French Elle magazine recently declared 2010 The Year of the Thigh. I had a feeling our center of gravity was trending South given fashion’s current love for cut-offs and short shorts. This Summer, I dared to go where I had never gone before, baring my least favorite body part – my thighs – and jumping right into a (relatively) short pair of shorts.
After the Wonderbra 90s and the derrière era personified by JLo, the Kaiser himself, Karl Lagerfeld, elevates the thigh to new heights in this boudoir shot of Vanessa Paradis for Chanel. Forget the Coco Cocoon bag. It’s those thighs I want!
We all have our insecurities, and they typically crystallize around one body part. “If only I had skinnier legs, a smaller nose or straighter hair,” we muse as we hone straight into the offending area with each glance in the mirror, like a moth drawn to a lightbulb.
I’ve always wanted Gisèle’s limbs or to look as good as Kate in my skinny jeans. And that pressure to look Condé Nast perfect remains a big part of the problem. Despite recent efforts to present a more real image of women in the media, they are often thin, young and air-brushed. In business and society circles too, there is no overlooking the pressure to be both competent AND beautiful.
Against that backdrop, I’m starting to master the idea that my beauty – and my thighs – are more in my head than in my reality. Likewise, your self-image may be built on physical characteristics, but it goes beyond being brunette, short or pretty. It’s built up over time around your thoughts, feelings, senses and experiences.
To change how you look, maybe it’s time to stop hitting the treadmill or the plastic surgeon’s and start reshaping your thoughts. Catch the negative or pressure-filled jabs at yourself and replace them with new positive ones. “My thighs are sexy like Beyoncé’s,” or “My hair is flat today, but people like me for my wits.” Practice zooming out to see the big picture too. You often have a tendency to magnify those problem areas, when the overall effect looks quite smashing.
It would be oversimplifying to try and combat years of self-consciousness with a few “I think, therefore I am’s.” Yet feeling at home in your body is as much about reshaping your internal dialogue as it is about what’s on your plate.
So bring it on, Karl. I have my eye on a certain pair of leather shorts for Fall, and I’m looking pretty darn hot.
* in full bloom