There's a second story behind The Emperor's New Clothes that does not involve vanity, but self-talk. We know the story, the king was vain and wore clothing that was invisible, all the while thinking to himself that everyone else--who was much smarter than he--could see the clothing perfectly.
In fact, no one could see the clothing because it wasn't there. At the end of the story, a child points this obvious fact out to the crowd, ignorant of the implications of "not being able to see the clothing." The king, however, felt he must go through with the procession to save face and appear dignified. (Although I don't know how dignified he could seem naked as sumo wrestler!)
The second story, as I see it, involves the king who told himself a) he was wearing fine, splendid clothing and b) only he was too stupid to be able to see the clothing.
That relates precisely to how clothing can affect a person with a body-image problem.
If I go and buy some gorgeous clothes that show my best (physical) self off, even if I don't believe it, I can carry myself in front of others with confidence. Now, the Emperor's Clothing story sort of negates my theory, but stay focused on how the emperor felt at the beginning of the story, when he began to parade about the village wearing nothing but a smile. And hopefully some undergarmets.
He believed in his "clothing" and walked about as if it were true. Therein lies the power of self-talk. I already own my glamorous outfit. It's a silky black skirt that flares out when I dance. I recently bought a sheer, yet opaque, black top that follows my form like a glove. At my hips I have a choice of bellydancer bangles in gold or a sequined wide sash that stretches across my hips at an angle. I've worn both.
Even if I've gained a few pounds, wearing that outfit gives me confidence and pizzaz. I can carry myself with attractive confidence when I slip into my dancing clothes.