For me, I work in a fitting room at a store where the attendants actually help dress the clientele. I have seen women cry, seen heated arguments between boyfriends/girlfriends and husbands/wives, women excited over outfits, women mocking outfits, but what I've never seen is a woman get excited about her body itself in the clothing.
When women put on something that looks amazing, it's the outfit that's doing the work. For instance, "Jenni those pants make your butt look amazing!" For some reason however, this does not translate to when a garment does not work wonders, "my thighs look huge." Noticed the dropped noun? The noun that the verb had previously belonged to? Now the verb belongs to the body part.... how did that happen?
I think Clinton Kelly (of What Not to Wear) did a very good job of talking about this process, so since I'm a little bit tired from last night/this morning... I'm going to let you read an article I think every woman should read.
"You have to try on tons of clothes, you have to figure out what works on your body and what doesn't work on your body, and you have to pay attention to trends even if you don't adopt them all, Kelly said.
What's the worst mistake women make when dressing?
Trying to copy another person with a different body type, coloring, style or age. "I tell women: Stop comparing yourself to other women. To look at another woman and pick her apart feature by feature and get down on yourself because your features don't compare to hers is a mistake, especially if you're looking at a photo in a magazine. I know what happens to a woman before and after she's photographed. There's a team of people ... a TEAM of people who make that happen ... hair, makeup, lightning director and then there's the Photoshop guy. They turn a real-life person into an unrealistic person.
Women have to stop seeing models as examples of perfect beauty.
What are my own thoughts based on my time in a fitting room?
NEVER get upset with yourself if a garment does not fit - bring in a size larger and a size smaller (I almost always suggest people try on a couple of sizes so they can find the one that truly is right for them) - sizes vary a lot (mainly due to branding and cut of the garment) so it's highly probable unless you always buy dresses from that store or that brand that you may need another size... Also I recommend doing this originally. I've found that women are embarrassed to do ask for a different size once in the dressing room and some women refuse to at all... (don't be embarrassed by the way! it's far better to have clothes FIT you)
That bring me into, buying clothing that fits. Fitting is not loosy goosy. nor is it super tight. It's where it looks tailored, but breathable -- this is another reason I suggest bringing in multiple garments -- wearing clothes that do not fit can lead to a skewed body image. I know that this occurs with all body types. It may feel odd at first if you're not used to clothing fitting well or touching your body, so I definitely suggest easing into it... but in the long run it's a good thing. For me it's made me more connected with my body. I've gotten to know it and understand how to make it look its best with my clothing choices. What clothes make me feel beautiful, because I know I look good wearing them. I NEVER buy anything that's too small with hopes of fitting into it. You should be embracing and celebrating your current body shape when you go shopping.
I am an absolute firm believer that no matter your weight, shape, build, and body type you can find clothes that look great on you by working with you. You are beautiful and you deserve to feel beautiful when you get dressed.