Friday fluff: Style inspiration

One of the best things you can do for your sense of self-worth is stop reading “women’s” magazines. They have to sell you figuratively on your own “imperfections” in order to literally sell you the beauty products that are their raison d’etre. Throwing those magazines away — or canceling your subscription, or reading Newsweek instead of Glamour in the waiting room — cuts off one source of the fat hatred and misogyny that pervade so much of our culture.

Once you’ve broken off ties to the mainstream beauty machine, you might find yourself looking around for other sources of style inspiration. Here, as in so many aspects of life, the internets come through for us. There’s Fatshionista on LJ, of course, which can be a little unruly now that it’s got so many members but which is a great place to see fabulous fatties rock their own styles (and to get cheap duds on Friday sales posts). Fatshionista.com’s impeccably stylish Lesley has been doing “outfitblogging” posts, which feature pictures of recent outfits and thoughtful musings on her own style sources. And to complete the trifecta, there’s a Fatshionista Flickr group, which has over 2,000 photos to inspire your wardrobe (and where you can see Lesley, Joy Nash, stitchtowhere, and other friends of SP!).

If you’re okay with style resources that aren’t fat-focused, there are a ton of street style blogs out there. The Sartorialist is the grandaddy of all street fashion blogs, but if you want a more radical take on fashion, check out Hel Looks, which brings us street fashion from Helsinki, Finland. There’s also the new Advanced Looks, which features street fashion, oldster-style. My personal favorite style stop, though, is Flickr’s Wardrobe Remix — I love it because anyone can post to it, and there are so many creative dressers out there. You see a lot of glamorous thin people, true, but you also see fatties and inbetweenies and nerds and weirdos. If you feel overwhelmed by the sheer hugeness of the Flickr pool, check out Bits & BobbinsWardrobe Remixers of the Week (currently on maternity hiatus, but check out the great archive).

And, of course, let’s not forget Catorialist, for the discerning feline.

Where do you get your style inspiration?

61 thoughts on “Friday fluff: Style inspiration

  1. I’ve always wanted to start a Portland street fashion blog… since I work in the Pearl and I’m right near the Art Institute I always see so many interestingly dressed people, mostly thin, but sometimes fat :)

    I’d be way too shy to ask someone if I could take their picture though… I’m such a weenie.

  2. Why did you show me Catorialist?! I have work to do, darn it! Now I’ll have to lose hours in kitties!

  3. My personal favorite style stop, though, is Flickr’s Wardrobe Remix — I love it because anyone can post to it, and there are so many creative dressers out there.

    Okay, this is a cool site. And it’s inspiring me to buy more tights in colors other than black and brown. Maybe I’ll buy some plum ones that would look good with lots of stuff.

    I’ve been afraid to wear tights for years because I always thought I looked lousy in them, but I’ve decided to go for it this fall because they seem to be everywhere and they look cute on all sorts of women, with all different body types. I wore my black pair yesterday with a denim skirt and worried that I would look weird, but my husband (who has no problem calling me out if my outfit is weird, and is usually right) said they were fine, and then a friend told me that he liked my outfit. AND my legs didn’t freeze. So yay, tights!

    Maybe I’ll go back to Macy’s and buy the gray pair with the rose and sage green argyle print I was drooling over a couple of weeks ago. Those would look cute with my black T-straps and a skirt.

  4. In terms of magazines, I’ve become quite fond of Lou Lou, the Canadian version of Lucky. They use ‘plus-size’ models (in the modelworld sense of ‘size 4 and up’- in the last issue was girl who was at least a size 8!). They list the sizes that the clothing comes in. Their website has a plus-size section, though it’s hampered by the fact that it’s sponsored by Addition-Elle//XMX/Pennington’s. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than most!

  5. I gave up magazines when I started blogging and reading blogs three years ago, and I haven’t missed them. Blogs are just so much better.

    As for online style I also like the Sartorialist. My guilty secret is the Go Fug girls.

  6. I’ve always been a fan of dresses/tights/cardigans, but I had really internalized the belief that whatever my preferred style, I couldn’t rock it as a fat person – either the clothes were unavailable or they looked terrible on me or I just “shouldn’t” wear whatever it was that I longed to wear. So to that end, Fatshionista Lesley is pretty much my fashion hero. We are similar in age, life circumstances, and aesthetic and she always looks great to me, even when I don’t like a particular item personally.

    One of my biggest hurdles in accepting my own fat was getting over this idea that I was doomed to a lifetime of wearing clothes that felt wrong to me. Seeing that I don’t have to do that, and then acting on that realization, has been an astounding boon to my self esteem.

