I’ve written one of my “Private” articles for the → sheego magazine for their “Klartext” (real talk) column. Since it is only in German, I asked if I could also translate it for the blog and my English-speaking readers. I’m curious to read your opinions on this article, so please comment! ;)
One of the topics I always mention on my blog is: wearing whatever you want. No matter if someone could think that it’s unflattering or not. In fact, the reactions are often mixed – especially when the outfit is very body-hugging and you can actually see that there’s a fat woman standing in front of you.
Fat women are always told how you can “cheat away a few pounds” with the right outfit, how you can conceal your “problem areas” and that actually, a black sack is always the best choice. Because black will make you look skinnier – we all know that!
Fact is: you will only find these typical “slimming tips” in the plus-size area. Here’s how you can let your bum look smaller, there’s how you can hide your tummy, that’s how you should wrap up your big boobs and if nothing helps: go for black. That’s exactly what the main range at local stores looks like. Non-colors in all saggy-and-dip-hemmed forms as far as the eye can see. But these are actually exactly the cuts that won’t hide but simply make you look shapeless – and therefore they’re the actual unflattering clothes. But that’s not what I want to talk about today.
Flattering = look skinny/skinnier than you are
Unflattering = oh no, you can see that I’m fat!!!
I’m asking myself: why do we always have to dress ourselves in order to look skinny? Who decided that the number one purpose of clothes is to make us look as skinny as possible? Why do some self-proclaimed styling experts keep advising me on how to best conceal myself (by the way – “conceal” is a word I’d never use voluntarily!)? And who decided that this is what I want?
I don’t want to hide myself just because that’s the perception of “flattering”. I totally understand that there are many women thinking exactly the opposite – and that’s absolutely okay! We decide for ourselves what makes us feel good – and that’s what matters. Freedom when we choose what we want to wear. And that’s the freedom we shouldn’t forget: some feel great in concealing, others in figure-hugging clothes – accepting each other and not judging the others’ taste is the key!
But as a blogger who presents her own style regularly, I keep being confronted with the word “unflattering”, especially when my outfits are shared on other pages, because that’s where people aren’t open and ready for fat women being stylish – unfortunately! This stupid word mostly comes up when my look reveals that I’m fat. That is when I’m wearing tight clothes. Clothes which show what’s there, nothing more, nothing less. Especially fat women themselves are simply not used to seeing that and automatically switch into “that’s a no-go!” mode. Mind you, that’s mostly not even their own opinion but the one they’ve always learned and been forced to have as a fat woman – “You’re fat, you need to hide that!”. They may even think that the outfit isn’t that bad, but they’re totally deadlocked so they simply don’t want to think it’s good.
And this is exactly what we need to get rid off. Fashion doesn’t have to be flattering. Fashion doesn’t have to make us look skinny. Pragmatically spoken: fashion needs to dress us. Please ourselves and not others, let alone prevent others from making derisive comments about us. We finally need to learn that it doesn’t matter what others could say or think when we wear what we want, what makes us feel good – no matter if it’s flattering or unflattering in our society. Stylish is what we make of it and how we feel while wearing it.