Just Dress Your F’ing Body!
By Lily Kay
There is no shortage of reality TV, celeb stylists and articles in glossy magazines to tell us what we should and shouldn’t be wearing.
And as if it wasn’t confusing enough that fashion changes every 15 minutes (or season, tomayto/tomahto), everyone has different rules to follow based on how their body looks.
Short women can’t wear long dresses or shoes with ankle straps (in case people notice that they’re short. Which is… bad, I guess? I don’t know).
Tall women shouldn’t wear heels (tall is also bad).
The longest list of banned items is unsurprisingly reserved for fat women (what constitutes fat varies wildly depending on who you speak to. Best to assume it includes you just to be on the safe side).
Bikinis, animal print, horizontal stripes, crop tops, sleeveless tops, leggings, bright colours, shorts, literally anything else that’s fun and fashionable (not to mention comfortable, because who wants to wear jeans to the beach?!) – all out of bounds for anyone over a size 12.
Which essentially leaves all fat women wearing some variation of those smocks that toddlers wear when finger painting. So many of us follow these rules to the letter, we internalise them until they influence our choices without us even realising. We move past the racks of clothes we love “but not on me” towards the looser, darker garments deemed acceptable without question, but why? Who does it serve?
If you genuinely feel great in those things then that’s awesome, keep at it. But if you find yourself wistfully eyeing up a neon pink crop top and mermaid leggings while buying yet another loose navy for the sole reason that it covers your arse then maybe it’s time to start questioning things.
Say you go crazy and buy the leggings, what’s the worst that could happen?
“Someone might think I look bad.”
Probably, but so what, you can’t please everyone. There is ALWAYS going to be someone who thinks you look bad no matter what you wear, but on the flip side there are ALWAYS going to be others who think you look drop dead gorgeous. Most importantly, you might FEEL drop dead gorgeous.
Your purpose in life is not to look pretty, or acceptable, your purpose in life is to LIVE.
“I’ll feel self conscious”
Maybe, but only for about 10 minutes until you get into whatever you’re doing, or notice how amazing the light looks glinting off your mermaid leggings (I really want some mermaid leggings), and then you’ll forget you’re wearing something new and just feel normal. Think of it like a new pair of shoes that need breaking in, after a while you’ll feel so comfortable you won’t want to take them off.
“If I break the rules I’ll make myself visible not only as a person who doesn’t fit into society’s standard of beauty, but as someone who doesn’t mind that“
Ah. Yes. And that’s the crux of the matter, really, isn’t it. It’s just about OK to be fat as long as you’re not happy about it. As long as you’re dissatisfied with how you look, hating your body, promising to try harder to lose weight and fit in, then you’re just barely acceptable.
Give the message that you’re fine how you are thank-you-very-much – whether explicitly, or implicitly by wearing something that breaks The Rules – and you’re basically asking to be taken down a peg or two. Who are you to refuse to adhere to standards set out by industries wanting to make a profit from your insecurities? Who are you to unapologetically live your life how you want to? Who are you to take up space?
Seriously, fuck it. Buy the leggings, wear neon hotpants to the supermarket, lie on the beach in a zebra print bikini and give a big old middle finger salute to anyone who has a problem with it.
You want to know how to dress for your body type? Just dress your body.