We all want to change something about our appearance. Sometimes that's healthy, sometimes it's not so healthy. Read what our Mentors and experts have to say in response to kids' questions about this subject.
Advice Questions about How You Look:
- "I don't really have the best fashion sense in the world and I guess you're probably going to say that I should just be myself and people should like me for who I am. But, being a teenager (or pre-teen in my case) isn't about being out there, it's about fitting in. I see my friends wearing good clothes, and mine are OK. It's not that I want to be like them, I just want be in the same fashion zone. Any advice?"
- “I am really tall for my age, And I mean REALLY TALL. Almost everyone I know is shorter than me and can do everything better. And because I am tall, I weigh more than others, It makes me feel fat too, because I couldn't jump on a trampoline with a friend because the max weight is 300 lbs.! I’m 130! Can you help me?”
- “I have a "beauty mark" (as my parents call it) on my right cheek, and some people say I look beautiful, but I'm starting to doubt it's true. I know that it's what counts on the inside, not the outside, but sometimes people who are too judgmental make fun of me and call me "moley" or "mole face" and it really hurts my feelings. Sometimes I even come home crying. In 6th grade, even a 5th grader made fun of me! How do I just brush it off?”
- “I hate wearing shorts and tanks because I'm hairy all over and my mom and dad won't let me shave. I am 13 and everyone else is doing it. I feel very ugly. How should I go about this?”
- “I think my thighs are huge. I'm pretty, have a lot of friends, a boyfriend, and a lot of people like me. I'm a size 4 or 5 in jeans, and I want to be a size 2 again. When I go swimming, I always wear board shorts. I exercise, but only in gym, and I have that twice every day! What can I do to be smaller?”
- “I'm sort of hesitant about wearing makeup. I used to think makeup was totally stupid and fake looking, but now I think that if applied sparingly I could maybe improve my appearance. However, I don't want to overdo it. How much makeup can girls my age wear to school without looking like they're trying to be provocative? Sometimes girls get gossiped about because they wear too much all the time, and they also look a bit silly. Also, people sometimes wear makeup because they're insecure. I'm not insecure, and I don't want people to think that I'm uncomfortable in my shoes. I adamantly dislike eyeliner and mascara, but I sort of like eye shadow and lipstick. Can you give me any advice about how much to wear?”
- “I'm really skinny. I mean REALLY! My parents call me 'ottery', and ifyou've ever seen an otter, than you can probably imagine how skinny I am. But the bad thing is, my friends are larger than I am! I think when I wear tight shirts and jeans it makes them feel fat. I like wearing tight clothes, but I don't want to insult them (as in make them feel fat). What should I do?”
- “I have the biggest nose in the whole world! It's all fat and big! I don't know what to do! See, I used to have a lot of problems. For example, I used to be fat, so to fix it I started doing exercise, I used to be weak and couldn't defend myself, so to fix it I got into karate. I used to be short and I got really tall. Everybody says that I'm pretty and the most perfect girl but now I have problem I can't fix. What should I do? At what age can I get a nose job?”
- “I have been called ‘short’ since first grade. Now I’m in 5th grade, and I look like I'm in kindergarten! My 6-year-old cousin is as tall as me! What do I do?”
- “Okay, I am kind of gothic, and wear the whole black clothes thing and hot pink bracelets. I think it’s killing my chances of being asked out by guys, and that is a drag. I mean, all the people I know are dating and I hate feeling left out. What do I do?”
- “I'm very big-chested for my age. A ‘C’ actually. My friends always give me positive comments about my bust, but I'm not so sure if having them that big is a good thing because I feel I'm not ‘one of them.’ What should I do or how should I feel?”
- “I don't think I'm very pretty. There are all these girls at school who have awesome hair that's curly, or is done really neat, while I have red hair that's extra long and is always in a braid. There are also girls who wear make-up and nail polish, when my parents say I can't, but I don't know why. Pretty much everyone I know has that stuff. Could you help me?”
