Julie raised an interesting question in the forum earlier this week, asking whether people felt bigger in or out of their clothes. The responses were mixed, with some of us feeling bigger in clothes, and others feeling bigger when naked. Yes, we are all measurably larger when we wear clothes because of the extra layers, but clothing can also give the illusion of slimming us down.

This question is related to something that I started thinking about during the photo shoot for the bikini review. I realized that I felt slimmer in the bikini than I do in a one piece. Something about the extra exposure that reveals my true shape made me feel smaller. At this point I should mention that I’m not switching to Team Bikini. I still want the coverage of a one piece in most swimming situations. But it does seem that selecting the right, flattering one piece suit is not as easy as finding a good looking bikini.

Why is this the case? Why is it that some women feel slimmer naked than they do when they are clothed? After thinking for a while, the answer dawned on me. In a sense, our clothing is judging our bodies.

Regardless of your shape, size and body type, the naked body is a work of art with lines and curves that are beautiful and perfect all on their own.  But the clothing we wear expects us to conform to some body shape other than our own. Very few people have their clothing custom made, and relatively few people have exactly the body that the clothing designer had in mind. Clothing judges our body against the designer’s “ideal”, and highlights the places we are different, our so-called figure flaws.

Aside from fit, a good drape and an attractive silhouette are also essential in order for us to feel fab in clothing. If the fabric is sub-par, or the silhouette unflattering, then the clothes don’t project the natural beauty underneath.

Naked bodies, on the other hand, are not subject to clothing’s judgements. Of course, some people are fitter, younger, smoother, lighter, darker, slimmer, or more voluptuous than others, and we’re all programmed to prefer different things. Of course, everyone has imperfections, real and perceived. But somehow, having seen so many different women in different stages of undress during our sessions together, I truly feel that they are all beautiful in a way that certainly isn’t true when the clothes go on.