I’ve spent a long time developing my personal style, and it has come to mean a great deal to me. As a fat (I do not believe fat is a four letter word, I simply am fat- I have a large amount of adipose tissue on my body, and I am a part of the fat positive/body positive community) woman, clothing can be a touchy subject. It’s hard to find clothes that fit properly, that you can try on, that are cute, and that you can afford. It’s actually damn near impossible. So it’s hard for me sometimes to ignore the surprise in people’s voices when they compliment me on what I am wearing. It’s a radical idea to some people that I don’t hate myself or my body. Some times I am still afraid of what people will think. I’m nervous to wear crop tops, or tight fitting dresses, and I’m usually worried people will judge me if I’m in a swim suit… espcially a fatkini. But you know what, it’s taken me years and years to get here and I am worthy of love, appreciation, space, happiness, and mere existence all while being a fat babe. Style is complex, it is a means of expression, and it is a way to make a statement. I’m here and I’m fat, and I’m going to wear the things I like!
When I was younger, my grandma took me clothes shopping and tried to help me find cute stuff in my size which was really difficult. I started wearing womens sizes in 4th grade, or 5th grade, and the only place I liked to shop was Fashion Bug (RIP, seriously, miss you so much). I remember the sequin embelished tops and the shiny rose empriodered jeans like it was yesterday, can’t forget the graphic tee that said “Whatever” and sweet platform tennis shoes. Ah, the 90’s.
Much to my delight, it seems 90’s fashion is weasling it’s way back into trendiness. Visit any H&M or Forever21 fast fashion type store and they’re chock full of 90’s-liscious gems. I actually saw a tattoo necklace in a store last week that WASN’T Claires. Anyways, I’m not really into trends. It costs too much money and it’s too mind boggling for me to keep up with trends, since they are always changing. My approach is wear what you like, who cares if it’s still on trend or not? If a trend dies and you still like it, rock it for as long as you want. That’s what personal style is all about.
I rocked platform tennis shoes and flared jeans with the best of them in elementary school, I was firmly a t-shirt and jeans girl for jr high and high school, you would rarely find me wearing a dress. I did sometimes wear skirts, really sweet ones at that. Think hot pink plaid with black lace trim, and a handkerchief hem skirt with a black netting overlay. So hxc. I also rocked a lot of white face powder, red eye shadow, and black eyeliner/nail polish/everything. I wasn’t a goth, not really, but I was certainly a part of the alternative/emo thing without really commiting to it, or being “scene.” Man, how dated that language is!
I would say I made a lot of strides towards where my personal style is today between senior year of high school and freshmen year of college. I started wearing more and more dresses, rocked glam make up with tons of bright colors and so.much.glitter. I also had two-foot long pink hair. I shopped at Torrid, Deb, Fashion Bug, and Hot Topic. My style started to morph at college, though, and I started wearing more colorful clothing while toning my make up way down and my hair back to it’s natural dark brown color. Unfortunately, I didn’t start consistently taking #ootd photos until last year, so I don’t have much of a photo trail of my style evolution.
I do have a lot of photo-evidence of my ever changing hair though. I had pink, then brown, then mostly brown with some pink, then brown with some pink and some teal, back to all borwn, and then dyed natural red with a swatch of purple pink and blue in the front, back to a red-brown color, then berry, then berry and purple, then mermaid hair that was pink purple and blue, then back to all pink, then natural red again, a darker natural red, got tired of that so I went back to fuschia pink and wore a scarf over my hair because Walmart wouldn’t let me have fun hair and I worked there at the time, then back to brown, so then I had blue, and then I did a blue, purple and pinkish red ombre, then back to brown, red brown, maroon, burgandy, and now we’re back to a natural red. I’m getting the itch to have fun colored hair again, though, so I might be sneaking in some fuschia soon.
I think my signature look is a knee length a-line or circle skirt dress in a funky and colorful pattern, a cardigan, flats or flip flops that match, a headband, and purple eye make up (I like purple hues the most on my eyes because they make the green pop). I’ve said in the past my style goal is a cartoon character. My style icons and inspirations are Penelope Garcia on Criminal Minds, Beth Ditto, Kelly Osbourne, Rachelle from Nearsighted Owl, Georgiana from Cupcake’s Clothes, Adele, Rebel Wilson, Melissa McCarthy, Joan and Betty from Mad Men, and Christina Hendricks in real life.
These days, I typically shop at Target, Torrid, ModCloth, Kohls, DEB (RIP actual physical store locations), with a sprinkling from places including Walmart (cheap leggings ftw), Macy’s, Gabriel brothers (a discount chain in the midwest region), and various thrift stores. I just a new dress and a tunic from a rad place in Cleveland and online (redressnyc.com) called ReDress. Amazing. Body positive, plus size, wonderful. Plus, they gave me this cute little pin. It has taken me a long time to curate my wardrobe. You never know where you are going to find something great. I’ve gotten so many great dresses from thrift stores, and found kind of blah things that were transformed by accessories. I would have to say part of my style is resourcefulness.
A remark I get a lot is that women wish they could pull off what I have on or how my hair is, and to that I say- you can! You can pretty much pull off anything you want, as long as you have the guts to try it. You might be surprised at what your inner style turns out to be. A few ways to get your journey started would be:
1. Try something on that you would normally NEVER wear. Maybe it’s a different cut- one that hugs your curves. Maybe you haven’t worn shorts in years, try a pair on.
2. Don’t let negative people tear you down. I’ve gotten more insult compliments than I know what to do with. My favorite adjective used in the past was “interesting.” People might not understand why you are wearing a crop top, but it doesn’t matter at all IF YOU FEEL GOOD.
3. Experiment with pops of color. You don’t have to be like me and wear every single yellow thing you own at one time. But if you what to look more festive colorful accessories go a long way.
4. Have fun! Clothes shopping can be hell. Don’t get discouraged. Try a different store or go buy a snack.
5. Wear clothes that are comfortable on your body. I’m not saying wear flattering clothes- eff flattering. But don’t wear a smaller size just because the label has a smaller size on it. Be comfortable. Nothing is worse than jeans cutting into your sides. Sizes are just numbers and they mean absolutely nothing.
6. Take #ootd pictures! They’re so fun and it shows you what clothes you wear all the time and the clothes you barley wear. Plus, it’s kind nice to be like “Damn I look good!”
7. Spend time in body positive spaces. Negative messaging is hard to overcome, it’s kind of nice to have some positive messages to counter act that. My body positive journey started on tumblr. It helped so much.
I hope this post might inspire someone to try something new with their style!