This look is admittedly a little Wonder Woman and Carmen San Diego went to the roller rink.
I dig it.
While I’m not planning on fighting crime anytime soon, I definitely feel strong in this outfit.
This jumpsuit was sent to me by the lovely crew over at Fashion Nova from their curve line. The badass silk duster (yes, it’s actually a dress) is a little gift I gave myself from Premme – my forever fave.
There’s another accessory here, a little bit more of an acquired taste : my belly.
Never felt good about my belly until maybe a couple of years ago. Maybe even until recently. There are some days that my belly feels “wrong”. It’s usually after I look at too many photos of girls without bellies like mine.
When I first tried this jumpsuit on I thought – oh well, it doesn’t fit.
It just shows my body.
It shows my belly.
I was a little hesitant about wearing the outfit. But I figured hey – these gals were nice enough to send this to me. I’m gonna wear it and show it off.
My friend Courtney and I met up right after a cold front hit and the temperature dropped 30 degrees overnight. I spent a lot of time on my hair and makeup hoping to give myself some extra confidence.
As we shot, Courtney got low to the ground and pointed her camera up at me. I posed, laughed, played with my hair – did all the things I do during shoots. Mixed in some happy smiles with some come hither bedroom eyes. The works. Courtney asked me to cross my legs while standing very straight with my hands on my hips.
We took a few shots and she showed me the results.
There it was, my belly, boldly presented in red white and blue stripes.
Two days prior, a rude dude on Instagram had messaged me “you’re cute but cut off that mud flap” enraging me. Not just for myself. But for any woman who has had her person commented on so vulgarly.
I looked at the small digital images in Courtney’s hands as she held out her camera for me to take a look.
“I like this, I like how my belly looks” I said, sort of mystified by the words coming out of my mouth.
“I like your belly too” Courtney agreed.
Too bad the shoot was almost over, because courage and love had begun coursing through me.
I did like my belly. A lot. I liked that I wasn’t simply a straight line up and down and that this jumpsuit highlighted it.
It fit me. It really did.
I sent my boyfriend a scandalous text message and listened to Heart in rush hour traffic. I felt great.
2017 was big. I was bigger than ever before. There were bigger things than me though. Especially when we’re talking about the fashion industry. Chromat had a killer turn at NYFW and featured plus size babes like Jordyn Woods strutting down the runway. Nicolette Mason and Gabi Gregg launched Premme this summer, and you know I’m a big fan . Project Runway had their most inclusive season yet and showed me the wonder of my new fave goddess, Liris Crosse. I had my complaints about the show – but overall, I love the continued exposure of beautiful size inclusive models.
I am a big numbers girl, and this weekend I was checking out the analytics for most searched for subjects on Pinterest in the last 30 days. Do you know what number 2 was? “Curvy Fashion”.
I can only wonder what 2018 will bring. Will we finally see a plus size Victoria’s Secret model ( we certainly have the chops for it) get her wings? Heck – will Victoria’s Secret even cater to that market? Dietland – based on Sarai Walkers explosive novel -will be hitting the small screen this year on AMC. Enigmatic Joy Nash is in the lead role, and I’m calling it now – she’s gonna be up for an Emmy, Golden Globe or SOMETHING. Christian Siriano, I hope you’re ready to design an amazing gown for this firecracker.
Speaking of Christian, will we see more designers ready to outfit the bevy of curvy women being thrust into the spotlight as media becomes more inclusive?
We can only hope.
All that said – I do feel like 2018 is going to be even more of an important year for plus size women. How can you help? Consume media and put your money where your booty is. (I thought that was clever, not sure if it is, ah well). When Dietland comes out, buy the episodes on iTunes! Buy the book now to prep for the show – it’s great! Pick out a piece from Premme that fits your pocketbook. Buy Lizzo’s music. Support Etsy makers who cater to plus sizes. Take photos of yourself and share them on social media (hashtag in the copy of your caption, not the comment – let’s beat that algorithm baby!). Donate to patreons of your favorite plus size bloggers and YouTubers. BE a blogger or a Youtuber. Be the fat person in your local community who dresses better than everyone else – people will ask you where your clothing comes from. Make media. If you’re reading this on a mobile device – congratulations you have access to a movie studio.
