Body Image …. My Thoughts

La Perla has removed an extremely skinny looking mannequin from their Soho store in NYC and have said they will not use this particular “dummy” moving forward.

This was in response to a complaint via Twitter when a passerby took a quick pic of the offending mannequin and posted the photo along with the caption “How does La Perla think ribs on a mannequin is ok?!”

I wanted to comment on this headline because I see women and young girls at their most vulnerable during appointments at Belle Dress Hire.  I am still surprised to hear ladies who look absolutely fabulous in my eyes, complain about that little bit of skin fat that hangs between the armpit and shoulder or the non existent bingo wings, back fat, “food baby” etc etc  There has never been a customer that has come to me without complaining about at least one part of their body.

Problem is whenever women come to me to try on dresses, they come out of the changing area and face a mirror which is over 8 feet high and at least 4 foot wide.  There is no escaping the image staring straight back at my customers.  It’s their full body on display.  No photoshop, soft lighting or camera angle trickery unfortunately can be used.  For the majority, they can only see in the mirror all the parts of their body that they hate.  Rather than looking at themselves as a package of sorts which has positives and negatives, more and more of my customers express to me their feelings of hatred towards their bodies.

I have been increasingly aware of this amongst my younger customers who are attending school formals.  I discussed this recently with a Secondary school teacher who admitted to me that she is actually horrified by the feelings towards body image of her 16-17 year old pupils.  Apparently, “skinniness” and weight issues are discussed with furore and would be one of the most prevalent topics of conversation throughout the day.

It’s not only the under 20s who don’t give themselves any credit when it comes to their shape but I’ve noticed it more and more amongst my 30-40 year old clients as well.  What makes this even more sad is the fact that a lot of these ladies have embarked on dieting/fitness journeys which have seen them lose stones in weight.  Rather than focus on their remarkable achievements they continue to criticise the image in the mirror, highlighting all the flaws they consider to still be there.

I am the worst culprit of this so I’m not sitting on my high horse telling everyone to  be more like me, quite the opposite in fact.  I just think that next time I look in the mirror, rather than tut at my thighs (which is always the first place that I look) I’m going to try and smile with thoughts of how that new conditioner I bought makes my hair look really shiny.  I’m not expecting miracles to happen as I know another negative body thought will creep in instantaneously but when it does I’m going to think about another positive …. I’ve always liked my skinny feet for example.  Listen, I’m ready to give it a go.  Main aim is quite simple NOT TO BE SO HARD ON MYSELF.