too harshly,
you look very nice,you have your own unique style, a very left bank boho kinda a style,which is very coveted,
we all have certain things that we cant do, i think marsha makes a good point. knowing what suits you is is ten times better than buying things that dont for the sake of just having them.

KatyS36 Thanks for sharing that, I'm sorry you had such a tough time, too. I wonder how this kind of stuff progresses, because we don't see it coming, do we? It's interesting how it can become so tied up with our appearance...the internal stress and pain, etc.

My case is a bit different, I think, mostly because I never think about what others make of me. It never seems to worry me, and I tend to doubt people care how I am dressed anyway, but maybe that's because I work freelance and lead a very sedate lifestyle, I don't know. I feel picky, as you do, but it is like I am spiting myself, as if I am annoyed with myself for not appealing to my own expectations. I pretty much accept my body and face and can definitely count my 'blessings', but once the clothes go on, I am really weird about it.

I suppose it says a lot when I am actually shocked to hear people say I look good!

santamarianovella I really want to know what left bank style is now! grin

And i definitely need to locate which items in my wardrobe make me feel lousy. I once tried to banish skinny jeans but it didn't last. We are like lovers who argue but can't just leave..

YoniTime Mon 08-Jul-13 21:55:44

I can relate. Whenever I've went through some really tough shit or trauma, I also felt like I looked like crap.
It's the old cliche isn't it, if you feel good you look good or at least feel happier and more positive about yourself, and your looks. So if you feel down, and have had your confidence shaken you don't feel like you look good or can't see it. This might sound stupid but please take care of yourself! What you need right now is healing, not judgement of how aesthetically pleasing you are.

Ps) Wow! I've been admiring your blog before, didn't know it was yours!

santamarianovella Mon 08-Jul-13 22:03:03

toasted its rive gauche, its a very parisian sense of style, very much like the way jane birkin and her daughter charlotte dress .which judging by your pics are your style!

Oh, and Gillybobs thanks for those links. I think I am a light summer, but haven't seen a consultant.

My colours - probably light summer.
My lifestlye - fairly low key, work from home, don't party often!
My personal life - Single for 3 yrs after 20 yr relationship. Didn't try to have kids after 2 miscarriages. So I am fairly independent (sp?), but satisfied so far with my lot.

I am now asking myself why the hell do I care about clothes.
I guess most of us here do. It's supposed to be fun!

Yoni I know. I will work on this. And I'm glad you like the blog - it is mostly reblogs though! I used to run a personal one but got fed up with it.

santamarianovella I love that type i of thing, but would never have related that to my own style for some reason. I always see them as doing the masculine thing so well, which I can never do! Had not heard it termed that way before. When I googled it took me to lots of breton tees, haha!

babybarrister Mon 08-Jul-13 22:07:47

Better underwear?smile

santamarianovella Mon 08-Jul-13 22:21:43

thats the misconception about it,the breton tee is associated with the left bank,when in reality its more than that,its a very laid back and bohemian style, isabel marant designs are inspired by this kind of style.
you may not feel that you are this kind of style,but i think a lot of people do,which is a very good thing!

yes! bras! if i wear the correct band it bugs my skin (have a few moles in that area). if i go bigger it slips about.

Scarletohello Mon 08-Jul-13 22:23:01

I think how you feel on the inside definitely affects how we see ourselves and it sounds like you have had a very difficult time lately, I'm sorry to hear that..

Something that really helped me and gave me a lot of confidence was seeing a colour/style consultant. They not only tell you what colours suit you but also what styles, prints, make up and jewellry that works for you. I had it done ten years ago and I can now go into a shop and know what to look for and ignore what is currently 'fashionable' if it won't suit mne. It's saved me a fortune in both time and money. Could be a great boost..!

Amazinggg Mon 08-Jul-13 23:41:00

I echo what others have said re you are clearly more gorgeous than 75% of the female population, and have a natural sense of style, combined with an interest in clothes. Maybe you are putting too much pressure on yourself due to what you've been through and when you look in the mirror you see weakness. If that rings possibly true, perhaps exercise would help - start to feel physically strong, and then when you look in the mirror there are no tricks. You won't look much different shapewise, but your aura will multiply in size and you will look (to yourself) so much better and stronger. I went through a similarly tough time a few years ago and swimming and running regularly as a discipline really helped - I'm sooo not a workout person but something about the freedom of it, the control over my body and the strength it gave me, translated into a more even state of mind, better posture, more confidence and so on.

