I’ve had a part time job in ladies’ clothes boutique for a few years. It’s a great place to work, gorgeous colours and fabrics to delight my eyes. The customers are lovely, some pop in for a chat and others have become dear friends of mine over the years.
It’s in many ways a feminist brand, designed to let women live, breathe and move in their clothes. These are frocks where you don’t need to hold your tummy in, trousers that will let you enjoy your dinner and still look great, and clothes that generally delight in the female body just the way it is.
All you need to do to look great in the clothes is to stand tall and proud. All the clothes are made from natural materials in sizes from 38 to 56 (that’s 6 – 26 US sizes). The fabrics are mainly linen, but also cotton, silk, bamboo, ramie and viscose. The colours are environmentally friendly, and the conditions at the production factories are good. These are clothes for women who dress for themselves, not for anyone else. So why is this relevant for the Red Tent column?
Well, I’ve noticed that some women are decidedly insecure about they way they look – about their bodies and the shapes they have. And I think that’s a shame. Our bodies are where we live – wouldn’t it be great if we were comfortable with them?
Being comfortable with how we look has nothing to do with size. It has to do with how we see ourselves, how we think of ourselves and how we think women should be.
It is a common misconception that women should be thin. Thin isn’t generally a good way to be, as thin borders on unhealthy and ill. Isn’t strong a better way to be? Isn’t dynamic, energetic, creative and joyful a better way to be than thin?
I believe that women – and men – should be living healthily in their bodies. If one lives healthily, one will live within one’s capacities. That means not too thin and not too big. The key is to get to know yourself, learn what is healthy for you at this particular stage in your life.
Because these things change: your metabolism will change, your appetite, your muscle tone and your bone density. Your body will change after childbirth, and it will be toned by exercise and laughter. Your body strength and tone will deteriorate if living beyond your capacities, or challenged with illness.
Sometimes we can do something about it, sometimes we can’t. But we can make the most of it, and that’s where standing tall and proud comes into it.
Next time you’re in a fitting room, think how the dress makes you feel. How does it make you want to move? How will it fit with your lifestyle? Does it make you feel beautiful, strong and free? Will it be comfortable when you eat or comfort your children? If the answer to any of these are no, then leave it hanging. You deserve so much more.
Finding the community of Cycle Harmony has made a huge difference to me. I am delighted to be writing to you from the Red Tent and hope to share thoughts and experiences you recognise, or find useful to ponder upon. I look forward to working with you all in exploring what it is to be women, and hope to hear from you. ~ Vild