Elaine had sent me a response to post I put on Instagram about becoming more confident in myself. She told me that she had recently just been on a bit of journey herself, and that resulted to cleaning out her wardrobe of old clothes that don’t fit her, so she is left with only things that fits and brings her joy!

She was lovely enough to meet up with me on a very cold, wintery morning (just before going into another lockdown!) to chat a bit about her journey to becoming confident in herself:

“I cleaned my wardrobe after I saw Marie Kondo. I did it ages ago and thought that I had done it enough, but it wasn’t until recently that I saw Alex Light on Instagram, and her thing was why would you keep clothes that don’t fit? We’ve all done that before, where we buy something we like, but it is just a tiny bit too small. We say, ‘I’ll keep it, I might fit into it one day’, but it’s like, why don’t we just buy the next size up? Women don’t do that for some reason. So, I thought that I would just be really brave and get rid of some clothes, even if I really like it. But it doesn’t fit me now, if I can’t wear it now, I’m going to get rid of it. It was horrible to start off with, because you were going through a lot of nice things, thinking, I’ve never worn that, or this still has the tag on it, or this looks awful. But then you get to something like my jumper I am wearing today, that you love, and you’re then like ‘ohh I love this!’. My advice would be, leave stuff you know you like and wear at the end, so you can find this joy at the end. But now I open my wardrobe, I see everything I can wear, there is no should I wear this? Should I not? as everything fits, and everything in there gives you joy!

I find getting clothes that fit, gives me lots of compliments as well which shocks me as I use to think a smaller size equals looking better. I got these jeans in the size I thought I was, but they were slightly too small. After I sent them back to get the next size, I have been getting loads of compliments when I wear them. And I’m like, they’re the bigger size, but nobody knows, and it doesn’t show because I am happy in them!”

Would you say that you feel more confident when you’re wearing clothes that fit you?

“Definitely! And there are more times when I can look in the mirror and say ‘yes! I look good!’ rather than ‘ohh, maybe I should change that, or add another layer’.

I’m just doing what I want and feeling more confident about it.”

You told me that you’re into running now. What made you start to do that?

“A couple of years ago, I started with a friend to the gym and went on a diet as I wasn’t feeling too great about myself. I lost about 2 stone but didn’t really love the lifestyle and it wasn’t great for me. The issue with diets is that you do it for two weeks, but then deprive yourself of takeaways and all the nice stuff meaning you binge for two weeks, so there was no point doing the diet in the first place! This was what I found myself doing. Since then, I have stopped doing that and just eat what I want, when I want. But I am doing running now just to get my fitness levels up and for my own enjoyment.

I think that you have your normal size. You may look at others who are smaller than you, but if you are healthy then you are the right size that you should be. You compare yourself to others that have had their clothes fitted to them, like in the movies for example, but we don’t have that. We must fit into the clothes that are provided and available to us. So why worry about size, because when you wear clothes that fit you properly, that is when you look nice!”

When I say the word confidence, what do you think?

“I think it [the clothes fitting] helps, but I don’t think that it what confidence is. You can be wearing pyjamas and feel confident! It’s more your mindset, I think. This sounds silly, but myself and Lydia (a friend) joke about when I got my new glasses. We called them The Glasses of Empowerment because there was a kind of change when I put them on – like Clarke Kent! I don’t think it was the glasses, but it was definitely around then that I felt a change and that is how I mark the moment! I started to be more confident in conversations and just being me a bit more. I have friends who tell me all the time ‘what do you mean? Everyone likes you! You’re amazing and always have been!’ but I just didn’t believe it. It wasn’t just about the way I looked, but it was about the confidence I had within myself. Having the clothes thing sorted, I feel like this is one big thing that helped.

I got the glasses about two years ago, and that was the first thing of starting to feel confident. It wasn’t till a couple of months ago and reflecting in lockdown that I culled my clothes and started to help others around me to start thinking this way. I think women can really impact other women, so my hope is that if I’m positive about what I wear and eat, it helps others.”

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