Freedom From Flattering
Writer: Alysse Dalessandro
When I think about the items in my wardrobe that feel the most me, it’s a mix of mesh tops and flowy dresses. One is tight and the other is loose. Neither one fits society’s idea of what is considered flattering. One shows my body too much and the other disguises it. “Flattering” when you’re plus size is all about finding that impossible balance of looking curvy but not fat and I’m here to tell you that’s BS.
I’ve written exhaustively about this concept especially during the discussion of the Cupcake Dress online a few years ago. I made that dress because it was something I wanted to wear. People told me it looked like a tent and wondered why I wanted to make my body look bigger. It’s the same mindset that people use when they tell me to cover up. Both are body policing.
Here’s the thing: I am fat in an oversized tunic. I am fat in a bikini. I am fat all the time. I don’t dress for “my shape.” I don’t think about my body at all other than to think “can I get this in my size?” I wear what I want.
Sometimes in the process of wearing what I want, I do wear things that make me appear more hourglass and curvier. I notice that people will say things like “that’s very flattering” and I just want to scream back, “But I really like it and that matters more than how you think my body looks!”
Personal style is just that. It’s an individual experience and expression of one’s self. What someone else thinks about acceptable my body looks in a garment really has no weight on whether I am going to wear it again.
I really love the Tokyo Tunic from On the Plus Side. It doesn’t hug my body and that’s okay. The curved hemline is interesting and the pattern is cute. I got so many compliments when I wore this and you know what? None of them mentioned anything about my body. But most importantly when I wore it, I felt like me!