It’s almost 2017 and body positivity continues to gain ground. For those unfamiliar, it’s a movement that encourages people to accept all body types. In many ways, body positivity is a response to the fashion world. For certain, fashion treats us to the visually-appealing. However, the world of fashion has also produced negative side-effects on society.
The dark side of fashion
First of all, fashion can set unrealistic standards of beauty. Fashion brands often select models of a specific body type. However, this body type often doesn’t represent the average person. This forces many people into being discontent with their bodies. People feel the need to be a certain height, weight, or physique.
Secondly, society pressures people into following trends. Fashion brands market their items based on constructed identities. Unfortunately, this pressures people into following trends to maintain this identity. As a result, external factors dictate what a person’s identity is.
So, does fashion enslave us? Are fashion and body positivity incompatible?
Body positivity for OLXers
We went around the OLX office asking people what fashion meant for them. None of us really model for a living. This is why many of us are in good positions to say how the fashion world affects us. As a result, we got some interesting responses.
For one, Mark “Anjo” Julian from our Content Marketing team says he doesn’t feel pressured into having a certain physique. He accepts his being plus-sized as just part of who he is. After all, accepting oneself means embracing oneself entirely, including one’s size.
Anjo’s motto is pretty inspiring too. “It’s not about the size you wear but how you wear your size,” he says. It would make a good battle cry for the body positivity movement.
MeAnne Bundalian from our Marketing team shares a similar sentiment. For her, she says her body type lets her be more creative. For example, because of her height, she wears super short skirts or ankle-length skirts.
MeAnne explains that this elongates a lady’s legs. Hardly being one to shy away, MeAnne encourages people to flaunt their features and have fun.
It seems that for most OLXers, fashion is just another aspect of their lives to have fun with.
Customer Success Officer, Bianca Taiño says she has fun putting together coordinated outfits. She’s drawn her own personal set of rules like “No print over print.”
Bianca tells us that a well-coordinated outfit is something that brings out beauty. Like, MeAnne fashion for her is a way to enhance your look.
Beyond enhancing looks, some of the people we talked to said fashion can be used for self-exploration.
For example, Erna Dimapilis from our HR department says that while she generally knows what she likes to wear, she also likes changing it up.
Erna says she never really liked floral. However, there was a time she wore a floral dress to her anniversary with her boyfriend. After getting a wave of compliments from her boyfriend, she’s incorporated floral into her wardrobe ever since. “You’ll never really know. Just try it on,” she tells us.
Brand team’s Carlo “Cocoy” Rosales shares this openness to try new things. While he likes to express his loud (his words) personality through his outfits, he has no trouble toning things down.
“I like playing with colors as a testament to how loud I am,” he says. However, he also likes to deviate every now and then. Cocoy tells us he’s tried army-inspired looks as well as all-black.
This openness to explore certainly gives a lot of space for change. We think Sarah Buendia from our Content Marketing team says it best when she expressed that one’s style is something that evolves.
Far from being a slave to trends, Sarah says her outfits are one part of her life she’s sure she can control. When buying clothes, she first thinks of whether it’ll work well with her other outfits. She doesn’t swap identities through different outfits. She builds her own identity over the years. And that shows in her style.
Embracing change and building acceptance
It’s the little things that add up. As a person grows, they also develop different aspects of their personality. It’s about dealing with the tension of who you really are and the constant ebb and flow of societal factors as time passes. Just ask Reiman “Eman” Santos of our Marketing team.
While he admits it might sound self-contradictory, Eman says one’s style is a product of a balancing act. He calls it a position where you make others comfortable with you without losing your sense of self.
If you think about it, it’s when people genuinely become themselves that everyone’s happy. People grow best in environments where they are free to express themselves. When others are freely accepted for who they are, one feels more confident to be oneself too.
Analyst Jamie Flores used to only wear clothes for men because it was the only things that would fit her. However, times have changed. In the past 2 years, more plus-sized clothing has become available, she tells us.
Now, Jamie gets to wear dresses all the time. Jamie tells us that not only is it good to find clothes that fit her, she says that she now has access to clothes that make her feel good.
It all boils down to growing to love oneself. Certainly, one is affected by external factors like trends. However, one is ultimately free to determine one’s own style.
Engineering Team’s Roscoe Austria says he draws inspiration from a number of bloggers he follows. However, ultimately he says it all boils down to confidence.
It’s not about what’s in style or what brand you’re wearing, Roscoe says. It’s about how your confidence shines through your outfit, he tells us. Something could be from 90’s and he’d still wear it if it makes him feel good.
“Just be yourself”
We’ve heard that bit of advice over and over. It’s a cliche. But it’s a cliche because it’s something we need to constantly remind ourselves of.
Our General Manager Giancarlo “GC” Bonsel says the only time you should worry about your body is when you think about health. Otherwise, he says “Wearing what you want is your God-given right.”
He says everybody has that freedom to wear what they want to wear without judgment. Barring basic norms and decency, GC says one should never bend-over backward to meet societal expectations.
Public Relations Lead Charisse “Char” Vilchez encourages everyone to be more adventurous with their outfits. This way, she says people develop confidence in themselves. It’s exploring the different aspects of one’s personality that gives way to creative ensembles, she says.
All this exploration remains grounded, of course, on self-acceptance. For Char, one develops a philosophy of independence – of not needing validation from others. That, for her, is a kind of bravery.
It definitely takes bravery to be oneself. It takes bravery to stand up against all the pressure and expectations of an ever-changing world.
All in all, you don’t need a specific physique, trendy accessories, or big-brand clothes to be fashionable. It’s all about just being yourself. It’s about embracing a self that’s constantly growing. There are external things like trends and peer pressure that might affect you, but ultimately you have an independent self.
So when it comes to fashion, go ahead and be brave. Set an example and stand up for yourself. Stand for body positivity and find a look that shows off your body type. Let your personality shine through your outfits. Develop the best rendition of yourself. You can become an inspiration for others. When that happens, you’ll know you’re helping build a community that wins together.