Dress and dysmorphia: when body image meets fashion

Kaitlyn Maracle shares how dealing with perceived flaws can impact her sense of fashion.

Kaitlyn Maracle
8th November 2020
Body dysmorphia is defined as a mental health condition which causes a person to spend "a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance". These flaws, though "often unnoticeable to others", become an unhealthy fixation; they turn into the only thing that you can think about. This is something I struggle with quite severely, and I think a lot of people do too.

Body dysmorphia definitely affects how I dress. I have a fairly average body, I would say, but sometimes looking in a mirror all I can think is "you look like a pear", even though I don't. I would definitely say I dress to try and hide my imaginary pear-ness. The longer I look at myself in the morning, the worse it gets. Tiny spots or scars become huge oozing cysts, slightly greasy hair turns into "you haven't washed in three weeks" and my 'lockdown chin' becomes a "thumb". It's not great.

If you relate to any of this, you'll understand the feeling of wanting to just blend into the crowd

Baggy tops are my go-to, especially when I'm feeling insecure. They take attention away from my arms and tummy, the parts of me I "hate" the most (only on bad days!). I usually pair those with plain black leggings or jeans, and a baggy coat. Incredibly unremarkable. If you relate to any of this, you'll understand the feeling of wanting to just blend into the crowd, not being too noticeable, making sure no one looks at you for too long.

However, on complete opposite days when I feel great about myself (meaning I haven't yet seen myself from a funky angle in the reflection of my toaster) I'll dress completely differently. Maybe still not 'fashionable' since fashion is hard sometimes, but definitely aiming to stand out, have people look at me and think "wow they're cute". I wear a lot of pink when I'm having a good day.

If you suffer from dysmorphia, try to practice self-love. Wear things that make you feel confident. Insecure about your arms? Tops with flowy sleeves. Insecure about your legs? Get a banging pair of loose jeans. Find clothes to fit your body - don't hide it! You can still be fashionable and feel insecure, because once you think you look good in that dress, you’ll feel unstoppable.

Featured Image: @taylor_smith, Unsplash
Photo: Kaitlyn Maracle

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