The concept of “flaws” is flawed

I’ve been re-reading Linda Grant’s book The Thoughtful Dresser: The Art of Adornment, the Pleasures of Shopping, and Why Clothes Matter. I remember liking it well enough the first time I read it, but now…not so much.

Grant has some interesting things to say about the history of fashion, and the meaning that clothing can have, even–or perhaps especially–in dire circumstances.

But there’s so much about the book that rubs me the wrong way. I have another post coming about my alienation from the type of fashion that Grant focuses on, but for now, I want to talk about one concept that keeps popping up throughout the book: that of “flaws.”

“Flaws,” as in body parts belonging to those who are older or fatter (or both) than the average. Body parts that must be disguised, hidden, cloaked in both fabric and shame.

All I have to say is, fuck that noise.

If one body has a larger stomach, or ankles, or thighs, than another body, that doesn’t make those parts “flawed.” It just makes them different. There’s no reason that a 60-year old woman shouldn’t wear a mini-skirt if she feels like it, or a 400-pound woman a tank top. Hell, there’s no reason a 60-year old, 400-pound man can’t wear both a tank top and a mini-skirt if it suits his style.

Yes, we’re all human. We all have flaws.

But those flaws are not our hips, or our stretch marks, or the fat rolls on our back. They’re not our cellulite, or our frizzy hair, or our eyes that crinkle unevenly when we smile.

There is no perfect body from which all others deviate–no matter how many multi-billion dollar industries try to sell you that idea.

We’re all human.

We can all be beautiful in our own ways, if we want to be. Or we can reject the idea of beauty altogether.

None of us are flawed simply for existing in our bodies.


One thought on “The concept of “flaws” is flawed

  1. Dang right! I’ve been trying to convince my mother that it IS okay for her to wear certain types of clothes. This is the same person who said that I should not wear talk tops because my arms are too flabby (Give me a break, Mom. I work out 3x/ week and I am 175 lbs….)
    People should not care so much about outward appearance.
    If you like it and if you feel good wearing it, go ahead and wear it. That’s it.

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