Fatshion, breaking the rules

Let’s talk about trying things on.

Yes, with plus size shopping, it’s kind of a bear. A lot of places only do mail order, or (like Old Navy) they only do mail order for you, you moocow. If every place were like Zappos, it’d be one thing, but they’re not. Shipping things around is expensive, and you never get that shipping money back. Besides, if you have a pretty good idea what looks good on you, why would you bother going outside your comfort zone?

Well, obviously if shipping costs are prohibitive for you, you shouldn’t risk it. But I’m finding that even at my advanced age, I can be completely surprised by what ends up working and what doesn’t. Case in point: I needed a fancy dress for a work function. I’ve always liked Kiyonna’s take on the LBD, but figured it would never work on me. See, I’ve got some rules — not Cosmo-style “never wear horizontal stripes” type rules (I totally do), but personal guidelines that I’ve developed over many years of wearing clothes. A few years ago I swore off V-necks in favor of scoops, on the theory that V-necks make me look like Agatha Trunchbull. The empire waist, I reasoned, is distracting in combination with my stick-out belly, in a way that’s likely to engender awkward questions. And I figured that a straight skirt would make it impossible for people to tear their eyes away from the lumpiness of my hips. I don’t need clothes to distract from my fat or the way my body is shaped; I don’t go in for that “camouflage,” “draw attention away,” “hide figure flaws” bullshit. But my cardinal rule is this: I want people to say either “what a vivacious girl” or “what a pretty outfit.” If what they’re saying is “what lumpy hips,” I’ve failed. I don’t need to hide my hips, but neither do I want them to be the star of the show. That’s my role.

Kiyonna LBD

Well, when it came to the Kiyonna dress, I turned out to be totally off the mark. (See photo — sorry about my Headless Fatty status, but right now I prefer to remain strictly pseudonymous, and the headlessness is me being paranoid.) Everything about this dress was wrong, at least as far as my preconceptions; it should have made me look like a distractingly broad-shouldered, big-bellied, lumpy person. Instead, I looked and felt like a freakin’ bombshell.

(Incidentally, those shoes are great, don’t you think? I love Mary Janes but the shtetl ankles look so much more graceful when the strap is lower on my foot. The black version is currently on sale at Nordstrom, in my size only. Do you think that’s a sign?)

Emboldened by this experience, I thought I’d try a dress from Igigi, with the typical Igigi shape. I’ve been in love with a number of their designs, but always held back because I assumed the empire waist would be terrible on me. Fresh off buying a Wrong In Every Way dress, though, I contacted Ozlem and offered to review the Brush Stroke Dress.

Now, let me say first that I basically love everything about this dress. The material is substantial (and it’sIgigi Brush Stroke dress lined, too — it’s not at all see-through even though white), the pattern is just gorgeous, and I could see it being incredibly versatile. Plus it comes with a little shrug, which maxes out the versatility — I actually ran off and ordered a shrug from Torrid immediately after trying this on, because I suddenly realized it was a necessary wardrobe element. And as soon as I put the dress on I could imagine it looking great on any number of fatties of my acquaintance. The Rotund, who’s a bit more pear-shaped than I am, could ROCK it. Kate would need to have it shortened, but it would play up the Rack of Doom while still offering decent coverage. But boy, did it not work on me.

I suppose there’s a chance that I just needed a bigger size — it feels like it fits great (and, I would have thought, true to size), but on the website model it seems to have a much fuller skirt. But if you see me in it, you don’t say “that’s a girl I want to know” or “that’s a dress I want to buy.” We don’t make each other interesting. I look blocky and matronly, because of where the waist and hem hit on me. So the dress, in turn, stops looking edgy and chic and starts looking a bit matronly as well. Even the super shoes don’t save it.

But now I know. I know that sometimes I’m right about empire waists on me, and sometimes I’m dead wrong. I know I would have to have Igigi dresses shortened, even though I’m taller than Kate. And most importantly, I know about this dress. I loved this dress in theory; I tried it; it didn’t work; and now I’m not left guessing.

