September 22, 2014

Why #comfywomfy is the best hashtag I've seen all year


There is talk floating around this here interwebs of #comfywomfy. It's a hashtag created by the indomitable Mrs Woog after she was horrified by a recent callout by a 'journalist' asking online for unattractive photos of Samantha Armytage. Personally, I think Ms Armytage is one of the loveliest ladies on the box lately. But that doesn't matter. If she was a complete cow, it still wouldn't make it ok for a media commentator to publicly put a call out for 'sam armytage looking scruffy/too casual/not sexy/bad for asap please — OK to go back and send older pics'. I am not even joking. She did that. And it's not ok.

I have a wonderful job. There are parts of managing a women's activewear store that suck, but in essence, I really do have a wonderful job. (As a sidenote, if you know of any job that doesn't have parts that suck, lemme know, my resume is ready to go.)

I get the opportunity to talk to women of ALL ages, sizes and fitness levels, and I see their body confidence issues close-up. Really close-up. Behind that fitting room curtain, away from the neon technical fabrics and floral print tights, I talk to women about the parts of their body they are most comfortable with, and the parts that make them so, so sad.

I also meet lots of women who are kind-of a big deal. And they have hang-ups too.

A stunning Home and Away actress* was visiting Noosa for a friend's wedding during Summer, and fell in love with our gorgeous Noosa National Park. (Why wouldn't you?) She wanted to go for a run through the National Park but hadn't packed any workout gear, so popped into my store to pick up something. She was dressed beautifully in a maxidress and sandals and was completely makeup-free, with her quite-famous locks scraped back into a ponytail, and she looked like a regular woman, albeit a very pretty and petite one.

I recognised her immediately, but ignored who she was and focussed on what she wanted. This incredibly attractive size 6-8 woman was asking for running tights that would suck in her stomach and butt, conceal her muffin top, and be breathable because she sweats a lot behind her knees. All this she told me in a very hushed voice in the fitting room, and it was real. I could tell her a thousand times that my husband thinks she's gorgeous, and that women the world over would kill for her petite figure, but it was real. When she looked in the mirror, she only saw the parts of her body that she didn't like. 

I asked her name and introduced myself (it's a non-negotiable in my store, if I'm going to be pushing your bits and boobs into activewear, I need to introduce myself or buy you a drink first), listened and returned with a few styles. She tried them on, and ended up with the ones I was most reluctant to give her - the super-sucky-in ones that I love and wear because I am an overweight woman (according to my doctor. blah blah whatever). She bought three pairs of them. We chatted a lot, I mentioned that it was a thrill to meet her and that I was so happy that she was as personable in real life and I'd hoped, and she asked about good wine bars in the area. Clearly, she could see a kindred spirit in me. And as she was finishing and leaving my store, she actually said 'Thanks for not asking for a photo, I look horrendous today, I couldn't bear to see myself in the mags like this'. 

I was so sad for her. Here was a gorgeous woman on holidays, relaxed and planning her days of sunshine and wine, and she had to be concerned that sneaky naughty people might say 'Oh, look how she's let herself go'.

Just last week, I styled two very well-known healthy lifestyle advocates* who have a massive social media following. They were visiting the Sunshine Coast for a holiday and were picking up some activewear to wear at a massive Lorna Jane event to be held in Melbourne later in the month. They were itsy-bitsy tiny women with bouncy blonde locks, yet there was still talk of body parts and lines they'd like to hide. Fortunately, both had amazingly positive attitudes and were in no way unhappy and over-critical about their bodies, but I can imagine that it's taken a lot of hard work to get to that point, it certainly would for me.

And Mrs Woog. That arse-kicking blogger I mentioned earlier? You can read her here. She visited my store a few months ago, and was exactly how I'd imagined. Strong-willed, excitable and straight-talking. She also had a lovely shape. (Curvy is an excellent shape.)

