I've had the good fortune of going shopping with many wonderful women lately—sometimes I've been going out just for fun, and other times I've been with a friend who was on a mission. These women have come in numerous body shapes, and it's been a joy to see them all look beautiful at any size.
But what I can't get over is that all of them—no matter how thin or how curvy—have very real insecurities.
One of these women, for example, is very thin and incredibly well toned—she wears a size two and has Halle Berry's muscular arms, Jennifer Aniston's shapely legs, and Emily Blunt's tight little butt. But she didn't see any of that when we were in the dressing room recently.
Instead all she saw was her chest, which is a bit on the small side. She was, in fact, so worried about not having enough up top, that she refused to wear anything that didn't have wide enough straps to accommodate her padded bra, which she claimed she needed to look normal.
When I finally convinced her to try on a very fashion forward strapless dress from the clearance rack, I was astonished by how amazing it looked on her—it was both hip and adorable at the same time—and she was really rocking the look: the dress was short enough to highlight her toned legs, and her long dark hair hit her shoulders in just the right place to draw your eye to both her sculpted arms and her gorgeous hair.
But she couldn't see that.
"You look incredible," I told her.
"Are you kidding?" she said in a suspicious tone. "I don't have anything up here." She put her hands on her chest and cupped what she saw as her inadequacy. Then she nodded at me. "If only I had what you have."
I gasped. Her comment shocked me that much.
She was wearing a dress that fell halfway between her ass and her knees, and there wasn't an ounce of cellulite in sight, but she wanted what I had?
Then I laughed because, from my point of view, the situation was completely ludicrous—I wanted what she had, and she wanted what I had.
"You're crazy," I finally said.
But my friend could not be swayed. "You don't get it. I can't wear a dress like this. I have to have something with sleeves."
The irony of the situation did not escape me.
Though I have a few select sleeveless dresses, I avoid them almost as much as I avoid fried food. I'm just not that comfortable revealing my arms, which I see as a bit too fleshy for display. On the other hand, my friend has supermodel arms, but she won't show them off because she thinks her breasts are too small.
Together we made quite a pair.
Despite my protestations, I didn't talk my friend into buying that fabulous dress, but I did win in one regard: since then I have not thought twice about wearing my own sleeveless outfits, bare arms and all.
A side note: Need another reason to go sleeveless, strapless, and/or braless? Do it because you can. Far too many women in the world aren't allowed to show their arms, shoulders, and cleavage, and that's a reason to revel in them.