    Fatshionista (LJ, .com, and the Flickr pool) are definitely sources of inspiration to me, and have provided great information on where to shop as well as encouraged me to be more creative with the clothes I already have. Then I come to work and people actually compliment my style (a coworker told me on Monday that she loves the way I dress! Me! That was so cool) and I feel like a million bucks.

  7. I wore my black pair yesterday with a denim skirt and worried that I would look weird

    Perspective: Black tights and a denim skirt is pretty much my default outfit when I the occasion calls for something casual and conservative.

    My guilty secret is the Go Fug girls.

    Hi. My name is ottermatic and I’m a feminist gofugyourselfaholic. Their view on fashion is way more conservative than mine, but they are very sound about the fundamentals.

  8. I work at Lane Bryant, so I suppose I get fashion sense from there. I don’t really do the whole layering thing they’ve had going on for years, but they do have some good shirts.

    This isn’t related to the topic, but I would like to see a post of how crazy it is that every Halloween costume has to have the word “Sexy something” next to it for women. It’s kind of pissing me off, especially when I’m looking for a plus-size costume that isn’t skanky or $60.

  9. Fatshionista has made me realise that I am allowed to wear styles that I thought I never could. Posting photos on there has really liberated the way I feel about dressing. I can allow my belly to show through my clothes without disguise, and my midriff isn’t actually the size of the UK so I can wear things tighter than I thought was allowed. In fact when I post pictures, people often comment that my tops are too long or too baggy “hiding my shape”. it’s an education as I never thought I had a “shape to hide”!

    The dreaded side-view is still an issue though – front and back views, I have a waist, but side view is semi-pregnant. Still I keep posting pics to try and get used to the fact that “this is actually what I look like”

  10. My current style icon is Dr. Temperance Brennan (played by Emily Deschanel) on Bones. I really like her wardrobe of classic basics dressed up with funky accessories. I love that look and it’s one I’ve been working toward for a few years now.

  11. My guilty secret is the Go Fug girls.

    I read GFY obsessively. In fact, it’s my only source of celebrity gossip, so I know next to nothing about well-dressed celebrities!

    wiscck, WORD on Bones. I love how Brennan dresses! I love how her character wears big chunky necklaces and femme-y jackets.

  12. it’s my only source of celebrity gossip

    Mine too — half the time I have no idea who they’re talking about, but at least I’ve heard the name because of GFY. Remember when we used to actually know what was going on in entertainment?

    And I don’t think there’s anything antifeminist about GFY. They don’t rip people for their looks — I find that their attitudes towards individual entertainers personally are often beyond kind and into the “compassionate and protective” category, with of course a few exceptions. They just like people to look good. Except when they really delight in them looking wacky.

  13. Bah, too lazy to log in and edit the post… my point was that they don’t rip people for their physical looks (though granted there’d be a bit much “eat a sandwich” for me if we were talking about people with normal jobs and not people whose contract specifies regular syrup-and-cayenne fasts), and often hyperpraise people for their good qualities. They come off as “we love you and want you to dress in nice things that make everyone see how pretty/handsome you are.” I find them more motherly than catty.

  14. I’m just getting into fashion recently, after years of thinking, “Oh, I could never wear [incredibly long list of clothing],” and being stuck in a rut because of it. I am a bit nervous about color–in a way, even though I’m often the invisible fat girl, I’m afraid to try to change that and make myself noticeable. I’ve been checking out Fatshionista lately. This site has made me aware of plus-size clothing websites I had no idea of before. The B&Lu dress I ordered on impulse because it was inexpensive and cute fits me perfectly, but I am nervous to wear it because it isn’t baggy. I live in loose clothing, far more loose than I really need for comfort, and wearing something that follows the outlines of my body instead of obscuring them is really scary.

  15. i-geek said: Okay, this is a cool site. And it’s inspiring me to buy more tights in colors other than black and brown. Maybe I’ll buy some plum ones that would look good with lots of stuff.

    I have the same issue with color! I’ve always been way conservative about the colors I buy and wear, in clothes, tights and shoes. I must have a million pairs of black pumps. And I love tights so much but I can’t get over the feeling I’d look silly if I wore some funky patterned ones that I always think look so cute on others.

    I even have an ultra conservative “mom” hair do and I’m not even 30. Can I be saved? :-)

  16. Looking at the photos on fatshionista has been one of the most educational experiences of my entire life.

    I think I was simply blinded, before. When the size 14s started getting too tight, I felt like I was falling off some kind of abyss into a dark unknown world, where I’d have to get dressed with my eyes half closed and in the dark forevermore.

    And looking at the gorgeous fatshionista girls was like turning on the light.

    What’s pretty interesting to me is that I don’t feel fat anymore, most of the time, because I think the feeling I had thought was the feeling of ‘feeling fat’ was actually the feeling of ‘my clothes are too tight and I am falling off the edge of acceptability into the abyss’.

