I am the type of girl who normally puts about zero thought into her appearance. Sure, I enjoy pretty clothes, fun hairstyles, bright lipsticks and the like, but generally, when getting ready in the morning, I tend to pick something up off the floor, think – “ooh, nice colour” – and throw it on. This attitude to my appearance works for me. I am lazy. I have more important things to worry about – feminism, distorted perception of women’s beauty, etc, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah.
However, due to an extended break from university and work, I have had a lot of time on my hands lately. A LOT. Cue much time on Pottermore, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, looking up apartments of Daft for the hell of it (no, I’m not moving at the moment, I just have a weird obsession with houses/interior design). And other equally aimless pursuits.
With all this time on my hands, why not put it to, um, use? Or the closest to “use” that thinking about clothes can become . I decided this evening to once and for all decide what suits me. What items, colours, cuts, should I wear? Does my hair suit me more when it is short or when it is long? (Both styles I have adopted, sometimes to extremes – why not, it’s something new!)
I’m pretty little, so that seemed the obvious place to start. I’m not sure of my EXACT height – somewhere around the 5’2/5’3 mark – but I would normally call myself petite, or at least the taller side of petite (my boyfriend calls me petite too, but we shouldn’t listen to him, he’s 6’2. Yes, it probably does look silly when we’re out-and-about together. WE DON’T CARE!).
So to Google I go! “what suits petite women?”, or something of that articulate ilk. What I see vastly disappoints me.
“You must try to look as tall as you can. You must wear very high heels (but not with an ankle strap! That will cut your leg off, without any bloodshed seemingly). You must wear vertical prints so your figure is elongated. You must wear dark colours as they are slimming (apparently wanting to look thin is equated with wanting to wear clothes which suit smaller people?). Your pants must have no pockets, pleats or unnecessary detail .” Apparently the idea is to create some sort of smooth, long jelly/cheese string-like effect with your body.
When I look up what types of clothes suit my body, I do not wish to see a series of propagandistic pieces claiming that the way my body naturally looks is wrong! That I should be fighting it, attempting to look like some creature entirely unlike myself.
One of these advice page column-things was even written by a woman who claimed to be a clothes designer for petite women. This is your specialisation, fashion lady, your job, and you’re doing it wrong!
To you and all the other fashion lady-people: I actually – and this might shock you – do not hate my height. In fact, I like it! I don’t want to spew any rubbish about how being smaller is more feminine, more cutesy, any of that stuff, it’s not. I know so many tall women, and I know an equal amount of rather little women, and both types are beautiful! Especially when equipped with the knowledge of what suits them, how to enhance what they have and the way they are.
I like being small because I know my height suits me. I also like that I don’t have to duck into small doorways, under tree branches which lean out over pathways, and when I am at concerts, I have the handy little knack of squeezing in and around people, to get near the front, down (at a Florence and the Machine gig at Oxegen – a wide open field packed with people – I went from the very back to a single person from the front of the stage. True story.).
Here’s a fun tale which, while having some small relevance to the topic of this post, is mostly being shared due to my own self-indulgence: I remember in secondary school, I won a prize for an essay I wrote, entitled “Freedom”. The woman who was speaking at the podium, when I went up to receive my prize, announced to the room that she was surprised to see “such a small girl”, and went on to say how impressed she was by the force of my ideas and my passion, and made a little speech about how I should never lose that part of myself. One of the happiest moments of my life, hands down.
Basically, the conclusion and the point of this little rant – though I have taken a long time to get around to it – is that, when you dress yourself, when you style your hair and put your makeup on (if you do these things, of course, and if you care enough! It’s perfectly cool not to, too), dress and style yourself with the objective of celebrating the good things about yourself. Celebrate your perceived flaws too, why not?! Most importantly, don’t listen to Mrs Fashion Lady standing above you (or writing on the screen in front of you, as the case may be) telling you that the way your body is shaped should be fought against with the destructive nature of ten ferocious armies. Here’s where I write the little satisfied conclusive sentence about loving yourself the way you are and all that jazz. Over and out.