At the beginning of 2017, I thought I was a washed up loser of a person. My acting career was frustrating me (amazing auditions in Los Angeles, but no contracts) and my retail life in the straight size world of Anthropologie was fun but something didn’t feel right. I had been wanting to blog, and pose for photos like a model on Instagram but I didn’t think I belonged in any space that had previously been explored by so many gorgeous, brilliant women. I was wrong. I belong. You belong. Be vocal. Share yourselves! Talk about the things you’re passionate about. You are a relevant, money-making, HUGE demographic.
I’m 100% ready to give my money to the babes that deserve it in 2018. Are you?
I’ve been at a strange crossroads lately: I’m feeling older. Maybe not “old” , but definitely more mature. There are things I no longer think are appropriate for me to wear, nor do I particularly care to wear them. Mini dresses, crop tops, chokers, space buns – are they even called space buns still?
Basically, I would love to shop at Forever 21 but like, I can’t. Well – I do. But not for work and certainly not for formal events.
There was a time in college when, if I needed a dress – I would just run to Target and buy the first fit and flare I saw and it would totally work out. I’d go drinking, dancing and end up in a late night diner feeling totally cute.
Now I’m almost 30, I no longer smell like cigarettes and my priorities have changed. I’ll totally still rock a crop top and try out any sort of hairdo (yeah – even those space buns) but it’s more important for me to own functional outfits that work in the office as well as when I’m ready to play. Play is really low-key, actually. I like being in bed by MAX 11PM, and two cocktails makes me ridiculously sloppy.
That’s where Eloquii steps in. Eloquii feels professional without feeling stuffy. She’s modest but she isn’t frumpy. She’s bold, love color and drama – but the only thing dramatic about her is a balloon sleeve – not a fight with her ex in front of her Uber driver.
This entire outfit is from Eloquii – well, the two best pieces anyway. The coat and the sequin pencil skirt. The basic black tank is from Forever 21 (I’m not out of my twenties yet!).
I went to Catholic high school, so the concept of uniforms isn’t foreign to me. When I’ve got a job to do, I don’t always need to focus on a color scheme, texture story or let’s face it, the cutest ootd in the world. I’m a photographer, and when I shoot clients – I opt for the easiest uniform I know.
My black tee, my black leggings and my vintage Levi’s jacket.
The tee is from Asos Curve, the leggings are the cult faves from Torrid and the Levi’s jacket was mine long before I bought it. Okay, it’s from a vintage store I used to manage.
Btw- this is the outfit bae most routinely compliments me in – soooo I must be doing something right!
A trend I had been afraid of for a long time is definitely Joggers. I think fat women are told to look really tailored and streamlined when it comes to cuts of pants – in fear of looking “sloppy”. While I am typically a risk taker when it comes to fashion, I do still feel like I’ll look a bit unkempt when it comes to trying out athleisure.
When I’m nervous about my curves complimenting a certain look, I always make sure to outfit it with a third piece. These pink velvet joggers are definitely a statement, and if you – like me – are a bit uncomfortable with a statement piece on the bottom half of your body, you might do well with a thoughtful third piece. When I say “third piece” I usually mean a layering item : jacket, scarf, statement jewelry or hat. It makes a look more outfitted.
I chose a long line black parka with faux fur detailing on the hood to balance the drama of the bottom.
I’ve been struggling with my breasts lately. I️ had a breast reduction a few years ago, after a long hard battle with a lot of self-esteem issues I’ve had being busty since childhood. I️ had double-d cups since sixth grade and a g-cup when I️ became an adult. Around the time I️ moved to Los Angeles – Christina Hendricks was at the height of her Mad Men fame. I️ thought – well, she lives out here. Where does she buy her bras? After some googling, I️ found out where she shopped and treated myself to $700 worth of bras that actually fit me. Four bras.
Around that time,I️ was performing improv comedy three times a week at different theaters, having the time of my life. Around the same time, an improv teacher messaged me that he wished he could take my “big tits” out in one of the studios at the theater and on stage, a male performer made a one liner about my breasts being the size of Jupiter. I’ve had my breasts grabbed by strangers – male, female, old, young, straight, gay – you name it without my permission. I️ grew a brassy, sexually brazen personality to accommodate my sexually brazen body. My breasts were and are a huge part of my identity. I️ didn’t want to be known for them. I️ wanted to be funny.
