Having received more than 7400 views in less than two weeks for a single topic on the popular internet blog imamother.com (connecting frum women everywhere – tell them we sent you!), two very important facts came to light that should be explored and discussed within the Orthodox Jewish world:
1. Many of our wonderful ladies would like to receive more information about their body types and how to better balance their figure with the clothes they wear.
2. Many women never had the chance to discuss styling issues with anyone, and, as a result, they carry a negative image of themselves which affects their self-esteem.
Is looking good a superficial aspiration? Is being fashionable a stumbling block in our spiritual path?
You are Beautiful. Stop hiding who you are.
Beauty is a state of mind. In other words, the most impressive garment ever made would lose all its beauty if the person wearing it did so with a sad face.
The same can be said about uncomfortable clothes. Yet, what if being uncomfortable doesn’t really have anything to do with the garment itself? For example, a flared skirt is one of the most comfortable pieces of clothing, however… what if a woman doesn’t feel good about it and ends up feeling uncomfortable in her inner self… is it really because of the skirt?
In other words, she could be wearing the most beautiful flared skirt and yet it wouldn’t mean anything to her if she is not feeling good about herself.
At the same time, the most intriguing aspect of this situation is that she might have no idea why she is not feeling good, she just knows something is not right. The same experience can be felt with other garments, and a repetition of frustration over clothing choices may eventually lead this woman to wrongly believe that there might be something wrong with her, instead of the skirt.
Experienced and professional Fashion Styling is the art that could help.
I say it’s an art because a vast knowledge required in mixing colors, shapes, lengths and widths, thereby unleashing a garment’s power to touch the human spirit. Isn’t that what art is all about, bringing feelings to another level?
Fashion Styling, if done in the right way, has the power to reveal our hidden beauty, increase our confidence, and guide us on how to combine what we already have, helping us to feel good, empowered and happy with ourselves and with the world.
Does it sound superficial to you? Perhaps an exaggeration?
Let’s explore this from another angle: how many times have women all over the world chosen to stay home instead of enjoying a night out on the town because of lack of confidence in their wardrobe?
How much money has been spent in vain on clothes that get pushed to the back of our closets, never to be seen again?
How many times has a woman been invited to a simcha only to regret her choice of clothing once she sees the photographs?
How many women have simply given up trying to look good?
How many women have naturally changed their body types over the years only to become depressed about it because their clothes don’t fit their new body shapes any longer?
How many women have cried after realizing that what they were told to wear actually made them look so very different from what they had expected?
There are a lot of feelings regarding the styling business, coupled with many doubts and misunderstanding. Although it’s easy talking about the doubts, it is the misunderstanding which really compels me to write this article.
I once had a client who was so frustrated about dressing up that she decided to wear clothes bigger than her actual body size. In the beginning, she was happy about it, because larger clothes do feel comfortable. But over time this idea of wearing larger sizes started to affect her self-esteem and painfully distorted the image she had of herself.
On our very first meeting, I explained to her that she was a beautiful woman and had no need to wear larger garments which didn’t accurately reflect who she was. I further indicated that what she needed to do was simply wear different size clothing for the upper and lower halves of her body. Her response was an expected anger.
Basically, this young lady was so brainwashed regarding the false outer image which she had been imposing on herself, that she could not accept the notion of looking, in her words, “normal, like everybody else.” Her misunderstood external self had taken control of her inner self. As a result, she was depressed, angry, could not let go of old traumas, and simply refused to accept the new opportunity presented to her.
It took a lot of talking and some good laughs to bring back her good mood. Slowly, she learned about her body type and which fashion choices were in harmony with her figure. After a few weeks she confessed to me that, for the very first time in her life, she was actually accepting party invitations with a big smile and a desire to go.
Another woman explained to me that she was wearing the same clothes for the past 20 years. I asked her why, and she answered: “Because nothing else is good and I hate shopping.” I asked her if she was happy with this choice and she said, Yes. Before leaving, I asked her, “Don’t you miss going out and shopping for something new?”
She sighed heavily and said she would love to do it. “So why don’t you?” I asked.
“Because there’s nothing for me out there besides frustration. I’m good the way I am.”
HUSBANDS, FEAR NOT!
Before proceeding, I would like to reassure the husbands, fathers and boyfriends who are worried that I’m sending their lovely ladies to go wild in the mall and shop as never before: you can calm down, it’s not like that. What I’m saying is this: get to know how and what to shop. This will actually saves a lot of money and improve everyone’s mood.
Also, thinking on a larger scale, the garment industry would benefit from this new approach of customers shopping for their body type, since our lovely ladies who were until now frustrated about their shopping experiences would most likely patronize those stores.
A FRAGMENT OF HAPPINESS?
Happiness is a state of mind and I would define it as being in harmony with our inner and outer self. When talking about how clothes fit into the picture and help improve our self-esteem, I’m presenting just one, single fragment among many others in our journey towards happiness. Dressing well in itself does not bring happiness, like anything else in the physical world. However, knowledge brings power, and by feeling empowered, we overcome fear.
Yes… fashion and life insights have a lot in common. Why? Because the way we dress is an essential part of our lives.
Do you feel happy when you open your closet and select something to wear?
I’m talking about feeling empowered. Feeling confident. Feeling happy. Having a voice.
Clothes talk. Oh, indeed, they do. And their voice is powerful. Do you think your clothes and your body are talking the same language? I would love to hear from you about that.
Although there is much to say on the subject, we also need some (as my mother says) substance to the conversation.
Basically, there are 5 main body types, and most women are a mix of two of them. They are: the Apple, the Inverted Triangle, the Rectangular, the Pear and the Hourglass.
On our quest to shop wisely, we should always take into consideration which of these 5 body types relates best to ourselves. It will make the shopping experience easier, faster and way more economical.
Yes, economical. Because by knowing what we should wear we also get to know what we should not wear. Much like keeping kashrut: we know what we should have and so we don’t waste any time or money thinking on what we shouldn’t have. It’s as easy as that.
Thank you for reading and please let me know if this article interests you. If it does, we’ll start an interesting journey talking about the importance of feeling harmonious with our inside and outside worlds.