Mrs Woog allowed me to bully her to try on tights (huffy-puffy pants in her lingo) that would stay up and stay firm during all her workouts (which she bitches about... which I like... because I struggle so much to find the enjoyment in exercise). I eventually had to tell her a straight-out lie to get her to try on a particular style, fibbing as I passed them to her that they were a larger size than they actually were. She flounced (the only word possible) out of the change room, showed us all (there were a bunch of very-famous-quite-awesome bloggers instore) her butt and announced that they would do as they sucked in some wobbles and smoothed out some bumps. 

My point is that women feel bad enough already about themselves and notice imperfections to the nth degree. Even (maybe especially) the successful, strong ones who are admired by other women. 

Yes, I have moles, big pores, ungroomed eyebrows and root regrowth. But it was a lovely afternoon spent with my husband and who gives a shit what I look like?

So why in the hell would we allow anyone to draw negative attention to how we look on work days, on holidays, on days off, on any day? Who are these people creating an actual career from this? And by boycotting and ignoring their tweets, posts and articles, can we make it stop?

We all have the right to choose how to present ourselves everyday. And we have the right to leave the house makeup-free in baggy pants and thongs if we so choose.

Blogging in a dressing gown in the middle of the day on a messy desk.
Real life. My imperfect life.

Are you ok with having to present your best self all day, every day, and being judged on it? I'm not.

Stand up for comfort, and share your #comfywomfy pics on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. (Another great hashtag I've seen floating around is #myimperfectlife - ideal for those regular non-fancy moments we snap photos of.)

*Name-dropping is so passe. I emailed those mentioned and asked for permission before I used their names. Some didn't get back to me... and that's ok. It doesn't reflect on their opinions, I probably just filtered into their spam box. I can seem a little like a Nigerian prince in my emails at times.

Also, stay tuned for tomorrow's lovely giveaway. There will be flamingos, so you can get excited now.

If you enjoyed this, you may like to read Wine Tours, the KP and Trainee Mama way.

58 comments:

  1. What a great post Katy. I can't imagine what it's like to have to feel 'on' all the time, and it makes me a mixture of mad and sad to think there are people who get their kicks from judging others on how they look on their down time, or any time really. It's just really not okay. Thanks for writing this!

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    1. Thank YOU for your support, Liz. Honestly, the words just flew outta me, I was all mad and stuff. :)

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  2. What a beautiful post. I truly believe it's one of your best. As someone who has also worked in fashion (namely guest wedding wear including mother of the bride) I couldn't agree more with what you are saying. Everyone has hangups, even those we all perceive as "perfect". It's sometimes best to accept them, and try and work with them. No matter what. Also who cares if someone says you 'shouldn't' wear that outfit because it isn't perfectly flattering, if you love it, go for it! Lets all be comfortable in our own skin, our trackies and our #comfywomfy clothes. <3

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    1. I agree wholeheartedly, Diana! And sometimes, being told I shouldn't makes me want to do something more, hah!

      Thanks for your lovely comment Kx

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  3. Go Katy Potaty ... you're an absolute legend! I posted a #comfywomfy outfit post yesterday after having had my shower door shatter all over me - all one person on my FB page could talk about was that my pants made my ass look flat and wide. No sh*t Sherlock. My ass IS flat and wide. FACT. And I'm ok with it. Women can be awful critics of themselves but also so awfully judgemental of others. And that's exactly what Annette Sharp has done with her article about Sam. The rubbish needs to stop. x

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    1. Oh Nikki, all I could think of yesterday when I saw your pic was ... 'WHY IS SHE NOT HOLDING WINE?' Glad you're ok and had a decent rest last night.

      Honestly, how is your ass something that can ever be commented on in that context? How indeed?

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    2. I have to say Nikki, I read your post yesterday and was absolutely appalled at the comment that woman made regarding your bum and cannot for the life of me understand WHY she would feel the need to pass comment and insult you in a post that was nothing to do with clothing and everything to do with personal safety and a horrible incident that happened to you. Until I read this post I had no idea that shower screens could even do this - most probably along with a fair whack of other people - why not get that message out in the best way possible.

      Why do some people need to say and do these things to make others feel so bad? Are they so full of negatively that they need to act out and hurt others with spiteful comments? I do hope SHE is perfect.........