I️ applied for a breast reduction the night I️ was made fun of onstage. I️ changed my body. I️ was happy at the time because it was a quick solution. My breasts were heavy and pendulous and I️ had to be tender when I️ lifted them out of my bra, but they didn’t give me back problems. I️ lied through my teeth about that. And now, as body positive as I️ have become I️ am sad that I couldn’t appreciate the natural beauty of my body. But my body is water, it is fluid and changing. I️ wear padded bras to balance out my hips. This is my daily struggle. This is my battle with self love. I️ am not perfect and I️ am by no means completely solid in my confidence. I’m crying as I️ write this because I️ wish it wasn’t on my mind as often as it is. I️ wish my confidence could be 100% bulletproof. If I️ can make one woman feel less alone though, I️ am happy.
There are a few things that make me feel a little more confident so I thought I’d share them with you:
• Shapewear! Ain’t nothing wrong with a padded bra or corset. When the outfit I’m wearing calls for it (like the dress I’m pictured in) I definitely get some great shapewear to make me feel a little more va va voom
• Remember What You Can Wear: When I scroll through a website and it seems most of the clothes only cater to large chested women – I’ll do something a little daring. Wear a bralette with a pair of high waisted jeans, go bra-less under my favorite T-shirt, or wear a barely there body suit with slight embellishments over the nipple. Celebrate what you love about your body with your clothes!
• Find Others Like You I shared my story and a lot of small chested plus size women came out of the woodwork. I also go and try and find women who look like me on Instagram. Seeing their body positivity, creative style and confidence always makes me feel SO much better.
I’m 29 years old, and I have had my share of boyfriends. Strangely enough, I’ve never opened up dialogue about my life’s story as a plus size woman with any of them. Sometimes having a specific conversation isn’t necessary : a lot of men will be vocal about liking your curvy body from the get-go, especially if you meet your special somebody online. My ex’s Tinder profile read “Curves are a plus” – which, in retrospect, is a pretty clever tag line.
When I was younger, I feared that my partners would be unhappily surprised when they would unwrap my body in the privacy of their darkened dorm rooms. I wish I had the good sense to realize that the opposite sex generally has a decent idea of what they’re getting into when they take you back to their place.
I’m in a relationship right now where the subject of my body type simply never came into conversation. Perhaps it’s because we met organically at a theater in which we both haunt and perform. Perhaps it’s because I’m dating a staunch feminist who listens to female fronted bands and suggests we walk out of a movie theater if the film objectifies women too grotesquely. If I’m going to pay respect to any specific characteristic we both noticed about one another early on – it was probably sartorial as opposed to carnal.
“You were the best dressed person I’ve seen at that theater” he said almost smugly like a talent scout describing their newest discovery.
Even more telling, the night before our first date (sushi, a burlesque show, vintage cocktails – I was down for the count) we spoke on the phone and gushed about our pre-selected outfits. Which consisted of saturated, patterned kimonos – respectively.
“Oh, we should look like 1960’s satanists!”
“But they would listen to tiki lounge music and love AstroTurf”
Months of spending time together walking through department stores gazing at Gucci bags as if we were at the Louvre looking at paintings eventually gave way to a very important romantic milestone : binge watching Project Runway on a laptop.
This season of Project Runway has been touted as being some sort of revolutionary opportunity to be more inclusive of women of all shapes and sizes. Their models ranged in sizes all the way up to size 22 (still unsure which model this is, to be honest). I was genuinely excited to watch this season and also prepared to see it as a very obvious self-congratulatory move on PR’s side. But, exposure is exposure. I’m ultimately happy these changes are being made, even if they do happen at a tortoise’s pace with sloppy execution.
Not too long into the episode, a designer was complaining about his model’s size and his inability to design for her. He’s a tall white cis-dude with a man bun, so he’s an obvious villain. We both yelled at the laptop during his talking head interviews (side bar: this guy has since grown to be my favorite contestant and his complaints about curvy models were limited to the first ten minutes of the season. He learned his lesson). As the episodes progressed, we witnessed a ton of other designers (who I thought would be tons more -cringe – woke) severely complain about designing for women with plus sized bodies.
It was an interesting perspective, how fearful these designers were. I finally saw aversion to fat bodies in a way that truly stood out as a phobia. I became very talkative and irate and shared personal experiences as we continued to watch. And I noticed that for the first time in my life, I was sharing my fat perspective – not my fat body with a partner.
