The official start of summer is nearly upon us and despite it being the most social of seasons, it's also the one Aussie women often fear the most. Here are some top tips from Zoe Foster Blake to help lift your confidence!
According to a new study, more than half of Australian women will put their social life on hold as the warmer weather approaches because of their plummeting levels of self-confidence. Over two-thirds of will enter summer with their lowest levels of self-esteem, having felt most confident during winter.
Social and style expert Zoë Foster Blake says confidence needs to come from within, and is rallying women across Australia – particularly those aged over 35, as they are the most affected by negative body image perceptions – to take a positive approach as they count down to summer.
“Over 40 per cent of women say the person who has the greatest positive impact on their body image is themselves. We have to love the skin we are in – the person we are – and start working on this now,” she says.
Here are Zoe's top tips to help you embrace the warmer weather feeling the best you can be!
1. Don’t be sucked in by swimwear trends; choose a style that flatters you.
Sure, retro (high-waisted, full-bottomed) swimmers are in this summer, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy them, or that they will flatter you. As pantsuits and crop tops have proven, fashion sometimes plays cruel jokes on us.
2. Do your research before buying new cossies.
These days swimwear comes with built-in control panels, optical illusion ruching and push-up boob pads… it seems criminal not to harness this sorcery. Figure out your body shape (pear, apple, athletic…) then jump online and research the colours, styles and patterns that will best suit you.
3. Three healthy snacks.
Snacking is where a lot of us come undone. But don’t be disenchanted by the idea of “healthy snacking” – it’s not all celery and raw nuts. Try apple slices with almond butter, Special K’s new Cracker Crisps or trail mix with a few cacao nibs mixed in, and sub them in instead of your usual cookies or muffins.
4. Sharing is caring (for your health).
Giving up ALL our favourite treats is about as enticing as bin sludge. One way to literally have your cake and eat it too is to share. So, have an ice cream, but give your partner half. Get that (small) slice of cake, but share it with your workmate. And order that burger, but share it and order a big side salad.
5. Plan your swimsuit shopping.
Give yourself a sporting chance against small change rooms, harsh lighting and nosy saleswomen by waxing and self-tanning the night before, leaving plenty of time, wearing clothes and shoes that are easy to pull on and off, and if possible, taking a close, and (brutal-but-lovingly honest) friend for advice.
6. Choose to show your best self this summer.
Summer has a habit of coming every year, which is why we have no excuse to panic when it “pops up” and we don’t feel our best. The only way to sashay in with confidence is to choose your goal now, and STICK TO IT. Enlist a training buddy and implement some positive nutritional changes. Your body deserves to be strong and healthy, and you deserve to feel good on the beach. Make it happen.
7. Move more.
You needn’t do Psychotic Steve’s Boot Camp five days a week, but do do a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week. The body needs and wants exercise, and the brain likes it too. Choose something you enjoy – pilates, walking, swimming, gym classes, jogging – and view it as ‘you time’ rather than ‘torture.’
8. Let technology help you.
The right technological assistance can make enormous differences to how you challenge yourself with exercise and your eating habits. So, use it! Track how many steps you walk a day. Watch your fitness progress and times get faster with one of the many running apps out there that you can easily download to your phone. Special K also has a great and easy plan you can follow so check out www.myspecialk.com.au
9. Play up your strengths.
These days beach cover-ups extend far beyond muumuus and tacky see-through kaftans, there’s something for every taste, body, and need. If you have terrific boobs but would prefer to cover up your stomach and thighs, try a long, flowing beach dress in a soft cotton. Love your legs but your arms need work? Buy a short, long-sleeved cotton kaftan. Thrilled with your stomach but not your bum? Flaunt your top half in a bikini top and wrap a printed sarong around your waist. (If you can make it ‘dip low’ in the centre of your stomach rather than go straight across, even better.)
10. Bronze up.
The confidence that accompanies a well-applied layer of self-tan is instant. Utilise it. Be sure to exfoliate on dry skin then rinse, apply tanner in light, sweeping (not rubbing-in) motions, and apply double the body lotion in the following days. Tip: If you’re having a spray tan, ask them to do some contouring, which gives you instant muscle tone and definition. Really!
11. Shoes: always important.
Most of us defer to flats in summer. But for those of us who need a little lift, or who simply also enjoy the psychological edge heels magically present, this isn’t a thrilling proposition. So, don’t do it. Find some great wedges, chic wooden clogs or subtly heeled sandals you can wear with casual outfits, and keep your edge. (And height.)
12. Bigger is better.
Buying a few standout accessories at the start of summer will allow you to update and create a myriad of new outfits from your current wardrobe, and serve as terrific cheats when you don’t have time to do your hair and makeup pre-BBQ and post-beach. Enormous, colourful, crystal-look drop earrings look great worn with hair up and bright lips, while a heavy statement necklace will instantly add excitement to even the most boring tops, shirts and dresses.