The rise of self-trolling: new survey reveals Brits are their own biggest critics, saying more than 1,000 self-deprecating comments each year

A study of 2,000 Brits found more than a fifth are their own biggest critic – especially when it comes to the way we look


  • Adults, on average, contemplate five outfits before committing, with feeling too fat or old, and not liking arms or legs on display being among the top reasons for feeling uncomfortable
  • A fifth wish they could channel their childhood freedom to chuck on what feels good

As a nation we struggle with our self-confidence, with the average adult saying more than 1,000 negative things about themselves each year. From our hair to weight, new research from Tu Clothing has revealed that more than a fifth (21 per cent) of Brits are their own biggest critic, with 27 per cent admitting they wouldn’t dream of saying some of the things they say about themselves to others.

A typical day sees the average man say or think three negative things about themselves – 1,095 times a year – while women do so four times a day, amounting to 1,460 insults a year.

Wardrobe blues

Our style is another area we’re very hard on ourselves about, with more than a fifth of adults (23 per cent) admitting they generally struggle to find clothes they feel comfortable in and the same amount again (23 per cent) admitting they care too much about what others think of them.

In terms of being bold with colour, the nation likes to play it safe with black being the most confidence-inducing colour to wear, followed closely by blue and grey. Only 21 per cent feel comfortable wearing yellow, and just 19 per cent would dare to wear orange.

Yet Brits’ outward appearance doesn’t always match their inner feelings, with a fifth (21 per cent) wishing they could channel their childhood freedom to chuck on what feels good.

Tu Clothing has teamed up with actress, TV presenter and mum of three Zoe Hardman to encourage the nation to dress for joy and embrace their inner child this summer.

Zoe Hardman said: “With summer approaching, many of us get nervous about getting body parts out that are hidden the rest of the year including stomachs, thighs and upper arms. We can also have those days when we lack confidence, especially when it comes to the clothes that we wear, which is why this summer I want everyone to tap into their inner child and adopt a carefree attitude when it comes to getting dressed. Kids love to wear what makes them feel great and don’t give a second thought to other people’s opinions.

“I want to help encourage the nation to embrace their own unique style, care less about what others think and have fun putting outfits together. Summer is a great time to embrace bold colours and patterns which increase both positivity and confidence.” 


Bold is beautiful

Tu has also teamed up with Sarah Powell, self-celebration expert and motivational speaker, to encourage the nation to embrace their inner child and dress in brighter, bolder colours this summer.


Sarah Powell said: “I love that kids wear whatever they want, whenever they want. A tulle skirt over wellies? Sure. Jelly shoes with green socks in November? Perfect. Kids don’t get bogged down with ‘what should I wear?’ or ‘what’s the weather doing?’ or all of those things which keep us dressing for practical, sensible reasons rather than dressing for joy.


“Lots of us have a playful side, and it means different things to different people. Your inner child is there and they are wearing something wonderful, so spend a little time and think ‘what would I wear if I didn’t care? What would I wear if it was just about making me feel good?’ That’s the attitude I want us all to have this summer.”


Emma Benjafield, Director of Product at Tu Clothing, said: “I’ve been really looking forward to making the most of this summer and there’s no better time to embrace your body and wear colours, prints and patterns. We want to encourage people of all ages to simply have fun with dressing up, to not be afraid to wear what they want, not to worry what others think.


“The survey results show people think they’re ‘too old’ for certain clothing items but we want to change this myth – everyone should wear what they want, how they want and when they want. Fashion, after all, should be fun and make you feel good!”