    But now neither of those things are true, and while I suppose I am still kind of fat, most of the negative connotations of that have been surgically sliced from my mind, it feels like. Oh, and now, when I go shopping, pretty much every item I take to the changing rooms actually fits me. Some are even too big. I am looking with my eyes, not with my wishes/fear. Plus, I never knew I could/should wear belts and now I see how many of the things I wear are actually improved by a belt and some form-fittedness. Who knew?

    I owe it all, or a great deal of it anyway, to the fatshionista girls. Yes, way preferable to fashion mags, although somehow I can look at those now too without feeling excluded. I just concentrate on colors and textures and stuff like that.. basic sihlouettes (sp?).. I mean, we’re not supposed to take those things literally, anyhow, are we?

  17. I also love GFY, and for the most part they’re usually right on the money, but I often find I disagree with their take on Dita Von Teese, Marilyn Manson’s ex. She rocks her part retro, part goth style and I think she’s gorgeous too.

    That said, I really don’t look to anyone or any publication for style inspiration, but when I get the LB flyers and I see women with thunder thighs like me looking awesome in tailored pants, I know I can look awesome too.

    My style is conservative, and when I’m not working, you’ll see me in denim capris with loose T-shirts or sweatshirts, but I also love the dress & cardigan combos that Lesley does and I’ve been known to wear similar pieces. We’re about the same weight, but I have boobs and thighs of doom, and having those sometimes means fitted dresses are not kind to me. But I have been wearing things that are a little bit more body-hugging than I’ve been used to, and I’ve found that whatever I wear, nobody in public really gives a shit about seeing a 300 lb. + fat chick pounding the pavement, because they’ve got their own issues to deal with. Making dumbass comments at me is the least of their worries. I know it’s not like that for other people, but I’ve been lucky so far. Of course, I’ve also been told “helpfully” that I carry my weight nicely, so take that as you will…

  18. I also love GFY. They are FUNNY WRITERS.

    The main thing Fatshionista on LJ has done for me (and the fatosphere in general in a larger sense… HA .. .Larger Sense) has helped me normalize my view of my body. Seeing more fat women dressed in sensational clothes looking good (and sometimes not so good IMO but that’s ok too) has helped me embrace my fat self and realize that I’m not SO different after all. It’s awesome.

  19. ADVANCED STYLE!!
    I’m head over heels. God I love it when someone’s style has been percolating for decades and decades.
    There are so many people in my neighborhood I want to send in. Thank you SO much for linking to that one!!!

  20. Okay, thank you for the GFY absolution.

    And some more absolution: I check GFY at least twice per week. It’s one of my favorites.

  21. Personally, about 70% of my clothes come from thrift stores. If you like skirts, you can find any length in any color in any pattern. It’s just a little bit more work than new-clothes store. I wear a 12/14, and I almost always find something. I don’t know what the selection is like for sizes on the larger end of the scale, but I find it’s a jackpot for inbetweenies, because so many women wear those sizes. You can get also find great old jewelry and belts and bags.

  22. Many, many years ago I picked up a little volume called Simple Isn’t Easy, by Olivia Goldsmith & Amy Fine Collins. I found it an engaging and fun book to read, but the overall theme of “pick one look that works for your life and stick to it” just didn’t work for me. My stock options had kicked in, I was finding new stores and catalogs with my size AND this was just as the web was coming in – all these looks to try, and why on earth would I not want to try them?

    In retrospect, trying wasn’t the problem. It was buying loads of clothes that did not fit my life. ;)

    Years later, after I’d gotten married and gone back to school for a few years, I got a job in a business casual office…and realized I had almost nothing that qualified as “business casual”.

    I had sweats and shorts and Ts for the around the house. I had velvet and lace and spandex, for clubbing. I had a few nice blouses and shells and skirts and slacks and cardigans and jackets, for church, weddings, funerals, and interviewing.

    But almost everything was too dressy, too sexy, or not serious enough for my new office. Almost. Suddenly I found myself looking at my wardrobe with new eyes. Not as a variety of different looks, but to find the core I could create a new work “look” out of…

    I had a pair of basic, comfortable pants from Making It Big. Black, IIRC. I had a few pairs of navy blue and black “active pants”, which are sweatpants made of cotton twill, from Casual Male. The elastic around the ankles made them obviously not business casual, but … what if I cut off the elastic and hemmed them? Much better. And I had a couple sweaters and tops that would work, mostly in black, red, and green.

    The boutiques that carried extended sizes had closed by then, so I hit Catherine’s, Avenue, LB with a new eye. Only Catherine’s had pants in my size, and none fit, so I was stuck with black & navy blue pants. In March. I bought some casual knit tops in black and red. Every top went with every bottom – they had to!