- “I know this is pretty odd to talk about to a person that you don't really know. I don't have anything on the 2 upper parts, if you know what I mean, and I am always embarrassed! Just today, I tried to look for a bathing suit
in the Juniors department, but none of them fit me. In the little girls section, they are too babyish!!! What should I do?”
- “I have a party coming up and we are going to be swimming, but I don't want to take part in it because I think I'm fat. All my friends are going to be there and I like swimming, but people make fun of my weight. What should
- "I have a sports day coming up, but I really don't want to take part. I think I'm fat because I have stretch marks on my legs. What should I do?"
- "My dad doesn't want me to shave [my legs], but my mom will let me if I'm up to it. What should I do?"
I think my thighs are huge. I'm pretty, have a lot of friends, a boyfriend, and a lot of people like me. I'm a size 4 or 5 in jeans, and I want to be a size 2 again. When I go swimming, I always wear board shorts. I exercise, but only in gym, and I have that twice every day! What can I do to be smaller?
One thing I would just like to give you credit for is your self-confidence, because it seems like you really like who you are, and that's great. It seems like you have a pretty happy life, which is also great, but I totally understand why you're feeling a little weird about your body now. It's weird cause you're at that age where you maybe just had a growth spurt and your body is starting to look more like it will when you're an adult. The thing is, it might be that naturally you're a lucky girl and are going to have those great curves that everyone wants, so maybe size 2 jeans just aren't going to happen anymore, and trust me, there's NOTHING IN THE WORLD I would like more than nice curves...haha! You say you wear board shorts all the time, but maybe you look great and your thighs are proportional to your body but you just don't realize it because you're used to being smaller. If it's a health issue, like maybe you just really have slacked off in terms of exercise, and you want to tone up a bit to feel better about yourself, I totally support that. I'm always trying to have a stronger, firmer body for things like dancing. I really suggest getting a yoga or Pilates video and doing it at home maybe every other day. It's a unique fun way to work out that really builds strength and you can do certain exercises that are specific in toning individual areas of the body. The number one thing to remember here though is that health comes ABOVE ALL things. The fact that you said you have friends, and you have a pretty great life right now just goes to show how insignificant your thighs are to other people; they love you no matter what, and they think you're pretty just the way you are! Please don't feel pressured by anyone to change the way you look, but if getting in shape makes you feel better about yourself, exercise never hurt anybody!!!
--Stormie, IML Mentor
It sounds like you are feeling really self-conscious and insecure about your body. Like you, I too have some parts of my body that I am not comfortable with and wish were a little smaller. However, you and I both need to realize that we are beautiful despite what we may think could use a little work. Also, I know it may sound corny, but it really is what is inside that counts and not your outside appearance. It sounds like you have a lot of friends and even a boyfriend that recognizes all of your good qualities and see you as a type of person they want to be around. Also, a size 4 or 5 is not big at all. However, if you are set on losing weight, then make sure you do it the healthy way. Eating healthy foods and exercising more is the right way to lose weight. More and more girls these days are feeling pressured to go on scary diets and suffer from bulimia and anorexia just so they can lose weight and be what they consider "small." Whether you decide to be content with the body you have or try to lose some weight or whatever, just make sure you do it healthily. Hope everything works out for you!
--Joy, IML Mentor
I'm sort of hesitant about wearing makeup. I used to think makeup was totally stupid and fake looking, but now I think that if applied sparingly I could maybe improve my appearance. However, I don't want to overdo it. How much makeup can girls my age wear to school without looking like they're trying to be provocative? Sometimes girls get gossiped about because they wear too much all the time, and they also look a bit silly. Also, people sometimes wear makeup because they're insecure. I'm not insecure, and I don't want people to think that I'm uncomfortable in my shoes. I adamantly dislike eyeliner and mascara, but I sort of like eye shadow and lipstick. Can you give me any advice about how much to wear?
