In the plus-sized world, the idea of “flattering” clothing is becoming a pariah-creator. After all, if I choose flattering clothing, I’m deciding to dress for other people, instead of in what I love, or what is comfortable, right? I’m choosing to buy into my own oppression. I’ve got a different take on it, and it goes, “yeah, not so much.” “Flattering” is a scary word. I’m taking it back.
I’ve posted this quote before (way back at the first of the year), on my Facebook page. Now I’m adding an essay. 🙂
From Castle, Season 1 Episode 10
After Martha sends Alexis off to change to a different prospective dress – they’re trying on prom dresses. Alexis is 15.
Castle: ‘You look hideous’? Are you trying to GIVE her body image issues?
Martha: Ohh! Newsflash. She already has body image issues. It’s an intrinsic part of being a woman. Every woman in the world has some part of herself that she absolutely hates. Her hands are too small, her feet are too big, her hair’s too straight, too curly, her ears stick out, her… (looking at herself in the mirror) Oh, God, her butt is too flat, her nose is too big… And you know, nothing you can say will change how we feel. What men don’t understand is, the right clothes, the right shoes, the right makeup, just… it hides the flaws — we THINK we have. They make us look beautiful… to ourselves. That’s what makes us look beautiful, to others.
Castle: Used to be, all it took to make her feel beautiful was a pink tutu and a plastic tiara.
Martha: We spend our whole lives trying to feel that way, again.
THIS was the real takeaway for me: “They make us look beautiful… to ourselves. That’s what makes us look beautiful, to others.”
I recently spent two days following directions in a book and redrafting a normal sewing pattern to make trousers that actually fit me. It took two tries – the first time I got the really short waist-to-hip ratio right, but didn’t lengthen the crotch line.
I am amazed at the results. I made a pair of work-trousers (from the first, not quite right) pattern, and they’re better than anything I’ve EVER bought at the store. More comfy, look better on my body… and then I made myself a pair of fuzzy, wide-legged pants out of sweatshirt fleece that I had lying around.
Think of this. Fuzzy. Grey. Sweatshirt fabric. Not the makings of “flattering”. But you know. They’re not only comfortable they ARE flattering. Pink tutu and plastic tiara beautiful flattering. Not because the style makes me look thinner. Not because I followed any so-called style rules for fat people. But because they FIT ME. Perfectly. THIS is why people used to buy couture clothing. Real couture clothes are about the sewing techniques, yes, but more than that, they are about clothes that are made specifically for the person who’s going to wear them. I don’t remember where the quote comes from, and I can’t find it, but I read at one point that a tailored couture dress or suit is at least as comfortable to wear than off the rack sweats and a sweatshirt because of the perfect fit. I now believe that. And properly fitted sweatpants… well… I’m going to go curl up in my fuzzy pants now!
More later. I’m on a roll. 🙂