How I rediscovered my style after my eating disorder
Warning: This article is about eating disorders, among other things, which may be triggering for some readers. Continue reading on our Escort Agency website.
As an escort model, when I look at my closet today, I feel proud. I’m not doing it because it’s loaded with vintage designer stuff – that would be nice – but because I see something on every hanger that I would never have felt confident enough to wear as a 18-year-old: a bright blue mini dress here, a skinny one velvet jumpsuit there. A mesh dress that reminds me of a sunset and a pastel green suit that I will wear with a lacy bralette underneath and nothing else. I recommend it to other escort girls.
My friends and colleagues escort girls laugh about how much time I spend browsing the second-hand shopping app Depop for “weird” (their description, not mine) clothes that never go with anything in abundance anyway colorful wardrobe. But there’s a more serious reason: My late teens and early 20s were characterized by trying to hide the signs of my eating disorder behind bulky, baggy clothes. Back then, I wanted to dress as unobtrusively as possible. So I wore oversized pieces that protected me from unwanted attention. Six years after breaking free of my eating disorder—but not entirely free of body image issues—things have changed regarding clothing choices.
Now that I am a fit escort girl, my current wardrobe brings me joy and comfort, except for the occasional pre-party time when I complain that I have nothing to wear. If you’ve ever had an eating disorder or body dysmorphia, you know what a huge achievement it is that I now enjoy my clothes. How did I manage to achieve this goal? When did a tight velvet jumpsuit become my favorite office outfit? More importantly, have I learned anything from rediscovering my style after my eating disorder that might be useful to others as well? The answer is yes. In the following, I would therefore like to share my lessons with you.
Developing your style is a process that differs from person to person
Before I continue, I think it’s important to emphasize that this process differs from person to person. Just because you don’t feel comfortable in a mini skirt or tube dress doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong on your road to recovery or that you’re not confident. Instead, the key to developing your style is knowing and respecting your limitations.
Imogen Ivy, a model I look up to because she exudes so much confidence and joy through her clothes, tells me that the two most important aspects of her style are fun and comfort. “As I choose my clothes for the day, I ask myself, ‘Does it exude happiness?'” says Ivy. Convenience also plays a big part in this, as she cannot have a good time if she is uncomfortable in her outfit.
According to Amanda Taylor, Founder of The Unplug Collective platform, there are many ways to experiment with your style without breaking your boundaries. Taylor’s experiences with eating disorders prompted him: to start The Forum, which aims to support people with eating disorders in their recovery, focusing primarily on the physical and the stories of Black people. If super skinny clothing isn’t for you, you can take an example from “Billie Eilish’s fashion liberation act,” says Taylor, “and wear very baggy sweatshirts and sweatpants.”
When her eating disorder was at its worst, Taylor would never have worn a big outfit.
“I only ever wore clothes that fitted. I’m curvaceous; I have rather wider hips but a relatively small waist – and it was essential for me to show other people that I am curvy.”
She realized that perfectionism and the opinions of others had far too much influence on her style. She didn’t dress for herself. After she went to therapy and no longer wanted to have other people in mind when choosing clothes. Taylor’s style is now more in line with her preferences. “Right now, I like that I can use fashion to present myself as masculine or feminine depending on how I’m feeling that day.”
The recovery process makes it possible to listen to yourself in ways that may not have been possible. In Ruthie Friedlander’s case, that meant starting to look at fashion through a child’s eyes. Friedlander worked in the fashion industry when she sought treatment at 29 after 20 years of battling an eating disorder. Her experience inspired her (along with Christina Grasso) to found The Chain, a support platform for people of their age in the creative industries.
If you ask Friedlander today who her style role model is, she will name her 5-year-old niece. “I see how pure and natural her fashion choices are,” says Friedlander. “She wears what she likes. I try to imitate her. And when in doubt, a little pink Chanel is never out of place.”
How to deal with toxic ideals of beauty
Clothing and the fashion industry can be the worst enemies of people with eating disorders or those who have recovered. Friedlander says she fights it as best she can. “I’m still working on it every day. I have to constantly remind myself of the difference between real and fake, filtered and unfiltered, and how my body feels and looks. All of that can be different from day to day,” she says.
Ivy and Taylor are taking similar steps to limit the often destructive potential of beauty ideals in fashion. “When I was growing up as a fat kid, size-inclusive clothing didn’t exist,” says Ivy. “But what I took away from this experience is my passion for accessories. You’ll never see me without a flashy bag or a pair of sunglasses.”
Taylor uses his: or her creativity to deal with toxic ideals of beauty. He: She loves hanging out with people of all sizes, both online and in real life, exploring the fun side of fashion without body or skinniness being the focus. From her tattoos to his bleached eyebrows to his dyed hair, Taylor is about creating a style that is about more than the body.