Anyone who has read some of my writing on here or on my personal blog knows I'm a huge supporter of breaking all those plus-size fashion no-nos set for us women sizes 12 and up. You know the ones. "Plus-size women can't wear bright colors." "Plus-size women can't wear anything that shows some thigh." "Plus-size women must only wear baggy, shapeless garbage bags and hide every curve and roll on their bodies."
To me, these rules have always seemed oppressive, but I lived according to them for many years, nonetheless. Luckily, through interacting with size-acceptance-promoting writers, individuals, activists, and media types, I've garnered a newfound sense of confidence, and something of a rebellious spirit when it comes to my fashion. Though it's quite easy to talk about breaking the rules, it's more difficult to put that into action. I thought it might be fun to do a bit of a photo shoot demonstrating my favorite guidelines to tear apart.
As a size 18 woman with 50-inch hips, I'm definitely plus-size. While I've received some criticism for calling myself "fat" in the past, I think it's important to note that I don't consider it a bad word. "Fat" is a descriptor, no different than "thin" or "slender" or "tall" or "short." But because it's been coated in criticism and negativity, we've ended up fearing it. At the end of the day, I and most people I know have fat on our bodies! Some of us just have a little more. And for those of us who do, well, learning to embrace the bodies we have, and allowing ourselves to wear all those clothes we've been told will only highlight our cellulite or jiggly bits, is an exciting and empowering exercise in confidence. Plus, it'll make shopping a hell of a lot more fun.
1. Fat Girls Can't Wear Crop Tops!
This rule is born out of an inherent fear of the tummy — the bit on our bodies that generally has the most fat on it. But as plus-size blogger and model Nadia Aboulhosn says, "I think people have this idea that larger women should be insecure about their body because society doesn’t accept them, but crop tops are not only trendy now, they are also flattering."
2. Fat Girls Can't Wear Bright Colors!
If we were to follow this rule, black would be the only color we'd allow in our closets. To be fair, black will always be a classic, and a staple of any wardrobe. But being sworn to it, especially in summer, is absurd. Bring on the yellows and pinks and greens and blues and reds and magentas, please.
3. Fat Girls Can't Wear Bold Patterns!
Patterns bring attention to the body, and of course, the close-minded view on things is that fat people shouldn't want any attention drawn to their "imperfections." Last time I checked, aesthetic perfection is a myth, and attraction a completely individual perception. Show off what you've got!
4. Fat Girls Can't Wear Short Shorts!
Because our cellulite and excess fat will scar the eyes of innocent passersby, obviously. As someone who sees beauty in the fuller figure, I think shorts are a great way of showing off the leg without risking flashing anyone. They're comfortable, they're sexy, and they're fun.
5. Fat Girls Can't Wear Tanks!
It's always surprised me to find out just how many plus-size men and women alike are embarrassed of their arms. Like all other insecurities, these hang-ups come from years of being bullied and tormented for being fat. But tanks and sleeveless tops and dresses are ideal for the summer; they can often look really cute.
6. Fat Girls Can't Wear Above-Knee Skirts!
Like short shorts, this rule comes from not wanting to show all those wobbly bits beneath the derriere. Conversely, some plus-size women don't enjoy wearing short skirts because of the chafing predicament. Some shorter-length Spanx will usually do the trick for the latter, though. And as for the former, perfection is imperfection. To get to a point where you can find beauty in things typically categorized as unappealing, or even unattractive, is to get to a place of empowerment and self love.
7. Fat Girls Can't Wear Anything That Emphasizes Their Bellies!
The belly is perhaps the thing the majority of plus-size people worry about the most. But a thicker figure is, at the root of things, usually quite a feminine one, and our bellies are no exception. It's fascinating to me that women can more easily learn to appreciate the roundness and curves of other areas, but wish they had a flatter stomach. Boobs (when you think about it) are just collections of fat — and yet so many women who crave bigger chests have deeply rooted issues with the same kind of fat on their tummies. Once we get over this fear of showing off our bellies, the rest will hopefully be easier.