    Suddenly I had a “look”. Indeed, I have a uniform. As the Casual Male pants wore out, I replaced them with more Making It Big pants (I now have 6 pairs). It works for home too, at least 90% of the time. I do have some jeans and sweats for “grubby” work around the house; I do have special occasion and interview wear.

    But I’ve also been eBaying the stuff that is really for someone else’s life. And that’s okay. :)

  23. Okay, I didn’t mean to write a novel there. :) In retrospect I think I wrote about finding my style, not about fashion… but they’re not exactly unrelated :)

  24. Yep, I gave up women’s magazines this year (with the exception of O), and it has made a difference. I love beauty products, but there are plenty of blogs that help me get my fix on an even more regular basis.

  25. OTM: Perspective: Black tights and a denim skirt is pretty much my default outfit when I the occasion calls for something casual and conservative.

    Yeah, I’m not sure why I thought it would look weird. I like the look on other people, but I am WAY critical (read: paranoid) of how things look on me. Black tights really do go with almost anything, especially in fall/winter.

  26. I stopped buying women’s magazines in the mid-80s when I finally woke up to the fact they were actively discriminating against me. I can look at them now, (in small doses, mind), without feeling like shit about myself. Though they do make me angry because I can instantly pinpoint the exact things they do and say that would have made me feel like crap as a younger woman.

    I discovered the fatshionista flickr group before discovering the LJ community and both of them and wardrobe_remix have influenced me quite a bit over the past few years. Said discoveries serendipitously coincided with my suddenly having access to vastly improved clothing choices too, so it was a bit of a win-win for me all round image-wise.

    Lesley’s aesthetic influenced me very strongly. Her Blue Plate dresses teamed with little cardis inspired me to try on the style of dress I’d previously thought wouldn’t flatter me – the hourglass-faking, empire-line prom type. I’d previously been convinced that I couldn’t wear shrugs either, which are now the mainstay of my wardrobe and, of course, look perfect with that style of dress. (They also take care of the problem I’ve always had with spaghetti-straps and general sleevelessness a treat).

    Tricia Royal from wardrobe_remix also influenced me hugely. I’ve always loved vivid and clashing colours and bold prints, but looking at her posts inspired me to be more creative with what I already had; combining items of clothing I might not have otherwise thought of putting together and reacquainting myself with some hitherto neglected accessories. Some of my fave fatshionista posters cross-post to w_r too. I especially love BigBeauty of Paris, stitchtowear, Joy and Blog To be Alive’s respective styles.

  27. I meant to add that discovering the now defunct BBW magazine led to my junking regular women’s magazines and pretty much launched me on the road to self-acceptance. I also used to buy Mode, when it was still going. I always had a slight problem with it though. It could never make up it’s mind if it was a magazine for sub-inbetweenies or bona fide fat girls. The ads they carried were frequently aimed at much larger women but the models they used and photoshoots they ran didn’t really reflect that demographic. It was kind of like they wanted to be a regular magazine aimed at women who just weren’t size 6 and it ended up pleasing nobody.

  28. Fatshionista.com’s impeccably stylish Lesley

    No kidding. The Flickr album has a couple of photos of her in her amazing canary-yellow dress (I’ve seen it before on Fatshionista and I *heart* it), and another of her in a darling black-with-white-dots dress and yellow shrug. SO cool.

  29. @living400lbs: Hah! I had that same discovery. I worked at a ‘high-business’ place for a while (well, really a bus casual place where I overdressed in vain hopes that they’d hire me full-time and give me benefits) and now that I’m at a bus-casual place, I have no clothes. Well, no pants — a pair of cords and a pair of khaki cargo pants, and then I’m stuck wearing formal business pants for the rest of the week.

    I get my fashion inspiration from, um, things that I find on the cheap rack. Given a choice, I’d wear a lot more tweed and skirts with excitingly bright tights (that, I know, is Marianne/TR’s fault) and cute little jackets every day, but I’ve yet to find a skirt that fits properly. Once I do, though . . .

    Also, nudiemuse/Shannon (I think?) makes me want to wear bright eye shadow colors, but alas, all I own at the moment is sand and gray. Should fix that . . .

  30. “bus-casual” totally suggests a public transit inspired wardrobe to me. :-)

    Also, for everyone talking about tights, Julia posted a kickass guide to tights on LJ Fats recently. Check it out. (Related note: does anyone know if the straight size We Love Colors tights are more like the old crappy plus ones, or the new good ones?)

  31. I stopped buying women’s magazines in the mid-80s when I finally woke up to the fact they were actively discriminating against me.

    BuffPuff, for me it was the late 80s / early 90s. I used to take the old BBW magazine to family gatherings and watch the women see-saw between “OMG this is so cool/true/right” and “Oh, but I still need to lose weight.”