Because of course, it’s not all about rules. Fashion rules, even your personal ones that you made up all by yourself with no help from magazines, are wrong at least some of the time, and you can’t know that unless you try. Of course, if you want some rules, there are places online that will help you figure out what will work on you before you buy — Igigi itself has its shape calculator, though there are only four questions, they’re a bit subjective, and Igigi tends to recommend most pieces for most shapes. On the other end of the work-intensiveness spectrum, MyShape wants tons of data from you about your measurements and style, at which point it spits out a bunch of shape recommendations and suggested clothing items (it reminds me of OkCupid that way — the more questions you answer, the better your matches). Their stuff is expensive and only sometimes cute, but they’ve got a reasonable number of plus options (at least in my size; someone bigger should try it out and let us know), and they have smiling glowing plus-size and inbetweenie women featured on the site. But even MyShape, with its numerous questions and probably complex algorithm to determine your size and shape and what will work best on you, offers a list of items “that fit you, but may not be your shape or align with your preferences” — just in case you feel like shaking it up.

So if you love something, try it out if you can — even if it breaks your personal rules. If online shopping is too costly, remember that this applies when thrifting too. Go out of your comfort zone; there are some brilliant discoveries out there, even if there are also a lot of flops. And if you want to try the Igigi dress above, you can use the code WRAP for a 10% discount (which should cover the cost of shipping it back if you don’t like it!).

Now I’m off to order this skirt, which I’m in love with. I think A-lines are pretty good on me, historically. I know Cosmo would say a fat girl shouldn’t wear white skirts, lest they embiggen their asses (and that YM would say it guarantees that I get my period while at the mall with a total hottie, which I’m much more concerned about). I don’t know what either of those are going to mean for this particular skirt. But I’ll find out.

66 thoughts on “Fatshion, breaking the rules

  1. FJ, I agree with you totally on the Kiyonna dress and the shoes. You are indeed rocking both and that dress looks wonderful on you. I disagree on the Igigi dress, though (I think it looks cute on your headless figure and I’m strongly biased in favor of black-floral-on-white dresses/skirts, of which I own two each), but you know your body and what feels right on it.

    As for white skirts, screw Cosmo. White skirts rock. They match almost everything. And if your cycle is regular, don’t wear the skirt to the mall during your “special” week. There, YM, problem solved. *dusts hands and moves on*

  2. I’ve figured that out for myself only recently. I used to have a lot of rules, but they didn’t even make sense. For example, I refused to wear anything pink until I realized that it happens to look good on me. Good thing I was given pink pajamas as a gift once or I might never have noticed …

  3. Oh, I’m strongly in favor of black-on-white floral too, which is why I liked the dress in the first place — I just think the high-waisted column look does nothing for me, nor I for it. (But I suppose I’m open to convincing… I just might need to write another post about breaking the rules and then soliciting opinions afterwards!)

  4. I assure you: you will get your period in that white skirt. The first time I wore a gorgeous white linen skirt I got my period and stained it. I was in church at the time. Now I always wear pantyliners with white skirts, whether it’s remotely close to my time or not. White skirts are more powerful than biology.

  5. FJ, I have been lusting big time after the dress you have on in the first photo. I’m trying to be a good little saver, so I’ve kept myself from buying it, but I think if I had anywhere at all to wear it, I’d be charging it in a heartbeat.

    You look beautiful in both though :) Wear it all in good health!

  6. I don’t think the Igigi dress looks as bad in that picture as you described. I do agree that the Kiyonna dress is the better choice, especially because of how it makes you feel (never underestimate how important how you feel in clothes is to how they look!). But if you don’t like the Igigi, then it’s not the dress for you, end of discussion.

    As for being dead wrong, I tried on a dress in Ross Dress For Less, of all places. It was a dress unlike anything I’d ever chosen: black, sleeveless (I’m of an age where large girls did NOT EVER bare their upper arms), somewhat raised waist, V-back, and a slight bubble skirt (not poufy, just an interesting gathered hem). But for some reason I tried it on anyway.

    And I spent what seemed like an hour staring in the mirror. It looked GREAT. Really great. It made me look chic and pulled together and curvy. The bubble hem even make my legs look great! I just couldn’t believe it. (Nor could I believe the price: $5.99.) I’ve worn this dress to great reviews, and I would have missed out on it if I hadn’t broken all my rules.

  7. I do also think there’s a chance I just need a bigger size and a hemming… but I’m also hoping the Kiyonna dress can stand in for all my fancy-pants needs in the near future.

  8. Is the sash crooked on the Igigi dress in the pic where you have it on? I was comparing it to the picture from their Web site, and it looks like it just needs some straightening out in your picture. Otherwise I think it looks great, but hey, just my jar o’pennies.

