confidence

All posts tagged confidence

The Ugly Truth about Beauty

Published November 4, 2013 by The Feminist

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When I was 12 years old, me and my brother were playing in the park one day. I was on the swing and my brother was in the sandbox building castles with two other adorable eight-year- old kids. I kept swinging higher and higher. I felt free. Happy. Alive. I jumped of the swing, rolled over the grass and kept laughing the entire time. If an adult would behave like that, we would assume he were high on LSD. But when you’re just a kid, being wild and free is allowed, or better even, encouraged.
And then one of the eight-year-old boys shouted at my brother: “God, you’re sister looks like a whale!”

Looking back on that moment now, ten years later, I think it is safe to say that that particular moment and that particular insult changed me. I was on the brink of puberty and before that awful day in the park I was a carefree young spirit, not giving one shit about what people thought about me. The fact that people thought about me and my body didn’t even cross my mind. But that day in the park-which in my head still marks the end of my childhood and the beginning of puberty- changed all of that. From then on, I was insecure. I felt ashamed. Lost. Ugly.

Although the whale-comment came from a young kid- and, one could argue, should not be taken seriously- you simply cannot deny that the issue of beauty is hard-wired in our Western society. It forms our background, it molds our conversations and it shapes our self-images. Beauty is society’s ultimate bitch: brutally honest, disrespectful of imperfections, disregarding of differentiation and when you least expect it, it can slap you in the face with a perfectly manicured hand.

Beauty makes the world go round. Is that a sad thing? Absolutely yes. Can it be changed? Unfortunately not. Whether we want to admit it or not, we all judge people on the basis of their looks. It’s the first thing we notice when we meet someone. The colour of the eyes, the shape of the nose, the waistline, the cup size. We all like to say we prioritize personality over beauty – it is a myth used to soothe our conscience- but in reality it’s just a given fact that no one would ever turn around in the street to take a second look at someone because he or she looked intelligent, but because he or she had a beautiful face and/or nice butt. In a perfect world, inner beauty would triumph over outer appearance. In a perfect world, I would also live in a mansion next to a lake filled with white mocha latte and drive around in a pink mini cooper with wings, but we all know that’s not going to happen. We are biologically programmed to be attracted to beauty. We have eyes. It’s natural. We are drawn to symmetry and the hourglass shape. We all have had crushes on beautiful people we have never even talked to. When I heard Charlie Hunnam was being replaced by Jamie Dornan to play Christian Grey, I was over the moon with delight. Was that delight based on the fact that Jamie has better acting skills? Phah! Of course not! It was purely based on my attraction to Jamie’s gorgeous eyes and amazingly toned abs. Yours truly often serenades the beauty of many different actors on this particular blog. Does that make me shallow? Maybe. Does that make me human? Definitely.

I therefore believe we simply cannot blame “the media” for all of this. Yes, they use Photoshop. Yes, they portray super thin models. But the ladymags’ overuse of super thin models and Photoshop frankly says more about all our ridiculously high beauty standards than about the ethics those magazines apply. They create images of “perfect women” because we, the public, want to see them.

The real issue here is that our high beauty standards combined with the omnipresent image of beauty provided by advertisements and magazines, creates a “culture of appearances”. This culture is based on competition and leads to exclusion; leaving people insecure and vulnerable. Little eight-year-old boys and girls are taught that outer appearance are not just part of life, but that outer appearance is life. Looks mean everything and hence, we have developed a collective insecurity about it. We try to cheat ourselves into thinking that those men and women staring at you from large billboards beside the road don’t really exist, but the problem is that they do. I’ve met people like that –and yeah- it sucks to realize you’re not one of them, but demonizing the commercial industry won’t help you escape them.

The only thing we can try to do is find confidence in a pool of insecurities. We have to pledge, not just to ourselves but to the future generation of beauty-obsessed men and women, that beauty will no longer be a confined box where only the lucky few fit into, but a limitless concept where all kinds of unique beauty can roam free, without any doubts or insecurities.

Ever since the whale-comment I have struggled with this notion of beauty and my perceived lack thereof. If there is one word that could totally capture the spirit of the past ten years, it has got to be insecurity. Insecurity led me to believe I wasn’t good enough to go talk to that boy. Insecurity led me to believe that acne was far worse than world hunger or terrorist attacks. Insecurity led me to develop eating disorders.
I used to look in the mirror and all I could see were flaws. Until one day I got tired of worrying about what other people thought of me and my body. I got tired of hating myself. I didn’t want to be invisible anymore. I wanted to shine…

I am sure that, how personal and intimate my confessions may seem, this story is first and foremost a universal one. That is why it needs to be told. So that all the other boys and girls, men and women, who suffer from insecurities know that they are not alone. If even I eventually managed to accept my “imperfections”, real or perceived, so can you. Body and beauty acceptance starts with accepting that you might be fatter than others. Or thinner than others. Taller or smaller than others. That your nose might be bigger and your eyes might be more crooked than others. That your boobs might be smaller and your butt might be bigger than others. But that all of that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be proud of our body. If beauty is indeed the ultimate bitch, than diversity is the ultimate BFF: defending us through thick and thin (pun fully intended), supporting us in times of sorrow and pulling at that bitch’s hair when required.

Euphoria in the fitting room! “OMG, I can pull off a crop top!”

Published June 14, 2013 by The Feminist

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For a couple of months now, I’ve been completely crazy about crop tops, because I think they look absolutely stylish and übercool! I already had a cropped jumper but I haven’t had the time -or the balls- to go crop top shopping…yet. That is until this morning. In a total shopping frenzy (and encouraged by my personal style icon Jessie J) I went looking for a super duper , dope crop top outfit. And I found it!

And what’s more: I looked smashing!

