Today marks the first official day of Summer and while that means Summer Fridays, BBQ’s, and travel, it also means it’s going to be hot AF. As it gets warmer, I want to remind everyone to be kind to each others’ bodies (this includes your own). It’s HOT and people need to stay cool, so let’s not be judgemental when we see plus size people doing just that.
For some plus size women, summer can be a time to dread. I’ve spoken with countless women of size who have lied about wearing sweaters in the summer and lying about being cold when they were really hot AF. Showing more skin can make some women feel uncomfortable and not being deemed attractive based on their bodies.
There are remedies to better body and self-confidence, including speaking kindly to yourself. There are benefits to filling your feed with less IG models (most of those asses are fake) and more natural bodies, which are forgiving to cellulite, rolls, and folds.
I spoke with plus-size influencer Alissa Wilson, owner of popular plus-size fashion blog, Stylish Curves, where she discussed maintaining confidence. She told Madame Noire, “I always read positive books, articles, and I keep a Pinterest filled with women who inspire me. Regardless of size, I think most women battle with a little body insecurity during summer because it’s the time of year where you show the most skin.” She combats insecurity by, “finding clothes that fit and flatter my favorite body parts. It’s too hot to have to have clothing restrictions so I wear what I want, but I make sure it’s something I’m comfortable in.”
Comfort in your clothing is everything. It’s obvious when you don’t have confidence in what you are wearing. You don’t want to be tugging or pulling at your clothing, no matter what you wear, if you aren’t comfortable in it, you won’t look good. Kelly Augustine, a fashion influencer and marketer explained, “I think summer confidence – and honestly, confidence overall – is about understanding your self-worth and knowing that you deserve to live like everyone else does.” Ladies: you should not make yourself uncomfortable to make other people comfortable. Augustine added, “Whenever I get self-conscious during the warmer months I always catch myself by saying, ‘how come everyone else gets to be comfortable and enjoy the heat and I can’t?'”
It’s not just about being comfortable to walk in shorts or dresses or showing your arms, it’s also about being an ally to others. Augustine stated, “Whenever I see other women struggling with insecurity (not just plus size women – everyone struggles during these months!), I just try to reassure them that no one cares. Everyone is busy living their life and so should you!”
This is definitely not just a problem for plus-size women. All women, most likely due to the constant objectification and sexualization of our bodies, can become a little body shy in summer at places like the beach. Even if you are one of the people that don’t have body issues and truly love your body (yessss, girl!) it’s still important to be an ally to your fellow women.
This means not assuming every larger woman is trying to lose weight. This means not assuming someone is lazy just because they are bigger. This means not policing what women are wearing to stay cool. Realize that a plus size woman might have chosen to wear shorts and just because YOU don’t like their cellulite, doesn’t mean you have to stare. This means not side-eyeing a woman with heavy arms for wearing a sleeveless shirt. Let women live.
How can you be an ally instead of an asshole this summer? Complimenting is an easy way to go. If you like someone’s outfit, say so. Try to break your mind out of the mold that certain things (like crop tops) are for certain bodies. Wilson stated, “I support other women by leaving them encouraging comments and as a blogger, I try to encourage other women by featuring other women with different body types that they can relate to.”
Another way to be supportive is to remind people of body policing. If you do see someone whispering or making fun and policing someone’s body, say something. If you hear someone say, “her shorts are too short,” remind that person that the individual is in charge of their own body and they are not here to dress for us. I’ll admit, I’ve been judgemental before and it’s not cool. I’m thankful I was checked. We have to re-train our minds from the patriarchal structures and Westernized beauty ideals that have been normalized in our society.
So as Summer is officially here, wear what you want and wear it confidently! Take your hot to haute and enjoy the weather, no matter what your body looks like.