Dear Sally, I’m always afraid that I look fat before I go out, but no one will ever tell give me an honest answer to my inquiry. How do I know whether or not I look fat?
Sometimes, the best way to interpret how others perceive you is to become aware of how you perceive other people. Unless you’re a fashion critic or just a nasty person, you probably don’t sit around, seeking out the faults in others. People have a lot of other things to think about, so chances are they won’t be thinking about how that shirt is a little too tight around the middle. They probably won’t even notice that your socks don’t match.
This, of course, doesn’t give you an excuse to walk around wearing clothing so tight and revealing that it’s uncomfortable for you and those viewing you. Any extreme is going to catch attention. The key is to dress conservatively. If you want to catch positive attention, playing it safe is going to be more effective than taking a chance that could end embarrassingly because of your inability to perceive an inappropriate outfit. Use something of the same principle as used for job interviews; imagine what the occasion will require by way of dress and take it down a few notches.
Also, don’t be too bitter toward those who praise your appearance. You never know whether or not they’re being honest. If they know you well and like you, then their perception of you will transcend your size or shape and it will mean more anyway. If they don’t like you, then their perception is even less reliable than your own.
Try not to be so concerned about things like this. If you’re uncomfortable with how you’re dressed or the way you look, people will be able to tell. On the flip side, if you’re comfortable with yourself and act confident, people will be attracted to you and it won’t matter if you aren’t the “ideal size.”
Standards for beauty only exist in the perception of humans, perceptions that were based on what we are taught by society. That society learned what beauty was through the society before them and so on. If taken far enough, you’ll see that beauty becomes an unstable platform to stand on. Worry too much about it, and you could end up toppling right over the edge.