July 8, 2019

I’ll dress as I please, thanks.

This post is dedicated to the 13-year-old me, who turned up at school in an Adidas jumper, jeans, and high heels and became a laughing stock. You’ve come a long way baby, you wouldn’t look out of place in 2019.

During the past 6 months, I’ve had what I can only describe as a complete change of mindset when it comes to how I view my body and personal style. Over time, I’ve become a little more colorful, more feminine, and a touch braver when it comes to showcasing my curves. Thanks to charity shops, eBay and a select few high street stores, I’m curating a carefully considered wardrobe full of beautiful pieces.

But there’s just one thing…

On the hottest day of the year, for the first time in 34 years, I had the confidence to sunbathe in our garden wearing a rather small thong bikini. I don’t need to explain myself, but my neighbor attempted to make me feel around an inch high. I could clearly hear her barely concealed comments from through the fence, one part of me wanted to invite her to join me and the other, it felt sorry for her. The old Katie would have changed, would have cowered as the first sign of negative feedback, but frankly these days I understand that it’s my body and I can wear as much or as little as I’d like.

Frankly, I’m sick and tired of women having to apologize for enjoying our “sometimes vulgar clothing choices”, I’m tired of us having to hold back our sexuality when dressing because someone thinks we’re on the prowl. I’m heartbroken that people have the audacity to say “she was asking for it”  when talking about a victim of rape.

Do you remember the playful innocence of dressing up as a child? That was when we started to learn who we are and we pushed our imagination. Why would we want to let go of that? I’m pushing my confidence, self-esteem, imagination and apparently other people’s buttons.

I want to keep to a certain standard and hold my head up high, but I’m happy to grab my uniform of a shirt and jeans and relax along the way.  On the other hand, it doesn’t mean I don’t want to be taken seriously, it doesn’t mean that my skirt might be a little too short or my heels might be a little too high.

The other night I left my friend’s house at 7pm and walked two minutes up the road to where I’d parked my car, I was wearing a suit with a slightly shorter than average skirt. Two men clocked me and proceeded to stop and announce “Yes, I would”, frankly I was unnerved. But I remembered that I needed to make eye contact, stay confident as If I’d cause a ruckus and try to remember, I’d dressed for me, not them.

I’m not here for other people’s entertainment, I’m here to feel good about myself and encourage others to do the same. I have a beautiful friend, with the most divinely dainty figure and I helped to encourage her to wear a dress for the first time in years and she looked amazing. 

But, here’s another problem, we’ve become conditioned to compete with each other like hunters in a pack and that’s a pointless waste of energy. If someone could explain a single, sensible reason why we should tear each other down, I’d listen? In the meantime, could you just listen to me for a second? When we put down others a few things happen, we are putting our own self-confidence issues onto them, also we feel “good” but only for a moment. Why do we feel good? Because we convince ourselves that we’re better than them when actually it was never a competition at the first point. 

Dress however you like, wear as little or as much, yet promise me this, don’t look back and think “I wish I’d had the confidence to wear that” – The time is now.

Katie

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