By Guest Writer | April 7, 2009
In lieu of the Blogessy on fat fashion tips, here’s some reader-submitted snaplettes of wisdom:
Love, love, love your list! Great to see tips that actually make sense to me and add something new to the conversation.
My tips would be:
Fit is important, make friends with your local tailor(it’s often less expensive than you’d think!) or learn to sew your own alterations.
Don’t be afraid to belt it. Belts change the shape of so many items and are very hip right now. Try them over an open cardigan, just below the bust with a long shirt, or with a great dress. Look at Michelle Obama for inspiration. That woman knows how to creatively wear a belt!
My one and only fashion rule is that whatever you wear should really speak to you. You should love what you wear, whether it’s its that khaki trench coat that the what not to wear crowd tells us that ever woman should have (I think “yawn!” but I know some women must love this item) to a crazy bright polyester vintage dress.
a) Comfort matters. And that’s okay. Comfortable clothing is a way of being nice to your body.
2) You’re allowed to count and value how the outfit looks to you when you look downwards at yourself, including looking downwards intentionally and including whatever little glimpses of your clothing you get as you go through your day. You don’t need to count ONLY how it looks in the mirror, even though the mirror is closer to how other people will see you.
Keep those tips coming! Go here to submit your fatshion tip and we’ll re-post the wisdom here.
Get a bra fitting, and buy some underwear that are comfortable and make you feel great. Starting with a good base will make you feel better in your clothes and make your clothes fit you better, typically. Having worked in a store where I fit others for bras, I know how many women are wearing a size that they are emotionally attached to. And remember, bras work the same way from store to store as clothing sizes – you may wear different sizes in different styles and stores. The number doesn’t matter as much as the fit.
It is possible to find clothing that is fabulous AND comfortable. The two are not mutually exclusive.
Style is not a fixed thing. You are allowed to change your style over time, as you yourself change both in attitude and appearance. Don’t be afraid to try new things.
suburban hobbit responded:
My thought is one part fashion and one part economics: I like being able to change things up and wear something new and unexpected each day, but if I’m *always* on the lookout for new clothes, I not only spend money but don’t fully appreciate the clothes I already have – and I bought those because I loved them, too, right? So I enjoy going into my closet every now and then, finding some things that I haven’t worn in a while or always wear in the same way, and trying to figure out a new and pleasing way to use those items to make outfits. Like, I used to be all about the tank top and shrug combo in the summer, but when I discovered I could put the tank tops and camis on *over* print tees and cotton blouses, it was like a PARADIGM SHIFT in my little wardrobe world! Gee whillickers – at least twice as many new combinations, all using colors and patterns I loved!
Interestingly, it took a whole separate flash of insight for me to realize I could layer dresses over other tops. Belts, suggested by a previous commenter, have been another recent adventure. And then there was the time when I realized that after years of scrupulously covering my belly rolls, I was now totally comfortable wearing blouson tops *tucked in* to skirts with lovely waistbands, and that I could now look directly at my belly without it stopping me from feeling well-dressed and glamorous.
Of course, I come up with awful combinations all the time, too – but that’s part of the fun. (Sometimes I name my stranger outfits; last night I came up with a look I call ‘Little Bo Peep Goes Corporate.’) I laugh at myself and get more and more comfortable with my body as I see it reinvented a little bit with each strange combination. So, I guess my advice is: if you love it but you’re bored with it, see if you can love it in a whole new way, and you may end up loving your body a little more in the process.
suburban hobbit responded:
Oh, I thought of one other thing.
I can’t help myself: I love to choose clothes that are evocative of something – an era, a fashion icon, a story I have in my mind. I love the way I feel in my clothes when I dress with a *secret.* Nobody else may be able to tell by looking at me that my outfit makes me feel like a blood-thirsty pirate or a superhero or a pinup girl, but if there’s something about my choice of clothes that makes *me* feel like that, I feel unstoppable.
I flatter myself that this practice makes me terribly mysterious to people other than myself. But that is probably not true. ;o9
My suggestions would be:
> Consider hemming dresses and skirts. Most plus size things are too long and create an odd proportion.
> If possible, don’t be afraid to make (or have made) minor alterations to make something fit just for you. I often see comments that items are too big in the bust, too big in the sleeve, too long (my favorite!) fits in the waist but not in the hips or vice versa. Alot of those things are not too costly to correct.
>Try something new! Pants, if you usually wear skirts, Dresses if you usually wear pants, A short shirt if you usually wear long, A pencil skirt if you usually wear a-line. It’s sometimes hard to escape the “conventional wisdom” of what fat girls are supposed to wear, but we HAVE TO.
>I echo many others by saying ignore the size on the tag and try everything that interests you on. According to most size charts, I wear a 20 on top and a 22-24 on the bottom, but have sizes from L to 4X in my closet. The only time that doesn’t seem to work is with SHOES!
– make sure your pants/skirts/anything with a waist stay where you want them to stay. My waist to hip ratio is nearly 1/1, so there is very little keeping my skirts UP. I use: tight stretch fabrics; suspenders; belts; scarves… whatever it takes to keep my bottoms up. Because there is nothing that makes me feel more like an insecure overweight person than having to constantly hitch up my skirt. And conversely, I feel like a fabulous fattie when I can strut around and really keep things in place.
I’d agree with what suburban hobbit wrote with regard to creating outfits (or having pieces of outfits) evocative of a particular era or fashion icon. I’ve been putting outfits together with that idea in mind for years. I find it makes dressing for work or going out with friends more fun.
Pick eras or fashion icons that you identify with and/or would like to emulate. My favorite fashion era is the 1930s. I love the fashion of movies like Cabaret, The Women (the 1939 original), and Chicago. I also love the bohemian hipster look from the late ’50s (slim jeans, capris, peasant tops, and French sailor inspired looks), and the mod fashions of the early ’60s. I’m also inspired by ’70s glam looks and some ’80s inspired fashions.
I find some eras can also overlap – the glam ’70s owe a debt to the 1930s, just as the ’80s updated ’50s hipster fashions, with some ’40s inspiration, too. For example, I might mix a pair of high waisted Katherine Hepburn style trousers with a ’70s inspired crochet wrap sweater, or pair an oversized ’80s inspired shirred tunic top with an asymmetrical neckline with a pair of black leggings and flats, like a boho ’50s hipster might have worn.
I’m also inspired by some of the musical icons I admire, particularly, the women of Sleater-Kinney and Le Tigre. S-K’s Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss inspire me by pairing trousers, jeans and skirts with vintage inspired tops, something I often do myself. And the women of Le Tigre always look so sharp in their bright colors and ’80s inspired fashions. I never would have even considered wearing pointy white flats with a bright red skirt and hot pink tights until I saw Kathleen Hannah do it. I may not dress exactly like these icons of indie rock, but I take inspiration from their style and let it inform my own.
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