  9. I know the second dress might be for more fancyful occasions, but I could see it being shorter (knee lenght or just right above) and some flats, or even flip flops. I’m seeing sun dress , or that garden party dress when I look at it.

    and obviously the first dress is amazing! I like the shoes with the first one best.

  10. I think the Igigi dress looks fine, but you’re right — the Kiyonna dress looks *fantastic* on you.

    I’ve found the same thing about rules. There have been enough exceptions that I can’t help but think it’s not about the type but how well the type is made for my body. I do wish though that the current popularity of high-necked shirts would die — I’ve never found one that looked right on me.

  11. Love the shoes with the white skirt…. and I like both dresses on you, but again, you should choose what feels good on you. I’d love that lacy one myself :D
    I like those shoes of yours with the lacy one more, but they’re not bad with the other either.

    I needed a fancy dress once for some event or another and went to the plus size section of Macy’s (back when I was a 22, but had absolutely little hope that I’d find anything) and they had this blue silk dress…. I absolutely adored it, and I never would have picked it for myself by the shape of it, but it looked fabulous. It had a wide at the top skirt that tapered in toward the knees with a little slit in the back and with my big wide hips I thought this would be very unflattering, but it was great. It had a fitted bodice that buttoned up the front and a 40′s style collar sort of square with the rounded convex corners.

    ::sigh:: I wish I could still wear it, or find something as stunningly gorgeous. The silk was so light and shimmery and wonderful to touch.

  12. I wouldn’t say the second dress doesn’t work on you, it looks cute, but it’s not amazing like the first dress.

    I’ll try on anything in person, but when I’m doing online shopping, I do tend to stick to things I have reason to think will look good on me, because shipping things back is such a hassle.

  13. Wow, I don’t usually go for organic prints, but I’m loving the Brush Stroke dress…

    I hadn’t heard the term “shtetl ankles” before, but I’m tempted to steal it. Do you have to be Jewish to have them? ;)

  14. I definitely agree with rule breaking, particularly while thrifting. If you’re crafty, the worst result is you get some fabric for pillows or a base for new and improved reconstructed garments. It’s the biggest dress up stash ever. Mmm, I have an almost unnatural love for thrift stores.

  15. I like the Brush Stroke Dress more, I think it really fits you well. The empire waist itself isn’t a bad idea, but the black stripe could have been lowered to draw the eye to your natural waist and your hips, it would have taken some of the “matronly” look out of it. If I had your hips, I’d put neon signs up around me that said “Look at my hips! Worship them!” Barring that, some sort of trendy super skinny belt might do the trick.

    You’re rockin both dresses tho. I wish I could look that hawt in all-over lace, on me it’s the most dowdy thing ever.

  16. FJ, add my voice to the “actually, that Igigi dress looks good on you” chorus. But, having said that, regardless of how good WE think it looks on you, if you’re going to be uncomfortable wearing it, then that rules it out right there.

    And I totally agree with everything you wrote. It’s pretty much the same thing that happened to me last Thursday when I went thrifting and got that green skirt/blue top combo (that I posted on Friday). Normally, even if that top had said “size 20″, I wouldn’t have bothered trying it on because I didn’t think those kinds of tops would look good on me. But I was in a “what the hell” kind of mood that day, so even though I didn’t think it would work, I tried it on anyway… and it looks pretty good, even if I do say so myself.

    The thing is, if we’ve never actually tried a particular style on, how do we REALLY know it’s not going to work? Hypotheses are great, but until you physically try something on and get a good look at it, you’re never going to truly KNOW whether or not it looks good on you. And you just might be surprised. :)

  17. I gotta say, I must be breaking all the rules or something. Because I took that myshape thingy, filled in all the boxes, and hated EVERYTHING that is apparently “my” style.

    Seriously, with these hips and breasts, and this nipped in waist, the utterly shapeless, high-cut, hanging-off-the-top-of-boob tunics are NOT good!

  18. The empire waist itself isn’t a bad idea, but the black stripe could have been lowered to draw the eye to your natural waist and your hips

    Yeah, I’d be all over it if the stripe were lower — it’s partly the fact that it breaks up into such uneven sections that I think makes it not work on me (but it would work on someone with, say, a bigger rack — or someone with bigger hips who wanted to play that up).

    Meowser, the sash isn’t crooked — I am!

