Fashion: Body-positive 'grammers on self and style




Social media can be a creative playground for fashion lovers, but it can also bring pressure to be perfect. Lisa Millard talks body positivity with three local influencers

Talisa Smith – @jl_talisa, lives near Cambridge and works as a personal stylist at John Lewis & Partners, Grand Arcade, Cambridge

The start

I started posting on Instagram when I got my job. I loved the idea of sharing my outfits with a community of fashion lovers and being able to inspire my clients. Instagram is definitely a great source for inspiration.

The theme

Being a younger personal stylist, I want to show that age is just a number and no matter what age or shape you are, you can still look and feel fabulous. In my posts I love to show confidence to wear what you love.

Fashion mantra?

"The world is our runway so let's walk it in style". This is what I live by – I want everyone to feel as good as the models who ooze with confidence walking the catwalk. This should be an everyday feeling.

How do you feel about your body?

I would love to meet someone who has nothing but positives to say but I think, like everyone, there is always something we just don't love about our bodies. This year is the first time I can say I'm on the path to accepting what I've got and learning to love it. Body positivity is something that needs to be spoken about more and I feel so fortunate that in my job as a stylist I'm able to give women that push towards being more confident.

Do you ever feel pressure to comply with a certain shape?

I used to feel like standing out was a negative and I wanted to look like who I surrounded myself with. But now I am all about wearing what I love and loving who I am. Every shape is beautiful and individual – what a boring world it would be if we all walked around like clones.

What’s your body positivity message to others?

This body is going to be with you for the rest of your life. We would not say the negative comments we say to ourselves to our friends and family, would we? Try to accept what you have and how you look and the more you accept it, the quicker you'll start seeing more positives and the happier you'll be. Let's be complimentary to ourselves and love who we are. We are all beautiful in our own way.

Abi Nunn – @MidsizeGal lives in Bury St Edmunds and works as a shop assistant and social media influencer

The start

I started posting on Instagram in February 2018. Me and my boyfriend Guy Rodwell were on our first holiday together and got chatting about what we wanted to do with our lives. Guy suggested I just started a blog posting about everything and anything and there it began.

The theme

Since 2019 I have posted about midsize fashion. I have always tried to portray the message that you can and should be able to wear whatever you want. Be weird. Be unapologetically you. I make a conscious effort to cheer on so many other content creators and encourage my followers to do the same, as well as to themselves! It’s all about being each other’s cheerleaders and best friends.

Fashion mantra?

The more colours the better.

How do you feel about your body?

I'm very neutral about my body. I felt extremely self-conscious growing up and had zero confidence. I think growing up around the time when the internet was starting to get popular has actually helped me. Now I have such a brilliant community of like-minded content creators who cheer each other on for just existing – which is exactly what we should be doing. I want people to know that weight and/or size is literally the least interesting thing about you.

Do you ever feel pressure to comply with a certain shape?

Not really. I think more recently, with the rise of TikTok and particularly because of the pandemic outbreak last year, people were at home a lot more and started curating their SM feed to suit themselves, finding more grounded and ‘real’ content. People wanted creators they could relate to and I think this more relaxed attitude has helped a lot of people accept themselves and realise that social media is just a highlight reel most of the time.

What’s your body positivity message to others?

Speak to yourself like you'd speak to your best mate. Cheerlead the HECK out of other people around you. If they've got a sick outfit on TELL THEM. Life is too short to worry about how you look or how others may perceive you. Also, follow people you relate to and feel inspired by. I think this helped me with my confidence. Seeing other amazing women in clothes I wouldn't have even dreamed about wearing really gave me that kick.

Harriet Stannard – @secondhand_stan lives in Cambridge and works as a social media assistant for a PR firm and runs a pre-loved clothing shop @secondhandstan_shop

The start

I started my blog a few years ago, just posting occasionally to document my outfits for friends and family. After leaving a job in fast fashion last year, I started working on my blog full time. I was looking for work and struggling to figure out what I wanted to do next. Then Covid hit and I saw it as a chance to build my brand. I devoted all my time into creating content, making videos, writing blogposts – and the hard work paid off – and helped me to get my job.

The theme

I love to show that you can have fun with what you wear, that shopping second-hand doesn’t limit your choices. If anything, it encourages you to become more of an individual and can allow you to take more risks.

Fashion mantra?

Don’t take yourself too seriously, make mistakes and ultimately just have fun with your clothes.

How do you feel about your body?

I think like most people I have a complicated relationship with body image, but I definitely think as I have gotten older I feel more comfortable in my own skin. I have learned to love some of the things that I once viewed as flaws. One of the hardest things is to get to the stage where you stop comparing yourself to others. I still feel like that is something I am working on every day, but they say practice makes perfect.

Do you ever feel pressure to comply with a certain shape?

I have struggled over the years with accepting myself. I would say I used to feel pressure to look like the women I saw in films or magazines. But that has changed over time and I now enjoy embracing my individuality. It’s great seeing people online breaking down stereotypes of what a woman should look like. This definitely helps me want to be more proud of my body and not feel like I need to shy away from it.

What’s your body positivity message to others?

Make sure you surround yourself with positive people who make you feel good about yourself. Unfollow anybody online that makes you feel bad or questions your own self-worth.


Read more

More by this author