  32. Well, I guess we all go through that mindset on the way to self-acceptance. I certainly did. It’s great we have the internet now as there are so many resources available offering an alternative viewpoint. I literally had to search high and low for what must have been the only copy of Shadow On A Tightrope in London. I can’t even remember where I heard about it!

  33. my self esteem went into the crapper a few days ago because this guy I dig mentioned how he finds hipster girls hot…hipster girls are notoriously incredibly skinny…

    even though a few days earlier I think I caught him, ahem, glancing down my v-neck…it’s the thing I don’t like that stuck with me…I guess I need to bust out more v-necks (no boob pun intended)

    that has nothing to do with my fashion inspiration, but as soon as I saw the phrase “self worth” that’s where my head went…my fashion inspiration is pretty much the clearance page at torrid.com

    give me a few years to gain some experience (and financial backers) and I’ll be starting my magazine…fashion for all, positive body image and feminism, oh my…

  34. I’ve been waist deep in women’s magazines since I hit my 15th birthday. Like some sort of ritual, my mother subscribed me to Seventeen for the rest of my high school years. I wanted to look like those girls on the pages, and was never satisfied with myself.

    I finally became fed up and ditched Glamour a few years ago. I grew tired of their “curvy women” and “love your body” type of support, by featuring a plus sized model on a one page ad, but right next to it an ad with Kate Moss on it, or some other stick thin model.

    The beauty ads, the anti aging, the whole shabang played on my insecurities.

    I also do not want my daughter to grow up seeing these damaging things laying around to look at. As it is, I strongly rail against the whole barbie princess thing. I threw out all of that crap the day my little girl said “Mommy, why can’t I look like princess barbie?”

    F#$%# that. I may struggle with how I look, and my own issues of accepting myself, but I want my girl to love herself, for all that she sees in that mirror….without any thing telling her she’s not good enough or beautiful.

    It’s not just the fashion magazines doing it to teens and women, it starts really early with little girls.

    We have our princess parties, but we are the princesses, and we rule.

  35. Wow, I finally just got around to reading these comments. Thanks so much for the kind words y’all. I’m humbled and thrilled in equal parts.

    My commitment to Lucky aside, I am so so totally reliant on these sorts of internet resources for inspiration. Both w_r and the always-brillz stitchtowhere have been revolutionary saints insofar as making me see color totally differently, and cultivating a willingness to match colors that totally do not “match”.

  36. My favorite catalogue:

    http://www.pyramidcollection.com/

    I’m not exactly a fashion maven, to be honest. In fact, I wouldn’t even be able to begin to categorize my “style,” I just know what I like and what I don’t. The only thing I can tell you for dead sure is that I love big sleeves. And blue. And I won’t wear for more than a minute something that is uncomfortable or made of scratchy fabric or high heeled. And I hate eyeliner and mascara.

    YAY!

  37. Oh, I just wanted to add that, I actually have never bought any of the lovely clothes in my fave catalogue and I’ll tell you why– totally. Can’t. Afford it. But, this was about fashion inspiration, not fashion reality. My fashion reality is that I mostly own clothes that make me look frumpy, or at least feel it, and actually most of what I own is in storage right now anyway, and the only thing I care to wear anymore is jeans, but I can’t wear them to work.

    Which gives me a pretty good excuse not to try rocking a look I like that my family would probably disapprove of, come to think of it, but there are things I’d buy there, and wear in public just because I wanna, that my folks would scream at me about. Heh. Hell my mom hates what I wear now. She wants me to wear clothes that “hide my stomach.” Which means tents that make me look twice my natural size.

    Come to think on it, there are probably good reasons I dislike fashion and have actively hated “girly” stuff since I can remember. Every time *I* liked something, it had to pass inspection of my sister and mothers’ tastes before I could actually wear it. Since I don’t have the same taste in clothes they do, dressing became an exercise in being not-me.

    Let’s face it. Clothes are annoying. You know what rocks? Doing yoga in the nude. There’s nothing that quite lets you feel the freeing experience of living in your body and appreciating what the vessel can do for you.

    Wait, how did I get from “I like big sleeves” to “I like nude yoga?” Geez, I’m all over the place today. I mean, both things are true, but they’re only kinda-sorta-not-really related.

  38. Sugarleigh,

    Pyramid Collection! So that’s where ,=this skirt came from! I went to a wedding last weekend and one of the guests wore this skirt with a black velvet boatneck top. It was really beautiful.

