I've been thinking a lot lately about how to make the most of your best features since I wrote this post last week about being 40 and wearing crop tops - seems my hesitation in wearing something not deemed "acceptable" for someone of my age was indeed futile. Thank you all of you that left such kind comments, I did feel I stuck my neck out a little by saying "look, I have a part of my body that I really like, and I'm going to show it off", but from what you all said it was okay to do so.
All too often we won't admit that we like something about ourselves often enough for fear of being perceived as bigheaded or vain. I firmly believe we should all have at least ONE thing we like about ourselves, and show it off to the max. One kind commenter said "the crop top... is flattering on you & I think it is great that you admit that! We should be able to acknowledge our attributes" - and she's absolutely right. In relation to this I've been pondering on our obsession with celebrities and their best features, and how many of them are known for having a famous feature or body part. For example...
Jennifer Aniston's hair
Sophia Loren's eyes
Blake Lively's legs
Sophia Loren's eyes
Blake Lively's legs
Scarlett Johansson's lips
Jennifer Lopez's bottom
Michelle Obama's arms
Cara Delavingne's eyebrows
Kate Middleton's hair
Katy Perry's boobs
Gwyneth Paltrow's abs
These women know these parts of their body are their best feature, and they do everything they can to keep that bit of them looking their best and bring attention to it whenever they're in the public eye. And why not? I've been fascinated by Sophia Loren's bewitching eyes since I was a kid, and you never see her even now (at 78) without the stunning cat-eye make up she's always worn to enhance them. Plus I don't think I can say Kate Middleton has ever had a bad hair day, and Gwyneth Paltrow is always showing off those amazing abs (they even have their own Twitter account).
My best features
So I'm calling all you ladies to make the most of your best feature(s) - goodness knows, we berate ourselves enough! To get the ball rolling, I've thought about the things I like about myself physically, and I've included some blog images which demonstrate where I've been making the most of the bits of me I like. Here goes me tooting my own horn again...!
My smile - I prefer pictures of me with a mega-watt smile
Some of the features have always been my best bits, others not. To clarify - I've always had a small waist (you can read about that in the post from last week), and I've always liked my smile and my teeth are pretty good. HOWEVER... it wasn't always that way - I've not always had long thick red hair, or eyebrows that people talk about positively.
What I do to maintain my best features
My waist: I work out a lot to keep my middle toned. Whilst I'm not flabby, I do put weight on easily (10lbs in two weeks? No problem. When I'm not being careful it's a piece of cake. Literally). I have to work really, really hard to stay in shape.
My smile: I suffered at the hands of the dentist to get good teeth - I've had a total of 11 teeth (baby and adult) pulled out because of overcrowding, and I got them whitened a few years ago. But it was all worth it because my smile is so much better as a result.
My eyebrows: You may find it hard to believe, but my eyebrows are such a ridiculous shape naturally (see this old picture if you don't believe me). Nothing major, but I was teased about how strange they were when I was younger. I pluck them myself, and a good proportion of my time spent doing my make up is just on my eyebrows. Now, after my hair, they're the most talked about feature of mine on Twitter and Instagram.
My hair: I always used to wish I had amazing hair; the sort of hair that would make people say "Catherine? Oh, I know - the one with the lovely hair". I've changed my hair regularly since I can remember, never sticking with one style more than a few months. My hair has been every colour - brunette, black, blonde, ginger, auburn (except extreme colours like pink or blue) - and I've had every style from a pixie crop to extremely long. A few years ago I just thought to myself: I'm going to get fabulous hair. It was getting more and more grey so dyeing it regularly became a necessity, and I decided to go bright. And red seemed the brightest, boldest colour to have to make a statement. And I knew long red hair would be even more fabulous, so I grew it again after a continuous cycle of growing it/chopping it for many years. And now my hair is my best-known feature.
Decide on your best feature
So what I'm saying is, you may not think you have a best feature - something about you that is so outstanding that you will receive regular compliments about it - but it doesn't mean you can't get one. Who's stopping you creating one yourself? I did with my hair. I never got the same sort of compliments about my hair when I had a brown bob. Go get yourself a pen and paper and write down the things you like about yourself physically. Think about compliments you've received in the past, even if you didn't agree with them. Also write down a feature that you have perhaps never really received compliments about before, but you think it may be something you can enhance.
Forget about stuff that can't be changed like height, bone structure, skin colour, basic body shape, etc. Other changes are possible like boob size, wrinkles, shape of your nose - but they're extreme measures to take, and will cost you an arm and a leg. What you want to concentrate on are things that may take a little time, cost or effort (or all three) to look their best, for example hair, hands and nails, teeth, eyes (and eyebrows), legs, arms, etc.
So... do you think you have "quite nice" hands? Then get them manicured regularly and ensure they're always painted to perfection in amazing colours that draw attention to them - and talk animatedly with them. They'll soon get noticed. If your legs "aren't bad", then take up the right exercise or sport to tone them to within an inch of their life. Get them spray tanned and waxed regularly. You'll go from "okay legs" to "amazing legs" that you can show off in short skirts and cute shorts.
It's not about vanity
It's all about feeling good about yourself, not vanity. I can still remember the first time I received a compliment about my eyebrows years ago from a (male) member of my family, and it really surprised me after the comments I used to get. It encouraged me to keep them as groomed as possible, and over the years the compliments came thick and fast. I realised the same could be done with my hair - my thought (literally) was "I want great hair - what do I have to do to get it?". A few years later I achieved it: long, red, conversation-making hair.
So get your thinking caps on, and acknowledge your best bits. Make the most of them and show them off at every opportunity. Not quite there yet? Decide what you want to make the most of and what you can realistically do about it.
And let me know in the comments! Tell everyone what your best bits are, and don't be modest - just honest. We all need to feel good about ourselves, so I'm giving you free reign, right here. Repeat after me: "it's okay to acknowledge my best bits"...!