Bit waffly but hope that makes some sense, and good luck. Enjoy clothes - life's too short not to, and you're gifted with a figure to show them off on.

Toasted are you in the UK?

I had a couple of moles on my bra line removed on the NHS. They rubbed and caught. The doctor whipped them off with a local, no scarring and much more comfortable now.

This thread has been more than helpful, thanks very much everyone.

I am coming to bevel that this is definitely an emotional/internal issue, so I appreciate the clothing suggestions, and am very relieved not to have to consider immediate, colossal wardrobe reinvention! I'm just going to have to take it slowly, and work my way through it.

Have always wondered about the colour consultant stuff, but not sure if I would do it. Maybe I ought to have a read of older thread in here about it...I like the idea, but dread the possibility of having a wardrobe stuffed with pink and lilac!

I also like the idea of becoming more physically 'strong'. I do feel weak, both physically and mentally this past few months, and had toyed with the idea of yoga (always fancied it), so may give it some more thought. I don't currently have anyone to join me in the daytime (and I tend to work evenings), so I keep putting it off.

Have had a mole removed in past too, it was a doddle, so may consider another. I always forget about it for some reason.

Bevel?? haha, I meant believe.

Gillybobs Tue 09-Jul-13 09:01:03

Glad the thread is helping
It's a common misconception that the colour analyst will tell you to wear pink and lilac forever. No matter what your season you can wear virtually any colour, it's the tone and depth that's important. Take a leap of faith on it, I know more than 20 people who've been and every single one of them found it's 100 quid invested and then you have that knowledge for life
Good luck

YoniTime Tue 09-Jul-13 09:47:00

Agree with Amazinggg's post.
Yoga is a great idea! It's good for both mind and body, I've found very helpful. I hope you're able to start with yoga, since you've wanted to try it before too.

libertychick Tue 09-Jul-13 09:53:01

Toasted yoga is brilliant for helping you appreciate your body - makes you feel very strong. I don't do it often enough but every single time I do it I feel exhilarated and at peace with myself and the feeling of being in touch with and happy with my body lasts for days <now I am wondering why the hell I don't do it more often!!>

As others have said, you look great and have a fantastic figure. I frequently catch a glimpse of myself in shop windows/mirrors and think WTF! Can you try and say something positive to yourself when you have negative thoughts? The more often you let the internal critical voice go unchecked the more you believe it. Stop it in it's tracks!

BabCNesbitt Tue 09-Jul-13 10:37:21

Toasted, please don't apologise for posting in this section! I think a lot of people who post here (myself included) are really asking how they can feel better about themselves, rather than just how they can look better. It's just that for women, it's more likely that the first thing we focus on for changing when we feel crap is the external, because we're often placing ourselves in the position of some hypothetical other, trying to figure out how they'd evaluate us. We're told that retail therapy can solve a multitude of ills (it can occasionally grin). But afterwards, we're left dealing with the same internal things. (When I had PND, shopping and thinking about clothes were a disturbingly effective distraction from what was going on in my head!)

FaddyPeony Tue 09-Jul-13 10:54:27

Hi Toasted, I've seen a few of your posts before and have looked at your beauuutiful tumblr.

Just wanted to add my voice to the others - you're so so pretty and I love your style. And actually I don't think you need to change it at all. I think you have it figured out. I am betting that you have a very good eye and that you work on a very visual level when it comes to styling - you see it as art? (Sorry if I'm projecting!)

Anyway, I'm quite similar to you in terms of my height and shape (a little bit shorter) and I have similar niggles about the skinny-fat thing. Also, I know what it is to buy beautiful clothes, to feel excited about them and more in control when you own them...only for that sense of excitement and control to slip into dismay when you catch sight of yourself in a shop window. I do think that state of mind plays a huge part in all of this, and I am aware that when I'm in a black mood literally nothing will feel right on me. So give yourself a break.

P.S. Don't ever get rid of the skinnies!

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

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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