Thursday, 16 December 2010

The Dress of Confidence

Just over 9 years ago I arrived at university. I moved in, had a little cry when my Mum left me, unpacked and wondered what the hell I was doing. The next day I met someone who lived on my floor and we decided that we would visit every floor of our Halls of Residence and introduce ourselves and see if everyone wanted to go to one of the Fresher’s events one evening next week. And so we did exactly that.

I wonder where that girl went sometimes.

I don’t understand why she disappeared – surely you’re supposed to increase in confidence as you get older? You learn about the world, become more solid in your convictions, care less about what others think about you. Where did I go wrong? Nothing totally horrendous happened to me after uni other than the general knocks and bangs people get in life. Who stole my confidence away?

Sometimes I see glimmers of it reappearing (like every Thursday evening after Stitch & Bitch when we visit Sainsburys to check out the reduced section) and I try to catch hold of it before it slithers away.

I think there have been 2 major culprits responsible for keeping my confidence hidden away recently.

1. Being in an unhappy relationship. (I really did think I was happy, but looking back, my confidence and happiness and general “me”-ness was being slowly sucked out of me)

2. Putting on weight

It’s hard to maintain confidence when nothing fits and everything that does fit looks crap on you. It’s hard to maintain confidence when you know that you’re out of control with your eating. It’s hard to maintain confidence when you know that everyone is thinking to themselves “My god, how big has she got recently?!”

Readjusting to wearing nice clothes has been one of the hardest things about losing weight. In a way, when I was bigger it was easier, there was a limited selection of clothes to choose from and that actually makes life kind of comfortable. Now that I’m a size that high street shops stock I am completely bewildered and overwhelmed.

I suddenly realised the other day that a similar pattern emerges when I go shopping now. I see something I love, go over to it and then a little voice goes “Yeah but can you get away with that?”

It’s always that phrase. Not “will it fit?” or “does it suit you?” It’s “can you get away with that?" It’s a bizarre phrase and one which always seems to work on me because I put down the piece of clothing I love and turn away, too scared to give it a go.

It didn’t used to be the case you know. Back in the day if I liked it, I bought it. I wore tops with zips and tops that tied at the back with bits of string. I wore a dress to the Halls of Residence Christmas ball that was some asymmetric number that barely skimmed my behind. I had jeans that were emblazoned with the word DIRTY in bright pink capitals on the back (for reals). But then this was the girl that was happy to introduce herself to a building full of strangers and ask them to come on a night out.

So I am trying to re-programme myself and trying to keep hold of those shreds of confidence that keep appearing, with the aim of knitting them together into some kind of Cloak of Confidence.

The work’s Christmas do is tomorrow and I went to look for something new to wear to it. I didn’t go last year. I got all dressed up for it and walked halfway down the stairs and then didn’t go out because I felt so fat and disgusting. Bad times. This year I feel like I am actually a different person to that one a year ago – I need to dress like it too. Nothing shapeless and nothing bloody black.

I saw The Dress some time ago and it’s been in my brain ever since. It was love at first sight. But the niggle was there – “Can you get away with that?” it said. So I decided to put the voice to the test and I marched into Next, grabbed my size off the rail (oh what a refreshing feeling to be able to do that) and went into the changing rooms. I tried it on. I looked as critically as I could (not a hard task as every woman can appreciate) and I came to the conclusion that I could wear this dress. It did fit and it did suit me, the only thing holding me back was the voice.

9 years ago I wouldn’t have hesitated about buying this dress. So I summoned up the 18 year old me and told the voice to do one.

It hangs on the back of my bedroom door and I feel a little faint when I look at it. It is about 48 inches shorter than anything I’ve worn for a long time. I’ve had my wobbles.

But come Friday 17th December I’m going to be wearing it.

And it’s going to be fabulous. (I might just need a couple of vodkas to steady the ol' nerves is all.)


In other news: This is my 100th post. Hurrah! There will be a giveaway in the New Year methinks.


