By Jessica Frost

We women tend to have this terrible habit of being overly critical on ourselves. I couldn’t count the times I’ve told a woman she is crazy for saying she needs to lose 5kgs to wear ‘that’ dress. Not to mention the amount of times I’ve heard a woman say no to an outfit that looks stunning on them just because you can see that her stomach is not perfectly flat.

We are constantly reading articles about hiding this and concealing that. Older women are encouraged to cover their arms and styles in a size 16 typically seem to be a whole lot frumpier than they should be. Young girls are shamed for wearing their skirt too short, but then again, so is anyone that’s bigger than a size 10 or over the age of 30.

Women are discredited for dressing too promiscuously, wearing their clothes too tight and their necklines too low. Don’t even get me started on the fact that women across the globe had to create a social media uproar to #freethenip. I mean really Instagram? I can’t wear my sheer, sparkly blouse that makes me feel confident and like a bad bitch without being censored? C’mon.

We talk about people and industries body shaming people, models hear it all the time, but we don’t talk as much about people body shaming themselves. So many women listen to these societal criticisms of the way they dress and inflict a set of rules on themselves, harshly judging anything and everything they put on. But should we really be content living our lives that way?

Sure there are some styles that flatter one body shape more than another. There are ways to dress that conveniently hide problem areas or create illusions about your body shape and these can make you feel more comfortable in one outfit over another. But does that really mean that you can only wear that handful of “flattering” styles for the rest of eternity?

I’m not criticising women who cleverly dress to flatter themselves, power to ya sister for finding what works best for you. It just frustrates me that because we have this knowledge, the tricks of the styling trade, some women feel that they can’t wear a style they love because it doesn’t follow the rules.

And as for these rules, let’s all remember that two ‘hourglass’ figures can look completely different to one another. Same goes for triangle bodies, rectangles and ovals. A women’s body isn’t just a shape that needs dressing, a waist that needs to be cinched, hips that need to be minimised or a bust that needs to be padded.

I don’t want you to feel like you have to go out and bare all to prove that you are confident and don’t care what others think. There’s an elegance in modesty and side boob isn’t everyone’s style no matter how trendy it is. I just want you to feel like you can wear that fun little dress without being thrown in fashion prison for showing your knees.

Women with thin legs shouldn’t feel they can’t wear tight pants because of the judgemental looks and assumptions of an eating disorder. Women who have had kids and have a little more tummy than they used to shouldn’t feel like they can’t wear a dress that is sexy and strong. Women over the age of 50 shouldn’t have to sacrifice a top they love for another that has longer sleeves.  Women who work in a man’s world shouldn’t feel they have to wear pants to be taken seriously and no-one should feel like wearing pants makes them any less feminine.

What we wear, our personal style, should be an expression of our personalities, feelings and in a way, our aspirations. Dressing ourselves shouldn’t be for others, to impress other people or fit in to one of societies moulds. It should be about dressing for ourselves to tell society who we are. Strong, independent, compassionate and freakin’ hot women. Go forth beautiful women and wear whatever the fuck you want to wear.