Fashion for Dummies

Just because somebody is a big name in plus size modeling, doesn’t mean you should trust them

When you’re a bigger girl, you know how hard it is to find clothing that works. It’s harder to find things to “fit your body type” because, well, we have a lot more body. In your endless searching online you’ll find articles titled things like “Can plus sized girls wear jeans?” or “How to fake an hourglass” or “Improve your Silhouette”, as if there is any question that we can wear certain clothing, or that our own lovable shape is inferior.

This blog is all about confidence, and we know that when you look good, you feel good. So ignore the bogus “flatter your curves” articles, and stop pretending that you can squeeze into an XL because for some reason a number and a letter on the same tag is scary. I promise, this isn’t calculus. They’re allowed to mix. They day I discovered I was a 42DD and not a 38D was life changing. Sometimes stores that offer “bigger” sizes without going into “plus”, will try to convince you you’ll fit their clothes to make a profit. They don’t deserve your money, and you deserve clothes that actually fit your body right. When you discover a dress that makes you look like a solid 10, even though you’re a size 22, or you find your first pair of extended calf boots, your life changes. There’s a stereotype about plus sized ladies that we dress poorly, and a lot of it comes from a lack of knowing how to find things that flatter you.

Anansa Sims-Patterson (seen below) wrote this “guide” for Oprah’s website, on the eight tips she thinks all plus sized girls need to know. It sounded great to me, she herself is a plus sized model, Oprah is a full figured, gorgeous woman, and lots of people trust both of them. Why shouldn’t I?

Well, for starters, very few of her tips actually referred to how to dress. I was immediately off put by “Tip” Number 8, which was to “wear the right makeup”. Trust me, I’m all for makeup. I love watching myself go from a soft 5 to a hard 9 with a little colored dust and paste. And if you know me, you know I own more lipstick shades than pairs of socks. But she says, and this is a direct, copy-and-paste quote, “After a certain age makeup shouldn’t be optional.” Now, I don’t know about you, but I know plenty of older women who don’t wear makeup and are downright gorgeous, meanwhile I’m over here having fun destroying my pores. Makeup, like any other accessory or clothing style, is a choice. It should be done for you, by you. Wrinkles, like any other skin texture us larger girls are all too familiar with (can you say stretch marks?), are not bad. They are not scary or weird.

Makeup is optional, for anybody. Now, if you choose to wear it, I agree, you should know how to wear it. Nothing is worse than feeling like a clown when you were going for fairy princess. But that’s another rant for another day.

“Tip” Number Six also bothered me a little. It claims that accessories are what make or break an outfit. And while, yeah, if you decide to wear a gaudy orange feather necklace, it’ll take away from the professional feel of your new pant-suit, the little things aren’t the most important part. You are. You can wear as many bracelets as you want but that wont change the fact that a pencil skirt that looks incredible on a pear-shaped beauty isn’t going to fit the same way on somebody with a narrower frame. Accessories are also a pitfall for plus sized girls. We tend to assume “oh, they won’t have anything in my size”, so we look for things that fit everybody. Or “maybe if I wear flashy earrings they won’t notice my waistline”. Avoid those attitudes! Accents are accents. They’re little pieces of flair to make your 9 into a 10. If you only rely on jewelry and bags to feel confident in your attire, the outfit as a whole isn’t doing its job.

Now, I’m not saying that the tips included are all bad. I certainly agree that its important to understand what looks best on you personally and I know that adding color to your wardrobe can make you feel better.

But the article as a whole is just off-putting. For starters, none of the “tips” included tell you how to find your body shape, or how to figure out your perfect fit. Not to mention the last half of the “tips” are just accessory based rather than actual dressing. My biggest problem with the article overall is the fact that there are no pictures of plus sized women in them. In fact even the author only received a very strangely cropped close-up of her face. However, a few colorful birds got to be included and I guess one of them is kind of chubby.

The real tip that every girl, regardless of size, needs to know: Know your beauty.

If you have rockin’ hips, wear those pencil skirts and tight dresses. If you’re super proud of how toned your arms are, show them off with unique sleeves and strappy shirts. If you think your tummy is just adorable, be bold with crop tops and high-waisted shorts.

Part of dressing well is confidence. Yeah, okay, if you don’t have an hourglass or figure-8 body type a dress cinched at the waist may not be the most flattering thing on you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t wear it! Ignore stereotypes, try things on! Part of discovering who you are is trial and error. I never knew how cute I looked in cut-offs until I got over the fear of showing off my legs because my thighs are so thick.

We all indulge in a little online self-help, but remember to avoid articles that don’t give solid advice. The only person who can really help you is you, but there are some good sources along the way to guide you in the right path. If you need a guide, visit my “related links” page, where you’ll find a wonderful infographic by IGIGI.


About Jessie

I'm just a college student stuck in the deep south with very few plans for the future. I like to talk about new wave feminism, guns, classic cars, fish, how outrageously gay I am, and really bad jokes. I don't get out much unless its a GoodWill run or I'm out of mac and cheese. Sometimes I do cute date things with my partner, other times I just stare wistfully at all the cute snakes I'll never own.

Posted on October 9, 2014, in The Noises and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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