I bought not one but TWO amazingly cute crop tops! And a high rise denim hot pants to cover up most of my belly.

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A crop top combined with a high-waisted skirt, shorts or trousers is the best way to wear such a notoriously difficult garment, since we’re not planning on going back to the early nillies, when it was still appropriate for the Britneys and Christinas on this planet to flaunt their bellybuttons in our face.

The funny thing is, however, that –hypothetically speaking– if I wanted to wear a “Hit Me Baby One More Time” Britney outfit, I would sooooo be able to pull it off!

Seriously! I was standing in that fitting room today, twirling around in my crop top, looking at myself in the mirror in full amazement! My belly was so trim and flat, I could easily rival with Giselle and Doutzen!

Okay, that may be a bit exaggerated, since no one can rival with those two. But still, you get my point that I was truly delighted and in an utter state of blissful euphoria when I realized my belly looked more than fine in a crop top. I even got so incredibly elated that I ended up doing an –albeit ridiculous- little dance. Carlton style!

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I guess that says it all?! 😉

So dear ladies, today’s lesson is very simple: we can do and wear more than we think! We just have to believe in ourselves!

Be confident!

Be you!

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My imaginary stylist: Elie Saab

Published March 9, 2013 by The Feminist

Of all the famous fashion designers out there, Elie Saab is definitely my favourite! Mark my words, if I ever get married, I want to do it in an Elie Saab gown. I would probably be bankrupt afterwards – but what the heck!- it would all be worth it!

Since marriage is still far far away, I guess I better start focusing on more probable occasions to wear Elie Saab’s creations. A day at the office, a garden party with family or a girls night out with your besties,… there is an Elie Saab for literally every occasion! (although I wouldn’t wear it while taking out the garbage 😉 )

This week Elie Saab launched his fall/winter 2013-2014 collection and it was –how could it not be?- breathtaking! Just look at the pictures below. The Elie Saab woman has immaculate taste, an impeccable sense of style, a crackling charisma and loads of confidence. She is an independent woman. Men want to date her; women want to be her. The Elie Saab woman is everything a woman should aspire to be: guts, flair and grace. If there was such a thing as “dangerously elegant”, she would be it.

I want to be an Elie Saab woman and I’m guessing you want to be one too. (Don’t we all? ) Unfortunately, most of us don’t roll around in money (bummer!) but that doesn’t mean the Elie Saab woman is out of reach! Anyone can become an Elie Saab woman! You just have to believe it! Consider Elie Saab as your imaginary stylist. (believe me, I do. I’m talking to him in my head all the time!) Ask yourself “WWESD?” (For those who’ve been living under a rock for the past decade and don’t understand the abbreviation, it means “What would Elie Saab do?”)

Follow his advice and the world will be your oyster!

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Seize the day! Buy these shoes!

Published February 18, 2013 by The Feminist
Seize the day! Buy these shoes!

Spring is in the air! To some, this means getting back outdoors, redecorating the garden or taking weekend mini-breaks to spas. To me, however, spring means buying new shoes! And if you still have one foot stuck in winter, I recommend you to do the same. What better way to step into Spring than with a brand new pair of shoes, right?

Just like the buds in Spring, my shopping list is ever-growing and these lace up boots are at the top of that list! They are cool, bold and require LOADS OF CONFIDENCE AND ATTITUDE ! (They are definitely not for sissies! )

Opt for printed boots (animal, floral, galaxy: whatever you fancy 😉 ) or choose the very popular studded boots. My personal favourite – BY FAR – are the lace up Perspex boots! See-through plastics were seen in basically every designer’s shoe collection for spring-summer 2013 – and yes! – even Cinderella’s glass slippers are back in style! So why hesitate?  These beauties should already be sitting on your shoe shelf by now!

Seize the day! Buy these shoes! van evelineversluys met lace up boots
Jeffrey Campbell booties, $130 / Jeffrey Campbell booties, $230 / High heels / Lace up boots / Pink baby booties / Lace up boots / Lace up bootie, $62 / Lace up boots / Lace up boots

“A girl can’t read this sort of thing without her lipstick.” -Audrey Hepburn

Published September 19, 2012 by The Feminist

Yes, this is yet another blog about fashion. And oh yes, this is yet another blog about food. And to make things even worse, this blog will combine both of these very cliché topics. I say, deal with it.

Fashion and food are simply two things that are very important in life, because we all need to get dressed in the morning and we all need to eat. It is true that we could all easily survive on a closet of plain sweatshirts and sneakers and on a diet of greasy chips and bland sausages, but where is the fun in that? Every woman wants to feel and be treated like a princess. Correction, every woman SHOULD feel and be treated like a princess! You don’t have to be married to Prince William to feel like royalty, just a couple of high heels and a cupcake will do. So ladies, embrace your inner Duchess of Cambridge and be ready to glam up your life!

But this blog is about more than just fashion and food. As the title may suggest, it’s about Flirts as well. Because, let’s be honest here, on a very bad day – when everything seems to be going horribly horribly wrong- fancy clothes and delicious food just won’t be enough. The only thing that can lift your spirits at that particular moment is a very sexy and ridiculously handsome dude. And I am eternally grateful that Hollywood has produced so many films and TV-series so that we can easily  indulge in this craving for sun kissed six-packs.

So be prepared for a lot of clothes, because we should be allowed to WEAR everything, from the perfect pencil skirt to a pair of studded sneakers.

Be prepared for a lot of food, because we should be allowed to EAT everything, from spicy noodles to gooey desserts.

And last but not least, be prepared for a lot of hotties, because we should be allowed to DROOL over every sexy fellow that comes along, from Ryan –the Notebook- Gosling to Ed- Chuck Bass- Westwick.