I just ordered my first Igigi wrap dress, because they’re having a 30% off sale through tomorrow (coupon code: JULY), and that was the final push I needed.
Ever since I started hanging out at Fatshionista, I’ve been hearing about the miraculous Igigi wrap dresses. I mean, everybody’s been making wrap dresses over the last couple of years (hallelujah to that), and there are some great ones out there for much cheaper — I’ve got a couple from Target, and every Fatshionista except me apparently got one from Old Navy last year. But for fat girls, Igigi is the gold standard. Owning an Igigi wrap dress is, so I hear, cause to bust out the champagne and weep softly in disbelief at your good fortune. Diane von Furstenburg may not be interested in catering to us, but Igigi comes through with fantastic quality and cut for a third of the cost.
This is what I have heard. Fingers crossed that it will turn out to be true.
I’ve been stockpiling wrap dresses lately (also recently snagged this one and this one), because by now, this trend has reached critical mass, and one assumes it will soon be disappearing on account of ubiquity. Which means I will soon be woefully out of fashion in my many wrap dresses.
But you know what? I’ll still look hot, so I’m okay with that. There is no cut in existence — except perhaps a fitted boatneck bodice with a full skirt — that does as much for my figure. And there is no cut in existence that looks worse on me than a trapeze dress, so I shall be sitting out that trend, just as I sat out the skinny jeans one. It’s not about being fat — I’ve seen photos on Fatshionista of women looking smokin’ in both those things, as well as many other cuts that would look ridiculous on me. It’s about the way I’m built: short, booby, assy. Any top or dress without a defined waist, any pair of pants that doesn’t balance out my thighs, just looks like hell.
And I am old enough now to know it is better to look good than to be in fashion — and that the two are often mutually exclusive.
The fact that it took me so long to figure that out is a testament to how much women are expected to sublimate awareness of their own bodies to the expectations of observers. For years, I fretted about being judged out of touch, provincial, frumpy, etc., if I didn’t try to keep up with current trends. Yet the inescapable fact is, unless you are built like a model — and there’s a reason why they say models are meant to be “hangers” — you will look like an idiot in at least 50% of current trends. We all know how the pendulum swings in fashion — first curves are emphasized, then straight lines, then back again; first boobs, then legs, then back again; first bright colors, then neutrals, then back again. But since all of us are locked into particular body shapes and skin tones, there’s no way we can wear it all equally well. And “classic” items, we all know, are for our grandmas — except when a “classic” item fits in with a current trend. (The wrap dress! A classic! Until we all get sick of it and put it on ice for another 20 years!) So unless you’re among the very few women who can make most things look pretty much like they do on the hanger, you’re going to be out of style about half the time.
It’s perversely democratic, in a way. Almost everybody gets a turn, and almost everybody gets left out sometimes. The problem is, when it’s your turn to be left out, you’re not supposed to think, “Okay, I’ll just wait a few years for the pendulum to swing back.” You’re supposed to think, “WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?”
Fuck that, sez me. I am going to rock the wrap dresses until they fall off of me — which is one reason why I shelled out for the Igigi and Sweet Pea ones, because frankly, I don’t expect the Target ones to last until the trend comes back and I can buy more. I’ve also finally started giving myself permission to buy more than one when I find an item I really love, whenever I can afford it — I have 5 of these, 2 of these (both bought very much on sale), and 3 of these, for instance. I used to think buying clothes in bulk like that would just be obscene — not to mention boring — but the fact is, I wear the shit out of all those things, and if I know that realistically, I’m going to reach for a particular skirt 5 times as often as I reach for any other skirt, I might as well have it in 5 different colors.
Being realistic about what I look good in and what I actually wear — as opposed to what I admire every time I open my closet but only put on once a year at most — has completely changed my approach to fashion. Instead of buying anything that looks sort of okay and fits the budget, I now force myself to reject anything that doesn’t look fabulous, and buy as many as possible of anything that does, so I’ll have plenty to wear during the lean (ha! I’m funny!) times, trend-wise. My closet is still in transition, and I still wear a lot of sort-of-okay stuff when nothing else is clean, but the goal is to eventually divest myself of everything that doesn’t make me feel terrific when I put it on.
And that part — the feeling terrific part — can be way too easy to overlook. There is such a difference in how I carry myself and how comfortable I feel all day (physically and emotionally) when I’m wearing something I think I look good in, as opposed to something that merely covers my underwear and keeps me from freezing to death. When I think something makes me look as good as I possibly can, I am just fucking happier. (And accepting that is how I justify spending more money on stuff that’s made well and really flatters my body — it’s cheaper than adding another antidepressant.)
So I’m a clothes horse of the first water, but I’m afraid I will never be a true fashionista; I’m far more interested in wearing clothes that fit properly than in demonstrating my knowledge of what was on the runways 10 minutes ago. On the downside, it means I’ll never get a job at Vogue, but on the plus side (ha! still funny!), it means I’ll look and feel hot all the time.
I can live with that.