How well do you take a compliment?
If you’re anything like me, probably not that well at all. Us Brits have a bit of a habit of being excruciatingly self deprecating don’t we? In fact, if you’re not that way, we’re kind of all shocked and probably leave the party thinking ‘wow that girl was a bit full of herself wasn’t she?’.
I always remember being in New York a couple of years back and while getting my then boyfriend/now husband to snap an #ootd for me in my new bright pink chunky knit cardigan which I was rather taken by, a complete stranger walked past us and shouted ‘Hey girl, that sweater is amazing, you look fierce’ in that wonderfully US accent that makes the word fierce sound a million times better than we Brits are ever capable of. I was so taken aback by the exchange (which would never happen in the UK) I kind of just stared at her for a moment in shock before muttering a pathetic thank you that was more of a question than anything else. Was she being serious or was she mocking me? The giant grin on her face ensured me it was the former but I realised there and then that I was entirely unable to accept a compliment.
Whenever GB tells me I’m beautiful, I reply with ‘Only to you’ which granted, has now become a bit of a running joke, but really is a pretty terrible response to your husband telling you you look great.
If someone – friend. colleague, stranger – tells me they love what I’m wearing I usually respond with one of two phrases;
‘What this old thing? I just pulled it out of the back of the wardrobe this morning because I didn’t have anything decent to wear’
‘Really? Gosh it was a total bargain, I picked it up in the ASOS sale for a tenner!’
If someone tells me I’m looking great I’ll respond with something along the lines of;
‘Are you joking? I haven’t been to the gym in months and last night I ate an entire Dominos to myself!’
And if someone compliments any part of me from skin to hair to figure, I’ll make sure I find the one fault within that area and bring it up;
From ‘Have you not seem this giant spot on my nose?’ to ‘I only dyed it this colour because I found a grey hair’ and ‘I’m wearing spanx under this don’t be fooled’.
The one thing I rarely ever find myself saying, is simply, thank you.
Dress and Bag – c/o George at Asda | Sandals – Asos (old) | Sunglasses – Rayban | Watch – Larsson and Jennings
And it seems I’m not alone, as the folks at George at Asda have released a survey which suggests that 41% of women are unhappy with their body shape and only 13% of women find compliments about their body to be believable. That’s pretty crazy right? But also not that surprising. It seems that despite now living in an industry where sharing photos of ourselves and our outfits across social media daily is not only acceptable, it’s almost mandatory, despite being able to show your admiration for that person/outfit with the double tap of a button and despite promoting girl power and body confidence left right and centre, most women are still just as unsure about themselves behind the scenes.
I think the level of British politeness that is ingrained in us all has a big part to play of course (for some reason being truly confident and sure of yourself without any hang ups has become a nasty trait) – in the survey only 6% of people answered ‘confident’ when asked how they feel about themselves and their body shape! But also perhaps because we’re bombarded with a sea of visual inspiration everyday, inspiration from people at their best, showing off their best (we all do it) that we feel even more convinced that our best simply isn’t good enough. And those days where we’re cruising around the house in a pair of PJ’s and no make up aren’t the norm for every other person too.
George are on a bit of a mission to show women that actually, clothes, fashion and how we wear our garments can go a long way to giving us confidence, and that body shape or size within an item of clothing is far less important than how we all feel when wearing that item of clothing. I guess that resonated with me, as it’s something I’ve always personally championed. I’ve never been overly confident about the way I look or how my figure is, but clothes and fashion have always been my saviour. I love fashion and I love to dress up, and putting on something that makes me feel amazing is a sure fire way to boost my confidence, regardless of how I’m feeling about my body. And we all know the saying, but if you feel confident, you’ll look it too.
I’ve banged on about issues like why size of clothing means nothing at all, and why age shouldn’t affect how you dress in the past, and my advice is always the same – every women has the right to feel confident and feel beautiful and every women can. It doesn’t matter what you wear, it doesn’t matter how you wear it, it definitely doesn’t matter what size you wear it in or what other people think of you for wearing it. If it makes you happy then go for it, simple as that. Fashion, like any form of art is totally subjective so what one person loves another might hate. Finding your own style is the key, something I guess we’re all doing every day as we go along. Making mistakes is part of that, and there’s no doubt that we all have a few outfits in our closet that we wonder what on earth we were thinking, but that’s part of the fun right? Anyone who tries to tell you clothes aren’t important or don’t make a difference to your state of mind, level of confidence and life in general, is totally wrong (in my humble opinion).
They might not be THE most important factor in our lives and of course placing too much emphasis on finding a dress that doesn’t make your hips look too big when there are real issues going on in the world can feel a little #firstworldproblems, but I know myself that my well being, my outlook on life and my confidence are all affected by my choice of clothing on a daily basis. If I throw on a scruffy pair of jeans and a creased top then I feel scruffy (which is totally fine on days when I’m working from home you understand). It gives me the licence to then not brush my hair or put any make up on. Whereas if I put on a dress that makes me feel fabulous, I’ll be a lot more likely to also want to put on a bit of lippy and get out of the house.
George asked me to pick an outfit that I felt confident in, and I chose this cute navy off shoulder sundress. It’s a soft jersey fabric which is not only perfect for those warmer days (the very few that we have had so far grr) but it’s also really comfortable to wear and great for the days you want something flattering but still pretty. Seeing as I haven’t been to the gym a lot lately and have kind of abandoned any sort of regular exercise routine, I guess I’m a little less confident about areas like my stomach, hips and bottom (like every woman), so the fact that this dress manages to skim over those areas softly and allow me not to worry about them throughout the day, is ideal. Not to mention the elasticated waistband which nips you in in the right place no matter what. The off the shoulder look is really on trend right now, and shoulders are an area we can always show off without much worry, right? The fluted section which sits across the shoulders covers the tops of your arms (another area a lot of us aren’t confident about) and the hem length is above the knee yet not too mini so again flattering on all figures. Considering the price it’s a really great summer dress and comes in a few different colours too.
I accessorised with this amazing gold metallic tote bag, which again for the price is unbelievable quality. I’ve been using it daily since I got it and as someone who is partial to very small bags and then is constantly cursing the fact that I need an extra bag to carry things like my camera, umbrella etc, this is a lifesaver. Everything fits inside and being in that dreamy gold shade it works to add a little magic to even a plain outfit. It’s been a welcome addition to the gang, that’s for sure.
I pulled my body confident look together by getting myself a cheeky blow dry at Duck and Dry and for something a little different I opted for their feather extensions (a service they are currently running to tie in with festival season). The feathers are natural and can be washed and styled as normal and they stay in until you’re done with them and want to take them out. Pretty cute huh?
So, I’m going to finish this post by saying that if you want to give me a compliment on this outfit, my feather hair or anything else, I promise I’ll try my best to be gracious and accept it (despite the fact that that pesky shoulder strap kept falling down in all of the photos).
How good are you at taking compliments?
Thanks to Fashionista Barbie for helping me with these photos (go check her out if you haven’t already!)