    Mickey, I think you have to be Jewish to actually have shtetl ankles, but probably not to describe them that way. :)

    Y’all are right that the dress isn’t that bad on me — the point was better made with a little exaggeration! And the print sure is to die for. I wish it were a skirt, though.

  19. I tried the Igigi calculator and except for my butt, which is wide and flat instead of round and prominent, it got my shape right on.

    I like the second dress on you, but the first dress is something that I would actually wear. I do not do sleeveless in public, despite FA’s cries of embracing your big fat arms. Not only are my upper arms flabby, they’re filled with scars and non-cancerous moles. I will do a cap sleeve though.

  20. I think you have to be Jewish to actually have shtetl ankles, but probably not to describe them that way. :)

    I keep meaning to throw out this useless piece of information, but I forgot.

    Ankles like that are called “cankles” here in the UK. My SIL – a perfect size 10 (8 US) is often bemoaning her cankles. Personally, I think her legs still look nice, but I can see where that might be an “issue” (for lack of a better word) for those people that HAVE them.

  21. the way i was raised w/ clothes selection (rural south, natch), one does not “camoflouge the flaws”– as that would be admitting that one has flaws (hehehe)– but rather to shop for clothes that play up one’s natural beauty and to highlight one, or no more than two, body aspects you feel real good about at the time

    :)

  22. They’re called cankles here too, but it’s a negative term that I don’t prefer to apply to my own body.

  23. That white skirt is really fucking cute, but I must say I don’t care for the copy. “Wear this and you’ll get sexually harassed!” Sounds like fun!

  24. Oh god, I know. Yay, wolf whistles! And Sex and the City! Say more stuff I generically relate to, then go to a wedding!

  25. *Love* the Kiyonna dress – wicked hot! And I know you can’t tell everything from a picture, but I’m joining the “yay brush stroke Igigi” chorus too. Forgive the boob-watching, but the cut of the dress makes your girls look super high! (Hooray for 18th-century boobs!)

  26. I thought this was about *fat* people. You look like I used to when I considered myself to be skinny – years ago. Both dresses look wonderful on you, but the second one is best in my opinion, for what it’s worth.

    Actually, I’m blown away by finding this website – especially loved the (non) rules and was surprised to find that I was smiling all the way through reading them.

    I’m fed up with Stepford Wives, competitive airhead blogs. I’m off to read more of this REAL site and I….shall….r-e-t-u-r-n!

  27. I agree breaking your own rules is the best way to be pleasantly surprised when clothes shopping. One of my favourite pastimes with friends was to go into a shop and pick out outfits for each other to try on. (I’m an inbetweeny so I can just about manage to go for straight sizes) It often had hilarious results but sometimes my friends and I discovered something they never would have considered.

    one of the biggest rules I rarely EVER break is anything with seams on the bustline. oh god, do I ever hate that phenomenon, it has ruined many a gorgeous top for me! I have a couple of tops that Ive loved so much that I HAD to check and make sure, and bought them in the end because they worked. Empire waisted stuff too, i usually end up having to wear a top underneath just to hide my bra, because while the seam sits under my boobs theres not enough fabric above to keep me covered!

    Makes me think, however, that many of my fashion rules are due to how shops cut the clothes. Having clothes that are baggy or tight or with seams in odd places isnt down to the style, and if it were cut to fit our particular figures they many in fact look totally awesome.

    I really feel for those that don’t have much option other than mail order, one of the most important parts of shopping for clothes, for me, is that I try them on. Sometimes even things you think will work look unexpectedly awful. I’ve been so put off from buying something when the delivery cost is too high and there’s no guarantee of being able to return it without cost if it doesn’t fit – having to risk that practically every time you want good clothes must be a nightmare! Im already sort of there with bras. If it were not for figleaves’ awesome returns policy I’d be stuck with the most awful old and ill fitting undergarments.

    Also, for a second I thought you said the first dress was awful and I stared at the picture and thought: NO ITS NOT?! Then I learned to read. I also don’t think the second dress is so bad either, but definitely not as flattering as the first one!

  28. OH MY GOD that first dress looks breathtaking!! It looks like it’s made for a smaller cup, is that an optical effect of the dress, or do you think a Rack of Doom(TM) would overflow?