  39. Totally fun, i-geek! :D I’m excited not to be the only one who loves them. ;)

    When I have a better job, there are a few things I am definitely going to get!

    http://www.pyramidcollection.com/itemdy00.asp?c=a&T1=P8322+XS&SKW=+apparel&GEN1=All+Apparel&PageNo=5&pos=12 (I would totally wear this top with freakin’ jeans. It is an awesome top!)

    http://www.pyramidcollection.com/itemdy00.asp?c=a&T1=P8873+S&SKW=+apparel&GEN1=All+Apparel&PageNo=1&pos=5 (SO PRETTY!)

    http://www.pyramidcollection.com/itemdy00.asp?c=a&T1=P8669+S&SKW=+apparel&GEN1=All+Apparel&PageNo=4&pos=12 (just looking at this dress makes me want to skip in it)

    http://www.pyramidcollection.com/itemdy00.asp?c=a&T1=P8371+BK+S&SKW=+apparel&GEN1=All+Apparel&PageNo=2&pos=11 (yes yes yes I would buy this in both colors and wear it ALL THE TIME. FLOOFY SLEEVE LOVE.)

    Clothes become much more fun when I think they are pretty. Sorry for the bitter tangent of earlier, that was kinda silly of me to do. I just was reminded of my recent experiences trying to shop for clothes and how disappointing they were. Browsing Pyramid made it all better though and now I feel foolish for acting bratty. ^_^

  40. So I’ve been considering this question since it went up yesterday, and I’ve come to the conclusion that my best fashion inspirations are not websites or magazines at all.

    They come from more than thirty years of studying costume and fashion history as a hobby, and the way my mother lived vicariously through my wardrobe when I was a kid.

    My eyes gravitate toward styles that mimic my favorite historical ones. That’s why I so adore my purple suede coat cut in a lovely 18th century line (men’s more than women’s, and with a gorgeous self ruffle down the front) and the not-quite-12th century velvet gown that laces up the front. My wedding gown stepped straight out of a production of Pride and Prejudice, and I looked and felt spectacular.

    Since my mother was a plus-sized woman in a time when plus-sized clothing stores sold literally nothing but muu-muus in tacky prints and polyester stretch pants, she spent more time on my wardrobe than hers. She also sewed beautifully. From the time I was able to walk and talk under my own power, I had a major hand in my own wardrobe. As I got older, I got to choose the patterns and fabrics used, and request adaptations to patterns. Because of that, I have spent most of my life feeling quite confident in my own sartorial choices.

    I went through a brief period in my late teens when I tried to pay attention to fashion magazines about what I should be wearing, but even then I found myself throwing out half their advice based on my knowledge of my body and my own personal tastes. Paisley is in? Tough. I’m not a fan, so I’m not wearing it. Pink is THE hot color of the season? Not on me, it’s not. Most shades of pink leave me looking jaundiced, and I can’t stand the ones left over. Nobody’s wearing purple this season? I must be nobody, then.

    The great thing is, when I listen to me, I usually get it right. And the mistakes I made as a child in learning to dress myself taught me how to look critically at myself without cruelty. I know to avoid spaghetti straps, not because they’re ‘not okay’ on a fat woman, but because every time I’ve tried to wear them in my life, they’ve slid right off my non-existant shoulders. I know to ignore those who say that fat women shouldn’t wear anything but black, because I know how I glow in orange and purple and turquoise and yellow and cherry red, and how I disappear into the woodwork in black. I also know I get the glow from medium grey and chocolate brown, so if I need a somber color, I’ve got plenty of options that I still look great in.

    And SugarLeigh, you didn’t sound bratty to me at all. You sounded like someone trying to find her sartorial voice and being frustrated by a lack of options and support. I don’t even see a disconnect between liking big sleeves and liking nude yoga. I’ll dig around a bit today and see if I can find you some less expensive options that have that Pyramid feel. They are out there, if you know where to look. It’s just a matter of getting pointed in the right direction.

  41. “Every time *I* liked something, it had to pass inspection of my sister and mothers’ tastes before I could actually wear it. Since I don’t have the same taste in clothes they do, dressing became an exercise in being not-me.”

    SugarLeigh, I’m glad you were all over the place today, because you just made me realize why *I’ve* never cared about fashion. I grew up poor (like asking churches for spare food poor) and most of my clothes were given to me by an *extremely* conservative great-aunt who insisted I should wear blue all the time because I have blue eyes. I HATE wearing blue. And there’s nothing quite like going to high school in clothes from Talbots to kill the joy of getting dressed.

    Now that I’m a grownup, maybe I can have more fun. I’m still broke, but there’s always thrifting.

  42. I’ve just about quit on Glamour and Marie Claire. I never did read Cosmo, because, really? That is one vapid piece of garbage. But inevitably, I’ll be standing at the checkout at the grocery, and there will be Glamour or Marie Claire with some headline about surrogate mothers in India, or a doctor doing reconstructive surgery on women in Sudan, or something like that, and I’ll have to pick it up.

