‘I refuse to apologise for loving fashion just because I’m not a model’

The thing is, women have dealt with unwanted messages about our bodies for too long. I know this as well as anyone. As a teenager, I took time to grow into my looks and height. In my twenties, I went through a radical weight loss that developed into an eating disorder. Outwardly, those were glorious years – I could wear anything I wanted! – but privately, it was a hungry, miserable period. I based my entire sense of worth on how I looked, and never felt like enough. 

Over time I learned that perfection was impossible, if it even existed, and that I wouldn’t reach it, no matter how much I punished myself.

A whole lot of life later, I have teenage children and a more balanced view of what it means to be beautiful. I take great pleasure in expressing myself through style, even if I don’t conform to the narrow view of perfection I had in mind in my 20s. 

A few years ago, I found a community of like-minded strangers on Instagram who quickly became friends. Through @shedreamsofgucci, I share the lighthearted, real-life stories behind my personal style, and encourage other women to be more adventurous with theirs. I support independent brands and celebrate women of all sizes who embrace this platform for expression. Critics say that Instagram makes women feel less-than, but it helped me finally silence the ghosts in my head.

This message, the casual misogyny in “a multitude of sins”, made me livid. I decided that instead of putting it out of my mind and just posting another colourful outfit pic or smiling selfie, the most honest thing would be to share the full message. And my spicy reply: “The ‘multitude of sins’ you have chosen me for… had never been an issue for me. Until today. Perhaps you could enlighten me as to which aspects of my body you would like for me to be publicly shamed on in order to promote your pre launch… Sadly, I don’t think I’m the kind of niche you’re after.”

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