How Minimalism In Fashion Is Exclusionary To Plus Size Women — If I Tried To Be "Minimal" I’d Just Be Called "Lazy"
I think we can all agree that minimalism is about the minimal — it is about the bare minimum required to possess style. My personal aesthetic has always been about the opposite (tying in with my lifestyle, hopefully) — the excess. I have never been interested in minimalism but at the same time, minimalism has never been interested in me. I have, however, spent almost half of my life wearing oversized jumpers, a scruffy bun and only my eyebrows drawn on. But unlike Drake’s boo circa "Best I Ever Had," "sweat pants, hair tied, chilling with no makeup on" is definitely not when I look my prettiest. I feel personally victimized by anybody who can get out of their bed in the morning, put on their perfect "IDGAF" lazy day outfit and look like a model. And in a sense, I think the problem lies within this ability in and of itself — these looks are championed by women who have similar bodies to traditional runway models.
With #effyourbeautystandards model Tess Holliday being signed — following on from the fatshion trends that really took off in 2014 — I finally felt comfortable being fat, fashionable and fabulous. As a feminine, glittery girl, my tummy no longer limited me from expressing myself through my outfits and feeling gorgeous whilst doing so. However, I feel the fatshion movement has only benefitted me because I have adhered to the standards of beauty that have been created within the trend itself.
For many fat women, the option of hair tied and yoga pants doesn’t exist — I cannot even bring myself to feel okay whilst dressed like that, let alone beautiful. Similarly, the minimalism movement, with all its straight lines and simple shapes, would never sit right on my curved frame. Even something easier (not simpler) like tartan puts me on edge, as the lines move to shape around my tummy, tits and ass.
Luckily for me and my personal style, skater skirts, fluffy fabrics and excessive amounts of sparkle tie in perfectly with the image I’m trying to portray. Unluckily and unfairly for many other fat women, this isn’t the look they want — but it seems like it’s the only way they’re going to receive any praise.
Whilst being unable to make a makeup-less selfie your snapchat story is a problem amongst most women regardless of size, shape or style, I feel like the "lazy" tag has completely different connotations when applied to slim women than when applied fat women. A "lazy day" Instagram selfie with my hair in a bun is a reality I’ll never achieve (currently because I cut a lot of my hair off at Christmas), mainly because the word "lazy" stings each time I associate it with my looks. That’s not to say I’m not the laziest gal ever (because I am) but the assumption that fat equals lazy is incredibly damaging. It’s an idea that I feel is impossible to escape as a fat woman — the notion that unless we are constantly striving to look our best (even if not dieting, but by "dressing up" constantly), then we are lazy. We’re too lazy to lose weight, too lazy to care, too lazy to look nice, too lazy to adhere to suffocating patriarchal concepts of beauty standards.
This means then, that I (and many others) will never feel comfortable going for the "lazy" look. It will always feel like an insult, rather than a cute description for taking a day off and giving my skin a break. I will never feel beautiful on my off days, even if a cute, love-obsessed rapper were to tell me I was!
What needs to happen in the fatshion movement is a celebration of all fashions — not just hyper feminized, sexualized, pretty fashions. I’m bored of rockabilly fat women getting all the glory. I’m bored of having to wear heels and pin curls to be called beautiful whilst our thin friends do the very [literal] minimum and get showered in compliments. The fatshion movement needs to celebrate laziness and un-femininity. And the minimalist movement needs to understand how gorgeous it is when a pinstripe moves with the soft shapes of my body.
The point of the body positivity movement is to celebrate all bodies — but we need to focus on honing in that point to celebrate bodies as they are day to day. This means fat bodies even when they're not highly styled in expensive clothing with impeccable makeup and hair. Because whilst we've left the realm of fat women solely wearing black clothes, those who choose to wear all black shouldn't be demonized.
Creating beauty standards within a self-love movement that is specifically meant to #effyourbeautystandards is ridiculous. Eff your patriarchal beauty standards but also eff our own, self created beauty standards. Let's leave behind feeling like shit when we're outside of makeup and expensive clothes. Because with or without them, we're still beautiful. I'm still beautiful.