    Of course, what I get is four pages of a really good article, 50 of weight loss tips, clothes I could neither fit my ass into nor afford to buy, and makeup I couldn’t even wear (sensitive skin is a bitch, thank heaven for mineral makeup, or I’d still never wear anything but sunscreen and chapstick.) and 30 pages of ads for purses and shoes I don’t even like. Not to mention stinky perfume pages.

    Why isn’t there a bigger market for magazines like Bust? Now there’s one I’ll read cover to cover, and crib style tips from. And sometimes, in addition to the standard slim models, they’ll use women my size! So I can see how these clothes look on a larger body. I also love that I haven’t seen a single diet tip in the magazine. More often, if they’re even going to talk about food and exercise, it’s more like, “Here’s a great recipe for some fabulous tofu salad!” or “Why not try synchronized swimming? It’s Fun!” Instead of food being cast as sin, and exercise as penance, they’re both just fun.

    Okay, after all this discussion of it, I’m going to check out Go Fug Yourself. You all have piqued my curiosity.

  43. Emmy: Why isn’t there a bigger market for magazines like Bust? Now there’s one I’ll read cover to cover, and crib style tips from. And sometimes, in addition to the standard slim models, they’ll use women my size! So I can see how these clothes look on a larger body. I also love that I haven’t seen a single diet tip in the magazine. More often, if they’re even going to talk about food and exercise, it’s more like, “Here’s a great recipe for some fabulous tofu salad!” or “Why not try synchronized swimming? It’s Fun!” Instead of food being cast as sin, and exercise as penance, they’re both just fun.

    It sounds kinda like Sassy magazine for adult women- the good Jane Pratt-Christina Kelly-Andrea Lee Linnett Sassy, not the crap one that YM took over and booted all the founders before running into the ground. Boy, did I love the original Sassy. *gets all nostalgic and wants to read a “Working Our Nerves” page*

  44. Omg, the Pyramid Collection. DO WANT.
    This one for more everyday wear, and this for dress-up awesomeness.

    And yeah, Bust is pretty awesome as magazines go.

  45. Hey, thank you to Twistie and Jazzy.

    Twistie, I never thought of it that way, and your post made me feel all kinds of good. If you do find any resources, I’d be excited to have a look, not to mention grateful you did such a nice thing for me. Also, reading about your adventures with sewing and style was interesting. I do have my own sewing machine, which I used to use mostly for crafts but lately I’ve been trying to learn to sew my own clothes, starting with a shirt that is cut out and waiting to be stitched together (I need my mom’s help on this, my machine’s in the shop and I can’t use her fancy contraption without tutelage). :3

    Jazzy, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who has experienced that! I have an aversion to pink for similar reasons to your dislike of blue (was ambivalent about it to begin with, having it pushed on me decided me that I HATED it). Clothes are so much a part of identity. I have had a problem with finding my identity (and being able to hold it even in the face of opposition) as long as I can remember and I honestly think one small part of that was the simple, perhaps even “silly” detail that I never experimented with my looks much. I never felt brave enough.

    I’m a little braver now though. The shirt I’m sewing has horizontal stripes. It’s my “cute fat girl power shirt,” and a nod to Fat Dinosty on YouTube (anyone who missed it GO WATCH IT!). I was so inspired by the film I had to own a horizontal-striped shirt, but I couldn’t find a good funky one, so I bought some fabric and a pattern instead.

    Jazzy, you totally gotta watch Fat Dinosty and ROCK the hip thrift store sweaters! ;D

  46. i’m mostly inspired by random crusty boys and male friends of mine who manage to dress well, casually and formulaic all at the same time; i just femme it the heck up. and sometimes random punk/hippie/whatever girl-types who manage to look weird/awesome/distinctive/beautiful without seeming like they give in to too much of the typical cultural baggage of how women are supposed to dress/perform gender.

  47. Most of my clothes are bought by my mum. But sometimes I find an outfit and I feel just right in it. There’s no one style inspiration, it’s just me. It feels good on me and I can forget my weight, forget the fact that I always second guess myself and I feel like I look how I feel inside at my most confident.

    I turned 21 on the 12th and my dad bought me an outfit that made me feel like that for my birthday. I never know what’s fashionable but I know what I like. This means I have an outrageous amount of black dresses in my wardrobe, but they make me feel good and that’s the important thing. I feel like a person when I wear them. I feel like I count.

    I haven’t dared post before, I’m jealous of the way all you commentators can write and talk here. This is taking dutch courage to post. I’ve never dieted but this blog has changed my life, because every time I do weigh myself, I have a reason not to beat myself up about it. I can come here and read about people so different from where I live.

    I’m sorry about the off-topicness.

