Last week, I posted a link to a Fatshionista post about a company that makes organic plus size clothing. Most of the commenters there were…not so positive about the clothes. My friend Cheshirekit pointed out:
The organic clothing retailer is waaay out of my price range, but very much my style, and it makes me sad to see the commenters of fatshionista tearing it apart. I can’t be the only fatshionista who’d rather wear layers of muumuus with lovebeads than skinny jeans with a graphic tee and scarf or somelike, but it sure does often feel like it.
This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, with the rise of WTF, Plus Size Manufacturers? and the general popularity of snarking on items that the author finds ugly or unfashionable.
I’m all for criticizing the limited options we have in plus sizes, and how they’re often overpriced compared to their straight size equivalents. But I’m not sure it’s possible to make fun of individual items without implicitly insulting the taste of people who like and would wear them.
It just hurts to read people saying things like this about items of clothing that I think are cute and would totally wear:
As a fat woman, I get enough negative messages about my body. I don’t want to hear more negative messages about how I dress it–even if they’re cloaked in the plausible deniability of “I’m just insulting the clothing itself, not the people who wear it! Diff’rent strokes!”
The problem is, clothing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Clothes aren’t just items on websites–they’re a social and artistic language. They’re a form of self-expression.
I may not be my clothing, but my clothing (and the clothing that I find attractive) does represent my taste, my style, my own creative way of being in the world.
So when I see a piece of clothing that I think is butt-ugly, I keep it to myself. Because my ugly may be another person’s awesome, and who am I to tear down their style?