The big question
I was reading an article about “How to dress for your body type” the implication is clear from the start of the article, what you SHOULD do is try to force your body to look like an hour glass. Try to fool people into thinking that you have that desirable and perfect shape. That there are a set of rules of things you SHOULD and SHOULDN’T do. The absolute DOs and DON’Ts that you must abide by if you are not the “right shape”. Avoid this avoid that, accentuate this, balance that. Know your shape and do NOT deviate from these rules, or you will be ridiculed, reviled and chased out of the place by angry torch wielding villagers.
For years I’ve covered up, never bearing my waist, certainly never tucking my shirt in to my skirt, for fear that someone will see the truth. They will see my round tummy, that the truth about my size 18 frame is out in the world. So shirts were over my waist bands, covering up any evidence of a waist. Then someone turned my head, a colleague with similar taste and style, only ever wore her shirts tucked in. And when I say similar taste, we bought, in the same week the exact same skirt without the knowledge of the other buying it until we turned up to school in it. Now whilst Jess is slighter than me, she still was self-conscious about her body. In fact our main topic of conversation was what we were eating, what we were going to eat and what we ACTUALLY wanted to eat. But I realised how much more she was rocking the skirt we both owned, not because the difference in our sizes, but because she tucked in. I nervously, one morning, ventured down this route and, for me, it was a revelation. No one chased me out of school, I was not ridiculed and I felt… Well… Pretty sexy, even in my work clothes. But I was always convinced that I needed to cover up, to hide and to be sorry for the presence of my body.
When I was growing up the most positive range out there for clothing was Evan’s and the signature collection from the marvelous Dawn French in Kay’s bloody Catalogue. All the ranges seemed to consist of long floaty things in bold patterns. Like what you could be is fun with your prints, but make sure your silhouette is safety tucked away out of sight. Then there started to be some plus sized role models coming to the forefront and their style blew my world open. Beth Ditto came crashing on to the scene and I didn’t know how to react. Here she was, in all her ‘I’m fat and I’ll wear what I damn well please’ attitude, and I’ll not lie I was shocked. This can’t be happening? How is this lady be OK with prancing around on stage, wearing a spray-on gold lame dress and not giving the tiniest of shits? She was breaking all the rules and was a total trail blazer, her range she produced for Evans seemed to transform what was acceptable as plus sized clothing. We’re nowhere near there yet, but companies like Yours, Simply Be, Scarlet and Jo are forging a new path for us plus sizers. Outfits becoming more quirky, cute, outrageous, fun and fashionable. And then there’s Tess Holliday who comes along and just shows us how beautiful plus size girls can make it big… A world class model, a book and a total inspiration.
My instagram is full of body positive babes of ALL shapes, sizes and ability rocking whatever they WANT to wear. The rule book is being flung out of the window and if you happen upon it, tip an accelerant on it and set the bastard thing on fire.
By the way, did I tell you… wear whatever the fuck makes you happy and if someone has a problem with it… Remember it is just that, it’s THEIR problem.