      Keep up the fabulous work, I have to say I love reading all of you lovely ladies hilarious posts and blogs - I will be subscribing to Katy Potaty too now as I have thoroughly enjoyed reading yours too.

      There is something really unacceptable about society's perception of body image, celebrities and privacy.

      Ok rant over. I'll be in Noosa early next year and will pop in with my wobbly bits....

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  4. I am reading your post in my Pants Of Power! You are just an utter delight xxx

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    1. I adore your ass in your Pants of Power. Go you good comfy thing.

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    2. Where do I get Pants of Power! I need these....

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    3. Oh Nicole, take a holiday to Noosa and drop in to visit me at Lorna Jane... I've got all the Power Pants you need!

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  5. Great post Katy!! I'm in my comfy pants too!! Nothing better!! I live in them!

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    1. Comfy really is the best of life, isn't it?!

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  6. just want to say I love this post, women need to support and lift up other women...never drag them down! no matter our size, or shape or age...we all have issues. To me there is nothing more satisfying than being positive and encouraging to everyone, thanks for brightening my day x

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  7. ha, you crack me up. Great read xx

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    1. Just because you have an amazing body. Shhh. ;)

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  8. Dear Katy Potaty, Mrs Woog sent me and I'm so glad she did. I work from home and sometimes my only outing is for the school pick-up and drop-off. My WHOLE life is #comfywomfy. I went through a stage not long ago [actually really recently] where I wanted to always look like Olivia Pope from Scandal. She wears silk pyjamas at home with angora cardigans. I thought to myself "I should look like THAT every day" and then I priced silk pyjamas and angora cardigans and thought "nah", spent the money I saved on gin and went back to my polar fleece pants and pink ugg boots.

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    1. Firstly, can I just say gin = excellent budgetary choice.

      Secondly, thank you so much, it's wonderful to have you visit and share your story. I'm thrilled that you don't aspire to Olivia Pope-ness anymore.

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  9. You know I think Elle Mcpherson did all womankind the biggest favour with one quote. She stated " I never point out my faults because once I do everyone else looks at them and forgets the rest of me" When you pointed out "faults" in your photo I thought WTF. I can't see any of this, why would you then point it out. NEVER POINT OUT what you think is a fault as I assure you, unless you look like the John Merrick no one will really notice ( and if they do they may have some big issues"

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    1. Oh woogie sent me too.

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    2. Elle really did have the greatest body and a pretty healthy mind too.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting, I really appreciate it.

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  10. I love this post Katie! I think I have spent almost every day this year in #comfywomfy clothes and I'm really happy about it. My body has carried me through all sorts of drama in my life and it deserves some comfort.
    xx

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    1. I love that attitude, darling. It DOES deserve comfort, well done you.

      K x

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  11. Ms Katy Potaty. I hopped on over from the recommendation of Mrs Woog. I am a 40-something rather overweight woman who found the recent treatment of Ms Armytage something abhorrent that beggars belief. I totally loved this post. I have so many issues with my body, I could write a book. It is worth remembering, though that no matter who we are, for whatever reason, we all have these insecurities. It's just that some of us don't feel the need to make a career out of highlighting them in other people. Because we are kind. Your post is kind. I like that.

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    1. I totally loved your comment.

      Isn't kindness the most under-rated virtue? Kx

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  12. Word. Such a great post and yep, I'm one of those woman who worry about my wobbly gut pocking out and making me look preggers and always step out with mascara on. It's a shame but we live in the day and age of "the image". Everything is about ones image. I look forward to this changing one day. I hope it can be a reality.

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  13. Your. Best. Post. Ever.
    The End.
    PS: I love you x

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  14. Love this post Katy and your honest, no bullocks approach. There is enough pressure in life to be "on" all the time and we should not expect this of anyone, ourselves or celebs. Thanks for keeping it real. x

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    1. No bullocks indeed. I can't help but get sweary and ranty over this.

