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Olga Anderson ‘That Damn I Look Good Feeling’

Olga Anderson ‘That Damn I Look Good Feeling’

Katie.Dix / 25 Sep 2019

That ‘Damn I Look Good’ Feeling

Imagine looking at yourself in the mirror and fully appreciating what you see before you.

Sometimes it feels as though we shun compliments in favour of modesty. For many years, women were persuaded to never draw attention to their beauty, intelligence or humour. This outdated notion has fortunately begun to subside in an era of feminism; but now, with the influx of edited media, as a collective, women have suffered the pitfalls of such images. Often considering these images as the criterion of how one should look, act, travel, work and exist. It’s exhausting. Social media is only part of a much wider cultural phenomena. It has developed from societies that repressed women. And perhaps this is why especially in the UK, we seem to find it really tough to admit the good things about ourselves over any minor negative.

Is it not time that we embraced that ‘damn I look good feeling’?

We’ve all had them at some point or another. They are the moments that come, albeit not as often as they should. Nevertheless, they fill us with a rush of ecstasy. Nothing can bring us down. No one can lecture us into believing we have any flaws. We feel powerful and beautiful and strong. They are some of the greatest moments a woman can own. 

There will always be one ‘damn I look good’ moment that is more prevalent to me than most. I was recently single and attending a wedding. There is of course a stigma that surrounds the single girl at a wedding, let alone the recently single girl post-breakup by a few days. The “poor you’s” and the “oh no look at her”. I will admit that it probably won’t be the nightmare you thought it would be, but was I scared to attend a wedding so soon? Terrified! Did I know what I was going to wear? Not a clue. Did I survive? Like a trooper! 

On the morning of that wedding, I had only recently decided upon an outfit an it was a bold choice for me.  An oversized silk painted skirt with large exposed silver zipper down the front. I tucked a black silk top with plunging v-neckline tucked into the skirt and a pair out slightly worn out heels. This was the woman who vowed never to wear separates to a wedding since a fashion faux-pas circa mid-noughties. I took my time on my makeup and tied my hair up into a loose, high ponytail. Until this point, I also never wore my hair up for weddings or events because I could never get the style right; but alas, I tried.

Without a thought in the world, I took one look in the mirror as the sun was cascading in the room at that very precise moment, and all I could think was, ‘damn I look good’. For the first time in over a year, I felt like my best self. And it wasn't entirely about the way I looked as aesthetic, but something beyond. Yes, even I had to admit that I looked pretty damn good, but I also felt like myself. This happened in the split of a moment, all before the monster of modesty overtook me and I wondered why I was being so positive, or in the eyes of some, why was I thinking so highly of myself? Women can’t do that! Or at least that’s what I had been taught.

For so long, women have been taught that their looks are that for a man to appreciate. That a woman cannot, and should not admit that she looks good, feels good or is good. And it is an extremely damaging mindset.

We allow a lot of negativity into our thought processes. Whether it’s from what people have said to us, implied, or because we haven't received the validation from Facebook and Instagram likes. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy”. And this certainly rings true. We can look to Social Comparison Theory - a concept introduced by social psychologist Leon Festinger in 1954. “The theory explains how individuals evaluate their own opinions and abilities by comparing themselves to others in order to reduce uncertainty in these domains, and learn how to define the self.” (Duff, K. (2012). Think social psychology. Boston, Mass.: Allyn & Bacon/Pearson.) It is therefore safe to say that it has become an innate part of being human. Avoiding uncertainty is a fear, and it is a fear somewhat disguised and assimilated into our daily lives and we've become unresponsive to the signals.

It is however, extremely rewarding when you realise that self-complementing is not always a negative thing, if anything, it’s a positive. Similarly, embracing uncertainty is one of the greatest things that we can learn if we want to reduce the amount of fear and anxiety in our lives. 

If we begin to design our own image of self, and begin to appreciate what we have, it’s likely that we’ll be happier. We will no longer rely on other people to make us happy and we’ll have more of those ‘damn I look good’ days. We don’t need to go around voicing all the wonderful things that we think about ourselves on a daily basis to everyone that we pass in the street; but it is something that we should learn to embrace a little more often. There is no harm at looking in the mirror and noticing that your hair frames your face perfectly; or that your figure is looking rather in shape and that your smile really is quite beautiful.

'Olga Anderson' is a bespoke and ready-to-wear womenswear designer. She specialises in clothing designed to empower her clients, and as of 2019, became a ‘Women Appreciating Women’ (WAW) Honorary Award winner. She runs her brand with the belief that “fashion and design should empower women”; working meticulously to encourage and celebrate women’s  individuality, accomplishments and passion, both in and outside of their careers. 

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