Before you tell fat girls how to dress: plus size style tips from the fatosphere, not the moneysphere

There are scores of articles telling us fat people we’re really “beautiful” but we need to:
1)try to dress in a slimming way
2)wear dark clothes because dark is “slimming”
3)that we need to accentuate our “best” features

Only #3 is a valid rule.

An analysis:

1)Dress “slimming”
Some of us out there are past the point of no return when it comes to fatness. So all this stuff about slimming is either madness or stupidity. While I prefer to project a smooth outer silhouette whether wearing jeans or a dress, there are some women who just go out and play it up. The fat positive movement is real, and while I identify as all-body positive, I support these women in looking how they want to look, not how somebody tells them how to look – especially not me. I just find the clothes. I’m sure as hell not going to tell you how to wear ‘em.

2)Wear dark colors (and avoid white) because it’s slimming (when they actually mean “shaming.”)
Seriously, this patronizing crap is just that. Patronizing crap. Black is not going to fool anyone into thinking there’s three inches less of you. No one is fooled, least of all the plus size person being sold this con. If you want to wear white jeans, go for it!  I recommend a turtleneck of some sort, maybe a bit longer, in a bright- BRIGHT! color. This “dark color” garbage is part of the “encourage the fatties to disappear.” It’s shameful, outdated…and shameful. Only wear dark colors if you like dark colors. Yes, I do wear dark bottoms a lot – I’m a klutz, so it’s easier to have jeans and dark pants to hide it when I fall in the mud, whatever. But being fat does not automatically mean you need to dress like you’re Hester Prynne, 21st century.

3)Accentuate your best feature
Here’s something a lot of people forget: every BODY is different. I get irritated when magazines like Marie Claire find a plus size person, and after identifying her by her weight, they go on to tell us how she “paints her toenails” because god forbid an actual full size body part be something she finds attractive about herself. This is under the category of “you have such a pretty face.” Grr.

This is followed by a growing new stereotype: all big women have big boobs. Not true. I have moderate breasts.( (and I hate calling them by any vernacular nickname. They are breasts. And I have a vagina, thank you.)) While I find mine adequate and lovely, I do not automatically share the physical restrictions some other women do. My fat goes to my belly. I definitely have empathy for those with larger breasts – I started off at a B cup at eight years old, so I do know what it’s like to be the largest-breasted in the room, sometimes exceeding my teachers. But it’s not a given.

There are plus size women – even women who are over a size 18 – who are not actually fat. They may lift weights, be extra tall, just be firm from farm work, but they are out there. Flat-stomached women who eat a 2000 calorie or less diet who just happen to have larger bodies. And their best features are far different from mine.

We’re all at different levels in self-acceptance. It’s not for me, or anyone else, to tell you you’re beautiful. That’s between you and your you. And while I may make suggestions about clothing if you ask me, I hope that I am not so arrogant and blind that I will hand you a set of “rules” you should follow about how to dress. Just, you know, keep your private stuff private and we’re all good.1 Would I like to guide you away from some stuff? Definitely. But if that’s what you need to wear to feel safe, I’ll help you find it.

I’d rather be honest than faux positive. I really do want to help, and sometimes that means doing what I can to stand between my readers and marketing manipulation and way behind-the-times thinking on what is and isn’t okay for fat people. I want to help, but I can’t fix. And ultimately we all can only help ourselves. So what sparked this particular rant is not something you will ever see on my end, and certainly I can’t and won’t put mommy censors on your computers. You are, overwhelmingly adults, and can probably handle it. But as long as I’m running this blog, I will do my best not to subject you to fat-phobic articles in the guise of “advice.”

  1. You saw the youtube clip where I started ranting about thong flashing. []

7 thoughts on “Before you tell fat girls how to dress: plus size style tips from the fatosphere, not the moneysphere”

  1. I love this and I completely agree. No matter the size, all bodies are different and dark colors do not automatically make any of us 10 lbs lighter :)

  2. I agree totally. I admire plus size women who step out of the norm, and instead of trying to disappear by wearing dark colors try to stand out by going against societal norms, and look good doing it.

  3. I don’t think because a woman is plus size she should be limited by color or pattern. However, it slays me to see a woman in boxy clothes every single day because she thinks that is what she should be wearing because of her size. I don’t think plus size women regardless of how big they are should limit themselves to cuts/designs/styles either.

  4. This is a great post. I think it’s amazing when plus size women really go for it in fashion–it doesn’t have to be about only wearing items that take you look 10 pounds lighter–it’s about wearing what you love and loving your body no matter what you look like. After all, the best outfit isn’t the all black “slimming” thing in your closet, it’s having enough confidence to stand out–not fade into the background.

  5. Its funny you write this as I got an article today highlighting some of those points, and I must say I SECOND YOUR OPINION! For reals!

    I sat here at this article, reading what I thought was quite frustrating and irritating, going as far as the article to show HOW the colors do you no justice! This article even highlighted real women who rocked bold colors, patterns, and prints, touting them as fashion disasters…

    You have so hit this nail on the head! And I am sooo referencing you on my next post about this!

    Thank you for saying what I trying to figure out!!!!!!!

    Rock on darlin!

  6. Thanks for this. The thing is, even if dark colors *did* make you look 3″ smaller, who cares? Why does looking as thin as possible have to be the be-all-end-all of fatshion? Do skinny women have to base all their fashion choices on creating the illusion of bigger boobs*, longer legs, etc? What a crock.
    The “best features” thing needs to die, too. Guess what I consider one of my “best features”, fashion police? My size 22 hips – the widest part of me. Wouldn’t dream of trying to disguise ‘em.

    *Don’t assume I’m ashamed of my body because I prefer not to use clinical terms in a casual context. I also tend to refer to my abdomen as a “belly”, ignorant conservative that I am.

  7. Yes. Honesty is definitely better than unreal positivity.
    And you know, I never understood the first 2 tips for dressing up. Well, I understand that black is slimming. But at some point it gets old. Anyway, I want to say that the 3rd tip is the best one. Dressing yourself should always be about looking your best in whatever body you have.

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