First, let me give credit where credit is due. This article was inspired by the always fabulous Fran Hayden and her Fatshion Faux-Pas blog series. I just decided to make a personal one since I was just a baby bopo babe back when she was writing the articles. Now that I’m all grown up, I have a bunch of rule-breaking outfits to share. This post is mostly images and a few quick captions, very different from my usual blogging style. Let me know what you think about these fashion based posts in the comments section below.
When you think of fashion rules, what kind of things come to mind, no white pants after labour day? No mini-skirts if you are over 30? Bullshit! These rules no longer apply and why should they. It is 2016 and it has become more and more acceptable to wear whatever you want. Well, as long as it is “flattering”, especially if you are plus size or fat. Then the rules change a bit. It becomes, wear a peplum top or flare pants to create a waist and divert attention from your widest parts. I’ve tried to include a photo below that represents each of the so-called fatshion faux-pas, but if I missed any, tell me in the comments at the bottom of this post.
1. Body-con dresses
One of the first lessons that fat women learn about fashion is to avoid things that might showcase your rolls, folds, visible belly outline (VBO) and so on. Since becoming body positive tough, this short dress, or really tunic on me, has become one of my favourite feeling myself looks that totally works appropriate still. Embrace those curves and show them off.
2. Horizontal stripes
Plus size women are instructed to avoid horizontal stripes but to aim for vertical ones that will elongate the body. Personally, I think stripes are really beautiful on curves, the way they hug the body and stretch out just a tiny bit. If you’ve got it, flaunt it as the saying goes.
3. Short dresses
We are often told to avoid showing our thighs, to wear long dresses or to put tights on underneath. Some stretch marks or cellulite might peak through as if everyone doesn’t have those anyway. This rule of course, also applies to mini-skirts, the most shamed fashion item in all of women’s history, if you ask me.
4. Skinny jeans
As a plus size teen, I was terrified of skinny jeans, if I couldn’t find flare jeans, I would simply go without. I can still remember the first pair of jeggings I got that fit properly, mind you at the time I was anorexic and quite thin, I was obsessed. I haven’t worn a pair of non-skinny jeans since. I actually think they are the most flattering cut on all body types but, fuck flattering, wear whatever you want.
5. Crop tops
Oprah’s magazine indirectly caused a crop top revolution when it told women to only wear one if their stomach was perfectly flat. The crop top has since become synonymous with body positivity and plus size fashion. Especially when it comes to workout gear and two piece formal wear, I am all about a crop top. My favourite thing to pair them with is my Society+ tutu. But here’s how you can usually find me on the weekend when I am chilling at home.
This one goes along with the body-con dresses, the issue is that we as fat women might jiggle a little when we wear leggings, especially the soft cotton type. Cellulite might just be visible through the thin layer of a legging pant leg. Yes, I said PANT leg, see here… three photos in a row of me wearing leggings as pants. Just a friendly reminder that shaming women for their wardrobe choices is closely connected to victim blaming and rape culture. In fact, leggings have become the new “mini skirt” in terms of questions about what survivors were wearing during the time when someone chose to sexually assault them. I’m wearing patterned leggings here, which of course makes my fatshion faux-pas and even more offensive choice.
7. Workout gear
Hilarious! We aren’t supposed to be fat, unless we are either trying to fix it, or we work out constantly and this is just our natural shape and size. But don’t you dare wear workout gear until you are thin. Overhearing lifelong gym goers comment on a fat woman in a bra top and leggings is enough to make me instantly cancel my membership. I’m tired of this ridiculous form of wardrobe shaming and quite frankly I’m tired of all the health concern policing as well. There are no good or bad fatties, you don’t have to workout to be worthy of love, respect, and freedom from harassment and bullying.
8. Pretty lingerie
We are not supposed to show off our bodies as plus size women. We are supposed to stay hidden and ashamed so when you proudly showcase your body, people who aren’t body positive may try to shame you for your choice. We shouldn’t be seen in bathing suits, bikinis/fatkinis or lingerie. Especially unstructured and feminine lingerie, like bralettes and other lace items. As plus size women, we can normally only find thick straped, beige, functional bras that are the furthest thing from sexy. Our undergarments are meant to hide our tummies not to look pretty. Thanks to Torrid and other plus size lingerie retailers like Curves Avenue, Lashes ‘N’ Lace and Panache we now have options.
9. Baggy or oversized items
I don’t wear many baggy or oversized items personally, but I will pop on a housecoat just about any time of day for the perfect relaxing day in bed vibe. Here I’m rocking the luxurious robe in my fancy hotel suite, upgraded because of a flight delay, but you will be sure to see me in my own beige/grey one on the regular if you follow me on Snapchat (MsLindsayMarie). The theory here is that these items hide our shape so much that it makes us look heavier than we are. Basically though what it comes down to is, if you are plus size, you can’t win.
Under the category of too baggy, we also find maxi-dresses. Basically the most comfortable outfit in existence, maxi-dresses are perfect for summer days and ideal for packing to take on vacation. Personally, I always go for an empire waist maxi dress, usually with a large floral pattern (which is probably some other kind of faux-pas, to be honest). I’m really hoping to get my hands on a pair of anti-chaffing knickers from Big Tights or black lace Bandelettes before the summer goes along since regardless of what is in fashion, thick girls understand what I am talking about.
11. Thigh-high boots
I’m not sure if this is a fatshion faux-pas so much as an impossible to find wardrobe item if you are a person in possession of thick thighs. From that perspective, it probably wouldn’t be considered ideal to me drawing attention to a part of our body society would prefer we hide. But I will admit that for me, it was more of a practical consideration. I didn’t want to go through the embarrassment of asking to try some on, knowing that they almost certainly wouldn’t fit in the same way many knee high boots won’t either. I finally found some that fit this year, oddly at Urban Planet where almost none of the clothes actually fit my body.
I think the thing with jumpsuits actually related back to the issues around skinny jeans, this is emphasized by the fact that in many cases the jumpsuit will be loose around the thigh and tight at the ankle. It is also a struggle for women to wear from a height perspective since that often isn’t factored into the design. If your torso is long it may not fit properly. For so many reasons, this was an item that I assumed was off limits for me.
I am so thankful for body positivity and the community of supportive women I have met by joining in. Look at all the fashion choices that were previously unavailable to me, or at least I thought they were. Once I stopped worrying about my size and realizing it was just a number, I was able to see all of the options I really had. For the first time ever, I am looking forward to shopping for swimsuits, bikinis, shorts and dresses as the summer of 2016 approaches. I sincerely hope that you will join me.