STYLE My big wide backside

Mannequin in the mirror

My big wide backside

Maggie Gibbons on why learning to love yourself – every part of you, including your love handles – is the key to happiness

Looking good
Maggie Gibbons

When did my shape change I wonder? I guess it’s been happening for a few years now but somehow it went unnoticed by me. Until last week that is when the reality of what’s happening to my ever-changing body shape smacked me in the face full force. I was having a great little shopping spree and had brought some clothes into the dressing room, it was one of those rooms where you saw yourself from every angle, a bit Trinny and Susannah like.
There I was getting the full 360 degree feedback and I couldn’t believe it when I saw the size of my behind. A big wide backside from every angle. Was it always that width? Not even a nice roundy bum, just plain wide?
There were ripples of lard above my waist and fat pouring out both under and over my bra. The tops of my legs were dimpled with cellulite. Cripes, sounds gross doesn’t it. I’m 5’5”, and not even 10 stone, so I’m hardly what you’d call hugely overweight, but the shape of me was tear inducing!
Anyway it got me thinking that loads of women must feel the same. What happens to our bodies when we reach middle age? Does our shape change with menopause? I swear it does.
My pal Marie who is a Weight Watcher tutor always scoffed when I said this and would say it was a total fallacy and a huge copout. Well, she had to eat her words big time because when she hit 50 her lovely svelte body changed its shape, and the fat settled around her bottom and hips, and refused to budge, no matter what she did.
We know all about the lower oestrogen levels and possibly slower metabolism but this is ridiculous. Fat seems to be concentrated around the middle areas. It’s no wonder women feel invisible, ugly and/or fat, have low self-esteem and hate shopping for clothes.
Me, I’m a total clothesaholic so I’ll carry on buying regardless. Added to this I have a fair idea of my shape (though I must admit yesterday was a bit of a shock), but what has really struck me is how we only ever see our bodies head on, from the front.
Have you ever seen someone and wondered ‘who in God’s name dressed her? Wouldn’t you think someone would tell her how she looks, well hellooo I had exactly that kind of moment last week in the dressing room.
So what can I do about it? Nothing really except embrace every little bit of it. And stop looking in bad mirrors. I need to play up my good bits more. The legs are thin and long which make me appear taller than I actually am. Oh and the hair is good. I enjoy dressing up and accessorising and generally don’t take myself too seriously.
We all need more fun in our life girls! A gang of women can laugh raucously like no others. The great thing about being over 50 is that you’re no longer competing with the 30 and 40 year-olds.
So for all you ladies who feel disheartened in dressing rooms or even in front of your own mirror I suggest taking a long hard look at yourself and relearn to love every little bit of you.
So what if the boobs are past their ‘best by’ date, and the waistline measures the same as your hips, you’re YOU – unique! Get a bit of colour going in your life. Buy a new accessory, treat yourself to a hairdo, anything in fact that will make you feel better. Then join up with a few pals and laugh! Nothing beats it.

Maggie Gibbons
is an image coach based in Co Mayo, and she regularly gives style talks. If you have any questions for Maggie or would like to get in touch with her, contact