Once you reach a certain age, you begin to feel like it’s crass to show cleavage. You hide your mammaries away for the distinct (or maybe distant) possibility of feeding an infant, should the occasion arise and you sort of forget that they exist. You scoff and chortle at old Facebook photos of yourself wearing a revealing spaghetti string top – remember the time at that screening of The Room when Greg Sestero’s
eyes (ass) met yours across a crowded (rowdy) room and you felt like a Victoria’s Secret model? You make jokes about how ridiculous you used to look teetering around on high heels, lagging behind the boyfriend like it was a requisite of your religious beliefs. You don’t feel sexy. You feel good, nice, grand, cute. But sexy? Forget it. It’s just not on your radar anymore. You don’t even consider a glittery body con number and Manolos (like this one from Pretty Little Thing) as a real outfit. Do you?
‘Sexy’ kind of became a dirty word for me. I found myself thinking; ‘you’re too old for that,’ ‘where do you think you’re going in that get-up?’ or ‘who do you think you are?’ Instead of channelling my inner Baddie Winkle, I piled on the jewellery, opted instead for quirky and hoped to emulate my idol, the nonagenarian starlet, Iris Apfel. Here are some of the negative affirmations I made about myself.
Just last year, I broke up with the love of my life. It came as a bit of a shock and it took quite a while to even want to go out again. I just wanted to lounge about in tracksuits and not draw attention to myself. But after the initial shock and acute sense of loss, I began to put into place a rigorous self-care regime. I started to enjoy dressing up again. I joined a local gym, started working out a lot more and began to thank my legs for supporting me instead of looking at them in disgust every time they mottled that distinct shade of pink I associated with Billy Roll. I tried to remember what it felt like to feel sexy. Instead of trying to impress a potential partner, I wore what impressed myself. I made new friends with a similar love for fashion and enjoyed sharing style tips with Trish of The Savvy Sartorialist, Terri of The Style Coop and Lisa of A Nervy Girl’s Guide.
It took me a long time to love my body and feel sexy in my own skin. I’d say I’m still not fully there but I’ve learned that feeling good comes from within. Having always felt like I stood out at school, being a late developer, I kind of ‘came into my own’ in my early 20s. I felt really sexy – I had a boyfriend that loved me and there was no such thing as internet dating. If a man liked you, he told you. To your face! There was a lot less pressure on women to be flawless, no such thing as selfies and most of my peers were lax on shaving and hair care. Fast forward to my 30s and the whole landscape of being a woman has changed. Cue Botox, lip fillers, teeth whitening – you have a perceived ‘flaw’, why not change it? I constantly scrutinize myself and compare myself to others; how could I not? But I try to focus on positive self affirmations and through meditation, exercise and cultivating calm, I am learning to be happier in my own skin. It’s not easy but you’re worth it.
When I saw these photos, I actually whooped for joy! I didn’t feel bad about looking sexy like I might have done a few months ago and I thought ‘maybe I’ll dress up more often.’ What more could you ask for?
Photos: Neal Byrne
Playsuit: Pretty Little Thing
*This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on any of the links and buy something, I will receive a small commission.