By Eliska Counce, TSB Columnist
I, 40-mumble years old and mother to three small children, went to Target with no makeup on this week. That’s right. I said it. Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know you men are all “So what? I do that all the time.” But men are starting to face some societal pressure to adhere to a pretty narrow definition of what’s deemed “hot” in America, too. Looks-ism just isn’t for us girls anymore. Especially where I live in affluent Collin County, Texas, there seems to be quite the premium on appearance.
There was a time when I was more concerned with my physical appearance than pretty much anything else. I know, I know: the narcissism of youth. I was a bullied fat kid who got the message that my appearance was completely unacceptable. After I grew up and lost the weight, I like most people in America spent a lot of time, energy, and money to look like everyone else. Related: are you required as a woman in Collin County Texas to own a brown Coach bag? Is there some kind of residency requirement? Because I so did not get the memo. But I digress.
Nowadays, I love my body. It looks a little lumpy and strange without clothes on since I did lose so much weight (true confession time! We’re all friends though, here, right?), but it’s strong. My dimpled legs can run over eight miles without stopping. Time may, indeed, have marched all over my face. But I earned each line and wrinkle in graduate school and as a parent. And we won’t talk about what carrying three babies and breastfeeding them all has done to my torso, but how amazing was that?
So in that vein, here’s some tips for your springtime look:
For your best look, wear what you want, when you want. Cover it or bare it. Wear it loose and flowy or wear it snug. Wear it how you like it. Wear what makes you comfortable and what makes you feel good. Dress weird if it makes you happy. Dress it up if that’s what you like. Wear makeup if it makes you happy. Don’t wear makeup if you don’t want to. I’ve discovered I’m most happy and at ease dressed as a 14-year-old boy. So be it.
For a bikini body, put a bikini on your body. I’ve lost weight, exercised, and I’m still faaaar from perfect. There are just some parts that aren’t maybe gonna lift and separate like they used to. I’m more than OK with that. And I’m not waiting to be to wear a bathing suit and enjoy the sun on my skin. If you see something you don’t like while we’re at the beach or pool, you can throw your hat at it.
Wear what makes you feel happy, sexy, comfortable, powerful, confident. Dress for yourself. Don’t buy into the fat-shaming, ageist ideology that zaps your self image. Hey, if mumus and caftans are your thing, you rock that. You wear the clothes. They don’t wear you. Dare to go sleeveless. Hell, dare to go strapless. Rock those shorts. What spider veins? Wear sky high heels when you’re six feet tall if that’s your thing. Wear red when you’re a redhead. Anything goes.
The upshot? You’re beautiful, baby. You look fine. There’s no need to impress the other shoppers at Target, I’ve decided. It’s not like I’m looking to pick up at date there. But there was a time I wouldn’t leave the house without an hour’s primping to merely pick up a gallon of milk. No more. Seize the spring, my friends! Wear what you want, when you want to wear it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m about to change out into fresh yoga pants.