  29. Hey, FJ, for that kind of money I’d be super-picky about what the dress looked like (and felt like) on me, too. I don’t think I’ve ever spent $155 (plus shipping!) on a dress in my life. (Not even for my wedding! I rented that sucker!) I’m pretty sure my all-time record was $120, for a one-off purchase of a dress from Splash Wearable Art in San Diego a couple of years ago (no online ordering, I had to get it while I was there — but for anyone who’s into hippie-batik stuff, it’s a must-visit). Although did you say they were giving it to you free, as a “review” copy? That’s some deal.

  30. Although did you say they were giving it to you free, as a “review” copy?

    It’s just free for the time during which I’m reviewing it. :) If I wanted to keep it, I’d have to pay for it.

    Em, I think it might work better on a Rack of More Doom than Mine (I’m roughly a 38F). I mean, you’d get a little cleavage, but it would be great. It’s definitely built for coverage.

  31. You look incredible in the first dress. And second one– it’s fine, but I feel pretty strongly that clothes that look “fine” are not worth it, whether they cost $5 or $150. You won’t want to wear them, and if you do wear them, you’ll feel all lumpy and bunchy and not-quite-right all day. But the lacy one? Looks like it’s a great fit, and is so cute! So foxy! So ultra-flattering!

    My comment on the whole empire-waist thing: my own Rack of Doom and I are sooooo over it. In theory, I can see why that shape is supposed to be flattering. In real life, that seam that’s supposed to go under the bust lands somewhere on the bottom half of the bust. Not flattering. If I do find something that might possibly have enough bust-capacity, the shoulders are invariably way too wide.

    Same story with “faux” wrap tops/dresses, although the ones that really do wrap are genius. I think Kate has made this same observation– they are my New Favorite Thing. Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to find the faux version.

    The most-hated trend, though, has to be the smock. Who thought this was a good idea?

  32. When I’m in the US I often get the opportunity to try styles on I don’t see in my size in the UK. Even if I’m 90% sure they won’t flatter me I’ll try them on anyway, simply because, for once, I can. And, on occasion, I have been agreeably surprised. After all, what have you got to lose?

  33. Fillyjonk, I just wanted to say that I agree with you re: the second dress. When I saw that pic I thought, “Cute dress, cute body, but the two seem to bear almost no relationship to each other.” Whereas the first… yowza.

    It’s so funny this should come up, though, because I also just found an empire waist dress that I was shocked to discover looks SMOKIN’ on me! It’s green with cream polka-dots, chiffon, with an empire waist and a same-pattern ruched sash-type thing under the boobs, and then a really nifty kind of shake-shake-wiggle-wiggle A-line jobby from there down. I love it because it looks classy/demure and sexy both.

    Before this dress I too thought that empire waists, with my high natural waist and abundant belly, would make me look pregnant or ready for bed. (And I mean that not in the come-hither sense, but in the what-do-you-mean-it’s-eight-PM-already-cuz-I-never-even-got-out-of-my-pajamas-today-you-know-the-cotton-bedtime-bear-printed-jersey-knit-ones-with-the-stains-on-them-oh-well-another-day-wasted-yawn-g’night sense.) But it turns out I look like one hot retro classy lady. At least in this dress. Woot!

  34. I have not yet found an empire waist that works on me, although I so wish they would. (I want to be Lizzy Bennet when I grow up!) Alas, Hips of Doom and a narrow waist mean that I look pregnant in empire waists, even though my abdomen doesn’t stick out much.

    Not that I’d care if people thought I looked pregnant if I were . . . oh, hell, I think I’ve talked myself out of caring how I look in empire waists. *sigh*

    The first dress is pretty awesome, though. I love the lace!

  35. Fillyjonk I think both dresses look really cute on you seriously you have such a beautiful shaped body…

    BUT if you’re uncomfortable in it then well there isn’t much that can be done. But just an FYI I think you look very gorgeous… if I were a man I’d TOTALLY hit on you in either dress :-)

    All this talk of clothing though made me realize though how kind of lucky I am… I’m an inbetweener so I’m lucky in the fact I can go to a store and find clothes sometimes easily…. besides I got blessed by the body shape gods in the fact I have an hour glass figure and as long as it doesn’t cling to my belly I’m usually OK…(I got rolls and I just feel weird when I got stuff clinging to it.)

