Saturday, July 17, 2021

#authorfashion | summer dressage

I've been having a fun time posting daily outfits photos the past couple months on instagram for a couple different reasons--one of which is that I enjoy participating in the #psootd communities on the platform and browsing through other peoples pics and reels are an inspiration for outfits and looks I might not otherwise consider. Also, spotting new things I might like to incorporate into my wardrobe (this is also why I love watching try-ons and thrift hauls on the Youtubes.) Also, maybe giving back some of that inspo. Mostly, just reinforcing that you can be stylish and plus-sized, even when the world (via media and internet trolls) tells you every so often you don't belong in these spaces as a fat body. 

I am by no means a pro.  Sometimes my photos are blurry because I moved at the wrong time. Most often, I crop out my head because my hair is up in a towel still and waiting to dry.  I use my phone and tiny desktop tripod I bought for zoom last year in my living room.  ( I am a fan of the mirror selfie, but the only full-size mirror I have is on my closet door and has placement issues & terrible lighting.)  I occasionally get photobombed by the cats. It also lets me see what things look like and whether or  or I like how they look on me or whether I should rethink certain combos in terms of cut or color. 

I also just have a lot of clothes and don't go anywhere but work, especially during covid,(or on days off,  sometimes just to the mail box on the corner or a short walk around the block), so why not show them off a little? Most second-hand procurements from Poshmark or Ebay, but occasional new things from some of my favorite places (I really like Old Navy for sundresses in the summer, but also Torrid for more fall-ish things. Modcloth occasionally has something cute, as do the usual plus size retailers like Lane Bryant or Avenue. I've also occasionally stumbled onto Walmart or Target finds for a steal. Fast fashion is something I try to be conscious of, but I'm also aware that not everyone can afford pricey sustainable fashion, nor do many brands have the right sizing at the larger end of the plus-size spectrum. I love finding spendier brands second-hand. If I buy something, I make sure it's something I am going to keep in my wardrobe for awhile, whatever the quality. After a couple of months of refraining from new (or second-hand) purchases except accessories, I've been buying a few things for fall, including a couple second-hand half-price Anthropologie dresses I've been stalking on Poshmark.  

I've never been quite able to be one of those sleek minimalists with a well-curated capsule wardrobe.  I have different inspos and different vibes on different days. Different moods and impulses. I might want to be a retro 50's house-wife on one outing and a reincarnation of my 90's self on another complete with a velvet babydoll and boots. I also love pairing outfit to outing (well, when we had outings.) I don't like pants and pretty much haven't worn them since the early aughts, but I love dresses, even fancier ones than can be casual-ed up with things like cardigan or denim jacket. I have an obscene number of polkadots in my closet--also lots of stripes, though I am also a fan of cute florals, and lately paisleys. I've also had years where I bulked up on plaids. 

My love of clothes can probably be said to have been inherited from my mother. When I was a kid..I remember being obsessed with matching my socks to my clothes.  Sometimes my memories are strongly informed by what I was wearing.  The plaid yolked dress and red tights I wore on the 1st day of kindegarten.  The garage sale snakeprint  60s dress my mother said was too tight & short to wear in public, so I wore it till it fell apart at home. Back to school shopping was my favorite--even when we we put everything on K-Mart layaway. She was a bargain shopper, so until she retired and mostly shopped thrift, you'd find her scanning the racks for blouses under $10 (she mostly wore them with cotton leggings, though they were usually the baggier sort that were more like pants on her. ) Most of these expeditions ended with her trying things on when she got home and fashion-showing them to me and my sister and asking our opinion. She was known for always being fashionably on-point by co-workers and prided herself on her carefully matched earrings. 

The difference of course, and a knot I have been untying my entire life, is that half of the time, she hated what she bought. How it looked on her--how it was too clingy, too short to cover what she wanted to cover. When she died, my dad donated all of her clothes to the thrifts, and I would guess that most of it was maybe worn once, if that. I try not to blame her for how critical she often was of other people's fashion choices (including mine), mostly since she was most critical of her own. The body-hate ran deep, she even admitted it. I just remember fierce arguments when shopping as a teen over whether something was too tight or ill-fitting for me, so mostly I bought a lot of baggy men's sweatshirts and sweaters and hid my curves.   Clothes to hide in. Always covering up curves and flesh. So much body-hate was instilled from her growing up and then instilled in me. 

Of course, it persisted for years--lots of long skirts to hide my chubby legs. Cardigans even in the summer to hide my fat arms. Baggy, shapelessness. Lots of solid colors--neutrals.  I do love me some always stylish black and grays, but not all the time.  For awhile, until about a decade ago, I was two sizes larger than I am currently and it was just really hard to find things I like. Even the weight loss aside (mostly because I freaked out about getting older and finally gave up a sizeable  regular soda addiction and try to control my binge-issues while moving more to feel better), lots of things have also changed in that decade--body positivity in media, expanded sizing in retailers.  Just more clothes to choose from and more in line with what is offered in smaller sizes. Now, when I look at retailers, I occasionally see what clothes look like on bodies like mine. Now, skinny is not the default (and considering the average woman is a 16 --incidently the size I was a teenager that was deemed unacceptable that led down a path of a very unhealthy relationship with starvation/binging) it shouldn't be.   Also, just knowing and figuring out what I like and what I like on my body.  Even if it's above the knees  Even f It's sleeveless in the middle of July. Cardigans are for when you're actually cold and want a sweater (the library a/c is brutal, so you will usually find me with one in my bag.)   I laugh (and cry a little) about the years I spent sweltering in too many clothes because how dare I be a fat body in public?

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