Here's a guide on how to find the perfect LBD for your body shape this party season!
1. Determine your body shape. Are you human shaped? Yes? Perfect!
2. Now go out and buy a Little Black Dress, or dig out one you already have.
3. Wear it.
- In fact, wear whatever the hell you want, regardless of your "shape" - all year round.
So ladies, it's that time of year where magazines are once again covered with the usual "Drop a dress size before Christmas", "How to find the perfect party dress for your shape" and "Avoid holiday weight gain this festive season" articles. It seems every time November rolls around women are bombarded from all areas of the media with the ridiculous notion that firstly, they are not good enough to attend any social events this Christmas unless they lose weight and that secondly, if they do dare have any fun (God forbid) they must wear something that is suitable for their "shape".
So what do they mean by shape? There's the usual suspects which include comparing yourself to various fruits such as pears, apples, etc. Then there's the sporty, figure, the curvy figure, the hourglass figure. Other "shapes" include being tall, petite, plus-size. Whether it's a fruit or something you use to determine how well done your boiled egg is, ultimately they are all the same thing; labels.
The type of label I'm talking about isn't the thing that hangs inside your LBD, it's the other definition which is formally defined as "a classifying phrase or name applied to a person or thing, especially one that is inaccurate or restrictive. Now without going back too much to my angsty feminist teenage self, the key words here are "inaccurate" and "restrictive". Inaccurate, in that these labels have been around for so long, the idea of comparing our human bodies to a piece of fruit doesn't seem unusual or particularly harmful. Restrictive, because by succumbing to these seemingly innocent labels women restrict themselves and how they choose to express themselves. Without really thinking about it, all these labels do is make a woman feel they have to conform, to wear something that is safe for their particular body shape. To follow these ingrained yet ridiculous fashion rules is to avoid exposure of the fact that you're not the paradigm of perfection, but who on earth is?
I'm not naive. I understand that perhaps women with small boobs or a "sporty" shape may not feel comfortable wearing a low cut dress, but then a woman with big boobs might not either. Why should "pear" shapes wear dresses that "skim" their curves? Girl if you're happy, put a tight dress on and show off that Ass. What I'm saying is that you should wear clothes you feel both comfortable and magic in, regardless of what size or shape you are classed as. By telling women or "apples" they must wear a dress that disguises their stomach, is this not saying you don't deserve to be seen until you look acceptable, normal or perfect?
This sort of thing doesn't just include LBD's or clothing in general for that matter. When doing my research for this article I was absolutely flawed by some of the things I found on "body shapes". The most shocking, disturbing, bizarre (insert negative word here) being how to shape your pubic hair to compliment your body shape. Words almost fail me.
Setting apple and pears aside, Let's talk about all the fun food and drink that's associated with the festive season: mince pies, gingerbread lattes, wine, chocolate, wine, Christmas dinner and did I mention wine? Things we "should" dodge at all costs both before and during Christmas, in order to avoid the consequent holiday weight gain of course. I'm not sure if I'm a lone voice in the wilderness here but is life not too short to worry about gaining a few pounds over Christmas? That you will probably lose when you go back to your normal eating habits in January? Provided you don't go on the latest New Year fad diet that's all the craze, because as we all know, diets don't work. (See previous article "The Wakeup Call")
You see the thing is, what this all inevitably comes down too is the dramatic cliché that yes, life is short. Life can be hard but it can be amazing too. I'm in no way advocating you eat your body weight in chocolate, moping in bed watching a TV series of your choice for the 100th time - everyday for the rest of your life. All I'm saying is that on your death bed, I doubt your biggest regret would be wishing you'd dropped a dress size for that Christmas party one year, or that you wish you'd eaten less mince pies and not have glugged as much mulled wine.
So go ahead and drink that gingerbread latte when you and your friends need a break from your crazy Christmas shopping. Enjoy your Christmas dinner as much as you enjoy the company of your friends and family. Wear a dress you feel great in, regardless of what anyone else thinks.
Because after all, 'Tis the Season...
First published on womenmakewaves.co.uk 27/11/14