As a plus size woman, I've heard the fashion rules for years:
- Don't wear horizontal stripes
- Wear dark colors
- Avoid prints
- Wear items that cinch in the waist
- Shapewear is life
I'm sure, given 5 more minutes, I can come up with many more “rules” – if you have any I forgot, leave them in the comments.
For the record, I'm not a fan of these rules. They perpetuate the myth that looking fat is bad, and we must do everything in our power to minimize our appearance. Newsflash: I'm the same size whether or not you have me in stripes or in head-to-toe black. Do I think an optical illusion is going to save someone from thinking I'm fat? Not a chance!
This particular outfit was a lesson in wearing an item that makes you happy versus one that is “flattering.” There is no defined waist. There is a crazy print on it. And it's entirely covered in sequins.
When I first tried this dress on, I did an entire Instagram story about how happy it made me. I was obsessed. This is what Blanche Devereaux would have worn on vacay in Boca Raton. I was all about it.
But then the doubt set in:
- Would my friends be embarrassed with me if I wore this out for dinner?
- Maybe if I could find the matching belt in my size (it was sold out), I could cinch things in to make it have a better shape?
- What if the sequins accentuated the parts of my body I'm most insecure about?
Blah. For as much work as I try to do on loving myself and being body positive, it's hard to shake the “rules” I've heard for decades. Unlearning so much is really hard to do, and even if I unlearn it personally, it doesn't mean everyone else doesn't have the same thoughts.
Moving forward, I'm going to pay closer attention to how happy clothes make me versus how much they follow the rules. Who is with me?
Photos by Emily Moseley