  1. Congratulations on your 100th post and on how far you've come since this time last year - that's so sad that you didn't go to your party.

    I can identify with a lot of what you said - although I've never been overweight per se, I wasn't one of the popular girls at school and have always tended to shy away from anything too 'trendy' as it 'wasn't me'. I'm coming out of that mindset now but still have my wobbles.

    The dress is amazing - have a brilliant time tomorrow! xxx

  2. Wow that is a fab party frock. I'm sure you will look amazing in it! Have a good time at the party - and don't worry!!

  3. You'll knock em dead with that sassy number :0)

  4. Good for you. It is a great dress and all your hard work to lose weight will be rewarded by how you feel and the compliments you get. That dress is an important milestone. Wear it with pride!

  5. "So I am trying to re-programme myself and trying to keep hold of those shreds of confidence that keep appearing, with the aim of knitting them together into some kind of Cloak of Confidence."


    I Like That Dress!

  6. When you get to my age, I promise you that devil-may-care attitude to what people think about you will return.
    Like you, I was invincible in my 20s, then a serious health issue arrived in my 30s and knocked me for six. I began to gain weight, nothing I could do about it, and only a kilo or so a year. In my forties I was awash with confidence once again. Got to my fifties and it began to wane, because gradually the kilos add up. There is nothing I can do about it, it's medications and other health issues. I don't like the way I look facially or any other way these days, but that doesn't matter. Because inside I don't give a stuff what anyone thinks, and that derives from a confidence, a comfortableness that comes from being in my skin, being happy with the bigger me. I also have a man who has loved me through some very tough times, some incredibly sad and difficult times. And he loves me, warts and all.
    You WILL look fabulous in that dress, wear it with pride at what you have achieved in your life, and confidence in yourself.

  7. Just put it on and strut your stuff lady! And if you ever discover the secret of regaining the confidence of youth, let me know. I'd love to have half the confidence I had then. xxxx

  8. The dress is fab but please tell me you're not going to wear Those Shoes (much as I think they are completely gorgeous and want a pair myself)...

  9. I've never commented before, but had to on this post.

    You've got loads of readers cheering you on. Hurrah for the dress of confidence!

  10. You'll look fabulous!! Happy 100th post. x

  11. oh wow you're gonna look stunning!! i could never wear that kind of dress in a million years!! you're lucky to be tall, i'd just look like a chubby penguin in that!
    so glad to hear you're getting back to your former confident self, you've worked hard to get that weight off - but it's not just the weight is it
    and Dirty jean?!!! i can't believe it! lol i remember when everyone had those!

  12. I do understand what you mean about confidence and how easily it's knocked. It's a very delicate thing for most us, so if wearing this fabulous dress helps, wear it! You'll look stunning xx

  13. It's as if you tap into my brain sometimes. Seriously spooky.

    I've been there with the turning back on the way to nights out, not being able to find nice stuff, generally hiding from the world. I don't think I even realised quite how bad it was till I came out the other side and realised just how horribly low on confidence I used to be.

    Hope you had a wonderful time last night. The dress is amazing!

  14. So much of what you wrote could be written by me, except I haven't come out the other side yet. I managed to lose a bit of weight but have put it all back on, plus a bit more.

    I so hope that you had a great night and felt confident and happy :) x

  15. Yeahy! Go you!!! It looks wicked and I bet it looks even sexier on you!

    I know what you mean about losing confidence about your appearance as you get older (though i never missed my xmas party because of it - poor you -that royally sucks!). I seriously want eye laser surgery, braces and to tone up a lot more...I feel if these things happened I would feel like the daisy I once was back at is achievable...I think the thing is going forward we do need to keep a more careful check. When you are young you can be is a shame we can't carry these habits into old age...

    Anyway you go! I'm so glad you are growing with confidence and are feeling happier about yourself! xxx

  16. PS Congrats on the 100th post!!! xxx


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