Dear “Fat Girl,”
Now, before you get offended (for yourself or your plus sized friend) you need to know that I am a “fat girl” (size 22/3X) and always have been. My weight has always been an issue and something I’ve struggled with. And when I say always, I mean for as long as I can remember in my whole live long life. As a child, it was an issue. Among peers, the fat girl identity began young and stayed with me for many years. The more I heard it, the more I believed it. The more I believed it, the more I owned it. The more I owned it, the more I lived it. The more I lived it, the more it owned me. And that’s where my problems began. My identity as “fat girl” became the lens I used when determining what I believed I deserved, how I believed I could and should dress, and the thing I blamed when life didn’t go as I believed it should. Now, I know differently. I could write about all of those, but let’s focus on one thing…how I believed a fat girl could and should dress and my new reality.
In my mind, the cute clothes were for the skinny girls with perfect shapes. Until I was getting close to high school, trendy wasn’t even possible in plus size. I was wearing the styles grown women wore. There were no name brands or easy places to shop for clothes. I imagine it was as frustrating for my mom as it was for me. When we discovered Lane Bryant, that was a game changer for me in many ways, but there were still limits. Because I refused to allow anything to touch my skin lest people actually see how fat I was, I wore baggy clothes that, now I know, only made me appear larger than I actually was. I was careful with some prints because I didn’t want to draw too much attention to myself. Sequins, front tucks, and skinny jeans? Forget it!!!
Over the last year and a half, I’ve had a major identity shift. Am I still overweight? Yep. Do other people get to determine what I wear? Nope. As I type this, I’m wearing my favorite sequin pencil skirt with a Christmas t-shirt, denim jacket, and converse tennis shoes. And, regardless of what others may think, I’m holding my head high and rocking it. And you can too! Here are some tips for us “fat girls.” Take one at a time and own your body instead of letting it own you!
1. Just because something fits doesn’t mean it flatters you. Listen, I love peplum tops. Everything about them appeals to me. They are feminine and rufflely. They do not love me! They look so terrible on me, even when they fit. The same is true for anything with a waist tie and flare and wide leg pants and jeans. Even though those things may fit me, they make me look terrible! They do not flatter my shape. When I shop, I generally know I must avoid those things if I want to look and feel my best. Take some time to try on a variety of styles with someone you know is going to be honest with you. Find the styles that work for you and shop for those.
2. Skinny jeans are your friend. Don’t let the word skinny scare you. They are going to slenderize your legs by minimizing the extra bulk and fabric of a fuller leg jean. And it they’re distressed, that’s ok too! Rock that trend, sister!
3. So is a good body shaper. In my head, I expect my shapers to take my size 22 down to a size 14 but that’s something only losing weight is going to do. The point of a body shaper is simply to smooth the skin. It sucks in some of those rolls and bumpy places I don’t like! Honestly, I really feel like a body shaper is more for me that anything.
4. A front/side tuck is a good thing. When a full shirt is left untucked, there is a tendency for it to add extra bulk, much like the pants discussed earlier. Take three fingers and push the front (or side) fabric into your bottom. Pull enough fabric out to cover the button or waist line. This gives shape to the top and pulls it closer to your actual size.
5. Finally, remember your body and your clothes don’t determine who you are. Sister, there is so much more to you than your physical appearance. The confidence and love for yourself comes from within. What you offer to this world is far greater than your physical appearance. And whether you wear faux leather leggings, a sequin skirt, or your favorite distressed jeans to do whatever it is you do isn’t what matters. Love yourself and hold your head high. Rock those clothes that someone else might say are only for skinny girls and do it with pride.
Your Former "Fat Girl" Friend, Alanna