We talk to personal stylist, fashion blogger and girl-mama Caitlin Taylor about her views on body image. How she hopes to role model a healthy relationship to her daughters and how she uses her styling work and online space to encourage change.
We also ask a few styling tips when it comes to picking your next investment accessory and Cait tells us why she LOVES the contrast straps.
BODY IMAGE -
As a personal stylist AND a fashion blogger – you are dealing with body image TWO fold. In both spaces. Do you find expectations online differ to reality?
In both instances, people are looking to me for help, guidance and inspiration. So my language is the same, my advice is the same and my message is the same on social channels and with 1-on-1 clients.
The one thing that frustrates me the most online is people saying things like ‘oh that looks good on you because you’re tall (or something like that) but that wouldn’t work on me because I’m not” - It frustrates me that people aren’t even will to give things a try because of the perception it won’t look good on them before they’ve even tried it! My personal styling clients don’t get the chance to do that, because my only rule is that they have to try on EVERYTHING I ask them haha. It’s so refreshing when they do, and they see that 99% of the time it actually looks good, even though they didn’t think it would.
People’s perception of their bodies often get in the way of them trying new things and looking, and feeling great in them, but in real life, at least I have a chance to challenge that thinking.
Being an advocate for your clients, and your followers, and now your daughters, how do you keep your OWN body ideals / insecurities in check?
I remind myself how lucky I am to have a body that not only functions normally (two working arms and legs, it did an amazing thing twice, it grew two babies! It’s not perfect, and that 100% ok. It’s the only body I have so I need to be kind to it and just roll with what it looks like. I also try and focus on the parts I like about my body more than the bits I’m not so keen on. It’s helps keep things in perspective (that and a good fake tan).
How responsible do you feel to use your trade and platform to encourage change in this space?
SO responsible! It makes me so sad/mad that people are still comparing themselves to an ideal that doesn’t even exist in reality (hello photoshop!). I really try and get across a message to my readers and clients that ALL bodies are beautiful no matter what their shape or size. I feel sometimes like I don’t say enough!
This is an area I’m so passionate about and would love to have more of a voice that can help facilitate change when it comes to positive body image (TED talk here I come haha!) It sometimes just feels like such a big topic I don’t even know where to start.
And then at home, what kind of relationship do you hope your daughters will have with their bodies?
I really hope my girls will have a relationship with their bodies based on love and appreciation for what it can do. A relationship where they can see that their body is so much more than just an ornament that needs to look good, but that it’s a vessel to LIVE life!
I want them to love their body not in-spite of its imperfections, but because of them. It’s all those little bits that make their body unique and amazing as it is.
What practices (if any) do you implement to role model / demonstrate to instil this?
Language is so important. Growing up, I don’t have any memories of my mum talking negatively about her body in front of me (and when I ask my dad, he says the same thing) so I learnt from her to always look at your body in a positive light.
So if I can always try and use positive language about my body, and what it looks like and what it does in front of my girls, then hopefully they will take those messages away with them too.
How are you inspired by pioneering change or encouraging fresh thinking about body image?
I spend time talking with my styling clients about the bits of their bodies they LOVE the most. It’s a question I ask everyone before I spend time with them. I’m trying to shift the focus from looking at the bits of our bodies we don’t like and then dressing to cover them up, to focusing on the parts we do like and dressing to show them off. It’s a really hard question for so many women to answer, and that makes me sad.
I want to encourage these women to change their perspective and start to look at the good they see, not the bad. It’s a hard slog, but if I can get just one woman to change the way she feels about her body, then that makes me happy.
Any advice to others on how we can improve either personally or macrocosmically?
We’re never going to stop talking about, of focusing on how people look, it’s human nature, but my best piece of advice to my clients and readers is to focus on the positives about your body, and to stop worrying about what anyone else thinks! Your body is no-one else’s business, so stop letting other people tell you if your body is awesome or not, or what it “should” look like. EVERY body is awesome.
Talk to us about round two, Welcome Elliott!
Isn’t she a dream? I never thought two sisters with the same genetics could be so different so early on! Emmie (the almost-3-yr-old) is sassy, and independent and driven (her way or the highway) and Elliott (almost 1) is so chilled and relaxed and go with the flow… until she’s not, then it’s world war three haha!
What is it like growing your girl gang?
I’m so lucky to have two gorgeous girls, so the girl gang is a strong one! I can’t wait to raise two amazing, confident, kind and beautiful women, and I’m so privileged to get that chance. (but man I hope they aren’t the same shoe size as me because I’m not letting them raid my shoe-wardrobe haha)
How do you feel with the second baby (are things how you expected? Easier, harder, what have you learned?)
So SO much easier than the first one. I think you kinda know what you’re doing, and what to expect that little bit more. Or maybe you’re just a whole new level of tired so things don’t worry you so much, am I right?
Advice - If it’s your first time investing in a handbag
Go for something classic (black or tan) and something that can fit your life in! You’re going to use it everyday, you want something you love, and that goes with everything.
Advice – accessories: go bold vs go practical / why?
That totally depends on your own personal style, go with whatever appeals to you. There’s no point going for bold if you don’t feel confident in rocking it. And on the flip side, don’t choose practical just to fit into the ‘norm’ whatever that is anyway.
Best part about our new feature straps?
That I can make both my Tilly and my FiFi (Baby Frankie) into a belt-bag (“bumbag” for us born in the 80s haha) and go hands free! perfect with children, and also with styling clients (more hands for clothes).
Your Favourite (tried and tested) Saben style /why?
Tilly all the way! I have the mustard and I use it as my everyday wallet, but then add a strap (either the thin one it came with, or the contrast) and it becomes a bag all on it's own too. I don’t know what I even did before I had one in my life!
The next Saben style on your wishlist / why?
Oh don’t make me choose just one! But Saddie is next on my wish list. I don’t have anything in that gorgeous tan/chestnut hue and it makes for a great everyday colour. I’m a huge fan of anything that I can wear cross-body, and there is heaps of room in the Sadie for all of the things I need to carry with me.