How These Pinays Got Over Body Insecurities & Wore What They Want

You go, girls!
PHOTO: Nuck Onken

You've probably had that moment of reckoning in front of a mirror. It's the start of your day, and a small sliver of panic makes its way up your spine. A million questions run through your head: Bagay ba 'to sa 'kin? Pangit ba? Keri ko ba 'tong isuot? 

Trust me, we've all been there! Insecurities can manage to get the best of us even when choosing what clothes to buy and wear. Thankfully, we now have a lot of body-positive friends and role models who help us strut our stuff the way we want to! Fashion is about expressing yourself after all, and leaving those fears behind you as you explore your own sense of style. 

Here's what these women have to say about their fashion fears, and how they were able to overcome them:

"As someone with a, um, gifted bosom (haha) I really try to avoid v-neck shirts because there's always a reaction when my cleavage is obvious! I've always been told that big boobs make you look fat. However, there was this one dress I really liked that I decided to wear and I got a lot of compliments from friends! That really made me feel good about myself." - Jade, 23

"I've always been told that big boobs make you look fat." 

"I was initially uncomfortable [with] wearing anything that revealed more skin than usual, like shorts for example. I didn't ~*fear*~ it but I was uncomfortable with it for a while in my teen years because of this one incident where some construction workers made some 'suggestive' comments about my pale skin. So for some time I felt uncomfortable with and in my skin and would rather stay wrapped up. There was also the growing self-awareness about the male gaze and all that, which the incident kind of reinforced in my mind as a kid. I think I overcame it when one day I just told myself I didn't want to hinder myself from wearing what I wanted to wear and doing what I want. It isn't MY fault anyway that men [could be] disgusting. So I slowly started wearing shorts more and even though I still prefer wearing jeans now (it's the most comfortable and practical option when commuting to and from work), I don't feel uncomfortable wearing shorts anymore. I guess that also goes for my experimenting with different styles [too], because ~*yay for self-expression*~" - Izzy, 21

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"I used to be afraid of wearing crop tops! Which is kinda funny because they're a staple item in my wardrobe now, and my friends tend to associate me with them. Growing up, I had a lot of issues with weight and self-image. I used to be bullied for being fat, and taught that as a girl, my body was shameful and had to be hidden lest I ~tempt~ men. Despite having lost weight in high school thanks to puberty, it was really hard to let go of the image of myself as the fat kid, an image that was reinforced by years of fat-shaming by the same group of people. It wasn't until I moved away from home for uni that I was able to confront these issues in an encouraging environment. It was in college that I grew comfortable in my own body and my own skin. In the second semester of my freshman year, I finally gained the courage to wear a sports bra I passed off as a bralette with a midi skirt, and everyone either didn't bat an eye at what I was wearing or gave me a ton of compliments. I realized that day I could pull off crop tops and sports bralettes, and more importantly, that I was free to wear whatever I wanted and feel good in it, and I've never looked back." - Shane, 21

"...it was really hard to let go of the image of myself as the fat kid, an image that was reinforced by years of fat-shaming by the same group of people. "

"Growing up, I was really conscious of my body when I was around 13 years old. I started to gain a bit of weight and being effortlessly skinny wasn't as easy for me as it was when I was younger. I lost my thigh gap and my stomach didn't appear as flat as it used to be (even though everyone around me still told me I was pretty skinny). I refused to eat rice and carbohydrates for a while in an effort to be skinny. That also meant that throughout the weight loss process, I didn't want to wear crop tops and short shorts just yet. Feeling ko kasi, ayokong makita yung gusto kong itago. I realized that cutting my [food] portions and forcing myself to go on a diet did make me skinnier, but the body I wanted so badly also wasn't strong enough. I could barely work out and go through my everyday tasks without feeling nauseous. I decided to go back to eating rice and eating regularly, which definitely helped me get stronger and fitter in the process! I now wear shorts and crop tops without feeling insecure, knowing na bagay naman sa 'kin and I definitely deserve to feel good in the clothes I buy." - Erika, 23

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* Answers have been edited for clarity.

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