How You Can Still Love Fashion While Recovering From Bulimia
The fashion industry is almost synonymous with eating disorders.
We hear stories time and time again about models and celebrities ‘starving themselves to death’ to stay thin. Decades ago, I was one of them
And it’s not hard to see why so many people succumb to eating disorders in the fashion industry; it’s a competitive, cutthroat world where a lot is at stake. Appearance and size MATTER. If you don’t have the right look, you’re not worth the attention.
And if you’re struggling with bulimia and love fashion, this can be extremely difficult.
Supporting fashion would seem like you’re advocating for these models and designers who encourage thinness. A level of thinness that can and often does trigger a stream of events that leads to eating disorders.
The changing face of fashion – or is it all smoke and mirrors?
Yes, the fashion industry has changed with the inclusion of larger or “plus size” models in mainstream fashion as well as industry regulation on model BMI’s but it’s still not enough. Most high fashion designers (designing the clothes we really want) still don’t take into account the varying shapes of women’s bodies.
We still hear stories of models being pressured to be thinner in order to get more jobs and ‘Plus Size’ models wearing padding and even ‘fat suits’ to look bigger. It’s hard to know what’s real.
So is it possible to still love fashion and not support this?
Does loving fashion derail your bulimia recovery?
Yes, you can love fashion and not let it derail your bulimia recovery.
There are plenty of role models out there who are testaments that fashion isn’t what you see on the runway or magazine. Fashion is about expressing your personal style and owning it. And when you’re happy and comfortable with your personal style, you’re respected and ADMIRED FOR IT.
Take for example Iris Apfel. Iris is one of my favorite people in fashion. She is simply brilliant, wacky, funny and
totally herself. She turns heads everywhere she goes and without a doubt, many people see Iris as the Queen of Fashion.
And did I mention she’s 94 years old?
Now you might wonder what on earth can a 94 year old can teach you or what relevance she has but here’s the thing, Iris has wisdom.
Everyone in fashion loves and respects Iris because she doesn’t give a damn what people think about her. She follows the beat of her own drum and wears whatever she wants, whatever makes her comfortable – and always has. In her interviews she mentions that in her youth she experimented with different styles until she found her signature look.
And another reason why I love Iris is that she’s brutally honest about her body. As a teenager, she was overweight.
“I was very fat. Yes. I had a very bad sinus condition that only one doctor seemed able to cure with some kind of malt, so I gained a lot of weight, and it drove my poor mother crazy, because she was very elegant and she wanted me to be dolled.”
She goes on to say, “I wasn’t pretty when I got married either, and I never cared. I never liked pretty. I mean, it’s nice, don’t misunderstand me, but I never got upset. And I was quite glad in a way, because it put my mind to other things.”
She knew that loving fashion isn’t about conformity, it’s about expressing yourself and loving the person that you are.
Her love of fashion helped her and her husband build a career as interior designers for the rich and famous. She has been called on by several US Presidents to decorate the White House. Her exhibit at the Met, which featured her collection of clothes and jewelry, is one of the most successful exhibits in that museums history and one of the few exhibits done by a non-artist.
“Fashion is not a runway bubble, it’s a mirror of society”
She is respected, revered and considered beautiful. And for Iris, “fashion is not a runway bubble, it’s a mirror of society”. The problem with the fashion industry (and Iris confirms this in her interviews and in her documentary) is that instead of being a mirror to society most of the players in the fashion industry are choosing to live in a bubble. So instead of creating clothes that celebrate human creativity and the human form, they created an ideal that most people can’t reach.
I always feel it’s better to be happy than well dressed.
Iris is considered a trendsetter because she chooses to follow her own personal style, she dresses for herself and not for others.
“I think some people like me because I’m different. I don’t think like everybody else.
I always tell people to follow their dreams, to be true to themselves, and not just be carbon copies of what they think they should be, because then they’ll go through life miserable. And it’s phony.
I don’t have a mantra or anything like that, I think you have to try and be yourself, and not a carbon copy, which I think most people today try to do. I think we live in a button-driven society, everybody is always pressing buttons to get the answers. More and more people live without soul, they’re just an empty shell.”
Fashion isn’t about having the right look.
What most people don’t know, and what most people in the fashion industry seem to have forgotten, is that fashion isn’t about having the “right” look. They’ve forgotten that fashion and style is unique to every individual. And this is what Iris represents. Fashion isn’t just for the rich and beautiful. Fashion is for everyone and each person’s unique style contributes to fashion.
Iris shows that fashion, in the truest sense, shouldn’t push a person to change themselves through dieting, starving themselves and eating disorders like bulimia. Rather, fashion can be used as a tool to empower women and even support them in their bulimia recovery.
An important part of bulimia recovery is discovering yourself and what is important to YOU.
Discovering yourself is learning to accept and appreciate yourself, creating a desire to take care of yourself, nurture yourself and eat to nourish yourself and provide yourself with the energy to live a great life. Discovering yourself is the beginning of loving yourself. And wanting to express that love through clothes, that’s style. Sharing that love with others, that’s fashion.
A New Perspective: Your life is a true expression of who you are – not your size or weight.
“I say, dress to please yourself. Listen to your inner muse and take a chance. Wear something that says “Here I AM Today” —Iris Apfel
Your life is a true expression of who you are – not your size or weight. When you express what makes you happy, people respond to it. Clothes are just the tools to create and demonstrate your self expression, like paint, brushes or clay. Magazines and the runway, they’re just guides to inspire you. But true style and fashion comes from within.
So how are you going to express YOUR UNIQUENESS?
Unsure where to start? Then contact me Julie@BulimiaFree.com for a free consultation. There is no time like NOW.
Bulimia Recovery Coach
Julie won a 15 year battle with bulimia over 30 years ago and now mentors and coaches others to bulimia freedom. She is a compassionate, caring bulimia recovery coach who brings a unique and powerful perspective on recovery that has helped people from all walks of life, not just stop bingeing and purging but learn how to love themselves and their bodies and create a life they love.