Why do you look how you look?

I love playing with how I look, by and large I’m pretty fortunate to live in a country where I am free to do just so. I may get odd looks, people whispering behind their hands and others who simply express their delight/ confusion to my face; as an introvert it’s not really my favourite part about being “wacky”, but I guess it’s par for the course. We have been trained all our lives to tuck ourselves in, to blend in with everyone else and to avoid marginalising ourselves (if you’re privileged you’re fortunate enough to get to choose this!) and those who do not are accused of crying for attention. It’s really not as simple as that.

As a fat person I have been instructed by society through implicit and explicit signals that I should not be visible. Obviously, if you know anything about me, you’d know I think that’s a load of rubbish. As a woman, I have been instructed in other ways to be ever polite, kind, beautiful and ladylike. I also think this is rubbish. We are taught to keep our knees toghether, but why? To hide our bodies (our genitals, mostly) from the view of people (who in all likelihood have genitals also); to maintain a feminine mystique; to reinforce this systematic conditioning that sets us up as enemies with our bodies? Why are bodies supposed to be such secret hidden things? And sidenote: what is so offensive about people wearing tights as pants? I really don’t understand the outrage!

I look how I look because I very consciously question societal gender and body conditioning. I know it challenges a lot of people, my parents especially, but I just couldn’t be me if I did everything everyone wanted me to. My self esteem directly benefits from this, because I’m not as concerned with hiding bits of myself as other people are (even though I still battle this!)

So I have crazy hair styles, wear the outfits I wanna and let my laughter ring like a bell (reportedly a very LOUD bell.) If people take issue, it’s not my issue! I do not dress for other people. I may dress to an occasion but I am VERY adamant about not seeking the approval of other people when I style myself. I feel that it plays a huge part in compromising your confidence and esteem. I put make up on, tease my hair, and put together outfits as a way of expressing how I’m feeling; or if I’m feeling glum, to express how I want to feel.

I find identity and styling fascinating, and would love to know: am I alone on this? Do you think about how you style your body, or is it just about putting on clothes every day?


  1. Love the photos and admire that you have the confidence to wear your own style. For me, style is all about confidence. I try to dress in a way I love but at the last minute run back to the room and thrown on jeans and a normal shirt of some sort. I am going to take your blog as inspiration to try something different on Friday and stick with it… maybe.

  2. I check that I am clothed before I go out the door.

    I would love for it to be more than that, and to have that style and flair of doing what you want and feel with confidence, but being me I just make do with a few basic rules (tight top/loose bottoms or loose bottoms/tight tops; earrings *or* necklace; top of underwear below top of waistband; no visible rents; did I also wear this to work yesterday?). I admire people who style themselves and hugely resent the time getting ready takes out of things I enjoy doing.

    But since my theory is pretty much what you said – that style is doing it your way for your own reasons and not other peoples' way for theirs – I aim for confidence, mostly (the no visible rents helps here :)

  3. You go girl! lol.

    I would very much like ot be like that, but for me i feel the cold, so its generally just finding things that i can layer, and money is a bit of an issue to, so just getting what i can. If i had the cash, and especially if it didn't get so darn cold in UK, i'd be doing it too;).

    What you put on your body can greatly affect your attitude and deamour for the day, dressing for yourself and yourself only, in the sense of not seeking exceptance from other people, is a great way to express your identity, to be creative and to build confidence. I think confidence and self esteem are a bit like muscles, if you don't flex them, then then they'll tend to whither away. So keep flexing them! lol.x

  4. A bit of both, but more the first. My comfort 'food' is planning outfits in my head; it's how I get to sleep at night.

    I'm conscious of what I present to the world through my clothing, makeup and sometimes hair. I'll admit that I both like and dislike looks that I get (and I don't even feel I dress in a way that would get looks!). Clothes make me happy.

  5. You look so beautiful in these photographs. I love LOVE those glasses. Where on earth did you get them? Seriously. I've been looking for a set of those for years but everything is fuckin' Nana Maskouri inspired (and has been for over a decade).

  6. Must admit, as a larger lady, I've always thought fashion was for skinny minnies! However, after reading a few of your posts (and seeing your gorgeous photos!), and reading “Screw Inner Beauty” by Kate Harding (http://kateharding.net/) and Marianne Kirby (http://mariannekirby.com/), I'm learning that I can accept my body NOW! Its a definite change in my inner core beliefs, but its all happening!!

    I love dressing up though, and I love to be feminine… I always wear earrings but I don't always put in the effort to my appearance as you do Natalie. You are gorgeous, we must become friends!

  7. I love you!

    I'm thinking more and more about what I wear. Choosing things that flatter my shape but are comfortable at the same time. I've given up on heels and make sneakers work, I'm wearing a heap more skirts, and almost tend to have a uniform in the way I wear pair t shirts, skirts and sneakers most days.

    I am still VERY uncomfortable with the way people look at me sometimes. Am I too fancy for this part of town, is my skirt see through, do I have dirt on my face, did I sit in bird poo. These are the things that got through my head when people stare.

    While I truly believe everyone is free to dress how they like my reason for believing leggings =/= pants is that I don't think they're a flattering item of clothing for anyone when worn on their own. I also believe sandals should not be worn with socks, that girls who wear tiny dresses and no coats when it's freezing outside are ridiculous, and that those oversized singlets that hipsters wear are very strange. Just personal opinion. (I LOVE leggings to death, just not on their own.)

  8. All I can say is society loves to compartmentalize. Everyone should fit into a neat little box. I commend you on being who you are without reservation. Keep it up and maybe one day, everyone will see that as individuals, we can all bring our positives and eccentricities to the table without people whispering behind our backs!

  9. Thank you for this post, I am glad I found it now…

    I am in the US and celebrating Thanksgiving. So there is alot of family around and I am doing the annual dance of pretending like I am not bothered by the comments that are made surrounding my weight. It is nice to know that someone else is also challenged by how their family is bothered by their weight.

    I am getting to the point where my weight bothers others more than it does me. So I usually dress based on how I feel and not how others feel I should. I like to dress wacky and fun! So I wear straight leg jeans and leggings alot. Sometimes I wear baggy shirts that are cut tight under my breast line too. Apparantly these are all bad shapes for someone who is not stick thin. Or so the style “experts” say! I feel good in them so I don't care!

    Rock on! : )

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