Can you please stop telling women how to dress in the summer?
Dealing with body confidence issues is hard enough so let's abandon the pass remarkable comments.
There's so much to love about this time of year. The late sunsets, the bright blue skies that greet you when you open the blinds in the morning. Eating 99s and BBQ food as often as possible. Visiting your favourite beach and breathing in the fresh sea air. Sandy toes, the famous Irish Mammy salad, cold pints in the sun. Lounging in the garden with a gripping novel when the kids are at summer camp. Picnics on Sunday afternoons, eating strawberries and cream for breakfast because why not. Singing along to Here Comes The Sun as you drive.
Do you know what I hate about summer?
Constantly being told what I should and shouldn't wear, because apparently people still think that's okay. I don't know about you but people are shelling out unsolicited fashion advice like they're Ryan Tubridy gifting presents to the Toy Show audience.
"Would you not wear something lighter?" they say when I walk into the garden in a midi skirt.
"Put a bit of tan on your legs. You're like a milk bottle," others laugh.
"Why don't you buy yourself a dress like your sister?" they ask.
It has taken me 26 years to finally find a style that makes me feel good. Building up body confidence when your generation was so exposed to diet culture and tabloid media is not easy. We were constantly told that being anything more than a size 10 was criminal, so naturally, we've got some confidence issues.
Before summer started, I promised myself that I would update my wardrobe a little. Like most people, I was living in loungewear and my ASOS dungarees for most of the lockdown. The world was literally shut down so the last thing I wanted to do was force myself into clothes that wouldn't make me feel comfortable.
I treated myself to a dozen new dresses. One with daisies, a red one, a bright blue one, one to wear when I feel bloated, one for dancing (if we ever get to do that again), a light pink one for evenings at the seaside. I built a collection of clothes that finally made me feel good about my body so when people turn around and tell you that you should wear something else it stings.
Did you know that almost 70% of adult women report withdrawing from activities due to their body image? I have missed out on beach trips, picnics in the park, and swimming in the cool sea because I didn't feel comfortable enough and I'm sure I'm not the only one.
Summer can often make those of us with body image issues feel even worse. We can't wrap ourselves up in cozy jumpers and gorgeous coats. Layers are the last thing you want to consider and tights are shoved into the back of the press until September rolls around again. Everyone has something they don't love about their bodies. Society has tricked us into believing that there is only one type of perfect and if you don't look like that then you're not good enough. That's why these comments need to stop. Even the women with that 'perfect' appearance struggle with body acceptance.
Taylor Swift once shared: "I definitely have body issues, but everybody does. When you come to the realization that everybody does — even the people that I consider flawless — then you can start to live with the way you are."
When you tell someone how they should dress you are making their confidence plummet even more by making them think there's something wrong with their clothes. Many people don't realise how hard it is to find clothes that make you feel good in the summer. The sheer joy in finding that one dress that makes you feel confident and comfortable is indescribable, so having someone pick it apart and tell you to wear something different hurts.
Instead, why can't people simply compliment them? Or simply say nothing at all unless you have something nice to say. Some of us don't like showing off our legs. Others don't feel comfortable wearing short-sleeves or mini dresses. Many prefer to cover up, even when it is warm outside and you know what? There's nothing wrong with that.
Wouldn't life be that little bit better if we respected people and let them wear what makes them feel good?
Dealing with body confidence issues is hard enough so let's abandon the pass remarkable comments and judgemental remarks. Women should be allowed to enjoy summer and wear the clothes that they like and the ones that suit them. We shouldn't have to seek the approval of an aunty or acquaintance who thinks they have the right to tell people what to dress.
Summer is there to be enjoyed. The last thing we need is to be fretting about a number on the scales, whether our clothes are good enough and if people will approve of our style.
As Meryl Streep once said, "Don’t waste so much time thinking about how much you weigh. There is no more mind-numbing, boring, idiotic, self-destructive diversion from the fun of living."
If anyone is going to encourage our summer style then it's Miranda Priestly herself.