    Anyway this is random but since it’s Shapely Prose and we all talk about how bad BMI is, I got into an argument with my boyfriend about why the Wii Fit was bad for kids because it gives them a bad body image. So we calculated my daughters BMI and it says she’s overweight! I was like WTF? She’s like actually fairly thin… I was like “And that is why BMI is a bunch of bullshit”

    But then this is the same test that says I’m “obese” >_> what a load of crap-o-la man for serious

  36. Sweet Machine confirmed my feelings on the second dress and its proportions on me (“it makes your tits look smooshed up high”), so it occurs to me that the disconnect may be just that you guys don’t really know what I look like normally!

  37. For the record, I’m a 30/32 on the bottom and a 26/28 on the top and filled in every MyShape question (I knit and sew so I keep a ton of my measurements up to date and written down), and the only thing it spit back at me was a crochet bolero that I found hideous. ;D

  38. Tee hee hee, I’ve just been reading about all the Racks/Thighs/Hips of Doom and without my intending to my inner narrator read one as “rack of DAMN!” Which I kind of like.

  39. Oh, I just saw an absolutely adorable dress at Lane Bryant yesterday, if you can believe it. here

    It’s much cuter in person than in the picture. I did one of those “want want want want’ mind drools at it, but I don’t have dresses in the budget right now and nowhere to wear something cute like that anyway.

  40. Thanks Alix — useful info. It doesn’t surprise me too much, of course, because getting people to carry sizes up to a 32 or even a 26 seems to be like pulling teeth (although I was surprised by how much reasonably cute stuff there was at onestopplus.com). I’m sorry you had to spend all that time putting in info fruitlessly, though!

    If MyShape had cuter stuff, I would say that we should contact them about their size limitations. As it is, our energies are probably best spent chiding B&Lu for its sudden reduction in range.

  41. chiding B&Lu for its sudden reduction in range.

    Wait, when did that happen? I missed this news.

  42. Yeah, a lot of the new stuff seems to go up to like a 24 tops. I didn’t notice either because they hadn’t had anything I liked in a while, but some other fatties pointed it out. They do have a promise on the site that there will be new offerings up to a 5x soon.

  43. I covet that first dress, and I am built very, very similarly to you FJ. Hmm….
    On a totally unrelated note, I showed Mr. Counsel the Sarah Haskins’ Yogurt report because I thought it was so, so funny and he goes “oh, Sarah, I grew up with her.” Turns out they’re from the same neighbourhood in Chicago and spent their entire childhood playing soccer together. So I almost know an almost-celebrity!

  44. Nice to see more 26/28′s and above here. Depending on the cut, I can sometimes get into size 22/24, but my actual size is a 26/28 (I will do a 30/32 if I shop at Walmart or Target because their clothes tend to run small, and sometimes Fashion Bug too).
    I really don’t have a problem finding things in my size unless I hit the clearance racks, because the biggest stuff does go first. But last Sunday, I was able to find at Lane Bryant three tops for 8.99. Yesterday, I bought a plain purple crewneck shirt at Target for 9.99.

    I would love to get some more dresses. When it gets hot and humid in Maryland (today it will reach 100 degrees by the time I get off work), I prefer to wear skirts and dresses to let my big ol’ body air out. Today I’m wearing a gauzy blouse and capris so I’m pretty cool. I have my eye on a nice cotton shirtdress in a pretty wild berry color from Roaman’s, for 24.99.

  45. That first dress was super hot on you!

    I have to say that the thing I love about thrift shopping is that I tend to give myself a lot more leeway to try on anything that catches my fancy. Not so, if I’m shopping online. I am very leery about the clothes shopping online.

  46. Yeah, a lot of the new stuff seems to go up to like a 24 tops.

    Honestly, you size 26+ people aren’t missing out on anything. Their new stuff is all really poor quality. Like, it’s made out of the cheapest polyester I’ve ever seen/felt. You’re better off shopping at Walmart. It’s a shame too, because their old stuff is so cute. (I got the lotus skirt on clearance and love it – it’s the only thing in my recent order I’m not sending back).

  47. That’s what I heard — that it seems like they’re buying up the stock of the cheapie Forever 21 for Fatties stores, which we already have and do not need B&Lu to become one of. Go back to the high quality stuff, B&Lu!

  48. I actually think the 2nd dress looks pretty great on you, FJ, and I don’t think you look “blocky” or “matronly”….though I agree about having it shortened, and maybe pegged in around the lower half. But it’s hard to tell from only one angle!!

