At the beginning of virtually every conversation about style, I ask a very important question:

What do you love about your body? How do you dress to highlight these features?

Can you answer this question for yourself? If you cannot, you’re not alone. The vast majority of women I speak with – as clients, at my classes and workshops, at Corset, and elsewhere – are stumped by this question. They’ve been taught to think of their bodies as a mass of negatives, flaws to be disguised, weaknesses to be downplayed, features that need to be masked and minimized at all costs. Getting dressed is primarily about hiding what causes shame. Considering dressing from a positive standpoint – focusing on features to highlight, aspects that inspire pride – is a novel idea, and a challenging one. When asked to name even one physical feature that they’d like to dress to show off, most women draw a complete blank.

I’ve got hundreds of posts that will tell you what to wear to show off this or that, and this specific one about playing up your assets that offers three tips that work almost universally for highlighting what you love about your body. But much of that will be useless to you if you cannot think of a thing about yourself that you love enough to highlight. So I’m gonna keep my rantings to a minimum today and give you some homework:

Make a list of three aspects of your figure, body, or appearance you want to dress to highlight. If your legs and waist and bust are right out and you’re having trouble landing on body parts that feel right, think about your skin, your bone structure, your hair, your eye color. But do try to come up with at least one directly dressable aspect of your body to throw in there. If you have to look at in from the perspective of “this is what I dislike the least,” do that. You are not alone. But if you take the time to think about what you dislike least about your body, and then put some effort toward dressing to highlight it, you may find that “minimal dislike” shifting to “netural,” and maybe eventually tiptoeing over the line toward “like.”

If you feel comfortable sharing your list in the comments, I would LOVE that. But just promise me that even if you never tell a soul, you’ll start working on that list today. It could change your life.

Images courtesy The Tiny Closet, Le Blog de Big Beauty, and Solo Lisa.

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