I feel like fat women date archetypes. I’ve tried them all. In high school I dated the sweet nerdy guy who was president of the DDR club and drew cute manga style illustrations of me as a smiling plump, amply-chested school girl. In college I danced between a best friend who told me he could never talk to any girl the way he could talk to me and sexlessly slept in my bed while my hormones were satisfied by a crust punk drummer with “Hail Satan” tattooed on his inner lip. When I moved to California, I synched up with a vegan photographer who took me to roller derby matches and violently made me perform oral sex on him to a point where I left in the middle of the night in tears. A young comedy geek who spent nearly every night with me but still only referred to me as a writing partner when we were seen at dinner by our peers. A drummer (tbh, there are a few more drummers in the mix) who put his hand on my face and refused to kiss me during our intimate activities. When I moved home to Texas, I fell in love with a partner who used food and many other tactics to control me.
Relationships seemed destructive, painful and for people with a gym pass. (That’s dumb metaphor because I DO have a gym pass). When I wasn’t being treated as a non-sexual entity, I was being highly fetishized. That’s a bizarre space to work from and has probably had some cringe-y long lasting effects on how I utilize sex.
I remember a conversation that impacted me as a child. In seventh grade, a “best friend” of mine told me that I would just have to find a man who could see through my fat deep enough until he saw my personality.
It’s difficult to have a conversation about your body’s journey with a person who only sees you as a body.
After we spent a few days in the blue glow of the laptop, we ventured out to go shopping. (Did I mention we love to shop? We love to shop. Not always buy stuff, but definitely shop).
Up until this point, I had mostly accompanied him to look for apparel and we both love going to sniff cologne and perfume and try on hats – which neither of us look that great in. I always thought of taking friends to stores that suit my specific needs was a nuisance and selfish of me… I mainly shop by myself and find it to be meditative.
We went to an outdoor shopping mall that housed the fatshion mall-store trifecta: Forever 21+, Torrid and Lane Bryant. I wanted to grab and go, not waste our time and keep him away from the quicksand of the “man couch” .
I’ve never been shopping with a boyfriend for my clothes. I was scared of adverse reactions to seeing how othered my shopping experiences were, or I was afraid that their predilection toward women of a specific body type (IE: FETISHRY) would cause wandering eyes. My ex-boyfriend told me he used to “hang out” at Torrid to pick up women. So duhcourse, he was never invited to shop with me.
Without hesitation, current boyfriend was inexplicably patient, participatory and kind throughout my whole afternoon. I have no idea why I would expect otherwise. He got my bra size and was digging through lingerie drawers to help me find my specific fit and style choice, and then coming into the fitting room to give me actual feedback to help style me.
I had an emotional moment because I’ve had a breast reduction, and small-chested plus size women are not often catered to. The scarring has healed strangely on one breast and an ex had told me multiple times that I mangled and ruined my body. When I shop, it’s probably the most difficult part of the afternoon. I wear padded bras and pushup bras to accommodate the two-size difference between my upper and lower body. When I see hourglassy figures and ample chested big girl bombshells, I sometimes wonder if I made a mistake. Then I put on a jumpsuit with a plunging v-neckline and prance around in public braless and am happy once more. Ah, disco tits.
I almost cried.
He took my face in his hands and said “You’re perfect”. We carried on.
We returned home, watched more Project Runway, the I’m No Angel campaign from Lane Bryant and I got dressed.
I popped a button on the new top I bought from Lane Bryant (which deserves its own post because DAMN Lane Bryant is stepping up their game). He pulled a lovely brooch from his collection (MY BOYFRIEND HAS A BROOCH COLLECTION, ARE YOU JEALOUS OF HOW MUCH BROOCH ACCESS I HAVE NOW? WE SHARE JEWELRY AND SOMETIMES A PURSE, SUCK IT) and fastened it over my popped button.
It’s sort of a sickly sweet metaphor, isn’t it? I’ll let you piece it together because no matter how I write it, I won’t get it right.
I’m happy to have conversations about my body with other people of size. They get it. They understand how very much my day-to-day life has been shaped, how my personality has been coded, how my subconscious actions are all a reaction to how society has perceived and treated me.
To open someone else’s eyes to that has been frightening. I don’t think my parents even know how much even my tiniest movements (I reach for throw pillows when I sit on a sofa to hide my belly – something I began doing as a third grader and have been trying to stop doing as an adult) have come from a place of shame.
I am grateful that watching reality television on a laptop with a very wonderful person helped me grow exponentially in the last seven days. I never thought it would.