It took me a long time before I started feeling comfortable in my skin. And, actually, still, almost every day, I have doubts or sad feelings. We’re never fully satisfied with what Mother Nature gave us. Too short, too big, too skinny, too blonde, too white, the list of “issues” that we can find while looking in the mirror is limited only by our imagination.
I had a hard time learning to tame my body during teenage and post-teenage years, although I could progressively understand it was clearly here to stay. A body that was getting more generous, with a big butt, thighs, boobs and a belly. A body that I’m proud to inherit from my Algerian ancestors, women who wear their feminine shapes with confidence. Not that I’ve ever had a choice either – I just learned to accept who I was.
For years, though, I’ve tried to fit into THE ultimate mold: skinny, flat belly, cute breasts, small, firm butt. But no matter how strict the diets, no matter if I was skipping meals, smoking instead of snacking… even at my lightest, I wasn’t remotely close to that silhouette – it just wasn’t working.
Luckily, that’s about when Beyoncé, the Kardashian sisters, Rihanna and a bunch of other strong, beautiful, proud, curvy women accessed the status of role models. Suddenly, a big round butt, large thighs and a little belly were much more acceptable. It wasn’t the end of the forever-number-one-Kate-Moss-body, but it was an alternative, and at that moment, it really helped my gaining some confidence.
Growing up, I also got more and more confronted to the looks of others. While those were mostly limited to mockery, jealousy and mean comments when I was a teenager, years seemed to make it all very different. I started hearing (and accepting!) compliments about my body, I realised some people liked it, and that it wasn’t a weight I had to carry.
And even though still today, size zero remains an ideal for the Western society, I can tell things are slowly changing. We feel less guilty for being different, we learn how to appreciate what we have. We know what we’re never going to be. Curvy idols break Instagram, “plus size” collections invade the (web) market. Diversity is becoming a part of our daily lives, it is accepted.
So when the french brand Balsamik contacted me recently to try their e-shop and order an outfit, I did a mental mexican wave! The idea: their clothes are the same for everyone, except not really, as each item exists in several versions, adapted to different body types. So whether you have short legs, big calves, round hips, or even if you’re very tall, the item you like exists in a version that will suit you. What I like about this concept, is that there’s no “normal” and “others”: there’s no “regular”, just a bunch of different possible combinations.
I ordered a cashmere sweater (that I’ve been wearing basically non stop since I got it), a light kaki jacket and a pair of heeled (100% leather!) sandals that have just the perfect height – and I’m so happy with it all! Browsing the site is easy and instinctive, you can do it the ‘usual’ way (per category, per color…) or try to browse per body type. The delivery was fast, the items are qualitative – in a nutshell: I give it 5 stars.
Jeans – TOPSHOP
Necklace – &OTHER STORIES
Today, I know that my body is what it is, and that the only thing I can do is accept it, cherish it, enhance it, wear it like my most precious outfit. Of course, I still have a long way to go if I want to make it healthier, and make it last longer: eat better, drink less, work out more… but I’m not fighting it anymore. Today, we enjoy life, together.