  48. I think my style comes from way too many watchings of What Not to Wear, combined with my innate laziness. Which is why I will never be one of those girls who wears really complicated outfits – I am not a morning person, so jeans + camisole + sweater is about as complex as I can get. I admire the hell out of girls who can handle dresses and jackets and boots and tights and tops and belts and all that, but I need pockets. That said, I did start widening my range from “black or white camisole” to “various colors that may or may not go with the sweater.” Two shades of blue totally go together, right? Right.

    Currently my main problem is being jobless, though my mom kindly took pity on my hoodie-wearing self and bought me a great corduroy trench from Target. (The plus sizes aren’t on the website, strangely, but they had them in our store.) It’s this great dark teal color. Cyan, even. Now I don’t have to look like a teenager skipping sixth period!

  49. I have started dressing so much better since I discovered Fatshionista. And by “better,” I don’t necessarily mean that I look like a catalogue model, but I’ve gotten more comfortable experimenting with colors, layers, and accessories. Three years ago, almost everything I owned was pink or black, and my wardrobe was pretty much a thrift store Hot Topic. Now I wear green, red, blue, purple, I am having a total love affair with chocolate brown, and I recently bought an orange hoodie. I never thought I could rock orange, but I wear it and everything. (With a purple jean skirt. I’m so tacky awesome.)

    My roommate told me recently that I dress “whimsically,” which is kind of true. I like bold patterns and prints–polka dots, stripes, hearts, apples. I like mixing colors that supposedly don’t go together (oh pink and red!). I have a belt that is made of little gold elephants. The more I think about this, the more I become convinced that my fashion sense is regressing to where it was around age eight, before I absorbed the Official Rules Of Clothes.

    And I adore thrift stores more than anything. My latest greatest score is a red, black, and gray skirt with this fantastic pattern–it’s like part plaid and part argyle. It’s plaidgyle!

  50. I found this site through a reader’s comment on Feministing (Samhita’s post about her parents’ hurtful comments about her weight) and all I can say is…wow…and wow again.

    Your advice to ditch “women’s” magazines…thank you! I came to that conclusion years ago when I realised I literally felt depressed after reading one. So I ditched them and never regretted it for a moment. Now I mostly read news, science, literature and business magazines.

    As far as I know there is no magazine in South Africa that focuses on fashion for fat women. Some of them have “special issues” occasionally or throw in a few pics here and there but basically the fashion industry here caters for the thin (and this in Africa, where we’re supposed to celebrate curves).

    The shops that have plus-sized clothing ranges – grrrr – why do they think fat people don’t want to look sexy? Why must we all wear shapeless tunic-type tops? And if I see one more floral design. (By now steam is coming out of my ears.)

    There are boutiques that apparently sell sexy, funky clothes for bigger women (I’ve heard of these, never actually seen one) but they’re expensive.

    So my solution is to find an affordable and competent dressmaker and get her to make a stylish basic set of clothes that I can mix and match with store-bought clothes.

    The search continues. Wish me luck!

  51. Ishtar, I don’t know if Torrid ships internationally, but it might be worth checking out for you. Their stuff is really hot. Some is really expensive, but you can get good deals in their clearance section, plus a lot is fairly moderately priced. There’s also B & Lu – but again, I don’t know about international shipping.

  52. @ Liza

    Thanks for the tips – I’ll have a look at those sites.

    I’ve always bought my clothes from stores because I could fit them on first. I have a big butt and I find that clothes that would fit my waist won’t get past my butt and clothes that fit my butt gape at the waist (sigh).

    But I should take a chance. As soon as my budget looks a little healthier I’ll take the plunge (just heard this morning that the SA Rand has fallen to R9.00 to the US Dollar) :-(

  53. Okay, I know this is old, but I can answer this question now.

    Also, for everyone talking about tights, Julia posted a kickass guide to tights on LJ Fats recently. Check it out. (Related note: does anyone know if the straight size We Love Colors tights are more like the old crappy plus ones, or the new good ones?)

    I just received my first order from We Love Colors yesterday, and I assume the straight-sized tights must be like the new good plus-sized ones, because the ones I got are really nice. I ordered the microfiber tights in Maroon and Emerald, and I am really pleased with the fit and quality. They’re nice and soft, the waistband didn’t seem too restrictive (I had to cut out the waistbands on my Old Navy tights because I like breathing and all), they stretched evenly on my legs. I tossed them right in the wash so I can wear them this weekend, and they came out just as color-saturated as they were pre-laundry.

  54. i’ve always liked to read those street fashion blogs. it’s great to see a non air brushed woman in cool wearable clothes. and yes, i agree i stopped reading magazines like vogue many years ago. i just can’t afford anything in it and the clothes are not practical for me

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