One reason a lot of young (and old!) girls look silly in makeup is that they wear it in a way that makes them look like they're trying to change their appearance, rather than accentuating the features they already have. At your age, makeup looks best when it's worn in a natural style, unless it's for a special event or you're doing makeovers with your friends. If you're going to wear eye shadow, try a color that's neutral like a light brown or beige. Lipstick is tricky to wear without being obvious, so you might want to try a tinted gloss instead. Or, if you're set on lipstick, try a color a shade darker than your lips and apply clear gloss over it. If you're using makeup for the first time, get someone in your family to help you, or go to a department store makeup counter and ask for help trying out colors. They'll usually do it for free, and even if you don't want to spend the money to buy their products, you'll know what looks good on you and how to apply it. (Then you can go to a cheaper store and by a similar product!) Good luck!
--Lauren, IML Mentor
I have the same feelings about makeup as you do. Sometimes girls wear makeup to be attractive to boys, or because they're ashamed of their natural looks. I guess when deciding whether to wear makeup and how much, you must consider what the goal is. I wear makeup: eyeliner, powder and lip gloss. I am nineteen. I like to keep my makeup simple. I would suggest shimmering powder. It provides your cheeks with a little glow. Try a variety of make up items to see what you like. You seem to have the right idea about make up. Have fun!!
--Vanessa, IML Mentor
I don't think makeup is supposed to improve your appearance -- it just enhances it a little. I don't often wear makeup either unless I have to, and when I do, I try to put on as little as possible. Some kinds of makeup dry your skin and others clog your pores, but I think eye shadow and lipstick or lip gloss is okay. The best colors for eye shadow (in my opinion) are blue and purple. Blue and purple work for everyone -- whether you're fair, tan, or dark skinned. If you want to wear lipstick, I suggest a light red or pink shade. Just one coat is enough. Some girls put on three or four coats, and end up looking ridiculous. Hope I helped!
--Roxanne, IML Mentor
I'm really skinny. I mean REALLY! My parents call me 'ottery', and if
you've ever seen an otter, than you can probably imagine how skinny I am. But the bad thing is, my friends are larger than I am! I think when I wear tight shirts and jeans it makes them feel fat. I like wearing tight clothes, but I don't want to insult them (as in make them feel fat). What should I do?
The most important thing is to feel comfortable with yourself and how you look. There is no need to change yourself for your friends because real friends will understand that you were born this way and so you are who you are. Even though you feel that your looking skinny will make them "feel fat," it is not true. Chances are, they would probably feel this way no matter what you looked like; it's their issue, not yours. Besides, as you all grow older, the size differences between you and your friends will shrink significantly.
--Joel, IML Mentor
My best friend is 5'2" and really skinny. I'm almost 6' tall, so sometimes when we're together, I feel absolutely huge. However, I realize that we are different people and that it would be ridiculous for either of us to change to make the other feel more comfortable. Your friends need to personally work to feel better about themselves, not change the people around them. There will always be someone skinner than your friends -- there will even be people skinnier than you--and the important thing is to learn how to avoid comparing yourself to other people. This can be really difficult, especially around your age, but I would recommend that you put your comfort first and continue to wear what you want to.
--Lauren, IML Mentor
Let me start off by saying that the fact that you are aware and care that your friends might be uncomfortable around you is a really valuable trait, and reading people like that makes you a good friend. But, getting back to what you wear, you need to think about what makes you comfortable in YOUR skin. If you like the way you look, I say continue to dress and present yourself in that way, as long as what you’re wearing isn’t too tight or inappropriate. If wearing certain clothes around your friends makes you feel bad about yourself, don’t wear them, but don’t change your style just for other people. It’s nice that you’re thinking of your friends, and they’re lucky to have someone in their lives who is considerate. Be stylish, and best of luck!
--Stormie, IML Mentor
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