      Life is to tricky to be 'on' all the time, and I love we're all applauding those who are brave enough to show the realness. Kx

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  15. I'm sick of all this hatred and sizeist fodder too! What kind of damage is this doing to the young people of today? May I say this is a great post and you've touched many people by your comments here x

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    1. Oh, thank you so much, I love hearing that it's made people think and connect and share!
      xox

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  16. Great post Katy there is too much negativity and unkindness in this world ,if a tiny little home and away actress thinks she has a big tummy,that makes me so so sad!Real women have real bodies and bring on more #comfywomfy I say xx Lisa Mckenzie

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    1. Isn't it awful that someone so beautiful and successful is fearful of how others perceive her?

      Thanks for always being a shining light full of compliments, Lisa. You are so appreciated. K x

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  17. Great post Katy. I had a baby 2 months ago and I can slowly feel myself pressuring myself to lose weight when I should just focus on my family and this special time in my life. I have three daughters and I want them to not only love their body but not feel pressured about looking good all the time.

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    1. I think that's the real worry, isn't it Rebecca? We're all big enough and ugly enough to know better, but I worry for the younger girls.

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  18. I've just found your blog after WoogsWorld and Styling You shared it on FB. I love this post so much! I hate that we are becoming a society where women constantly put each other down instead of lifting each other up. You've now got a new reader x

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    1. How wonderful, thank you Sarah! Thrilled to have you here. K x

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  19. You are my favourite Nigerian price. Gorgeous post Potaty, I love it.

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    1. Your favourite? Your very favourite? My goodness.

      That's US$750 million right there for you. Kx

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    2. Bloody brilliant post my darling friend. #comfywomfy all they way I say

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    3. Lucky for you, you look classy and cute even in your comfy-womfies!

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  20. Really good read...and so glad I have just discovered your blog! x #mummymondays

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  21. Well said. That's why we have such insecurities ... because people feel they have the right to comment. Look at that rubbish on Nikki's FB page yesterday. So many of us are fragile enough without stuff like that. The saddest thing is that the cruelty so often comes from women - we can be our own worst enemy. Great blog, Katy.

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  22. Great post, well said, had me nodding and sighing. So true. We are our worst critics. Oh dear, sadly it doesn't stop as we get older - ask me - gravity sucks. Huffy Puffy pants please :)

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  23. Awesome post! I think women of all sizes have body issues and we all just need to support each other!

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  24. You are a beautiful lady and we all need to embrace our beauty for who we are. Bless you for keeping quite about that beautiful star you helped. Comfy womfy is in especially as it is school holidays. Yay! I am still in my pj's. V x

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  25. Such a great post Katy! As a Style Coach working with normal women everyday I see such a lack of body confidence!
    One of the things I get EVERY client to do first is to tell me their 3 best bits about their bodies.
    Instinct is always to point out all the bad bits so I try and change the way they think about themselves before we even get near the clothes!
    Plus a massive fan of women feeling comfortable as well as great about themselves so my services really focus on getting women in clothes they can wear everyday, both feeling good and looking great - it's not all about the latest greatest trends, it's about the realities of their lifestyle - and if that's a pair of (stylish) trackies, then so be it haha
    Xx

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  26. For such a long time after having my son I felt bad about my body. I went from a petite size 8 to a size 10 with a very untoned body and it still gets me down. I quite often now wear flowy outfits that don't expose my wobbly bits. I try really really hard to embrace my body but I think I will always find it hard.

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  27. This is a great post- I sometimes feel I have to get dressed up and slap on a full face of makeup for a preschool run or supermarket dash- thanks for reminding me it is OK to be natural!

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  28. You are amazing! I adore this post so so much - it shows your articulate writing style, your no bollocks approach and just how compassionate you truly are xx
    This is your niche darling - just write from your heart darling xx

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  29. Great post and perspective! Thanks for sharing!

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  30. One of my favourite posts from you! Love it!
    Women can be so bitchy towards each other and it's just unnecessary. You, my dear, have redeemed my faith in realness and goodness!
    x

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  31. Love this post!!! I wish I could follow some of that advice. I guess the whole fighting the negative thoughts surrounding body image is hard.
    Super fab read x

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  32. Great post! Magazines need to back the f$%k off. It's not okay for anyone to be criticised publicly when they are going about their private business. #comfywomfy all the way. Rachel xx

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