    I have a moonlight job in a plus-size clothing store, and yeah, women have lots of “rules” that I wish they’d start breaking! I LOVE it when customers let me choose clothes for them to try on, and I am forever telling women, “It doesn’t cost anything to try it.” (Well, it might if you are online shopping! ;)) I don’t mind any of the work of finding and then re-hanging the clothes, if only they’ll try stuff on. I have seen so many “surprising” things happen when a woman gets on a piece of clothing that she never tried before, or that she thinks is bad for her….EVERY piece of clothing fits a little differently – sometimes even the exact same item of clothing, depending on which batch it was made with. Finding something you love to wear takes time, but it’s so important to know: it’s not YOUR body, it’s the way the clothes are made for generic bodies.

    I so desire for women to stop focusing on only their so-called “bad” parts in the mirror….I know, I know, and I can relate, but I just want to hug them and tell them they are beautiful. Thank god/dess I read this blog all the time, b/c it emboldens me and I think it must be getting through to some of them – I seem to be the only sales associate in the store who’s never sold a pair of Spanx. :P

  49. YM would say it guarantees that I get my period while at the mall with a total hottie, which I’m much more concerned about

    Dude, I know I would. That’s just how my life works.

    Or I’d accidentally wear neon pink undies.

  50. I hate* posts like this, because, once again, it turns out my mom was right. For a long time I only tried on clothes that I was “sure” would fit me, which meant I bought a lot of unfitted and (in retrospect) frumpy clothes. Mom, bless her, kept suggesting I try on other styles, but I was resistant. Part of that was petty defiance (which still rears it’s head occasionally, even though I’m now a 40-something) and part of that was discomfort with the shape of my body. Only after lurking at fatshionista for a long while finally got it through my head that I should find clothes that fit me, rather than pining for a different body.

    * And by hate, I really mean love.

  51. Dude I know, it sucks when your mom turns out to be right all along. Hopefully she’s gracious about it.

  52. Aside from the occasional ribbing, she doesn’t remind me too often. I do wish she’d take the advice herself though. I’m trying to help her get out of her own “I won’t shop for clothes until I lose weight” mindset, but no suggestions (or links) from me have seemed to do the trick. I suppose it’s hard for her to change after 40 years of thinking that way.

  53. Fillyjonk, they’re not dresses but Utsav Sarees do allow you to change the length of the items they sell. (I’m shopping for salwar kameez, and it’s possible to order garments in up to 72-64-80 and specify the length of the top so you could, effectively, order a dress and get a pair of trousers with it…) The only drawback is that they can take a few weeks to ship.

    I prefer the first dress on you, but they’re both gorgeous.

  54. Hi fillyjonk,
    I think I have those shoes (Fornarina?), and I love them because they have unexpected heels and also good rubber soles that make the knees applaud. HOWEVER…

    When you say that they couldn’t save the dress, I think they have the opposite effect. From my POV the dress is a knockout (the cut and color make your skin GLOW), but what you’re seeing might be because of the shoe choice? This dress is deceptively simple, and it creates high enough expectations that staid shoes don’t do it any favors. For example, say you’re not going to run out and buy Louboutin heels, which might be even better – if you had some kicky red (on the orange side of red – not the blue or pink side) heels, maybe satinate or some fabric because red leather is the wrong color – maybe with an open toe, even – the balance would totally shift. Red lips, black clutch or maybe gold, either one big honkin ring or a strand of thick, black vintage “pearl” beads, and you’re a screen siren.

    Of course, I don’t suggest you work really hard to make a dress you don’t really like that much work – it’s all about how you feel, obvs – but also, if it’s not quite right, don’t let your futzing stop at the dress. I think this dress is crying out for imaginative accessories.

  55. Buxombrunette, I’d rather avoid the cultural appropriation question and just go to a tailor (or bust out the sewing machine). :)

    Becca, but those shoes ARE red! I see where you’re going with this, though.

  56. Odd, I’ve never thought of wearing clothes with no religious connotations as appropriating a culture. In this case, the company in question supplies some items that are actually tailored towards the western market – trouser-kameez suits, for example. And I wouldn’t tell an Indian woman she couldn’t wear a fair isle sweater…

    (FWIW, I’m mixed race, so can wear what I like :p )

  57. After wearing mainly baggy clothing most of my life I decided (after watching too many episodes of “What Not To Wear”) to start wearing more body conscious clothing. Yep, stepped out of my comfort zone and am I glad. It’s so true, one does look better in clothing that shows the shape rather than looking like a blob.

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