Yesterday morning I woke up feeling like I was coming out of a dark, fuzzy slumber. The sun was shining, I was in my own bed and the world, well the world didn’t feel as daunting as it sometimes does.
I got ready for the day in a way which echoed that. I went in for the deep pink lipstick, I bothered fake tanning my legs, I straightened my hair, I went big on the perfume. And I dressed like I meant business. I dressed like someone confident and happy and powerful and brilliant.
In fact, when I met Chloe for a quick working lunch and photo snapping session at our local coffee shop, my first words were ‘I feel really me today. This outfit feels really, really me’.
So you can imagine the joy and fireworks and exhilaration I felt when someone commented on the Instagram #ootd I uploaded that evening, to tell me that the ‘angle and outfit’ weren’t flattering and to ask if I’d used a ‘wide lens’.
You sweetheart, you.
(I’ve deleted the comment, because y’know, negativity ain’t the one).
Now, it’s not the freedom of speech and opinion that bothers me because lord knows anyone can say what they like on the internet. And freakin’ heck you guys are absolutely allowed to not like images and outfits I upload because hey it’s only human that you’re not going to like everything.
But what does bug the bejesus out of me is this idea that we have to dress to make ourselves look thinner.
Because here’s the clanger: I don’t dress to make myself look thinner, I dress to a) keep warm, b) cover up my nipples and vagina and c) express myself and my personality and who I am and what I like.
When I was 16 maybe things were different. Maybe I’d buy the lace push up bras from New Look in every colour because they made my tits look phenomenal and huge. And maybe I’d take any loose fabric from my top and tie it up round the back with a hair bobble to make sure everyone could see my tiny waist. But that’s not who I am anymore.
I am a woman proud of the way she looks and the body she has. I am proud of everything my body has done for me and everything it has battled to keep me going. I am proud of the story it tells and the things it has been through.
So here is yesterday’s outfit which doesn’t make me look thinner than I am. But it makes me feel comfortable and happy. It makes me feel like Hannah Gale, and to me that’s the best thing that any clothes can do.
Photos by Chloe Plumstead.