Photo by John Barone Photography.
"My tummy shows in this one."
"Why am I an 18 in this dress?! There's no way!"
"I hate the way my (insert body part here) looks."
"I need to hide my large intestine!"
That last one's a joke, but I've heard some variation of these while tux, bridesmaids, or wedding dress shopping. In every bridal (or men's, or women's) mag, there's some variation of, "Easy Exercises to Get Abs Like THESE!" The title's always posed next to a size 4 woman, or an over-the-top muscular man. Things are changing- now there are models like Tess Holliday and Ashley Graham- but we've only come so far.
However, this obsession with being thin is hiding under the guise of "health." There was one wedding where, at about six months out, I listened as each of the bridesmaids was sharing their diet plan for the wedding. One of them was planning a juice cleanse to lose 20 pounds in two weeks. Another was discussing only eating fruits. One of the groomsman would talk about cutting his caloric intake to 900, and working out for an hour each day. The bride hated how thin she was, and was debating plastic surgery on her rear end. Just a quick note: If you're wearing a dress with a large skirt, the size of your rear end doesn't matter much.
Just to be clear, the American Medical Association recommends a diet of at least 1,000 calories a day, and either 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week, or a combination thereof. The above diets are not healthy, and will cause weight gain after you've finished the diet. If the human body believes it is starving, it will begin to store calories as fat.
Photo by Isadora Pennington Photography.
While I understand the pressure too well- these pictures will be a part of either your, or your friend's life. But at the end of the day, diet and exercise should genuinely be about health. The goal of it, in my humble opinion, should be to feel better, have more energy, and to be able to do all of the things you want to do in life. Whatever size waist that gives you, it shouldn't change your opinion of yourself.
I watch beautiful, healthy women criticize themselves to the bone during dress shopping. Some of the most accomplished and intelligent women I've ever had the pleasure of knowing have cried in the dressing room. Groomsmen, in an effort to fit in their tuxes, won't eat the day of, and pay the price after the second drink.
Photo by John Barone Photography.
In an effort to dispel some of this pressure, I offer a few pointers:
- Dress sizes in wedding attire will always be two-three sizes larger than your typical dress size. This is not because of bloating, or that you've gained weight. It's only because women are all different sizes, and dresses are tailored. The closer they can get to your actual size, the better for alterations.
- To brides: wear a dress that you will be comfortable in. You will be wearing it for nearly twelve hours, and sweating in it can cause awful chafing. There are always dresses that will make you feel beautiful, and will be comfortable.
-It's a-ok to wear a dress that's not from a bridal shop, or white. If you look great in pink, wear pink! Or blue, or green, or a rainbow, if you like (this goes for you fellows, too!). Women only began wearing white because Queen Victoria made it a trend. Wear what will make you happy.
-Speaking of happiness, here's the secret for you bridesmaids and groomsmen: no one's going to be looking at you. You are a color-coordinated backdrop for the couple. No one's going to notice a thing about you, unless you do something wildly inappropriate.
- Invest in your health to the best of your ability. If you feel that you need to make a life change, talk to your doctor about recommendations. Just be aware that even those models on the magazines have their insecurities- and it's their job to be that size! They have genetics, personal trainers, dietitians, and ample time to implement health regimes.
If I could say one thing to everyone about dress or tux shopping: this is attire for a happy day. You're going to have fun.
Be kind to yourself.