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Perfect Your Wardrobe, Not Your Body

Posted in Miscellaneous Information

I want to write about something rather different today. I occasionally post about personal issues, but hardly ever write about confidence and body positivity.

I enjoy historical clothing — learning about it, drawing it (sort of), and the idea of wearing it (the cost for the small amount of use keeps me from actually doing so). However, the more I learn about historical clothing, the more I feel society has done itself a major disservice, especially for women.

You only have to jump back 70 years to find a time when shaping undergarments weren’t an optional wardrobe item, but an expected part of daily life.

History is rife with undergarments meant to provide women with the fashionable body shape of the day. Corsets, petticoats, girdles, panniers, bust pads, butt pads, the list goes on. On top of these — quite literally — clothing was designed to accentuate the desirable shape.

Layers of a 1500-1550’s dress by TzarinaRegina from their DeviantArt collection “Historical Fashion.” They have one of the few good illustrations of historical layers, including padding.

What wasn’t expected, however, was for your natural body to match the ever-changing ideal shape of the day. Somehow, since then, society has adopted an expectation that we change our actual bodies as quickly as we change fashions.

Oh, sure, you can wear shape-wear, but padding — other than padded/push-up bras — is seen as silly. Why do we poo-poo any non-invasive attempt to meet society’s ever-changing and often impossible-to-meet standards? Yet we laud restrictive diets, surgery, and punishing workouts.

Even our fashions have betrayed us. It’s now more expensive to get an item of clothing tailored to fit you than it is to buy the item, even with quality pieces. You’re effectively paying twice for a garment because your body isn’t an unrealistic “average.”

For those of us who fall outside of fashion’s “average” sizes, choice is significantly curtailed. For millennia, clothing larger or smaller than the norm was the same design, just sized up or down. If historical court gowns can be sized up for plus sized bodies, then anything can.

But where did this expectation come from? I don’t really know, perhaps from the popularization of bathing suits, since you can’t wear anything under them. But, somewhere in time, we let ourselves be lied to. We got told that corsets were evil torture devices — the ones I’ve worn were significantly more comfortable than bras. We were told our bodies should match society’s expectations — how can a properly functioning, healthy body keep up? It’s not clay to be remolded as seen fit. We were told surgery was better than wearing shapewear — no invasive procedures for me, thanks.

We need to de-program. Ignore the stupid magazines that make more money when you dislike yourself. Unfollow the “body goals” accounts on social media that edit their photos to make you feel bad about yourself. Silence the petty and uniformed people that try to tell you you shouldn’t like yourself.

Don’t treat your body like a garment to be worn for a while, then changed as soon as a different style comes into fashion. You deserve better than to dislike yourself.

You don’t have to love your body, you can be indifferent to it. You can decorate it — with clothes, makeup, tattoos, and/or piercings to your heart’s content. Take a leaf out of your ancestors’ books and adapt your clothing to fit yourself, rather than trying to make your body fit the clothes.

OK, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

Want to learn more?

Here are some fabulous related videos I’ve enjoyed:

And here are some good books I’ve read:

Do you agree, or do you think I’m off my rocker? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading to the end, I hope you enjoyed my post. Make sure to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram so you don’t miss any posts. I generally post at least once a week.


  1. Andrea

    Amen!! I struggle with this daily but having a chronic disease and getting older is helping me care less. I also wish I would’ve taken an interest in sewing so my grandmothers could’ve taught me to alter my own clothes. Get post!

    November 14, 2023
    • I feel you. My mom’s arthritis was bad enough that she didn’t feel she could show me how to make clothes when I was interested, and when I was older and she could have explained to me without showing, I’d lost interest. 😭

      November 14, 2023

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