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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Do you wear it even if it's not flattering?

We're baaaaaack!!!! Whew!! Planning my wedding was some of the most fun AND the most stress I have ever experienced in my life! I am so happy to be married, though, and it truly was the most perfect wedding and straight out of the vision I'd been carrying around; how amazing it was seeing it spring to life. The venue and weather were gorgeous, and the husband is equally gorgeous and wonderful. On my ugliest bad hair/bad skin/bloated day, I know I can at least look back on my wedding and feel like I was beautiful on that day, and nothing can take that away from me. I was just so happy!!!

Okay, so what is this weird phenomenon where you can have two photos taken of yourself within seconds of each other but look as though you've gained 20 pounds in the second one? I know photography is all about the angles, but sheesh! These pictures are from a few weeks ago when I got my second one, I look normal (or at least how I think I normally look), and in the second, from a different angle, dude, what happened?!! Suddenly my face is bloated, and I look bigger overall.

I've also been thinking lately about how I will wear something, particularly dresses, that I really, really love even though I know it is not the most flattering cut for my body type. (This started with the yellow dress from my previous fall post, which doesn't seem to be very flattering for me.) I'm not so narcissistic that I can pass up wearing something I love that much. ;) Now, for my wedding day, I was very lucky to have the best of both worlds...the dress of my freakin' DREAMS that also worked for my body type. YES!!! But the dress I wore to the rehearsal dinner, I think it's a bit of a different story. It's a beautiful, ethereal dress I ordered online from Forever 21. It reminded me so much of one that my mom used to wear in the 60s, and since my mom passed away a few years ago and couldn't be at my wedding (at least not in person), it was one of my little ways of honoring her to wear it during the rehearsal. I had lamented to KameraWhore beforehand that I didn't think it looked good on me, and she was probably too sweet to tell me I was right when I tried it on so she could give me her opinion (I thought it looked WAY better on her), but the dress was far too pretty and too sentimental for me to resist. I thought I was all cute pairing it with textured tights and low cowboy boots that also came from F21. People gave me lots of compliments on it even. But when I saw the pictures, oh, Lord!! I was aghast. The dress cinches at the waist, which I thought would be flattering, and I think it was okay from a profile view but not so much from the front or back. I thought the tights and boots were flattering to my calves til I saw the pictures too, and it looked like my calves had no shape whatsoever due to the line caused by the tops of the boots completely interrupting the lines of my legs. But so how do I know if that's what I really looked like or if the camera just happened to catch me from an unflattering angle (several times, lol)? Based on my experience with the tattoo pictures, so much can change when you move your angle even a few inches.  I'm not sure why any of this should surprise me; I've always known I look totally different if my face is turned toward the right vs. the left - there is a reason my nose is pierced on the right side. ;) Incidentally, Kam and I each think our right side is our "good side," which sometimes makes for challenging poses together! (Hint: she looks beautiful from both sides.)

How do we ever know if how we look in pictures is truly how we look? Or in mirrors, for that matter; I look 10 pounds lighter in Kam's full-length mirror as opposed to mine. In any case, because I loved the outfit so much and was so happy that I was probably beaming rainbows out my ass to be getting married, I probably looked better in it in person. And I think, really, that feeling good in it and being confident and happy are the most important things!


The first pic was taken the first time I tried on the dress, which is actually a slip with an overlay, and the little ones next to it are from the rehearsal. But compare it to this pic from my honeymoon, when I'd been eating non-stop and yet still look smaller in that outfit somehow. I'm sure I am the ONLY one scrutinizing the angles of my pictures to this level of shallow insanity. ;) But I'd be willing to bet I'm not the only one out there thinking about it in general.

So many questions...thus are the ponderings of a closet narcissist. ;)

What do you think? Do you still wear stuff you know isn't the most flattering cut just because you love it and it makes you happy? (I think you totally should!!) 

And what's your take on unedited photography showing reality?


Shybiker said...

I know exactly what you mean about how two photos, taken minutes apart, can show you in radically-different ways. Normally, that might be depressing but it can be turned around into something positive when you're able to select good pictures and deep-six the rest.

My body, for example, isn't typical for a gal so photos of me are often awful. But, at the right angle, I can look okay. I'm able to pick out those pictures for my blog and hide the bad ones.

In person, we probably look more like ourselves even when mirrors distort that image. I really wouldn't worry about it because simply being alive is reason to rejoice. Having flaws is human, not grounds for feeling bad.

Jenarcissist said...

Beautifully said. :) But you look way better than okay!!

tinyjunco said...

excellent post! as a close-to-50 gal with plenty of art, life drawing, and some photo experience let me just tell ya - EVERYTHING looks different in photos! Shybiker makes good points (and, FWIW, 'typical' is overrated ; )

i really don't photograph all that well (but i look great on video!). it's not just me - all my life people have said 'but you look so much better IRL!' sometimes i compensate on my blog, most of the time i don't. i'd rather look better IRL, personally - and as you so beautifully point out, there are so many reasons to wear clothes besides conforming to 'the flattery police'.

choosing a dress for the reasons you did is so much more beautiful and meaningful, and will give you better memories, than choosing the latest 'most flattering' look. i'm sure your mom loved it, too! steph

Jenarcissist said...

Steph, thank you so much, especially for that last paragraph...means a LOT. :) I forgot to add that I wore my mom's wedding dress at the bridal supper. Very simple and pretty dress but SUPER 80s (polyester, I think) and very hot, lol, with a couple missing buttons even. Worked great on my mom's figure but not at all on mine, yet I loved every minute of having it on. I paired it with a funky headband and the tall boots and just went all out, and I felt like I was being hugged by my mom all evening. :)

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