Marianne Floral Dress: Princess Highway
Blouse: Dorothy Perkins
As everyone probably knows I’m a big fan of positive body image. The media says a lot of things about the “right” way to look, and not a lot of us fit that criteria (I know I certainly don’t) so it’s very easy to start overthinking your own perceived flaws. You look in the mirror, and all you see is your wonky front tooth, or that weird bump that just appeared one day and didn’t go away, or how that black eye you got last year killed some nerves and now your eyebrows don’t work the same way they did before (OK, maybe that last one’s just me). You wear cardigans on stinking hot days because you’re shy about your upper arms, and eschew pencil skirts because you feel like everyone is looking at the curve of your belly and judging you for it. The truth is probably most people are just too caught up in their own inner monologues to notice you at all, but I’ll admit it’s hard to silence that voice, especially if you’re having a kind of crappy day, or something’s happened that’s knocked your esteem for six.
For me it’s my knees.
I’m a bit shy about my legs at the best of times. I don’t know why; They’re strong – like, really strong. Like, a few years ago I had a personal trainer who suggested I look at pursuing professional weightlifting strong – but they’re pretty chunky too. My wide calves often defeat even wide-calf boots, and the little poochy bits of flesh over my knees? Oh my god. When I go out with them exposed I pretty much feel like I’ve painted them red and strapped on a couple of flashing sirens, and maybe one of those wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube men. Which is insane.
No-one’s looking at me on the street and going “HAHAHA, Did you see that lady’s KNEES?”, and even though I’ve received my fair share of trolling comments (my favourite’s still “You look like a pig wrapped in cellophane”) no-one has ever specifically singled out my poor, maligned knees.
So I’m trying to embrace them a little more.
A year ago I probably wouldn’t have bought this dress (because, KNEES) but it was heavily on sale at Myer, it’s a lovely soft flannelly fabric, and it buttons down the back. Because of my two month sojourn in New York over summer I feel like I’ve been in a perpetual cycle of autumn and winter for the last year, and I was mightily sick of my cool-weather wardrobe, so I thought I’d indulge. I’m glad I did, because I’ve worn it heaps since then – always in this combination of collared blouse, cardigan, and tights.
The russety autumn colours work well together, and give my super-pale perpetual-winter skin a really lovely creaminess.
With the cardigan, and the peter pan collar (slightly frayed, because the poor thing is on its last legs) and the black-rimmed glasses (soon to be retired – the wretched things have developed a fatal crack in one of the arms) I’m happy to admit that it’s one of my more hipstery outfits.
Look, I even put a bird on it!
Brooch: Julia Swaney (no longer available, but similar here)
I’ve been reading your blog for some time, and just want to thank you so much for being so open about your body image. It makes me feel like I’m not the only one with body hangups (yep I’ve got wide calfs and am paranoid about the flesh above my knee!). Keep embracing who you are, because you are beautiful both inside and out 🙂
Thank you, Tara! You’re definitely not alone in your body image. I think everyone does, really – everyone wishes they had something different: people with curly hair want straight/people with straight want curly. People with boobs wish they didn’t/people with less wish they had more, and so on!
Long, long time reader, first comment… So often your posts have echoed my own feelings. I’ve got fairly positive body image considering how soft and imperfect my body is, but my legs/knees have always been my sticking point. I have even tried that dress on at myer but the length put me off.. But on the weekend I bought and wore a mid-thigh length shift dress (from obus) which was a quite a personal achievement – not only did the world not end, I even got compliments!
Anyway, while I’m here I’ll say I really enjoy your blog. Yours was the first, and to be honest only “fashion” blog I have consistently read. Thank you!
Aw, thanks so much, Betts! And well done on the shift dress! (Obus does some gorgeous pieces, doesn’t it?)
I love your blog, and your honesty, and your dang-hot style. Body positivity is hard for most of us, and something I think a LOT about now I have a daughter. I have had to train myself not to make comments like “God, I look like a chunky Oompa-Loompa in this dress!”. Which is hard, because, you know, when you’re short and curvy… oompa loompa style is a serious peril!
Hi Erin, It’s so good to hear that you’re training yourself to pass on a sense of positive body image to your daughter. Well done! I know it’s a hard journey, but it’s such an important one. Thank you so much for commenting.
O you look gorgeous … I am heart broken to read that you have been trolled. I love your blog and I love weeks like this when you post a few times. I have exactly the same issues with my legs and this outfit is such an inspiration. You look very stylish and it is great to see your smile returning . I have a feeling that spring will come and lighten your heart soon.
Thanks Marg. Every day gets a little bit easier. 🙂
What a divine outfit!! I am now on a mission to recreate similarly!
Thanks Ally! Have fun putting your outfit together!
Love this look on you.
<3, Thanks, TLC!
I know it was meant to be insulting, but ‘pig wrapped in cellophane’ made me laugh out loud. It’s the cutest mental image ever. Troll fail.
LOL, yeah it made me laugh… then when I tracked the IP I laughed even harder (it was from a pretty notorious location in Melbourne)
Love this outfit! You look super cute & stylish, but also comfy & warm. That is so hard to do in winter, at least for me, especially near the end. The dress was a brilliant purchase – good for you for treating yourself!
