As women, we are constantly being bombarded with messages about how to dress. We are told how to dress professionally in the workplace. We are told if we wear certain items, we'll send the "wrong message." We are constantly told that there's one right way to be a woman: demure, strong but not powerful, sexy but not slutty. And if you're fat, well just pile on the "advice" about how to be all of those things while also trying to look as thin as possible.
Fashion advice culture is something I was raised on. I watched shows like "What Not To Wear" religiously, but as someone whose fashion sense is pretty out there, I couldn't help but wonder if Stacey and Clinton were actually stifling individuality and creativity. And now that I am also a stylist, I recognize that there's a fine line between helping someone achieve a look that feels great for them and straight up telling them what you think they should wear. I strive to never do the later. My goal is always to show people what they CAN wear and not what they can't.
Why? Because individuality in fashion is necessary! Fashion would be so boring if we all followed the same set of rules. Who is actually being hurt by me wearing white after labor day? NO FUCKING BODY. But as a visibly fat person online, I am constantly policed for what I wear.
Most of these comments are pretty harmless, but one recently from Tumblr really irked me and served as the inspiration for this post actually. In response to my Fat Barbie looks, someone wrote, "Cute.........would love to see you in a more fitted skirt with no socks and a blouse with few buttons. #sexy"
#MeetTheBlockButton was my only response. My body is made for me. The way that I dress my body is also FOR ME. And while I can admit that I don't know everything about the history of fashion, I do know everything about what I choose to put on my body. It's not really something up for debate. I wear what I want.
This "I Wear What I Want" boyfriend crop top from one of my favorite fellow indie plus designers, Feminine Funk, absolutely fit the bill to create another look with a non-fitted skirt, socks, and a top that had no buttons at all but a strong message.
"I Wear What I Want" Boyfriend Crop, c/o Feminine Funk
PVC Skater Skirt, Chubby Cartwheels
Blue Striped Socks with Fluffs, Ready to Stare
Rainbow Striped Heels, Amazon
Silver Bangles, Ashley Stewart (in-store)
I hope that the constant message of telling folks especially fat folks what to wear is a narrative we can start to rewrite. Let's focus on encouraging people to see that their options in fashion are limitless instead.