And you are EXACTLY right about body image, especially for those of us who don’t fit into the standard beauty mold we’re forced to accept as “normal”. I’m short & chubby & busty (meaning “petite” clothing is too tiny but regular sizes are too long & don’t fit my proportions correctly), plus I have super curly dark brown hair, so I have days when I feel like literally everything about me is the opposite of what is supposed to be beautiful. But then I seek out women who are beautiful in their uniqueness, and try to take heart that it’s confidence that does at least 75% of the work towards making your beauty shine. You do an amazing job of being real and honest, and in every post, your beauty shines through. You are an inspiration to so many! Even with those dreaded knees. 🙂
Thanks so much, Molly. I’m the same – I’ve found the fact that there’s a lot more visibility of different bodies and diversity on the internet has helped me embrace my own differences. I’m glad I can be an inspiration to others as well.
LOVE this outfit, it’s very much up my alley! Dangerfield in Central was having a really good sale where everything was discounted and there was buy two get one on everything in store so I bought quite a few things… if you’re choosy there actually is surprisingly flattering/decent quality material clothing. I have this one little black dress that I love from there and I actually bought two backups, black dresses are hard!
By the way I keep running into you in the city and I never know if I should say something to you, I feel like a stalker even though obviously I never intend run into you? I’m very shy >.< we seem to have similar taste in food spots so I should really say hi next time if that's okay?
I am sure that she would love it if you stopped her to say hello. Seriously. <3
I totally would, Shannon! I love meeting readers!
Gross trolls! The worst I got, was so awful it was hilarious (“you look like a clown nose flattened!! ugly fat!”), not even proper English which made it funnier! Plus someone told me I should avoid high heels because I look like I ‘carry extra weight’ and that can’t be good for me or the shoes. Yeah, whatever! It’s funny because the nose thing crops up time and time again with me – I recall this boy taunting me about it when we went into high school and that was the first time anyone mentioned it and since then it gave me a bit of a complex (not helped by some Uni girls asking me if I was Jewish “because of your nose”). I just don’t let it get to me though. It’s not something I care or dislike so much that I’d seriously change, so I just get on with it and ignore it. I think you’re right when you say it’s that internal battle with yourself that’s probably worse than anything anyone else would ever say to you. I think we can definitely be overly critical of ourselves and like you say, others probably don’t even notice, so we need to be a little braver and just go for it and fight whatever is troubling us. Anyway, I love the outfit, it’s really cute and I didn’t even give your knees a second glance ; )
Oh man… why is it that trolls always have the worst grammar and spelling?! I’m glad you were able to take it with a bit of humour!
Oh Lilli, you look VERY much the hipster…a CUTE one! A lovely look for you!
LOL, thanks Kathy!
Oh, the fact that you continue to wear things that you love even when they are beginning to show wear – in such a lovely way! Romantically frayed edges! – dear Lilly, this rarely-commenting reader has just fallen that bit more in love with you (in a not-creepy, admiring-from-afar sort of way).
LOL, thank you J! You’d be surprised how many pieces in my wardrobe are looking a little the worse for wear.
You look absolutely gorgeous, warm as toast, AND super hip. Its the winter trifecta.
That’s sweet Mandy, thank you!
I can’t believe anyone could ever write anything mean about you. You are a beautiful, incredibly stylish lady. Whoever is leaving nasty comments is clearly jealous and unhappy with their own life.
Ah, thank you Tracey. It didn’t bother me too much, really. It was a pretty silly comment!
Haters be Hatin’
The sexiest thing – confidence.
Walk around like the sexy thang you are.
LOL, thanks Cilla!
I love your blog and your outfit !
I am almost 35 and i still hate my knees that´s why I never wear dresses or skirts …
Thanks to you I feel less lonely and I’ll try to ne less mean with myself !
Definitely be less mean, Kenza! But make sure you feel comfortable, because there’s no point feeling self-conscious. Have you tried midi-length skirts?
Not yet. I live in France and it´s really difficult to find this kind of skirts. Everything is soooooo short ! But I’m trying definetely !!!
I love the way that outfit looks, very warm and snuggly. It can be so hard to get over those niggles on body image, I think even the most “beautiful” women (ie those we see in the media) often have issues on what they feel are standout negative features on themself.
When I read this I had to backtrack…KNEES? I think that because I don’t have leg issues myself, I’ve never EVER noticed knees before. I have no feelings about my own knees or anybody else’s, knees are just knees and they all look a bit different. However arms are an issue for me and I have friends who think that’s absurd. I remember the first few times I went out sleeveless I was so relieved and surprised that traffic didn’t stop, that the police weren’t called, and that birds didn’t fall from the sky! Anyway my point is, it’s all about perspective 🙂
Aw Lilli, not to know your feelings about your body but you’re a simply scrumptious looking woman!
I remember the post where you wore the two-piece bathing suit, something I’d never do because – STOMACH! You looked lovely, and so did your knees!
I’m so happy to have somehow come across your blog! Beautiful woman, beautifully styled. Looking forward to more dress inspiration.
I just found some photos of your outfits on Pinterest and now I can’t stop reading your blog! I LOVE the outfits, but also the humor and writing style. Way to go! Also, my knees are totally my body image fear, too.